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Thursday, May 22, 2014

 8:22 PM 

Wis. delegation divided on defense bill, largely supportive of surveillance measure

Wisconsin's House delegation split 4-3 along party lines over a defense bill that would, among other priorities, fully fund the littoral combat ship program.

The $601 billion defense authorization bill, which cleared the House 325-98, includes full funding for two LCS ships and advance procurement for another two. The ships are building in Wisconsin and Alabama.

U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble, R-Sherwood, praised the vote and pledged to continue fighting to fund the LCS program.

"Marinette Marine and its workforce have done outstanding work building these vessels which help keep our country safe and the government must stand by its commitment," Ribble said. "The U.S. Navy continues to tell us in Congress that they need these ships to defend our nation, so we must continue to enact procurement policies that are driven by our national security needs."

U.S. Reps. Tom Petri, R-Fond du Lac; Paul Ryan, R-Janesville; and Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls; joined Ribble in supporting the bill. U.S. Reps. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse; Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee; and Mark Pocan, D-Madison; all opposed the bill, while U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Weston, missed the vote.

Kind said in a statement that the bill lacks structural and procurement reforms, and he criticized the elimination of the military's biodiesel program.

"It’s a shame that a few people opposed to biodiesel for political reasons were able to stand in the way of increasing our energy independence," Kind said.

Meanwhile, all but one member of the state's delegation backed passage of legislation targeting domestic surveillance.

The House passed the USA FREEDOM Act 303-121, with the state's three Dems joining Sensenbrenner, Petri and Ryan in support.

Sensenbrenner, the bill's author, said on the House floor that although he wished the bill did more, "we have the opportunity to make a powerful statement: Congress does not support bulk collection."

Ribble voted against the bill, while Duffy did not vote.


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CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION

SENATE
· Tammy Baldwin (D)
· Ron Johnson (R)

HOUSE
· 1st CD: Paul Ryan (R)
· 2nd CD: Mark Pocan (D)
· 3rd CD: Ron Kind (D)
· 4th CD: Gwen Moore (D)
· 5th CD: F. James Sensenbrenner (R)
· 6th CD: Glenn Grothman (R)
· 7th CD: Sean Duffy (R)
· 8th CD: Reid Ribble (R)

CONGRESSIONAL VOTE TRACKING

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