Feingold to work with Bush on Great
Lakes protection, Army Corps
Published December 30th, 2004
WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Russ Feingold today, in a
letter to the President, outlined a number of initiatives
on which he is prepared to work together with the President.
After years of rising partisan tensions and another heated,
closely contested election, Feingold pledged his willingness
to work to find common ground on a number of issues.
"I would have hoped that by now we had made progress
on the most pressing domestic needs facing the country,
such as ensuring access to health care for all, providing
jobs, reducing the deficit, and simplifying the tax code
without hurting lower- and middle-income Americans,"
the letter read. "In a letter I wrote to you four
years ago, I identified some of these issues and others
as ones on which I hoped we could work together. While
I am disappointed that sufficient progress was not made
on these issues during your first administration, I remain
willing to join you in bipartisan efforts to address these
and other issues..."
Earlier this week, Feingold and Senator John McCain (R-AZ)
wrote the President regarding their hope and willingness
to work with him on 527 reform legislation. Below are
issues Feingold highlighted in his separate letter to
the President today:
• Addressing Energy Costs: In the Midwest, there is a
great need to reduce the number of reformulated gasoline
blends (RFG). By harmonizing the different fuels required
for northern and southern states into a single set of
standards, the supply of reformulated gasoline blends
from which states like Wisconsin could draw would expand.
In Wisconsin, counties that are required to use RFG blends
often see price spikes from winter to summer fuel supplies.
Reducing the number of blends could help to keep gas prices
from spiking in times of supply shortages.
• Protecting the Great Lakes: The administration has taken
a good first step by creating an Interagency Great Lakes
Regional Collaboration, which will increase coordination
between the many federal, tribal, state, and local governmental
interests with jurisdiction over the Great Lakes. Through
this initiative, the Great Lakes delegation and the administration
can work to address the problems of invasive species,
which have wreaked havoc on the Lakes' fragile ecosystem,
and of toxic chemical pollution, which also affects the
diverse aquatic life in the Great Lakes.
• Reforming the Army Corps: Feingold and Senator John
McCain (R-AZ) have worked in the 107th and 108th Congresses
to advance legislation to increase accountability and
protect taxpayers and the environment by requiring independent
review of Corps projects and use of better economic forecasting
data about the costs of such projects, as well as mandating
that the Corps abide by the same environmental laws as
private developers when wetlands are impacted by Corps
projects. With an increasing national deficit, the time
has come for fundamental reform of the Army Corps.
• Combating Terrorism: The East African Counter-Terrorism
Initiative that the administration has pursued has made
gains in strengthening our partners in the fight against
terrorism. However, developing a meaningful policy for
Somalia, a state in which we know terrorist organizations
are active, still needs to be addressed.
• Fighting HIV/AIDS: The administration has made an important
commitment to fight HIV/AIDS globally, and we can continue
to make progress by emphasizing both treatment and prevention
and by addressing some of the factors that have made this
pandemic so devastating, such as underdeveloped health
care infrastructures and the special vulnerabilities of
women and girls. At home, the commitment in recent years
to providing an increase in funding for the HIV/AIDS in
Minority Communities fund and the AIDS Drug Assistance
Program (ADAP), two programs that put resources where
they are most needed to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS domestically,
has dramatically increased. More work needs to be done,
however, particularly in minority communities where the
rate of HIV/AIDS infection is disproportionately higher.
"Four years [after you first took office], America
is even more polarized, and some might question whether
there is any real possibility of a reduction in partisanship
during your second administration," the letter continued.
"The stakes are too high to give up, however, and
I hope that we can work together to end the era of take-it-or-leave-it
governing, and to develop truly bipartisan legislation."