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
My intention was second and final term. But I have said this was not the reality I thought I’d face. I really thought Scott Walker would be re-elected.
– U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson in an interview with “UpFront” host Adrienne Pedersen. The Oshkosh Republican had previously said it was his intention to retire from the Senate after his term ends in 2022. His name has been floated as a possible GOP gubernatorial candidate. See more from the program, produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.
While, around here, people like to ask the impeachment question, I think it’s less back home now than prior to the report. Because people understand there’s some easy, simple steps we have to do. And the president, again, will really expose himself if he doesn’t cooperate.
– U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, in a Politico interview, where the Congressional Progressive Caucus leader noted the multiple Dem-led House committees’ ongoing investigations.
Thank you @realdonaldtrump for visiting the great state of Wisconsin! The rally was absolutely electric. I’m looking forward to working side-by-side with the President very soon.
– U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wausau, on Twitter after joining President Trump at a rally in Green Bay Saturday. See WisPolitics.com coverage of the event.
Welcome to Wisconsin @potus. Today in Milwaukee I met with folks who have pre-existing health conditions and they want to know why you are working to repeal their care, raise costs, and take away their protections. They said, instead of broken promises how about #ProtectOurCare
– U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, on Twitter.
This week’s news
— U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin says her new bill to expand access to Medicare would represent “a critical step forward” to lowering health care costs and increasing competition.
The Madison Dem, in touting her “Choose Medicare Act,” also slammed congressional Republicans and President Trump for their efforts to undermine the Affordable Care Act — as well as their “failure” to be part of the discussion on upping affordability and health care options.
“It’s yet another example of how Senate Democrats are working to guarantee affordable health care for every American,” she said in a news conference in Washington, D.C. “The choice for the American people couldn’t be more clear: We want to make things better and our Republican colleagues have sadly done everything they can to make things worse.”
The bill, from Baldwin and fellow Dem U.S. Sens. Jeff Merkley, of Oregon, and Chris Murphy, of Connecticut, would allow those not currently enrolled in Medicaid or Medicare to be covered by Medicare. It would also give employers the choice to purchase Medicare for their employees.
Baldwin said the bill is just one route she backs to expand access.
“I have always supported universal health care, and it’s why I support a number of different paths to expand high quality coverage,” she said.
— U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan is calling on William Barr to resign from his post, as he slammed the AG for protecting President Trump “at the expense of the American people.”
The call came Wednesday as Barr was fielding questions from the Senate Judiciary Committee on the recently released report from special counsel Robert Mueller on Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Other members of Congress also urged Barr to step down amid reports Mueller objected to Barr’s characterization of the investigation’s findings. Barr’s initial, four-page letter to Congress in March included few details on Mueller’s conclusions.
Still, Mueller’s findings didn’t reach a conclusion on obstruction of justice and it noted the report itself “does not exonerate” Trump.
Pocan, head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, wrote in a tweet that “Barr lied to Congress and to the American people.”
“His blatant efforts to protect the President – at the expense of the American people – is appalling and he must be held accountable for his actions,” the tweet said.
Barr is the second agency head that Pocan has called on to step down in recent weeks. Last month, Pocan in a column urged Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to resign, slamming her as “fully unfit” to lead the federal agency.
— U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher is looking to make more funding available for states to curb distracted driving.
The Green Bay Republican’s bill would create two new grants states could use to get more funding for the effort. The funding would be provided through existing appropriations.
“By giving states the resources they need to educate drivers about this threat and enforce their laws on distracted driving, the grants created in the SAFE TO DRIVE Act will help states reverse this trend,” he said in a statement.
— Gallagher has introduced a resolution condemning the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka.
The April 21 attacks killed some 250 following a string of explosions at three luxury hotels and three churches, according to national media reports.
Gallagher said in a statement the incident “must be forcefully condemned.”
“Acts of violence against any person of faith, in any country, cannot be tolerated, and demonstrate the need for all of us to unite against extremist ideology,” he said. “I stand with my colleagues against these heinous acts and offer my deepest condolences to the people of Sri Lanka as they recover.”
— U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner is bringing back his bill aiming to provide more assistance to those with disabilities.
Specifically, the bill would allow Medicare to cover complex rehabilitation equipment in a separate category that would then provide targeted coverage for individuals.
Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, said many individuals with cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis and spinal cord industries rely on complex rehabilitation equipment “to meet their needs and function on a daily basis.”
“I’m proud to reintroduce this bipartisan legislation that would allow for targeted coverage and payment policies that address the unique situations of people with severe medical needs,” he said in a statement.