By: Bob Meyer
Wisconsin U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin spent some time at the annual Mayor’s Dairy Breakfast in Marshfield on Friday morning. While working in the serving line for a couple of hours, she had the opportunity to talk to attendees about a number of farm-related issues.
The Democrat says she is hearing some concern from farmers regarding the E.P.A.’s proposed rules for the Waters of the U.S. act. She says she hopes the EPA will keep an open-door policy “so we can talk things through.” Representing a state that borders two Great Lakes and the Mississippi River, Baldwin is happy with the recently-passed Water Resources Reform and Development Act. She says the legislation recognizes the importance of the ports on the Great Lakes and enhances oversight of the Army Corps of Engineers projects on the Mississippi.
One of the biggest issues still facing Congress is reform of our immigration policy. Baldwin says she is hearing much less resistance to immigration reform than she heard a decade ago. “When you have almost every farm advocacy group, no matter what the general ideology aligned behind getting something done and moving this issue forward, you know times have changed and it is time to address this.” The Senate has passed an immigration reform bill but the House has yet to take it up, the Senator is not sure if Speaker Boehner will do so before the election or deal with it in a lame-duck session.
The Senator is also keeping an eye on a couple of trade negotiations currently underway: the Trans Pacific Partnership and the Geographic Indicator effort by the European Union. In both instances, the end results could have a significant impact on farmers and businesses in her state.
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