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

GOP SCOTUS justices want to strip autonomy from women. Republicans packed the Court with extremists, and this is the result. The House passed the Women’s Health Protection Act. Now, the Senate must act. Protecting reproductive freedom is one more reason to end the filibuster.
U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, on a leaked draft of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that would  overturn Roe v. Wade. 

Today’s news reminds us of the importance of protecting the sanctity of life. As we await the final opinion from the Court, I proudly stand as pro-life.
U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil, R-Janesville, on Twitter in response to the report.

This week’s news

— U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin called for the U.S. Senate to vote on legislation she cosponsored that would guarantee the right to an abortion as U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson argues the issue should be left to states.

The Madison Dem made the call following news the U.S. Supreme Court is poised to overturn a 1973 decision establishing that right. Sen. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Tuesday the U.S. Senate will vote on the legislation to codify the right to abortion into law but did not specify when a vote would occur. 

The bill passed the House in September, and Dems have vowed to take it up in the Senate. But that vote is expected to be symbolic because supporters lack the 60 votes that would be needed to overcome a filibuster.

Baldwin on Twitter charged the Supreme Court with legislating from the bench.

“If #SCOTUS is going to legislate from the bench and turn back the clock 50 years on #RoeVWade, then the Senate needs to pass my Women’s Health Protection Act, and if we need to eliminate the filibuster to get it done, we should do that too. #WHPA,” Baldwin said on Twitter.

Under the Women’s Health Protection Act, governments could not “prohibit abortion services before or after fetal viability when pregnancy is a risk to the patient’s life or health.”

Governments also could not require patients to disclose their reasons for seeking abortion services or limit a health care provider’s ability to “immediately provide abortion services” when a delay risks the patient’s health, among other things.

Johnson, R-Oshkosh, told WisPolitics.com he believes life begins at conception. He also noted his support for the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban abortions after 20 weeks, except in cases of rape, incest or threat to life of the mother. 

He added he agrees with Justice Samuel Alito’s opinion that public opinion is sharply split on whether to legalize abortion.

“As a result, neither my personal belief, nor the opinion of nine unelected justices, or pressure from the radical left to intimidate sitting Supreme Court justices, should be the basis on which this profound moral issue should be decided for all of society,” he said. “I’ve always felt the determination of when society should protect life should be made through the democratic process in each state. Should this draft become the final decision, that is exactly how this profound moral issue will be decided, and I would agree with that outcome.”

Johnson on Twitter called the leak an “unprecedented breach” meant to “intimidate sitting Supreme Court justices.”

“This is yet another example of how the radical left intends to “fundamentally transform” America,” he added.

See Baldwin’s bill.

See Baldwin’s tweet. 

See Johnson’s tweet. 

— Wisconsin’s House Republicans focused many of their comments on how detrimental the leak is to trust in the Supreme Court while, Dems charged the draft opinion signals the likely reversal of a half century of reproductive health advancements. 

While few Republicans have focused their comments on the content of the draft opinion, many have offered sharp criticism of whoever leaked the document. They argue the leak signals a lack of trust for the high court that comes from within the institution, undermining its legitimacy. 

U.S. Rep. Scott Fitzgerald, R-Juneau, in a release called it a major victory for those opposed to abortion and said he’s proud to sign onto an amicus brief in support of Mississippi’s attempt to ban most abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy. 

“However, the leak of the draft opinion is just the latest attempt by the left to intimidate the Court,” Fitzgerald said. “I will continue to push back against the radical anti-life policies of this administration and bullying tactics against the Justices. This ruling must move forward so that lawmakers can further strengthen protections for the unborn.”

The Mississippi case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, is what prompted the Supreme Court to review national precedent upholding the right to abortion access since 1973.

Many in support of upholding the landmark ruling argue abortion bans that would go into effect if Roe is overturned only get rid of safe, legal abortion methods and do nothing to completely stop unsafe abortion practices. 

U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, in a tweet said she knows what it’s like to get an abortion without Roe v. Wade protections in place and she never wants others to go through the same thing. 

“I’m old enough to remember life before Roe,” she said. “I hustled up money and used the women’s health fund to get an abortion in New York. For me, a poor Black woman, that was the only way I could receive abortion care.”

U.S. Rep. Ron Kind said the potential decision could put other rights in jeopardy such as the right to use contraception, marry and to make decisions about children’s education.

“Deeply personal health decisions should be made by a woman and her doctor – not the government,” Kind said.

​​U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher told WisPolitics.com the leak is unprecedented and called for an investigation into the source. He also praised the content of the draft. 

“If the decision stands, the power to make abortion laws would rest where it belongs: with the states,” The Allouez Republican said on Tuesday. “But as the Supreme Court said in a release this morning, the document that leaked is a draft that does not represent the Court’s final decision. The Justices deserve the chance to do their jobs free from reckless political interference and we must give them an opportunity to do so.”

Wisconsin’s House Dems on the other hand have decried the draft as a signal for the future of Roe v. Wade and protections for abortion access. U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan in a press release said overturning the nearly 50-year-old decision would be “despicable.” 

“If this draft is any indication of how the Supreme Court will formally rule on Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the Supreme Court will have lost the faith of all Americans,” the town of Vermont Dem said. “To rule against nearly 50 years of settled law to take rights away is despicable.”

U.S. Rep. Tom Tiffany, R-Minocqua, told WisPolitics.com he would refrain from commenting until the Court issues a final decision “rather than speculating about the status of internal deliberations based on the unethical leaking of internal court documents.”

U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, did not respond to requests for comment on the draft opinion.

— Tiffany was the only representative from Wisconsin to vote against legislation for further military aid to Ukraine last Thursday. 

Tiffany is one of 10 House members — all Republicans — who voted against the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act. The measure will head to the president’s desk after passing with 417 representatives voting in favor.

Tiffany in a statement said though he strongly condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, he “learned a long time ago not to lend money unless you don’t mind never getting it back.”

The bill would allow President Joe Biden to lend or lease defense equipment to the Ukrainian government to protect Ukrainians from the Russian military invasion.

Tiffany said the United States’ aid to Ukraine has put a strain on its “defense capabilities and supplies.” Tiffany also cited concerns that the U.S. could be drawn into an expensive foreign conflict and emphasized domestic matters.

“While Americans are confronted with the highest inflation in 40 years, a shrinking economy, and a border catastrophe, President Biden is requesting billions more in aid for Ukraine that could potentially draw our military into another trillion-dollar conflict half a world away,” Tiffany said.

See the release.

— Dem House candidate Ann Roe yesterday slammed GOP U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil for holding what she called an extremist position after he defended overturning Roe v. Wade. 

Roe at her first press conference since launching her campaign in July said the Janesville Republican’s support for reversing the does not reflect the belief’s of his constituents. 

Roe, a former UW-Whitewater lecturer, in a speech slammed the incumbent.

“My opponent Bryan Steil signed a legal brief in 2020 stating his unequivocal support for overturning Roe v. Wade,” she said to the audience at a park in Janesville. “He confirmed this view just yesterday on Twitter. This is an extremist belief and does not represent the views of the people he represents.”

Steil on Tuesday tweeted his thoughts about the leaked first opinion draft and vote showing the high court’s thoughts in favor of undoing Roe.

“Today’s news reminds us of the importance of protecting the sanctity of life,” he said. “As we await the final opinion from the Court, I proudly stand as pro-life.”

Asked for a response, Steil’s campaign reaffirmed his position.

“Bryan is proudly pro-life,” the campaign wrote. “If the leaked opinion is adopted by the Supreme Court it will allow voters and elected officials in each state to determine abortion laws in their jurisdictions. In contrast to President Biden and Speaker Pelosi, Bryan believes taxpayer money should not be used to fund abortions and has worked in Congress to pass the Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act.”

See Steil’s tweet.

See Roe’s campaign event.

Posts of the week

 

ICYMI

6 Wisconsin tribes voice opposition to bill seeking to remove federal protections for wolves 

Sen. Ron Johnson says ‘it may be true’ that COVID-19 vaccines cause AIDS 

PolitiFact Wisconsin: Who is to blame for high cost of insulin?

Navy shipbuilding plan draws congressional fire as legislators gear up for another funding battle

The Wackadoodle Wave

Baldwin, Pocan visit West Madison ARS to celebrate plant germplasm research facility funding

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