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
So yeah, it was a damn good strategy, because we’ve got more benefits for the American people. And I think we’re ready to vote on this, because now this has enough that people will really see the benefit for their family.
– U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, on Progressive Dems holding off on supporting the infrastructure bill before the reconciliation framework is ready.
Runaway government spending is the cause of the inflation crisis. Another $2 trillion or $3 trillion or $10 trillion in deficit spending will only intensify the problem. In other words, if you find yourself in a hole, the first thing you have to do is stop digging.
– U.S. Rep. Tom Tiffany, R-Minocqua, slamming Dems’ spending package in a tweet.
This week’s news
— U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher says the U.S. must work to limit Chinese power over the United States by onshoring critical goods manufacturing and boosting research.
The Allouez Republican during a WisPolitics.com D.C. breakfast this week said passing the Endless Frontiers Act would help the U.S. become more independent while bringing the country back to being a technological world leader. He also said bringing more semiconductor, pharmaceutical and robotics manufacturing to the U.S. would reduce the country’s reliance on China while growing industries he says will be the future of America’s infrastructure.
“This is sort of the infrastructure bill that I wish we’d focus on,” he said, referring to the Endless Frontier Act over the infrastructure and reconciliation measures being debated in D.C. now.
He also said Wisconsin could be the perfect hub for such technology and research growth because of its existing research infrastructure in the UW System. Regardless, Gallagher said he wants to ensure such industry growth is not limited to the coasts.
Gallagher also said the federal government should pass some sort of legislation to prevent federal grant research money on efforts that include Chinese or other researchers who will just pass their findings off to their home countries.
He added pandemic supply chain woes highlighted U.S. dependency on Chinese manufacturing, such as their semiconductor industry, pointing to chip shortages for car manufacturers and others.
However, progress in the measure has slowed because it crosses over a variety of committee jurisdictions and coordinating hearings in each committee is difficult, he said.
“I’ve been trying to solve this issue for a year now, and it failed,” he said. “Pelosi does not return my phone calls and some of the committee chairmen don’t want to play nice with each other.”
But Gallagher said he still wouldn’t vote for reconciliation even if some of his proposals were rolled into it.
Listen to Gallagher’s remarks.
See a related story at WisBusiness.com.
— U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan pushed for Dems’ multi-trillion dollar infrastructure package via several TV news appearances this week.
In a CNN interview the Town of Vermont Dem said negotiations have yielded key provisions that would reduce child care and prescription drug costs, create jobs and address at least some climate issues. He added lawmakers are down to debating just a few key issues, and he stressed the issues the package tackles are more important than how quickly it passes.
Regardless, the spending plan will pass including much of President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda, he said.
“And when we get this done, and we will get this done, this is going to be a really big transformative change for many American families,” he said. “I look at what we’re doing, it’s probably as big as anything Congress has done since the 40s or 50s.”
Pocan also said the bills won’t drive inflation up as many Republicans have predicted if they pass.
See the release.
— GOP U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman introduced a bill that would reduce from 400 grams to 20 grams the amount of fentanyl needed to trigger the 10-year minimum sentence under the Controlled Substances Act.
U.S. Reps. Tom Tiffany, R-Minocqua, and Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, cosponsored the bill.
The Fentanyl Penalties Parity Act would also reduce from 40 grams to 5 grams the minimum amount needed to trigger the 5-year minimum sentence under the Controlled Substances Act and clarify fentanyl analogues can include both scheduled and unscheduled. The Glenbeulah Republican in a statement said fentanyl flowing into the United States has created a crisis.
He added the country recently exceeded 90,000 deaths from illegal drugs, driven largely by fentanyl.
“Fentanyl is tearing families apart in what has become the deadliest drug crisis in American history,” Grothman said. “My bill will bring a sorely-needed increase to the penalty of trafficking deadly fentanyl.”
He also slammed President Biden for what he calls a lack of leadership that has encouraged drug traffickers.
“This year, fentanyl has been flooding into the United States in record numbers after President Biden reversed numerous immigration policies of the Trump Administration that were showing positive results,” he said. “If the Biden Administration adequately supported CBP, these agents would be more prepared to detect and confiscate the copious amount of fentanyl entering our country.”
See the Grothman release.
— Fitzgerald said Grothman’s bill would complement his bill to designate fentanyl related substances as Schedule I drugs.
The former state Senate leader told WisPolitics.com the bills are important because they would help address the growing use of fentanyl and heroin along with the devastating effects of drug use.
“Fentanyl is responsible for the staggering increase in drug overdose deaths in the United States,” he said.
— U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin and Ron Johnson, in a rare moment of agreement, introduced a National Defense Authorization Act amendment to increase funding for Oshkosh Defense vehicles made for the military.
The amendment would add $109 million the the NDAA budget to help avoid steep budget cuts and ensure production lines aren’t interrupted for heavy wheeled military vehicles made in Wisconsin.
Baldwin, D-Madison, in a statement said Oshkosh Defense’s role in producing the Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck for safe troop, fuel and supply transportation is essential.
“The mobility of the U.S. military and safety of U.S. service members is highly dependent on this key platform,” she said. “As I have done previously when budget cuts were proposed, I am working to make sure there is adequate funding for these important programs so that Oshkosh Defense can continue doing what it does best – building the safest and highest quality Made in Wisconsin vehicles for the brave men and women of our military.”
Johnson, R-Oshkosh, emphasized Oshkosh Defense’s importance.
“It is essential to maintain a manufacturing base that can supply our defense needs,” he said. “I support this amendment that will maintain important manufacturing capabilities in Wisconsin to help keep our nation safe and secure.”
See the release.
— Gov. Tony Evers’ People’s Maps Commission’s proposed congressional map would have four solid GOP districts, two heavily Dem seats and two lean Dem districts.
The 2nd and 4th CDs — based in Milwaukee and Dane County — would remain strong Dem seats.
Meanwhile, the 1st CD in southeastern Wisconsin would have a partisan Dem lean of 51.6 percent to 45.6 percent, according to a breakdown in the People’s Maps Commission report. The district leans were based on statewide election results from 2016-20.
The 3rd CD in western Wisconsin would have a Dem lean of 50.5 percent to 46.6 percent, according to the report.
In 2020, Donald Trump won the 3rd CD by 4.7 percentage points and the 1st by 9.2 percentage points.
Under the proposed congressional map, the other four seats would have a GOP lean ranging from 54.2 percent in the 6th to 63.8 percent in the 5th.
See the proposed congressional map.
— WisPolitics.com will also hold a Nov. 18 panel discussion on redistricting.
The in-person luncheon will be at the Madison Club.
The event features a panel discussion with three former legislators who have deep experience in legislative map-making — Republicans Scott Jensen and Joe Handrick plus Democrat Chuck Chvala — along with Elizabeth Treviño, Wisconsin state director of allontheline.org.
See additional details and register here.
— Dem U.S. Senate candidate Sarah Godlewski announced a six-figure digital ad targeting likely primary voters with a vow to “work to protect choice once and for all.”
Godlewski’s campaign said the statewide buy will run on YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and other web platforms.
In the 15-second ad, Godlewski says, “The Supreme Court is deciding the future of choice right now.”
It was launched the same day the court heard oral arguments on a Texas law banning abortions after six weeks. That law also allows private lawsuits against health care workers for facilitating the termination of a pregnancy after six weeks.
See more here.
— Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett says if confirmed as U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg his top priority would be ensuring U.S. citizens traveling abroad are safe and secure.
Speaking in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he also said he would be honored to continue fostering relations between the U.S. and Luxembourg, one of the wealthiest nations in the world.
“If confirmed, I will be honored to work with Luxembourg to advance our shared priorities and U.S. interests in Luxembourg,” he said.
The former congressman now awaits a Senate confirmation vote that will decide if he gets the job.
Watch the committee hearing.
Posts of the week
Happiness is being in a bow stand in western WI at the beginning of rut. pic.twitter.com/JXO0dFCEYS
— Rep. Ron Kind (@RepRonKind) October 31, 2021
I had a great time joining the Wisconsin Bankers Association yesterday at their 2nd Annual Leaders in Banking Excellence program. Wisconsin banks played a pivotal role in supporting our communities during the pandemic and I’m happy to recognize their hard work! pic.twitter.com/jBK7jpT2pt
— Rep. Scott Fitzgerald (@RepFitzgerald) October 30, 2021
A reminder that Freedom is not Free.
Home of the Free because of the Brave. pic.twitter.com/7xYIswIK5O
— Bryan Steil (@RepBryanSteil) October 29, 2021
I want to thank everyone involved in the Lesbian Bar Project for working to preserve these important spaces and telling the story of how they’ve supported our community for decades!
Was so excited to see Milwaukee’s own Walker’s Pint represented! pic.twitter.com/xZSzGOJTqi
— Sen. Tammy Baldwin (@SenatorBaldwin) October 29, 2021
This morning, Rep. Gallagher spoke with members of the Greater Madison Chamber about his bill, the Endless Frontier Act, and the important investments it will make to help ensure states like Wisconsin can help the U.S. out-innovate and out-compete China. pic.twitter.com/o0GA7kqmnb
— Rep. Gallagher Press Office (@RepGallagher) November 2, 2021
— Rep. Gwen Moore (@RepGwenMoore) November 1, 2021
I will always be an advocate for U.S. servicemembers and their families. This November, join me in honoring the military families who support our brave men and women in uniform. #MilitaryFamilyMonth pic.twitter.com/YTR5SuA06b
— Rep. Glenn Grothman (@RepGrothman) November 2, 2021