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
“Standard gargle, mouthwash, has been proven to kill the coronavirus. If you get it, you may reduce viral replication. Why not try all these things?”
– U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, in a telephone town hall recommending mouthwash as an effective means to combat COVID-19.
“Wisconsin, make sure to follow our public health guidance. Get vaccinated, get boosted, and ask your friends and family to do the same.”
– U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, urging Wisconsinites to get vaccinated as the COVID-19 caseload increases.
This week’s news
— Dem U.S. Reps. Gwen Moore and Mark Pocan broke with the rest of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation and voted against the National Defense Authorization Act.
The bill, which authorizes $768.2 billion in funding for the Department of Defense and sets the policy agenda, cleared the chamber 363-70. It now goes to the Senate. The bill includes provisions that criminalize sexual harassment under military law and mandates any service member who declines a COVID-19 vaccine only receive an honorable or general discharge.
Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, slammed his colleagues who voted in favor.
“The military-industrial complex continues to prosper in the halls of Congress and beyond,” the Town of Vermont Dem told WisPolitics.com.
But House Armed Services Committee member U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher in a statement praised the bill for delivering critical wins for Wisconsin, adding it “ensures the U.S. is positioned to beat China.”
“It’s a win for our service members and a win for our national security,” he said. “And at a time when President Biden’s weakness has invited aggression from adversaries like China and Russia, it helps deliver badly-needed provisions that ensure we are able to meet the challenges of the 21st century.”
The new NDAA also omits several key provisions compared to the previous House-passed NDAA in September. That includes language that would have required women to register for the draft and legislation that would have created an Office for Countering Extremism in the Pentagon.
See the Gallagher statement.
— The state’s delegation split along party lines on two bills that could set the Senate up for a filibuster-proof vote on a debt ceiling fix.
The House in a 222-212 vote passed a Medicare-related bill that includes language allowing the Senate to proceed with a simple majority vote on a measure to raise the debt limit. The House later that night in a 363-70 vote to send a debt ceiling fix to the Senate.
See the first roll call.
See the second roll call.
— Gallagher called for President Biden to send military aid to U.S. and Ukrainian troops as Russia increases its military presence on the border.
The Allouez Republican in a statement following Biden’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin said the U.S. should send troops, air defense and anti-ship weapons before Russian troops advance further into Ukraine. He also said the U.S. should kill the Nord Stream 2 pipeline and slammed the Biden administration for “failing to act with a sense of urgency to prevent disaster in Ukraine.”
“The time for action was months ago, the next-best time for action is right now, and the worst time for action is after an invasion,” he said. “We need to deny Putin his window of opportunity before it is too late.”
See the statement.
— A bill U.S. Rep. Ron Kind authored to address chronic wasting disease in deer, elk and moose populations cleared the House with support from all of his Wisconsin colleagues.
The House in a 393-33 vote approved the La Crosse Dem’s bill that would direct the U.S. Department of Agriculture to establish a program to research and manage CWD. That research would include the transmission of, resistance to and diagnosis of the disease. Kind in a statement said he’s proud to lead the push to bring scientists, local officials and sportsmen to combat the disease.
“CWD poses a big threat to deer herds here in Wisconsin, and in turn our outdoor economy and traditions,” Kind said. “Today, Congress took a critical step towards combating this disease and making sure state and tribal efforts to manage its spread are supported.”
See the statement.
See the roll call.
— The U.S. Supreme Court today denied a request by GOP lawmakers to hear their suit seeking to throw out a redistricting suit that’s currently on hold before a federal three-judge panel.
The court didn’t comment on its decision on the Wisconsin case, which was among the dozens that the justices declined today to hear.
The three-judge panel this fall stayed the redistricting suit until at least January in deference to the state Supreme Court, which has a similar case before it.
Republicans had asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear their suit before the panel stayed the case.
See the court order.
Posts of the week