Representative Joel Kitchens
I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with new DNR Secretary Preston Cole and Deputy Secretary Elizabeth Kluesner to discuss our shared priorities for the state. Although we spoke about several topics, our main focus was on ensuring Wisconsin residents have access to clean surface and drinking water.
I informed them about a bipartisan work group I’ll be leading this session that will focus on nitrates in our waters. We’ve known for some time that nitrates have been a significant issue, but what we don’t know is how to fix it. The work group, which consists of legislators, DNR officials and UW scientists, will use science-based research to come up with answers to the nitrate problem.
I also told them that, as chair of the Assembly Environment Committee, I will continue to bring the agriculture and conservation communities together to keep moving toward our common goal of protecting our ground and surface water without hurting the state economically.
I was very impressed with Cole’s and Kluesner’s knowledge and commitment, and I am confident we will end up working well together.
Source: Kitchens newsletter
Congressman Mike Gallagher
On Jan. 30, Rep. Gallagher introduced the Bicameral Congressional Trade Authority Act of 2019: legislation to require the president to submit to Congress any proposal to adjust imports in the interest of national security under Section 232 of the Trade Expansion Act of 1962. A companion bill was also introduced in the Senate.
Under the new bill, Members of Congress have a 60-day period following submission to review the president’s proposal. A joint resolution to approve the proposal would qualify for expedited consideration in both chambers. The requirement would apply to all future Section 232 actions, in addition to those taken within the last four years. The bill would restore the national-security intent behind Section 232 by transferring national-security investigatory authority from the Department of Commerce to the Department of the Defense.
“When it comes to trade, Congress has consistently surrendered its Constitutional authorities to the executive branch,” Gallaher said. “This bill reverses that trend, allowing for trade interventions when our national security is at stake and giving the Defense Department a greater role in that process. My bill also safeguards the public from executive overreach and from protectionist policies that hurt Wisconsin families, manufacturers and farmers.”
Source: Gallagher press release
Senator Tammy Baldwin
Sen. Baldwin announced more than $21 million in U.S. Department of Transportation emergency-relief federal funding to repair roads and bridges damaged by last year’s severe storms and flooding in communities across Wisconsin. Last summer, torrential rain and severe flooding damaged roads, bridges, homes and businesses across Wisconsin.
“I saw firsthand the damage to our roads and bridges, and I spoke to Wisconsinites who were concerned that their communities would not have the resources they needed to repair and rebuild after last year’s devastating flooding and storms,” Baldwin said.
Source: Baldwin press release
Senator Ron Johnson
The Republican chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee on Sunday torched the Trump administration’s plans for a complete withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, saying the exodus of American soldiers from the region would be “tragic” and “unconscionable.”
“ISIS was able to rise from the thoroughly defeated ashes of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, and I don’t want to be making the same statement six months from now that we bugged out of Syria unwisely and that ISIS has re-emerged from the defeated ashes of ISIS in Syria,” Sen. Johnson told host Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday.
Johnson was one of 43 Senate Republicans to back a measure by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Jan. 31 that rebuked the president’s Syria policy in a bipartisan vote.
“I think Republican senators are sending a very strong signal to the president. We don’t want to see that happen, and I hope he is listening,” Johnson said, warning that “as it relates to pulling out of Syria, there’s a pretty serious split” in terms of foreign policy and military strategy.
President Donald Trump
President Trump delivered a wide-ranging State of the Union address Tuesday night that ran an hour and 21 minutes. That’s the third-longest ever.
The president made some bipartisan overtures, but the speech went from optimistic vagaries to misleading fears. And Trump even fired this warning shot at Democrats about whether anything will get done: “If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ( D-Calif.) took that as a threat, saying in a statement after the speech, “[H]e threatened the United States Congress not to exercise its constitutional responsibility of oversight.”
The only real bit of news in the speech was that Trump announced he would be meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un for a second summit Feb. 27-28 in Vietnam. But the president also raised eyebrows, claiming that if he hadn’t been elected, “We would right now, in my opinion, be in a major war with North Korea.”
One of the moments of levity in the speech was when Trump noted, “No one has benefited more from our thriving economy than women, who have filled 58 percent of the newly created jobs last year.”
That prompted Democratic women, clad in white outfits in honor of suffragettes, to let out a Bronx cheer. After all, women were a major reason why Democrats took back the House last year. The irony seemed lost on the president, who remarked, “You weren’t supposed to do that.”
Trump then noted, “We also have more women serving in Congress than at any time before.”
But that is because of Democratic women. The number of Republican women in Congress actually went down after the 2018 elections.