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
I have always supported universal health care, but we are not there yet. Medicare at 50 is a very bold step in the right direction.
– U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, joining Dems Wednesday in unveiling a bill to let anyone between ages 50 and 65 buy into Medicare. Those who do, under the bill, would receive the subsidies and tax credits currently available under the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges. See the release.
If we haven’t finished our official business of funding the government, then we shouldn’t be going on taxpayer-funded trips outside of our districts. This is just common sense.
– U.S. Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Green Bay, in a statement introducing his “No CODELs During Shutdowns Act.” The bill would prevent congressmen from joining congressional delegation trips during a government shutdown.
This week’s news
— Wisconsin is one of just eight states to have more than one representative on the House Ways and Means Committee.
And it’s one of only five states to have at least two Democrats on the panel, according to a WisPolitics.com check of the body’s makeup this session.
Wisconsin is represented by U.S. Reps. Ron Kind, D-La Crosse, and Gwen Moore, D-Milwaukee. Kind is the 7th-ranked member on the committee, while Moore was first appointed this year.
The House Ways and Means Committee consists of 42 members, 25 of which are Democrats and 17 are Republicans. The committee is the oldest of the U.S. Congress and is the primary tax-writing committee in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Other states with multiple members include: California, Texas, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania and Georgia.
Across the Midwest, Illinois has the highest representation on the committee with three members, followed by Wisconsin’s two. Other midwestern states with at least one representative on the committee include: Michigan, Nebraska, Missouri and Kansas.
— U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner is back in his D.C. office following his hip replacement surgery last month.
A Sensenbrenner spokesman says the Menomonee Falls Republican and dean of the state’s congressional delegation resumed his congressional duties last week. Sensenbrenner, 75, had hip replacement surgery Jan. 10 at Mt. Vernon Hospital in Alexandria, Va.
The spokesman said Sensenbrenner’s “keeping his schedule flexible to accommodate the daily physical therapy sessions and follow-up medical appointments,” per his doctor’s recommendation.
“His recovery is on schedule and going well, and he will continue to follow the recommendations of his surgeon and physical therapist who will determine the course of his recovery,” the spokesman said.
The operation came after Sensenbrenner tripped over a coiled power cord and broke his hip six years ago while attending a fair in Butler, Wis. He then had surgery, but was aware at the time he’d need another operation in the future, his office previously said.
— U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin announced she will vote against William Barr’s nomination to be attorney general, saying she was troubled by his “hostility” toward Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.
The Madison Dem cited an “unsolicited memo” Barr sent while in private practice to the Department of Justice and President Trump’s lawyers attacking the probe. She said it came on the same day new charges were filed against former Trump campaign Chair Paul Manafort and a month before grand jury indictments were handed down against a dozen Russian military officers for conspiring to interfere in the 2016 election. Baldwin said she had “too many unanswered questions” about the motivation behind the memo.
Baldwin also said she had concerns whether Barr would “continue to move in the wrong direction” on equality for LGBTQ Americans, following the lead of former AG Jeff Sessions.
“I do not have the confidence I need that this nominee to be America’s top law enforcement official will provide the independence we must have at this critical time,” Baldwin said.
Baldwin’s announcement came as the Senate on Tuesday ended a Dem filibuster of Barr’s nomination, clearing the way for an expected final vote later this week.
— Baldwin has also reintroduced legislation that she says would keep American students globally competitive.
The bill, called the “Advancing International and Foreign Language Education Act,” looks to ensure American students access to international and foreign language education programs by reauthorizing Title VI of the “Higher Education Act.”
Title VI provides resources for U.S. universities to develop international programs focusing its interest to Middle East, East and Central Asia, Russia, East Europe, Africa and others. Baldwin said the bill has been especially beneficial to Wisconsin universities, including those at UW-Madison.
“Wisconsin is home to world class universities and our international education system lives up to our state motto, ‘Forward,’” Baldwin said in a statement. “That’s why I’m joining Senator Young to support the reauthorization of critical Title VI programs that support language and area studies education.”
The bill is co-sponsored by U.S. Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind.
— U.S. Rep. Sean Duffy has introduced a bipartisan bill encouraging low-income families to move to lower-poverty areas.
The bill, called the “Housing Choice Voucher Mobility Demonstration Act,” would let the Housing and Urban Development secretary start a housing choice voucher demonstration to encourage certain families getting the vouchers to relocate.
Duffy, R-Wausau, said the legislation would help break the generational cycle of poverty.
“People deserve the chance to relocate to areas with more opportunity and greater economic freedom,” he said in a statement.
The bill is co-sponsored by Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo.
Duffy previously introduced the bill last session.
— U.S. Rep. Glenn Grothman has introduced a bill aiming to bolster school safety and security measures.
The Glenbeulah Republican’s bill, the “Student and Teacher Safety Act,” would widen the physical safety improvements schools are able to make with federal dollars. It would also give states the ability to use federal funding for emergency planning practices, forming agreements with law enforcement and others, and more.
“I believe that the people who know what is best for schools are the students, parents and teachers in the local community,” he said in a statement. “So, if federal dollars are already being given to schools, they should be able to use that money to protect our children.”
Grothman introduced a similar bill last session.
— U.S. Rep. Ron Kind is looking to give craft breweries a tax break under a new bipartisan bill.
The legislation, introduced with U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Pa., would reduce excise taxes and other regulations for breweries, wineries and distilleries.
Kind, D-La Crosse, said in a statement the bill would help grow craft breweries while opening new markets and creating employment opportunities.
“Not only are our breweries a source of pride and a large part of our state’s culture, but they also support our local economies and create jobs,” he said.
— U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan has been appointed to a House committee tasked with reviewing options for modernizing Congress.
The Town of Vermont Dem is the only Wisconsin rep to serve on the new panel, which consists of 12 members total, half appointed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the other half chosen by Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy.
The House voted to form the select committee early last month, which will look into potential congressional rule changes, as well as tweaks to procedures and schedules, according to a report from Roll Call.
Posts of the week
No better way to welcome back to work the Dean of the delegation than with some of @JimPressOffice’s favorites: Cheetos and Diet Pepsi! Welcome back, Jim! @RepSeanDuffy @RepGrothman pic.twitter.com/E27f1nw1EL
— Bryan Steil (@RepBryanSteil) February 13, 2019
— Sen. Tammy Baldwin (@SenatorBaldwin) February 13, 2018