U.S. Reps. Ron Kind and Tom Petri today announced bipartisan legislation to overhaul federal crop insurance subsidy policy.
The proposal, dubbed the AFFIRM Act -- for Assisting Family Farmers through Insurance Reform Measures -- would cap total subsidies at $40,000 annually per person, eliminate subsidies for those with incomes over $250,000, and require reporting by all parties receiving federally subsidized crop insurance.
In a statement, the Wisconsin lawmakers said taxpayers suffered a net loss of $276 million between 2001 and 2012 as a result of $10.3 billion in underwriting gains to crop insurance companies.
"Unlike other subsidies, Congress does not know who receives crop insurance subsidies," said Kind, D-La Crosse. "Taxpayers deserve to know where their tax dollars are going, and the AFFIRM Act will make that possible."
Petri, R-Fond du Lac, added that small farmers received only 27 percent of the subsidies, saying the bill "keeps in place a safety net for farmers who need assistance, while ensuring the program is not exploited at a cost to taxpayers."
U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan today announced the introduction of a constitutional amendment he said would require states to prove their election laws do not hinder citizens' right to vote.
The amendment, offered with U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., states that every citizen of legal voting age "shall have the fundamental right to vote in any public election held in the jurisdiction in which the citizen resides."
"We possess no affirmative right to vote in the constitution," Pocan, D-Madison, said during a press conference in the Capitol.
He said similar language in Wisconsin's constitution resulted in a pair of injunctions on the state's 2011 voter ID law, but that states without similar language have had similar laws upheld by federal courts.
Pocan said the amendment, if passed and ratified, would place the burden on states rather than put citizens at "the mercy of state legislatures acting with partisan motives." He argued the broad language would address not only photo ID requirements, but limits on other voter access issues such as early voting hours and registration requirements.
"This amendment is as simple as it is necessary," Pocan said.
U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin today announced she joined with a congressional delegation to visit Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkey last week.
Baldwin, of Madison, joined fellow Dem Sens. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Chris Murphy of Connecticut and U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., on the trip. In a statement, Baldwin said she met with Wisconsin troops in Afghanistan as well as Syrian opposition leaders and refugees in Turkey.
"I came away with a deep appreciation of the fact that there are no good options in this troubling and tragic conflict. One thing is clear; a strong coalition of partners is needed to chart a productive path forward.” Baldwin said of the meetings in Turkey. “While I will not support putting American boots on the ground in Syria, I remain supportive of increased humanitarian and non-lethal assistance."
U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson today called for the Senate to hold additional hearings on last September's attack on the U.S. embassy in Libya, saying "reports indicate that whistle-blowers who were on the ground have substantial information that can bring clarity to what happened in Benghazi for the American people."
Johnson, R-Oshkosh, said in a statement that "too many important questions remain unanswered regarding the level of security leading up to the Benghazi assault, the Administration’s response during the attack and how the State Department and Administration reacted publicly after the attack. "
"I was shocked that President Obama, in his press conference yesterday, revealed that he was ignorant of these developing events," Johnson said. "This leads me to believe that this administration has no interest in providing answers to the American people."
U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, dined with President Obama at the White House this evening and praised him afterward for his continued outreach effort with Congress. The president invited the 20 female members of the U.S. Senate to the dinner. "This was a great opportunity for me to join a bipartisan group of women and talk to the president about how we can work together to grow our economy and strengthen the middle class," Baldwin said. "I expressed to the president and my colleagues the real need to create jobs with a particular focus on rebuilding our manufacturing base. Wisconsin families and businesses need economic growth, and I was proud to give that need a voice tonight.”
The Obama administration's renewed drive on energy policy comes amid
fierce competition for energy resources around the globe, ongoing
international climate talks and a near-$1 billion State Department
budget provision "to promote efforts to combat the drivers of climate
change by supporting clean energy, reducing deforestation and
enhancing low-emission, climate-resilient development."
Join WisPolitics.com at a Washington, D.C. reception on Wednesday, June 5, to discuss
energy's role in U.S. foreign policy with former ambassadors Mark
Green and Tom Loftus.
Green, the former ambassador to Tanzania and ex-Republican congressman
from the Green Bay,Wis.- area, now is president & CEO
of the Initiative for Global Development.Green has a law degree from UW-Madison.
Loftus, the former ambassador to Norway and ex-Assembly speaker from
Sun Prairie near Madison, recently was a University of Wisconsin
regent and a top World Health Organization official. He's now an
U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin says new compromise gun legislation is a “balanced and bi-partisan approach that respects the Second Amendment and will reduce gun violence”
Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., unveiled the legislation late yesterday. It would expand background checks on all commercial gun sales and end the so-called gun show loophole.
“If my colleagues want to vote against this compromise, that is their right,” she said. “But this proposal deserves a vote.”
Baldwin, D-Madison, said the bill from Manchin and Toomey “would help keep guns out of the hands of dangerous criminals by requiring a background check for private gun sales at gun shows and for sales over the Internet. “
Debate on the bill is scheduled to begin today with opponents expected to offer a slew of amendments that could delay a final vote – if one happens – for weeks. U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, earlier this week signed onto a letter threatening to filibuster any legislation that would restrict gun rights. He did not commit to any stance on the Manchin-Tommey amendment in a statement issued this morning.
“I have always said that I will look thoughtfully at the details of legislation that may actually deter criminal use of firearms, keep weapons out of the hands of the mentally unstable, and respect the rights of lawful firearms owners," Johnson said. "I am reviewing the Manchin-Toomey amendment." “Majority Leader Reid has still not made clear what proposals and amendments the Senate will consider. If the Majority Leader moves to bring up a bill that I believe infringes upon or threatens the constitutional rights of law abiding citizens, I will oppose bringing it to the floor.”