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Wisconsin lawmakers have federal budget clout


UNDATED (WSAU)  Paul Ryan gets most of the headlines, but Wisconsin also has six other members on the House and Senate budget committees. The total of seven is the most of any state – including California, which has five times as many Members-of-Congress.

Fox Valley Republican Reid Ribble says Wisconsin may not get a direct benefit from having so many of its lawmakers on the budget panels. But he says they get a better understanding of how the federal government operates that they don’t get on other panels. Ryan, last year’s G-O-P vice-presidential nominee from Janesville, has authored his party’s budget blue-prints for the last three years. And he gets most of the praise, as well as the heat, from his plans to slash spending and turn Medicare into a voucher program with new coverage limits.

In the Senate, Wisconsin is the only state to have both its members on the budget panel – Republican Ron Johnson and Democrat Tammy Baldwin. Johnson has used the post to try-and-carry out his campaign promise to reign in federal spending. Baldwin is the polar opposite of Johnson politically. Still, she agrees that at least some spending cuts are needed as part of a balanced approach that includes tax hikes.

The Republican House and Democratic Senate have passed their budget plans, and President Obama’s package is due out April 10th.