Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) took off the gloves to deliver a stinging blow to her home-state Republican colleague Sen. Ron Johnson just weeks before the midterms, accusing him of trying to take women “back to 1849” and gut Social Security and Medicare.
Typically, lawmakers from the same state observe ceasefires, particularly so close to an election, so they can work together in the legislature. But Baldwin took the opportunity to attack Johnson after he voted against a continuing resolution to keep the government operating while legislators work out a long-term spending package. (The interim funding bill passed, and President Joe Biden signed it into law Friday with just 11 hours to spare, meaning funding is now secure until mid-December.)
“My Senate colleague from Wisconsin last night voted against moving forward to fund the government, keep the government open and avoid a needless government shutdown,” Baldwin said at a Senate Democratic leadership press conference Wednesday as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) stood nearby.
“Senate Republicans like my counterpart from Wisconsin have proposed sunsetting, cutting and putting Medicare and Social Security on the chopping block with every budget every year,” she said.
Baldwin also ripped into Johnson for working to obliterate women’s reproductive rights, saying that he and other Republicans have “enabled and continue to support taking women back to 1849 … and keeping them there without the right and freedom to make their own personal choices about their body, their health and their family.”
After the U.S. Supreme Court jettisoned Roe v. Wade and its half-century legacy of guaranteeing the right to abortion in June, Wisconsin reverted to an 1849 statute that outlaws abortions even in cases of rape or incest.
Baldwin concluded: “Let me just close by saying whether it’s Medicare, Social Security, health care, prescription drugs, reproductive health care, we are making it clear to the American people who is on their side and who isn’t.”
Johnson said Thursday he wasn’t surprised Baldwin attacked him.
He is widely considered the most vulnerable Republican senator in the midterms. A life-size sculpture of Johnson made of cow manure is currently touring Milwaukee as part of a protest against his claim that climate change is “bullshit.”