DC Wrap

This is the eighth sample of a weekly DC Wrap product from WisPolitics.com. Let us know your feedback: [email protected].

Also: Registration is open for a June 7 breakfast gathering at the Monocle in Washington, D.C. featuring U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont. Sponsored by Michael Best and Michael Best Strategies, WPS Health Insurance, AARP Wisconsin and Xcel Energy with assistance from partners UW-Madison and the Wisconsin Alumni Association. Register: https://www.wispolitics.com/2017/june-7-wispolitics-com-dc-breakfast-with-u-s-rep-mark-pocan/ 

Quotes of the week

Cleaning up our tax code is a vital step toward expanding our country’s economic potential and remains one of my top priorities in Congress.
– U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay, on the Trump administration’s tax proposal. In a statement shared with Fox 11 News, Gallagher said he looks forward to reviewing President Trump’s proposal to make sure taxpayers “can keep more of what they earn.”

Despite claims from the White House’s Chief Economic Advisor that such a proposal will stimulate growth and create jobs, it is clear that the only result of this plan will be a steep increase in our country’s deficit while leaving working- and middle-class families in the dust.
– U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, who blasted the president’s proposal, saying in a statement it “clears the way for corporations to abuse wide-open tax loopholes.”

This week’s news

— House Speaker Paul Ryan says he thinks a new amendment to the House GOP health care bill “helps us get to consensus.”

The conservative House Freedom Caucus announced yesterday it backs the amended version of the American Health Care Act, though it still faces questions among moderates whose opposition contributed to Ryan pulling the bill last month.

The amendment would, among other things, let states apply for waivers so they can be exempted from Affordable Care Act requirements outlining “essential health benefits,” such as mental health coverage and maternity care. States that get the waivers would then decide which procedures would be considered “essential” for an insurance company to cover.

Other than Ryan, R-Janesville, none of the state’s House GOP members yesterday said they support the amended version of the bill.

Spokespeople for U.S. Reps. Sean Duffy, R-Wausau, and Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, said they’re still considering the bill. A spokeswoman for U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, said he wasn’t available to comment on the issue yesterday.

And a spokeswoman for U.S. Reps. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay, didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Ryan said the amendment from U.S. Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-New Jersey, is a “great way to lower premiums, give states more flexibility while protecting people with pre-existing conditions.”

Asked if the House will vote on the bill this week or next week, Ryan said “we’ll see.”

— Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, drew attention to the lack of open GOP support for the plan in his critique of it, saying “House Republicans are trying to introduce a worse version of Trumpcare.”

“(They) showed their hand when they exempted themselves from their own plan. If this latest version of Trumpcare isn’t good enough for Members of Congress, it’s not good enough for the American people,” Pocan said.

And a spokeswoman for U.S. Rep. Ron Kind said that because the GOP bill “is not new,” the La Crosse Dem’s “previous statements on it still stand.”

Those previous statements largely criticized House GOP leadership for “trying to force a bad bill.”

A spokesman for U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, did not return a request for comment.

— Congress returned this week after a two-week recess, during which many lawmakers headed home to hold town halls and listening sessions in their districts.

Following is a run-down of the Wisconsin congressional delegation’s in-person, telephone or online events over the past couple weeks, according to their offices:

*U.S. Sen Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison: Six roundtable listening sessions and one town hall.

*U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh: Seven in-person town hall events, along with smaller meetings and a video town hall with high school students from five different rural Wisconsin schools.

*U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls: Twenty-four in-person town halls.

*U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse: Three in-person listening sessions.

*U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee: No town halls or listening sessions over this period; last town hall was on March 18.

*U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wausau: Four in-person town halls.    

*U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont: Two in-person town halls, and one listening session on the future of labor in Rock County.

*U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah: Seven in-person town halls, including one at a Manitowoc retirement home that only touched on senior-specific issues. He also held an open house on Monday for his constituents to tour the new Fond du Lac office space.

A spokeswoman for U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay, did not respond to a request for comment. His office said in an April 12 release that he visited the UA Local 400 plumbers and steamfitters union in Kaukauna to talk about his work in Congress and proposals so far.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, did a telephone town hall yesterday with thousands of residents of Rock County and Walworth County.

— A bill on overtime that U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, is co-sponsoring got approval from the House Education and Workforce Committee yesterday.

The committee, which Grothman is a member of, approved the Working Families Flexibility Act on a 22-16 vote. Currently, private sector employers need to give monetary compensation to employees if they work overtime. The bill lets those employers give workers the option of taking the money or instead taking paid time off.

See the Grothman release:

— U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson is praising a plan from the new Federal Communications Commission chairman to scrap an Obama-era decision that broadband should be treated as a public utility.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai laid out the plan yesterday at a speech at the Newseum. Johnson, R-Oshkosh, said the “Internet will remain free and open without heavy-handed regulations,” just like it was under previous administrations.

The announcement came under fire from advocacy groups like Free Press, which said it would “destroy the internet as we know it and give even more gatekeeper power to a few huge companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon.”

Read Pai’s speech:

See Johnson’s release:

See the Free Press release:

— U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner’s office launched a new website this week that he says will “make it easier than ever before” for constituents to access information, contact him and keep track of his work in Congress.

See the website:

Posts of the week


View this post on Instagram

Sen. Johnson joined Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and Attorney General Jeff Sessions during a visit to the southwest border near San Diego today. He got a firsthand look at the areas where updated fencing is needed and spoke with border patrol agents and DOJ officials about what needs to be done at the border to keep America safe. “The Department of Homeland Security is an agency that has been troubled and plagued by low morale. The men and women that have the courage to enforce our laws have not been given the authority to do that. I’m glad to partner with Secretary Kelly and Attorney General Sessions who are giving our law enforcement agencies the opportunity to enforce our laws, secure our border, and keep our nation safe.”

A post shared by Senator Ron Johnson (@senronjohnson) on


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