Reps in the News: Call For New Gun-Control Bills; More

Senator André Jacque

A handful of Wisconsin Republicans are bringing back legislation to ban the use of aborted fetal tissue in research. The bill, authored by Sen. Jacque (R-De Pere) and Rep. Janel Brandtjen (R-Menomonee Falls) began circulating for co-sponsors Wednesday and would prohibit the use of fetal tissue obtained from abortions for research or any other purpose.

Previous iterations of the bill have failed to become law during recent sessions under complete GOP control of state government as they faced opposition from the scientific and medical research communities. With a Democratic governor in office who has already vetoed four abortion-related bills during his eight-month tenure, it’s all but certain the legislation would face a roadblock in Gov. Tony Evers. 


Governor Tony Evers

Gov. Evers said he wants Republican leaders to take the next couple of weeks to come up with new gun-control bills; then he’s going to call a special legislative session. The governor first called for a “red flag” law and stricter background checks several weeks ago. Republicans control both the state Assembly and Senate. They said new laws will only create new problems for gun owners who obey the law.


Senator Tammy Baldwin

Sen. Baldwin announced that $5,195,302 in federal funding has been awarded to provide more resources for Wisconsin to address the opioid epidemic through enhanced prevention efforts. 

“I have worked in a bipartisan way to make sure local communities in Wisconsin have the federal resources they need to support local prevention, treatment and recovery efforts,” Baldwin said. “Washington needs to do more to address the opioid epidemic, and a strong partnership with state and local officials is essential to an effective response. I’m confident that Gov. Evers will act immediately to put these federal investments to work in Wisconsin to support our continued fight against this deadly crisis.” 

The federal funding is being awarded to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Overdose to Action (OD2A) effort, which focuses primarily on opioid surveillance and prevention. 

OD2A is a three-year cooperative agreement that addresses the changing nature of the opioid-overdose epidemic and highlights the need for a comprehensive public-health approach. These funds will support the collection of high-quality data on overdose morbidity and mortality to inform local prevention and response efforts.

As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Baldwin has been a leader in working to provide more federal funding to fight the opioid epidemic in Wisconsin. She worked to secure $475,579,000 for the CDC’s efforts to improve opioid-overdose prevention and surveillance that will combat this deadly epidemic and save lives.

Source: Baldwin press release 

Senator Ron Johnson

“I personally like the guy,” Sen. Johnson said about President Donald Trump in a recent interview with the Washington Examiner. “I tell people, he’s engaging. He’s gracious. He’s very funny. That’s what liberals do not get at all. Those rallies are a policy-related comedy act. He’s a very smart man. He’s a very smart man.”

In 2016, Wisconsin shocked the national press and Hillary Clinton’s campaign by giving its electoral votes to a Republican for the first time in a generation. Johnson argues Trump can win again.

“Wisconsin is absolutely in play. I think his greatest risk is the follow-up on the trade war. I was just in the White House yesterday making that point to his economic team. I’ve been critical. It’s my responsibility,” he said of policy concerns.

On campaign structural concerns, Johnson has an idea.

“I’m trying to convince the Trump campaign to help us create this grassroots juggernaut, structure this thing so we have full-time field offices with full-time professionals,” he said. “Their job is basically to help – not dictate to, not come in there arrogantly – but to help support the county chairs and the grassroots.” 

“And the other key goal should be to run Republican on every line on the ballot,” Johnson said. “Out of 38 Democrat Assembly seats, 30 ran unopposed. Well that’s about 40,000 to 50,000 votes. Even if you only get 20 percent, that’s 8,000 votes times 30. You just leave that on the field. I keep calling it trickle-up elections.”


President Donald Trump

Vice President Mike Pence said his boss didn’t order him to stay at a Trump property during an official visit to Ireland over the weekend, despite it being more than 150 miles from the location of a slew of official meetings. Since 2017, Pence’s political group, the Great America Committee, has spent about $224,000 at Trump properties – chiefly the Trump International Hotel in Washington and its on-site steakhouse –  according to Federal Election Commission (FEC) records maintained by ProPublica

Such spending appears to be a family affair. Pence’s brother, freshman Rep. Greg Pence (R-Ind.), has also spent considerable sums at the Trump hotel. In fact, Rep. Pence’s campaign amended a number of FEC filings this year after USA Today noted that the campaign appeared to be illegally paying for the congressman to live at the Trump hotel. The Pence campaign said those expenses were reported incorrectly and amended FEC filings accordingly.

The spending by the Pence brothers reflects a broader trend taking place throughout the Republican Party, in which officials are doling out campaign cash to properties and businesses associated with the president, but the vice president is a particularly prolific Trump-property patron. Only the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee have spent more at Trump businesses than Pence’s PAC during the 2020 election cycle.