GOP panics Biden plans, Johnson continues to question public health guidelines
MADISON (WKOW) – Republicans in Congress, including the Wisconsin delegation, were calm over President Biden’s sweeping proposals to fund employment programs and make education more accessible.
Biden’s two most recent plans on employment and family programs cost more than $ 4 trillion. They would invest federal funds in infrastructure projects that would also focus on a clean energy transition.
The U.S. White House Family Plan would fund universal pre-kindergarten for three- and four-year-olds, cover tuition for two years of community or technical college education, and potentially allow up to 12 weeks of leave. parental or family paid. The proposal would also seek to tackle the increasingly unmanageable costs of childcare services.
Republicans in Congress, including Rep. Bryan Steil (R-Janesville), dismissed the plan as vague, partisan and too expensive.
Steil said he believes issues around funding for child care services, tuition coverage and pre-K expansion should be addressed at the state level.
“I think we’re best served when we tackle the problem locally; when we get the federal government into a one-size-fits-all approach, I think it’s more of a challenge, ”Steil said. “If we look at our technology school system here in the state of Wisconsin, it is reasonably well suited to the needs of our workforce in the state.”
Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) said the pandemic has illustrated the economic impact of what happens when families lose the ability to send their children to school or daycare – and how it is is a matter of national importance.
“Many women, and disproportionately, have had to leave the workforce because of responsibilities if child care and early childhood education were not available,” Baldwin said.
Biden’s plan is funding through proposals to raise the income tax rate to 39.6% on the highest income bracket, which is the level at which the richest earners were taxed before the cuts GOP tax from 2017 and through most of the 1990s.
The plan also called for increasing the capital gains tax to 39.6% for households earning more than $ 1 million. Steil said he was skeptical that tax increases, if passed, would remain reserved for the wealthiest Americans.
“I think that’s a bait to figure out who the high-income earners are going to pay for this,” Steil said. “I think they’re high income earners today, I think the Biden administration is going to go after everyone very soon.”
Johnson again defies public health guidelines
For the second time in less than two requests, Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) has openly questioned widely accepted research and guidance regarding COVID-19 mitigation measures.
First, Johnson said he was becoming “very suspicious” of government efforts to get all adults vaccinated.
Experts have been convinced for weeks that the reason is to minimize the risk of any kind of spread, which in turn minimizes the risk of mutations leading to variant strains that might be more resistant to the vaccine.
Johnson then questioned whether the masks were actually preventing the spread of the virus at a virtual town hall on Monday.
“As more and more evidence comes in it becomes harder and harder to argue that masks actually work,” Johnson told a voter. “If they had worked, we probably wouldn’t have had as many infections, as many deaths as we do.
Johnson’s office told WKOW this week that Johnson’s schedule is too tight to allow an appearance on the show.
Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Ben Wikler said the remarks were urgent about the party’s efforts to take its Senate seat in 2022.
“I think it would send a really powerful message that I would be very happy sending voters in Wisconsin,” Wikler said. “For Johnson to decide to come forward and for him to be defeated.”
Wikler would not respond directly if the State party preferred to run against Johnson or a non-incumbent in 2022. While Johnson initially pledged in 2016 not to run for a third term, he now says he has not yet decided if he will run again.
“I would prefer Ron Johnson to resign,” Wikler said. “I think he is a threat to public health and is serving the people of Wisconsin badly.”
When asked about Johnson’s remarks on the vaccine, Steil avoided any mention of his fellow Republican.
“I got my vaccine, I think it’s the right thing to do,” Steil said. “I spoke with my doctor, I think people should make the decision that’s right for them.”
Johnson’s headline week continued with a Washington post report that the FBI warned the senator he was a Russian target for spreading disinformation ahead of the 2020 presidential election.
Johnson told the newspaper he had such a briefing but the agency had not responded to his request for details, making the warning “unnecessary” in his mind.
Statewide Investigation of Priest Abuse
On Tuesday, Attorney General Josh Kaul (D-WI) announced that the State Department of Justice is launching a review of allegations of child sexual abuse against clergy and other religious leaders.
Kaul said his agency would take after more than 20 other states to undertake investigations into the decades-long Catholic Church scandal.
“We have had the opportunity to look at what other states have done and learn from the experiences they have had,” Kaul said. “And so what we have done is finally put in place the resources that we think we need.”
The investigation included the launch of a website where people can report counseling about abuse that has been inflicted on them or someone they know. Kaul has confirmed that some information has arrived since the site’s launch, but has not disclosed more.
“We have received contacts,” Kaul said. “I don’t want to go into specifics at this point, but what I can say is that we want to encourage anyone in the state who has information about abuse by clergy and religious leaders to report.”
Kaul met with the leaders of the diocese on Monday. Some diocesan leaders have taken a wait-and-see approach to whether they will hand over documents from internal investigations if the DOJ requests them. Kaul did not say whether he would consider suing a diocese if he refused to hand over papers.
“I won’t go into detail on our investigative strategy,” Kaul said.