The House Ethics Committee announced today it is extending the deadline to decide whether to take action in a case involving U.S. Rep. Tom Petri, R-Fond du Lac.
Petri earlier this year asked the committee to look into whether he had a conflict of interest in his advocacy for Oshkosh Corp., a defense contractor in his district in which he also owns significant stock.
Today’s statement from the committee chair and its ranking member noted an extension “does not itself indicate that any violation has occurred, or reflect any judgement on behalf of the committee.” The committee will now announce a course of action by Sept. 30.
"I look forward to the Committee on Ethics completing its review," Petri said. "I remain confident that the committee will find that I acted properly, and that I reasonably sought, relied on, and followed the committee’s advice and that I complied with House rules."
A letter circulated by Baldwin, D-Madison, Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Jon Tester, D-Mont. -- and signed by 50 senators in all -- seeks to block Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe’s proposal to close up to 82 mail processing plants, slow first-class mail delivery and eliminate up to 15,000 jobs.
A moratorium would give Congress more time to enact effective postal reforms, the senators wrote.
“At a time when our middle class is disappearing, the loss of 15,000 good-paying Postal Service jobs will harm our local communities and economies,” the senators wrote in the letter. “Slowing down mail delivery even further will hurt senior citizens on fixed incomes, small businesses and the entire economy.”
The letter asks leaders of the Senate Appropriations Committee to include the moratorium as part of legislation that must pass by Oct. 1 to keep the government running in the new fiscal year.
U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, was not among the members to sign onto the letter.
The 7th Congressional District Republican said the bill, which aimed to effectively discontinue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, was necessary to avert additional waves of children undertaking the treacherous journey to the border.
"If we don't start sending the kids back to their moms and dads, this is just beginning of the crisis," Duffy said.
He defended a GOP statement that called on President Obama to take steps to mitigate the situation, saying it is within the purview of the presidency to allocate resources in response to a crisis. The move was criticized because it came on the heels of House Republicans' efforts to sue the president for accused overreach through executive orders.
"The president does have some authority to act, without modifying or changing the law," Duffy said.
He contended Obama's actions on issues like drug laws and welfare-related work requirements circumvent the role of the nation's law-making bodies, and weaken the balance between the executive and legislative branches.
Despite the legal action, Duffy said impeachment is off the table for Republican leaders. He said the prospect is perpetuated by Obama's own party as a focal point of support.
"This has been a fundraising tool for the Democrats and for the president," Duffy said. "He's trying to excite his base going into this next election."
U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson plans today to appeal a judge's ruling dismissing his lawsuit over an Obama administration ruling on the Affordable Care Act.
The federal judge in Green Bay found Johnson had failed to demonstrate any true harm he faced from the decision allow the federal government to subsidize health insurance for lawmakers and some congressional staffers. The judge also ruled Johnson and the aide who joined him in the suit lacked standing to file it.
Johnson, R-Oshkosh, wrote in a column over the weekend that he planned to file the appeal.
"If a member of Congress does not have standing in this case, who does? And if no one has standing to force the administration to faithfully execute the law, how can the rule of law be maintained?" Johnson wrote.
U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, and Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, split on an extension for the nation's highway and mass transit programs as well as an emergency spending measure to address the border crisis.
The $11 billion, 10-month extension for the highway program heads to the president's desk after clearing the Senate 81-13.
Meanwhile, the $2.7 billion emergency funding measure to respond to the border crisis failed to clear a procedural vote, 50-44. Sixty votes were needed for it to advance.
In both cases, Baldwin voted for the bill, while Johnson was opposed.
Both, however, did sign off on legislation to address the scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs. That bill was approved 91-3 and now heads to the president's desk.
Johnson was one of a handful of senators to oppose an earlier version of the legislation. He said his work since then to produce a "more fiscally sound bill" resulted in better legislation that he could support.