Reps in the News: Evers to ‘Unleash’ DNR

Governor Tony Evers

Gov. Evers told a conservation group last week that he will “unleash” state Department of Natural Resources scientists whom he said were largely shackled under former Gov. Scott Walker.

Evers asked for the group’s help in persuading largely skeptical GOP lawmakers to embrace his environmental agenda, which includes a call to move Wisconsin’s utilities away from carbon-emitting energy sources during the next three decades.

The remarks from Evers came at the Wisconsin Conservation Voters’ Conservation Lobby Day event.

During the last eight years, testifying to lawmakers became “a really risky thing to do” for DNR officials, Evers told the group.

“We have scientists there for a reason, and that is to inform legislators about how science impacts their policy decisions,” Evers said. “So we’re going to unleash the folks that work at the Department of Natural Resources.”


Congressman Mike Gallagher

Rep. Gallagher, joined by his colleague Jackie Speier, introduced the Billion Dollar Boondoggle Act: new, bipartisan legislation to provide public oversight of large-scale government projects. The bill requires an annual report to taxpayers listing every government-funded project that is $1 billion or more over budget, or that is five or more years behind schedule. The legislation is a part of Gallagher’s broader effort to restore the public’s trust in government and protect taxpayer dollars.

“Mismanagement of multibillion-dollar government projects should not be treated like business as usual,” Gallagher said. “It’s our job in Congress to be responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars, and this bill provides much-needed transparency of large-scale projects so we can get to the bottom of a problem before it becomes a bottomless pit of money.”

Source: Gallagher press release

Senator Tammy Baldwin

Sen. Baldwin joined a bipartisan group of 47 Senators raising concerns about the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s proposed rule to make harmful changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). In a bipartisan letter led by Senators Debbie Stabenow and Lisa Murkowski, the Senators urged Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to withdraw the proposal.

“The proposed changes would take food assistance away from Americans struggling to find stable employment while doing nothing to help them to actually become permanently employed,” the Senators wrote. “This is contrary to Congressional intent, evidenced by the passage of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, which rejected similar harmful changes to SNAP and passed Congress by a historic vote of 87-13 in the Senate and by 369-47 in the House of Representatives.”

Despite the bipartisan consensus to reject changes to ABAWD (Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents) work rules and state waiver authority, the department has proposed a regulation that is in direct contravention of Congressional intent. This proposed regulation would make it harder for states to provide nutrition assistance in communities experiencing economic uncertainty. Recent analysis has also found the rule could result in the loss of more than 178,000 jobs.

Source: Baldwin press release

Senator Ron Johnson

Sen. Johnson (R-Wis.) said the following after voting against Democrats’ “Green New Deal” in the Senate last week: “It is astonishing that so many Democrats – including most of their announced presidential candidates – co-sponsored the Green New Deal, but then unanimously failed to vote for it. If Democrats hypocritically say they support their $93 trillion spending boondoggle but then don’t vote for it, no American should take them or the Green New Deal seriously.”

Despite being endorsed by leading Democrats throughout the party, including many presidential candidates, the Green New Deal received zero votes, failing by a tally of 0-57, with 43 Democrats merely voting “present.”

Source: Johnson press release

President Donald Trump

President Donald Trump said in a string of tweets Monday night that Republicans won’t be voting on a new health-care plan until after the 2020 elections.

“The Republicans are developing a really great HealthCare Plan with far lower premiums (cost) & deductibles than ObamaCare,” Trump tweeted. “In other words it will be far less expensive & much more usable than ObamaCare. Vote will be taken right after the Election when Republicans hold the Senate & win back the House.”

The comment comes as the Trump administration has abruptly shifted its focus back to health care, beginning with Trump directing the Department of Justice to support a full dismantling of the Affordable Care Act on constitutional grounds. The Justice Department intervened in a federal case on behalf of a Texas judge who ruled the law is unconstitutional because of the new Republican tax law.

The move appeared to catch Republicans off guard.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the White House would be the big player in the latest health-care battle, and Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said last week that his committee did not have plans to move forward with health-care legislation.