By M.D. Kittle MacIver News Service | July 27, 2017
[Madison, Wis...] There's been a lot of hoopla about Foxconn Technology Group's White House announcement Wednesday that it plans to build a massive factory in southeast Wisconsin. And there should be.
But Foxconn's proposed $10 billion development and the tens of thousands of jobs it is eventually expected to spur does not happen without three things:
- Conservative reforms over the past 6 1/2 years
- Wisconsin Republicans' very prominent seats at the national political table
- President Donald Trump's passionate pursuit to bring manufacturing jobs back to America, and his keen interest in vacant Kenosha land where a Chrysler/American Motors plant once stood.
Of course, $3 billion in taxpayer-funded incentives doesn't hurt, either.
There's been a lot of political bow-taking in the past day. Some deserve to. Some don't.
Gov. Scott Walker and his fellow Republicans running the state Legislature truly have opened Wisconsin for business since sweeping into power in 2011. They promised and delivered on billions of dollars in tax relief, robust regulatory reform, and a pledge to restore power to taxpayers. Those reforms opened the eyes to business, that the Badger State is a place to expand and locate - not flee, as Illinois firms have been doing amid mounting state debt and record tax hikes.
"We have created this environment where companies are looking to Wisconsin," state Sen. Leah Vukmir, (R-Brookfield) told MacIver News Service Wednesday on the Vicki McKenna Show (Newstalk 1130 WISN).
Vukmir recalls the hostile days of Wisconsin's Act 10 debate, when big labor and their friends on the left crammed the Capitol to disrupt Walker's state collective bargaining reform initiative that has saved taxpayers billions and signaled to the world that reformers of big government meant business. Act 10 nearly cost Walker and several conservative senators their jobs. Their political survival emboldened conservative lawmakers across the country, convincing them that they could successfully challenge the bureaucracy status quo.
"I remember sitting in that room off the Senate chambers, just the Republican senators in our caucus listening to the vuvuzelas and the chanting and on and on and on," Vukmir said. "There was so much pressure for us not to make the right decision. I remember standing up and talking to my colleagues and saying, 'We cannot back down. If we do, no other state will consider doing the reforms we are trying to do here.'" READ it HERE
By Jessica Murphy, MacIver Institute July 24, 2017
Democrats who try to work across the aisle could face a bleak future - Rep. Daniel Riemer (D-Milwaukee) is living proof.
Rep. Jesse Kremer (R-Kewaskum) spoke with MacIver News to explain what happened. Kremer says he first asked Rep. Evan Goyke (D-Milwaukee) to work with him on the Campus Free Speech Act. Goyke suggested that free speech may be more up Riemer's alley since he graduated from the University of Chicago - the matriarch of free speech principles.
Some of Kremer's caucus members were hesitant at first, questioning Riemer's motives and wondering "what's he trying to pull?" Kremer insisted that his goal was to try to get the bill "to the point where both sides of the aisle could...agree on some things...and at the same time we're not compromising our bill, but that we think our entire caucus would vote for."
The morning of June 21st, the day of the bill's assembly vote, Riemer pulled Kremer out of caucus to bounce ideas around on how to improve the bill. Kremer commented that "some of his ideas weren't that bad, they actually made the bill better, strongerKremer quote rogue democrat amendment even." As they worked in the back of the parlor, Rep. Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) and Rep. Chris Taylor (D-Madison) were "hovering around, watching us, kind of like vultures...but [Riemer] kept working."
Things got dicey when Kremer went to the floor to introduce his new amendment to the bill, which revised the Council on Free Expression to give the Board of Regents oversight rather than directing them to create a separate committee. Kremer said that "Barca flew off the handle because he said we don't know anything about this... We said that we were working with someone on his side of the aisle that had an amendment that we thought we wanted to vote for. [The Democrats] said there is absolutely no way there's a rogue Democrat amendment that [they] are going to even consider and [they] don't want this being brought up."
When Barca called for informal session to review the new amendment, Kremer "heard Chris Taylor was just screaming at Rep. Riemer. [Democrats] were cursing him out on the floor when we had taken that break. They were all over hovering around his desk. After this all happened I looked over at him and he was sitting there with his head down for the next hour and I thought he had just given up and he was just beat back, but no. He came over to my side of the room...and he brings the amendment over to me, says I've been reviewing this...and it looks good to go." READ it HERE
For immediate release:
July 20, 2017
Republican Party of Dane County
Representing the third largest Republican vote in the state of Wisconsin, the Republican Party of Dane County (RPDC) is proud to reaffirm our support of President Trump’s key three agenda items: health-care reform, tax reform, and immigration reform. In a resolution passed recently by the Executive Committee of the county party, we are looking for action on these critical areas by the end of 2017 so that all Americans can realize the benefits of these reforms.Read more
The Dane County Republican Party of Wisconsin calls on the Congress of the United States to approve President Donald Trump’s top three agenda items, health-care reform, tax reform, and immigration reform, no later than December 31 of this year.
We believe reform is critical to the nation.
All are Vital to the Economy. All three items are vital to restoring and growing the economy. Since the ship of the economy requires time to get to full power after these agenda policies are passed, it is critical they be completed by the end this year or sooner.Read more
By MI President Brett Healy | July 18, 2017 MacIver Institute
[Madison, Wisc...] Looking to get stalled budget negotiations "back on track," Senate Republicans on Tuesday rolled out a budget blueprint that, not surprisingly, looks a good deal like Gov. Scott Walker's two-year spending plan - but built on heftier borrowing.
Now, said Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald, the budget ball is back in the GOP-led Assembly's court.
"My point is to try to get the process back on track," said the Juneau Republican, surrounded by seven members of his caucus at a Capitol press event that, like the budget process, was delayed.
The budget plan and the accompanying press conference were manifestations of a Senate caucus that has been toiling in recent weeks to complete the people's business, even as the Assembly has lacked a "sense of urgency," Fitzgerald asserted.
Assembly Majority Leader Jim Steineke, R-Kaukauna, was less than impressed.
"There was nothing new in anything that they said. I found that kind of surprising. I thought there would be some kind of revelation," Steineke told MacIver News Service.
Indeed, much is the same. The Senate plan includes the budget items already approved by the Legislature's budget committee, staying true to much of the governor's 2017-19 budget proposal.
The Senate trims about $427 million in all-funds spending from Walker's version, with help in part from a reduction in 400-plus state jobs (255 of them at DOT). And it leans a lot heavier on borrowing than Walker's original $500 million transportation bonding proposal. The Senate's $712 million ask is significantly higher than the Republican governor's $300 million transportation bonding compromise deal offered earlier this month as a negotiations spur. READ the REST
by Anna Giaritelli Washington Examiner | Jul 17, 2017,
The significant downturn in the number of illegal border crossers between the U.S. and Mexico is "nothing short of miraculous," National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd said on C-SPAN Monday.
"As far as the Trump administration's efforts on immigration, this is something they campaigned heavily on," he said. "At six months, where we are on meeting those promises, we are seeing nothing short of miraculous. If you look at the rhetoric that President Trump has given, it has caused a number of illegal border crossings to go down. We have never seen such a drop that we currently have."
"There's a vibe, there's an energy in the Border Patrol that's never been there before in 20 years that I've been in the patrol," Judd added in a separate Fox News interview.
This month, Customs and Border Protection reported a 53 percent decrease in the number of apprehensions at the southwest border since last year. The number also includes those deemed inadmissible. CBP sees apprehensions as a proxy for how many people are trying to cross the border, and says the drop in apprehensions indicates a drop in attempted illegal crossings.
Judd said the Trump administration commanded in two executive orders for border agents to fully carry out related laws, while the Obama administration kept agents from doing their jobs as was intended.
The nonpartisan Border Patrol union endorsed Trump during last year's election, making it the first time it backed a presidential candidate, a move Judd said was done "strictly based upon border security." READ the REST
President Trump and his wife, Melania, arrived at Paris Orly Airport on Thursday. The French president, Emmanuel Macron, had invited Mr. Trump to a Bastille Day celebration. Credit Stephen Crowley/The New York Times
By THE NEW YORK TIMES JULY 13, 2017
The following are excerpts, as prepared and released on Thursday by the White House, from a conversation aboard Air Force One between President Trump and members of the press corps as they flew to Paris on Wednesday night.
The conversation was initially thought by the journalists to be off the record. However, the White House changed the terms of the exchange after Mr. Trump asked the pool reporter, who works for The New York Times, why it was not covered and she informed him that the journalists believed they were not allowed to use the material.
Note: Asterisks and ellipses denote sections of the president’s conversation that were left out by the White House.
On the visit to France:
Q When were you last in Paris? When were you last in France?
THE PRESIDENT: So I was asked to go by the President, who I get along with very well, despite a lot of fake news. You know, I actually have a very good relationship with all of the people at the G20. And he called me, he said, would you come, it’s Bastille Day — 100 years since World War I. And I said, that’s big deal, 100 years since World War I. SO we’re going to go, I think we’re going to have a great time, and we’re going to do something good. And he’s doing a good job. He’s doing a good job as President.
On North Korea, China, and trade:
THE PRESIDENT: A big thing we have with China was, if they could help us with North Korea, that would be great. They have pressures that are tough pressures, and I understand. And you know, don’t forget, China, over the many years, has been at war with Korea — you know, wars with Korea. It’s not like, oh, gee, you just do whatever we say. They’ve had numerous wars with Korea.
They have an 8,000 year culture. So when they see 1776 — to them, that’s like a modern building. The White House was started — was essentially built in 1799. To us, that’s really old. To them, that’s like a super modern building, right? So, you know, they’ve had tremendous conflict over many, many centuries with Korea. So it’s not just like, you do this. But we’re going to find out what happens.
Very important to me with China, we have to fix the trade. We have to fix the trade. And I’ve been going a little bit easier because I’d like to have their help. It’s hard to go ***. But we have to fix the trade with China because it’s very, very none-reciprocal. READ MORE HERE
By: Bill Osmulski July 13, 2017 | MacIver News Service
[Madison, Wisc...] Republican Lawmakers are pushing a new reform package in hopes of more efficient and responsible highway project management at the DOT.
A memo for co-sponsorship started circulating Thursday morning with two dozen lawmakers from the Assembly and Senate already signed on. Rep. Joe Sanfelippo (R-New Berlin), a co-author of the bill, told MNS Thursday another four to six lawmakers have signed on since then.
The package would address some of the problems identified by the legislative audit that was released this past January. It would implement new procedures to increase oversight at the DOT, while at the same allowing it more flexibility to capture cost saving opportunities.
"The genesis of these ideas isn't necessarily the audit, but the audit did urge the Legislature to act quickly on these issues," Senator Dave Craig (R-Town of Vernon) told MacIver News.
Under the bill, the DOT would be allowed to use alternative project delivery methods, specifically "Design-Build" or "Construction Manager-General Contractor" on highway projects. The only method currently allowed is design-bid-build, which critics say is not always the cheapest or most effective method to complete highway projects.
by Adam Andrzejewski, Forbes Contributor Forbes.com
I cover the “daily greed” of national, state, and local politics.
President Donald Trump, First Lady Melania Trump, walk on the South Lawn as they leave the White House in Washington, Friday, June 30, 2017. The President and First Lady are leading a leaner White House payroll with projected taxpayer savings of $22 million. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
If the White House payroll is a leading indicator of the president’s commitment to shrink government then voters have a reason to cheer. Projected four-year savings on the White House payroll could top $22 million. Savings come from President Trump’s refusal to take a salary as well as big reductions in other areas including the absence of czars, expensive “fellowships,” and spending on FLOTUS staff.
On Friday, the Trump administration released their annual report to Congress on White House Office Personnel. It includes the name, status, salary and position title of all 377 White House employees. (Search the recent Trump administration payroll data – and last two-years of the Obama administration - posted at OpenTheBooks.com.)
Here are some key findings:
There are 110 fewer employees on White House staff under Trump than under Obama at this point in their respective presidencies.
$5.1 million in payroll savings vs. the Obama FY2015 payroll. In 2017, the Trump payroll amounts to $35.8 million for 377 employees, while the Obama payroll amounted to $40.9 million for 476 employees (FY2015).
Nineteen fewer staffers are dedicated to The First Lady of the United States (FLOTUS). Currently, there are five staffers dedicated to Melania Trump vs. 24 staffers who served Michelle Obama (FY2009).
Counts of the “Assistants to the President” – the most trusted advisors to the president - are the same (22) in both first-year Trump and Obama administrations. In the Trump White House, Steven Bannon, Kellyanne Conway, Omarosa Manigault, Reince Priebus, Sean Spicer and 17 others make salaries of $179,700. In Obama’s first-year, David Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel and twenty others held the title with top pay of $172,000.
The highest compensated White House Trump staffer? Mark House, Senior Policy Advisor, has a salary of $187,500. Mr. House is “on detail” from a federal agency which allows him to exceed the top pay-grade of $179,700. In Obama’s Administration (2009), David Marcozzi earned $193,000 “on detail” from Health and Human Services.
Our review of the Trump White House payroll confirms five staffers dedicated to First Lady Melania Trump. Highly criticized for her twenty-four assistants, advisors, schedulers, directors, deputies, advance aides, associates, social and press secretaries and other helpers, former First Lady Michelle Obama’s staff was only slightly larger than Laura Bush’s staff of eighteen.
These five White House employees serving First Lady Melania Trump include:
Lindsay Reynolds, Chief of Staff to the First Lady ($179,700);
Stephanie Grisham, Director of Communications for the First Lady ($115,000);
Anna Niceta, Social Secretary ($115,000)
Timothy Tripepi, Deputy Chief of Staff of Operations for the First Lady ($115,000);
Mary-Kathryn Fisher, Deputy Director of Advance for the First Lady ($77,000).
Starting in 2009, President Obama came under fire for hiring special initiative czars. We found no evidence of “czars” on Trump’s payroll. Examples of these White House czars included Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change Carol Browner ($172,000), Director of the Office of Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships Joshua DuBois ($98,000), White House Director of Urban Affairs Adolfo Carrion Jr ($158,500), and Director of the White House Office of Health Reform Nancy-Ann DeParle ($158,500). READ it HERE