Governor Tony Evers
Republicans on the Legislature’s budget committee on Tuesday approved two of the five scientist positions Democratic Gov. Tony Evers proposed to restore science in environmental policy, but they cut millions of dollars from plans to reduce pollution from farms and industry.
Under questioning by Democratic committee members, the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau said the Republican majority had cut about $43 million from Evers’ Year of Clean Drinking Water programs aimed at reducing pollution that fouls state lakes, streams and drinking water.
“This is ignoring manure coming out of people’s taps,” said Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison). “They cannot drink the water. What would you do if you could not drink the water in your homes?”
Committee co-chair Rep. John Nygren (R-Marinette) said water quality is better than it was in the 1970s, a time “when you couldn’t see the bottom of the lake.”
“Some of the biggest manure production comes in this building,” Nygren said.
But Taylor pointed to fiscal bureau statistics showing that Department of Natural Resources regulators have been overwhelmed by the growth of the dairy feedlot industry and that a record 101 manure spills were reported in 2018, bringing the total to more than 10 million gallons spilled in the last 12 years.
Committee Republicans postponed a vote on Evers’ proposal to increase fees on large animal feedlots to help pay for five more DNR regulators to enforce water pollution laws.
Congressman Mike Gallagher
Three Republican congressmen who served in the military are relaunching a PAC to help recruit more GOP veterans like themselves to run for Congress. Reps. Dan Crenshaw (Texas), Mike Gallagher and Michael Waltz (Florida) announced they are forming the War Veterans Fund PAC this cycle, which aims to recruit Republican veterans of U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to run in their home districts and assist them with funding.
Veterans are “natural leaders, problem solvers and patriots,” Crenshaw, a former Navy SEAL, said at a joint press conference for the PAC.
Senator Tammy Baldwin
Sen. Baldwin demanded answers from President Trump after media reports revealed that more than $62.4 million in U.S. taxpayer-funded aid meant for American farmers was given to a meat-packing company owned by two Brazilian billionaires who are currently under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. The payment is for pork.
Wisconsin has lost 1,480 dairy farms since President Trump took office. In April alone, Wisconsin lost 90 dairy farms.
“Allowing taxpayer funds to support foreign agricultural companies, particularly corrupt foreign companies, at a time when farmers in Wisconsin and across the country are suffering from pain caused by your trade wars is outrageous, and I’m calling on you to explain how you allowed this to happen,” Baldwin wrote in her letter.
News reports recently revealed that more than $62 million of U.S. trade-war aid that was intended to support American farmers has been awarded to JBS, a Brazilian-based multinational meat-packing company owned by two brothers who have admitted to bribing officials in Brazil. JBS USA, the U.S. branch of the firm, is under investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice for violating its federal discharge permit by dumping slaughterhouse waste for years at its plant. The company was fined $50,000 last year by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for violating livestock sales laws by failing to give U.S. pork farmers a full accounting of transactions.
Source: Baldwin release
Senator Ron Johnson
Sen. Johnson was joined by Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) in introducing the Stopping Overdoses of Fentanyl Analogues (SOFA) Act: legislation to give law enforcement enhanced tools to combat the opioid epidemic and close a loophole in current law that makes it difficult to prosecute crimes involving some synthetic opioids.
“Communities across Wisconsin and America have been devastated by the epidemic of opioid overdoses,” Johnson said. “The SOFA Act will close a loophole in current law that is being exploited by illegal drug manufacturers. The bill will also give law enforcement the tools to quickly schedule fentanyl analogues as they are identified, preventing these drugs from sneaking around the law.”
“Way too many Wisconsin families have been forever changed by a surge in overdose deaths stemming from fentanyl and its analogues,” said Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, who introduced the companion legislation in the House. “Congress must act as the opioid epidemic continues to grow. The SOFA Act will give law enforcement the necessary tools to fight back against the proliferation of fentanyl analogues in our communities, permanently closing loopholes in the law. I thank Sen. Johnson, Lauri Badura and Dr. Timothy Westlake for working tirelessly with me on this issue.”
Source: Johnson release
President Donald Trump
President Trump and his team on Wednesday sought to downplay the significance of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s first public comments about his investigation and the reason he did not draw a conclusion on whether Trump committed a crime.
In a remarkable statement, Mueller made clear he would have exonerated Trump if he was confident the president did not commit a crime while also noting that the Constitution offers another avenue – impeachment – to accuse a sitting president of a crime.
“Nothing changes from the Mueller Report. There was insufficient evidence and therefore, in our Country, a person is innocent. The case is closed!” Trump tweeted. “Thank you.”
The responses from the president and his team ignored Mueller’s most damning comments from a lectern at the Justice Department, where he made clear that he did not charge Trump with a crime in large part because the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel guidelines prevented him from doing so.
“If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” Mueller said. “We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime.”