DC Wrap

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

This bill can achieve these goals cause it doesn’t just cover tuition. It covers the full cost of attending college, from room and board to books to transportation and more. In reality, tuition is just a small fraction of what it costs to go to college.
– U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, in reintroducing his “Debt-Free College Act.” The bill, which he called “the most comprehensive and progressive legislation yet introduced” on the issue, would cap tuition and fees at public institutions at current levels with yearly adjustments tied to the Consumer Price Index. It would also require states first cover any unmet need for Pell Grant recipients, among other things. See the video.

Figuring out how we push back against the Chinese Communist Party and counter the techno-fascist Maoists in Beijing, that is the real threat we face right now.
– U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher in a speech at CPAC, as quoted in a Washington Examiner article. In his remarks, he said the nation has to win the technology race against China. But he also warned against going “down the road of socialism-light in America,” saying if the U.S. pursues that path, it’ll lose to China. Instead, he said, the nation should embrace free-market principles.  

This week’s news

— Wisconsin Republicans are touting a new Trump administration move to delist the gray wolf in 48 states, after repeated legislative attempts to roll back protections for the animals in certain areas failed in recent sessions.

The Department of Interior announced yesterday it’ll be proposing a rule to remove the wolves from safeguards under the Endangered Species Act in the continental United States.

The effort is similar to legislation U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy introduced last session; it cleared the House but wasn’t taken up in the Senate.

Duffy, R-Wausau, applauded the move, saying it would mean Wisconsin is able to manage its own gray wolf population.

“We know what’s better for our state’s ecosystem better than activist judges in Washington, and Wisconsin farmers deserve to be able to protect their livestock,” he said in a statement.

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, who’s also been vocal in his support for delisting gray wolves, called the announcement a “positive development” but noted it’d likely be challenged in court.  

That means, he said in a statement, passing legislation is “the only way to avoid legal wrangling and provide a clear resolution for Wisconsin.”

Duffy, Johnson and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin all introduced legislation in 2017 that would nix gray wolves as endangered in various Great Lakes states and Wyoming. Johnson and Baldwin last month also introduced similar language as an amendment to the Natural Resources Management Act.  

A spokeswoman for Baldwin, D-Madison, didn’t return a request for comment.

Meanwhile, State Sen. Tom Tiffany applauded the announcement, saying Wisconsin’s gray wolf population over the last few years “has gone unmanaged”

The Minocqua Republican last session introduced a bill that would ban police from enforcing state or federal law aimed at managing Wisconsin’s wolf population. The language would also prohibit the state Department of Natural Resources from spending any money to manage wolves — other than paying claims for any losses they cause.

“Wisconsin has a proven track record of successful wolf management, and it is about time the federal government returned management authority back to the states instead of forcing us to rely on bureaucrats in Washington, D.C.,” Tiffany said in a statement.

The Obama administration in 2012 first delisted the gray wolf in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan. In 2014, the wolves were returned to the federal endangered species list after a lawsuit, resulting in the end of wolf trapping and hunting.   

 

— Baldwin is bringing back a bill aiming to boost air travel safety, particularly for disabled passengers.

The bill, called the “Air Carrier Access Amendments Act,” would build off a law that bars discrimination based on disability during air travel. It looks to ensure new airplanes accomodate disabled individuals and tweak the passenger-filed complaint system, among other things.

Baldwin said in a statement the bill would also aid veterans.

“We need to break down the barriers that individuals with disabilities and our veterans face when they travel,” she said. “Equal access to air travel for individuals with disabilities is about fairness and freedom.”

 

— U.S. Reps. Ron Kind and Jim Sensenbrenner are teaming up to introduce a bill aimed at curbing the spread of CWD  in Wisconsin.

The legislation, which targets chronic wasting disease, would aim to support research on the disease and contain its spread by backing state and tribal efforts taken against it.

Kind, D-La Crosse, and Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, said in a joint statement the bill would help protect and preserve the state’s hunting culture.

“Chronic Wasting Disease has the potential to devastate our deer herds, which is why we’re working together to introduce a bipartisan bill that brings scientists, local officials, and hunters to the table to help manage and prevent the spread of the disease,” Kind said.  

 

— U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher is continuing his push to overhaul Congress with two new bills.

The legislation comes after the Green Bay Republican last month released bills to institute a five-year ban on lobbying for members of Congress and prevent lawmakers from going into recess without approving a balanced budget, among other things.

One bill would prevent members of Congress and others from lobbying on behalf of foreign interests, while the other would require federal political appointees sign an ethics pledge that would set limits on their ability to lobby their former colleagues, thereby codifying the Trump administration’s own pledge.

Gallagher said the effort would help slow “the revolving door between government and special interests.”

“Our most trusted leaders should be held to a higher standard,” he said in a statement. “They should use their positions of power and influence to serve the American People, not foreign interests or the swamp.”

 

Posts of the week

ICYMI

Medical residents in Wisconsin may get boost from proposed legislation

GOP lawmaker tells CPAC: US must win tech race against ‘techno-fascist Maoists’ in China

Rep. Mark Pocan tells Salon: “We’re looking at doing everything we can to remove this president”

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