Welcome to our weekly DC Wrap, where we write about Wisconsin’s congressional delegation. Sign up here to receive the newsletter directly.
Quotes of the week, June 22-28
It was a hot mess … to be candid. And I think sorting that out is a very specific skill set that I think may be needed in Milwaukee.
– U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, who spoke critically with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this week about Milwaukee’s handling of its ongoing lead poisoning crisis.
When we, in this democracy, are suggesting that because we disagree with people on political views, on policy views, on philosophical views, that we should resort to violence and harassment and intimidation that’s dangerous for our society, dangerous for our democracy. And she should apologize. And there’s just no place for that in our public discourse.
– House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, who called on Democratic U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters to apologize for urging her supporters to publicly confront and harass members of the Trump administration in response to its “zero tolerance” immigration policy that led to family separations.
This week’s news
— Washington Post reporter James Hohmann says he expects Wisconsin to regain power in the national political scene.
Hohmann said that while the era of the “Wisconsin Mafia” — Gov. Scott Walker, former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and outgoing Speaker Paul Ryan — has ended, Wisconsin has “rising stars” who can help the state take back some power in Congress.
The author of The Daily 202 newsletter at a recent WisPolitcs.com breakfast in D.C. cited U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay, as someone who is viewed highly by conservative radio stations.
“[Gallagher] has a profile, partly because of his background as a Marine, and I think he’s someone who has a bright future in Congress,” Hohmann said.
As for state Dems, Hohmann said there are “a lot” who can be influential but declined to give specific names.
“Wisconsin is going to be so key to the future of the Democratic Party,” he said. “There are a lot of people who can play a role there.”
In terms of the midterm elections, Hohmann said it would be “hard to imagine” Democrats winning the Senate. But he said there is a greater than 50 percent chance Dems gain the majority in the House.
The race for U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin’s seat, he said, has “fallen off the national radar.” Hohmann emphasized the difficulty for Dems in the upcoming Senate elections, noting they will have to defend 10 seats in states won by Trump in the 2016 presidential election.
“There will be such a huge sea change in Washington if Democrats could win the House,” Hohmann said. “It would dramatically alter this whole conversation.”
— President Trump says he will nominate a replacement for retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy from a list of 25 candidates he released last fall that included former Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Diane Sykes.
“It will be somebody from that list,” Trump said Wednesday, according to a pool report, adding the process will “begin immediately.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who refused to call a vote on President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland ahead of the 2016 elections, said on the Senate floor the chamber will vote on Trump’s pick “this fall.”
Trump’s list, which he released in November, includes a mix of state and federal judges, along with U.S. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah.
Sykes, 60, served on the Wisconsin Supreme Court from 1999 to 2004, when President Bush appointed her to the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.
Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, told Bloomberg TV Wednesday he agrees the Senate will move “expeditiously” toward nominating and confirming a justice.
“And by judge we’re talking about an individual that will actually apply the law, not alter it. That’s the classic definition of a judge. And that’s exactly what President Trump has been nominating –those types of individuals — and that’s exactly the types of judges we have been confirming in the Senate,” Johnson said.
U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, said in a statement said this isn’t the “time for a divisive nominee.”
“It’s important that Wisconsinites have an independent Justice who will bring people together, side with them over powerful special interests, and protect the constitutional rights and freedoms of all Americans,” she said.
See the list.
— Members of the state’s congressional delegation are calling on Trump to reconsider his administration’s trade policies after Harley-Davidson announced it plans to move production overseas of motorcycles bound for Europe.
The company’s move was in response to tariffs the European Union placed on U.S. motorcycles following Trump’s tariffs on foreign steel and aluminum.
Trump this week knocked Harley-Davidson on Twitter — including the threat to tax the Wisconsin company “like never before” — ahead of his visit to Wisconsin today for a groundbreaking ceremony at the Foxconn plant in Racine County and a fundraiser earlier this morning.
U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, said the manufacturer’s announcement confirms his “concerns and is a far too predictable outcome of policies that give companies like Harley-Davidson incentives to make their products elsewhere.
“We need to hold China accountable for its trade abuses, but that does not need to come at the expense of American workers and businesses,” he said in a statement.
U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, tweeted this week, “I support better trade deals, not trade wars. Tariffs against our trading partners in Europe do not fix our trade problems, and President Trump’s haphazard approach on tariffs with our allies will hurt Wisconsin’s manufacturing and agriculture economy.”
Meanwhile, U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay, said on Twitter Wednesday he met with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and “urged the administration to re-consider any policy changes that risk forcing great Wisconsin companies, like @harleydavidson, to produce less in our state and more overseas.”
And Dem U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore called on politicians in D.C. to “protect good-paying American jobs instead of throwing them under the bus,” while Republican U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner urged Trump to consider “a more targeted (trade) approach that protects American workers and businesses.”
— Baldwin this week touted the Senate’s passage of the Fiscal Year 2019 Energy & Water Development Appropriations Bill, which included a series of her priorities.
That includes: an amendment that would boost support for medical isotope companies; language that would help prevent Asian Carp from getting to the Great Lakes; an effort to allocate $6.9 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers’ Civil Works program, including repairing harbors in the state; and more.
“I’m urging the President to support these key investments that will protect our Great Lakes and grow our Made in Wisconsin economy,” she said in a statement.
— U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, coming off his trip to the southern border, is calling for the elimination of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
The Town of Vermont Dem said he plans to introduce legislation that would dismantle the agency and create a commission to recommend other immigration enforcement options to Congress. While the commission makes its recommendation, duties handled by ICE would transfer to other federal agencies, under Pocan’s plan.
“President Trump and his team of white nationalists, including Stephen Miller, have so misused ICE that the agency can no longer accomplish its goals effectively,” Pocan said in a statement.
Pocan earlier this month joined U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and other congressional Dems in touring detention facilities in southern Texas.
He cited the trip in his call to eliminate the agency, saying that “during my trip to the southern border, it was clear that ICE … has wreaked havoc on far too many people.”
But state GOP spokesman Alec Zimmerman ripped Pocan for jeopardizing people’s safety.
“Yet again, Democrats are siding with their radically left base over our law enforcement,” he said. “Instead of focusing on how to secure our borders, Pocan is launching a dangerous stunt with no regards for the rule of law or safety of our communities.”
— U.S. Rep. Ron Kind is calling on House leadership to refrain from voting on an “irresponsible, Washington budget” that would cut Social Security and Medicare.
The La Crosse Dem in a letter to Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi warned the version of the fiscal year 2019 budget bill that recently cleared the House Budget Committee would “gut the programs Wisconsinites rely on in their golden years, and should receive no consideration as we start to create our next budget.”
The proposal cleared the committee on a 21-13 party-line vote. It includes cuts to Medicaid, Medicare and welfare and anti-poverty programs, according to national media reports.
— U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore has introduced a bill aiming to prevent using federal dollars to “rip families apart solely based on poverty,” according to a statement from her office this week.
The Milwaukee Dem introduced her “Family Poverty is Not Child Neglect Act” on Wednesday.
“The condition of impoverishment should never be used as justification for tearing children from their parent’s arms,” she said. “The vast majority of children end up in the child welfare system not because of abuse, but because of symptoms of poverty that officials categorize as neglect.”
— U.S. Rep Jim Sensenbrenner and House Speaker Paul Ryan have endorsed U.S. Senate candidate Leah Vukmir, who’s looking to challenge Tammy Baldwin this November.