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

“Today the Supreme Court’s decision strikes yet another blow against official discrimination against the LGBTQ community. Right on SCOTUS — keep fighting, the struggle continues.”
-Dem U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore on the historic decision by the Supreme Court Monday that declared workplace discrimination based on sexual oriendation unconstitutional.

“There are so many unanswered questions that the American public deserves the truth to … we need to figure out who knew what, at what time.”
-U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson on Fox News discussing his committee’s investigation into the transition of power between the Obama and Trump administrations.

This week’s news

— U.S. Rep. Tom Tiffany says his first priority after being sworn in as a member of Congress roughly one month ago was to fill out his staff in order to be able to respond to constituent needs.

“My focus, first of all, was to get a good staff in my offices put together, both in district as well as out in Washington,” he told WisPolitics.com. “That was the first thing that I wanted to do because more than anything, the most important thing we do is constituent service.”

Tiffany also shared details about a trip last week to the Arizona border and said he wants to focus on addressing regulatory overreach for the remainder of the House’s legislative session.

 

— U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin on Wednesday slammed President Trump’s response to Black Lives Matter protests, trade wars early in the year and COVID-19.

In an interview with state Dem Party Chair Ben Wikler, Baldwin mentioned the scene that unfolded in Washington D.C. last week. She said police and federal agents were “turned against” peaceful protesters, using tear gas to allow the president to visit a nearby church.

“He needs to listen, have empathy and try to understand what protesters are saying,” said Baldwin, D-Madison. “Don’t you dare ever conceive of having the U.S. military on U.S. soil against our own citizens who are trying to voice their opinion.”

Baldwin touted a police reform bill led by the Congressional Black Caucus as a piece of legislation that would create “meaningful change.” The bill proposes banning chokeholds, creating a national police misconduct registry, mandatory racial bias training, and anti-lynching legislation among other changes. 

Senate Republicans on Wednesday put out their own police reform bill that Baldwin said “will help but it won’t be enough.”

“We have to press for lasting change,” Baldwin said. “We have a lot more to do.”

Baldwin also called Trump’s trade wars “disastrous” for Wisconsin farms and businesses and said the problems it created have only been exacerbated by COVID-19.

According to the Madison Dem, Wisconsin had lost 2,180 dairy cow herds and 23.4 percent of its small farms under the Trump administration — all before the pandemic hit in March. Many countries that pulled out of dairy deals with farms in Wisconsin have found new suppliers, and Baldwin said chances that their business returns are slim.

“It may be years before we regain the foothold we had around the world prior to those trade wars,” she said.

Republican National Committee spokesman Chris Walker fired back, “While Joe Biden and his Wisconsin Democrat allies are focused on policies that would destroy thousands of Wisconsin jobs, President Trump is dedicated to leading the great American comeback through the passage of key legislation like the CARES Act and the Payback Protection Program that has supported over 81,000 small businesses in Wisconsin.”

During the pandemic, Baldwin says the first round of PPP spending worked mostly for big banks and their customers. She called the application process “extremely complicated” and said some business owners even decided to forego their portion of the loans because they couldn’t understand the form.

“Dairy farms were almost completely excluded,” Baldwin said. “Basing loans on payroll doesn’t work for family farms, because many don’t have a payroll in the first place. There is no adequate oversight [for issues] because Trump refuses to hire an independent auditor.”

She said Senate Dems are working to include more funding for community businesses and banks in the next round of funding that is released.

Watch the town hall here.

 

— National media reported over the weekend that Baldwin is among those who have been interviewed by Biden’s team in the presumptive nominee’s search for a running mate.

The New York Times described the Madison Dem as a “lower-profile” candidate who is among those “advancing steadily.” The Associated Press, however, reported Biden has narrowed his search to a half-dozen candidates; Baldwin wasn’t one of them.

Baldwin, the first openly gay candidate elected to the U.S. Senate, won her 2018 reelection by more than 10 points in one of the top swing states this fall and has a national fundraising network.

 

— U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, said a de-escalation training provision she has added to a bill on police brutality could help prevent officer-involved deaths. But U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, called the bill a “disaster” that will lead to timid police forces.

The Congressional Black Caucus has introduced the “Justice in Policing Act” following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Floyd died after an officer kneeled on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

“We know that police are trained to shoot, 59 hours of that, another 48 hours on tactical principles, and get only eight hours, eight hours of voluntary training often, on de-escalation,” Moore said in an interview aired Sunday on “UpFront,” produced in partnership with WisPolitics.com.

Grothman took issue with the bill’s proposed reform of “qualified immunity” for police officers. Getting rid of qualified immunity, he said, is “going to make very timid policemen.”

“I don’t want to do anything to penalize the good cops, and this bill would penalize the good cops in a big way. It would be a disaster,” Grothman said.

See more here.

 

— Dem 1st CD candidate Roger Polack plans to challenge the state Elections Commission’s decision to grant ballot access to primary rival Josh Pade.

Polack challenged a number of signatures collected on Pade’s nomination papers, including 16 signatures collected at a drive-up signing event that Polack claimed were invalid because Pade’s wife, who was not at the event, signed as the circulator.

Pade in a response brief admitted his wife was not at the event and she had signed the papers erroneously.

Commissioners voted to strike those 16 signatures and 10 others, but also voted to reinstate 19 signatures on Pade’s forms that staff initially ruled were invalid. That left Pade with 1,014 signatures — 14 more than the minimum threshold to make the ballot as a congressional candidate.

See more here.

 

— Wisconsin’s two openly gay federal lawmakers praised the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision that workplace discrimination protections apply to sexual orientation and gender identity.

But both U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, and U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, said there was more work to be done.

Baldwin in a tweet said the Supreme Court’s 6-3 decision that the Civil Rights Act of 1964’s ban on sex discrimination in the workplace covered sexual orientation and gender identity is “a huge step forward for #LGBTQ equality in America.”

“We must keep marching for full equality for every #LGBTQ American across our country and work to pass the #EqualityAct in the Senate,” she said.

See more here.

 

— Cheryl Sensenbrenner on Monday passed away in Alexandria, Va., according to the office of U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner. She was 69.

Cheryl Sensenbrenner was the daughter of former Wisconsin Attorney General and U.S. Judge Robert Warren and Laverne Voagen Warren. She married Jim Sensenbrenner March 26, 1977, while the Menomonee Falls Republican was in the state Legislature. He won a seat in Congress in 1978.

The office of Sensenbrenner, who is not seeking reelection this fall, said arrangements were being made for a private service in Wisconsin.

See the release here.

 

— U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher helped introduce a resolution Monday that designates July 22, 2020, as “Glioblastoma Awareness Day.” Glioblastoma is an aggressive, difficult to treat brain tumor that results in the death of nearly 10,000 Americans every year.

See the release here.

 

— Grothman announced last week that he will now serve as Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform’s Subcommittee on National Security. This makes the Glenbeulah Republican the top Republican on the Subcommittee.

See the release here.

 

Posts of the week

 

ICYMI

Cheryl Sensenbrenner, wife of Congressman James Sensenbrenner, remembered as advocate for the disabled
“We have much more to defend” Sen. Baldwin, Rep. Pocan respond to SCOTUS LGBTQ ruling
‘UPFRONT’ recap: Wisconsin lawmakers debate Justice in Policing Act
Police reform plans call for bipartisan support, ‘accountability for discipline’
Gallagher: Calls to defund police ‘not a serious position,’ seeks bipartisan police reforms, de-escalation
Ron Kind: Congressman ready to assist farmers

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