This week we visited Senator Baldwin’s office and met with Flora Csontos, Baldwin’s regional representative for Southwestern Wisconsin, and State Director Janet Piraino. The topics of discussion were the status of the American Health Care Act (AHCA or TrumpCare/RyanCare) in the Senate and the status of creating an independent investigation into Russian interference in the election.
Flora: Senator Baldwin has been calling for an independent investigation into Russian interference in the election since day one. Since the firing of FBI Director Comey, she has continued this push and has a press release stating that Trump and his administration are not above the law. (Press release linked below). Unfortunately, there currently is not a timeline on either the Russian investigation or the healthcare bill.
Question: Has Senator Baldwin considered putting her foot down in the senate by objecting to unanimous consent? This is used to set aside a specified rule of procedure in order to expedite proceedings. Could she object with the purpose of disrupting ‘business as usual’ until we get movement on the Russian investigation?
Flora: I will pass this on. I am not sure if this is the plan at the moment. Senator Baldwin is in senate leadership, so they are discussing strategy and trying to find ways to respond to these unusual times.
Question: Can Senator Baldwin try to make hearings as public as possible? We understand that not everything can be public – for example the hearings on Russian interference in the election. But could the hearings on the AHCA be as public as possible?
Flora: We will pass that request on.
Question: Can you please hold more town halls in rural areas? Senator Baldwin has experiences that make her personally invested in health care. Affordability and access to health care is an area of common concern between Democrats and Republicans. She should capitalize on this common ground and her own personal experiences to communicate with people outside of her normal demographic and use this as an opportunity to listen to their concerns.
Flora: Senator Baldwin does try to hold town halls during congressional recesses. She just had two in Milwaukee and Prescott. She holds round tables and listening sessions and she also visits churches and businesses in an attempt to reach many different people. I will pass along the request to hold more of these meetings in rural areas.
Flora: I wanted to say that I am very excited that you are all still here. We in Senator Baldwin’s office want to be here for you. Keep calling and meeting with us!
Join us next week when we will visit Minority Leader Shilling’s office to discuss the Health Care Protection Package proposed by Senator Erpenbach and Rep. Riemer.
Senator Baldwin’s Press Release following the firing of FBI Director Comey:
Senator Baldwin’s Press Release on TrumpCare vote in the House:
More info on Unanimous Consent:
Or, you can check ‘Robert’s Rules of Order’, 11th edition, pages 54-56 (ISBN 978-0-306-82020-5) for more information on unanimous consent.