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Monday, November 24, 2014

 4:01 PM 

Baldwin lauds USDA cranberry purchase

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin today lauded plans by the U.S. Agriculture Department to purchase up to 68 million pounds of cranberries.

The USDA's Agriculture Marketing Service has been authorized to purchase up to $55 million worth of cranberry products. Baldwin and other lawmakers from cranberry-producing states asked for the purchase last week in order to alleviate an oversupply of the crop.

The program, which is funded through customs receipts, will then distribute those products to food pantries.

"In a state that depends on agriculture to support hundreds of thousands of jobs and communities small and large, it’s essential that we provide our growers with the tools and resources they need to continue to succeed,” Baldwin said. “The USDA’s cranberry purchase will support cranberry growers at a time when the markets are especially tough."

Friday, November 21, 2014

 10:11 AM 

Baldwin introduces critical care legislation

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin has co-authored legislation aimed at bolstering the nation's critical health care services.

The Critical Care Assessment and Improvement Act, introduced with U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, would authorize an analysis of critical care by the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine.

It would also coordinate critical care research by the National Institutes of Health and authorize demonstrations on improved care by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation.

"The federal government lacks a national critical care strategy, resulting in uncoordinated efforts that may jeopardize the nation's ability to effectively and efficiently care for the growing elderly population, the seriously ill, or patients with infectious disease," Baldwin said.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

 3:58 PM 

Duffy appointed oversight subcommittee chairman

U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy has been appointed chairman of the House Financial Services Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, lauded Duffy's efforts regarding the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and "reigning in the government's mass collection of Americans' private information."

"Together, we will retract government overreach and continue our efforts to make our unelected officials more transparent and accountable to the people," said Duffy, R-Weston.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

 5:26 PM 

Baldwin, Johnson weigh in on immigration executive action

U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson are taking very different views of the president's expected executive action to shield 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation.

Obama is expected to formally announce the plan tomorrow, but details are already leaking out in the national media. He is taking executive action despite warnings from GOP leaders that doing so would undercut efforts to pass immigration reform.

Baldwin, D-Madison, said she voted for a bipartisan bill in the Senate in June 2013, but House Republicans have refused to take it up.

"If Speaker Boehner and Senator McConnell cannot get the job done to pass reform in the House, then they can't expect the president to do nothing," she said. "Given the fact that House Republicans have failed to act on the bipartisan Senate reform bill, the president should not accept the status quo."

But Johnson, R-Oshkosh, said "picking a fight with the next Congress is not the way to begin a new relationship."

"Ignoring the will of the people who voted against his policies just a couple of weeks ago, the president has chosen to engage in action that he himself has repeatedly said he does not have the authority to do," Johnson said. "Regardless of the president's actions, I will not be deterred in pursuing my top priority as incoming chairman of the Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee: passing a strong and effective border security and enforcement bill."

 7:57 AM 

Baldwin, Johnson split on Keystone

U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson split on legislation to approve the $8 billion Keystone Pipeline without waiting for the State Department to finish reviewing the project.

Johnson, who supported the bill that failed 59-41, said the job-creating pipeline is the most environmentally sound method for transporting oil from Canada.

“By not acting, we have needlessly irritated our closest neighbor and failed to help Americans lower their energy costs and reduce dependence on oil from foreign sources,” the Oshkosh Republican said.

Baldwin said Congress shouldn’t be approving individual pipelines, worrying about the precedent the bill would set.

“‎The decision making process for this pipeline and all others rightly rests with the Administration, not Congress,” the Madison Democrat said. “Unfortunately, because the Administration has not made a decision one way or the other on this project, their delay has forced a political decision making process in Congress -- where it doesn’t belong.”

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

 5:14 PM 

Ryan to chair Ways and Means

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, is thanking his colleagues for selecting him to chair the Ways and Means Committee in the next Congress.

Ryan chaired the Budget Committee for the past four years and has signaled his interest in taking over Ways and Means, where he would have broad input on issues such as tax reform and safety net programs.

“We have a lot of work to do to get our economy back on track, and the Ways and Means Committee will be at the forefront of reform," Ryan said after his selection. "We will work together to fix the tax code, hold the IRS accountable, strengthen Medicare and Social Security, repair the safety net, promote job-creating trade agreements, and determine how best to repeal and replace Obamacare with patient-centered solutions."

Monday, November 17, 2014

 8:22 AM 

Johnson: Dems holding up immigration deal

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson says President Obama and Democrats are playing political games with immigration reform, while Republicans truly want to address the issue.

The Oshkosh Republican said on Sunday's "UpFront with Mike Gousha" he agrees with House Speaker John Boehner that executive action by the president on immigration would undercut any chances of working out a deal between Congress and the White House.

Johnson said if the president truly wanted to address the issue, he would have done it during his first two years in office with a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

"It's Democrats that are holding the security of our border hostage for some guarantee of citizenship," Johnson said on the show, produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com. "They're trying to do that for some sort of cynical political gain."

Johnson also anticipated a clash between Obama and congressional Republicans on approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, saying the issue could impact manufacturing in Wisconsin.

See more from Johnson's appearance on the show here.

Friday, November 14, 2014

 2:44 PM 

Wis. delegation splits along party lines on Keystone XL vote

The state’s House delegation split 5-3 along party lines in a vote to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline, with Republicans in support and Dems opposed.

The measure passed 252-161, with 31 Democrats joining the GOP in support. The U.S. Senate is expected to take up the matter Tuesday.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

 1:59 PM 

Baldwin, Johnson split on White House Internet proposal

Wisconsin's U.S. senators sharply split on President Obama's call this week for new Internet regulations protecting so-called "net neutrality."

The president Monday called on the Federal Communications Commission to establish rules prohibiting Internet service providers from blocking or slowing down access to certain websites; some telecom companies have struck deals to bolster Internet speed for large content providers in exchange for a fee.

The White House proposal would reclassify broadband Internet service under the federal Telecommunications Act, with Obama arguing "broadband service is of the same importance and must carry the same obligations as so many of the other vital services do."

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, praised the president's proposal, saying it would "ensure that the Internet does not become a two-tiered system, with fast lanes for some and slow lanes for others."

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, however, said the proposal attacks "one sector of our economy that has continued to flourish" and said the FCC, as an independent agency, "answers to Congress, not the White House."

"Treating the dynamic Internet like a government-regulated utility will stall investment and innovation and inject uncertainty into the market through burdensome rules and legal challenges," said Johnson, R-Oshkosh.

Friday, November 7, 2014

 8:12 AM 

Kind, Sensenbrenner on hand as Wis. Civil War hero honored

U.S. Reps. Ron Kind and Jim Sensenbrenner were on hand as President Obama bestowed the nation's highest military honor on a Wisconsin soldier killed at the Battle of Gettysburg.

Kind, D-La Crosse, and Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, each lauded the work of Margaret Zerwekh in highlighting the heroism of Lt. Alonzo Cushing, who was born in Delafield and continued to lead his men despite severe wounds sustained during the famed Pickett's charge.

Kind called Zerwekh, a Delafield historian, "Lt. Cushing's first advocate who reached out to my old boss, Senator William Proxmire," while Sensenbrenner said without her persistence, Cushing "would not have been honored today for his heroics during the Civil War."

During the White House ceremony yesterday, Obama noted the Congressional Medal of Honor must usually be awarded within a few years of action, but that "sometimes even the most extraordinary stories can get lost in the passage of time."

"It's also proof, if any was needed, that it was thousands of unknown young soldiers, committing unsung acts of heroism, who saved our union, and freed a people, and reaffirmed our nation as 'one Nation, under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all,'" Obama said.

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