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Quotes of the week, Feb. 9-15
It’s just further example of the dysfunction of this place. It’s ridiculous, isn’t it?
– U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, in the New York Times on U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., holding up the vote on a government funding bill. Johnson ultimately voted against the bill, although U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, voted for it. It cleared the Senate early Friday morning 71-28.
This bill paves the way for an omnibus spending bill, funds community health centers, disaster relief, the opioid epidemic, veterans, and rural broadband. Although Democrats have long fought for the inclusion of these provisions, at the end of the day, it simply wasn’t enough to overlook what was excluded.
– U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, in a statement saying she voted against the government funding bill because it didn’t include any provisions to help DREAMers. Moore joined all Wisconsin House Dems in voting against the bill, which passed the House on a 240-186 vote and ended a brief government shutdown.
This week’s news
— President Trump released his 2019 budget request earlier this week, and Wisconsin congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle have weighed in.
Dem Mark Pocan wrote in a tweet that the president’s budget proposal does little for the middle class.
“Rather than support an economy that strengthens the middle class, the promise of a safe and secure retirement, and the idea that every American should have access to lifesaving care, the #TrumpBudget attacks programs that everyday Americans rely upon,” the town of Vermont Dem wrote.
Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher came out against what he calls “a massive funding cut” to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, a program aimed at protecting the Great Lakes ecosystem. Trump’s budget calls for reducing funding for the program from $300 million to $30 million next year.
“We cannot afford to lose GLRI’s help in the fight for clean water. In Wisconsin alone, the Great Lakes contribute over $1.4 billion to our economy and support more than 8,000 jobs. Green Bay and Lake Michigan are some of Northeast Wisconsin’s most treasured assets, and I’ll continue to fight on their behalf until the necessary funding is secured. Future generations are depending on it,” Gallagher, R-Green Bay, said in a statement.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, however, expressed nothing but support for the budget proposal, has he praised the president’s focus on improving American infrastructure and reflected on the recently passed tax bill.
“This budget lays out a thoughtful, detailed, and responsible blueprint for achieving our shared agenda. It builds on last week’s budget agreement by focusing on rebuilding our national defense and promoting a stronger economy. It seeks to further improve services for our veterans, and expand access to resources for fighting the opioid epidemic,” Ryan, R-Janesville, said in a statement.
Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, took to Twitter to call out the budget proposal for its various cuts to safety nets.
“The @realDonaldTrump administration just proposed a budget with devastating cuts to #Medicare, #Medicaid, #SNAP & other critical social programs. The plan represents numerous broken promises & sends a clear message to poor communities: You don’t matter,” Moore wrote.
“Everybody wanted Foxconn,” Trump told Walker. “Frankly, they weren’t going to come to this country. I hate to say it, if I didn’t get elected, they wouldn’t be in this country. They would not have done this in this country. I think you know that very well.”
Walker and several other governors and local officials arrived in Washington today to discuss Trump’s $1.7 trillion infrastructure plan. States, municipalities and the private sector would be expected to pay the bulk of the funding.
During the meeting, Walker touted work on I-94 north-south the state is undertaking as part of the Foxconn incentive package. Walker said with the help of federal infrastructure money “we can finish off the rest” with an ideal completion date before the fall of 2020, “a date I’m sure you’re interested in.” Trump would be up for re-election that fall.
— A new joint fundraising committee from U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman and the state GOP is drawing fire from likely Dem challenger Dan Kohl.
The committee, called Stop J Street, was started Feb. 6 and takes aim at Kohl. He most recently served on a PAC for J Street, a group that bills itself as The Political Home for Pro-Israel, Pro-Peace Americans in the Washington, D.C. area.
Stop J Street, according to the state GOP, is an attempt to “highlight Kohl’s out-of-touch behavior with voters from the 6th CD and his record as a Washington insider.”
“J-Street co-founder and former lobbyist Dan Kohl has moved to Wisconsin with the goal of buying a Congressional seat to push his radical foreign policy agenda,” spokesman Alec Zimmerman said. “Kohl and J-Street spent years putting dangerous Obama-era foreign policy goals — like the Iran Deal that sent piles of cash to a terrorist backing anti-American regime — ahead of our national security and the safety of Wisconsin families.”
A recent Politico report also noted the committee was started days before the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual leadership summit and “is intended to appeal to conservative Jewish donors who loathe J Street.”
But Kohl campaign manager Rick Coelho chalked up the committee’s formation to Grothman’s “difficulty raising money.”
“We are certainly well aware of the Glenn’s difficulty raising money, but maybe the reason for that is because he spends his time on divisive partisan politics instead of solutions for the people of the 6th district,” Coelho told WisPolitics.com.
Kohl has outraised Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, for three straight fundraising quarters since getting into the race in the beginning of June as the second quarter fundraising period was already nearly over.
Over the last three months of the year, Kohl pulled in $329,212 over the period, compared with Grothman’s $239,287.
A spokeswoman for Grothman’s campaign didn’t return a request for comment.
— U.S. Rep. Ron Kind this week called on the Walker administration to address the shortage of IV bags in Wisconsin.
The La Crosse Dem in a letter this week to Food and Drug Administration head Scott Gottlieb said it was “crucial” the FDA respond to the situation “given the intensity of the current flu season.”
The shortage has continued months after Hurricane Maria damaged major manufacturers of IV bags in Puerto Rico.
“Given the concerns raised by health care providers in Wisconsin and across the country, I urge you to use every authority at your disposal to address this crisis,” Kind wrote, adding he would also like to see a plan to “address the long-term IV fluid shortage across the country.”
— Kind has also introduced a bill aimed at creating more job training opportunities for state students.
The bill would establish a grant program to encourage businesses to set up partnerships with schools to start job training programs for high-demand industries.
“Our top priority must be providing young Wisconsinites with the skills they need to fill good-paying jobs,” Kind said in a statement. “Many Wisconsin schools are doing great work providing students with hands-on experience, and I look forward to working with them to increase job training opportunities.”
Posts of the week
— Rep. Glenn Grothman (@RepGrothman) February 14, 2018