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

“In 1849, Wisconsin’s 1-year-old Legislature banned abortion, making it a felony to provide abortion care in almost all circumstances. And yet, 174 years later, an activist Supreme Court ripped away the constitutional rights of millions of Americans.”
– U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, in a floor speech touting the bill to she reintroduced this week to prohibit government restrictions on abortion. See more on the measure below. 

Democrats are more concerned with preventing jail time than protecting law-abiding citizens. With crime at a 25-year high, the DC council tried to pass another soft on crime law. I’m proud to stand in support of law and order with my vote tonight.
– U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, in a tweet ahead of an 81-14 vote to block the council from rewriting the District of Columbia’s criminal code for the first time since 1901.

This week’s news

— U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin this week reintroduced legislation to prohibit government restrictions on abortion.

The Senate failed to bypass a procedural vote on the bill last year after it passed in the House. The Madison Dem at the time argued Republicans had blocked the legislation in the hopes that Roe v. Wade would be overturned. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the 1973 decision a few months later. 

The bill would prohibit states from implementing restrictions on abortion earlier in pregnancy, such as waiting periods and mandatory ultrasounds. It would also ensure states can’t limit access to abortion later in pregnancy if it jeopardizes the life or health of the mother and protect out-of-state travel for abortion.

Since the Supreme Court decision, Wisconsin’s 1849 abortion ban has gone into effect. The law prohibits abortions unless the life of the mother is at risk. Gov. Tony Evers and Attorney General Josh Kaul have filed a lawsuit arguing the law is outdated and can’t be enforced.

Baldwin in a floor speech yesterday shared stories about Wisconsinites impacted by the ban, including a woman named Erica who found out her baby’s skull was not fully developed in the womb and the baby wouldn’t survive. Baldwin said Erica wanted to have a child, but had to stay pregnant for a week with a child she knew wouldn’t survive while trying to get an abortion out of state.

“For Wisconsinites like Erica, whose rights and freedoms have been stripped away, this bill is not just a political exercise. It is a necessary response to a very real crisis,” Baldwin said. “Having the freedom to control your health care, your body and your future — free from government interference — is a fundamental right. But in Wisconsin, it is no longer a reality. It is time to pass the Women’s Health Protection Act.”

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin CEO and President Tanya Atkinson in a statement praised Baldwin for re-introducing the bill. 

“While Wisconsin’s anti-choice legislative leaders refuse to repeal this pre-civil war ban, Wisconsinites suffer,” Atkinson said. “It’s clear that women and people across the country need and deserve the freedom and trust to make their own health care decisions.”

Gracie Skogman, Legislative/PAC director at Wisconsin Right to Life, in response to the bill’s introduction told WisPolitics.com women deserve better than abortion.

“From our perspective, it’s very telling that this was released on International Women’s Day, a day that should empower all women — both born and unborn,” Skogman said. “And at Wisconsin Right to Life, it is our fundamental belief that women in Wisconsin and nationwide deserve better than abortion. They deserve comprehensive health care and support for both themselves and their children.”

See Baldwin’s release. 

— Baldwin has also joined a bipartisan group of senators in introducing a bill to address the potential threat of technology such as TikTok.

ByteDance, a Chinese company, owns TikTok. Lawmakers across the political aisle have called to ban or restrict the application’s use due to security concerns.

The legislation would direct the U.S. Department of Commerce to establish a plan to “identify, deter, disrupt, prevent, prohibit, and mitigate” transactions involving information and communications technology products tied to foreign adversaries. U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Allouez, has introduced similar legislation in the House.

Baldwin said while apps like TikTok are very popular, they can pose “grave danger” and threaten national security.

“This bipartisan legislation will empower us to respond to our fast-changing environment – giving the United States the tools it needs to assess and act on current and future threats that foreign-owned technologies pose to Wisconsinites and our national security,” she said.

See the release.

— Equality Caucus Chair U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan blasted Republicans’ proposed ban on transgender women and girls from school participating in women’s or girl’s school sports as a push to “demonize” the LGBTQI+ community. 

The Madison Dem in a joint statement with the Democratic Women’s Caucus Chair U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla., and National Women’s Law Center President and CEO Fatima Goss Graves opposed the Protection of Women and Girls in Sports Act of 2023. House Committee on Education and the Workforce members discussed the bill yesterday. Pocan denounced the measure as “not about girls’ and women’s sports; it’s about attacking trans kids.”

“This sports ban is just the opening salvo in their larger efforts to limit the rights of and demonize the LGBTQI+ community, and the Equality Caucus will do everything it can to defeat it,” he said.

Pocan also criticized his Republican colleagues for focusing on banning transgender kids from sports instead of what he calls more pertinent issues in the committee’s first meeting of the 118th Congress. 

“There are plenty of pressing issues facing both our education system and girls’ and women’s sports, such as teacher shortages and poor pay and a lack of resources and sexual harassment, respectively,” he said. 

See the release.

— U.S. Rep. Derrick Van Orden, R-Prairie du Chien, joined lawmakers this week to introduce the House version of the DAIRY PRIDE Act, which seeks to prevent dairy alternatives from being labeled as dairy products. 

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, introduced the bill’s Senate companion. 

The FDA recently proposed guidance to allow plant-based dairy alternatives to be labeled as milk. The bill would prohibit products derived from seeds, plants, algae and nuts to be labeled as dairy products, such as milk, yogurt or cheese. 

“Milk comes from a mammal – it is that simple,” Van Orden said. “The nutritional value of whole milk for child development and as an integral part of a healthy diet throughout life cannot be overstated. Our dairy farmers work incredibly hard to produce quality products and consumers deserve to know what they are purchasing and consuming. The DAIRY PRIDE act will serve both these purposes admirably.”

See the release. 

— U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore this morning in a press conference is set to highlight Earned Income Tax Credit improvements in the proposed Worker Relief and Credit Reform Act. 

The Milwaukee Dem member of the Ways and Means Committee plans to include U.S. Rep. Dwight Evans, D-Penn., in her 8 a.m. Capitol event. The WRCR Act, which failed to make it out of committee last session, would allow EITC recipients to receive most of their credits in monthly installments. She noted in a statement 24 percent of Milwaukee residents live below the poverty level. 

— The House is expected to vote tomorrow on U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher’s bill that would declassify intelligence surrounding the origins of COVID-19.

The Senate unanimously approved the Allouez Republican’s bill last week. The Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party chair has repeatedly raised concerns the coronavirus may have originated from a lab leak in Wuhan, China. 

— DC Health Link, which provides health insurance for the District of Columbia residents, was the target of a “significant data breach” this week, according to a letter obtained by Punchbowl News. 

The letter from House Chief Administrative Officer Catherine Szpindor in the letter said the account and ‘Personal Identifiable Information,’ or personal data, of “hundreds of Member and House staff were stolen.” 

House Administration Chair U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil is aware of the situation and working with Szpindor to “ensure the vendor takes necessary steps to protect the PII of any impacted member, staff, and their families,” according to a tweet

Posts of the week


FOX 47: Baldwin joins Democratic colleagues to introduce Child Labor Prevention Act

The Hill: House panel to consider GOP bill banning transgender women, girls from team sports

Roll Call: Bryan Steil on the importance of doing the ‘homework’

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Glenn Grothman plans to run for reelection in 2024, breaking 5-term limit pledge made during first campaign 

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