Johnson opposes background checks

Thank you for contacting me with your thoughts on gun control legislation.

I want legislation that will best prevent crimes like the tragedy in Newtown. But I didn’t come to Washington to vote for bills that create more problems than they solve and, in the process, further degrade our freedoms. 

That’s why I supported the common sense proposal from Sen. Chuck Grassley. Forty-two other Republicans and nine Democrats supported it because it would have strengthened the enforcement of our current laws. In 2010, 73,000 individuals failed the current background checks — 48,000 of them were felons or fugitives. Only 62 cases were sent to prosecutors. Only 44 were actually prosecuted. The legislation I supported would have helped put these gun-seeking criminals in jail.

In contrast, the president’s attempt to pressure Americans into supporting ill-considered gun control is a classic example of Washington’s misguided intrusion into our lives. If the president and his supporters were truly serious about moving in a positive direction, once their proposal failed, they would have voted for the bipartisan alternative I supported.

When I ran for the Senate, I said we have enough gun laws and that we should enforce the laws we already have. That is how I have voted since I was elected. This vote was consistent with that record. 

Thank you again for taking the time to share your thoughts. It is important for me to hear the views and concerns of the people I serve. It is an honor representing you and the good people of Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate.

Sincerely,

Ron Johnson
United States Senator

Johnson on the Newtown shooting

A friend of mine, upon reading this letter, called it “a whole lot of nothin’.”  I have to agree.

Thank you for taking the time to contact me regarding your thoughts on federal gun control measures in light of the recent tragedy in Connecticut.

A terrible and incomprehensible act of violence took place at Sandy Hook Elementary School. We are all deeply impacted by the horror of little children and brave adults being murdered. There are many serious issues that will need to be discussed and considered in the weeks and months to come. But right now, our primary concern should be for the families and the community of Newtown.

At moments like this, America comes together to mourn and support one another. We will do so again in the coming days, and then search for answers on how to prevent such tragedies in the future

As your Senator, I believe it is my primary responsibility to uphold the Constitution and the Second Amendment is no exception.  I will continue to strongly support our Second Amendment rights.

Thank you again for taking the time to share your thoughts.  It is important for me to hear the views and concerns of the people I serve. Please feel free to contact me in the future if I can further assist you or your family.  It is an honor representing you and the good people of Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate.

Sincerely,

Ron Johnson
United States Senator

Johnson on energy independence

As usual, Johnson thinks the free market will heal all ills. However, I have bigger issues with his first three claims. Firstly, he claims the Obama administration has no energy plan. That’s obviously ridiculous. The Obama administration has devoted significant time and effort to increased fuel efficiency and investments in all sources of energy. You can see the Obama plan here. NPR and CNN compare Obama’s and Romney’s plans, and US News and World Reports gives the Obama campaign’s response to Romney’s energy plan.

Secondly, he quotes President Obama in 2008. I don’t see why Johnson should think that Obama’s entire energy plan is based on a single quote from 2008 ( More info here from Politifact) – haven’t things changed a bit since then? The cap and trade policy referred to was eventually blocked, and it was never clear how much prices would increase under a cap and trade policy anyway. Furthermore, Johnson seems to assume that any price increase would automatically be worse than any resulting positive environmental effects. Finally, the Obama administration seems to have backed away from cap and trade, according to this Washington Post article.

Thirdly, he quotes Energy Secretary Chu in 2008. While Chu did make this statement, it was before he was Energy Secretary. This was never an Obama administration policy. This Media Matters article shows how the attack on Chu for this statement was made up by the right wing.

As for Johnson’s claim that we “need to fully utilize our free market system to reduce our dependence on foreign sources” I would argue that the so-called “free market” has failed us on this point so far, instead lobbying the government to ensure that regulations favor the peddling of dirty energy. So it’s time to elect representatives to our government who will actually change those regulations and make the investment in domestic sources of energy, including renewable energy, and will protect our clean air and water in the process. Clearly Johnson does not fit the bill.

Thank you for contacting me regarding America’s need for energy independence.

 

I am concerned that this Administration has no plan to address the short term and long term problem of foreign energy dependence. As gas prices continue to rise, I cannot help but think of President Obama’s remark in 2008 that under his energy plan “electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket.” President Obama’s Energy Secretary Steven Chu suggested “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.”  I think this is exactly the wrong approach — particularly for Wisconsin residents who already are having a hard time making ends meet. Instead, we should work in a bipartisan way to reform our tax code to create incentives for economic growth and job creation, and to increase domestic energy supplies.

 

As a manufacturer, I know first-hand how rising energy prices, over-regulation and high taxes can negatively impact the ability of a business to remain competitive in the global economy.  States like Wisconsin, which rely heavily on coal-generated power, are at an even greater risk with the threat of costly energy taxes and increased government mandates.  I believe we possess the technology and resources to power our own future and need to fully utilize our free market system to reduce our dependence on foreign sources.  This means increasing domestic oil production, clean coal, nuclear, and alternative energy in a responsible way.

 

Thank you again for taking the time to share your thoughts.  It is important for me to hear the views and concerns of the people I serve.  Since taking office, I have received over 600,000 pieces of correspondence and have had over 200,000 people participate in live forums and telephone town hall meetings.  Please feel free to contact me in the future if I can further assist you or your family.  It is an honor representing you and the good people of Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate.

Sincerely,

Ron Johnson
United States Senator

 

Johnson opposes the Great Ape Protection Act

After a long silence (perhaps due to staff turnover?) I suddenly got about four letters in two days from Senator Johnson. Here’s one. Personally, I think animal experimentation is wrong so I’m not terribly happy about this one.

 

Thank you for contacting me regarding the Great Ape Protection and Cost Savings Act (S. 810).  S. 810 was introduced by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) on April 13th, 2011 and now awaits consideration in the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.

This legislation would harm medical research that helps both humans, great apes and other species of animals.  S. 810 would halt a number of ongoing biomedical research studies, particularly on hepatitis C, as chimpanzees are currently the only existing animal model.   Currently, chimpanzees no longer used in research are not euthanized; rather, they are humanely maintained in retirement facilities until their natural deaths.

The Great Ape Protection Act defines invasive research to include “any research that may cause death, bodily injury, pain, distress, fear, injury or trauma.” This broad definition encompasses any research that involves tranquilizing the animal, removing the animal from its natural social group, or taking simple blood samples.   The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology states that “this broad definition could not only have a negative impact on biomedical research on human diseases but also research that is designed to benefit the great apes themselves, such as the development of an Ebola virus vaccine for wild chimps or the treatment of heart disease in captive gorillas.”  As currently written, I will oppose the Great Ape Protection Act.

Thank you again for taking the time to share your thoughts.  It is important for me to hear the views and concerns of the people I serve.  Since taking office, I have received over 400,000 pieces of correspondence and have had over 200,000 participants in live forums and telephone town hall meetings.  Please feel free to contact me in the future if I can further assist you or your family.  It is an honor representing you and the good people of Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate.

Sincerely,

Ron Johnson
United States Senator

Why Feingold will never run in WI again…

How can we blame Russ Feingold for refusing to run for governor when we let such an inadequate candidate beat him? Yes, the latest from Ron Johnson is that he can’t be bothered to do a little research and form a position on every issue. All he can do is brag about how many useless letters he’s sent and complain about the federal budget. If I were Russ Feingold, I would be so insulted and humiliated by Johnson’s electoral victory, I wouldn’t have even returned to Wisconsin at all. We Wisconsinites have truly earned the uphill battle we now are fighting because we were too complacent and disengaged from the political process and let it be hi-jacked by the extreme right-wing.

However, I haven’t totally lost hope for us – we can turn this thing around. But we have to kick out not only the state-level weak-links, but also ensure we elect a progressive (i.e. Tammy Baldwin) to Herb Kohl’s seat and get rid of Senator Johnson at the first opportunity.

Check out this terrible admission of incompetence.

Thank you for taking the time to contact me and share your thoughts.  It is important for me to hear the views and concerns of the citizens of Wisconsin and for you to know where I stand on issues. Since taking office, I have received over 400,000 pieces of correspondence and have had over 180,000 participants in live forums and telephone town hall meetings.

Because of government’s intrusion into our lives, there are literally thousands of issues that might be debated in the U.S. Senate.  It is impossible for me to have a position on all of them. Should your issue or concern come before the Senate, I will review the correspondence I have received and take your views and opinions into consideration.

Please feel free to contact me in the future with anything that is of concern to you or your family. You can also visit my website at www.ronjohnson.senate.gov if you would like information on legislation that I am sponsoring, press releases, and my stance on other issues that are important to you. It is an honor serving you and the good people of Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate.

Sincerely,

Ron Johnson
United States Senator

Johnson on cuts to defense spending

Well, I haven’t received a letter from Sen. Johnson in a while, but I did read this little tidbit today. The video to accompany it is here. Johnson is arguing against cuts to defense and instead wants to cut “entitlements” like Social Security. It’s annoying when he (along with the rest of the GOP) uses the word “entitlement” with such a condescending tone, because it ignores the fact that people pay into Social Security their entire working lives and that money belongs to them.

Johnson’s small government beliefs – no incentives through federal highway funds

The federal government has a variety of programs that offer funding if certain rules and laws are implemented by the states. Johnson thinks this is an example of government being too big and too intrusive.

Thank you for taking the time to write to me regarding the Safe Teen and Novice Driver Uniform Protection Act of 2011 (STAND UP Act).

The STAND UP Act was introduced by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) on March 9, 2011. This act was referred to the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works and is awaiting consideration.  I do not serve on this committee.
The STAND UP Act authorizes the Secretary of Transportation to award incentive grants to states with specific graduated driver licensing laws.  To qualify for a grant, the states’ laws must require that novice drivers under 21 years old are subject to a two stage licensing process.  This act also directs the Secretary to withhold a certain percentage of federal-aid highway funds from states that do not comply with these requirements.

In general, I believe these types of issues should be left up to the states.  The federal government has expanded far beyond the powers enumerated for it in the Constitution.  This bill is a classic example of using federal funds to coerce behavior and mandate policy at the state level.  A better model would be to return more revenue generation and policy making power to the states.  That was the vision of our founding fathers.

Should this matter come before the full Senate for a vote, I will certainly keep your views in mind, but I would be inclined to oppose the bill.

Thank you again for taking the time to share your thoughts.  It is important for me to hear the views and concerns of the people I serve.  Since taking office, I have received over 400,000 pieces of correspondence and have had over 180,000 participants in live forums and telephone town hall meetings.  Please feel free to contact me in the future if I can further assist you or your family.  It is an honor representing you and the good people of Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate.

Sincerely,

Ron Johnson
United States Senator

The same letter AGAIN? Jan 30 2012

I can’t believe I just got the exact same letter again. Again, no mention of what I had actually contacted Johnson about. Just the identical budget rant that I received a mere few days ago.

Thank you for taking the time to contact me and share your thoughts. It is important for me to hear the views and concerns of the citizens of Wisconsin and for you to know where I stand on issues.

Our nation’s fiscal situation is dire.  In the last fiscal year alone, Washington added $1.3 trillion to our nation’s debt, which now exceeds the size of the American economy. This mountain of debt threatens the hopes and dreams of future generations. It is immoral. Its growth must stop. I am willing to work with anyone in Congress who is serious about addressing the number one problem facing our nation.

The Senate, which is controlled by Democrats, has not passed a budget in more than two years. This is irresponsible and puts our nation in fiscal peril. Until the President and Senate Democrats get serious, it will be very difficult to pass legislation that begins to put us on the path of fiscal responsibility.

In September 2011, I submitted a list of $1.4 trillion in spending cuts over the next 10 years.  My staff and I have looked at many federal agencies – and at recommendations by other individuals – to identify potential savings.  These spending cuts can be adopted right away, and I hope the committee gives them serious consideration.

We are bankrupting our nation. Every morning I wake up and ask myself one question: “what can I do to stop it?” I hope that the Administration and my colleagues in Congress will come together to seriously tackle our fiscal crisis before the Treasury Department runs out of options.
Thank you again for taking the time to share your thoughts. It is important for me to hear the views and concerns of the people I serve. Since taking office, I have received over 300,000 pieces of correspondence and have had over 150,000 people participate in live forums and telephone town hall meetings.

Please feel free to contact me in the future if I can further assist you or your family. It is an honor representing you and the good people of Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate.

Sincerely,

Ron Johnson
United States Senator

How did Senator Ron Johnson vote this week?

Madison.com does a round-up of some key congressional votes from the past week in this article.

Senator Ron Johnson voted in favor of a measure (HJ Res 98) that “sought to roll back a debt-limit increase enacted last year as part of the Budget Control Act.” The debt-limit increase was needed to pay for bills already incurred. Of course, Johnson is so rabid about limiting our debt, he apparently thinks we can just stop paying our bills.

He also voted against confirming Nebraska Supreme Court Justice John M. Gerrard, 58, as a federal judge for the District of Nebraska. I can only assume this stems from the criticism of Gerrard for opposing the use of the electric chair. However, I plan to write to Johnson about it – I’ll probably just get a budget rant back from him, though!

Another classic Johnson budget rant…Jan 27, 2012

This one drives me nuts. I have no idea what he is even responding to because I don’t think I wrote to him about the budget. It’s also clearly a mashup of different documents, because the fonts were two different sizes in the original email (I didn’t do that – it came that way).

Thank you for taking the time to contact me and share your thoughts. It is important for me to hear the views and concerns of the citizens of Wisconsin and for you to know where I stand on issues.

Our nation’s fiscal situation is dire.  In the last fiscal year alone, Washington added $1.3 trillion to our nation’s debt, which now exceeds the size of the American economy. This mountain of debt threatens the hopes and dreams of future generations. It is immoral. Its growth must stop. I am willing to work with anyone in Congress who is serious about addressing the number one problem facing our nation. 

The Senate, which is controlled by Democrats, has not passed a budget in more than two years. This is irresponsible and puts our nation in fiscal peril. Until the President and Senate Democrats get serious, it will be very difficult to pass legislation that begins to put us on the path of fiscal responsibility. 

In September 2011, I submitted a list of $1.4 trillion in spending cuts over the next 10 years.  My staff and I have looked at many federal agencies – and at recommendations by other individuals – to identify potential savings.  These spending cuts can be adopted right away, and I hope the committee gives them serious consideration. 

We are bankrupting our nation. Every morning I wake up and ask myself one question: “what can I do to stop it?” I hope that the Administration and my colleagues in Congress will come together to seriously tackle our fiscal crisis before the Treasury Department runs out of options.

Thank you again for taking the time to share your thoughts. It is important for me to hear the views and concerns of the people I serve. Since taking office, I have received over 300,000 pieces of correspondence and have had over 150,000 people participate in live forums and telephone town hall meetings.

Please feel free to contact me in the future if I can further assist you or your family. It is an honor representing you and the good people of Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate.

Sincerely,
Ron Johnson

United States Senator