DC Wrap

Welcome to our weekly DC Wrap, where we write about Wisconsin’s congressional delegation. Sign up here to receive the newsletter directly.

Quotes of the week, July 13-19

It’s not a serious effort by [House Speaker Paul Ryan] to have a vote on it, so we’re not going to give him a serious vote. We’re not going to accept it on his very cynical terms that he’s put this out there for. We are fully committed to advancing this bill but we’ve got a lot of education to do.
– U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, in an interview with WisPolitics.com Friday after saying he will vote against his own bill to abolish ICE. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said he intends to bring it up for a vote. Meanwhile, national media reports this week show House GOP leaders have ditched the plan to hold a vote on the measure.

See more of Pocan’s comments in Friday’s Report.

The stakes are too high for the American people, who do not want the Supreme Court to advance a political agenda to overturn the law of the land on health care for people with pre-existing conditions, women’s reproductive health, and the constitutional rights and freedoms of all Americans.
– U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, who said she wouldn’t support President Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh for the U.S. Supreme Court. But U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, has praised Kavanaugh  as someone who would interpret and apply the law, rather than alter it.

See a WisPolitics.com story on Johnson’s comments to reporters last week.

As I’ve said all along, (Russian President) Putin is not our friend. He brought war to Ukraine, used chemical weapons on UK soil, and as we know from our intel community, tampered with our democracy. Russia, not the U.S., is responsible for current tensions and we must continue pushing back.
– U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay, on Twitter following President Trump’s rebuke of the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 election and belief that both countries are responsible for the deterioration in their relationship. Trump’s remarks came in a joint news conference with Putin on Monday.  

This week’s news

— U.S. Rep. Ron Kind has the biggest warchest heading into the August primary of all sitting Wisconsin congressmen seeking re-election this year.

The La Crosse Dem has $3.1 million in the bank, according to his report filed this week with the FEC, after raising $364,728 over the second quarter of the year. He also spent $238,029 over the period, which ran from April 1 to June 30.

Meanwhile, GOP opponent Steve Toft, a retired army colonel from Osseo, raised $62,724, spent $58,369 and has $107,507 in the bank.

— House Speaker Paul Ryan returned some $4 million in contributions to donors over the last quarter, following his mid-April announcement he won’t be seeking re-election.

While his report notes he raised $43,840 over the period, his net contributions were negative $4.37 million.

Under federal elections law, an FEC spokesman told WisPolitics.com today, candidates that aren’t running again are obligated to return any contributions they receive after announcing their retirement. Ryan, R-Janesville, made his announcement April 11.

Candidates are also required to refund donors who gave money specifically earmarked for an individual’s general election bid, the FEC spokesman said, though campaigns can keep donations designated for the candidate’s primary election.

Ryan also spent $281,003 and ended Q2 with $6.4 million in the bank.

— Meanwhile, potential Ryan successors were busy raising campaign cash.

1st CD Dem candidate and ironworker Randy Bryce raised $1.2 million over the period, spending $1.3 million and finishing with $2.15 million cash on hand.

Dem Cathy Myers, a longtime teacher, raised $365,684, spent $371,029 and had $153,296 in the bank.

On the GOP side, Bryan Steil pulled in $659,433 over the 10 weeks after he got into the 1st CD race, an amount that his campaign previously said is a new record for the initial fundraising period of a first-time House candidate from Wisconsin.

Steil, an attorney for a manufacturer, also spent $40,435 and had $618,998 cash on hand.

Fellow Republican Nick Polce, a former Army Green Beret who announced in November plans to challenge Ryan, raised $19,000, spent $18,026 and had $8,464 in the bank.

GOP candidate Kevin “Adam” Steen raised $10,115, spent $8,490 and had $5,375 cash on hand.

Steen, who lives in Wheatland and works as an applications engineer at equipment manufacturer Putzmeister in Sturtevant, announced a bid after Ryan said he wouldn’t seek re-election.

And Paul Nehlen, who lost to Ryan by 68 points in the 2016 GOP primary, raised $9,071, spent $20,234 and logged $12,481 cash on hand.

GOP challenger Jeremy Ryan didn’t have a report up at the FEC site.

In other Wisconsin congressional districts:

2nd CD

U.S. Rep Mark Pocan raised $129,798 over the second quarter of the year, spent $90,138 and had $485,520 in the bank.

The Town of Vermont Dem is running unopposed for re-election.

4th CD

U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee, raised $185,243, spent $130,483 and had $93,731 cash on hand.

In the upcoming primary, Moore is facing former state Sen. Gary George, who previously challenged her in 2014, when he took 28.7 percent of the vote, and 2016, when he logged 15.3 percent. George’s report wasn’t yet up on the FEC site.

Republican contenders Cindy Werner and Timothy Rogers also didn’t have reports filed at the site.

5th CD

U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner outraised his Dem challenger Tom Palzewicz by more than $16,000 this quarter.

The Menomonee Falls Republican brought in $56,628 and spent $45,521, finishing with $525,092 cash on hand.

Palzewicz, a U.S. Navy veteran and former small-business owner, raised $40,205 and spent $29,893. He finished the quarter with $36,932 in the bank.

Republican challenger and Waukesha pediatrician Jennifer Hoppe Vimond raised $12,000, spent $1,251 and had $10,749 cash on hand.

6th CD

Democrat Dan Kohl again outraised incumbent U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, his second quarter FEC filing shows.

Kohl, the nephew of former U.S. Sen. Herb Kohl, raised $425,207 and spent $121,790, finishing the quarter with more than $1.1 million cash on hand.

Grothman raised $264,850, spent $100,139 and finished the quarter with $871,126 in the bank.

Since getting into the race in June 2017, Kohl has outraised Grothman for four straight quarters.

7th CD

U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy raised $394,563 over the quarter, making him the top fundraiser for direct contributions among Wisconsin House members.

The Wausau Republican also spent $189,717 and finished with $2.6 million cash on hand.

Dem Brian Ewert, a doctor from Marshfield, raised $61,695, spent $66,252 and finished with $110,659 in the bank.

U.S. Navy veteran and Democrat Margaret Engebretson, of Superior, raised $14,868 and spent $17,592. She finished with $5,993 in the bank.

8th CD

U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher rivaled Duffy in fundraising, raising $384,037 over the quarter.

The Green Bay Republican also spent $256,455 and finished the period with more than $1.3 million in the bank.

Dem challenger Beau Liegeois, an assistant DA in Brown County and member of the Wisconsin Army National Guard, raised $67,496 between April 1 and June 30. He also spent $40,755 and had $59,144 in the bank.

— U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin has introduced legislation to let Wisconsinites in all media markets watch Packers games.

The Madison Dem introduced the “Go Pack Go Act” that would require cable companies to provide in-state programming to Wisconsin municipalities that fall in out-of-state media markets.

According to Baldwin, 13 counties and nearly 400,000 people reside in Wisconsin but are covered by Minnesota or Michigan media markets.

In a fact sheet prepared by her office, Baldwin argued that “these Wisconsin residents may therefore lack access to programming most relevant to their Wisconsin communities – such as local news, information about local and state government, and sports.”

“My Go Pack Go Act would give Packers fans in every Wisconsin county the opportunity to watch Packers games and cheer on our beloved green and gold,” she said in a statement.

Baldwin’s holding a news conference in Green Bay Friday to tout her bill.

The effort isn’t a new one. U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, in 2016 introduced a similar measure.

— Baldwin is also calling on the Pfizer CEO to keep current price reductions on medications.

The pharmaceutical company reduced their prices last week after an initial increase on July 1. The reductions would expire by the end of the year or sooner if the Trump administration implements its prescription drug blueprint. Baldwin says these reductions should be permanent.

“Instead of playing games with the costs of prescription drugs that millions of Americans depend on, you should make a firm and clear commitment to permanently roll back prices,” Baldwin said.

In a letter to the company’s CEO, Baldwin asked Pfizer to clarify the timing of the price increases and the need to increase certain drug prices over others.

“Transparency and accountability are critical first steps in tackling the complex problem of high drug prices…I ask that you commit to providing more information on this,” Baldwin wrote.

Earlier this year, Baldwin joined Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in advocating for U.S. policy to reduce drug prices. The pair also introduced the “FAIR Drug Pricing Act” to increase the transparency standards by which pharmaceutical companies would have to abide.

— Baldwin and Senate Health Committee Dems are calling for an oversight hearing on reuniting families that were separated at the southern border.

Baldwin and Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., authored a letter on behalf of the Democrats on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee asking for a hearing to better understand how the Department of Health and Human Services plans to reunite families separated under the “zero tolerance” policy at the border.

“With many children still in the care of ORR [the Office of Refugee Resettlement] and awaiting reunification with their families, including parents who may have been deported to their countries of origin, we believe the Committee must take the opportunity to understand how the Department intends to expeditiously complete the remaining reunification efforts,” the senators wrote.

— Wisconsin manufacturing and agricultural business leaders during a Milwaukee hearing this week told U.S. Sen Ron Johnson they’re already feeling economic damage from a trade war between the U.S. and Canada, China, the European Union and others.

Manufacturing representatives said yesterday they’re seeing price hikes of between 35 percent and 40 percent on steel and aluminum raw materials from not only foreign sources but from domestic suppliers that have also raised prices due to increased demand.

Several participants noted ramping up domestic production takes a long time, and U.S. suppliers have not announced commitments to do so, partly due to the uncertainty over how long the tariffs will be in place.

Husco International CEO Austin Ramirez said tariffs have cost the company $1 million per month.

He said exports support 100 jobs in its U.S. operations, which are at risk because it would be more efficient to produce the products overseas to avoid tariffs.

Ramirez said if the company knew the tariffs were permanent, it could adjust operations accordingly.

“Today, business is frozen, because these tariffs might go away tomorrow; they might go away in two months; they might be permanent, and it really handcuffs us from restructuring our business for whatever the new reality might look like,” Ramirez said.

See more at WisBusiness.com.

— A bill from U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore aiming to change regulatory practices for small businesses passed the House this week with broad bipartisan support.

The legislation was part of a package of 32 other bills — including one from U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy, R-Wausau — that include a series of provisions to let small businesses more easily access capital, among other things.

Moore’s legislation, called the “Investment Adviser Regulatory Flexibility Improvement Act,” would require the Securities and Exchange Commission to change its definition of a “small business” that would then include more small advisory firms. That in turn, according to national media reports, would lead the agency to consider those firms when assessing regulations.

Duffy’s bill, meanwhile, deals with international insurance standards and their consistency with domestic ones.

The package cleared the House Tuesday night on a 406-4 vote, with all members of the Wisconsin congressional delegation voting yes. It now heads to the Senate.    

— U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher’s resolution to rebuild and modernize the Marine Corps also cleared the House.

The bipartisan resolution from Gallagher, a former Marine, passed with unanimous approval Tuesday.

“My hope is that this resolution will strengthen my colleagues’ commitment to passing a budget and providing the Marine Corps with the stable, robust, and on-time funding it critically needs,” the Green Bay Republican said in a statement.

— U.S. Rep. Ron Kind is calling on Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin to reinstate policies requiring tax-exempt groups to provide certain donor information on their annual forms.

The IRS and Treasury Department on Monday released guidelines that wouldn’t require certain 501(c) groups to provide donors’ names and addresses on annual forms they submit, per national media reports.  

Kind, D-La Crosse, in a letter to Mnuchin Wednesday called for more accountability and transparency at a time when it’s “critically needed in our political process.”

“Instead of giving meag-donors more ways to influence elections, we should be striving to boost the transparency of campaign donations so the American public can know exactly which people are behind these contributions,” he wrote.

— Speaker Paul Ryan named U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy to the House-Senate conference committee to hammer out the two chambers’ differences on the farm bill.

Duffy, R-Wausau, is the only Wisconsin Republican on the conference committee.

See the release.

— Duffy has also introduced a bill to create a new ag guestwork program.

Duffy in a statement said his “Ag and Legal Workforce Act” would “ensure that our farmers have access to the experienced workforce they need for their farms to not only survive, but to thrive.”

Posts of the week


‘UpFront’: Pocan slams Trump administration’s efforts to reunite families separated at border

Bernie Sanders, Tammy Baldwin Rally Supporters In Eau Claire

Tammy Baldwin makes outstate push appearing alongside Bernie Sanders at Eau Claire rally

Wisconsin Voters Chose Trump. Will They Keep Tammy Baldwin?

Tammy Baldwin wants “permanent” price cuts for Pfizer’s drugs

Trump tariffs: Wisconsin manufacturers hit by trade policies discuss plight with Ron Johnson

Wisconsin Growers, Manufacturers Give Earful To Johnson On Trump Tariffs

Sen. Johnson: Putin wrong about Russia election meddling

GOP U.S. Senate hopeful Leah Vukmir’s Pants on Fire claim about Mark Pocan proposal to abolish ICE

Roll Call: Key votes from the Wisconsin congressional delegation this week

Wisconsin congressional leaders blast Putin over Russian election meddling: ‘Russia is not our ally’

Wisconsin Republicans chastise Russia, but refrain from criticizing Trump’s remarks

Money in politics: Mike Gallagher outraises Beau Liegeois in 8th Congressional District race

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