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

“It’s not about when or how it will happen. It’s about making it happen.”
– U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, on passing the budget reconciliation bill. 

“Maybe if you wear two masks long enough you start believing $3.5 trillion is the new $0?”
– U.S. Rep. Tom Tiffany, R-Minocqua, on Dems arguing most Americans won’t see tax increases in the bill.

This week’s news

— U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson continues to recommend ivermectin as an early treatment remedy for COVID-19 in a letter to President Biden.

The Oshkosh Republican in a joint letter with 21 of his GOP colleagues slammed the Biden administration for pushing back on the use of ivermectin and other cheap and widely available drugs to fight COVID-19. The senators also praised doctors pushing ivermectin “who have had the courage to ignore NIH’s ongoing compassionless guideline of doing virtually nothing until COVID-19 patients are so sick they require hospitalization.”

The letter was sent to the Food and Drug Administration, among others. The FDA in August, after Johnson recommended ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment, tweeted its stance on using the drug to fight the disease. 

“You are not a horse. You are not a cow. Seriously, y’all. Stop it,” the FDA tweeted. 

Johnson also over the weekend wrongly stated the FDA has not approved any COVID-19 vaccines in the country. 

Pfizer’s vaccine has received FDA approval and is now marketed as Comirnaty. That’s the same Pfizer vaccine that received emergency use authorization earlier in the pandemic when it was called Pfizer-BioNTech. 

See the FDA tweet.

See the FDA’s Comirnaty fact sheet

See the Johnson release

— U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin praised the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act as a way to “stop the spreading scourge of voter suppression.”

The Madison Dem in a statement said Congress must play its role in preventing voter suppression efforts and protecting the right to vote. She added Lewis exemplified the best in human spirit and she will work to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act in his memory. 

“It’s now up to all of us to carry on John’s spirit and continue his important work, including protecting the right to vote,” she said. 

See the statement.

— U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil following a visit to the Texas-Mexican border criticized President Biden for discontinuing former President Trump’s southern border wall.  

“President Biden ended construction of the wall and is sending the message that our borders are open,” the Janesville Republican said in a release. 

Steil visit comes as Customs and Border Protection data show encounters with those looking to cross the southern border illegally and legally are up over 300 percent this fiscal year to date compared to the last fiscal year. He said Biden’s policy has led to the immigration crisis and the government needs to address it.

“​​We must provide our Border Patrol officers with the resources necessary to carry out their mission, secure the border, and end this self-inflicted crisis,” Steil said. 

See the release.

See CBP’s definition of encounter

See CBP’s southern encounter data

— 3rd CD GOP candidate Derrick Van Orden announced he raised more than $1 million during the third quarter, while Dem state Sen. Brad Pfaff formally launched his bid for the western Wisconsin seat.

Van Orden’s campaign didn’t release other details of the former Navy Seal’s fundraising during the three-month period that ended Friday.

During the previous quarter, Van Orden reported he raised $753,996. He finished June with $608,754 in the bank.

See more here

— Dem Alex Lasry has launched the first two ads of his U.S. Senate campaign while announcing to backers that he’s now raised more than $3 million since launching his bid.

A memo to supporters from senior campaign adviser Mike Tate doesn’t provide specifics of Lasry’s fundraising during the third quarter, which closed last week. Lasry reported raising just over $2 million through the end of June, meaning he pulled in around $1 million during the latest period.

The memo also doesn’t say whether Lasry put any of his money into the campaign during the three-month period, and a spokesman didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking comment. The memo says the paid ad campaign will introduce Lasry to voters. The effort comes after Dem rival Mandela Barnes has released internal polling suggesting he has a significant lead on others seeking the party nomination.

See more here

— Dem Eau Claire businesswoman Becca Cooke posted to Facebook that she’s seriously considering a bid for the 3rd CD and will make a decision in the coming weeks.

Cooke’s Facebook post came after state Sen. Brad Pfaff, D-Onalaska, officially got into the race for the seat that’s been represented by U.S. Rep. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, for the past 25 years.

“I am humbled and inspired by the conversations I’ve had with people from across western Wisconsin encouraging me to run for Congress,” Cooke wrote. “This will be a critical election for our families, farmers, and small businesses, and we need a representative who will go to Washington to work for them.”

See the post.

— Dem Jessica Katzenmeyer, who unsuccessfully sought an Assembly seat last fall, announced she is running for the 5th CD.

Katzenmeyer, a member of the West Allis Plan Commission, said in her announcement she is the first transgender congressional candidate in Wisconsin history.

“We need a government that works for the people,” Katzenmeyer said. “Our leaders who represent us should be the everyday people of our communities. As a self-employed contractor, I understand the struggle many Americans are facing. We need bold leaders with bold ideas who are not afraid to listen to different perspectives and get things done.”

U.S. Rep. Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, was elected to the 5th CD last fall to replace longtime GOP Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, of Menomonee Falls.

See the release.

— Dem AG Josh Kaul joined a bipartisan group of 52 attorneys general urging the U.S. Senate to continue investigating social media companies targeting kids.

The AGs believe the health of future generations is at risk due to the influence of social media, especially as some companies are now specifically targeting those under 13 years old. They are concerned about increased mental distress, bullying, suicide and other self-harm after Facebook’s own internal studies showed social media is inflicting harm. Kaul in a statement said the issues impact families across the country.

“It’s unacceptable for social media companies to profit by addicting kids to their screens, especially when those companies are aware of the harms that can result from that addiction,” Kaul said.

See Kaul’s statement.

Posts of the week





Freshman state senator announces run for Congress

Wisconsin House Dems highlight split on approach to infrastructure, social spending bills

La Crosse County receives federal aid to combat youth substance use

Tony Evers’ Redistricting Map Helps Democrats, but Not Enough

Many lawmakers’ ‘leadership PACs’ spend more on fundraising than political contributions, report finds

Johnson incorrectly claims there are no approved COVID-19 vaccines in America

National Archives ‘warning label’ claim on target but misses key point

Battleground race for Wisconsin’s 3rd Congressional District begins to heat up

Congressman promotes worldwide vaccination effort

Progressives flex power to push Biden’s safety net bill. A bigger fight awaits.

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