DC Wrap

Welcome to our weekly DC Wrap, where we write about Wisconsin’s congressional delegation. Sign up here to receive the newsletter directly: https://forms.gle/YLYZtJWHPSt24HhZ7

Quotes of the week

“The reality is courts continue to rule against folk who claim they faced discrimination and hardship to try and appear to be white every single day and burn our hair out.”
-U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, talking to MSNBC about the Crown Act she co-sponsored. It would ban discrimination based on hair.

“You take pictures with all kinds of people in this business … across the political spectrum there are big dollar donors and they get access. It’s the gross part of politics, I don’t like it.”
-U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, on 101.7FM’s Devil’s Advocate Radio discussing why politicians may have pictures with the former businessman Lev Parnas without realizing it.

 

This week’s news

— The Wisconsin House delegation rallied around U.S. Reps. Ron Kind and Jim Sensenbrenner’s bipartisan bill to manage and prevent the spread of chronic wasting disease.

In 2019 alone Wisconsin saw 1,319 deer affected by CWD, and state Department of Natural Resources officials have warned the number may rise this year if preventative measures aren’t taken. 

“As someone who has spent many mornings in a deer stand, I know firsthand how vital it is that we maintain a healthy deer herd across our state,” the La Crosse Dem said in a release.

Kind said CWD has the potential to “devastate” local wildlife, and in turn hurt the outdoor economy many hunters rely on.

“I’m proud to team up with Rep. Sensenbrenner and receive full support from our fellow Wisconsinites to protect our outdoor traditions,” Kind said.

Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, called CWD a “fundamental threat to the health and vibrancy of deer populations in Wisconsin.”  

“We must provide adequate resources to combat this issue before it has a wide-ranging effect on our great state’s economy and recreational traditions,” he said.

The other six members of the Wisconsin House delegation are signed on to the bill as cosponsors.

See the release here.

 

— A proposal to strengthen labor unions passed the House on Thursday on a near-party line vote.

The Protecting the Right to Organize Act. It would: expand penalties for labor law violations; make the requirement or coercion to attend an employer meeting designed to discourage union membership an unfair labor practice; and include prohibitions against replacement of or discrimination against workers who participate in strikes, among other things.

Dems hailed the move as a step away from so-called Right to Work legislation that has been passed in 27 states.

“For far too long, workers have been stripped of their voices, losing their power to organize for better wages and benefits,” U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan said in a statement. “With the PRO Act, we fight back against corporations and anti-union special interests that have attacked and eroded the labor movement for decades.”

But GOP members saw the bill as a step in the wrong direction for American workers.

U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman called provisions in the bill “offensive” and said the legislation would put “miles of red tape on small business franchisees.”

“Under this bill, the employer is forced to hand over the telephone number, the email and the address of each employee to the union,” he said in a statement. “I believe in the importance of protecting people’s privacy. To say that unions have the right to know every member’s home address … I find very offensive.”

The bill will now move to the Senate, where it faces opposition from the Republican majority. 

See Pocan’s release here.

See Grothman’s release here.

 

— Jason Church outraised rival Tom Tiffany in the most recent reporting period ahead of the 7th CD GOP primary in less than a week.

But Tiffany finished the period with more in the bank for the final push, and he’s raised more money overall, according to their filings with the FEC.

Tiffany, a state senator from Minocqua, raised $477,165 between Oct. 1 and Jan. 29 Since getting into the race in September, he’s raised $719,465.

Church, a former aide to U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson and a retired Army captain, raised $658,575 for the reporting period, which covers all of his fundraising activity since getting into the race. 

The two will square off in the Tuesday primary for the northern Wisconsin seat.

On the Dem side, Tricia Zunker, president of the Wausau School Board and an associate justice of the Ho-Chunk Nation Supreme Court, reported $145,066 in receipts on her report. 

In the primary, Zunker will face businessman Lawrence Dale.

 

— Kate Bukowski, who served as Gov. Tony Evers’ D.C. director, has taken a job at the National Governors Association. 

An Evers spokeswoman told WisPolitics.com the guv’s office has not yet hired anyone to replace her.

 

— U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh is traveling to Ukraine along with colleagues Chris Murphy, D-Conn., and John Barrasso, R-Wyo., to meet with President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Zelensky’s dealings with President Trump were at the heart of the impeachment proceedings against the president amid accusations that he pressured the Ukraine president to investigate political rival Joe Biden and his son.

Johnson chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe, while Barrasso and Murphy are members. The three said they’re making the trip to reinforce their support, saying the relationship between two countries is as important now as it ever has.

“The future of Ukraine matters to the United States and we must make sure Ukraine knows that we view them as a strategic ally,” they said in a joint statement.

 

— Johnson and U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley are requesting information on Hunter Biden’s Secret Service protection as part of a probe of “potential conflicts of interest posed by the business activities” of the former vice president’s son.

“We write to request information about whether Hunter Biden used government-sponsored travel to help conduct private business,” the pair wrote on Thursday in a letter to Secret Service Director James Murray.

Johnson, R-Oshkosh, and Grassley, R-Iowa, unveiled their review of Biden’s “business activities in Ukraine and China” during the Obama administration roughly an hour after voting to acquit President Trump on both articles of impeachment.

See the letter here. 

 

— U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore has joined Arizona Republican U.S. Rep. David Schweikert to introduce bipartisan legislation that would end surprise medical billing.

The bill is designed to ensure patients in the middle of treatment can’t be refused further treatment if their “doctor or hospital is terminated from their health plan’s network.” It would require patients to be informed in a timely matter if their doctor or hospital is removed, as well as giving the patients the right to continue to see their doctor for 90 days.

During those 90 days the patient would keep their previous plan and coverage benefits until new care is found.

“As a cancer survivor, I know how important it is to have sustained access to high-quality health care and providers,” Moore said in a release. “For too long, patients have been squeezed by hospitals, physicians and insurers for out-of-network charges.”

Moore says surprise billing “undercuts the healthcare system” and “harms our society’s well being.”

“It can be a terrifying situation for patients when suddenly and unexpectedly they have their previous provider go out-of-network,” Schweikert said. “This is an important fix to be included within the surprise billing package.”

The legislation was included under a larger package named the Consumer Protections Against Surprise Medical Bills Act, introduced by the House Ways and Means committee to eliminate surprise billing.

See the release here.

 

Posts of the week

 

ICYMI

Johnson details effort to shield Sondland from Trump’s retaliation

Center Stage: Tammy Baldwin defends Ron Johnson’s right to the truth

Wis. Dems advance pro-union reforms with an eye toward Nov. elections

U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher received campaign funds from company behind PFAS contamination in Marinette

Brett Blomme Announces Key Endorsement in Race for Judge

WI politicians want Trump to take on rising prescription drug costs in 2020

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