DC Wrap: Baldwin, Johnson on opposite sides of net neutrality vote

DC Wrap

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Quotes of the week, May 11-17

We’re driving my generation of conservatives into obscurity if we get complacent. I don’t bring that up to make you angry or make you worry. I bring that up to suggest we need to deal with that.
– U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay, who suggested at last weekend’s GOP state convention his party is falling behind with young voters.

See more convention coverage via the WisPolitics.com GOP Convention Blog.

It was a step too soon. Giving such a huge issue away makes us look like we can’t be an honest broker.
– Dem U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, of La Crosse, who argued the U.S. moving its embassy to Jerusalem undercuts the possibility of Middle East peace with a two-state solution.  

I can think of no other sovereign country that has had to put up with the indignant treatment of not being allowed to place an embassy in their capital city.
Republican U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, of Glenbeulah, who said in a statement the embassy’s relocation is “long overdue.”

This week’s news

— U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson ended up on opposite sides of a move to roll back recent changes to net neutrality rules, sending it to the House where it faces an uncertain future.

The issue came to the floor yesterday after Baldwin joined fellow Dems to force a vote to repeal changes the Republican-controlled Federal Communications Commission made in December to Obama-era rules that blocked internet providers from impeding access to websites and online services or charging higher fees for the highest streaming quality.

The bill cleared the Senate 52-47, with all Dems, two Independents and three Republicans supporting it.

Baldwin, D-Madison, touted the victory in a statement, saying in a tweet the House now “needs to take action because innovators, entrepreneurs, small businesses & consumers should have a #FreeandOpenInternet.”

But Johnson, R-Oshkosh, has previously called net neutrality an “overreach” and argued it had led to the creation of bad policy that reduced broadband investments needed to improve internet access in rural Wisconsin.

Dems were able to repeal the rule under the Congressional Review Act, which lets Congress revoke agency rules via a simple majority vote instead of the 60-vote threshold typically required.

See the roll call vote.

— Baldwin and Johnson this week also signed onto a letter calling for fair trade practices for cheese producers.

The two joined 25 other senators in sending off the letter as the U.S. continues renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The letter asks U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to ensure Mexico honors current trade agreements involving the names of types of cheese. The senators expressed concern after Mexico adopted a European Union policy in April that gives EU countries exclusive naming rights to certain foods in Mexico.

The Mexico-EU agreement covers certain food names that would be considered generic in the U.S., according to a press release from Baldwin’s office.  

“Wisconsin cheese making is vital to our state’s economy and our heritage, which is why I am fighting back against any trade proposal that creates an uneven playing field for our Wisconsin businesses to compete,” she said in a statement.

— The National Republican Senate Committee is launching a new social media ad calling on Baldwin to support the confirmation of Gina Haspel to lead the CIA.

The 5-second ad, which is running on Twitter and Facebook statewide, features a cutout of the Madison Dem on one side of the screen, while text on the right side directs viewers to tell Baldwin to vote yes on Haspel.

Baldwin has not yet said whether she will back Haspel’s nomination. A spokeswoman said Baldwin hasn’t yet met with the nominee, because Haspel has cancelled two scheduled meetings. Once they meet, the spokeswoman said, “she will have a position on the nomination.”

An NRSC spokesman didn’t return a question on the size of the buy.

— Johnson this week introduced a bipartisan bill to safeguard buildings against drone threats.

The bill would let the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security protect buildings and assets to address any risks posed by pilotless aircrafts.

Johnson, who chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said in a statement the legislation would help the country “keep up with emergency security threats.”

“The threats posed by malicious unmanned aircraft are too great to ignore,” he said. “It is not enough to just tell drone operators not to fly in certain high-risk areas; we must give federal law enforcement the authority to act if necessary.”

— U.S. Rep. Ron Kind is looking at ways to cut down the national debt.

The La Crosse Dem’s bipartisan legislation, called the Wasteful Defense Spending Act, would create an 11-member commission to review the nation’s defense programs and recommend the elimination of unnecessary ones in a report to Congress. Congress would then have 90 days to vote on a joint resolution to enact the recommendations.

“Year after year, the United States spends billions of taxpayer dollars on wasteful and outdated defense programs, many of which of our military leaders have said they do not want or cannot use,” Kind said in a statement. “That is an unacceptable use of America’s hard-earned tax dollars.”

The bill was co-introduced by Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz.

— U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy has introduced a bipartisan bill that would create a housing voucher pilot program aimed at alleviating poverty.  

Under the bill — from Duffy, R-Wausau, and U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo. — the Housing and Urban Development secretary would be authorized to spearhead the program to encourage families receiving such voucher assistance to move to lower-poverty areas and expand access to opportunity areas, according to the bill text.  

“A major contributor to the generational cycle of poverty is the lack of employment opportunity, and this bipartisan legislation will help people relocate to areas with more opportunities and greater economic freedom,” Duffy said in a statement.

— Duffy in his latest podcast, #Plaidcast, sits down with Gov. Scott Walker at the state GOP convention to talk Star Wars, his favorite Assembly Dem, his social media presence and more.

Hear the podcast.

— U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay, was the fastest male lawmaker in a three-mile fundraising run this week.

Gallagher finished first in the annual run for the second year in a row, with a time of 18:52.

The event is hosted by the American Council of Life Insurers and features runners from the legislative, executive and judicial branches, along with the media, according to a Roll Call report.

Posts of the week

Happy to have have Father-Son Day in DC with Patrick!

A post shared by Rep. Sean Duffy (@repseanduffy) on

ICYMI

Ron Johnson: ‘Give President Trump a great deal of credit’ for summit with North Korean leader

‘Team Terrorists?’ Ron Johnson questions fellow Republican’s accusation against Democrat Tammy Baldwin

“Unprecedented” Outside Spending Floods into Wisconsin to Attack U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin

Republicans put heat on Sen. Tammy Baldwin over Haspel vote

7th CD Democratic primary candidate forum set for May 17 in Cable

Margaret Engebretson looks to unseat Sean Duffy

Rep. Sean Duffy says increase drug price abroad to lower prices in U.S.

Gallagher, Last Year’s ACLI Congressional Winner, Trains for Wednesday’s Race

Ron Kind touts Farm Bill tweaks to ‘work for Wisconsin farmers’

Ron Kind talks farm bill with local farmers

Roll Call: Key votes from the Wisconsin congressional delegation this week

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