DC Wrap: Wis. lawmakers vow to continue fight to delist gray wolf after plan cut from spending bill

DC Wrap

Welcome to our weekly DC Wrap, where we write about Wisconsin’s congressional delegation. Sign up here to receive the newsletter directly.

Quotes of the week

Our nation’s problems are not best solved using Twitter.
– U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, when asked by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel whether he is troubled by President Trump’s attacks on Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

Instead of supporting growth in our farms by opening new markets and making a push for more exports, the president is creating trade policies that do more harm than good.
– U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, writing in an op-ed in the Tomah Journal about President Trump’s 25 percent tariffs on steel and 10 percent tariffs on aluminum.

This week’s news

— Members of the state’s congressional delegation are pledging to continue pushing for the removal of gray wolves from the federal endangered species list after the language was left out of a spending bill Congress approved last week.

The language was initially included in an appropriations bill from the House Interior-Environment Appropriations Subcommittee, but a Star Tribune report indicates Dem House leadership ultimately removed it from the omnibus spending bill that President Trump signed Friday.

U.S. Sens. Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin, as well as U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, have been vocal in their support for delisting the gray wolf, and their offices said they were disappointed the language wasn’t included in the final legislation.

The three last year introduced legislation that would nix gray wolves as endangered in various Great Lakes states and Wyoming.  

A spokesman for Johnson said in a statement the Oshkosh Republican will “continue to push to return management of the gray wolf population to Wisconsin wildlife experts.”

Meanwhile, Baldwin, D-Madison, noted in a statement she’s supported the effort since 2011 and said she’d continue to work “across party lines on the issue,” while a Duffy spokesman said the Wausau Republican regularly hears from constituents “how important delisting the gray wolf is to Wisconsinites.”

The Obama administration in 2012 first delisted the gray wolf in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. In 2014, the wolves were returned to the federal endangered species list after a lawsuit, resulting in the end of wolf trapping and hunting.   

At the state level, GOP lawmakers this year introduced a bill that would ban police from enforcing state or federal law aimed at managing Wisconsin’s wolf population. The language would also prohibit the state Department of Natural Resources from spending any money to manage wolves — other than paying claims for any losses they cause.

The bill, which its authors saw as a means to prompt the federal government to delist the gray wolf in Wisconsin from the endangered species list, hasn’t received a floor vote in the Assembly and hasn’t cleared a Senate committee. Co-author Sen. Tom Tiffany, R-Hazelhurst, did not respond to a call seeking comment on whether he’d introduce the bill again next session.

Meanwhile, fellow co-author Rep. Adam Jarchow, R-Balsam Lake, ripped Congress’ failure to include the provision in the spending bill in an editorial, saying “once again, Congressional inaction prevents Wisconsin from protecting farmers and livestock from wolves.”   


— Johnson applauded Gov. Scott Walker for signing the state’s so-called “right to try” bill into law this week.

Johnson has been pushing federally for the legislation that would allow terminally ill patients access to experimental treatments.

“Well done, Wisconsin, becoming the 39th state to pass #RightToTry. @GovWalker signed the bill into law today w/ the Wendler family watching,” Johnson wrote on Twitter. “Our federal bill is named in honor of Trickett Wendler, who died in 2015 fighting ALS. Now, we need the House to pass the Senate version.”

The House earlier this month passed the bill, which previously passed the Senate unanimously. It now heads back to the Senate for another vote before it can go to the president’s desk.

Posts of the week

ICYMI

Sen. Tammy Baldwin, local officials grapple with changing nature of fight against illicit drugs

Tammy Baldwin talks with police, others at roundtable on drugs in La Crosse

Johnson Talks Spending, Right to Try

Wisconsin members of Congress are divided on whether they need to protect the Mueller investigation into Russia and Trump

Rep. Sean Duffy talks ‘millennials’ on his podcast

Rep. Kind says he’s returning $100K to pay down national debt

Rep. Kind believes both parties can work out gun safety measures

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