U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, today joined all five GOP members of the Wisconsin House delegation in voting to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress over disclosures related to a federal gun trafficking operation.
The resolution passed 255-67; it's the first time a sitting AG has been held in contempt.
U.S. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, voted against the resolution, while U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore was among 109 members not voting.
The Milwaukee Dem joined a walkout in protest of the vote led by the Congressional Black Caucus.
"For the past 15 months Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice have cooperated with the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s request for information on ‘Fast and Furious,'" Moore said in a statement. "They have gone above and beyond to provide a multitude of information including all the documents that relate to the tactics in this investigation and the other flawed investigations that occurred in Arizona during the Bush Administration."
“But none of this would have mattered, since it was the Republican’s goal all along to make Attorney General Holder a pawn in their political game to smear President Obama."
But U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner said in remarks on the House floor that the vote was about the constitution, not politics, arguing that the president may not utilize executive privilege when allegations of misconduct are involved.
"Congress has got the proliferation to get to the bottom of this, and that the assertion of the executive privilege by the president and the attorney general is not based in law," the Menomonee Falls Republican said. "We ought to go ahead and do our job and do our oversight, and it's too bad that the Justice Department has decided to try to obstruct Congress' ability to do it."
Wisconsin's U.S. senators split their votes on the 2012 Farm Bill today, which passed the chamber 64-35.
In prepared remarks, U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Milwaukee, said the bill delivers $23 billion in savings, bolsters nutrition programs and helps beginning farmers. He also praised improvements to the MILC program, which aims to provide a safety net for dairy farmers.
"Dairy farmers today face new and different challenges. In recent years they have seen situations where, despite robust milk prices, their input prices dramatically escalated and their margins evaporated," Kohl said. "The dairy policy embodied in this bill recognizes that challenge and establishes margin protection insurance."
U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, however, derided the measure as the "2012 Food Stamp bill," saying his efforts to split the proposal into two bills -- one for food stamps and another for ag issues -- failed due to "business as usual here in our nation’s capital."
"Why are these measures combined? The answer is simple -- to keep much of the legislation out of the light of day and to make spending $1 trillion far easier," the Oshkosh Republican said in a statement.