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As I was recently attempting to determine which Republican presidential canidate was least in the pocket of Big Agriculture, I came across Rand Paul's record. It's mostly strongly anti-subsidy except one case where he voted against an ammendment that would end subsidized crop "insurance" for tobacco farmers. Since he already alienated the agro lobby with his other votes, this vote doesn't make sense to me even from a purely corrupt bargain standpoint.

Has Rand Paul ever talked about this vote and why he voted the way he did? If not, is there a procedural/strategic issue that makes this vote different, legitimate justification that applies only to subsidies for Tobacco farmers (and not to the plethora of other subsidies Paul voted against), or specific tie between Rand Paul and the Tobacco lobby that could explain this one singular deviation from a strong anti cronyism record?

  • It could be that there are other factors affecting tobacco farmers' health. – PointlessSpike Aug 14 '15 at 9:36
  • @PointlessSpike good point, Tobacco farmers could be different. Just to be clear though, we're talking about "insurance" which gives farmers money if the price of their agricultural product drops or if there is bad weather, not health insurance. – lazarusL Aug 14 '15 at 13:14
  • Ah. Yes. But even then, it could be different- think about it. If they weren't given extra money, they could be driven to promote smoking. – PointlessSpike Aug 14 '15 at 13:20
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As far as I can tell, Paul's never talked about why, but it's not hard to figure out the reason. Kentucky's the #2 tobacco growing state in the nation. He's simply trying to get money for farmers in his state.

http://www.rockthecapital.com/03/05/top-ten-tobacco-producing-states/

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Tobacco is a major cash crop in his home state of Kentucky, so it benefits him politically to oppose this legislation. But perhaps he felt that the legislation unfairly singled out one industry, rather than phase out subsidies across the board.

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