The Tiffany Telegram: October 30, 2020
This week we saw more encouraging news as the U.S. economy roared back from state and local lockdowns posting an unprecedented 33 percent expansion, the largest quarterly growth figure posted since 1947 when the U.S. began keeping track. This growth is a testament to the work ethic and ingenuity of Americans, and to the sound economic foundation of regulatory reform and low taxes put in place by President Trump. This is the second time that President Trump has led the country through economic difficulty since taking office – despite Speaker Pelosi holding up more than $130 billion in additional Paycheck Protection Program funds that could further assist struggling small businesses.
At the same time, the threat of future economic lockdowns continues to hang over the heads of workers and employers – something that has harmed recovery efforts in other countries. And we’ve seen how government mandated shutdowns have inflicted severe damage on important sectors of our economy. One recent news report suggested, for example, that some 85 percent of independent restaurants in the U.S. may close as a result of having their doors forcibly shut.
We must continue to focus on ways to assist struggling small businesses while rejecting one-size-fits all shutdowns that will crush the very people who we are depending on to keep this recovery going.
I also want to take a moment to thank our dedicated and professional local election officials for taking steps to ensure that polling places will be safe in the coming week – planning that began in the spring and has been fine-tuned in recent months. I have spoken to several local clerks who have assured me that polling centers will be fully staffed and ready to serve our community in the coming days.
We have a lot to share with you in this week’s Telegram:
- Wolf de-listing efforts paying dividends
- Preserving Marine Corps tradition while saving taxpayers money
- Taking care of our veterans
- 400th mile of border wall completed
- Expanding telemedicine access
- District COVID update
Wolf de-listing efforts paying dividends
The Trump administration made good this week on a promise to remove the gray wolf from the list of federally threatened and endangered species in the lower 48 states. This represents an important first step toward restoring local control over the skyrocketing gray wolf population in Wisconsin. For too long, the Endangered Species Act has been a statutory ‘Hotel California,’ where well-funded, radical environmental groups see to it that animals ‘check-in’ to the federal ESA list – but never leave. Those of us who live in Wisconsin know this move is long overdue. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service initially pegged the wolf recovery goal at 100 for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and Wisconsin. Yet that population had grown to nearly 1,000 — far exceeding initial recovery goals — by 2017. And recent reports put the population of wolves even higher. The removal of the wolf from the federal list is big win for Wisconsin, but there is more work to do. Wisconsin’s rural communities have been a ping-pong ball bouncing back and forth between listings and de-listings for years, so we need a permanent legislative solution that prevents any future federal interference in our local efforts to manage these predators – and I’m looking forward to working with the White House to enact legislation that would do just that. You can read my statement on the Interior Department’s action here, and see what other lawmakers are saying about this landmark decision by President Trump, and my comprehensive wolf management bill, here.
Protecting Marine Corps tradition while saving taxpayers money
This week I signed on to legislation that would bar the federal government from spending any money to close or realign the Marine Corps Recruit Depot located at Parris Island, South Carolina. This recruit depot has a storied history and has served as the home to the eastern recruit depot since 1891. It was also the first – and remains the only – facility to integrate women in recruit training for the United States Marine Corps, something they have been doing since 1949. Moreover, the first integrated company of male and female recruits graduated from Parris Island in 2019, an accomplishment that further emphasizes the flexible and dynamic nature of the Corps. Unfortunately, there are some who are seeking to close-down this chapter in our history and relocate it. Not only does this not make sense from a logistical perspective, it also doesn't make sense from a fiscal perspective. The relocation of this base would cost taxpayers millions of dollars. This bill would prevent that from happening and allow the military and defense decision-makers an opportunity to find a more sensible solution. Our federal tax dollars shouldn’t be needlessly wasted on a nice-to-have, not a need-to-have project. It also matters to Wisconsin and our veterans who have selflessly walked on the yellow footprints, because our future generations of Marines shouldn’t be denied the opportunity to be educated on, and be a part of, this storied Marine Corps history.
Tom speaks at the Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry's
2020 Firm of the Year awards in Marshfield, WI.
Taking care of our veterans
Suicide and mental health concerns have continued to increase after our multi-front wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, and during the state shutdowns in response to the pandemic. Many of our service members have come back from war, often struggling to put the sights, sounds and smells of war behind them. Some feel helpless, without anyone to turn to. Tragically, some commit suicide. Approximately 22 veterans commit suicide each day--22 too many. We need to do better when it comes to taking care of those who have sacrificed so much for us and our freedoms. The President has responded by signing legislation to designate a three-digit phone number for a national suicide prevention and mental health crisis hotline. Veterans can call and press "1" after dialing 988, and they will be routed automatically to the Veterans Crisis Line for veteran-specific mental health support. An additional resource for our veterans who need assistance is http://www.BeThereWis.com, a website launched by the Southeastern Wisconsin Task Force on Veteran Suicide Prevention, which focuses on getting help to those who may be contemplating suicide. This website provides easy access and contact information to online resources. You can learn more about the BeThereWis initiative by visiting VA.gov | Veterans Affairs
400th mile of border wall completed
This week the Trump administration announced the completion of the 400th mile of border wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, making that border more secure than it has ever been, and helping to protect American communities from violent criminals, cartel activities, and the drugs that are coming into our neighborhoods, devastating families and ruining lives. I am committed to supporting the President’s efforts and have cosponsored legislation to ensure that this critically important security infrastructure is funded and completed.
Expanding telemedicine access
This week I signed on as an original cosponsor for the Telemedicine Act introduced by Rep. Yoho (R-FL). The bill seeks to expand interstate telehealth by encouraging states to adopt the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact (IMLC), which creates an expedited pathway for physicians who want to practice medicine in multiple states. The IMLC was originally launched in 2017 by the Federation of State Medical Boards as a voluntary option. Wisconsin is already one of the 30 states currently a part of the IMLC, however this legislation requires that all states adopt the IMLC within 3 years of enactment. This issue is particularly relevant as we continue the battle against COVID-19. Many physicians seeking to contribute their services in other states or in a telehealth capacity were faced with restrictions based on their state of licensure. As we build on the momentum for telehealth services that we have generated throughout this pandemic it is critical that we ensure doctors are able to practice medicine free from unnecessary red tape.
District COVID Update
This week Wisconsin continued to see higher rates of positive cases, with DHS reporting upwards of 3,000 cases every day this week. We do want to emphasize that DHS has been forthcoming that they are experiencing backlogs in their reporting so single day spikes, such as the spike of 5,200 cases on Tuesday of this week, are likely the result of late reporting as opposed to drastic one-day increases. Marathon County continues to dominate the northern region, both in terms of positive cases and number of deaths. It is important to remember, however, that even in our most hard-hit counties, the fatality rate for COVID-19 remains between 1 and 1.5 percent. In our weekly call with Governor Evers's office, they highlighted a piece of positive news at the state level: We are beginning to see a plateau in the number of cases in long-term care facilities, a significant victory for our most elderly population. In addition, our office is continuing to monitor hospital bed capacity. In the North Central region our hospitals are currently at 87 percent of bed capacity, and in the Northwest region hospitals are currently at 77 percent of bed capacity. The Department of Health and Human Services recently deployed an additional 32 healthcare workers to supplement a facility in Medford and we anticipate that more staff will be deployed through HHS in coming weeks. We also want to highlight the tremendous work being done by the Trump Administration. Earlier this week, the administration announced a rule change that would allow for all individuals currently under Medicare or Medicaid coverage to have their out-of-pocket costs completely covered when a vaccine becomes available. This decision helps to ensure that all Americans regardless of age or economic status can receive the COVID-19 vaccine without concerns about the cost. As always, we encourage you to utilize the DHS website to find the closest testing site to you.
In case you missed it…
Telegram readers will remember that our congressional delegation wrote to the Navy back in July asking that they honor our state’s rich shipbuilding and maritime tradition by naming a submarine in honor of the Badger State. You can read that letter to Secretary Braithwaite here. Well, the Navy announced this week that they will be naming a Columbia-class ballistic-missile submarine after our state, and that it will “follow in the wake of the great battleship” that had the same name. You can read more about the announcement here.
Please join the Marathon County VSO and staff, as they host the Veterans Day Resource Fair.
Veterans Day Resource Fair
Wednesday, November 11, 2020 - 10:00am
Marathon County Historical Society
410 McIndoe Street
Wausau, WI 54403
Contactless Drive Up: Veterans Health and Resource Bag Pick up
Wednesday, November 11, 2020 - 10:00am
212 River Drive
Wausau, WI 54403
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
White House Tours
White House tours will resume on Saturday, September 12th. Tours will be hosted on Friday and Saturday, 8:00 am to 11:00 am and tour size will be limited. Visit the website for more information or to schedule a tour.
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.
President Trump announced that the administration has provided an additional $13 billion in additional pandemic assistance for agricultural producers during a recent visit to Wisconsin. The USDA began accepting applications on September 21 for this new phase of coronavirus relief, which will 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.
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.
Member of Congress