The Tiffany Telegram: March 19, 2021
Table of Contents
Speaker Pelosi’s playbook for running the House of Representatives is beginning to look a lot like the classic movie Groundhog Day – another week, another package of controversial, outside-the-mainstream bills fast-tracked through Congress without committee hearings, no opportunity for Republicans to offer amendments, and rubber-stamped by a partisan majority.
This week, while Americans watched chaotic scenes unfold for a second straight month on the U.S.-Mexico border, Speaker Pelosi and the House majority responded by passing two far-reaching immigration bills that would grant amnesty to some 5 million illegal aliens and cost taxpayers nearly $40 billion – all while doing nothing to restore order on the border or provide assistance to overwhelmed Border Patrol agents facing a human tidal wave of drug smuggling and human trafficking. The situation is so out of control that President Biden’s own Secretary of Homeland Security admitted that we are now in the midst of the worst illegal immigration surge “in the last 20 years.”
Democrats also doubled down on their relentless effort to undermine the rights of women and girls by passing an extension of the Violence Against Women Act that includes controversial gender identity provisions that once again seek to treat biological males as biological women under federal law (Telegram readers will remember that just weeks ago, Democrats passed legislation that would allow biological men to compete in women’s sports). This bill would go even further by allowing biological men to be housed in shelters for abused women. The legislation also included gun control provisions and dangerous attacks on religious liberty – undermining what could have a bipartisan effort.
We heard from a lot of you after last week’s report on a major story out of Green Bay that involved a partisan political operative bankrolled by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg getting his hands on the keys to the main ballot counting room in last November’s election. So we wanted to share a related story with you that broke next door in Michigan a few days ago, where a judge ruled that a pre-election order issued by the state’s top election official was illegal. The ruling came too late to impact last November’s election, but it nevertheless sets an important precedent going forward as lawmakers in state capitals across the country work to clean up our election systems to restore integrity and trust in our democratic system.
Sticking with the election integrity theme, we also wanted to draw your attention to a recent “correction” run by the left-wing Washington Post regarding a December story about a phone call between President Trump and the Georgia’s Secretary of State’s office. Well, it turns out their reporting wasn’t exactly truthful. You can read about their belated mea culpa here.
Telephone Town Hall
I also wanted to thank those of you who participated on my tele-town hall this week with my colleague Dr. Greg Murphy of North Carolina on Wednesday. We had a great discussion about a wide range of topics, touching on everything from school reopenings and the border crisis to election integrity and energy independence. I always appreciate your willingness to take time out of your day to share your thoughts and questions.
Thank you to all who joined my Telephone Town Hall this week!
As part of our forum, we surveyed your thoughts on a few different issues during the call – and here are the results: More than 80 percent of you said you support a full return to high school athletics without masks this year and that the $1.9 trillion package President Biden signed into law last week spent too much on non-COVID related pet projects and programs. A majority of you also said that you personally know someone whose child’s well-being has suffered as a result of school closures.
We hope you had a nice St. Patrick’s Day, and that you enjoy this week’s Telegram.
Member of Congress
The Natural Resources Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources had a hearing Thursday on abandoned mines, local economies, and the environment. Specifically, the Committee was considering three bills related to mining reclamation. One of those, H.R. 1734 would reauthorize the Abandoned Mine Land (AML) Reclamation Fee, which was established in 1977 and is collected on every ton of coal produced. The money goes towards the cleanup of historic abandoned mine land sites. It is important to note that for the cleanup of these sites to continue, the coal industry must remain healthy. When Congress takes steps to harm the prosperity of our energy industry, their ability to pay the fees suffers. As a result, funding for efforts – such as environmental conservation – suffer as well. Fees to clean up these abandoned mine sites are dependent on the coal industry in the same way that maintenance efforts on public lands depend on fees generated by oil and gas leases for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. By punishing the energy industry with heavy-handed regulations and crushing taxes, we harm the people who generate the money we rely on for environmental protection programs.
The SHINE Act
This week, I co-authored the Securing Honesty In National Elections (SHINE) Act. This legislation will require everyone to provide a valid photo identification to vote in federal elections and assist in providing photo IDs to those who can’t afford them. This is not an effort to dissuade voter participation, as some people claim; instead it’s an effort to ensure that those who vote, are legally eligible to do so. Every day, we are required to show identification when we purchase age-restricted products, open a bank account, purchase a home, stay in a hotel, acquire a fishing or hunting permit, just to name a few—why should we treat voting any differently? Election integrity is an issue that is front and center for many of us. The fact remains—there is much work needed to keep our elections safe and secure. According to a recent Gallup poll, only 19% of Americans were “very confident” that votes would be accurately cast and counted ahead of the 2020 election. That number is disappointing, to say the least, and should not become the standard. Common-sense solutions to enhance election integrity, like voter identification requirements, can help to secure our elections and instill a greater degree of confidence in our democracy.
More border disorder
In a misguided effort that’s sure to make the bad situation on our southern border even worse, House Democrats passed two sweeping amnesty bills that will put millions of illegal aliens on a fast-track to U.S. citizenship. I opposed both. While you may have heard that this push would only apply to a handful of young honor students brought here as toddlers, that’s not the case. Criminal aliens with gang backgrounds, multiple DUI convictions, drug violations and even firearm offenses would be eligible. In fact, one of the measures is so far reaching it would even allow foreigners not currently in the United States – and who were deported as long as 4 years ago – to obtain green cards. It would also provide taxpayer funded grants to help illegal aliens apply for this amnesty. Even worse, the bills do nothing to improve border security or enforcement, bring the lawless border situation under control, or protect the livelihood of working class Americans. Rewarding illegal aliens with amnesty only encourages more illegal immigration. It is also terribly unfair to the millions of legal American immigrants who followed the rules and came here the right way.
Dems undermine rights of women, girls
This week I voted against legislation that was supposed to reauthorize protections for women and girls – but became mired in Washington politics. Instead of allowing a vote on a clean extension of the Violence Against Women Act, the bill was complicated by the inclusion of controversial provisions on race and gender, undermining what should have been an equal-opportunity fight against domestic violence and sexual abuse. The result was a bill that extends services to men who identify as women and allowing them to utilize programs specifically designed to protect and assist vulnerable women – the people this law was originally designed to protect. This legislation also attacks our constitutionally guaranteed religious freedoms, by denying faith-based exemptions for grant recipients, prohibiting religious organizations from running shelters and legal aid centers on the basis of their sincerely held beliefs—thereby forcing many of these centers for abused women to close. Those victims will be left out in the street, with little to no resources. It seems that, like so many other things in our society today, organizations offering help to those in need must also pass a progressive litmus test. This is unconscionable. Victims of domestic violence and sexual abuse deserve protection and should be allowed help from any organization willing to give it—not just the ones that are amenable to the radical left.
Un-constitutional Equal Rights Amendment Act
On Wednesday, I voted against indefinitely extending the deadline to ratify the so-called “Equal Rights Amendment.” This is a story that begins in 1972, when a proposed 27th amendment to the constitution was sent to the states for ratification and given a seven-year deadline to complete the process. In 1978, bowing to public pressure, the Democrat-controlled Congress granted an extension until 1982—to try to get the 38 states needed for ratification—once again moving the goalpost to try to achieve their objectives. Despite their departure from established precedent, the amendment did not receive the support needed. Now, almost 40 years later, they are attempting to move the goalpost once again by making the ratification process indefinite. Let me be clear: I support equal protection for all people under the law – something already guaranteed by the constitution’s 14th amendment. But I do not support circumventing the framework of our constitution to achieve partisan goals. The approach we saw this week on the bill seeks to sidestep the appropriate process for ratification and unconstitutionally changes deadlines, retroactively. If we are to amend the United States constitution, we should do it through the formal process and established precedent. The Constitution should guide our government in the execution of its’ enumerated duties. It should not, as some would prefer, be simply brushed aside in pursuit of a political agenda.
This week Wisconsin crossed the threshold of 2.2 million vaccines, including more than 800,000 second doses. Currently, the state is averaging 27,000+ doses in arms per day. Additionally, Governor Evers announced earlier this week he would be moving up the eligibility date for the next group, which includes people with qualifying medical conditions such as diabetes, cancer, and obesity to this Monday March 22nd. That eligibility also now includes residents 16 and older as opposed to 18 and older. As always if you are looking for ways to schedule a vaccination we encourage you to reach out to your primary care doctor, local public health officer, or utilize the DHS website.
On a more negative note, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel revealed earlier this week the state is now reporting that 45 percent of the people who died from COVID-19 were living in long-term care facilities, a classification which includes nursing homes and assisted living. For months prior the state only attributed between 26 to 30 percent of COVID deaths to those long-term care facilities and left most other deaths in the “unknown” classification. This revelation marks a major shift in the ongoing conversation surrounding the treatment of our elderly residents throughout this pandemic. Our hope is that we can continue working with state health officials to understand how these data discrepancies are continuing to occur.
Army Contract Announcement
I am happy to announce the modification of an existing Army contract with AMTEC Corporation in Janesville. The modification procures military-grade equipment that will be produced in our state. One of the beneficiaries of this modification is in Antigo, right here in our own district—Congratulations! As our economy begins to recover, these contracts bring much needed stability and economic resurgence to the people of these areas. Our state plays an important part in supporting our National Defense strategy and the patriotic people of our state always answer the call.
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.
The Congressional Art Competition is now open to high school students in the district. The deadline to submit artwork is April 14th, 2021. For rules and more information on the competition, visit my website.
If a friend forwarded you this newsletter, and you would like to receive it in the future, you can subscribe here for weekly updates and 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.