Welcome to our weekly DC Wrap, where we write about Wisconsin’s congressional delegation. Sign up here to receive the newsletter directly.
NOTE: DC Wrap will not be sent out over the next two weeks. It will return the first week in June, following the Memorial Day recess. Thanks for reading!
Quotes of the week
Unilateral tariffs will not bring China to the negotiating table. Instead of a tariff hike, we need to work together with our trade allies to hold China accountable for their trade practices, and level the playing field for Wisconsin businesses.
– U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, denouncing the Trump administration’s latest tariff increase on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods. The hike, effective May 10, rose duties from 10 percent to 25 percent.
Steele’s intent of the meeting with the State Department was to maximize the impact of the unverified information that he had acquired in an effort to undermine the Trump campaign.
– U.S. Sens. Ron Johnson, chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, and Chuck Grassley, head of the Finance Committee, in a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and FBI Director Christopher Wray requesting documents tied to past British operative Christopher Steele, who compiled a dossier on President Trump. See the letter.
This week’s news
— A new bill from U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson is targeting the processes key federal agencies use to collect sexual violence data.
The bill, from Johnson and fellow U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, would require the head of the Office of Management and Budget to create an interagency working group that would zero in on federal efforts to obtain such data and standardize the process for reporting it.
The legislation is based on recommendations from a summer 2016 Government Accountability Office report. It noted the wide differences in data collection efforts and estimates of sexual violence in 2011, when estimates ranged from 244,190 rape or sexual assault victimizations to 1.93 million victims of rape or attempted rape.
“We must improve the quality and consistency of sexual assault data made available across government agencies,” Johnson said in a statement. “The time to act on the recommendations of our federal watchdog is now.”
A similar bill from last session cleared the chamber via unanimous consent.
— U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin and U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan are teaming up to reintroduce a bill looking to curb harassment and bullying on college campuses.
The legislation would compel colleges and universities to create policies to bar harassment on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability and religion.
Called the Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act of 2019, the legislation is named after a freshman at Rutgers University who died by suicide after being harassed online.
“No student should have to live in fear of being who they are,” Baldwin, D-Madison, said in a statement. “Our schools should not be, and cannot be, places of discrimination, harassment, bullying, intimidation or violence.”
Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, noted there currently aren’t federal protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
“(The bill) ensures that institutions of higher learning are a place of open expression, which celebrate diversity and embrace students from all different backgrounds,” he said.
The legislation was first introduced in 2010, and has been reintroduced every subsequent session.
— Baldwin is also bringing back a bill aiming to safeguard collective bargaining rights for certain first responders.
Baldwin said the legislation, which would apply to police officers, firefighters and EMS workers, would help ensure “their right to workplace protections.”
“They deserve the same essential labor protections that so many other Americans enjoy – the right to form and join unions and the right to collectively bargain,” she said in a statement.
The Madison Dem introduced a similar bill last session, but it didn’t go anywhere.
— U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher is touting his bill to bar Chinese military scientists from receiving U.S. student or research visas.
Those targeted by the Green Bay Republican’s bill would be individuals employed or sponsored by scientific and engineering institutions affiliated with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army.
Gallagher in a statement said the GOP-backed legislation would ensure those individuals aren’t conducting sensitive research in the U.S. to develop new military technologies and other things.
“I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that American innovation benefits the American military–and not our adversaries,” he said.
— U.S. Rep. Ron Kind has been named to a new House rural broadband task force.
The panel aims to craft legislation to expand rural broadband access to end the digital divide between the country’s rural and urban areas by 2025.
Kind, D-La Crosse, said in a statement he’s looking to aid western and central Wisconsin communities through his involvement in the group.
“Wisconsin students, small businesses, and families in rural communities rely on broadband to stay connected in the 21st-century – but many have been left behind,” he said.
— Kind has also introduced a bill to encourage more veterinarians to work in rural areas.
The bill targets the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program. Specifically, it would provide an exemption for the program’s 37 percent federal withholding tax for vets.
“Veterinarians are an important part of a healthy rural and farm economy, but many regions throughout our state are facing a shortage of animal care professionals,” he said in a statement.
Posts of the week
Roll Call: Key votes from the Wisconsin congressional delegation this week
Sen. Tammy Baldwin introduces bill to increase broadband access, especially in Wisconsin
Wisconsin Senator’s bill would ease burden on caregivers
Senate Republicans really don’t want to raise taxes to pay for an infrastructure plan
Federal lawmakers reintroduce bill to protect LGBTQ college students from harassment
Ron Kind’s bill to expand funding for target ranges signed into law
Steil named to task force on financial technology
White House trade leader urges tariff-stricken Wisconsin firms to consider greater context
Trade war causing concern for central Wis. industries
Kyrsten Sinema and Mike Gallagher are still the fastest members of Congress