Written by Democratic Party of Wisconsin, Brandon Weathersby
Friday, 28 April 2017 11:21
MADISON - After failing to pass a health care bill and avoiding speaking with his constituents all year, Speaker Paul Ryan will finally return to his district today to receive an award for his "Excellence in Leadership" at Celebrazione Italiana in Kenosha this evening.
Since 1999, Speaker Ryan has only passed three bills that have become law where he was the lead sponsor, and this year, he's been the poster boy for Republican's legislative failures in 2017 - including an embarrassing failure to pass a Republican health care bill to replace the popular Affordable Care Act.
"Speaker Paul Ryan's definition of leadership is trying to kick 24 million people off of their health care and give huge tax giveaways to the richest people in the country - all while avoiding his own constituents," Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesman Brandon Weathersby said on Friday. "Ryan wants all the prestige of someone who does the hard work on behalf of his constituents but doesn't want to get his hands dirty. The next piece of recognition he'll receive from the people of the First Congressional District is a pink slip in 2018."
When meeting with constituents, Sen. Ron Johnson, Rep. Sean Duffy, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, and Rep. Glenn Grothman heard an earful from their constituents on everything from health care to immigration to the president's travel ban. Other Republicans, like Speaker Paul Ryan and Rep. Mike Gallagher, chose to avoid speaking face-to-face to their constituents altogether.
Take a look at the coverage on their troubled two weeks out of Washington:
Speaker Paul Ryan Janesville Gazette: Our View: Detached from his district: "Paul Ryan, your constituents have waited long enough. It's time for a town hall, even if it's only the telephone kind. Something. Anything to show your constituents that you—not only your staff—are hearing their concerns. [...] Why are we so insistent about holding town halls? Because they're especially important during the transition from a Democratic to Republican presidency and the resultant policy upheaval. Voters in the 1st Congressional District deserve the opportunity to question their representative in a public setting to gauge his intentions. That you failed to hold a town hall before unveiling a monumental change in health care law was—to be blunt—galling."
Representative Mike Gallagher WPR: Wisconsin Freshman Congressman Says He's On A Reluctant Recess: "A Wisconsin freshman congressman has introduced a bill that would cut back on recesses for Congress. [...] Gallagher has no public listening sessions scheduled during the recess. Instead, he says he will meet with local businesses and employees."
Senator Ron Johnson Isthmus:Madison students grill Sen. Ron Johnson: "Johnson struggled to answer questions relating to a number of key areas. When asked — as Education Secretary Betsy DeVos was in her confirmation hearing — whether he believed in using standards of proficiency versus growth to measure student achievement, he — like DeVos — was unable to differentiate between the two. 'You’re getting into some pretty esoteric educational pedagogy,' he told the student who asked the question. 'I’m an accountant, a plastics manufacturer.'"
Isthmus cont'd: "Johnson also struggled to articulate clear views when a student asked if Johnson would vote to go to war with North Korea. 'I can’t answer the question,” Johnson said. “I don’t know the exact circumstances.'"
Representative Sean Duffy Barron County Democrats: VIDEO: Sean Duffy's Rice Lake Town Hall: "Congressman Sean Duffy (R-Wausau) held a town hall in Rice Lake on Wednesday, April 19th. Despite less than 24 hours notice given to the public, the room was full of constituents who were eager to share their views on the direction of our country. He chose to double-down on his bizarre argument that any form of government assistance --including public schools and healthcare-- somehow robs us of our freedom as Americans. He also regaled us with tales of Donald Trump's work ethic and explained why Gerrymandering is good for us."
Representative Glenn Grothman WBAY:Environmental issues dominate town hall led by Rep. Glenn Grothman: "The first question specifically asked about the management of the Great Lakes region.'So given the proposed cuts to EPA, what is your position on the Great Lakes Restoration project funding, and the proposed cuts to that?' asked a woman in the audience.Grothman responded saying, 'I don't blame the Appropriations Committee if they don't bring everything back up to the level it was before Donald Trump proposed these cuts, because we are broke out of our mind, but I'm confident that the program will not be gotten rid of, and I think I'm confident most of it will survive the budget process.'"
Representative Jim Sensenbrenner Shareblue: GOP Rep defends Trump attack on internet privacy: “Nobody’s got to use the internet” (with video): "Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) offered a strangely antiquated defense of Donald Trump’s recent decision to roll back an Obama-era protection that stopped internet providers from selling information about their customer’s browsing habits. When a concerned voter at Sensenbrenner’s town hall asked about Trump’s assault on internet privacy, Sensenbrenner told her 'nobody’s got to use the internet.'"
The Courier: Sensenbrenner constituents concerned about health care: "Affording health care was still a pressing issue at Congressman’s Jim Sensenbrenner’s town hall meeting held at the Waterloo Municipal Building Tuesday morning, April 11. About 15 constituents were in attendance. Many voiced concerns about the increasing price of Medicaid and Medicare, the American Health Care Act (ACHA) and the rising cost of premiums. The town hall meeting kicked off with a constituent asking, 'Is healthcare a right or a privilege?' 'A privilege,' Sensenbrenner said. Even with Medicare, Sensenbrenner explained, that people have paid into it their whole lives."
"With the growing unpopularity of President Trump's agenda, It's not a surprise that Wisconsin Republicans are having a hard time trying to defend, or avoiding talking about altogether, a President who in his first 100 days attempted to impose a Muslim Ban and kick 24 million Americans off of their health insurance," Democratic Party of Wisconsin spokesperson Brandon Weathersby on Monday. "While Republicans continue to sink under the proverbial albatross that is the extremity of the Trump agenda, Democrats are energized, organized, and in great shape heading into 2018."