Reps in the News: Evers Calls for Broadband Expansion

Governor Tony Evers

Gov. Tony Evers’ budget would invest $78 million in the state’s Broadband Expansion Grant Program. The governor has set a goal to provide all homes and businesses in Wisconsin with high-speed internet by 2025.

Angie Dickison, state broadband director with the Public Service Commission, told WPR’s The Morning Show that she’s hopeful state lawmakers will sign off on increased funding to expand broadband internet access across the state.

“What if your best or only option for internet access was via Wi-Fi at the local fast-food restaurant? We hear that from folks,” Dickison said. “In 2019, broadband access isn’t just nice. It’s necessary.”

The state’s broadband program awards funding for infrastructure projects to deliver high-speed internet service to Wisconsin communities. Dickison told WPR the program has awarded around $20 million in the span of six years for projects to expand service in 63 counties. The program is improving broadband internet access for 75,664 homes and 4,395 businesses, according to Public Service Commission figures.


Senator Tammy Baldwin

On March 14, the Senate voted on a disapproval resolution to terminate President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency. Last month, the House of Representatives passed the resolution of disapproval with bipartisan support, 245 to 182. U.S. Representatives Jim Sensenbrenner, Ron Kind, Gwen Moore, Mark Pocan and Mike Gallagher all voted for the resolution.

Senator Baldwin released the following statement about the Senate vote, which passed with bipartisan support, 59-41:  “I voted today with Republicans and Democrats in the Senate for this resolution of disapproval because President Trump’s unlawful power grab is an attack on our Constitution’s separation of powers. I support strengthening our border security, and that is why I voted for bipartisan legislation that was signed by the president in January that provides the Department of Homeland Security with $1.375 billion to build border barriers where they are needed most. The bipartisan legislation also includes $415 million in humanitarian assistance and $570 million for specialized screening equipment at our ports of entry to detect illegal drugs and prevent human smuggling. I do not believe there is a factual basis for President Trump declaring a national emergency, and he is wrong to now take billions of dollars from our military to pay for a wall that he promised Mexico would pay for.

“Our Constitution is very clear that Congress has the power of the purse, and President Trump can’t just steal the purse and spend money on whatever he wants. I support the Senate resolution of disapproval, and I voted to stand up for our Constitution and our American system of checks and balances.”

Source: Baldwin press release

Senator Ron Johnson

Leads in a federal, multi-state search for firearm parts stolen from a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) facility have led agents to a gun dealer in Virginia who was sold some of the stolen firearm parts, according to federal law-enforcement sources. ATF officials say they are moving quickly to track down the stolen property, and they have stepped up security at the ATF facility in Martinsburg, West Virginia, where the theft occurred.

The search has stretched nationwide, and now the U.S. Senate is demanding answers. In a letter to the ATF deputy director, senators on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee have asked for an accounting of what was taken from the ATF facility. The letter, which was signed by Johnson, chair of the committee; and ranking member Gary Peters, D-Mich., seeks to determine when the ATF found out about the security breach and whether any of the stolen property has been used in crimes.

“The ATF is tasked with ensuring public safety, and this episode raises significant concerns,” Johnson said in a statement. “We need a full accounting of the situation, and I hope the ATF responds quickly to my letter.”


President Donald Trump

President Trump’s renewed rhetorical attacks on John McCain are not sitting well with other Republicans – particularly one senator who said he plans to deliver a verbal “whipping” to the president.

Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., told the website The Bulwark that he plans to give a speech on Trump’s criticisms of the late Arizona senator, who was the GOP presidential candidate in 2008.

“I just want to lay it on the line that the country deserves better,” Isakson said. “The McCain family deserves better. I don’t care if he’s [Trump] president of the United States, owns all the real estate in New York or is building the greatest immigration system in the world.”

He added, “Nothing is more important than the integrity of the country and those who fought and risked their lives for all of us.”

McCain served in the Vietnam War and died of brain cancer last year. As an Arizona senator, he was a Trump foe.

Trump has escalated his feud with McCain in recent days, saying he was “never a fan” and “never will be.” Trump renewed his long-running grievances in some caustic tweets.

McCain’s daughter Meghan McCain called Trump’s life “pathetic.”

Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said he will introduce a resolution to rename the Russell Senate Office building after McCain.

“I look forward to soon reintroducing my legislation renaming the Russell Senate Building after American hero Senator John McCain,” Schumer said in a tweet on Wednesday.

The building is now named for Sen. Richard Russell Jr., who served for almost 40 years in the U.S. Senate as a conservative Democratic representative of Georgia. He is considered controversial because he was a leader of opposition to the civil-rights movement.