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
“We’re not going to solve this overnight, but we can make some improvement in the situation. We have to start doing something – Congress. The men and women of DHS are doing what you can do with limited resources. Congress has to act and it has to start with an honest and open discussion and conversation.”
– U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, said in opening committee on Wednesday in an attempt to urge Congress to take action in response to the migrant crisis at the southern border. See the release here.
“It’s good @POTUS says he doesn’t want war with Iran, the American people don’t either. The Trump administration should work with our international partners to de-escalate tensions with Iran diplomatically and not escalate conflict in the Middle East militarily.”
– U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, said in a heated tweet directed at President Trump on Saturday. See the tweet here.
“Why is a Congressional pay raise still up for discussion? Until Congress gets its work done, the answer should be clear: no.”
– Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay, weighed in on House discussions of a pay raise. See the tweet here.
This week’s news
— U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson says it’s “well past time” for Congress to address a rapidly increasing influx of Central American migrants at the southern border.
In his opening statement at the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on migrant exploitation, the Oshkosh Republican addressed a photo of a migrant father and his 23-month-old daughter who recently drowned in the Rio Grande.
“I don’t want to see another picture like that on the U.S. border,” Johnson said. “I hope that picture alone will catalyze this Congress, this Senate, this committee to do something.”
The Senate approved a bipartisan $4.6 billion package to provide emergency humanitarian aid for the southern border. This comes after the U.S. House of Representatives voted largely along party lines on Tuesday to pass a similar package.
The House version includes more restraints on how the Trump administration could use the funds. The two measures need to be reconciled before heading to President Trump’s desk.
Media reports from Washington indicate congressional leaders hope to settle on a compromise before lawmakers leave town for the July 4 recess.
See the release here:
–Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay, compared former Gov. Scott Walker’s challenge of standing out on a crowded debate stage during his 2016 presidential run to this week’s 2020 Democratic debates.
During an interview on the “The Hugh Hewitt Show,” Gallagher discussed his time as a national security adviser for Walker and his role in debate prep. Gallagher recalled the simulations Walker’s team practiced in the weeks leading up to the debate, adding he sees the Dem debates this week as far more difficult in terms of “the sheer size of the… stage.”
“It’s gonna be hard to get noticed. So, I think this will create a bizarre pressure to have a viral moment, and if people overplay their hand in that respect, I think their just gonna look foolish,” Gallagher said.
He added he expects Dems will go “overboard” in their arguments and doesn’t see this faring well in the long run. The Green Bay Republican stressed the need instead to have well-timed and thought-out arguments.
–U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin and a bipartisan coalition in the Senate secured an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act protecting rail and bus manufacturing from Chinese imports.
While NDAA is currently being considered on the Senate floor, the amendment would prevent federal funds from being used by transit agencies to purchase rail cars or buses manufactured by Chinese state-owned, controlled, or subsidized companies.
“China has made clear its intent to dismantle U.S. railcar and bus manufacturing in its ‘Made in China 2025’ plan—our economic and national security demands that we address Chinese attempts to dominate industries that build our nation’s critical infrastructure,” said Baldwin.
Baldwin charged the Chinese government uses various state subsidies and predatory practices to support its market ascension in specific sectors of the United States’ economy, two of these being rail and bus manufacturing.
The amendment would also ensure transit agencies develop and execute a cybersecurity plan.
See the release here:
–Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, introduced a bill with Wisconsin House Republicans that would allow students to obtain a bachelor’s degree in less than four years if they can demonstrate mastery of course material.
The Competency-based Education Act seeks to alleviate student debt, which sits at $30,000 on average in Wisconsin by the time a student graduates. Reps. Gallagher and Steil are both cosponsors on the House bill.
“Making sure our students receive the best education possible to prepare them as future leaders of the country has long been one of my top priorities,” said Grothman. “Equally as important is giving students educational options that do not leave them with a mountain of debt.”
The CBE program allows a student who demonstrates mastery of the subject to take an exam early and complete the course ahead of schedule, leaving them time to begin another class. Student could possibly complete several classes in the CBE program within the same time it takes a student in a traditional college model to complete one.
See the release here:
–U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, reintroduced legislation to restore merit to members of the U.S. armed forces discharged due to sexual orientation.
The Restore Honor to Service Members Act would correct the military records of service members discharged due to their sexual orientation to reflect their service and reinstate the benefits they earned.
“We must correct the wrongs that the government committed when it dishonorably discharged veterans from the armed forces due to sexual orientation and ensure that these veterans receive the recognition and benefits they deserve,” said Pocan, Co-Chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus.
Over 100,000 Americans since World War II are estimated to have been discharged from the military because of their sexual orientation and many of these individuals are disqualified from accessing certain benefits due to their inability to claim veteran status. A negative discharge can prevent some veterans from voting or make it more difficult for them to acquire civilian employment.
Pocan reintroduced the bill with U.S. Reps. Katie Hill, D-Calif., alongside U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.
See the release here:
Posts of the week
Had a great time at the Racine County Breakfast on the Farm! pic.twitter.com/cGBjN3FXmL
— Bryan Steil (@RepBryanSteil) June 22, 2019
Reducing poverty is a moral imperative. I met with members of @UniteThePoor, @MomsRising and Every Mom is a Working Mom earlier this week to discuss ways to reform TANF and remedy child poverty. pic.twitter.com/QOW8xNMt46
— Rep. Gwen Moore (@RepGwenMoore) June 23, 2019
Honored to be part the ribbon cutting ceremony today for @DHSgov's new headquarters at the St. Elizabeths campus. Cannot express how grateful all of us are for the courageous men and women of Homeland Security. pic.twitter.com/pc4DTwsIjb
— Senator Ron Johnson (@SenRonJohnson) June 21, 2019
One of the best things about going to a Breakfast on the Farm in Wisconsin is that you get to have ice cream for breakfast. Just another example of why Wisconsin is awesome! pic.twitter.com/W3KFnkczvE
— Rep. Mike Gallagher (@RepGallagher) June 23, 2019