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As Congress and presidential candidates trade accusations over immigration reform, advocates and experts urge caution in spreading misinformation; Alabama takes new action IVF policy following controversial court decision; and central states urge caution with wildfires brewing.

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Congress reaches a deal to avoid a partial government shutdown again. Arizona Republicans want to ensure Trump remains on their state ballot and Senate Democrats reintroduce the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

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Hard times could be ahead for rural school districts that spent federal pandemic money on teacher salaries, a former Oregon lumber community drafts a climate-action plan and West Virginians may soon buy raw milk from squeaky-clean cows.

Wisconsinites warn of negative outcomes if federal programs are cut

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Friday, November 10, 2023   

Congress has one week to approve a new federal spending plan or risk a government shutdown, and some Wisconsinites are calling on lawmakers to keep working families and others in mind when weighing certain programs.

Congress recently approved a continuing resolution to keep the government running until mid-November. But with a new House Speaker in place come renewed concerns Republicans in the lower chamber will press for steep cuts before the latest deadline.

Jordan Anderson, a disability rights advocate from central Wisconsin, worries about accessing disability benefits through Social Security if his job status changes. It is even more pressing for those close to him.

"I have friends that are unable to work," Anderson explained. "They kind of depend on that one check that comes every month, and it's vital to have what they need to buy groceries."

Anderson also worries about water quality in his community, as the House passed an environmental appropriations package to cut spending by 35%. Rep. Derrick Van Orden, R-Wis., and Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Wis., voted for the bill. The lawmakers did not respond to a request for comment, but generally, House GOP members have stressed the need to rein in spending.

Hard-right House members are pushing for cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program under the Farm Bill reauthorization.

Linda Spaulding, a retired community college teacher from Kenosha, said lawmakers need to "read the room," and see how many working families are struggling to get by.

"You're trying to decide, 'Well, do I afford child care or can I afford food on the table?' What are you going to pick?" Spaulding asked.

Bobby Kogan, senior director of federal budget policy at the Center for American Progress, said it is important for the public to know House Republicans have floated cuts some might argue go beyond extreme.

"In the Labor/HHS/Education bill, the House Republicans called for an 80% cut to Title One education," Kogan pointed out. "Which is money that goes to poor school districts to make sure that they can hire teachers."

Lawmakers backing the idea say unspent COVID funding factors into their reasoning.


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House Bill passed with an overwhelming vote of 94-6, with three abstentions. Its companion, Senate Bill 159, passed unanimously with a vote of 34-0. (Chad Robertson/Adobe Stock)

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