The Tiffany Telegram: January 15, 2021

January 21, 2021
Newsletter

Dear Friend,

This week in Washington, we saw an example of what baseball great Yogi Berra called “déjà vu all over again,” as Speaker Pelosi decided to move forward with a partisan effort to “re-impeach” President Trump. The effort was as rushed as it was partisan – with majority Democrats moving the Article of Impeachment straight to the House floor, bypassing the committee process, and with less deliberation or consideration than we usually see applied to the simple re-naming of a post office.

Watching the House majority do this was especially disappointing given that Democratic leaders in the Congress blocked badly needed Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds for small businesses and other COVID relief for months. As Telegram readers know, there was broad support last summer for a targeted coronavirus relief package that included PPP funds, common-sense liability protections for hospitals, health-care workers, schools, churches and non-profits as well as assistance for displaced workers. Instead of advancing this effort to help American families, they chose to delay it in an effort to inflict maximum pain and sway the outcome of the election.

By comparison, this week’s “Impeachment 2.0 and 3.0” push showed all Americans just how fast Speaker Pelosi and her backers can move when they want to exact political retribution on their opponents.

We also saw majority party lawmakers accusing those of us in the minority of “sedition” and “treason” – and even a proposal to expel more than 100 representatives for supporting identical, constitutionally authorized challenges to elector slates that they themselves lodgedafter presidential elections in 2000, 2004 and 2016.

Sadly, some lawmakers also chose to politicize last week’s violence at the U.S. Capitol, fomenting further division with not one, but two separate efforts to remove the President from office with just days remaining in his term, even as many of those making the loudest accusations sat silently – or even cheered on and encouraged – the violent riots, organized looting and sustained mayhem that gripped so many American communities over the last year.

As Americans, we should all hold ourselves to a high standard – but we should never apply or defend double standards, and that unfortunately seems to be what Speaker Pelosi and many of her allies have attempted to do so far in the 117th Congress.

In a few days, Joe Biden will be sworn in as President. He has spoken about the need for “unity” and “healing,” but this week’s divisive and unnecessary impeachment did nothing to advance either of those goals. 

I hope in the coming weeks that my colleagues on the other side of the aisle and President-elect Biden will call off these attempts to punish millions of Americans with whom they disagree, and join us in turning down the temperature so we can move forward with the business of the American people.


Video
Tom speaks on the House floor against the Articles of Impeachment.


In this week’s Telegram we’ve got some updates for you on:

Ending federal interference in Wisconsin gray wolf management
This week I re-introduced a bill with five of my colleagues to permanently remove the gray wolf from the federal list of threatened and endangered species and restore management authority to states, where it belongs. I have long believed that we must end the era of urban judges and paper-pushers a thousand miles away in Washington, DC micromanaging Wisconsin wildlife policies. President Trump’s Interior Department de-listed wolves last year, but there is growing concern that lawsuits filed by progressive pressure groups – as well as efforts by the incoming Biden administration – may push for a “re-listing.” My bill would prevent this “revolving door” approach by codifying the de-listing in federal law. For too long, the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) has been a “Hotel California,” one in which species “check-in” to the threatened and endangered list – but never leave. Meanwhile, rural communities with no say in the process are stuck with the consequences. I also voiced support for management efforts to commence quickly at the local level and called on state lawmakers and the Evers administration to immediately authorize a wolf hunting season. To that end, I submitted testimony to the legislature’s Joint Committee on Sporting Heritage Wednesday calling for just that. Our state needs it, our sportsmen want it, and they are all counting on their representatives and wildlife managers to deliver. You can read my press release on the bill here.

Fighting online censorship
Over the last few months, Americans have been alarmed by growing examples of online censorship, as a handful of wealthy Silicon Valley oligarchs have moved to shut down open debate and dialogue online. Starting with coordination between major platforms to block distribution of investigative reporting by the New York Post in the lead up to the election and the unprecedented, permanent suspension of President Trump’s social media accounts, to a broader “purge” of center-right thought leaders from these platforms, many of us are very concerned about the future of free speech in our country. In an era where a handful of large, agenda-driven companies have chosen to lock-down the free flow of information (even raising eyebrows across the Atlantic in Europe and as far away as Australia), space for free expression seems to be shrinking with each passing day. Worse, recently recorded audiocaught Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey admitting that this may only be the beginning. The events of the last few months have made it clear that something must be done to restrain the monopolistic power of these companies, and protect our cherished, God-given right to engage in a robust, open, and uncensored dialogue in the digital age. Last congress, I co-introduced legislation to defend this bedrock principle and combat online censorship. My colleague Rep. Paul Gosar released an accompanying video outlining what is at stake, and I plan to work with him and other lawmakers this congress in what I hope will be a bipartisan effort to defend our democratic system of government from the China-style speech codes being imposed by “Big Tech.”

A closer partnership with Taiwan
Speaking of China, last year, you may remember that I proposed legislation in the face of the growing China threat to improve communication and coordination with our longtime, democratic ally Taiwan by eliminating a set of counter-productive, self-imposed “guidelines” that have prevented American officials from engaging in normal discussions with their counterparts in Taipei. These misguided rules have interfered with our ability to work together on everything from regional security coordination and counter-terrorism efforts to economic engagement and partnership on pandemic and public health related issues.  While Democrats refused to allow a vote on my proposal at the time, this week Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that these outdated “guidelines” would be swept away, effectively enacting my legislation. Thanks to this important step, America can now engage in normal discussions with our friends in Taiwan without seeking a permission slip from the communist regime in China. President-elect Biden should stick to this long-overdue shift in U.S. policy, resist kowtowing to Beijing, and deepen America’s diplomatic, national security and economic partnership with Taiwan as the free world works to contain an increasingly belligerent China.

District COVID-19 update
Following the holiday season, we’ve seen our positive case numbers shift in a downward trajectory.  Additionally, hospital bed capacity and ICU capacity remain stable throughout the state. Public health officials have also begun conversations to close the alternative care facility located in Milwaukee due to the significant decrease in positive case numbers.

District Vaccine update
On the vaccine front, President Trump announced this week that Operation Warp Speed will be shifting their distribution model to allow for a larger percentage of the population to receive the first dose. As you may know, the vaccine must be administered in two doses over a thirty-day period to achieve maximum efficacy. Previously the administration had allotted a specific number of doses to remain in storage to ensure people would receive their second dose on time. Following the recommendation of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar, those stored vaccines will now be released and the vaccination of the general population over 65 years of age will began later this month. Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services (DHS) announced on Monday they would be starting distribution of vaccines for the Phase 1b population, however their current Phase 1b efforts are being focused on police and firefighters operating as frontline workers in a non-healthcare capacity. As always we direct you to the Wisconsin DHS website for all COVID-19 and vaccine-related questions you may have.

District COVID update
Following the holiday season, we’ve seen our positive case numbers shift in a downward trajectory.  Additionally, hospital bed capacity and ICU capacity remain stable throughout the state. Public health officials have also begun conversations to close the alternative care facility located in Milwaukee due to the significant decrease in positive case numbers.

Regional Assistance  
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

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. 

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.

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. 

Sincerely,

Tom Tiffany
Member of Congress