Wisconsin's U.S. senators split on a resolution backing a plan from President Obama to arm and train Syrian rebels to combat ISIS.
U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, was among the strong majority to endorse the plan, which passed 78-22. The House backed the plan Wednesday.
Johnson said although he shared concerns about whether "we will be training individuals who eventually may become our enemies," it was "important to show coalition partners that the U.S. Congress will support strong and resolute action to address the growing threat of ISIS."
Johnson also noted the plan wasn't debated separately from a proposal to fund the government after the end of the month, criticizing "yet another take-it-or-leave it vote with no ability to improve the bill."
U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, however, said although she supported a number of provisions included in the measure -- including the extended government funding, reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank and providing aid to combat the West African Ebola crisis -- she had concerns about "another open-ended U.S. military entanglement in the Middle East."
"Spending American taxpayer money to arm and train Syrian rebels demands a much fuller debate in Congress and it is fundamentally wrong for the campaign season here at home to prevent that from happening," Baldwin said.
U.S. Reps. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, and Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, were the only members of Wisconsin's congressional delegation to back the president's plan to arm and train rebels in Syria.
The legislation cleared the House 273-156 with 159 Republicans and 114 Dems supporting it.
U.S. Reps. Sean Duffy, R-Weston; Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee; Mark Pocan, D-Madison; Tom Petri, R-Fond du Lac; Reid Ribble, R-Sherwood; and Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls; all opposed the bill.
Pocan said the briefings he's had this week have raised more questions that remain unanswered and raised concerns about "another prolonged war in Iraq."
"This $500 million down payment will only further entangle us in a part of the world most Americans want us out of," he said.
Kind called the legislation the "best of the bad options that we have" and said he is opposed to committing ground troops to the region.
"I supported the measure because it gives the president bipartisan support to help him build a coalition in opposition to this growing threat, provides oversight resulting in greater accountability, and is the best plan to avoid putting combat troops on the ground," Kind said.
U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson is urging a federal appeals court to find he has standing to challenge an Obama administration ruling on the Affordable Care Act.
The administration allows the federal government to subsidize health insurance for lawmakers and some congressional staffers.
Johnson, R-Oshkosh, argued in yesterday's brief that administration ruling imposes substantial administrative burdens by requiring him to work with senior staff to determine which employees will continue to receive federal benefits, depriving him and the aide who joined him in the suit of their constitutional rights to equal treatment, and forcing them to participate in an unlawful scheme in which they receive special benefits not available to the public.
A district court judge this summer rejected Johnson's lawsuit, finding much of the injuries alleged in the suit were speculative.
President Barack Obama has nominated U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson to serve as a representative to the United General Assembly that begins tomorrow.
Johnson, R-Oshkosh, will join fellow U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md., at the UN's 69th assembly session.
He thanked the president for the nomination despite his "outspoken opposition to many of the policies of both President Obama and the United Nations," noting that not only is it customary for a member from each party to attend the assembly, but "I intend to use this opportunity to gain insight on a wide range of important global issues."
"In these perilous times, it is important for all of us to find common ground and stand united in our dealings with the rest of the world," Johnson said.
U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy announced legislation to strike a federal provision he says enables the avoidance of child support payments.
Duffy, R-Weston, said the Fair Credit Reporting Act requires credit reporting agencies to give 10 days notice prior to reporting on the collection of child support, giving "would-be deadbeat parents ample time to run up their credit, dump savings and assets or otherwise give the impression they can afford far less for their children."
"The law should not encourage or provide parents a way out of supporting their children," Duffy said.
The measure was offered with U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy, D-Fla.
U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan has introduced three bills aiming to curb corporate inversions.
Pocan, D-Madison, in recent weeks has criticized the practice, in which companies merge with a smaller foreign company to avoid U.S. taxes.
One of the newly introduced bills would crack down on earnings stripping, in which interest paid on debt to affiliated foreign companies reduces or wipes out U.S. taxable income.
The others would, in part, require immediate payment of taxes on overseas profits and require corporations to disclose both pre-tax profits and the amounts paid in state and federal taxes.
"Large corporations have taken advantage of tax loopholes to hide billions in corporate profits overseas and avoid paying taxes in the United States," Pocan said. "Enough is enough. This legislation will stop corporate deserters from abusing the U.S. tax system."
Wisconsin’s U.S. senators agreed ISIS is a threat in their reactions to President Barack Obama’s address to the nation Wednesday evening.
Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, called last night’s speech a “necessary step” in describing the threat posed by the ISIL, saying he’ll review the president’s plan in the coming days. He also stressed it’s crucial for the Obama and American public to remain committed to destroying ISIS.
“I will support strong and resolute action to destroy the growing threat that ISIS and global terrorism represent to America,” Johnson said.
Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, called them a “group of barbaric terrorists who represent a threat to American personnel and interests in Iraq, and to the stability of Iraq and the region.” She supports building an international coalition that provides military assistance to confront the threat and build “an inclusive and unified Iraqi government.”
But she cautioned against repeating "mistakes of the past" when it comes to using U.S. military personnel.
“I was pleased to hear the President say there will not be American combat troops on foreign soil, but I remain concerned about the potential for open-ended U.S. military engagement in the Middle East,” Baldwin said. “We cannot repeat the mistakes of the past, so it’s important for the administration to work with Congress as a partner and to set clear goals and benchmarks of success for American engagement in this mission.”
U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan says the United States must react quickly to eliminate the terrorist group ISIS, despite mixed public support for further military intervention in the Middle East.
The Janesville Republican told “UpFront with Mike Gousha” the role of the U.S. should be mostly limited to air strikes, but said some Americans could fill advisory positions with local forces like the Syrian Free Army. Ryan warned of the potential for expansion of ISIS, pointing to “thousands of foreign jihadists with foreign passports” that could pose a threat to U.S. security.
“This kind of terrorist group; they’re not war-weary; they’re coming,” the former GOP vice presidential candidate said on the program, produced in a partnership with WisPolitics.com.
Calling ISIS a containable threat, Ryan said the U.S. risks a loss of international standing by failing to react. While he believes the nation’s domestic and economic issues can be handled, he expressed concerns about a “dangerous trajectory” of foreign policy under President Obama.
Although critical of the president, Ryan said he's worried Republicans are framing the upcoming midterm elections as a referendum on Obama’s job performance without presenting alternatives. He said his new book, "The Way Forward," outlines his ideas for building a broader conservative movement that appeals to a majority of Americans.
“We can’t just define ourselves as what we are against … We need to offer a comprehensive alternative,” Ryan said. “We have to be a proposition party; we have to be an alternative party.”