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Thursday, March 31, 2011

 8:51 AM 

Video of Duffy talking with constituents resurfaces

The website Talking Points Memo has re-posted video of freshman Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Ashland, saying he struggled to make ends meet on his more than $170,000 congressional salary.

That posting after the Polk County GOP tried to pull it off the Internet.

TPM says in a post that the party contacted the video provider the website used to host the video, Blip.tv, and demanded it be taken down. The party said the video, which was originally posted on its blog, was being published without its consent and said it was a copyright infringement.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

 3:10 PM 

Nuclear arms control group targets Ryan

The Council for a Livable World, a D.C.-based group advocating for greater nuclear arms control, has announced a series of radio ads targeting Republican lawmakers, including U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan of Janesville.

In the 60-second ad, retired Lt. Gen. Robert Gard accuses Ryan of "making it easier for terrorists to get nuclear weapons."

"Paul Ryan and the House Republicans cut hundreds of millions of dollars from a successful U.S. program to secure dangerous weapons grade nuclear material all around the world -- terrorists can make nuclear weapons with it," Gard says in the ad. "Paul Ryan’s reckless cut to our nuclear security budget goes way too far. We all want Congress to cut the budget, but do it responsibly."

The other lawmakers targeted by the ad campaign include Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, U.S. Reps. Harold Rogers of Kentucky and Eric Cantor of Virginia and U.S. Sens. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Thad Cochran of Mississippi.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

 4:37 PM 

Kohl asks Sebelius to deny SeniorCare changes

U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl today asked U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to deny any requests to alter the state's SeniorCare program.

"SeniorCare has proven to be an efficient, cost-effective choice for Wisconsin seniors," Kohl, D-Milwaukee, said in a statement. "It would be a mistake to dismantle this program, which provides exceptional coverage while saving consumers, taxpayers and the state money."

Kohl spoke with Sebelius by phone, his office said. The HHS secretary must sign off on any change to the SeniorCare program.

 1:26 PM 

GOP reps. criticize EPA rule revisions

Four GOP members of Wisconsin's congressional delegation today issued a letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson outlining their concerns with potential revisions to the agency's Boiler Maximum Achievable Control Technology rule.

U.S. Reps. Reid Ribble of De Pere, Jim Sensenbrenner of Menomonee Falls, Tom Petri of Fond du Lac and Sean Duffy of Ashland argued the rule could potentially devastate the state's paper industry. In a statement, Ribble urged Jackson to "listen to the businesses most affected by this burdensome regulation."

"As you are aware, a 2010 study on the impact of the original proposed rule found that Wisconsin pulp and paper facilities would have had to spend $470 million to comply with the proposed regulations," the letter said. "Moreover, the American Forest and Paper Association has determined that our state would shed roughly 7,500 manufacturing jobs if the original Boiler MACT rules were to take effect."

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

 10:28 AM 

Kohl ducks reporter's question on retirement

U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl declined to answer a question about his political future Tuesday, according to a report from National Journal, sparking renewed speculation about whether he'll seek a fifth Senate term next year.

"When questioned about his reelection plans by National Journal Tuesday, 76-year-old Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) asked, 'Am I running?'" according to the report. "He then shrugged, wordlessly. Kohl then asked 'are you are a reporter?' Told 'yes,' he walked away without a word."

The exchange follows a report from The Hill in which DSCC Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., also refused to answer a question about Kohl's future, responding simply, "Herb's just great."

UPDATE: Kohl responded to inquiries about his 2012 plans in a statement this afternoon.

"Right now, I’m focused on working hard to represent the people of Wisconsin -– a job that I love and feel a deep responsibility to do well," Kohl said. "I believe that the people of Wisconsin prefer that I work rather than campaign, but rest assured that when it's time to make my plans for 2012, I will share them."

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

 10:19 AM 

PPP poll: Wis. Republicans prefer Ryan in 2012

Paul Ryan was the top pick among Wisconsin Republicans for the 2012 presidential race, according to the Dem firm Public Policy Polling.

In the survey, 30 percent of Republicans preferred Ryan in the race, while 17 percent backed Mike Huckabee. Newt Gingrich was next at 12 percent, Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney were at 9 percent, Ron Paul was at 5 percent, Tim Pawlenty was at 4 percent, and Mitch Daniels was at 3 percent.

With Ryan out of the mix, Huckabee led with 23 percent, followed by Gingrich and Palin (15), Romney (12), Pawlenty (10), Paul (5) and Daniels (3).

The poll of 400 usual GOP primary voters was done Feb. 24-27 and had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.

A PPP poll from late last week found President Obama underperforming in Wisconsin against most of his possible GOP 2012 challengers compared to his 14-point win over John McCain here in 2008.

Still, he topped Ryan 49-40, Romney 48-38, Huckabee 48-41, Gingrich 51-39 and Palin 54-35.

Monday, March 7, 2011

 4:45 PM 

Obey donates papers to Historical Society

Former U.S. Rep. Dave Obey today announced the donation of his congressional papers -- some 1.8 million documents spanning 41 years -- to the Wisconsin Historical Society.

At a press conference at the Historical Society building in Madison, the longtime Wausau Democrat credited his time on the UW-Madison campus for allowing him to interact with both state and national liberal luminaries before entering politics.

"I don't think that could have happened in many places, because Wisconsin has always practiced an open kind of politics," Obey said.

After the 750 boxes are inventoried and cataloged, the archives will be housed at the UW-Stevens Point and will also be available at UW-Marathon County.

"I had intended to be a teacher when I was in college. Life didn't turn out that way, so I was waylaid into a life of sin instead," Obey joked. "Even though I never got around to teaching, perhaps these papers can serve in a small way to teach people about government."

Listen to the press conference.

Friday, March 4, 2011

 3:04 PM 

Congressional Black Caucus asks Walker to negotiate

The Congressional Black Caucus today sent a letter to Gov. Scott Walker declaring that protecting workers' rights to organize "must outweigh any commitment to state budget constraints."

"The Congressional Black Caucus is often referred to as the conscience of the Congress," said CBC member and Milwaukee Dem U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore in a statement. "Today, we’re locking arms and standing in solidarity with Wisconsin’s public servants. The assault on workers has gone on long enough, and it must stop."

The caucus' letter calls the proposed budget repair bill "misguided and shortsighted."

"Your constituents and Americans all across the country have made it clear that unionization is a cherished right worth protecting," the letter continues. "Unions have not only empowered this nation, but helped create and maintain the American middle class."

Thursday, March 3, 2011

 2:08 PM 

Johnson signs onto letter threatening holds on legislation

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson has joined seven of his colleagues in signing onto a letter that threatens to put holds on bills that they consider unconstitutional and fiscally irresponsible.

The letter, circulated among Senate members yesterday, the eight lawmakers signal their intent to object to considering any bill on the Senate floor that violates any of their five standards.

That includes any new spending that is not offset by cuts, consolidating or eliminating duplicative government programs, or violate the Constitution.

The eight also warn that the letter is not an exhaustive list of reasons they may individually object to a unanimous consent request to take up legislation.

See the letter.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

 1:34 PM 

Sensenbrenner rips potential REAL ID delay

U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, today ripped a reported plan from the Homeland Security Department to delay implementation of the REAL ID bill by 21 months, saying the decision would threaten national security.

Sensenbrenner, chair of the House Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security Subcommittee and the author of the 2005 REAL ID Act, joined with Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, and Homeland Security Chairman Peter King, R-N.Y., to send a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano condemning the plan.

The lawmakers say last week's terrorism-related arrest of Khalid Ali-M Aldawsari in Texas personifies the need to establish more stringent verification standards for driver's licenses and other state-issued identification.

"The REAL ID Act has a multitude of national security, public safety, and immigration benefits, and has helped states upgrade their licenses," the letter reads. "Unfortunately the Administration has not only granted extensions of REAL ID implementation deadlines, but has pushed for a repeal of REAL ID."

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