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

“Let’s stop rewarding the building of amphibious vehicles that sink, unready projects like F-35 that still have hundreds and hundreds of recognized deficiencies that have not been addressed.”
– U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, in a floor speech demanding Congress in the latest National Defense Authorization Act reduce military spending to direct saved funds toward addressing other issues such as climate change and cyber security. 

“I’m very concerned about the inability of any of the services to meet their recruiting goals. And we’re going to have to spend a lot of time thinking about that problem, and how we fix it before we proactively lower standards because at the end of the day, not withstanding any advance in technology, it all comes down to the men and women that volunteer and risked their lives to defend this country.”
– U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Allouez, in a floor speech touting additional defense spending over what President Joe Biden asked for in the NDAA expected to see a House vote later today.

This week’s news

— The House is expected to vote on the National Defense Authorization Act tonight with Wisconsin’s delegation split on how much should  be spent on the military. 

The Congressional Budget Office earlier this month said the NDAA sits at roughly $840 billion, but members of Wisconsin’s delegation want to change the measure with some amendments. Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, of Allouez, says he wants the measure to pass as it includes several of his provisions to increase funding for Fincantieri Marinette Marine to build a new Navy frigate and for Oshkosh Defense to produce more wheeled tactical vehicles. 

Other Gallagher-authored provisions would help service members keep their military benefits after refusing to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The U.S. Army announced last week roughly 62,000 unvaccinated National Guard and Army Reserve troops would not receive pay or benefits and would be barred from service.

The House Armed Services Committee member in a floor speech touted the additional spending over President Biden’s initial $802 billion ask, but warned the military must focus on training personnel.

“This is a critical time for U.S. national security,” he said. “Our enemies are on the march, and we are being asked to hold the line. And it’s absolutely critical that Congress stays focused on the defense of this country, and does not allow the defense of this country to be politicized in the way other issues have.” 

Democratic U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, of Town of Vermont, wants to add two amendments that combined would drop the topline number by $137 billion. One amendment would drop spending by $37 billion to match the $802 billion Biden proposed in his budget, while the other would reduce defense spending by $100 billion.

Pocan in a floor speech said federal defense spending should focus on more than military needs.

“Let’s fix this. At some point, spending doesn’t actually just make you safer,” he said. “It’s security theater and contractor profiteering. We need a more modern definition of defense, one that recognizes real national security threats like COVID, cyber attacks and climate change.”

See the Gallagher release.

See the Pocan speech. 

— Republicans this week slammed the Biden administration after news inflation has risen 9.1 percent in the past year.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released its June report on Wednesday. The report states inflation has increased 1.3 percent since May.

U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman on Twitter blamed the rise on “senseless government spending.” 

“President Biden’s economy is making American businesses, workers, and families pay more for everything,” the Glenbeulah Republican said. 

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson said the increase “didn’t just happen.”

“This destructive inflation has been caused by Democrat’s war on fossil fuels and massive deficit spending. Biden and his enablers in Congress must be stopped,” the Oshkosh Republican said in a tweet.

Vice President Kamala Harris today in response to the report said though “there is no question we still have work to do,” the numbers do not take into account a recent drop in average national gas prices.

“Fighting inflation is one of our administration’s top economic priorities, which is why we have taken action to lower the costs of living for Americans,” Harris said.

See the release.

See Grothman’s tweet. 

See Johnson’s tweet.

— U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin and Senate colleagues this week introduced legislation to make it illegal for states to limit travel across state lines to obtain an abortion. 

The legislation would give the U.S. Attorney General and those affected by such limitations the ability to take legal action. 

“Republicans have taken Wisconsin women back to 1849, and it is Republicans who support political interference in personal health care decisions,” Baldwin said, referencing the state’s 173-year-old abortion ban.

“I’m supporting this legislation because it will protect not only women who travel for care, but the health care professionals who provide the care and those who assist with travel across state lines, including employers.”

See the release. 

— U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, will be at the U.S.-Mexico border today and tomorrow along with several of his GOP colleagues.

The senators will be briefed by the National Border Patrol Council as well as the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas National Guard and others.

Others on the trip include: U.S. Senators Ted Cruz, R-Texas; John Cornyn, R-Texas; James Lankford, R-Okla.; Joni Ernst, R-Iowa; and John Barrasso, R-Wyo.

Posts of the week

 

ICYMI

Ron Johnson’s effort to pass false electors to Pence not a priority of Jan. 6 committee, chairman says 

Grothman’s opponent in upcoming primary disagrees with the congressman’s reaction to Roe v Wade 

Who can get pregnant? Ron Johnson says women; his Democratic opponents won’t say

Ron Johnson’s $280k cash gifts to chief of staff and wife draw U.S. Senate ethics complaint

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