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Quotes of the week

“No one wants Lindsey Graham making personal, health care decisions for women in America.”
– U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, in a tweet criticizing the South Carolina Republican senator for introducing a bill that would ban abortions after 15 weeks. 

Wisconsin Democrats promote radical gender theory and exposing children as young as 3 years old to inappropriate explicit material in school. The indoctrination of innocent children must stop.
– U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, in a tweet referring to the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction’s Resources for Gender Expansive Preschoolers 

This week’s news

— U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson is signaling he may not support a proposed bill that would ban abortions after 15-weeks or a bill to codify same-sex marriage.

The Oshkosh Republican says he believes the abortion question should be left to states to decide, and agrees with the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson that overturned legal abortion protections in place since 1973. Johnson spokeswoman Alexa Henning told WisPolitics.com the senator does not believe a bill to codify same-sex marriage is necessary because a different Supreme Court decision in the past settled that issue. 

“The Respect for Marriage Act is unnecessary as Obergefell is settled law and has no chance of being overturned,” she said. “The Court in Dobbs made clear no other right would be affected by its ruling.”

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, is leading negotiations on a bill that would make clear same-sex marriage is legal in the United States. She was the first openly gay senator to ever be elected in the country. 

“The same court that overturned Roe vs. Wade puts in jeopardy a number of other Supreme Court cases: the case that affirmed same-sex marriage, the case that affirmed interracial marriage,” she said on CNN. 

Justice Clarence Thomas in a concurring opinion with the high court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade earlier this year said justices “should reconsider all of this Court’s substantive due process precedents, including Griswold, Lawrence, and Obergefell.” 

Henning said Dems are fearmongering when they say same-sex marriage protections are at risk.

“The Democrats are using this to create a state of fear over a settled issue in order to further divide Americans for their political benefit,” Henning said. “The senator has said he cannot support the bill as written as it goes beyond the status quo and does not ensure religious liberty is protected as it could subject religious groups to litigation.”

Henning also said Johnson is working on an amendment to the Respect for Marriage Act. She said Johnson has spoken with “a number of constituents who have legitimate concerns about the bill and the risk it poses to religious liberty.”

Meanwhile Baldwin is in the process of crafting an amendment to address Republicans’ concerns about religious freedom and clarify that the bill would not remove any religious liberties or conscience protections. She has said she is working to get the votes needed to pass the measure “with or without Senator Johnson.”

— Baldwin this week co-introduced legislation in an effort to help local and tribal communities fight the opioid epidemic.

The State Opioid Response Grant Authorization Act aims to streamline the State Opioid Response grant program by increasing the minimum grant award to $12 million and authorizing $2.7 billion for fiscal years 2023 through 2027, among other things.

The bill allocates 5 percent of funding for tribal communities. 

“As the opioid and substance use disorder crisis continues to plague American families, I am working to ensure local and Tribal communities have the resources and flexibility they need to support prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts,” the Madison Dem said. 

“Washington needs to step up and better address the opioid and use disorder crisis, and this legislation helps strengthen the partnership with state and local communities and helps them effectively respond to this epidemic.”

See the release. 

— U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil this week slammed the Biden administration after a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report showing inflation has risen 8.3 percent over the past year.

Steil, ranking member of the Select Committee on Economic Disparity and Fairness in Growth, said the numbers are due to “policies passed by democratic one-party control.”

“‘Reckless spending and attacks on American energy production are hurting Americans who are forced to pay higher prices to support their families,” the Janesville Republican said. “Today’s numbers show the need to end Biden’s approach, stop wasteful spending, and unleash American energy.”

See Steil’s statement. 

— Meanwhile, Wisconsin Republicans in Congress blasted President Joe Biden and his fellow Dems in D.C. for celebrating the Inflation Reduction Act becoming law.

U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher and U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson in separate statements criticized Dems for celebrating the new measure aimed at reducing inflation the same week the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index showed prices rose 8.3 percent in the past year. Johnson, a member of the Senate Budget Committee, said Biden should “read the room.”

“Hosting an event to celebrate $430 billion in government spending on the same day CPI data reveals 8.3% inflation and a 0.6% core increase? Tone deaf and embarrassing,” the Oshkosh Republican tweeted. “Democrats are as detached from economic reality as they are from the truth.”

Gallagher in a statement called the celebration ironic and slammed the measure for creating more federal spending, which he says helped create the record inflation in the first place.

“It’s deeply ironic for the President to spike the football on his tax-and-spending bill the same day reports indicate inflation outpaced expectations and remained at a near-record high,” he said. “Americans continue to pay more and get less, but the President’s only solutions are the same policies that helped bring us here in the first place.” 

See Gallagher’s statement.

See Johnson’s tweet.

— Johnson and Baldwin this week introduced a resolution to honor Queen Elizabeth II.

The measure is meant to pay respect to the woman who ruled over the United Kingdom for more than 70 years before passing away last weekend. Johnson says it would also reaffirm relations between the United States and the United Kingdom, nations that have been allies since before fighting alongside each other in both world wars. 

Johnson, ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, in a statement mourned the loss. 

“Queen Elizabeth II was an extraordinary leader and historic friend of the U.S. who strengthened America’s relationship with the United Kingdom and helped bring stability to the world,” he said.

See the Johnson statement.

Posts of the week

ICYMI

Baldwin pushes back on GOP arguments against same-sex marriage legislation

Republican’s wealth boosted by stake in company whose growth linked to China

Former V.P. Mike Pence visits Wausau, talks with WSAW’s Dale Ryman   

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