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

President Trump’s shutdown accomplished nothing and has hurt a lot of people. Now that he has agreed to end it, we can open the government, make sure workers get a paycheck, and work together on bipartisan reform to fund border security and fix our broken immigration system.
– U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, on Twitter after President Trump announced a deal last week to reopen the federal government for three weeks. The plan doesn’t include any border wall funding.

800,000 federal employees went without pay for over a month, and at the end of it all, we failed to fix border security and are continuing crisis governance. This is insane.
– U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay, in a tweet following the announcement.

Only a moron would not understand global warming causes huge temperature swings – including really cold temperatures. Only a moron…
– U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, slamming President Trump on Twitter after Trump tweeted about the cold temperatures in the Midwest, saying: “What the hell is going on with Global Waming? Please come back fast, we need you!”

New York state should be ashamed that its legislators passed this abhorrent law that allows abortions right up until birth. Barbaric!
– U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Glenbeulah, on Twitter in response to new legislation signed into law in New York that lets a woman get an abortion after the 24 week mark if the pregnancy endangers her health, according to local reports, and it allows a woman to have an abortion at any point in her pregnancy if the child isn’t viable.

This week’s news

— U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman is looking to place limits on welfare benefits so only U.S. citizens can receive them.

The legislation, the Glenbeulah Republican says, would help “clean up the welfare system” and encourage individuals to work to receive benefits such as Medicare, Medicaid and food stamps.

Grothman’s office also pointed to an estimate from conservative magazine The Weekly Standard that showed taxpayers would save $60 billion a year under the congressman’s bill.

“I want to give every immigrant a hand-up instead of a hand-out so they too can share the dignity that comes with an honest day’s work, just like my ancestors had when they came to this country,” he said in a statement.


— U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy is undeterred by a key GOP senator’s dismissal of a new bill from the Wausau Republican that would give President Trump more power to raise tariffs.

The legislation, which Duffy introduced last week, would let Trump up tariffs to respond to actions other countries take. Called the “U.S. Reciprocal Trade Act,” Duffy billed it as a way to give Trump “the tools necessary to pressure other nations to lower their tariffs and stop taking advantage of America.”

“The goal of the U.S. Reciprocal Trade Act is NOT to raise America’s tariffs but rather to encourage the rest of the world to lower theirs,” he said in a statement. “The American people deserve FREE and FAIR trade, and the Reciprocal Trade Act will be an important step in achieving that goal.”

But U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, previously rejected the proposal in comments with reporters, per national reports. The head of the Senate Finance Committee, which deals with trade and tariffs, as well as other issues, said he won’t give Trump “any greater authority.”

Still, Duffy’s office noted Grassley’s comments came before the specifics of the bill were released, including provisions on congressional oversight.

“Congressman Duffy is currently focused on building a supportive coalition in the House before engaging the Senate on the Reciprocal Trade Act,” a spokesman said.

Duffy’s bill currently has 19 cosponsors, including fellow Wisconsinite U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Menomonee Falls.


— Duffy is also reintroducing a bill that would let states deny Medicaid funds to health centers that provide abortions.

Duffy said in a statement the “Women’s Public Health and Safety Act” would allow tax dollars to be given to “non-controversial community centers that actually focus on women’s health.”

He previously introduced the bill in 2017 and in 2015, when it passed the House on a vote of 236 to 193.


U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher is bringing back a plan to overhaul the congressional process by instituting a five-year ban on lobbying and barring lawmakers from going to recess without first passing a balanced budget.

The legislation, which Gallagher introduced this week, would also nix taxpayer-funded pensions.

The Green Bay Republican said in a statement his so-called “Serve the People, Not the Swamp Act” would prompt D.C. lawmakers to view their time in Congress as a “deployment.”

Over his first term in the House, Gallagher, a co-chair of the Congressional Reformers Caucus, pushed for a series of measures ranging from the lobbying ban to term limits for members of Congress and ending the amount of time congressmen and women spend fundraising for re-election.

“These ideas haven’t made me popular in D.C., but I didn’t run for Congress to be popular,” Gallagher said. “I ran to fix problems and that’s what I’m going to continue to do.”

Just one congressman — U.S. Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Pa. — is currently listed as a cosponsor on Gallagher’s bill.


— Gallagher this week also introduced a bill to give Congress more oversight over the President Trump’s trade decisions.

The legislation, called the “Bicameral Congressional Trade Authority Act of 2019,” would give Congress a 60-day review period to go over any plans from the president to adjust imports in the interest of national security.

Gallagher in a statement argued the legislation would guard the country against “protectionist policies that hurt Wisconsin families, manufacturers and farmers.”


— U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore announced this week she has been battling cancer for the last 10 months and it is in remission.

Moore, 67, told fellow members of the House Ways and Means Committee during the body’s first meeting Tuesday she has small cell lymphoma. A Moore spokeswoman said the Milwaukee Dem was first diagnosed in June.

Moore, who was up for re-election in November, didn’t disclose the information during her campaign.

Moore in a release said she decided to announce it this week to showcase “the lifesaving value of essential health benefits,” as she slammed the committee’s Republicans for their support to undermine the Affordable Care Act.

“This is a cancer I will live with for the rest of my life, but, because of my high-quality healthcare and insurance coverage, it is not a cancer I will die from,” she said.

In a tweet later Tuesday afternoon sharing coverage of her announcement, Moore wrote it’s the job of lawmakers to ensure citizens don’t have “to choose between seeking treatment & providing for their families.”

“If I had to pay 15K/mo for the medicine that keeps me healthy, I’d be writing my obituary instead of this tweet,” she wrote.


— U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin is calling on the Trump administration to give the federal workers impacted by the shutdown backpay immediately.

The heavily Dem-backed letter, signed by more than two dozen other senators including Republican Lisa Murkowski and Independent Bernie Sanders, asks the U.S. Office of Personnel Management to let affected workers know when they’ll be paid now that the government has been reopened.

President Trump announced a deal last week to reopen the federal government for three weeks. The plan doesn’t include any border wall funding.

The letter notes the announcement coincided with many federal workers missing their second paycheck.

“More than 800,000 federal workers have gone without pay because the government shutdown locked them out of their jobs or required them to work without pay,” the senators wrote. “These workers need to know now when they will finally receive their missed paychecks.”


— Freshman U.S. Rep. Bryan Steil is holding his first listening sessions this week as a member of Congress.

Steil, R-Janesville, has six listening sessions planned across his district for Friday and Monday, ranging from Franklin to Lake Geneva to Bristol.

See the release.


Posts of the week


Wisconsin Lawmakers Introduce Legislation To Block Government Shutdowns, Require Back Pay

Sen. Baldwin backs ‘Back Pay Fairness Act’ for federal employees

Sen. Ron Johnson Blames McConnell as Shutdown Continues

Duffy finds 18 co-sponsors for bill to increase Trump’s tariff powers

Rep. Duffy: Wall Fight Will Decide 2020 Elections

Duffy seeks to give president more power in reciprocal trade negotiations

Rep. Grothman proposes bill to end federal shutdowns

Bryan Steil is not Paul Ryan. But he used to work for him

Steil to host listening sessions

Pocan responds to Trump tweet on global warming that’s drawn scorn

Pocan: Shutdown waste of time, energy

Rep. Gwen Moore says she is in remission from cancer

Rep. Gwen Moore says she has cancer, it’s in remission

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