The Tiffany Telegram: March 26, 2021
Democrats continued their push to impose far reaching gun control bills this week after a man reportedly gunned down several people in a Boulder, Colorado grocery store. In the immediate aftermath of the attack, several high-profile progressives made false and inflammatory claims about the alleged assailant’s background and sought to politicize the tragedy. Former President Obama and his wife described those of us standing up for the Second Amendment as “cowardly,” and President Biden demanded a ban on semi-automatic rifles. What they didn’t tell you is that many of the gun control measures some Democrats in Washington, DC are demanding – including so-called “universal” background checks, “red flag” laws, a ban on so-called “high capacity magazines” and “assault weapons” – are already on the books in the community where this shooting occurred, and they did absolutely nothing to prevent it.
|Many of you have reached out asking about the Second Amendment power grab that Democrats are attempting here in Washington.
I wanted to take a moment to explain the bills that are being pushed through the House, how they will affect you, and what the Democrats are planning next.
Unfortunately, the purveyors of these gun-grabs are determined to move forward with their efforts to target the rights of law-abiding citizens – and will go to great lengths to do so, even if it means getting rid of the Senate filibuster to do it.
On the fiscal front, the ink is barely dry on the massive, $1.9 trillion partisan spending bonanza President Biden recently signed into law – yet some in Congress are already talking about passing another, even largerspending package with an eye-popping price tag of $3.1 trillion. Even worse, with many small businesses still suffocating under government-mandated lockdowns, millions of Americans unemployed, and gas prices soaring, the White House is also considering a gigantic tax hike totaling more than $2 trillion – one that would hit every American in the pocketbook. But there may be one notable exception: Ultra wealthy Americans in high-tax states like New York, California and Illinois, who would stand to benefit from a special tax giveaway financed by working-class Americans who live in low-tax states. This special interest handout was trimmed by President Trump’s tax reform bill a few years ago, but President Biden is now quietly seeking to expand it. You can read more about that effort here.
In more encouraging news, we heard from a very unlikely ally this week in the fight against Big Tech’s online censorship. But more on that later.
We hope you enjoy this week’s edition of the Telegram!
Member of Congress
Committee on Natural Resources
I participated in two hearings for the House Natural Resources Committee this week. The first was a discussion about the future of America’s public lands. One of the witnesses was Idaho’s Governor, Brad Little. It was his state that launched the Good Neighbor Authority, something that we now use here in Wisconsin. He is a strong advocate for shared stewardship and access to public lands for multiple use. I asked him if the environment in Idaho is in better shape than it was four years ago as a result of these policies, and he replied “Yes, absolutely.” The environmental achievements in Idaho can be directly attributed to these common-sense management practices, which have led to cleaner air and water while protecting local control and expanding opportunities for recreation and wise use. When management of public lands is proactive and public access is preserved, it is a win-win for both the environment and local economies.
The other hearing I attended this week was a full committee discussion on U.S. territories and insular areas. I directed my questions to both the Governor of Puerto Rico as well as the Governor of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). I asked Governor Pedro Pierluisi of Puerto Rico about unpaid debts owed to companies who helped clean up the island in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. Multiple Wisconsin companies participated in recovery efforts, but were never paid for their work – in some cases to the tune of millions of dollars. I asked the governor about the problem and plan to follow up with him soon to resolve it. As for Governor Ralph Torres of the CNMI, I asked him about the issue of Communist Chinese “birth tourism” on the islands. Telegram readers may recall that I raised concerns about this little-known but growing problem late last year, which involves Chinese nationals exploiting a loophole in immigration law to enter the CNMI, a U.S. territory, without a visa and give birth to children who automatically receive U.S. citizenship. The problem has become so widespread that births to foreign nationals in Saipan now outnumber those to legal U.S. residents. This loophole is national security issue, and I was pleased to hear the governor express a willingness to work with me to close it.
“Woke” Dems push radical, racial quota agenda…
Over the last few months, we’ve seen a disappointing push in Washington to treat Americans differently based solely on their race. Instead of treating people fairly, without regard to the color of their skin or their ethnic background, there are increasing calls in some circles to abandon America’s promise of equal protection under the law in favor of a dangerous quota system. Just this week, a Senator from Illinois, Tammy Duckworth, threatened to block executive branch nominees based on their race, declaring “I will vote for racial minorities and I will vote for LGBTQ, but anybody else, I’m not voting for.” Sadly, it isn’t just a few lawmakers going down this road. The $1.9 trillion, partisan spending package that recently became law set aside $5 billion for farmer debt relief – but only for non-white farmers. That’s disappointing. It’s one thing to target relief programs to farmers who have fallen on hard times and are struggling to make ends meet, but it’s wrong for the government to pick winners and losers based on race. I am committed to ensuring that all Americans are respected as individuals, and I will continue to oppose these unfair practices.
…But It’s not just Washington going “woke”
The corrosive “woke” dogma that seems to tighten its grip on the nation’s capital with each passing day has also spread to corporate boardrooms and college campuses. Some of you may have seen the news earlier this month about a New York City university holding a half-dozen segregated graduation ceremonies. You may also have seen whistleblower reports about a well-known soda company urging its employees to be “less white”as part of a diversity training session. This week one of the nation’s largest health insurance companies also reportedly got into the act, with employees being subjected to indoctrination on concepts like “white privilege,” “gender privilege” and even “religious privilege.” One worker alleged that the company is going even further – making hiring and promotion decisions based solely on race. Nobody should be told that they are inferior or evil, be denied a job, passed over for a promotion, or refused admission to a university because of their race or sex. In America, the rights of the individual come first – and radical identity politics have no place.
Big Tech censorship is wrong. Just ask…Bernie Sanders?
You read that right. While I rarely agree with Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont lawmaker made a good point about the danger of online censorship this week. “Yesterday it was Donald Trump who was banned and tomorrow it could be somebody else who has a very different point of view,” Senator Sanders said during an interview. “I don’t like giving that much power to a handful of high-tech people.” You can read more about that here.
Long-term Care Facility letters
Last week I joined my colleague Rep. Mike Gallagher (WI-08) in asking Governor Evers provide information about the data shortfalls occurring at the Department of Health Services. The letter was drafted by members of our Wisconsin delegation following a report in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel about deaths in long-term care facilities. Prior to last week DHS reported fewer than 30 percent of COVID-19 deaths in Wisconsin occurring in long-term care facility settings (i.e. nursing homes or assisted living). But a “data cleanup” DHS conducted last week revealed a much higher figure – more than 45 percent. Additionally, I signed on to a letter led by Rep. Scott Fitzgerald (WI-05) requesting that DHS expedite the publishing of the data on the remaining deaths which have not received a classification on the website. This is not only an issue of transparency with our government agencies, but also a matter of justice for our seniors who were put into vulnerable situations during the pandemic.
This week Wisconsin reached some 2.5 million shots in arms, with more than 850,000 second doses completed. The distribution has been as follows: 1.1 million Moderna vaccines, 1.3 million Pfizer vaccines, and 50,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccines. For those of you looking to check your eligibility status please visit this page on the DHS website, which lists qualifying populations along with the full list medical conditions qualifying for eligibility. Additionally, the state now has their online registration system available to all residents. If you are not registered with your local physician or public health office, please utilize the state registration system so you can receive a location and appointment time as soon as possible. The website is https://vaccinate.wi.gov/en-US/. The current eligible population includes all 1C residents— health care personnel, police and fire personnel, educators, individuals enrolled in Medicaid, congregate living facility staff and residents, and individuals with qualifying medical conditions.
What’s in the stimulus for schools?
While many of you may have seen reports about the laundry-list of things funded by Speaker Pelosi’s $1.9 trillion spending bill that President Biden recently signed into law, I wanted to highlight the $129 billion included for K-12 schools. The breakdown is as follows: $110 billion allocated directly to school districts to spend as they see fit, $7 billion to the federal “E-Rate” program to help students get online, $1.2 billion for summer programming, $2.6 billion to students with disabilities, and another $2.6 billion to private schools with a significant low-income population. It’s important to remember that many of our schools in Northern Wisconsin remained open throughout the pandemic – showing they were able to successfully implement all of these measures without billions of additional dollars in federal spending.
Soo Locks Update
This week I had the pleasure of meeting with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Detroit District leadership to discuss updates on the Soo Locks project, as well as updates on other regional issues. For those who don’t know what the Soo Locks are, they are a set of locks in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan that allow ships to travel from Lake Superior to the other Great Lakes. These locks are vital to not only our region’s shipping and trade, but the entire country because almost all high-strength steel gets shipped through the Poe Lock, much of which comes out of the port of Duluth-Superior. These locks are an essential piece of our infrastructure and are vital to our manufacturing production throughout the U.S., but another lock is desperately needed. The Army Corps of Engineers have been working on adding a third lock that will increase capacity for more lake freight ships, and the set date for completion is 2030. This project alone will create around 1,240 jobs annually and have a long-lasting economic impact once the lock is completed, increasing the number of ships able to pass through to the other Great Lakes. I will continue to monitor this project and ensure that the Soo Locks keep shipments in the Great Lakes moving forward.
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.
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.
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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.