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a.MKE THE List: Neumann's America's New Way Forward Plan & Proposed Mining Legislation Continues at the Capitol: Today’s Top Stories

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Former Congressman Mark Neumann rolled out a plan to balance the federal budget in five years. Neumann’s “America’s New Way Forward” plan calls for the repeal of President Obama’s health care law, making the Bush tax cuts or equivalent cuts permanent and enacting spending cuts totaling in over one trillion dollars over five years. Neumann’s plan is the centerpiece of his campaign for U.S. Senate and is the most detailed plan among the candidates.  Neumann faces republican Tommy Thompson and Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald for the Republican nomination for Senate.

The political debate over a proposed mining legislation is continuing at the Capitol. The Joint Finance Committee has a meeting at 10 this morning to vote on the Assembly version of the mining bill. Assembly Republicans approved the bill back in January, to ease the way for a billion dollar iron ore mine South of Lake Superior.  Right now Republicans hold a 17-16 majority in the Senate, and all 17 votes are needed.

The Milwaukee Department of Public Works recently announced that the Highland Avenue Pedestrian Bridge is up and running again. The lift bridge over the Milwaukee River had been closed since mid-February when the bridge was triggered with an emergency stop and basically became stuck in that position. There’s still some work being done to adjust system controls, but it’s now open for foot traffic.

A recent poll shows that President Obama leads most of his GOP challengers in Wisconsin by double digits, which is similar to his status in national polls. President Obama has managed to raise more than $472,000 from individual donors here in Wisconsin, which is three times as much as Mitt Romney. The Campaign Finance Institute shows that Obama leads all candidates with a grand total of $145 million.

The U.S. House of Representatives approved a bill to build a bridge over the St. Croix River, connecting Minnesota to Wisconsin, which stops a long debate on whether or not to link the states together with a four-lane highway. The proposed $700 million bridge would be built in Stillwater, Minnesota. Governor Walker responded, “This legislation was a top federal priority for my administration and is a great example of bi-partisanship teamwork that will create thousands of jobs.” The legislation now goes to President Obama.

Over the weekend, the Wisconsin School Music Association hosted a festival at Lincoln Middle School of the Arts. Thousands of students from around the Milwaukee-area performed vocal and instrumental solos, duets, trios and small ensembles. WSMA music festivals support music programs, quality music literature and look to motivate students to prepare and perform to the best of their abilities.