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

“There’s so many horrible parts of this bill. Probably the most dangerous part is, in addition to not funding the southern border, there are provisions in here clearly designed to have a dramatic increase in the number of illegal immigrants, which will turn into legal citizens.”
– U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, in a floor speech on the reconciliation bill. 

“The date’s never mattered. What matters is what’s in the bill and I think that’s where the President is at as well. We want to make sure that more things are included, even if it’s for slightly shorter amounts of time, things that are more immediate that people will see the benefit of.”
– U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, when pressed on a date for a vote on the final reconciliation bill.

This week’s news

— U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher said the UW System must break financial ties with Chinese companies that support the Chinese Communist Party and block CCP actors from stealing technology.

During a Senate Universities and Tech Colleges Committee informational hearing, the Allouez Republican said the CCP is sending students to UW System schools, especially UW-Madison, to return to their home country with valuable technology that could harm the United States’ national security while supporting nefarious actions by the CCP.

He said banning those students and others with ties to the Chinese military from UW System schools would help prevent that from happening. Gallagher also recommended reducing financial dependency on China, promoting democratic values such as free thought and speech, and increasing cybersecurity scholarships. He added universities should work to make Wisconsin a global semiconductor superpower to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign semiconductors.

The House Armed Services Committee member added selectively decoupling the country’s dependency on China would improve United States security.

“The situation is simply unsustainable,” he said. “A great nation such as ours can’t remain dangerously dependent and held hostage by our greatest adversary.”

Gallagher also said Wisconsin’s universities should end their financial dependence on China by banning Confucius Institute and similar groups from the universities. He said CCP fights against tough on China policies by leveraging power within university groups that financially support the schools. 

At a minimum, he said universities should be transparent about where foreign funds are coming from. 

Prohibiting UW System from investing endowment and pension funds in Chinese companies or companies with ties to CCP would also help to defund China’s nefarious actions, such as the genocide against Uighur Muslims, he added. 

“It’s hard to imagine a more perverse situation as this,” he said.  

Gallagher said Wisconsin should work to become a “semiconductor superpower, given how important chips are to geopolitical competition.” 

“But it won’t happen if our K-12 system and our higher education system won’t produce workers and it certainly won’t happen if our higher education system cannot guarantee federal government dollars aren’t flowing to Chinese spies or Chinese technology that’s going to be used against us,” he said. 

— U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan says negotiations on a reconciliation package are coming to a close as many of the priorities for progressive Dems are included in the legislation.

After a White House meeting alongside fellow progressives, the town of Vermont Dem told WisPolitics.com they suggested to President Biden the deal should lean to smaller and short-term programs to impact more people more immediately.

But Pocan would not say exactly how much the final dollar amount will be or when a vote will happen.

“Whether the final number is 1.75 to 2.25, it doesn’t matter,” he said, referring to trillions of dollars. “What matters is what’s in the bill.”

See more here

— U.S. Rep. Ron Kind introduced a bill to research and manage chronic wasting disease in deer, elk and moose. 

The rate of infection among deer for the inevitably fatal disease affected 8.4 percent of the 18,894 deer analyzed between April 1, 2020 and March 31 this year, according to the latest complete data from the state Department of Natural Resources. The disease is also found in 24 other states. The Fond du Lac Dem and hunter in a press release said he knows how important it is for the economy and outdoor traditions to keep deer healthy.

“CWD is a serious threat to our deer herds, and we need all hands on deck to combat this disease,” he said.  

See the release.

— U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson joined all of his Republican colleagues and one New York Dem to block the Freedom to Vote Act. 

Johnson, of Oshkosh, in a 51-49 vote blocked a motion to proceed on a bill that would expand Americans’ voting access and reduce the influence of big money in politics, among other things. 

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin tweeted her disdain for the move. 

“Senate Republicans just filibustered legislation to protect voting rights…again. They obstruct, refuse to even have a debate, and offer no solutions,” the Madison Dem said

See the roll call.

See more on the bill.

— Johnson also in a roundtable on border security said the crisis at the southern border is a “self-inflicted wound” caused by President Biden. 

In a 3-hour long D.C. event with former Trump administration border and immigration officials the member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee slammed Biden and Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for their efforts to secure the border. Others at the event emanded Mayorkas resign. 

“This is unprecedented,” he said. “As Vice President Harris went down to Central America in search of the root cause, she really had no further to go than into the oval office, look at the President of the United States and realize President Biden is the root cause of this crisis.”

U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, in a video tweet also criticized Biden on his border work, saying the halt of work on border wall construction a “waste of taxpayer dollars and a slight to @CBP agents protecting our border.”

Watch the roundtable.

See the Grothman tweet.

— All eyes are on Sean Duffy after Donald Trump called on the former GOP congressman to run for guv.

Trump released a statement on Saturday saying he had urged Duffy to get into the race, arguing he would be “virtually unbeatable.” Following the pronouncement, a source familiar with Duffy’s thinking told WisPolitics.com the Republican was considering a bid. His family has moved to New Jersey now that his wife is working as a co-host on Fox News, but maintains a home in Wisconsin.

Duffy has been mentioned off and on as a possible candidate for guv or U.S. Senate in 2022, but he hasn’t made any significant moves toward a bid for either office. On Friday, he reported still having nearly $2.2 million in his federal campaign account.

See more here

— Gallagher topped Wisconsin’s congressional delegation for money raised during the third quarter and cash on hand to end the period.

Gallagher raised $500,441, spent $111,362 and had nearly $2.7 million in the bank.

His fundraising total included $154,000 from PACs and a transfer of $206,596 from his leadership PAC.

Meanwhile, 3rd CD GOP candidate Derrick Van Orden raised nearly $1.1 million during the quarter.

See more here

— Dem Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes showed a stronger small-dollar fundraising operation than his top rivals in the Senate race during the third quarter.

Of the more than $1.1 million he raised, Barnes reported $403,762 in unitemized donations of $200 or less during the three-month period.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, who hasn’t said whether he will seek reelection, reported $906,290 in receipts and $2.3 million cash on hand after spending $316,936 during the period.

The Oshkosh Republican reported $376,832 in unitemized donations.

State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski reported $1.4 million in receipts — including $1 million she gave the campaign through a direct combination and a loan. She reported $95,034 in unitemized donations.

And Alex Lasry, on leave from his job with the Milwaukee Bucks, reported more than $1 million in receipts, including a $750,000 loan he gave the campaign. He reported $66,573 in unitemized donations.

See more on fundraising numbers in the U.S. Senate race.

— Rebecca Cooke’s campaign says the Eau Claire Dem raised more than $100,000 in the first few days of her bid for the 3rd CD.

See the release.

— CIA retiree Deb McGrath, whose father represented the 3rd CD for three terms, is preparing to launch a bid for the western Wisconsin seat, the Dem tells WisPolitics.com.

Along with serving in the CIA, she also spent five years in the U.S. Army.

“My veteran service and national service background proves that I am a fighter for Wisconsin, that I will continue to serve and honor the oath that I took in serving our country, protecting it,” she said in a phone interview.

McGrath will join Eau Claire businesswoman Rebecca Cooke, Navy veteran Brett Knudsen and state Sen Brad Pfaff, of Onalaska, in the Dem field.

See more here.

— Patrick McIlheran, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson’s deputy chief of staff, is leaving the Oshkosh Republican’s office to join the conservative Badger Institute.

Institute President Mike Nichols told WisPolitics.com that McIlheran will join the staff in November. He will oversee the institute’s policy blueprint, which it’s calling “Mandate for Madison.” It’s expected to be published in 2022.

See more here

— The Dem group Opportunity Wisconsin announced a seven-figure statewide TV buy accusing Johnson of personally profiting from outsourcing jobs to other countries.

The group said the ad will run on broadcast and cable TV as well as on streaming services and digital platforms in the Milwaukee, Madison, Green Bay and Wausau media markets. The buy includes a spot during the Green Bay Packers game Sunday against Washington.

The spot comes as the Oshkosh Republican continues to contemplate whether to seek a third term next year.

See the ad.

— An Eau Claire man pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge related to his role in the January 6 U.S. Capitol riot.

Kevin Loftus pleaded guilty to parading, demonstrating or picketing in a Capitol building after reaching a deal with prosecutors. The agreement does not recommend a sentence, but the charge carries a maximum sentence of 6 months in prison.

Posts of the week




Against It Before They Were for It—Some Wisconsin Politicians Are Busy Promoting American Rescue Plan Funds

Fitzgerald leads bipartisan bill to track foreign money in mergers

Environmentalists, unions promote federal infrastructure bills to fix water problems

Tommy Thompson, Wis. Democrats remember Colin Powell

NEW Water announces large-scale watershed project

‘We’re getting closer and closer every day’: Progressive Democrats say budget deal is within reach

Sen. Warren, other Democrats revive legislation to crack down on private-equity buyouts

American Recovery Plan grant to bring broadband to rural Kenosha County

Policymakers see retraining older Americans as key to combating labor shortage


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