Talk about strange political bedfellows.
State Sen. Deb Fischer’s friend and fellow Republican, Senator Mike Johanns, defended Fischer today touting a ruling—from of all places—the Obama Administration.
Fischer, a western Nebraska rancher, is under fire for benefitting financially from a government grazing rights deal.
According to the Associated Press, Fischer’s ranch pays less than $5,000 annually to graze cattle on about 11,000 acres of federal land, far less than the approximately $117,000 that would have to be paid to a private landowner.
On Tuesday Democratic Senator Ben Nelson pushed to amend the Farm Bill and eliminate the provision which he calls a “subsidy” that goes to just two percent of the country’s ranchers.
On Wednesday Kerrey, who has voted on both sides of the issue, criticized Fischer arguing the country can “no longer afford these subsidies.”
Then late Wednesday Fischer’s campaign told Nebraska Watchdog that she will review Nelson’s amendment because Fischer ”strongly believes all possible spending cuts need to be on the table and that the funding of federal programs should be based on merit.”
Now enter former Secretary of Agriculture Johanns and some isolated praise for President Obama.
Johanns told Nebraska Watchdog today that the grazing measure is not a subsidy. “Having administered the program, that’s not right, that’s very misleading,” said Johanns who insists its not a government giveaway.
According to Johanns, just last year when five environmental groups asked the Obama Administration to raise the grazing rates, the administration said no.
“Now you even have the Obama Administration that has weighed in and said, ‘Look we examined this, we’re happy where we’re at,'”Johanns told Nebraska Watchdog.
Reported by Joe Jordan, email@example.com
Editor’s note: to subscribe to News Updates from Nebraska Watchdog at no cost, click here