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’m going to make the Senate clerk read the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion bill. All several hundred pages of it. Then I’m going to offer amendments. Many amendments. We need to highlight the abuse. This is not a COVID relief bill. It’s a boondoggle for Democrats.”
-U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, ahead of a debate on the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill.

“The new QAnon vibe on this body has gone too far. For many in this chamber, this isn’t a debate about whether or not you should be legally discriminated against for who you love. You won’t hear that debate because they can’t win on hate alone. The public doesn’t agree with them. So instead, some are debating that this bill discriminates based on religion, which it doesn’t, because it treats everyone the same under the law.”
-U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, on Republican colleagues’ resistance to the Equality Act.

This week’s news

— U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Allouez, says a Dem bill to change election and campaign finance laws is “insanity” as the bill heads to the Senate. 

The bill passed the House last night in a 220-210 vote with Wisconsin’s delegation voting along party lines, Democrats in favor and Republicans opposed. 

Gallagher told WisPolitics.com he strongly opposes the bill ahead of a Senate hearing on the bill. Gallagher called for more transparency in elections across the board, but said states should decide how to achieve that clarity. He added he hopes the Senate votes against the bill because he feels it works to limit freedom of speech, will federalize the election process and cost taxpayers a lot of money. He also said the bill would weaken states’ voter ID laws. 

The bill includes a host of provisions such as:

*establishing independent redistricting commissions in states to draw new congressional districts.
*creating a voluntary federal match program for candidates for president and Congress. For every dollar candidates raise from donations up to $200, the federal government would match it six times over through money generated off a new fee on criminal and civil fines and other penalties.
*requiring super PACs and other political organizations to disclose their donors.
*requiring candidates for president and vice president to disclose 10 years of their tax returns.

“It’s pure insanity, and I really hope they step back from the ledge here,” he said, referring to the Senate, where the bill would need 60 votes to pass. 

The three-term congressman slammed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., saying she rammed the bill through the House without sending it to any committees for review and making it difficult for legislators to offer amendments. 

Dems say the bill would make voting easier and help eliminate gerrymandered districts, arguing measures to create tougher voter ID laws and absentee ballot restrictions in several states, such as Wisconsin, disproportionately hurt people of color.  

Gallagher added he supports Wisconsin’s right to have same-day voter registration, but the federal government should not tell other states to follow suit. And while he is in favor of making voting easier and increasing voter turnout across the nation, he said states should have the authority to make that happen, not the federal government. 

See the bill.

Listen to the interview:

 

— Gallagher also on the call said he is reintroducing a bill to increase the U.S. Coast Guard’s ice-breaking capacity in the Great Lakes. 

He said the bill, which was also reintroduced by the U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, would codify the Coast Guard’s mission in the northern great lakes of keeping shipping lanes open while providing them more funding to purchase a new icebreaking ship and increase operations. 

Gallagher told WisPolitics increasing those ice-breaking efforts would “lift all ships” by helping businesses around the Midwest that rely on the Great Lakes for shipping.

Baldwin said the bill works to “support our maritime industry, mitigate devastating climate-related events and protect our Great Lakes for generations to come.”

See Baldwin’s release

See Gallagher’s release.

Listen to the interview: 

 

— U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, was one of two House Dems who voted against a police reform bill named after George Floyd. 

The House still passed the bill to the Senate on a 220-212 vote. 

But the former assistant district attorney said he voted against it because “battling systemic racism goes beyond reforming law enforcement practices.” 

The bill would ban no-knock warrants and chokeholds, eliminate qualified immunity and prohibit racial profiling among other things.

Kind said he was disappointed the bill didn’t increase resources for de-escalation, implicit bias and diversity training. 

“We also need to ensure that good officers are not subjected to frivolous lawsuits, which may force them to leave their profession and make the recruitment of good people into law enforcement more difficult,” Kind said.

 

— A super PAC that backs House Republicans is singling out Kind as a top target in 2022 and suggesting “star Navy Seal Derrick Van Orden should seek a rematch.”

In a new memo, the Congressional Leadership Fund laid out the path for Republicans to net the five seats they need next fall to win back control of the House.

To do that, the PAC noted the successes that Republicans had flipping 15 seats last fall with candidates who were women, minorities or veterans.

See more here

 

— The U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear a lawsuit former Donald Trump attorney Sidney Powell filed seeking to overturn Wisconsin’s presidential election results.

The court didn’t comment on its reasoning for not taking the case, one of more than five dozen the court rejected Monday.

The original lawsuit was riddled with errors, including seeking video footage from an arena in Detroit where ballots were counted as part of its effort to overturn Wisconsin’s results. The suit also originally listed former 3rd CD GOP candidate Derrick Van Orden as a plaintiff even though he hadn’t given the legal team permission to include him.

See more here.

 

— U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, is one of nearly two dozen House progressives urging the Biden administration to ignore the Senate parliamentarian’s ruling that a provision in the COVID-19 bill to raise the minimum wage violates that chamber’s rules.

The House passed a COVID bill that includes hiking the minimum wage to $15 an hour even though the Senate parliamentarian had ruled the provision violates the Senate’s Byrd Rule.

In a letter, the House Dems argued Vice President Harris has the power to ignore the parliamentarian’s ruling. They cited examples from the 1960s and 1970s in which then-Vice presidents Humphrey and Rockefeller did so.

See more here

 

— Kind also slammed Wisconsin’s state legislators, calling the state’s minimum wage “an embarrassment.”

“Our state Legislature in Wisconsin has refused to take any action,” Kind said. “$7.25 an hour is an embarrassment.”

The congressional package is unlikely to include the previously mentioned $15-an-hour minimum wage increase after a Senate parliamentarian ruling last night that keeps such a provision from passing under budget reconciliation rules.

See more here

 

— Wisconsin’s House delegation split along party lines on the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 bill going to the Senate.

All three Wisconsin Dems backed the bill, which cleared the chamber on a 219-212 vote.

“This legislation is a direct reflection of what people back home want Congress to do, and we are working to meet the urgency of this moment,” said U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse. “The American Rescue Plan will deliver much-needed aid to families and small businesses across the state, ramp up vaccine production, help us beat the COVID-19 virus, and get our economy back on track. Time is of the essence, and Wisconsinites need relief now.”

See more here.

 

— The DCCC has added Kind to its list of incumbents of top “protects” in the 2022 cycle.

The La Crosse Dem is one of four members on the 2022 list that weren’t part of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s Frontline program in the 2020 cycle.

The addition comes after Kind in November won his closest reelection bid since winning the seat in 1996, beating Republican Derrick Van Orden by 2.7 percentage points.

See more here.

 

— The conservative American Action Network continues to target Kind through digital ads.

The latest spot focuses on HR 1, a sweeping campaign finance bill Dems plan to vote on that includes provisions on absentee voting, automatic voter registration, changes to redistricting, new disclosure requirements and public financing of campaigns.

See more here.

 

— The House passed a measure to include Wisconsin’s Ice Age Trail as part of the National Parks System. 

The 1,200 mile trail’s inclusion in the Protecting America’s Wilderness and Public Lands Act would open it up to additional federal resources. 

U.S. Reps. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, and Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, spearheaded the effort. 

The measure is now before the Senate.

See more here.

 

— Both U.S. senators from Wisconsin voted this week to confirm Miguel Cardona as the new Secretary of Education.

Baldwin and Johnson joined a 68-33 vote confirming Cardona.

 

— The two also voted in favor of confirming Cecilia Rouse as the next chair of the Council of Economic Advisers. 

Baldwin and Johnson joined a 95-4 vote confirming Rouse as the first Black leader of the council in its 75-year history. 

Rouse also served on the council under the Obama administration and is the dean of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs.

 

— They also voted in favor of confirming Gina Marie Raimondo as the new Secretary of Commerce. 

Baldwin and Johnson voted in favor of confirming the former governor of Rhode Island in an 84-15 vote.

 

Posts of the week\

 

ICYMI

Pocan asks Air Force to clarify future of F-35 jets in Madison

Wis. congressmen weigh in on $1.9T Covid relief bill poised to pass House on partisan vote

‘She wished that she had spoken up more’: Why a Madison woman’s obituary asks people to donate to Ron Johnson’s 2022 opponent

Tammy Baldwin co-introduces bill to cover vets exposed to toxic substances at Uzbekistan air base

Rep. Gallagher Pushes for Post-Congress Lobbying Crackdown

Rep. Moore Explains Support For Stimulus Bill

State treasurer Sarah Godlewski, Rep. Ron Kind mulling US Senate bids

Wisconsin congressmen pass bipartisan amendment to add Ice Age Trail to National Park System

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