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By: Evan Frank of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

As Lt. Gen. Daniel Karbler assumed command of the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command and the Joint Functional Component Command for Integrated Missile Defense during a change of command ceremony on Dec. 6 in Alabama, he was joined by people who made an impact on his life years ago when he lived in Hartland.

Karbler said he was touched to see familiar faces like Jim and Sharon Cull, Dave Morris, Curt and Heather Gundrum, Rick and Barb Delsman and Tom and Sue Sorenson.

"In Hartland, we don't have a lot of military touch points," Karbler said. "We don't have a base nearby or anything like that. For many of them, it was their first opportunity to see any kind of Army ceremony. (For) them to be a part of that, for me, it was huge. So many of them had so much to do with help bringing me up."

Karbler attended Bark River Elementary School and graduated from Arrowhead High School in 1983. He went on to graduate in 1987 from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Defense Artillery branch.

Looking back at his time at Arrowhead, Karbler remembered the impact of people such as baseball coach Tim O'Driscoll, basketball coach Greg Smith and choir teacher Dennis Brooks.

"Part of what all those three gentlemen taught was the value of hard work and practice," Karbler said. "But you still had to execute that. Whether you're up on stage singing or whether you're on the field playing baseball or basketball, you still had to execute, and you had to perform. Putting those two things together, those teachers really helped me learn how to do that."

Karbler also took part in musicals, swing choir, marching band, band, student senate and more when he was at Arrowhead. When he applied to West Point, Karbler received a nomination from Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner.

"There was no application fee, so that was pretty cool," Karbler said. "I never had a job in high school because I was always playing sports, band, choir, all of those things. I knew I was going to get a good education and guaranteed a job when I graduated. Those were really the motivators up front."

At first, Karbler thought he would leave the Army after his five-year commitment, but his mind was changed after he traveled to Israel during Desert Storm.

"I got to see how the Patriot missile (defense) system worked," Karbler said. "It was phenomenal. I was like, 'Holy cow, this is great.' I loved what I was doing; it was combat. That had me hooked. I decided to stay in as long as the Army would keep me. My five-year plan now is 32-plus years."

Military service

In his current position with Army Space and Missile Defense Command, Karbler oversees a command that provides the Army and joint services with space, missile defense, and high-altitude capabilities and forces. It is a global command with forces in 23 locations across 11 time zones, with even one soldier/astronaut currently aboard the International Space Station.

Karbler most recently served as the chief of staff, U.S. Strategic Command at the Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. He was the principal adviser to the USSTRATCOM commander and deputy commander, and directed the activities of the command staff by developing and implementing policies and procedures in support of the command’s missions. He chaired numerous boards, oversaw the command's corporate process and served as the director of the commander’s staff.

Karbler also served as the commanding general of the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command. Before that, he served as the director, Joint and Integration, Army G-8 at the Pentagon.

His awards include the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, and the Israeli Air Force Combat Operations Badge.

"The Army has done wonders for taking care of me and my family," Karbler said. "I love serving the Army. I love working with soldiers and the missions that we do. I think Hartland did a big part of putting in a work ethic, putting in humility as part of my foundation that has helped me come as far as I've come from the Army."

Washington, D.C.—Today, Congressmen Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Ruben Gallego (D-AZ) introduced legislation that would help disable veterans regain their independence.

Rep. Sensenbrenner: “This is a no-brainer. Veterans who sacrifice so much for our country, especially those who must overcome serious injuries, should not have trouble getting the equipment they need to adjust back to civilian life. This legislation simply clarifies that the VA is permitted to cover these necessary items. I’m grateful for Congressman Gallego for joining me in sponsoring this bipartisan bill.”

Rep. Gallego: “Veterans with serious injuries deserve all of the support we can give them to ensure they are able to live a full and independent life. I’m proud to sponsor this bill with Congressman Sensenbrenner to allow veterans to access the equipment they need to overcome mobility challenges.”

Background:
Currently, the Department of Veterans Administration does not cover trailers for mobility equipment for disabled veterans. Items currently covered, such as mechanical lifts, only fit in large vehicles and leave many veterans without a viable option. H.R. 5447 would clarify that the VA does have the authority to cover non-articulating trailers for veterans who may need to transport their mobility devices. 

By: Joe Snell of the Wisconsin State Journal

WASHINGTON — Two of them have taken this vote before. For another it will be the most historic of his first term. Two of them are certain to vote yes, four of them will likely vote no, while one’s decision remains a mystery.

Wisconsin’s congressional delegation is bracing this week for only the third House vote to impeach a sitting president in American history.

Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, and Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, were on opposite sides of the last impeachment vote nearly 21 years ago against President Bill Clinton, a Democrat. Kind is the only member of Congress to have voted to authorize the House investigation of both Clinton and President Donald Trump, a Republican.

For Sensenbrenner, who is retiring at the end of this term, the vote will be one of the last major acts of his more than 40-year career in Congress. For Kind, whose district Trump won in 2016, it could be one of his last major votes depending on how his constituents respond to his decision in November’s election.

While Kind was a relative newcomer when he ultimately voted against impeaching Clinton in 1998, Sensenbrenner was among the House leaders.

He gave the one-hour opening Republican statement on the House floor and was one of 14 GOP members of the Judiciary Committee that voted to send a bill of impeachment to the full House for a vote. Then, during the debate leading to the GOP-controlled House vote, he served as a floor manager of the bill, one of only three from the Clinton proceedings still in office.

So far both are voting in step with their respective parties on Trump, with Sensenbrenner voting against the two articles of impeachment in the House Judiciary Committee Friday.

Sensenbrenner criticized the Democratic-led impeachment probe Wednesday calling it a “railroad job.” He also interrupted a question to accuse committee majority counsel Barry Berke of badgering a GOP witness. On Friday he was in the minority of the 23-17 vote to send the articles of impeachment to the House.

“These articles of impeachment are the weakest in history,” Sensenbrenner said in a statement after the committee vote. “They have set a dangerous precedent today, which undoubtedly weakens the fabric of our government.”

A Kind spokesman said he has been watching replays and reading transcripts of the hearing testimonies at night or between meetings in his office at the Longworth House Office Building, where the hearing rooms are also located.

“I firmly believe that impeachment should be the last resort,” Kind said in a statement. “But as a co-equal branch of government, Congress has a constitutional obligation to investigate any misconduct — regardless of political party.”

As a former special prosecutor, Kind said he believes the public hearing process has been necessary to “uncover all of the facts and evidence so that an appropriate remedy can be determined.”

The House Rules Committee will now meet to make the final preparation for the vote. If the House votes to adopt the articles of impeachment, they will move to a trial in the Senate, which will likely take place early next year.

Democrats: Case is crystal clear

After the House Intelligence Committee began its public impeachment hearings Nov. 13, Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Black Earth, would leave his office in the Longworth building at about 10 p.m. and spend the rest of his evenings catching up on highlights of the impeachment proceedings.

“I try to have it on between meetings while we might be going over stuff,” Pocan said in an interview.

Pocan’s schedule is typical of members of Congress who often juggle committee and constituent meetings while finding time to keep up with the impeachment process.

In two weeks of public impeachment hearings, the Intelligence Committee heard more than 30 hours of public testimony from 12 witnesses across seven hearings. The witnesses presented evidence that Trump had used his public office to coerce Ukraine’s new president to help him win the 2020 election.

To keep up with the testimony while at the office, Pocan would also monitor social media. While sitting through committee meetings on non-impeachment-related topics, Pocan received highlights and showed important moments from the impeachment hearings to members near him “because we’re all following it in that way.”

Like his Democratic colleague from Milwaukee, Rep. Gwen Moore, Pocan has been vocal about his support for impeachment. The information coming out of the testimonies has been “crystal clear,” he said.

“The only recourse you have left via the Constitution is Congress’ ability through the impeachment process,” Pocan said. “We felt that it was necessary, no matter what, to be able to proceed. No matter what we would find out, we had to do this process.”

Moore said in a statement that Trump “violated his sacred oath” by using his position for personal and political gain and that it is part of her duty as a lawmaker to uphold the Constitution.

“After he committed these wrongdoings, he obstructed Congress by defying subpoenas and blocking witness testimony,” Moore said. “These uncontested facts support the articles of impeachment. I will vote in support of these articles when they reach the House floor.”

GOP: Impeachment is a distraction

In the midst of the first day of public impeachment hearings last month, freshman Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Janesville, blasted the House impeachment process against Trump, knocking Democrats for wresting focus away from other issues.

Steil cited the rising costs of prescription drugs, securing the border, depleted military funding and the proposed trade agreement among the U.S., Mexico and Canada as important priorities for people in southeast Wisconsin that are taking a back seat to the impeachment. He also criticized Democrats for not talking about approving military funding that needs final approval in order to avoid a government shutdown.

“No one is talking about the urgency of this issue, though, because of the impeachment circus,” he said at the time, though since then many of those issues appear to have been resolved.

Nearly one year removed from replacing former House Speaker Paul Ryan in Wisconsin’s 1st Congressional District, Steil joined the three other Republican House members to vote against the House resolution that set the ground rules for the investigation.

“Today’s resolution does not provide the president with due process protections that were afforded to both President Clinton and President Nixon,” Steil wrote in a tweet immediately before the House voted on the resolution. Later that day, the House passed the resolution 232-196, with all Republicans and two Democrats opposed.

Earlier in October, Steil put out an online survey asking constituents if they supported articles of impeachment against Trump. He did not release the results.

Steil, a lawyer who spent more than a decade working in the manufacturing sector in southeastern Wisconsin, was one of almost 90 new members sworn into the House in January.

“There are no political parties on the shop floor,” Steil said in an email. “You work with your co-workers to complete a job on time, within budget, and to achieve the goal at hand. It is frustrating to see House Democrats’ inaction on the real issues facing our communities.”

Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, offered similar criticism of impeachment in an interview. The hearings took away from issues like welfare proposals, the president’s new trade agreement and immigration that is “still at crisis level,” Grothman said.

“People who are focusing on the impeachment are trying to take our eye off of those more important issues,” Grothman said. “I’m looking to get back on the border in January or February when this is over to further equate myself with that situation.”

Pocan disputed their characterization. Despite juggling meetings and following the proceedings, he said it has been an especially productive time for the House. So far, the House has passed more than 400 bills, according to GovTrack.us, on pace to pass the 758 bills passed between January 2017 and January 2019.

“We can walk and chew gum,” Pocan said.

Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay, challenged the grounds for impeachment in a recent TV interview. He noted that Wisconsin polls have showed the majority of Wisconsin voters oppose impeachment.

“I think it’s not going anywhere, it’s losing support in Wisconsin,” Gallagher said. “Among common-sense Wisconsinites, I think most people want us to just do our jobs and stop the endless partisan political warfare.”

Washington, D.C.Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-05) issued the following statement after voting no on two articles of impeachment against President Trump during today's House Judiciary Committee markup:

“These articles of impeachment are the weakest in history. The Democrats will stop at nothing to remove a duly-elected President over a policy disagreement—not for bribery, treason, or any high crime and misdemeanor. They have set dangerous precedent today, which undoubtedly weakens the fabric of our government. The Democrats continue to make outlandish charges that the President will steal the 2020 election if he is not impeached, but what they’re really doing is trying to steal back the 2016 election from the 63 million people who elected Donald Trump.”

By: Zack Budryk of the Hill

Republicans and Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday clashed over comparisons between the impeachment case against President Trump and the one decades ago against President Clinton. 

The disagreement was led by two members of the panel who were both in Congress and on the Judiciary Committee during the Clinton era.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), who was also a congressional staffer during the Nixon impeachment drama, said most Democrats in the Clinton era did not see sex as an impeachable offense. She contrasted that position with the crimes that Democrats are accusing Trump of having committed: abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

Republicans in the Clinton era said the president had lied to Congress, but Lofgren argued he had just lied about an affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

“I would just like to note that the argument that somehow lying about a sexual affair is an abuse of presidential power, but the misuse of presidential power to get a benefit somehow doesn’t matter,” Lofgren said. 

“Lying about sex, we could put Stormy Daniels’s case in front of us. We don’t believe that’s a high crime and misdemeanor,” she added. “And it is not before us, and it should not [be] before us, because it is not an abuse of presidential power.”

Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) said Lofgren was missing the point of Clinton's impeachment.

“The important thing is that Bill Clinton lied to a grand jury,” responded Sensenbrenner, who was a key figure in the Clinton impeachment fight. 

“That is a crime. The article of impeachment that passed the House accused Bill Clinton of lying to a grand jury, a crime and something that obstructs the ability of the courts to get to the truth. This is not what is happening here. Big difference.”

The Judiciary panel is expected to vote on articles of impeachment against Trump later on Thursday.

By: Jeffrey Martin of Newsweek

Impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump continued Wednesday night as the House Judiciary Committee began a debate about the articles of impeachment by allowing every member of the committee, Republicans and Democrats by turn, to make an opening statement.

Hoping to push the impeachment articles through to a full House vote before the upcoming Christmas holiday, the debate is expected to continue Thursday evening. Final language is expected to be agreed upon for the articles of impeachment, which are based on charges of abuse of presidential power and obstruction of justice.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler began the meeting by saying Trump's avoidance of the impeachment hearings was unprecedented.

"Other presidents have resisted congressional oversight," Nadler said. "But President Trump's stonewall was complete, absolute and without precedent in American history."

Republicans answered Democrat responses by saying the impeachment proceedings were being rushed because of the upcoming holiday. Republican Representative Doug Collins claimed that the only obstruction apparent in the hearings was perpetrated by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff for his closed-door depositions and alleged hesitancy to release information.

Collins also placed doubt on Democrats' claim of abuse of power on the president's part.

"The only abuse of power here is the majority racing the fastest they ever have, the clock and the calendar determining what impeachment looks like," Collins said.

Representative James Sensenbrenner agreed with Collins concerning the timing of the hearings.

"What we're debating here, in my opinion, is the weakest case in history," Sensenbrenner said. "And yet the Democrats have decided to go full speed ahead, again because of the clock and the calendar, with an incomplete record simply by using hearsay evidence and trashing the rules of the house every time they can in order to speed things up to a preordained conclusion and that is a partisan vote for impeachment."

"For all the radical left's attacks on the president's honesty," said Republican Representative Matt Gaetz, "it's their lies that continue to fuel this scorched-earth strategy of impeachment." Gaetz also referred to the impeachment as "hot garbage."

"This is nothing more than the sloppy straight-to-DVD Ukranian sequel to the failed Russia hoax," he added.

Representative Sheila Jackson Lee denied that impeachment had anything to do with personal feelings towards the president, but simply that Trump had committed "constitutional crimes."

"Truth matters, and where truth rests, trust builds," she said. "Impeachment cannot be warped by equivocation wrapped in doubt."

Most Democrats stated they were involved in the impeachment process because of their love for the country.

"Tonight, I ask all Americans to put their personal affections and political affiliations aside," said Representative Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, "and consider the long term health of our democracy. The issue we face now as a country as a result of this president is bigger than party, and the Constitution has no partisan allegiance."

By: Nicholas Fandos and Michael Shear of the New York Times

WASHINGTON — The House Judiciary Committee opened debate Wednesday on two articles of impeachment against President Trump, starting a somber and deeply partisan confrontation over Democrats’ charges that the president abused his power and obstructed Congress.

In a rare evening session that was only the third time in modern history the panel had met to consider removing a president, Democrats and Republicans clashed over the Constitution, the allegations against Mr. Trump and the political consequences of moving to oust him less than a year before the next election. The debate unfolded at the start of a two-day meeting that is expected to culminate on Thursday with a party-line vote to send the articles to the full House for final passage.

Leaning with equal weight on the Constitution and the findings of their two-and-a-half-month inquiry, Democrats made their case that Mr. Trump put the 2020 election and the nation’s security at risk. Not only did he use his office to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals, they asserted, but he then trampled on his oath of office and the separation of powers by seeking to conceal his actions from Congress.

“The highest of high crimes is abuse of power,” said Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York and the chairman of the committee. Describing the facts of the case against Mr. Trump as “overwhelming,” he added, “We cannot rely on an election to solve our problems when the president threatens the very integrity of that election.”

Republicans on the panel voiced their indignation about what they said was a refusal by Democrats to accept Mr. Trump’s legitimacy, portraying the bid to impeach him as little more than the climax of a three-year effort to reverse the outcome of Mr. Trump’s 2016 election victory.

They argued that the case against Mr. Trump was overstated and insufficiently proven, and they denounced the impeachment inquiry, saying it was unfair to Mr. Trump and his Republican allies.

“The big lie is that a sham impeachment is O.K., because the threat is so real and so urgent and so great,” said Representative Doug Collins of Georgia, the top Republican on the panel. Mr. Collins accused Democrats of being a “party that has lost all moorings of fairness and good taste.”

“This is as much about political expediency as anything else,” he added.

The rancorous back-and-forth stretched into the night as all 41 members on the notoriously partisan panel had the chance to deliver their opening remarks in one of the most consequential deliberations in more than two decades. The gathering unfolded exactly 21 years to the day after the Judiciary Committee voted to approve articles of impeachment against President Bill Clinton.

Mr. Nadler noted at the start that the meeting was unusual — statements are often allowed only from the chairman and the senior minority member of the committee — but said the historic nature of the proceeding warranted hearing from each member.

Seated at the wood-carved dais of the Ways and Means Committee room, the grandest meeting chamber in the House, lawmakers appeared to feel the weight of the occasion, refraining from some of the more raucous tactics that have marked the impeachment process so far in favor of passionate statements of principle.

Even as the outcome in the committee appeared clear, Mr. Nadler used his statement to appeal to Republicans to reconsider their position before it was too late.

“You still have a choice,” Mr. Nadler told the Republicans, adding, “President Trump will not be president forever.”

“When his time has passed, when his grip on our politics is gone, when our country returns — as surely it will — to calmer times and stronger leadership, history will look back on our actions here today,” he said. “How would you be remembered?”

Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, Republican of Wisconsin and one of the managers of the impeachment case against Mr. Clinton, had an appeal of his own to Democrats: “Put aside your partisan politics and don’t listen to what Pelosi, Schiff and Nadler are telling you, because the future of our country and the viability of our Constitution as the framers decided it are at stake.”

Along with the committee chairman, he was referring to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has kept remarkably tight control over the impeachment inquiry, and Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California and the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, who led the investigation into the president’s pressure campaign on Ukraine.

Representative Zoe Lofgren, Democrat of California, who was participating in her third impeachment inquiry, offered an explanation about this one. “It seems,” she said, “like we live in an alternate reality.”

Others warned of the political risks of the moment. Representative Ken Buck of Colorado predicted that voters would punish Democrats, particularly those whose victories in conservative districts in 2016 handed them control of the chamber.

“Say goodbye to your majority,” Mr. Buck said. “And please join us in January of 2021 when President Trump is inaugurated again.”

Democrats drew heavily on their own experiences and backgrounds as they sought to frame their views on impeachment for the history books. Some reached for the words of the founders or the annals of the law. Others quoted from scripture or spoke about loved ones. Many harked back to their unique biographies as immigrants and the legacy of painful periods in American history.

“I’m a black man representing Georgia, born when Jim Crow was alive and well,” said Representative Hank Johnson, Democrat of Georgia. “To me, the idea that elections can be undermined is not theoretical. I have constituents who remember what it is like to live in a democracy in name only.”

Representative Lucy McBath of Georgia, one of the panel’s only Democrats representing a swing district, spoke of losing her only son to gun violence — the cause that sent her to Congress. “This is not why I came to Washington,” she said, but she confirmed she would vote to impeach.

“I must vote my conscience, and I do so with a heavy heart and a grieving soul,” she said.

Mr. Nadler called a recess after the opening statements late Wednesday. He planned to reconvene the panel on Thursday to begin the protracted process of allowing members to propose edits and amendments to the two articles.

The first article accuses Mr. Trump of “ignoring and injuring national security and other vital national interests” by carrying out a scheme to corruptly solicit election assistance from Ukraine through investigations to smear his Democratic political rivals. The second article charges that the president obstructed Congress by engaging in “unprecedented, categorical and indiscriminate defiance” of House subpoenas.

No lawmaker is expected to cross party lines, and House Democratic leaders are eyeing a final vote to impeach the president for high crimes and misdemeanors as early as Tuesday.

Democrats are confident they have the votes to pass both articles even if a handful of Democrats defect.

With the outcome in the Judiciary Committee all but certain, lawmakers have begun privately appealing to the speaker to win appointments as impeachment managers when the charges are put before the Senate for trial.

In the Senate, the prospect of hosting an impeachment trial when they return from the year-end break was weighing heavily on their thinking.

Some Senate Republicans appeared to be eager for a streamlined trial without testimony by witnesses, ensuring that the spectacle of deciding on Mr. Trump’s impeachment would be over quickly so that the chamber could move on to other issues in an election year.

Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, hinted at that preference in comments to reporters on Tuesday, saying that a majority of senators could decide after hearing arguments for both sides that “they’ve heard enough” and end the trial quickly.

On Wednesday, Mr. McConnell chastised the House for what he called “the least thorough and most unfair impeachment inquiry in modern history.”

Over lunch on Wednesday, Republican senators invited Representative Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio, who has played a leading role in Mr. Trump’s defense in the House, and his lawyer, Stephen R. Castor, to privately offer their theory of the case for Mr. Trump’s defense.

At the White House, Mr. Trump’s legal team has been discussing the possibility of hiring Alan Dershowitz, the veteran lawyer who has defended the president, to represent him in the impeachment trial, according to a person familiar with the discussions. Mr. Dershowitz would join the president’s outside legal team, with Pat A. Cipollone, the White House counsel, taking the lead in arguing the case in the Senate.

Representative Mark Meadows, Republican of North Carolina, mentioned Mr. Dershowitz as a possibility on the House Freedom Caucus podcast, adding: “I have advocated that there needs to be one other attorney that’s added to the mix.”

The articles of impeachment, which run for nine pages, include two counts against Mr. Trump. Thursday’s session will begin with a committee clerk reading the articles aloud.

The first article, abuse of power, accused Mr. Trump of withholding $391 million in military aid and a coveted White House meeting for Ukraine’s president as leverage for extracting public announcements of investigations into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son, as well as an unsubstantiated theory that Ukraine conspired with Democrats to swing the 2016 election against Mr. Trump.

The second article, obstruction of Congress, charges that Mr. Trump sought to cover up his own wrongdoing.

By: Benjamin Yount of the Center Square

The verdict in Wisconsin about the new trade deal with Canada and Mexico is nearly unanimous. 

Business groups and elected leaders all say the United States/Mexico/Canada Agreement (USMCA) is a win for Wisconsin. 

“Our farmers have been waiting in uncertainty for more than a year for USMCA to get done. So, it’s certainly good news to see the deal take this significant step forward. There are more steps to be taken, however, so we are not breathing a full sigh of relief," Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative President Brody Stapel said Tuesday. 

The Edge is one of the largest dairy co-ops in the country. 

“USMCA is critical to the long-term success of the U.S. dairy community," Stapel said. "Mexico is our number one dairy foods export market and Canada is third. Combined," he said. "They account for more than $2 billion each year. This agreement would protect those longtime trading relationships and allow for growth in market share. That means economic certainty for businesses, families, employees and rural communities."

Wisconsin's longest serving congressman, U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Milwaukee, also said that access to Canadian and Mexican markets is a big win for dairy farmers in Wisconsin. 

"It is a boon for our state’s dairy farmers who will have more access to Canadian markets," Sensenbrenner said. "After enduring months of needless delay, I am eager to vote for the deal and am grateful to the Trump administration for their tireless work reaching an agreement.”

The deal is coming together after a few tweaks and some concessions to labor unions. 

U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-LaCrosse, said those changes are key, not just in moving the deal forward but for making it workable. 

"Raising standards in trade agreements to level the playing field for workers, farmers, and businesses is vital so we are not trying to compete in a race to the bottom," Kind said in a statement.

Both Canada and Mexico must ratify the new trade agreement. There is hope Congress can finalize it by perhaps the end of the year.

U.S. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay, provided the simplest statement of the day. Gallagher summed up the impatience that many here in Wisconsin have felt for the past year-plus. 

“It’s about damn time," Gallagher said. 

By: Breitbart

Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) delivered a stirring address during the markup of the articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump in the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday evening, calling the Democrats’ case the weakest in American history.

His full speech:

Mr. Chairman, I agree with everybody that tonight is a very solemn night. This is the third time in the last 40 years, 45 years, that this committee has sat to read articles of impeachment against the President of the United States. What we are debating here, in my opinion, is the weakest case in history. And yet the Democrats have decided to go full speed ahead, again because of the clock and the calendar, with an incomplete record, simply by using hearsay evidence and trashing the rules of the House every time they can in order to speed things up for the preordained conclusion. And that is: a partisan vote for impeachment, something that both the Speaker and the chairman of this committeete rejected earlier on when they thought they could make this bipartisan. If they could’ve made it bipartisan, they blew their opportunity very early on with their trashing of the rules and the trashing of what is the history of what is in the history this committee. Now, let’s look at these two articles. Unlike the Nixon and Clinton impeachment, there is no crime that is alleged to have been committed by the President of the United States. There are policy differences, but I would submit that given the definition of treason, and bribery, and other high crimes and misdemeanors, that does not mean that the policy differences should be enough to remove a president from office. There is no allegation of bribery in these articles. There is no allegation of extortion. They have defined for themselves what a high crime and misdemeanor will be. This bar is so low that what is happening is that a future president can be impeached for any disagreement when the presidency and the House of Representatives are controlled by different parties. And that goes back to establishing a parliamentary system, which the Framers explicitly rejected at the time of the Constitutional Convention. In the United Kingdom, or Canada, or other parliamentary democracies, if the government loses the confidence of the majority of the lower house, the government is out, and there is either a new government or a new election that happens. The Framers did not want that. We had an independent presidency. The president was independently elected. He did not serve at the sufferance of Congress. No — he served for a fixed term and was only, if he really obstructed the functions of government or was treasonous, he could be impeached. Now let’s look at “obstruction of Congress.” You know, again, in the past, whenever the executive and legislative branches in the United States have had a disagreement, they’ve gone to court. And the third branch decides this difference. This committee and this majority are so hide-bound to their clock and their calendar that they will not allow the judicial process to work out. What brought Richard Nixon down, honestly, was the Supreme Court saying that he had to turn over certain documents. And within two or three weeks after that, the president knew his time was up. There were Republicans that convinced him of that, and he resigned, ruling out the impeachment. So, yes the constitution is at stake. The Framers of our Constitution’s enlightened decisions are at stake. We are about to go on a road to becoming a parliamentary democracy like England and Canada are. We need an independent president who does not have to suffer to anything a congressional majority might throw at him. That’s what the courts are for, to figure it out. And I would to appeal to my chairman, [and] the majority members of this committee, to listen to what Madison and Hamilton had to say during the ratification of the Constitution and during the debates of the convention: put aside your partisan politics and don’t listen to what Pelosi, Schiff, and Nadler are telling you because the future of our country and the viability of our Constitution as the Framers decided are at stake.

The committee will vote Thursday, and an impeachment vote is possible by Friday.

By: Briana Reilly of the Cap Times

Wisconsin congressional Republicans are pushing for quick passage of a new trade deal announced Tuesday that dairy and business interests say would help bring certainty to the state. 

But Wisconsin Democrats said they're keen to review the measure before publicizing whether it would get their support. 

House Democrats Tuesday morning announced they had come to a deal with President Donald Trump's administration over the renegotiated trade pact, with national media outlets reporting the party was able to secure changes to provisions on prescription drug pricing, the environment, labor and more. 

Overall, Wisconsin congressional lawmakers lauded the news, with U.S. Rep. Ron Kind touting his efforts to "ensure a level playing field for Wisconsin workers and farmers," maintain U.S. jobs and more. 

"The bipartisan efforts, changes to labor standards, increases in enforceability measures, and the solidifying of agricultural access should all serve as a baseline for how future trade agreements will be drafted," the La Crosse Democrat said in a statement, though he didn't guarantee he'd support it on the floor as he first wants to review the language. 

U.S. Reps. Gwen Moore and Mark Pocan, both Democrats, hadn't yet weighed in on the deal Tuesday afternoon, with a Pocan spokesman saying the Madison rep hadn't seen the bill text and therefore declined to comment. 

Meanwhile, Republicans lamented "months of needless delay," in the words of U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, and praised the Trump administration for finalizing negotiations on the effort. 

“It’s about damn time," U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, a Green Bay Republican, wrote in a tweet. "USMCA is a win for Wisconsin and a win for America. It should have been brought up for a vote months ago." 

State Republicans, including U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, have called on Congress to sign off on the update to the North American Free Trade Agreement for months, though Democrats have expressed reservations about the plan. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in visits to the state have also urged passage of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. 

The agreement to update NAFTA, which first took effect in 1994, has received approval from the three countries' leaders after negotiations were finalized last year, but it has stalled in Congress where it needs members' approval. Trump has slammed House Democrats for failing to act on the deal.  

In Wisconsin, Edge Dairy Farmer Cooperative — whose president, Brody Stapel, is a dairy farmer in the eastern part of the state -- praised Tuesday's announcement as "a significant step forward" and demanded House leaders pass it swiftly. 

“USMCA is critical to the long-term success of the U.S. dairy community," Stapel said, adding: "This agreement would protect those longtime trading relationships and allow for growth in market share. That means economic certainty for businesses, families, employees and rural communities."

Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce head Kurt Bauer said in a statement the group is "confident this renegotiated trade deal will benefit the state's economy." 

“Wisconsin manufacturers, farmers and other employers need certainty when it comes to trade, and it is encouraging to see Congress finally moving the USMCA forward," he said. "We make and grow things in Wisconsin, but we need to be able to sell those product to our top trading partners in Canada and Mexico." 

A spokeswoman for the Wisconsin State AFL-CIO didn't immediately return a request for comment Tuesday afternoon. The deal has won the endorsement of the national group, according to media reports, which helped secure the support of House Democrats.