DC Wrap

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Quotes of the week

I’m here to express my deep concern, anguish, disgust with the fact that instead of working across party lines, working together to protect health care, instead the majority is writing secret legislation behind closed doors, legislation that is going to make the American people pay more for less care care and take health care coverage away for millions of American families.
– U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, speaking on the Senate floor on Monday night in a series of back-to-back Dem speeches opposing the GOP health care bill. The parliamentary move looks to slow Senate business, while decrying the Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. 

I personally think that holding a vote on this next week would definitely be rushed. I can’t imagine, quite honestly, that I’d have the information to evaluate and justify a yes vote within just a week.
– U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, in a CNN interview, saying he’s told GOP leaders he and his constituents will need enough time “to fully vet” the Senate health care bill before a vote. 

We are going to get this done in 2017. We need to get this done in 2017. We cannot let this once-in-a-generation moment slip. … Transformational tax reform can be done, and we are moving forward. Full speed ahead.
– House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Janesville, promising in a speech before the National Association of Manufacturers the GOP will deliver a tax reform package this year. See our story of his comments: https://www.wispolitics.com/2017/ryan-pledges-gop-will-pass-very-ambitious-tax-reform-plan-this-year/

This week’s news

— Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Mike Haas testified at the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee this week that cybersecurity intrusions are a “serious and increasing concern.”

But Haas made it clear that “there’s no evidence that voting machines” were tampered with in the 2016 elections — and that the U.S. has many safeguards in place to prevent that from happening.

“That cannot be stated enough and strongly enough,” said Haas, who’s also on the executive board of the National Association of State Election Directors. He joined fellow panelists in testifying on Russia’s influence in last year’s elections.

Haas called for better communication between officials at all levels of government, saying NASED wants to work with the Department of Homeland Security to make improvements on how the feds communicate possible threats with local officials.

He said one recent report about attempted attacks on voter registration systems “caught many states by surprise.” He said although hacking into voter registration systems doesn’t affect election results, it could lead to unauthorized parties getting access to confidential information on voters.

“States should be aware of this information to protect their systems and so that we can provide additional training and guidance to local election officials,” he said.

Watch Haas’ comments (beginning at the 2-hour mark):

Read his opening statement:

— U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson’s committee this week focused on how Congress can help streamline cybersecurity regulations.

Johnson, who chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said the time many businesses spend on complying with “often contradictory” regulations and reporting requirements can instead be spent on improving their networks’ security.

The Oshkosh Republican said government needs to try to consolidate regulations “as much as possible” to help the country fight cybersecurity threats.

“That over-regulation is making us less secure in cyberspace,” Johnson said.

Watch the hearing:

— U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher this week raised concerns that President Trump’s budget underfunds the Navy and the littoral combat ships built in northeast Wisconsin.

Gallagher, R-Green Bay, questioned Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, at a committee hearing on why Trump’s budget prioritizes fixing existing ships instead of building new ships for the future.

“I just don’t understand why we can’t do both at the same time,” he said.

Gallagher has raised concerns that underfunding the Littoral Combat Ship program would harm U.S. national security and his district’s economy, as Fincantieri Marinette Marine is one of the builders of those ships.

See the video:

— U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner’s communications director wrote an opinion piece saying “the flames of hate are fanned every single day” on social media, citing tweets her boss has gotten as a sign.

Nicole Tieman cited several profanity-laden tweets sent to Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls, that she said his colleagues from the other side of the aisle also receive.

She wrote that kind of rhetoric “feeds into the unspeakable actions” of people like last week’s shooter in Alexandria, Virginia.

“There must be a line somewhere that separates legitimate criticism and excessive hate mongering,” she wrote. “At what point should politicians say enough is enough?”

She wrote that the bipartisan display from House Speaker Paul Ryan and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi after the shooting was uplifting.

“But their message of optimism and strength is one that shouldn’t be reserved for days of tragedy,” she wrote. “Admonishment of hate should resonate from the halls of Congress to the far-reaching corners of this country every single day.”

Read the op-ed:

— Two more candidates emerged this week to challenge House Speaker Paul Ryan in 2018, joining two others pursuing  bids against the Janesville Republican.

The most recent challenger is Democrat Cathy Myers, a teacher and the vice president of the Janesville School Board, who said in announcing her bid that voters have a clear choice “between a community leader and a career politican who seems to have forgotten his small-town roots.”

Iron worker Randy Bryce this week gained national attention for a video he made announcing his bid, asking Ryan to “trade places” with him and “come work the iron.” Bryce most recently lost a state Senate bid to GOP Sen. Van Wanggaard and ran unsuccessfully for state Assembly in 2012, losing in a Dem primary.

Also running as a Dem against Ryan next year is political activist David Yankovich, as well as Republican Paul Nehlen, a business executive easily beat by Ryan in the 2016 primary. Nehlen announced Friday that he would again seek a bid.

— U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin and eight other senators penned a letter to President Trump last week, urging him to keep his Buy American pledge by removing a portion from NAFTA when it’s renegotiated.

They argued that NAFTA created “loopholes in Buy American requirements by providing Mexican and Canadian companies the same access to taxpayer-funded U.S. government projects as American companies” in the government procurement chapter of the agreement.

The Dem senators also wrote that doing so would “restore American manufacturing and ensure that taxpayer dollars are used to create jobs in the United States.”

See the letter:

— U.S. Rep. Ron Kind encouraged Trump administration officials in a letter this week to visit dairy farmers in his Wisconsin district, writing that such a meeting could help in their trade negotiations with Canada.

In the letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Kind, D-La Crosse, said “some of my most meaningful and informative conversations have been talking with Wisconsin dairy farmers.”

“As USDA Secretary Perdue and Ambassador Lighthizer begin renegotiating our new trade policies with Canada I am strongly encouraging them to come to Wisconsin and hear directly from the dairy farmers about what is working and not working for their farms,” he wrote.

See the release:

Posts of the week

Happy Father's Day, Wisconsin.

Posted by Senator Ron Johnson on Sunday, June 18, 2017



Ryan pledges GOP will pass ‘very ambitious’ tax reform plan this year

GOP senator: I ‘can’t imagine’ voting yes on health bill in a week

WMC, MMAC join hospitals in calling for Sen. Ron Johnson to intervene on AHCA

Sen. Ron Johnson discusses Wisconsin issues in Grand Chute

Ron Johnson: States fraudulently use federal funds for Medicaid

GOP senator’s ‘Plan B’ for tax reform may have something for Democrats

From Welfare to US Congress, Rep. Gwen Moore’s Fight for the ‘RISE Out of Poverty Act’

Rep. Ron Kind Argues Rural Wisconsin Loses In Trump’s Budget

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