Quotes of the week
The creation of ‘Boris Nemtsov Plaza’ will send a message to the Putin regime that the United States will continue to provide leadership and support to those who press for liberty in their own lands.
– U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson in an interview with the Washington Free Beacon about his committee passing a bill that would re-name the street in front of the Russian embassy in D.C. after a Putin critic who was assassinated in 2015. See more: freebeacon.com/issues/congress-rename-street-front-russian-embassy-murdered-anti-putin-dissident/
He seems to roll over and want his belly rubbed by the President — and that’s not what we need from the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
– U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, on House Speaker Paul Ryan in an interview with WKOW. Pocan said he wants to see Ryan once again “stand up to the President and call him out for good, valid reasons,” as he did during the campaign. See more: www.wkow.com/story/35419110/2017/05/Friday/pocan-says-ryan-seems-to-roll-over-and-want-his-belly-rubbed-by-trump
I’m both honored and humbled to be appointed to this position, working for the Trump administration.
– Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who announced on a radio program he is to lead the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Public Engagement. DHS has not confirmed the appointment was made.
For the country I love, the last thing America needs is another loud voice angrily and unproductively telling you who to blame and who not to trust.
– Milwaukee County Exec. Chris Abele, who’s often clashed with Clarke, on the appointment.
Our allies and partners must have the utmost confidence that sensitive information they share with us will not be disclosed.
– U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay, in a series of tweets reacting to reports that President Trump disclosed highly classified information to Russian officials. Dems slammed the news, with U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, saying the meeting threatened “our partnerships with allies in the fight against ISIS and our ability to protect the homeland against terrorism.”
This week’s news
— House Speaker Paul Ryan Wednesday night said he welcomed former FBI director Robert Mueller’s naming as special counsel to oversee its investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russian officials.
The Justice Department made the announcement that Mueller would head the investigation about a week after President Trump fired then-FBI director James Comey. It also comes amid reports that Trump had asked Comey to drop the FBI’s investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
Ryan, R-Janesville, said even with Mueller’s appointment, the ongoing investigation in the House on Russian meddling would continue.
“My priority has been to ensure thorough and independent investigations are allowed to follow the facts wherever they may lead. That is what we’ve been doing here in the House,” Ryan said. “The addition of Robert Mueller as special counsel is consistent with this goal, and I welcome his role at the Department of Justice.”
Meanwhile, Dem reaction to the appointment was minimal, and GOP members of the Wisconsin congressional delegation were largely quiet on it.
U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin tweeted praised Mueller as a “strong choice” to take charge of the investigation.
“Former FBI Director Mueller is a strong choice as special prosecutor to lead this investigation. Independence must drive this forward,” the Madison Dem wrote.
And U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, who had previously called for an “‘independent, bipartisan commission” to lead the investigation, cautioned in a tweet that President Trump had to ensure Mueller had the necessary resources to carry out the investigation.
Moore had signed onto a House Dem effort to use a parliamentary procedure called a discharge petition to force a vote on legislation that would create the commission, after GOP House leaders have stalled Dem legislation to establish a bipartisan-appointed independent commission.
— U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin reintroduced a bill this week aimed at increasing transparency in the pricing of drugs.
The bill, co-sponsored by U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona and U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., would require drug manufacturers to share research and development costs and other pricing information, which the lawmakers say would help provide context for consumers about the drug’s value and cost.
“Drug corporations are sticking it to Americans with skyrocketing prescription drug prices,” said Baldwin, D-Madison. “I’ve heard from countless Wisconsinites who continue to see dramatic price increases. They are struggling to afford their prescriptions that they have relied on for years and they want Washington to act.”
The legislation would require drug manufacturers planning to raise the prices of certain drugs priced at $100 or above by more than 10 percent in one year or 25 percent over three years to notify the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Manufacturers would also need to submit a transparency and justification report.
While the bill wouldn’t stop manufacturers from raising prices, the bill would warn consumers before prices on those drugs increase.
The bill, called the Fair Accountability and Innovative Research, or FAIR, Drug Pricing Act, was first introduced in September.
— U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson joined a Hawaii Dem in introducing a bill aimed at improving transparency from U.S. government agencies that find vulnerabilities in technology products.
The bill comes days after a global cyberattack that hit several countries and left some British hospitals unable to access their computer systems. Johnson, R-Oshkosh, introduced the PATCH Act with Dem Sen. Brian Schatz.
It’s aimed at boosting transparency in cases where the U.S. government finds vulnerabilities in technology companies’ products that they’re not aware about. At times, the two said in a news release, the government doesn’t tip off the vendor of the vulnerabilities for national security purposes.
The bill sets up a review board that coordinates on the issue and discloses unclassified versions of their reports to the public.
“It is essential that government agencies make zero-day vulnerabilities known to vendors whenever possible, and the PATCH Act requires the government to swiftly balance the need to disclose vulnerabilities with other national security interests while increasing transparency and accountability to maintain public trust in the process,” Johnson said.
— Johnson and the ranking member of his Senate committee are praising the panel’s passage of a bill aimed at fighting human trafficking.
Johnson, R-Oshkosh, and Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., said the bill that passed the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee would give the feds more tools on developing guidance and training programs on the issue. The proposal would add to the Department of Homeland Security’s Blue Campaign to end human trafficking.
“We must do everything within our power to end human trafficking and the Blue Campaign is a step in the right direction,” Johnson said.
— U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan is looking to extend the federal Perkins Loan program for two more years.
This week, he introduced the Perkins Loan Extension Act of 2017 with other Dem and GOP legislators. The program had ended up expiring for a brief stint two years ago before then President Obama signed a two-year extension act for the program.
“Providing a two year extension of the program is a commonsense step towards ensuring access to this vital tool for making college more affordable,” said Pocan, D-Black Earth. “Without Perkins, many students and families would be left with few options to cover college expenses.”
If the act doesn’t pass, the program, for undergraduate students who demonstrate financial need, will expire at the end of September.
— U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, is praising the House’s passage of his Rapid DNA Act as a tool that will help law enforcement, victims and those who have been wrongfully accused.
Sensenbrenner’s bill ensures law enforcement can get “almost immediate DNA analysis” of someone who’s arrested by doing testing in a booking center — instead of sending samples to a lab and waiting for results to come back.
In a floor speech this week, Sensenbrenner called rapid DNA a “promising new technology” that can provide analysis of a cheek swab sample within two hours.
“Like fingerprinting, photographing, and other booking procedures which at the time were novel but have now become routine, Rapid DNA will soon be standard procedure in police stations throughout the country,” he said.
See his floor speech:
— Sensenbrenner says a bill he introduced this week would help “ensure true integration and freedom for our nation’s disabled.”
Sensenbrenner said in a news release the Americans with Disabilities Act passed more than 20 years ago was a “significant step forward in the fight for equal rights for Americans with disabilities,” but the bill identifies and addresses several challenges that remain.
Sensenbrenner’s Disability Integration Act would make clear those who get long-term care have the right to choose how they get support. It also pushes states to make sure those people can live as independently as possible and that they address the need for affordable integrated housing options.
— U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, this week praised a bill that give states more flexibility in using federal funds for career and technical education programs.
Grothman, a co-sponsor of the bill, says it would remove “Washington bureaucrats from the day-to-day operations” of tech schools. He and other lawmakers voted unanimously to move the bill past the House Education and Workforce Committee.
See the release:
— Republican activists at the state Republican convention last week showed they prefer state Sen. Leah Vukmir as the party’s nominee next year to take on Dem U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, according to a WisPolitics.com straw poll.
Just more than 47 percent of the 296 delegates, alternates and registered guests at this weekend’s convention who voted in the straw poll backed Vukmir, R-Brookfield. Nearly 14 percent preferred state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, while another 12 percent indicated their support for businessman Eric Hovde, who ran unsuccessfully for the party’s U.S. Senate nomination in 2012.
See more from the GOP Convention last weekend here:
— Grothman is now on Instagram.
He posted his first photo last week, showing himself giving a thumbs up to the health care bill passing the House.
— U.S. Reps. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, and Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay, got together last week to film Pocan’s latest #MagicMonday trick at the Houdini and History Museum in Appleton.
Posts of the week
Today, during Police Week I had the honor of speaking at the La Crosse County Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony. We…
— Sean Duffy (@RepSeanDuffy) May 11, 2017
Wisconsin members of Congress seek more info on Trump intelligence disclosure www.wispolitics.com/2017/wisconsin-members-of-congress-seek-more-info-on-trump-intelligence-disclosure/
Tammy Baldwin, John McCain bill would require drug companies to justify steep price increases lacrossetribune.com/news/local/tammy-baldwin-john-mccain-bill-would-require-drug-companies-to/article_33b2d4b1-4e78-568a-877d-8aab408379ad.html
Wisconsin GOP Rally For Next Election, With Target On Baldwin www.wpr.org/wisconsin-gop-rally-next-election-target-baldwin
Investor Eric Hovde sells stock as he considers Senate run against Tammy Baldwin www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/onpolitics/2017/05/15/investor-eric-hovde-sells-stock-he-considers-senate-run-against-tammy-baldwin/101710602/
Sen. Baldwin pushes to hold drug makers accountable on cost fox11online.com/news/fox-11-investigates/sen-baldwin-pushed-bill-to-hold-drug-makers-accountable-on-cost
Sen. Baldwin speak out on Trumpcare’s impact on opioid epidemic 1410wizm.com/index.php/item/30311-sen-baldwin-speak-out-on-trumpcare-s-impact-on-opioid-epidemic
Sen. Ron Johnson: Policymakers must look to private sector for cyber solutions www.washingtonexaminer.com/sen-ron-johnson-policymakers-must-look-to-private-sector-for-cyber-solutions/article/2622965
Wisconsin’s Ron Johnson joins effort to fix House health care bill www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/2017/05/12/wisconsins-ron-johnson-joins-effort-fix-house-health-care-bill/319234001/
Ron Johnson: It Would Be ‘Troubling’ If Trump Recorded Comey Conversations www.wpr.org/ron-johnson-it-would-be-troubling-if-trump-recorded-comey-conversations
Sen. Ron Johnson looks to “Invisible” fix for health care prices, coverage www.wkow.com/story/35435217/2017/05/15/sen-ron-johnson-looks-to-invisible-fix-for-health-care-prices-coverage
Sen. Johnson’s staff to meet with constituent removed from Oshkosh office by police www.channel3000.com/news/politics/sen-johnsons-staff-to-meet-with-constituent-removed-from-oshkosh-office-by-police/501293590
Congressman Ron Kind hosts listening session in Black River Falls lacrossetribune.com/jacksoncochronicle/news/local/congressman-ron-kind-hosts-listening-session-in-black-river-falls/article_9a3685ba-7e0f-5133-962e-7a364fdf0721.html
Kind announces $491,511 grant for Chippewa Valley Regional Airport chippewa.com/dunnconnect/news/local/kind-announces-grant-for-chippewa-valley-regional-airport/article_66c2e574-0207-536b-ae72-296d6aff8412.html
Kind calls for collaboration to ease N. Korea tensions www.weau.com/content/news/Kind-calls-for-collaboration-to-ease-N-Korea-tensions-422390033.html
Two Wisconsin Republicans call on White House to share transcript of Trump Russia meeting www.jsonline.com/story/news/politics/2017/05/16/gop-rep-mike-gallagher-says-white-house-should-share-transcript-trump-russia-meeting/324739001/
Town hall will go on without Rep. Mike Gallagher www.greenbaypressgazette.com/story/news/local/2017/05/12/gallagher-town-hall/101564298/
Tom Cotton defends his title as fastest senator, while Mike Gallagher has House honors in charity race www.washingtonpost.com/news/reliable-source/wp/2017/05/17/tom-cotton-defends-his-title-as-fastest-senator-while-mike-gallagher-has-house-honors-in-charity-race/?utm_term=.cd4ea8877ab2
Group calls on Rep. Gallagher to meet with them www.wbay.com/content/news/Group-calls-on-Rep-Gallagher-to-meet-with-them-422157694.html
PolitiFact: Testing Sean Duffy claim GOP health bill doesn’t have ‘massive’ tax cuts for the wealthy www.stevenspointjournal.com/story/news/2017/05/12/politifact-testing-sean-duffy-claim-gop-health-bill-doesnt-have-massive-tax-cuts-wealthy/318321001/
PolitiFact: Glenn Grothman says Planned Parenthood is leading abortion provider www.politifact.com/wisconsin/statements/2017/may/15/glenn-grothman/glenn-grothman-says-planned-parenthood-leading-abo/
Wisconsin Republicans want answers about Donald Trump’s meeting with Russians host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/govt-and-politics/wisconsin-republicans-want-answers-about-donald-trump-s-meeting-with/article_c490677e-9f47-5044-bead-54675d56ced0.html