" They don’t believe there should be borders.
" Tom Tiffany U.S. Congress
U.S. Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-WI-7) held listening sessions across the 7th Congressional District earlier this week, visiting Vilas, Florence, Forest, Rusk, Polk, Burnett and Bayfield counties.
The first stop of his two-day tour was in Eagle River on Monday at the Veteran of Foreign Wars Post 8637. 
Fielding questions from an audience of roughly 40 people for approximately an hour, the second-term congressman covered a variety of topics ranging from border issues and U.S. funding of Ukraine to the new rules for the House of Representatives and education.

‘Breach of sovereignty’ 
Speaking most heavily to U.S.-Mexico border policies, Tiffany first addressed rumors of migrants being bussed to the Northwoods. 
The federal government, he said, is not required to notify citizens  that migrants are being placed in their communities. 
“As far as notification? No, the federal government will not notify you ahead of time if that’s going to happen,” he said. “President Biden made that very clear in 2021 (when) he said ‘I have that authority as president to be able to put people wherever I choose to in the country.’ And he said ‘I’m going to exercise that authority’ because there were some states that were saying ‘Hey, before you send migrants to our states, get our OK’ and he said ‘No, I do not have to do that.’”
Tiffany said he does believe Biden had the legal ability but added he thinks maybe that legislation should be changed.
He claimed the border situation is the “largest human trafficking operation in the history of the world” and the border has been “wide open” the last two years. As a result, he said, the country’s system is overwhelmed.
Fentanyl, he noted, is being smuggled in as well. 
“Set aside the human trafficking, set aside the terrorists that are coming into our country … just the fentanyl alone that is the number one killer of people ages 18 to 45,” he said. “I mean there’s no other reason you would stop it because of that if you cared about America. And it’s obvious the Biden administration does not.”
Tiffany said he doesn’t see problems at the border being resolved anytime soon because the Biden administration doesn’t want them to be. In his eyes, the influx of migrants is “intentional” on the current administration’s behalf.
He said he hopes the House will begin hearings “real soon” on securing the border. 
“By the way, this is two different things,” Tiffany said. “Illegal immigration and securing the border are two different things. The first thing we need to do is secure the border. The second thing is you reform immigration.”
Crafting legislation in a variety of ways will need to be done, he said. 
Tiffany said he sits on the house judiciary committee and hopes the committee will soon have a package of bills to introduce to the 118th Congress “to begin the pressure to try and get that border security.”
“At the top of the Democratic party, I mean it is to breach our sovereignty,” he said. “The people that are now the progressive movement, that moves the Democratic party, they do not believe in borders … they don’t believe there should be borders.”

Aiding Ukraine
Though “there’s a case to be made to help Ukraine,” Tiffany said he thinks the U.S. needs to work on itself before it does anything else. 
About $100 billion in military aid to Ukraine has been authorized by the federal government, he said, and he expects more to be authorized under the current administration. 
“I've been voting against some of the Ukraine aid,” he said. “I voted for some of the sanctions on Russia. There are a few things I have voted for, but generally I’ve been voting against sending more money to Ukraine.”
The primary reason Tiffany said he tends to be against sending Ukraine more money is because right now the U.S. economy needs more attention.
The high inflation, he said, is due to federal spending habits “driving” the country “deeper into deficits.”
Once the economy is stronger, and the U.S. is stronger, Tiffany said the country can then “deter” its adversaries. 
He asked how many wars occurred under the Trump administration. 
“None, because we had a stronger America,” he said. “And that starts with a strong economy. I believe that Vladimir Putin knew he was going to go into Ukraine when the first act of the Biden administration was to say we’re going to shut down the Keystone (proposed Keystone XL pipeline extension), which was saying America’s no longer going to be energy independent.”
Not only did the shut down of the Keystone pipeline “embolden” Putin to move on Ukraine but also did the Biden administration’s decision to withdraw from Afghanistan, Tiffany said.
“I think those couple actions are what emboldened Vladimir Putin to do what he did in Ukraine,” he said. “If we want to reverse this for our adversaries like Russia, and by the way I am not taking the side of Vladimir Putin, they’re not the good guys in Russia, but our adversaries like Iran, China and Russia, if we’re going to show weakness which we have been over the last couple of years then we’re going to embolden those people, those tyrants to take actions like they have been.”
Tiffany added China becoming more threatening to its nearby countries, especially Taiwan, is due in part to “American weakness.”

‘A more open, transparent and accountable House of Representatives’
Five new rules — which are part of an adopted package of internal rules governing the House and adopted Jan. 9 by its members — were highlighted on a handout provided to those attending the listening session. 
Tiffany spoke about the rule changes in response to a question with regard to the PACT (Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics) Act.
The PACT Act is legislation which helps provide services to veterans exposed to burn pits, Agent Orange and other toxic substances via the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. 
Tiffany voted against the bill and said it was because it became a “Christmas tree” when other lawmakers continued to add on to it. He would have liked to see a “narrower” bill which spent less money, yet still accomplished its goal. 
One of the rules highlighted on the handout by Tiffany stated bills will be single subject.
He explained the reason why it took 15 votes for Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-20) to be elected as Speaker of the House was for rule changes like that one. 
“Most of us who voted for Andy Biggs and not for Kevin McCarthy pre-Thanksgiving, we voted that way because we wanted changes in the House rules,” he said. “To stop this Christmas tree affect. To stop having bills come out of the Speaker’s office, not go through committee, and you only have a couple people making decisions on spending trillions of dollars.”
Members who initially voted for Biggs (R-AZ-5) wanted to have “a much more transparent … and accountable process” for U.S. citizens, Tiffany said. 
Other important changes highlighted by Tiffany include representatives now having a minimum of 72 hours to review bills before voting on them, raising the debt ceiling to require separate votes, any member can put forth amendments to spending bills and any member can motion to remove the Speaker. 
“And by the way, these rules are really good for every single member of Congress of the United States,” he said. “It’s just for this session. Now I would hope to continue to have (the rules), first off I would hope to continue to have the majority again in two years. And if we have the majority, I can tell you there (will be) a lot of us who will say we want those same rules.”
The new House rules are good for the minority party too, Tiffany said, because it eliminates previous provisions preventing representatives from amending bills on the floor.
He said he would have offered amendments to the PACT Act if he could have, but that wasn’t the case. 
“This is a really good change,” he said. “And it gives Democrats the same opportunity that it does Republicans. It is good for all 435 members of the House of Representatives if they choose to use it, and it’s going to lead to a much more open and transparent process.”

A local issue
Education was discussed at one point, and Tiffany’s advice for parents wanting to keep their public schools in check was to make sure they get involved. 
“The answer to this is local,” he said. “You need to control your school. And you do that via your board of education and that is how you deal with this issue … I would say to you the first thing we should do is we should defund and eliminate the Department of Education at the federal level.” 
The education department is counterproductive, according to Tiffany, who said local administrators he’s spoken with say they’re “forced to do this, that and whatever.”
“And it really doesn’t advance the education of our children of what most of us want,” he said. “We want our kids to read well, know math, we want them to know science. You know, let’s have them do the basics. That’s what we would like to see done first.”
Trevor Greene may be reached via email at [email protected]