GOP vice presidential candidate-designate Paul Ryan is a member of a very exclusive club.
Oh, the Wisconsin Republican is going to be one of the few ever nominated to a major party ticket for national office.
But before that happened, the Congressman was one of the few chosen to drive the popular Oscar Mayer Wienermobile. Ryan’s time at the helm of the Wienermobile was apparently a one-time assignment, not his entire summer job.
About 300 drivers have driven 9 different models of the Wienermobile over the past 76 years in parades and community events throughout the United States.
Ryan did leave his wienermobile tracks, though, just as in 14 years in Congress he has left a record of votes behind on almost everything.
In interviews after his selection as the Republican ‘veep’ candidate, Ryan said he spent a summer selling Oscar Mayer meats in Northern Minnesota, and started work early each morning so he could take off by mid-afternoon to going Walleye fishing.
Ryan reportedly was responsible for selling Oscar Mayer’s Lunchables and Turkey Bacon products to retail stores.
Now Ryan’s move up to the national campaign trail is having ramifications back in Washington D.C., according to agricultural experts.
The House Budget Chairman’s shadow is now larger than ever, especially for the future of the 2012 Farm Bill. According to the Hagstrom Report, a subscriber-paid news service, Ryan’s committee wants ballooning food stamp spending cut by $33 billion over the next ten years.
The House version of the Farm Bill, which has yet to be voted on, includes only a $16.5 billion food stamp cut over ten years, while the Senate’s version, which cleared over the summer with bipartisan support, cuts just $4.5 billion over 10 years.
“Since the 1960s, reauthorization of the food stamp program has been key to convincing House members from urban and suburban districts and senators from mostly urban states to vote for the farm bill,” Hagstrom notes.
Ryan has also proposed moving food stamps to state block grants, something that is unpopular with both hunger advocates or agricultural interests.
With Ryan on the ticket, many now think the final acts for the 2012 Farm Bill are more likely to be put off until after the election because food stamp advocates will figure they will be able to get more by waiting.
On food safety, Ryan opposed final passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in 2010. Ryan’s opposition might have been more meaningful had FSMA not passed with strong bipartisan support.
In addition, the Obama Administration has hung up the Act’s implementation for most of the past year by sitting on needed regulations.
With Democrat Reps. Ron Kind (WI) and Earl Blumenauer (OR) and Republican Jeff Flake (AZ), Ryan was part of a 2007-08-reform group that Hagstrom says worked with the Environmental Working Group on knocking down direct payments to farmers in the existing Farm Bill.
Ryan voted for the 2006 National Food Safety Warning Labels Standards, a bill that set national standards for food safety warning labeling. Opponents said the national policy made some stronger state labeling laws unenforceable.
On a related matter, he voted against Country of Origin Labeling, which did become law until the World Trade Organization more recently struck it down.
Ryan voted a number of times to limit the liability of the food industry for customers who become fat or obese by their food choices.
In the 72 hours since he was picked, Ryan’s use of an exercise program has led to a run on the body-sculpting P90X routine he leads every morning at the House gym. At 6 feet, 2 inches, weighing 163 pounds, Ryan credits his 6-8 percent body fat on the program.© Food Safety News