DC Wrap

Welcome to our weekly DC Wrap, where we write about what Wisconsin’s congressional delegation is up to in Washington. Sign up for our mailing list here to receive our newsletter directly.

Register today for the next WisPolitics.com event in D.C.: A Nov. 16 breakfast with Morning Consult CEO MICHAEL RAMLET, a Middleton, Wis. native whose team is shaking up the national polling industry. The breakfast will take place at the AT&T Forum near Union Station, on the 5th floor. Breakfast and check-in start at 8:30 a.m. with the program going from 9 to 10 a.m.

Quotes of the week, Sept. 29-Oct.5

My committee will work to support the federal role in investigating this attack and protecting against further threats. As Americans we must unite to defeat threats to our nation’s security — both foreign and domestic.
– U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, who said this week his Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will help support investigations into the Las Vegas shooting Sunday night. Johnson, who chairs that committee, said in a news release his “heart goes out to the victims, their families and the brave men and women who risked their lives to save others.

As long as Congress fails to act, it is complicit in the deaths of innocent Americans.
– U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, who called on national lawmakers to enact stricter gun control legislation in light of the shooting. He said in a statement this week his colleagues have “rolled over when confronted by the NRA and gun lobby,” but added it’s time to act now by closing background check loopholes and reinstating the assault weapons ban.

This week’s news

— U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman is co-sponsoring a bill that would legalize industrial hemp, saying the decades of banning its production has hurt American farmers.

The bill would legalize the production of industrial hemp, which is used in products ranging from construction materials to plastic composites. It would do so by excluding industrial hemp from the Controlled Substances Act’s definition of marijuana.

Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, said in a news release that the level of THC in industrial hemp is less than 1 percent.

“Non-narcotic industrial hemp makes our economy stronger by providing an additional revenue stream for farmers, and is useful in other areas like construction and manufacturing,” he said.

See the release:

— U.S. Sens. Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin split votes this week on the confirmation of Ajit Pai as head of the Federal Communications Commission.

Baldwin, D-Madison, joined 40 other Dems in opposing Pai’s appointment, while Johnson was among 52 senators who supported the nomination.

Johnson, R-Oshkosh, in a statement praised Pai, who has served as a commissioner at the FCC since 2012.

“During his tenure he has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to closing the digital divide in Wisconsin and in rural areas across America,” he said. “I look forward to working with him as he continues to bring more access and choice to consumers as chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.”

Meanwhile, Baldwin said in a statement she couldn’t back Pai because he’s “set on dismantling” net neutrality.

“I voted against this FCC nominee because I support an open internet and strong net neutrality rules that ensure consumers – not internet service providers – control what people can access online,” she said.

See the roll call vote:

— All House GOP members of the state congressional delegation this week voted to approve a bill that would ban abortions after 20 weeks.

The bill, which is similar to one Gov. Scott Walker signed into law in 2015, passed the House on a 237-189 vote, with all Dem Wisconsin representatives opposing it.

U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, a co-sponsor of the bill, said in a statement on Tuesday the legislation would protect mothers and children.

“Late-term abortion is not only painful for the mother, but there’s more and more evidence that it’s painful for the child as well,” he said. “With this vote, we protected some of the most vulnerable members of our society from excruciating pain.”

Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, who also signed on as a co-sponsor, said the country “must work together to find and foster non-violent solutions for women and their children.”

“The most solemn duty of our government is to protect innocent lives, so that one day those lives can pursue the American Dream,” he said. “Twenty-week old defenseless babies in the womb, who can hear music and feel pain, deserve that protection. As a father of eight, I am proud to co-sponsor the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, and I will continue to work my heart out as a voice for the voiceless.”

But U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, said on the House floor before the vote the bill is a “cruel and ruthless attempt to undermine women and attack our right to govern our bodies.”

The bill now heads to the Senate, where it would need to win the support of eight Dems to pass.

See the roll call votes:

— U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wausau, is launching a new podcast, or #Plaidcast, explaining the inner workings of DC.

The first episode from Duffy, a lumberjack champion who often wears plaid, features U.S. Rep. Will Hurd, R-Texas.

See more on the podcast and listen to it on iTunes:

— The state Department of Health Services says it expects it would run out of federal money from the Children’s Health Insurance Program in April, much later than other states that face uncertainty due to Congress failing to reauthorize CHIP funding.

Congress missed its Sept. 30 deadline to reauthorize the program, putting funding for several states in jeopardy in the coming weeks if lawmakers don’t reach a deal. The effort to reauthorize funding got a boost this week after the House Energy and Commerce Committee introduced a bill to extend CHIP funding for five more years, the same timeline that leaders on the Senate Finance Committee have settled on.

If Congress fails to resolve the issue, at least 10 states are slated to run out of money this year, while roughly 20 will run out of money between January and March, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation survey of Medicaid officials.

But Wisconsin won’t do so until April, DHS wrote in the report to lawmakers this week.

The state spends about $115 million in each year in CHIP money to cover children under BadgerCare.

DHS spokeswoman Julie Lund said the state has “significant carryover funds” from its most recent federal allocation to cover costs until April but that if the CHIP funding isn’t reauthorized, the state would take a $134 million hit in GPR over the biennium.

“Wisconsin will not allow children to fall through the cracks,” she said. “This population will continue to be eligible for BadgerCare, if CHIP is not reauthorized, but it would create a significant hole in the state’s Medicaid budget.”

See the Kaiser Family Foundation paper: https://www.kff.org/medicaid/fact-sheet/current-status-of-state-planning-for-the-future-of-chip/

See the DHS report: https://docs.legis.wisconsin.gov/misc/lfb/jfc/200_reports/2017_10_02_health_services_overall_condition_of_medicaid_benefits.pdf

— U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson is asking the House to pass the “right to try” bill he co-authored.

The bill from Johnson, R-Oshkosh, passed the Senate unanimously this year and aims at increasing access to experimental treatments to terminal patients.

Johnson and his co-author, Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., wrote a letter to House members at the committee taking up the bill isn’t a “promise for a cure” from Congress but would give patients some hope that they’re able to try alternatives to save their lives.

They urged the House to take up and pass the Senate bill without any amendments.

“Every day that Congress fails to act is a day during which potentially thousands of patients lose hope,” they wrote.

See the letter:

— U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan recently endorsed House Speaker Paul Ryan challenger and iron worker Randy Bryce for Congress.

“The first Congressional District needs a member of Congress that will put his constituents first – not Donald Trump, not the Tea Party, and not the wealthy special interests,” he said. “Paul Ryan has become a part of the problem in Washington, and his values are out-of-touch with the people of SE Wisconsin.”

See the release:

— Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, will also be speaking at an event celebrating One Wisconsin Now Executive Director Scot Ross’ 10 year anniversary as head of the liberal group later this month.

The event, a “Roast & Toast,” is set for Oct. 16 at 5:30 p.m. at the Majestic Theatre in Madison.

See more info:

— U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher and the House Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday signed off on a bill that would allocate $10 billion for a border wall.

Gallagher, R-Green Bay, was among the 18 Republicans who supported the border security bill. Meanwhile, all 12 Dems voted against it.

See more on the bill:

— U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy is not reconsidering his decision against running for the U.S. Senate next year, his chief of staff says.

The National Journal ran a story Sept. 29 with a subhead suggesting Duffy may be taking another look at challenging U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison.

But Pete Meachum wrote in an email this week nothing has changed.

“Mr. Duffy’s mind has not changed.There is nothing to report,” he wrote.

Former Marine and business consultant Kevin Nicholson and state Sen. Leah Vukmir have both jumped into the race on the GOP side. Madison businessman Eric Hovde is still weighing a bid.

Posts of the week

I just got out from the arguments at the Supreme Court about the Wisconsin case, Gill v Whitford.I’m hopeful our highest court will do the right thing for our democracy and rule that hyper-partisan gerrymandering is unconstitutional.We must protect the right of every citizen to meaningfully participate in choosing who works for them in the legislature.

Posted by Senator Tammy Baldwin on Tuesday, October 3, 2017



‘UpFront’: Pocan says GOP tax overhaul plan boosts the wealthy

Was the Las Vegas mass shooting the 273rd this year? Or the seventh? Or somewhere in between?

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin Announces $25,000 Grant to Help Rebuild Brokaw

Senator Ron Johnson visits New Berlin West High School, opens up floor to students

Ron Johnson, John Barrasso say they’re not in the running for Tom Price’s job

Sen. Ron Johnson not saying whether McConnell should remain leader

Ron Johnson says healthcare problems are not going away

Johnson: Access to health care a ‘privilege’

Rachel Campos-Duffy, Rep. Sean Duffy: Making Puerto Rico great again

Duffy will kick off 5K fundraiser for Never Forgotten Honor Flight

Sean Duffy ‘upset’ by Green Bay Packers’ stance on national anthem

Pocan says GOP tax overhaul plan boosts the wealthy

Rep. Mike Gallagher: US should promote Erbil-Baghdad talks

Grothman Hopes Oshkosh Corporation Will Stay In Oshkosh

Grothman Co-Sponsors Bill to Legalize Industrial Hemp

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