Welcome to our weekly DC Wrap, where we write about what Wisconsin’s congressional delegation is up to in Washington. Sign up for our mailing list here to receive our newsletter directly.
Quotes of the week, Sept. 15-21
Are you concerned about the fact that we’re mortgaging our kids future? Twenty trillion dollars in debt, $120 trillion dollars in the next 30 years. Obamacare exacerbated that problem. All this out-of-control spending is exacerbating that problem.
– U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, telling MSNBC about the health care bill he’s authored that would cut Medicaid spending, as well as eliminate Affordable Care Act subsidies and turn them into block grants to states. Johnson said he was concerned about the Medicaid expansion putting at risk funding for the program for disabled people and children who rely on it. Watch the interview.
Seven weeks ago we thought we had defeated the Republican attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and tear health care coverage away from millions of Americans. But believe it or not, they are at it again and this attempt is very serious.
– U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, in a Youtube video this week on the Graham-Cassidy bill, which she called “worse than previous” attempts to repeal and replace the ACA. See the video.
We just have to make sure we do what we can to pass Donald Trump’s agenda and stand with him when the mainstream media attacks.
– U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, telling WISN’s Dan O’Donnell he’s concerned about Republicans who don’t fully stand with President Trump. Listen to the interview.
This week’s news
— A coalition of Wisconsin groups are warning the state congressional delegation warning of looming cuts to federally qualified health centers.
The coalition, which included the Wisconsin Hospital Association and Wisconsin Medical Society, asked members to “act swiftly and decisively” to secure funding for those centers, along with the Children’s Health Insurance Program and other health care appropriations that run out on Sept. 30.
Failing to meet that deadline, the groups wrote, would mean that funding for federally qualified health centers would drop from $41.4 million to $12.1 million, cutting off services to more than 30,000 patients.
“During this time of heightened ambiguity in the health care sector, we need these safety net programs now more than ever,” they wrote.
U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin and 69 other senators also wrote to the Senate health committee on the issue, calling for a “swift resolution” on the issue.
“We are already hearing of the disruptive effects of the uncertainty created by the impending funding cliff on health center operations—this disruption will increase significantly without an extension of funding by September 30,” they wrote.
U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, wasn’t among the 70 senators who signed onto the letter. A Johnson spokesman didn’t respond to a request for comment.
See the coalition letter:
See more information on the health care centers’ funding:
See the Baldwin release:
— U.S. Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner and Ron Kind wrote in a joint op-ed last week that Congress must “find ways to bridge the political divide and compromise.”
Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, and Kind, D-La Crosse, wrote in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that while some members of Congress may not take that approach, they do.
The two wrote that they’ve sponsored more than 20 bipartisan proposals and that they strive for continuing the “culture of respect and appreciation for one another” that Wisconsinites share.
“We believe that good policy requires input from all sides, and continuing open discussions on the problems we face will enable us as a nation to find real solutions,” they wrote. “The process is never easy — sometimes it’s contentious — but if we listen and respect one another, we’re confident that at the end of the day, we will find ourselves in a better place than where we began.”
— U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay, this week highlighted a new report showing that 133 veterans in Wisconsin committed suicide in 2014 — or 18 percent of the total suicides in the state.
Gallagher, a former Marine, said many people he served with in Iraq “suffer from the invisible wounds of war that too often lead to suicide.”
“The VA’s troubling findings underscore the urgent need to eliminate the stigma surrounding mental health care so that veterans in crisis feel comfortable seeking treatment,” he said.
— U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan denounced anti-semitic graffiti found on a monument in a Madison park on Wednesday, calling for unity against what he termed “a shameful display of hate.”
The monument honors Americans of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, who joined the fight against fascist forces during the Spanish Civil War. Among the graffiti were swastikas and the words “antifa sucks” and “Trump rules.”
The Town of Vermont Dem attributed the vandalism in part to President Trump’s “embrace of white supremacists and hate groups,” which he said “has emboldened extremists to unleash a new wave of anti-Semitic and intimidating activities.”
“We must stand united against these acts of hate and reaffirm the values that we share as Americans—that our nation will always be a land of opportunity and hope for people of every faith and ethnicity,” he said.
— A bipartisan group of Wisconsin House members wrote to the heads of three key federal agencies requesting enforcement of a bilateral aviation trade deal.
The deal, called the Open Skies agreement, seeks to allow for “fair and equal competition,” according to the letter. But the representatives note two countries — Qatar and the United Arab Emirates — have created “market distortions” by heavily subsidizing their state-owned airlines, hampering “the ability of U.S. airlines and their workers to compete.”
The letter further asks the agencies to strictly enforce the Open Skies agreement to avoid “ultimately weakening the American aviation industry and hurting Wisconsin workers and communities.”
“Every long-haul international route lost to the subsidized Gulf carriers costs more than 1,500 American jobs and jeopardizes service to markets throughout the country, including in Wisconsin,” the seven Wisconsin representatives wrote. “We cannot afford to continue to allow these subsidies to harm American workers.”
Those who signed onto the letter were: Reps. Sean Duffy, Mike Gallagher, Jim Sensenbrenner, Glenn Grothman, Ron Kind, Gwen Moore and Mark Pocan.
— U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy this week touted a $500,340 federal grant being awarded to the Village of Osceola for Fab Labs.
Duffy, R-Wausau, had written a letter of support for the federal grant in June.
In a statement on Tuesday, Duffy said he was “excited that this grant will help solidify Osceola as a center for high-tech manufacturing and innovation, and it will encourage even more jobs to come to the badger state.”
See Duffy’s letter from June:
— U.S. Reps. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, and Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, pair up for this week’s version of Magic Monday.
See the video:
For this week’s edition of #MagicMonday, I’m joined by my friend and poet Representative Gwen S. Moore from Wisconsin's 2nd Congressional District. Members of Congress all have interesting ways to showcase creativity, from Rep. Joe Crowley’s singing, to Rep. Moore’s passion for poetry. Watch along as we use some coloring creativity in this week's Magic Monday.
Posted by Mark Pocan on Monday, September 18, 2017
Posts of the week
This morning I had the privilege of sending off our veterans as they travel from La Crosse to Washington, DC on the…
— Mark Pocan (@MarkPocan) September 19, 2017
‘UpFront’: Johnson says health care plan he helped draft gaining support
Congressman Grothman sets aside politics and spins some records at Madison’s WORT
Cap Times Idea Fest: Ron Johnson, Tammy Baldwin offer divergent paths on health care
Cap Times Idea Fest: Ron Johnson says action on DACA will treat Dreamers with compassion, humanity
Cap Times Idea Fest: Progressives must talk with voters where they live, panel says
Health care enters the debate in Tammy Baldwin’s 2018 race for U.S. Senate
Tammy Baldwin pushes Congress to extend Perkins Loan program, with deadline looming
How Democratic moderates in Congress hope to foster prosperity
Lawmakers grapple with warrantless wiretapping program
Grothman hears local concerns at town hall session in Beaver Dam
Duffy, Kind weigh in on DACA
PolitiFact: Vermont single payer didn’t go bankrupt, as Sean Duffy says; was never funded
Duffy pushes for U.S. to take lead in setting global insurance standards