• WisPolitics

Friday, February 26, 2016

 12:21 PM 

Ryan Rundown: Speaker threatens Obama with legal action in Guantanamo closure

In this week's Ryan Rundown: U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan shrugs off criticism from presidential candidate Donald Trump and speaks neutrally about his continued lead in the polls.

The Janesville Republican also again rejects speculation that a brokered convention could lead to a Ryan campaign for president. And he vows legal action to block President Barack Obama's efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay military prison.

- Paul Ryan's three perilous paths to a budget deal  

- House Republicans punt release of budget

- Republican race puts Donald Trump and Paul Ryan on collision course

- Paul Ryan responds to critics who blame him for Trump rise

- House Speaker Ryan: Trump tapping into voter anger

- Trump and Ryan, matter and antimatter

- Paul Ryan on Donald Trump's criticism: 'I found it entertaining'

- Paul Ryan declines to criticize Donald Trump

- Paul Ryan's reality check: Conservative reforms can happen only with GOP president

- Megyn to Paul Ryan: If there's a brokered convention, would you step in as nominee?

- Megyn Kelly asks Paul Ryan if he could be the GOP nominee in a brokered convention

- Watch as Megyn Kelly interviews Paul Ryan about an American Thinker article on him

- Paul Ryan vows he'll take Obama to court if Gitmo closes

- Congress will take legal steps to stop Guantanamo closure, Paul Ryan says [AP]

- Paul Ryan promises to block Obama's plan to close Guantanamo Bay [Guion]

- Paul Ryan: Ready to sue Obama over Gitmo [Vander]

- Paul Ryan: Speaker of the airwaves

- Donovan: With Paul Ryan as speaker, Hurricane Sandy bills are considered

- Paul Ryan talks political priorities -- not Trump -- in New Berlin

- Paul Ryan one on one

- Ryan's PAC backs Farenthold late

- Kanye West just got tweeted by Speaker Paul Ryan -- really?


- PolitiFact: Picking Paul Ryan ended Mitt Romney's chances of winning the White House in 2012, Donald Trump says

- Megyn Kelly schools Paul Ryan on civics seconds after he condescendingly explained how bills are passed

- The secretly elected Heritage crew creates new headaches for House Speaker Paul Ryan


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

 9:37 AM 

Ryan, Johnson speak out against moving Guantanamo Bay detainees to U.S., Feingold cautiously supportive

House Speaker Paul Ryan Tuesday tore into President Barack Obama's plan to close the Guantanamo Bay military prison and transfer some of the inmates to American soil.

Obama Tuesday laid out a plan for the closure that included transferring some inmates to other countries and reviewing others in the prison to see if detention still is necessary. The president also said his administration would continue making the case to Congress to allow for the transfer of some detainees to the U.S.

The latter part of the plan didn't sit well with Ryan, R-Janesville. He said in a prepared statement that Obama, after seven years, still has not convinced the American public that moving detainees to the U.S. is "smart or safe."

"Congress has left no room for confusion," Ryan said. "It is against the law -- and it will stay against the law -- to transfer terrorist detainees to American soil. We will not jeopardize our national security over a campaign promise."

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson and his Dem challenger in the fall election, Russ Feingold, both emphasized the importance of keeping America safe. But that was their only point of agreement.

Johnson said Obama's plan is "contrary to the will of the public and a bipartisan majority in Congress." He said keeping the country safe from terrorists depends on effective intelligence gathering.

"Closing Guantanamo Bay will reduce our capability," the Oshkosh Republican said. "I will continue to oppose closing Guantanamo despite the administration's decision."

Feingold, on the other hand, struck a cautiously supportive stance. In his prepared statement, he said the prison "has contradicted our values and complicated America's efforts to fight terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda and ISIS."

Feingold said he looks forward to reviewing the details of the plan.

"As we know, our system of justice has proven capable of securely, fairly, and effectively prosecuting alleged terrorists," he said, "so any path for closing Guantanamo must uphold the rule of law while keeping Americans safe."

 9:31 AM 

Law professors urge Johnson to nominate Schott for 7th District Court of Appeals

Forty-eight law professors from the Marquette and UW-Madison law schools have written U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson urging him to move ahead with the nomination of Donald Schott for a seat on the 7th District Court of Appeals.

Johnson's office has said he is awaiting records on Schott to review the nomination and declined comment on yesterday's letter.

The professors asked the Oshkosh Republican to submit the "blue slip" to the Senate Judiciary Committee that would permit the confirmation process to commence. The White House nominated Schott last month to the fill a spot on the appeals court bench that's been vacant for six years.

"This vacancy is now the oldest on any court of appeals in the country, and we believe that further delay poses a serious risk to both the federal justice system in Wisconsin and the integrity of the judicial selection process," they wrote.

Schott, a partner at the Madison office of Quarles & Brady, would fill a seat that had been held by the late Terence Evans. Johnson and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, got into a dispute over the process to review candidates for the post.

See the release:

Read the letter:

Friday, February 19, 2016

 3:34 PM 

Ryan Rundown: Ryan takes heat from Trump, continues budget battle

In this week's Ryan Rundown: U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan faces continued infighting among Republicans over the budget agreement.

Also, the speaker says Barack Obama is his least favorite president, and the Janesville Republican expresses support for GOP resistance to confirming an Obama nominee to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court.


- Paul Ryan: Congress has 'every right' to not confirm SCOTUS nominee

- Paul Ryan supports blocking Obama nomination to replace Scalia

- Ryan on passing TPP: 'I'm not the dictator of the House'

- Paul Ryan: 'The sky won't fall if we don't do a budget'

- Conservatives and Paul Ryan talk terms during ongoing budget battle 

- GOP grapples with budget decision

- Ryan wondering where Boehner hid emergency cigs

- Donald Trump says Paul Ryan cost Republicans the 2012 election

- Trump blames Paul Ryan VP pick for GOP 2012 loss

- Donald Trump blames Mitt Romney's 2012 loss on Paul Ryan [Johnson]

- Donald Trump: Tapping of Paul Ryan for veep was 'end' of 2012 campaign [Sherfinski]

- Donald Trump's claims about Paul Ryan don't pass the laugh test

- Paul Ryan: 'We're not going to be talking about visa caps'

- Paul Ryan's least-favorite president? Barack Obama

- Who are Speaker Paul Ryan's favorite, least favorite U.S. presidents?

- Ryan reveals Obama is his least favorite president, but here's his top pick [Brufke]

- Ryan's least favorite president: Obama [McPherson]

- Speaker Paul Ryan, one-on-one

- Paul Ryan offers nonpartisan statement in wake of Scalia death

- House Speaker Ryan outlines top five priorities for Congress ... 8:03 interview with FBN's Bartiromo

- House Speaker Paul Ryan to prioritize ACA alternative

- Paul Ryan visits old high school, gives Janesville students advice

- House Speaker Paul Ryan visits his Janesville high school

- Paul Ryan tells students to 'be respectful' in face of partisan politics

- House Speaker Paul Ryan to speak [today] at Janesville Craig High School

- Speaker of the House speaks to his high school alma mater in Janesville

- Paul Ryan to stop in Sarasota

- Ryan drops by Sembler's pad -- with an FHP escort


- WSJ editorial: 4 things Barack Obama and Paul Ryan must get done this year

- Juan Williams: Ryan faces tough budget choice

- National Review Editor: 'Paul Ryan for president!'

- Paul Ryan tells a huge lie while urging Republicans to block Obama's SCOTUS nominee

- Joan McCarter: Paul Ryan, who has no Supreme Court say, says Republicans should block an Obama nominee

- Anna Merlan: Paul Ryan confirms Republicans likely to f--- up Obama's SCOTUS pick, no matter who it is

- CA Pinkham: Here are some awful presidents Paul Ryan thinks were way better than Obama

- Ryan failing at uniting fractious conference and showing Republicans can govern

- Paul Ryan shows startling ignorance of Disney layoffs story


Thursday, February 18, 2016

 8:33 AM 

Wendy Riemann column: Advantageous Advocacy: Respecting Time

Thomas Edison once said, "Time is really the only capital that any human being has, and the only thing he can't afford to lose."

Most elected officials and government appointees would probably agree.

Time is a precious commodity, particularly in government service. Wasting it is neither appreciated nor easily forgotten.  From the moment many officials step into their office (and sometimes before) until they leave, they often are booked solid.  If they have a great scheduler, they may get to eat lunch and take a few bathroom breaks on lighter days!

Officials and appointees often do their reading, writing, genuine thinking, and "real work" outside of normal business hours, because it is uninterrupted.

They are generally pleased to meet with constituent groups; however groups should always be respectful of time.  On average, most groups receive around 15-to-30 minutes for a meeting, so it should be used advantageously.  First, do not be late.  It is disrespectful, may subconsciously indicate a lack of commitment to the cause, and can either back up the official's day or prevent the group from receiving the full meeting time.

A group's poor organizational skills are no excuse for impacting someone else's schedule.  Prepare for security lines.  Plan for getting lost.  Add extra time for parking. Furthermore, a group running late should always call the office (with the number they kept readily available just in case of emergencies).

It is also a good idea to arrive a few minutes early, but not too early.  Most government offices do not have much of a waiting area, if any, so lingering voices can become a distraction for the staff trying to work.  When several busier Hill staff were asked about day-of requests to bump meeting times up, most preferred groups sticking with the original time.  If a group wants to check if the meeting can be moved earlier - even if the meeting is with staff - calling or emailing is preferable to simply showing up.

With that said, prepare to wait.  Hearings run long.  Problems emerge. Things come up.  Officials and appointees do not want to keep a group waiting any more than the group wants to be waiting.  If this happens, and multiple meetings are on the group's schedule, they should be prepared to divide up to avoid being late for other appointments.

When meeting start, ``Wisconsin Nice'' requires exchanging pleasantries, but it usually behooves groups to keep introductions short, such as highlighting constituents and explaining the purpose of the meeting.

Some leaders will initiate with a "what brings you in today?"  Others would love to discuss deer hunting or the Packers for 15 minutes and consider the meeting a success, especially if the alternative topic is not as appealing.  The group must remember the meeting's purpose and help guide the conversation when needed.

To stay on point and time, groups may find working from a prepared agenda helpful, even if they do not share it.

Finally, recognize when the meeting is over.  If a staff person gives any cues, the scheduler walks in and out, or the voting bell rings, wrap it up.  If the official wants more, he or she will indicate it.  If the scheduler or aide makes a second move, close faster - even consider standing. Trust the staff - they play the bad cop role for a reason.

We all have 24 hours in our day.  When an official or appointee makes time for a group, that is time they could be spending doing something else, so respect it by planning ahead and making the meeting worth everyone's time.

-- Riemann is president of 1492 Communications, a consulting firm. She can be reached at: wendy@1492communications.com.

 8:17 AM 

Ribble in talks to lead National Roofing Contractor Association

U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble, R-Sherwood, is in talks to lead the National Roofing Contractor Association.

Current CEO William Good announced yesterday he will retire Dec. 31 after 28 years leading the group. Ribble was a roofing contractor before his election to Wisconsin’s 8th CD in 2010.

"I appreciate the possibility to return to the roofing industry in 2017," Ribble said in a statement released by the organization. "Roofing is in my blood, but I remain 100 percent committed to working for the citizens of Wisconsin for the remainder of my term."

See more: http://bit.ly/1KXFUkr

Saturday, February 13, 2016

 3:51 PM 

Ryan Rundown: Speaker says Pacific trade deal unlikely to pass House

In this week's Ryan Rundown: House Speaker Paul Ryan faces continued budget difficulties, and, during a dinner in Racine, he calls for unity among Republicans.

The Janesville Republican also says he lacks the votes to pass the Trans Pacific Partnership.



- Edmund Kozack: Ryan's anger-free agenda

- Damon Root: Arizona Supreme Court justice: GOP nativism has Paul Ryan ducking-and-covering on immigration


Friday, February 5, 2016

 11:26 AM 

Ryan Rundown: Speaker calls for GOP to 'unite the clans'

In this week's Ryan Rundown: President Barack Obama had lunch Tuesday with U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan.

It was the first meeting between the two since Ryan became House speaker last year. Topics on the table included the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, Puerto Rico's financial woes and financing the president's proposed "moonshot" effort to cure cancer.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who attended a pre-lunch meeting with Ryan and Obama, shot down the idea of taxpayer-funded relief for the U.S. territory.

Ryan expressed hope legislators could work with the president on reforms to the criminal justice and mental health systems. But the meeting coincided with a House vote to override Obama's veto of legislation that would repeal the Affordable Care Act, emphasizing the rift between the speaker and the president.

And Ryan faced further conflict Tuesday afternoon when he met with House Freedom Caucus members to sell his congressional budget plan. Members of the conservative bloc sought cuts to spending, advocating for a budget that matches 2013 sequestration levels.

Referencing the movie "Braveheart," Ryan told the Heritage Action Policy Summit on Wednesday that Republicans must "unite the clans." He urged conservatives to avoid conflict ahead of the 2016 election, warning internal strife could fracture the party and deliver an easy victory to Democrats in November.


- Obama and Paul Ryan have a lunch date, but compromise wasn't on the menu

- Obama and Paul Ryan have lunch and consider a wary truce

- Paul Ryan and Barack Obama lunch to search for common ground [Reuters]

- Ryan raises issue of visa waivers in first meeting with Obama [Boyer]

- Obama to hold first meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan

- Obama, Ryan to lunch at White House Tuesday, with full menu of issues

- Obama to meet one-on-one with Paul Ryan this week

- Paul Ryan faces his first uprising

- Ryan hosts budget meeting with House Freedom Caucus. It didn't go well.

- Paul Ryan calls for unity, less anger from his fractious GOP

- Paul Ryan to conservatives: Put down your arms. I'm one of you.

- Ryan to urge conservative unity

- Paul Ryan tells [Heritage Action] conservatives: It's time to 'unite the clans' [DeBonis]

- Paul Ryan to tea party, 2016 GOPers: We can't be 'angry reactionaries' [Kirkland]

- Paul Ryan invokes 'Braveheart' in call for Republican unity [Walker]

- Paul Ryan calls for truce with conservatives, says Republican infighting benefits Obama

- Ryan huddles with Romney, Walker at Palm Beach [fundraising] retreat

- Ryan to hold reception [in Feb] for endangered Iowa Rep. Rod Blum

- House Republicans to push Puerto Rico bill by end of March

- Speaker Ryan targets health care

- D.C. madam defender has a new target: Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell

- Planned Parenthood calls for Paul Ryan to end congressional investigation of practices

- House Speaker Paul Ryan to speak at Janesville Craig High School

- Alicia Keys calls out Paul Ryan and asks for criminal justice system reform

- Paul Ryan watched a really strange Netflix show

- Paul Ryan's favorite news websites

- Ryan picks Panthers in Super Bowl


- Hrafnkell Haraldsson: Ryan says, 'If we make it an ideas contest, we win.' But to have an ideas contest, you have to actually have some ideas.

- Paul Waldman: Paul Ryan to tea party: You are the problem

- Jennifer Rubin: Paul Ryan woos the gadflies

- Matt Fuller: Paul Ryan to Heritage Action: Can you not?


Thursday, February 4, 2016

 11:40 AM 

Ryan calls for conservatives to unite around pro-growth agenda

House Speaker Paul Ryan Wednesday called on conservatives to unite around a pro-growth agenda and to avoid falling "into the progressives' trap of acting like angry reactionaries."

He warned President Obama will focus on issues such as guns to "knock us off our game" with regular distractions.

"Let's not fight over tactics. Don't impugn people's motives," the Janesville Republican said. "We have to be straight with each other, and more importantly, we have to be straight with the American people. We can't promise that we can repeal Obamacare when a guy with the last name Obama is still our president. All that does is, it sets us up for failure and disappointment and recriminations."

The comments at the Heritage Action Policy Summit mirrored past remarks Ryan has made about Republicans offering voters a vision to get America back on track. Still, some noted the summit helps set the tone for conservative policymaking in Congress.

See his prepared remarks:

 9:33 AM 

Wendy Riemann column: Advantageous Advocacy: Honesty is the best policy

By Wendy Riemann
WASHINGTON, DC -- Honesty is the best policy... really. At home. At work. When advocating.

Whether it’s an outright lie, a lie by omission, a lie because you didn’t do your homework, or a lie of plausible deniability, where you think the onus should be on the government worker to ultimately fact-check you – it is usually found out – and will sink your efforts.

Little secret: many government offices talk -- even across party lines -- especially in Wisconsin offices where that whole “Midwestern Nice” thing is legit. Staff members form an informal, bipartisan club of sorts and frequently exchange information and questions. While partisan-based anger may be the prevailing attitude across the country right now, most staff, on both sides of the aisle are still diplomatic public servants eager to get the job done and get it done right. 

Once a lobbyist came in to see me on behalf of a cause and swore a certain member of Congress was supportive – even said that representative was absolutely endorsing it at an upcoming hearing. My gut told me the lobbyist's issue and the member’s position were probably not on the same page. When the lobbyist left, I picked up the phone, called the member’s aide and asked the office position. That’s when I was told, “No, we made it clear we’re not endorsing it at all. We simply said we could, and would, ask a neutral question on it in the hearing."

Was this a misunderstanding between the lobbyist and the congressional office? Perhaps. But the reason I immediately called to check was because that lobbyist had already lost credibility with me on a similar issue in the past. At this point, ALL credibility was lost, with me, as well as with the member’s aide, who was not surprised this lobbyist was given an inch and tried to sell it for a mile. Two battleships sunk. Oh, and that issue also needed Senate committee support. The Senate committee person responded with, “Yeah, I fact-check everything [lobbyist name] says. I don’t understand why people keep hiring [lobbyist name].” 

Three battleships sunk. Two political parties. One lobbyist and a cause that would not be moving quickly.

Government employees many times feel compelled to accept a meeting, at least once, with a lobbyist or group on an issue, whether they like said lobbyist or not (and contrary to what some in the public may believe, most lobbyists that I have encountered are good, honest people with a reasonable cause). What is more, Hill staff often take several meetings with a group. However, that does not mean an aide is always going to encourage or invite the boss to join the meeting, or that the aide will bend over backward to help them if the lobbyist is not trusted. Once credibility is lost, well, that ship has sailed. 

I still needed to meet with that lobbyist on other issues. But I no longer gave the benefit of the doubt – only doubt. The trust-but-verify attitude I had when we first met, was now just verify, even when I wanted to engage on the issue. 

Bottom line: successful advocacy takes time and requires building relationships and earning trust. It is a marathon, not a sprint, so never, ever, lie. If you unintentionally misrepresent a situation or fact, correct it immediately in the meeting, with a follow-up email, or pick up the phone. If you burn one office, word will spread. Credibility will be ruined with more than one person, and where does that leave you and your issue? Sunk. 

-- Riemann is president of 1492 Communications, a consulting firm. She can be reached at: wendy@1492communications.com.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

 5:06 PM 

Ryan meets with Obama

Speaker Paul Ryan met personally with President Obama today for the first time since becoming House leader.

Ryan’s office said they met with Vice President Biden and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., on possible opportunities of agreement this year.

The Janesville Republican specifically mentioned reforming the criminal justice and mental health systems, according to Ryan’s office.

Ryan and Obama had lunch following the meeting.

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