The Tiffany Telegram: August 21, 2020
Congress is returning from its August break for a rare Saturday session tomorrow. But Speaker Pelosi is not bringing lawmakers back to the Capitol to help local school districts trying to get kids back into classrooms, or to provide common-sense liability protections from junk lawsuits that Main Street businesses need as they struggle to get back on their feet in the wake of costly, government-mandated closures. Instead, the House of Representatives will take up a misguided bailout of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) – an effort driven in large part by conspiracy theories that permeated into our social media feeds and fueled slanted news coverage earlier this week. Unfortunately, this barrage of misinformation has tainted serious discussions about reasonable postal reform.
It is no secret that USPS long-term obligations and spending have grown in recent years –even as the service has seen steep declines in mail volume. In response, changes in how the postal service operates have been made to try and adapt. For example, during President Obama’s time in office, 12,000 public mailboxes were removed from service and many antiquated letter processing machines were retired. And there is broad agreement that we must modernize the postal service further if we are to make it more competitive and responsive to changing market demands.
The good news is that despite these challenges, the USPS has adequate cash-on-hand and has not requested any supplemental funding since April. In fact, due to the uptick in package deliveries during the pandemic, as well as census and stimulus check mailings, the Postal Service has generated $1.3 billion more in revenue this year than through the same period last year – and postal officials have assured the public that USPS will remain solvent and fully operational well into 2021.
With that, we present you with this week’s Telegram, which takes a look at::
- The 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage in America
- Making sure Wisconsin’s dairy farmers get the most out of the landmark U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)
- Keeping our suburban communities safe
- A visit to the Coast Guard Cutter Alder
- My letter to Attorney General Barr
- Support for Children’s Hospital
- An update on the coronavirus situation
A century of women’s suffrage
This week America celebrated the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment’s adoption, which guaranteed women the right to vote. Wisconsin has the distinction of being the first state in the Union to ratify this groundbreaking constitutional change, which represented a historic step in our national journey to live up to our founding ideals. You can read more about Wisconsin’s role in the women’s suffrage movement here.
Defending Wisconsin dairy
Last week, I joined 103 of my colleagues in signing a bi-partisan letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and United States Trade Representative, Robert Lighthizer encouraging them to fully enforce the dairy provisions of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). We must make sure that our agricultural producers get the most out of the USMCA trade deal. The USMCA represents an important return to fair trade in North America and will provide new opportunities for our dairy farmers and Wisconsin as a whole. Our world-famous dairy sector is a key driver of Wisconsin’s economy, and USMCA will open new markets and provide new customers for this dynamic industry. You can read our letter here.
Keeping our suburbs safe
This week President Trump and Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson wrote a newspaper column outlining a troubling push by some Washington politicians to impose sweeping new federal mandates on suburban neighborhoods, forcing them to adopt invasive urban planning requirements. These heavy-handed mandates would force local governments to put high-rise, high-density apartment buildings into our communities, or risk losing billions in federal funding – making single family homes, backyard barbecues and low property taxes a thing of the past. We don’t need Washington shoe-horning Big City regulations and Big City problems into northern and western Wisconsin and I am committed to opposing this dangerous idea. You can read President Trump and Secretary Carson’s opinion column about this far-reaching proposal here.
Visiting with the Coast Guard
Earlier this month I had a chance to meet with some of the great men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard. During my visit to the Superior area, I dropped by the local station to visit with the crew of the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Alder (WLB-216), which provides law enforcement, ice-breaking and search and rescue functions throughout the Great Lakes region. We discussed a variety of topics including the Guard’s operational capabilities and fleet needs, as well as ways that we can improve service member health benefits and housing. It is impressive to see the professionalism, dedication and knowledge of these hardworking Americans, and we are fortunate to have them serving us day in and day out in the Twin Ports area.
Tom speaks to coast guard personnel on the deck of the Alder.
My Letter to Attorney General Bill Barr
Telegram readers may recall that I asked Attorney General Barr about the shocking murder of Bernell Trammell, a well-known activist and supporter of President Trump in Wisconsin, during a recent Judiciary Committee hearing. Mr. Trammell was gunned down in broad daylight on a Milwaukee street corner last month, and there is growing concern that Mr. Trammell may have been targeted because of his political views. Nearly a month after his death, the person or people responsible for this heinous crime have not been apprehended or brought to justice. Unfortunately, the violence and lawlessness that has plagued the city seems to have rendered local officials either unwilling or unable to thoroughly investigate this crime – setting a dangerous precedent that could encourage more political killings and put more people at risk. That’s why I wrote to Attorney General Barr this week, asking him to initiate a federal civil rights investigation into Mr. Trammell’s murder. You can read my letter to the A.G. here.
Support for Children’s Hospitals
This week, President Trump announced an additional $1.4 billion in CARES funding to be distributed to 80 free-standing children’s hospitals throughout the country. I signed on to a critical letter urging the administration to support children’s hospitals in the same ways they are supporting other hospitals during this pandemic. Wisconsin Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee will be receiving a portion of these funds, and that money will help to support Wisconsin Children’s behavioral health and child welfare centers in our district.
There are currently six community testing facilities in our district with the addition of the Red Cliff Community Testing Center in Bayfield earlier this week. Numbers are steady for both cases and ICU admissions. Our biggest priority moving forward will be increasing the availability of rapid testing supplies and ensuring that testing becomes more readily available as we enter cold and flu season.
Tom tours Camp American Legion in Tomahawk, WI.
Learn more about Camp American Legion here.
My office will be holding mobile office hours to assist constituents across the district. An office representative will be available to answer questions and help constituents with casework. The next mobile office hours will be held in:
New Richmond, WI:
August 24, 2020
10 am – 12 pm
Next Door Café 206 S. Knowles Ave
New Richmond, Wisconsin 54017
I am excited to host the Veteran Benefit Expo at the Veterans Community Center in Hayward, WI on August 26th from 11am-2pm. Veteran assistance and information from multiple agencies will be present.
Veteran Benefit Expo:
August 26th, 2020
11 am – 2 pm
Veterans Community Center
10543 Main Street
Hayward, WI 54843
In addition to my Wausau and Washington, DC offices, you can reach my staff located in various parts of the district by phone in the location most convenient to you (Note: These lines have 202 area codes as they are connected directly through the US House of Representatives system in Washington, DC):
Hayward: (202) 510-2790
P.O. Box 586
Hayward, WI 54843
Hudson: (202) 510-8993
Tomahawk: (202) 738-6508
Coronavirus Response Resources
The USDA continues to make resources and assistance available to agricultural producers and working families to ensure access, safety and stability for food markets and supplies.
The USDA also continues to accept applications for assistance under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) through August 28, 2020 to assist farmers and ranchers who have been adversely affected by price instability, supply-chain problems and cost spikes. You can learn more about how this program applies to soybeans, dairy, corn, livestock and a variety of other agricultural products here, and a useful fact sheet on the program can be viewed here.
The Paycheck Protection Program resumed accepting applications on July 6. The PPP program provides assistance to employers negatively affected by the public health emergency.
Small businesses can also apply for assistance through the Economic Injury and Disaster Loan program. This program provides economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue as a result of the pandemic.
And once again, remember to make sure that you and your family are counted in the census. Please be sure to visit 2020census.gov to learn more.
If a friend forwarded you this newsletter, and you would like to receive it in the future, you can sign up here, and don’t forget to connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
As always, you are welcome to visit my website or to contact my offices in Washington, DC or Wisconsin, which remain open for service, if you have any questions or need assistance.
Member of Congress