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

“I know the strength that Black Lives Matter had in this last election, I know it’s a group that doesn’t like the old-fashioned family.”
– U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, on the House floor while referring to a “marriage penalty” in the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill.

“How dare you say that we are not interested in families in the Black community. That is outrageous. That should be stricken down.”
– Del. Tracey Plaskett, D-U.S. Virgin Islands, in response. 

This week’s news

— U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore says the House police reform bill named after George Floyd will have a hard time making it through the Senate, but she said the measure will “not be in Mitch McConnell’s graveyard.”

The Milwaukee Dem during a WisPolitics.com-Milwaukee Press Club virtual luncheon today said Republicans are mounting fierce opposition to the bill after it passed the House, but she thinks the bill will “see the light of day” when it gets heard in Senate committees. However, she said that opposition will make it hard to move the bill through the Senate. 

But she said the bill is important for police accountability and reducing the number of Black people who die or are harmed at the hands of police. 

“All we want with the George Floyd justice bill is for police to stop killing Black people out of hand without any justification,” Moore said.

She said a provision in the bill that would ban chokeholds is important because Black people just like Floyd end up dying because of them. 

“Certainly if you can’t preserve someone’s life, we get that,” Moore said. But she added Floyd should not have died. An officer charged in Floyd’s death is taking place now in Minneapolis.

She said provisions in the police reform bill would have prevented Floyd’s death and the deaths of other Black people.

“I am not an expert on police tactics, but I do know there are ways for police to restrain people without killing them,” she said. 

Watch the luncheon.

 

— She also slammed Republicans who opposed the pandemic relief bill because many of them also supported a 2017 bill that cut taxes by $1.9 trillion. 

She said legislators who opposed the more recent $1.9 trillion bill because they felt it spent too much money were being hypocritical. She said much of that money is slated to go to people in lower income brackets while the 2017 tax cuts primarily went to businesses and people who made more than $75,000 per year. 

Moore also advocated increasing the minimum wage despite the U.S. Senate removing a provision from the latest $1.9 trillion bill. 

“If you go to work, at a minimum you should be able to afford rent, food and maybe be able to put a little Tonka truck under the Christmas tree,” she added. 

Watch the luncheon.

 

— Wisconsin’s House delegation voted along party lines to send the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill to President Biden.

The House voted 220-211 yesterday to pass the American Rescue Plan Act, sending it to Biden’s desk for a signature. Dems supported the bill while Republicans and Jared Golden, D-Maine, voted against it.

If signed, the bill would send roughly $5.5 billion to fund Wisconsin state and local government agencies as well as nearly $200 million for capital projects.

The relief bill also includes $1,400 direct relief checks, increased child tax credits, temporary increases in unemployment benefits plus funds for coronavirus vaccine distribution and vaccine 

U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson split on the bill, which cleared the Senate early Saturday morning.

Baldwin said the bill helps Wisconsin families, schools, workers and small businesses.

“The American Rescue Plan is the support Wisconsin needs right now to help us get past this public health crisis and move our economy forward,” she said.

Johnson argued the federal government should focus on the $1 trillion in unspent funds from previous bills first and the additional aid could spark inflation.

“This is not Covid relief – it is a massive debt burden that further mortgages our children’s future,” Johnson said, calling it “unneeded and unwise.”

See the roll call.

See more here.

 

— New language in the pandemic relief bill would likely mean about 195,000 fewer Wisconsin filers getting $1,400 relief checks, according to figures from the state Department of Revenue.

Still, more than 3.2 million filers are in line for the stimulus money under the Senate version of the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill the House is taking up this week.

The Senate lowered the annual income caps for people who would receive checks to $80,000 from $100,000 for individual filers and to $160,000 from $200,000 for joint filers.

At the request of WisPolitics.com, the DOR provided income figures for 2019, the latest year available. They showed 1.4 million individual filers and 1.8 million individuals filing jointly would receive checks under the Senate version of the bill.

See more here.

 

— The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is knocking Johnson in a new digital ad for his opposition to the COVID-19 bill while “our communities are still suffering.”

The DSCC said it’s part of a five-figure buy in Wisconsin and Florida targeting Johnson and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. The ads are running on YouTube.

The text on the screen in the ad says Johnson voted against $1,400 relief checks, increasing access to vaccinations, local funding to safely reopen schools, and aid for small businesses and restaurants.

See more here.

 

— The conservative American Action Network again hit U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, on the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 bill before it went back to the House.

The latest digital ad is an addition to a previous campaign the group had announced targeting Dem House members. AAN added the digital ad knocking Kind and another hitting U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, D-Maine, pushing the overall campaign into the six figures. Along with the two new digital ads, the group said it’s doing digital search advertising in 11 districts and phone calls in 52.

The narrator in the spot says Kind’s “party bosses” want his vote for the bill that they say is for COVID, but less than 10 percent goes to public priorities such as vaccines. The narrator adds “a freight train of frivolous spending” includes $350 billion for bailouts of mismanaged states such as New York and California.

“Tell Kind hit the brakes on Pelosi’s plan,” the narrator says. “It’s too costly, too liberal, too corrupt.”

See the ad.

 

— The House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday, which would expand labor union rights.

Wisconsin’s delegation joined the 225-206 vote almost along party lines with Dems in favor, most Republicans opposed and U.S. Rep. Tom Tiffany, R-Minocqua, not voting. The bill would expand various labor protections related to workers’ rights to organize and collective bargaining if it passes the Senate and President Biden signs it. 

A Tiffany spokesperson told WisPolitics he would have voted against the bill, but he was unable to attend the vote because of a schedule conflict.

U.S. Rep. Scott Fitzgerald tried to amend that bill in the Dem-run House to prevent member dues from being used for political purposes.

The Juneau Republican said he wanted to amend the Protecting the Right to Organize Act to stop unions from spending money they collect from member fees or dues on non-collective bargaining matters. 

That amendment did not make it into the bill before the House passed it. 

“Workers across Wisconsin, and the country, pay annual union dues to labor organizations in exchange for representation, not to line the pockets of politicians whose political positions do not represent their views.”

However, U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan during the same session slammed Republicans for “trying to falsely rebrand themselves as the party of working people.”

The Town of Vermont Dem in a short speech on the floor said Republicans have done nothing to show they care about working families, and those families should look to Dems for support. 

“Please, if you are the party of working people, then I am a stunt double doppelganger for Brad Pitt. I hope you enjoyed me in the ‘Fight Club.’”

See the Fitzgerald release.

See the Pocan release.

See the roll call.

 

— A conservative attorney is alleging private groups ran the November election in Green Bay after the city received $1.6 million from the Center for Tech and Civic Life to help cover the costs of putting on an election during a pandemic.

The city has rejected the suggestion that it ceded control of the election to any private entities.

Erick Kaardal, an attorney for the Wisconsin Voters Alliance, argued to the Assembly Elections and Campaign Committee yesterday that accepting the private funds allowed outside groups to run the city’s election.

See more here.

 

— The U.S. Supreme Court has declined, without comment, to hear former President Trump’s appeal of a 7th Circuit ruling rejecting his attempt to overturn Wisconsin’s election results both on the merits and because it was filed too late.

The suit was the last action pending before the U.S. Supreme Court over Wisconsin’s election results. Over the past two weeks, the court has also refused to hear Trump’s appeal of a state Supreme Court ruling as well as a lawsuit that former Trump attorney Sidney Powell filed.

The court in recent weeks has refused to hear a series of appeals related to the 2020 election, largely without detailing why.

In the case, Trump claimed decisions made by the Wisconsin Elections Commission and other officials went beyond what the state Legislature authorized in the statutes and the results should be overturned.

See more here.

 

— Dem U.S. Senate candidate Tom Nelson, a former state lawmaker who is now the Outagamie County executive, pledged to run a 72-county campaign in his effort to defeat Republican incumbent Johnson.

On Twitter, Nelson recently accused Johnson of “inciting an insurrection and being a traitor.” Nelson has put up a billboard labeling Johnson “Treason Johnson” and calling on him to resign.

“We’re not going to hold back,” Nelson told “UpFront.”

“We are going to make it very, very clear that this type of behavior from someone like Ron Johnson is completely unacceptable,” Nelson said. “These are things that voters need to know and things that will weigh heavily in people’s minds when they do go to vote next year.”

Nelson also has written a book. WisOpinion.com features an excerpt from Nelson’s new book, “One Day Stronger.” 

Read the excerpt

 

— Wisconsin’s U.S. senators voted along party lines confirming the next secretary of Housing and Urban Development and the next administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. 

Baldwin supported nominating Marcia Fudge as next secretary of HUD in a 66-34 Tuesday vote and she supported Michael Regan as the administrator of the EPA in another 66-34 vote with Johnson opposing both. 

Regan is the first Black man to lead the EPA and Fudge is the first Black woman to become secretary of HUD in more than 40 years. 

 

— But both Johnson and Baldwin voted in favor of confirming Merrick Garland as the next U.S. attorney general. 

The two joined a 70-30 vote confirming the former chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.

Posts of the week

 

ICYMI

Democrats eager to unseat Ron Johnson in 2022 flag his outspoken opposition to COVID relief plan

Wisconsin’s senators share views on COVID-19 relief bill vote

House OKs George Floyd Act as Democrats avoid ‘defund’ clash

Capital City Sunday: Grothman and Pocan on sweeping voting rights bill, ending the filibuster

Grothman’s Black Lives Matter comments during COVID-19 relief bill debate provoke backlash

Milwaukee set to receive $405 million as part of COVID-19 stimulus package

Student Association meets with Representative Ron Kind and Violence Prevention Specialist Blythe McConaughey

GOP Lawmakers Push For Oversight Of Wisconsin’s Federal COVID-19 Aid

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