The Tiffany Telegram: September 17, 2021

September 17, 2021
Newsletter

Dear Friend,

When I was first sworn into Congress a little over a year ago, I knew I’d encounter a lot of people in Washington, DC with bad ideas. What I didn’t realize is that some of those people would be completely disconnected from reality.

Case and point – this week, Speaker Pelosi’s Budget Committee Chairman brushed aside concerns raised by Republicans – and even some Democrats – about the fiscal implications of a massive, $5.5 trillion welfare spending plan. He argued with a straight face that no matter how much the federal government spends, our country “absolutely cannot go bankrupt because we have the power to create as much money as we need.”  

I know, I couldn’t believe it either. But it happened. You can watch video of his astounding statements here.

Of course, we all know he is wrong, and have already begun to see the disastrous results of trillions in new government spending already signed into law by President Biden.

Consumer prices recently rose faster than at any time since 1991, and prices at the pump hit their highest level since 2014. We also learned this week that wholesale prices rose at the fastest rate since the government began keeping track – including a whopping 59.2 percent increase in the price of beef and a 36.3 percent spike in energy costs.

But higher prices fueled by irresponsible spending are just one part of the two-punch combo hitting too many Wisconsin families. The all-you-can-eat spending buffet in Washington is also shrinking American paychecks. This week we learned that real wages actually declined for low-income workers, according to President Biden’s own Department of Labor.

Unfortunately, none of this bad economic news appears to be slowing Speaker Pelosi down. When Congress returns from its extended recess next week, lawmakers are set to consider two more massive spending packages that carry a combined price tag that adds up to more than the total amount of tax revenue the federal government collected all of last year.

It’s time to pump the brakes on Washington waste, and for government leaders to start making the same kind of tough budget choices that hardworking taxpayers have to make every single day.

We hope you enjoy the latest edition of the Telegram and appreciate you spending some of your weekend with us.

Sincerely,

Tom Tiffany
Member of Congress

Another Convicted Felon Slips Through “Vetting”
This week we learned that an Afghan who was previously deported from the United States after a conviction on a felony robbery conviction, managed to hop on an evacuation flight and make it into the United States. The news comes after reports that a previously deported convicted Afghan rapist was also flown to the United States – despite repeated Biden administration assurances that evacuees are being “fully vetted” overseas before coming into our country. In addition, we’ve seen reports of underage Afghan brides being trafficked to Fort McCoy, and evidence that this problem is so widespread that it prompted U.S. diplomats to send a cable seeking “urgent guidance” on how to proceed. Still other reports have revealed cases of Afghan women and girls being raped and forced to marry older men to get out of the country. Even worse, these predators were apparently evacuated on U.S. flights with their victims in tow. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken also admitted this week that some 60,000 Afghans who lack “Special Immigrant Visas,” the documents provided to Afghans translators and those who assisted with sensitive U.S. military and intelligence operations, are already in the U.S. I am deeply concerned about these revelations – along with new reports of infectious disease outbreaks at sites housing Afghan migrants (including Fort McCoy), and the fact that many evacuees are free to leave these facilities at will. I will continue to push for more thorough vetting procedures, and requirements that all screening of Afghans be completed in safe third countries before – not after – they arrive in the United States.

Standing Up to Communist China
This week, my colleague Rep. Scott Perry and I asked the Biden administration to support full membership in the United Nations for Taiwan.  You can read that letter here. Even though Taiwan is a democracy, home to more than 23 million people, has a dynamic market economy and remains one of America’s staunchest friends and allies, their bid to join the world body has repeatedly been blocked by Communist China’s bullying. That bullying hasn’t just hurt Taiwan, its consequences have been far reaching – such as when Taiwan tried to warn the World Health Organization about human-to-human transmission of coronavirus in December of 2019 – a warning that was ignored by the WHO because Taiwan is not a member. Taiwan’s exclusion from the UN doesn’t make much sense – but then again, a lot about the UN doesn’t make much sense. For example, China, notorious for its human rights abuses, has a seat on the UN’s “Human Rights Council” – despite the fact that the Chinese regime is committing genocide. It’s time to stop letting China call the shots at international forums like the United Nations. Helping Taiwan join would be a good way to reverse that dangerous trend.

General Milley and his alleged indiscretions
This week we saw startling reports General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, may have subverted the authority of the President of the United States by placing unauthorized calls to General Li Zuocheng of the Communist Chinese People’s Liberation Army. To be clear, communication between US military officials and their foreign counterparts is common practice, for example to foster coordination and cooperation. However, if the reports we’ve seen are true, General Milley went well beyond his authority. Several outlets have reported allegations that General Milley reassured China’s communist leaders that the United States would not attack them, and if plans were made to do so, he would give them advance warning – and that he did so on his own, without authorization from civilian leaders. This week I joined several of my colleagues in sending a letter to the Secretary of Defense asking for an investigation into these troubling reports. If the allegations prove to be true, General Milley must be held accountable. Tipping off our adversaries about U.S. military plans – and doing so unbeknownst to civilian leaders like the Secretary of Defense and President – could result in our brave men and women in uniform essentially walking into an ambush of catastrophic proportions. Our service members deserve better. As we learn more in the coming weeks, I will be paying close attention to developments regarding these very serious allegations.

Crime is up, and so are the calls for "defund the police"
Last weekend four people were found murdered in Dunn County. The bodies were found in an SUV, with Minnesota plates, that was parked in a cornfield. All died of gunshot wounds. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families of these victims. As violent crime rates continue to soar across our nation, it’s unconscionable that calls to defund the police are still being made. One of our duties as elected representatives at the local, state, and federal level is to ensure that our communities are safe by enacting – and enforcing – common-sense laws that protect our citizens. Unfortunately, calls to defund or dismantle the police would do exactly the opposite. This week, a Judge in Minnesota struck down “Defund the Police” language from a Minneapolis City Council ballot initiative, and it’s easy to understand why: Minneapolis is safer than just 3% of U.S. cities. Unfortunately, these aren’t the only radical proposals being put forth by the Left. Many communities across our nation have implemented so-called “cashless bail” systems, and some have experienced disastrous results. The bottom line: Re-offending by criminal defendants who have been released on bail is up, bond failures by criminal defendants are up, and most concerning of all, violent offenses committed by defendants free on bail is up. And yet, the calls persist to make life easier for criminals. We are lucky to have dedicated law enforcement and first responders keeping our communities safe, and they deserve our support.

Coming soon to a hospital near you?
President Biden’s impending federal mandate that requires all healthcare workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine could exacerbate an already massive workforce shortage that is currently plaguing both the hospital and nursing home industry. California and New York, who already implemented their own vaccine mandates, are currently experiencing the side effects—with one New York hospital announcing it would have to “pause” delivering babies after several staffers quit rather than roll up their sleeve for the mandatory jab. With front-line workers already in low supply and nearly 1 in 8 nursing professionals not planning to get the shot, the problem may soon spread nationwide.  

President Biden’s vaccine mandate
Last week, President Biden announced his COVID-19 plan in what may go down as one of the most significant attempts to expand the power of the presidency in modern history. Rather than using his platform to unify the country, he chose instead to vilify those who disagree with his stance in what many are calling one of the most divisive speeches ever given by a sitting president. Biden’s plan included a vaccine mandate, which I believe will be found unconstitutional and struck down in the coming months. On Wednesday, Arizona became the first state to sue the Biden administration for its unconstitutional overreach and another 23 states are lining up to follow suit. As always, I encourage you to make your health decisions based on your own circumstances with the advice of your physician—please do not feel rushed into making this decision or quit your job preemptively based on Biden’s order.

Big pharma’s monopoly on the market
Speaking of inflation a report from AARP recently stated that if inflation of brand-name drug prices continues to rise many older Americans will soon face drug costs well above their yearly income—leaving them unable to afford the medicine they need. The patent system plays a critical role in incentivizing innovation in the prescription drug market, but some bad faith actors have taken to gaming the system to engage in anti-competitive practices, driving up the cost of drugs by preventing competition. This week I signed onto a letter that urges the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to scrap policies that prevent generic drug companies from effectively challenging patents that block them from competing against brand-name drugs. You can read that letter here.  


                          Committee Update
Judiciary Committee
Illegal Alien Amnesty Plan Advances

This week, the House Judiciary Committee approved a far-reaching plan to grant amnesty to as many as 8 million illegal immigrants.  The plan, which was approved on a party-line vote by Democrats, is so expansive that it would include migrants who have already been deported as well as those convicted of multiple drunk driving offenses – a provision the committee’s chairman defended openly during committee debate. You can listen to his eyebrow-raising statements supporting amnesty for illegal immigrants with “six or ten or twenty convictions of DUI.” I believe rewarding those who broke our immigration laws with a pathway to citizenship is exactly the wrong approach. Not only is it a slap in the face to the millions of immigrants who came here legally and those waiting in line to do so, it also encourages more illegal immigration. President Biden’s open-border policies are set to result in a record-breaking number of illegal border crossings this year, and this legislation will only make the already deteriorating situation on the U.S.-Mexico border even more chaotic.

Committee on Natural Resources
Consideration of big spending “Green New Deal” budget package
Last week the Natural Resources Committee resumed its markup of the reconciliation package from the previous week, pushing ahead with nearly $30 billion in additional spending and a host of “Green New Deal” style initiatives and pet projects. I opposed this package – but made several attempts to improve it with amendments.  The first amendment that I offered would have prohibited any funding for the construction or financing of projects with materials sourced or manufactured in Communist China or Afghanistan – an effort to keep American tax dollars out of the pockets of China’s genocidal rulers and the Taliban. Opposition to slave labor and terrorism shouldn’t be a partisan issue, so I was disappointed when Democrats defeated my amendment. They also defeated an amendment I offered to reallocate funds for a questionable park earmark in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s district, instead directing it to forest management and fire mitigation efforts and a pay raise for wild land firefighters. This amendment was also defeated by the majority party. The final amendment I put forward was designed to protect hunting and fishing, a key economic contributor to Wisconsin, and part of our rich outdoor heritage and commitment to conservation. My amendment would have blocked plans to ban the proposed restrictions on the importation, acquisition, transfer or possession of wildlife parts or products. I offered this amendment because some far-left groups are petitioning the Fish and Wildlife Service to write new rules and expand bureaucracy and red tape. Despite the fact that 36 sportsmen’s groups sent a letter asking the Biden administration to reject this misguided petition, Committee Democrats voted this amendment down as well. While it is unfortunate that none of my colleagues on the other side supported my efforts, I am committed to seeking common-sense solutions to protect America’s lands, water, wildlife, hunting heritage and pocketbook.


                          Recent Legislation
Fraser Shipyard

This week I joined Rep. Stauber in filing an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act, which is slated for consideration when Congress returns to Washington, DC next week.  The amendment we have proposed would benefit shipyards like Fraser in Superior. Fraser already does a fantastic job supporting our Navy and Coast Guard – and they have the capacity and drive to do much more. I’ve been working on this issue since I first came to Congress, and wrote a column outlining the important role yards like Fraser play when it comes to military readiness. Our military needs to be equipped to meet the challenges of the future – and the proposal put forward by Rep. Stauber and I will help make that happen. As our fleet changes, the Navy needs the flexibility to address short-term requirements in times of high demand. Non-homeport shipyards can support vital surge capacity, addressing maintenance needs that can’t always be taken care of in a timely fashion at homeports. This legislation will yield substantial benefits on multiple fronts. From a long-term perspective, it ensures our Naval vessels can meet operational demands and that their maintenance cycles are stable and predictable as they rotate into “refit and avail.” It also supports our smaller shipyards and local economies by creating employment opportunities, and fair competition. This approach to remedying our Navy maintenance backlog issues is common-sense and I am hopeful it will garner bipartisan support.


                           District Update
COVID update

This week Wisconsin saw a slight decrease in the weekly average of new cases for the second week in a row down to 1,482. Hospitalizations and ICU admissions statewide both showed no significant change. Despite the decrease in positive cases the average number of statewide deaths increased this week to 13.


On the vaccine front, Wisconsin has administered 6.2 million doses with over 3 million residents now fully vaccinated. Currently 55.9% of Wisconsinites have received at least one dose, which includes 66.9% of residents aged 18 or older. As always, if you wish to register for a vaccine appointment, please utilize the state registry system here: https://vaccinate.wi.gov/en-US/.


                           Upcoming Events
Telephone Town Hall on Education and Critical Race Theory
Tuesday, September 21, 2021 - 5:30pm
Pre-register here

Service Academy Day: Superior
Saturday, September 25, 2021 - 10:00am
Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center
305 East 2nd Street
Superior, WI 54880
Pre-register here

Upcoming Mobile Office Hours:
Wednesday, September 22
9:00 - 10:00am: Park Falls, WI (Price County)
12:00am - 1:00pm: Mercer, WI (Iron County)

Thursday, September 23
10:00 - 11:00am: Washburn, WI (Bayfield County)
3:00 - 4:00pm: Superior, WI (Douglas County)