DC Wrap: Johnson votes to begin debate in Senate on GOP tax bill

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.

Quotes of the week, Nov. 24-30

When the president of the United States tells you he’s going to fix your problem and he asks for your vote, I was more than willing to give it to him in conference here today.
– U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, on his vote on Tuesday in the Senate Budget Committee. Johnson joined 11 other Republicans in supporting the GOP tax bill, after saying Monday he’d vote against it if changes weren’t made regarding pass-through entities. While the bill wasn’t fixed to reflect his concerns prior to the vote, Johnson said on a Fox News interview he “got enough movement, got enough assurances” that his concern will be addressed — including from President Trump. The bill cleared the committee on a 12-11 party-line vote.  

#GOPTaxPlan gives tax breaks to top 1% & lets Wall St keep loopholes, but millions of middle class families see a tax hike. That’s not fair.
– U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, on Twitter.

This week’s news

— The U.S. Senate Wednesday night began debate on the GOP tax bill, with U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson joining all Republicans in voting to kick-start discussion.

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, joined all Dems in voting against the motion to proceed.

Johnson, R-Oshkosh, over the past few days and weeks has expressed concern the bill doesn’t treat pass-through entities fairly compared to corporations. But earlier this week he supported the bill’s passage through the Senate Budget Committee, despite it containing no changes to address his concerns.  

After the Wednesday night vote, Johnson explained his support in a tweet: “We still have work to do, but I have been working with the administration and Senate leadership to make progress toward a better bill. – rj #taxreform.”

Meanwhile, House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, said in a tweet Wednesday night he commends the Senate “for taking this next big step towards historic tax reform for hardworking American families.”

The debate on the bill will last up to 20 hours, followed by a vote on a series of amendments. If the bill passes on a final vote, it would need to be reconciled with the differences in the House bill.

— The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously voted Wednesday night on a resolution that would require its members and staffers to receive regular sexual harassment training.

A similar measure cleared the Senate earlier this month, amid a series of allegations against prominent politicians including U.S. Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., and U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn.

The bipartisan resolution would require anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training during each session of Congress.

U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, said in a tweet the move was “long overdue.”

“I was proud to co-sponsor this resolution, and I’m proud that the House of Representatives is now requiring all members, officers and staffers to complete sexual harassment training,” he said.

— Grothman this week also called for the release of sexual harassment-related settlements in total paid out by members of Congress

The Office of Compliance had previously released information this month indicating that it had paid out more than $17 million in settlements between 1997 and 2017, although that figure includes all settlements — not just those related to sexual harassment.

Grothman said during recent town halls, constituents expressed concern over “the seemingly secret payments regarding sexual harassment.”

“The public deserves to know what’s really going on regarding sexual harassment settlements among members of Congress. It’s time to do away with this behavior once and for all,” he said.

See the release:

— U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin this week joined other Great Lakes senators to request the feds speed up a study on the movement of Asian carp.

Baldwin, D-Madison, along with fellow Sens. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and eight other members from the Great Lakes Task Force wrote a letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers asking for the finalization of the Brandon Road Study by its targeted completion date in January 2019.

That study is aimed at looking at options for upgrading the Brandon Road Lock and Dam in Joliet, Ill., that’s seen as an area where Asian carp could migrate into the Great Lakes.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has previously indicated that it’s unlikely to implement the recommended measures in the plan before 2025 — a timeline the senators wrote is “particularly concerning.”

“Studies have shown those impacts (of Asian carp entering the Great Lakes) would include declines in native fish species and a one-third reduction of total fish weight in Lake Erie,” they wrote. “This threatens the Great Lakes’ world-class $7 billion/year fishing industry, $16 billion/year recreational boating industry, and the hundreds of thousands of jobs these industries support.”

See the letter:

Posts of the week


Johnson votes to advance GOP tax reform bill

Johnson says he’s still a ‘no’ on tax overhaul bill, hopeful for changes

Republican Sen. Johnson says he remains opposed to tax bill

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson flips to “yes” vote on GOP tax bill, clearing major hurdle

No feeling of party loyalty for Johnson, a key Senate holdout for the GOP tax bill

Tammy Baldwin calls GOP tax bill a boon for wealthy; Republican foes cheer Donald Trump’s efforts

Senator Calls for Investigation of TripAdvisor Over Its Posting Policy

Gallagher, Baldwin, Johnson on Net Neutrality

Baldwin sounds alarm over delays in plan to keep Asian carp from reaching Great Lakes

Sean Duffy: CFPB Is Full of ‘Little Elizabeth Warrens’

Rep. Gallagher: Take Terror Threats During Holidays Seriously

Glenn Grothman, Dan Kohl headed for 2018 Wisconsin congressional showdown

U.S. Rep. Moore, Mayor Barrett ‘concerned’ about Obamacare deadline despite faster pace of enrollment