DC Wrap: Johnson moves in favor of bill that would provide more health care to veterans exposed to toxic chemicals

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Quotes of the week

“The Biden administration and the Democrats played politics with this bill, it could have passed last week if Chief Schumer had just done what he did today – allow amendment votes .”
— U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Oshkosh, defending his votes for, then against, then for a bill that expands health care for veterans exposed to toxic chemicals. See more on the bill below.

“You can never trust @SenRonJohnson. He plays games supporting things and then opposing them, playing semantic games and generally representing the more extreme elements of his party as well as the wealthy and special interests. Never trust @SenRonJohnson.
– U.S. Representative Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, in a Tweeter blasting Johnson to change position.

This week’s news

– U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, who joined fellow Republicans last week in blocking a final vote to expand benefits for veterans exposed to toxic combustion fireplaces while on duty, backed him during the final pass.

Republicans who opposed closing the PACT Act last week have demanded votes on amendments they say would cut costs. But they faced intense backlash from veterans and activists.

Senate leaders struck a deal that allowed voting on the amendments, though all three failed because they failed to reach the required 60-vote threshold. The bill then passed 86-11, clearing the way for President Biden to sign it into law.

Johnson, R-Oshkosh, sought to blame Dems for the delay.

“It is unfortunate that some have chosen to exploit this issue for political reasons with misleading rhetoric,” Johnson said. “I unequivocally support coverage of service members impacted by exposure to toxic combustion fireplaces, and I have been consistent in my votes throughout this process.”

Baldwin lamented what she called the “filibuster” by Republicans.

“The Senate voted for #PassThePACTAct and is delivering on our promise to American veterans,” Baldwin tweeted yesterday. “I supported this legislation from the start and we overcame the filibuster of Senate Republicans to finally provide our veterans with the health care they deserved in service to our country.”

See Johnson’s statement.

See Baldwin’s tweet.

— The two senators also voted in favor of admitting Finland and Sweden, Russia’s neighbors, into NATO.

In a 95-1 vote, Johnson and Baldwin joined the majority against U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., in favor of a resolution supporting the eventual acceptance of Northern European nations into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Johnson, a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, in a statement applauded the decision.

“Finland and Sweden will complement NATO’s collective defense and send a clear message to the Russian regime that their unprovoked atrocities in Ukraine, their attempts to divide the West and other malign activities have backfired,” did he declare.

Baldwin in a tweet bragged about his meetings last month with US ambassadors in both countries.

“I support our European allies and fully support Finland and Sweden joining and strengthening the #NATO alliance,” she said.

See Johnson’s statement.

See Baldwin’s tweet.

– US Senator Ron Johnson is now saying he could vote against a bill to codify the right to same-sex marriage after saying he had no reason to oppose it.

The Oshkosh Republican told Axios yesterday that he never said he would support the Respect for Marriage Act this week after saying last week he saw no reason to oppose it.

“I never said I would support him,” he said this week. “I said I saw no reason to oppose it.”

– Johnson also said yesterday that Medicare and Social Security should move from mandatory to discretionary spending so Congress has control over the funds.

The Oshkosh Republican, in an interview on ‘The Regular Joe Show’ podcast, said he wants members of Congress to be able to control that spending so they can have some control over how much debt they take on. by the nation. Changing programs to discretionary spending would submit them annually to Congress for approval.

“Our problem in this country is that over 70% of our federal budget, of our federal spending, is all mandatory spending. It’s on autopilot. It’s never – you just don’t do proper monitoring. You don’t get in there and fix the programs that go broke. It’s just on autopilot,” he said.

– Wisconsin’s 10 congressmen support a resolution to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Oak Creek Sikh Temple mass shooting and honor the seven people who died.

They introduced a measure to recognize first responders who came to their aid after a white supremacist opened fire inside the place of worship on August 5, 2012. The man killed six worshipers that day and injured four others. Another died from his injuries in 2020.

U.S. Representative Bryan Steil, R-Janesville, presented a companion resolution alongside all members of the Wisconsin House.

“This senseless act of violence should never have happened. Nonetheless, the Oak Creek community has come together to always remember and honor the victims of this tragedy,” Steil said. “I join the Oak Creek community in commemorating the victims and thank each of my colleagues for supporting my resolve to honor the horrific Oak Creek bombing ten years ago.”

See Senate resolution.

See House resolution.

– U.S. Representative Glenn Grothman introduced a bill this week aimed at preventing officials from canceling or forgoing student loans.

The Fairness for Responsible Borrowers Act would prevent the Secretary of Education, Secretary of the Treasury and Attorney General from doing so. The only exception would be for federal pardon, refund or cancellation programs under the Higher Education Act of 1965.

The Glenbeulah Republican said in a statement that forgiving student loans would only make inflation worse.

“The president’s insistence on forgoing loans is a troubling sign that he is ready to once again abuse his power to score political points,” Grothman said. “The broad student loan forgiveness is particularly insulting to Americans who have paid off their loans or who have never attended college, and they deserve an explanation.”

See press release.

Articles of the week

ICYMI

Ron Johnson Seeks Annual Social Security and Medicare Funding Approval

US Senate expected to delay same-sex marriage bill until September

Redesigned district lines have candidates running for new voters

Rep. Kind welcomes the last corn roast