Ron Johnson (Wisconsin)
|U.S. Senate, Wisconsin|
|January 3, 2017|
|Years in position||3|
|Predecessor||Russ Feingold (D)|
|Elections and appointments|
|First elected||November 2, 2010|
|Next general||November 8, 2016|
|Bachelor's||University of Minnesota|
|Birthday||April 8, 1955|
|Place of birth||Mankato, MN|
- 1 Biography
- 2 Committee assignments
- 3 Issues
- 3.1 Legislative actions
- 3.1.1 113th Congress
- 3.1.2 National security
- 3.1.3 Economy
- 3.1.4 Healthcare
- 3.1.5 Immigration
- 3.1.6 Social Issues
- 3.1.7 Previous congressional sessions
- 3.2 League of Conservation Voters
- 3.3 Presidential preference
- 3.1 Legislative actions
- 4 Elections
- 5 Campaign donors
- 6 Analysis
- 7 Personal
- 8 Recent news
- 9 See also
- 10 External links
- 11 References
Johnson was part of the wave of tea-party Republicans elected in the 2010 midterm elections.
Based on analysis of multiple outside rankings, Johnson is one of the most reliable Republican votes, meaning he can be considered a safe vote for the Republican Party in Congress.
After earning his bachelor's from the University of Minnesota, Johnson worked as an accountant for a couple years before starting a plastic sheeting business with his brother-in-law. He worked in the business until becoming a U.S. senator.
Johnson serves on the following Senate committees:
- Committee on the Budget
- Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation
- Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security
- Subcommittee on Science and Space
- Subcommittee on Competitiveness, Innovation, and Export Promotion
- Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet
- Subcommittee on Aviation Operations, Safety, and Security
- Committee on Foreign Relations
- The Subcommittee on Near Eastern and South and Central Asian Affairs
- The Subcommittee on International Operations and Organizations, Human Rights, Democracy and Global Women's Issues
- The Subcommittee on European Affairs Ranking Member
- The Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs
- Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
- Subcommittee on the Efficiency and Effectiveness of Federal Programs and the Federal Workforce
- Subcommittee on Financial and Contracting Oversight
- Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations
- Small Business and Entrepreneurship
Johnson was a member of the following Senate committees:
- Committee on the Budget
- Committe on Appropriations
- Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies
- Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies
- Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
- Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies
- Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations, and Related Agencies
- Special Committee on Aging
- Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
- Ad Hoc Subcommittee on Disaster Recovery and Intergovernmental Affairs
- Subcommittee on Federal Financial Management, Government Information, Federal Services, and International Security
- Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, the Federal Workforce, and the District of Columbia
The 113th Congress has had 55 out of 5,401 introduced bills enacted into law (1%) as of November 30, 2013. Comparatively, the 112th Congress had 1.14% of introduced bills enacted into law in the first session. The Senate has confirmed 16,878 out of 19,009 executive nominations received thus far (88.8%). For more information pertaining to Johnson's voting record in the 113th Congress, please see the below sections.
- See also: United States involvement in Syria
Johnson blasted Obama saying he "backed America into a corner" and failed to lead on the situation in Syria in September 2013. Johnson said, "I am hoping that through these hearings, through this discussion with the American people, the president can make a strong case and that we can get America behind him and behind the actions that, quite honestly, nobody wants to take." He added, "He dithered, he didn’t act decisively right off the bat, so based on, with all the leaks, with all the discussion going on, yeah I didn’t see any reason for real quick action. He’ll be in a far stronger position if he makes the case and convinces the American public and Congress.”
After voting no on the Senate resolution, Johnson said, ""I'm highly concerned that the administration's action will be ineffective. And I think ineffective action would be actually worse than no action whatsoever. I really did not get any kind of comfort level that this administration has adequately planned for the reprecussions" of a strike against Syria. They may be able to provide me with that comfort over the next couple of days before we take the final vote. But right now I simply did not have the information or the answers to the questions I needed to even allow me to consider voting yes on this resolution."
Senate Foreign Relations Committee Syria authorization
- See also: United States involvement in Syria
Of the nine Democratic members and eight Republican members that make up the committee, seven Democrats and three Republicans voted in favor, while five Republicans and two Democrats opposed the authorization. A single "present" vote was cast by Ed Markey (D). Johnson was one of the five Republicans who opposed the authorization.
John Brennan CIA nomination
Johnson voted against the confirmation of John Brennan as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. The nomination was confirmed by the Senate on March 7, 2013, with a vote of 63 - 34. Most Democrats supported the nomination, while Republicans were somewhat divided with roughly one-third supporting the nomination.
On March 6, 2013, Senator Rand Paul (R) led a 13-hour filibuster of President Obama's CIA Director nominee, John Brennan. Paul started the filibuster in order to highlight his concerns about the administration's drone policies. In particular, Paul said he was concerned about whether a drone could be used to kill an American citizen within the United States border without any due process involved. Paul and other civil liberties activists were critical of President Obama for not offering a clear response to the question. A total of 14 senators joined Paul in the filibuster -- 13 Republicans and one Democrat.
The day after the filibuster, Attorney General Eric Holder sent a letter to Paul, responding to the filibuster. Holder wrote, "Does the president have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on U.S. soil? The answer to that is no."
On February 4, 2014, the Democratic controlled Senate approved the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, H.R. 2642, also known as the Farm Bill. It passed the Senate with a vote of 68-32. The nearly 1,000-page bill reformed and continued various programs of the Department of Agriculture through 2018. The $1 trillion bill expanded crop insurance for farmers by $7 billion over the next decade and created new subsidies for rice and peanut growers that will kick in when prices drop; however, cuts to the food stamp program cut an average of $90 per month for 1.7 million people in 15 states. Johnson voted with 22 other Republican senators against the bill.
On January 16, 2014, the Democratic-controlled Senate approved H.R. 3547, a $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund the government through September 30, 2014. The Senate voted 72-26 for the 1,582 page bill, with 17 Republicans and 55 Democrats voting in favor of the bill. The omnibus package included 12 annual spending bills to fund federal operations. It included a 1% increase in the paychecks of federal workers and military personnel, a $1 billion increase in Head Start funding for early childhood education, reduced funding to the Internal Revenue Service and the Environmental Protection Agency and left the Affordable Care Act without any drastic cuts. Johnson voted with 25 other Republican members against the bill.
No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013
Johnson voted against H.R.325 -- No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013. The bill passed the Senate on January 31, 2013, with a vote of 64 - 34. The purpose of the bill was to temporarily suspend the debt ceiling and withhold the pay of members of Congress until a budget could be passed. The vote largely followed party lines with Democrats overwhelmingly supporting it and many Republicans in opposition to the bill.
- See also: United States budget debate, 2013
During the shutdown in October 2013, the Senate rejected, down party lines, every House-originated bill that stripped the budget of funding for the Affordable Care Act. A deal was reached late on October 16, 2013, just hours before the debt ceiling deadline. The bill to reopen the government, H.R. 2775, lifted the $16.7 trillion debt limit and funds the government through January 15, 2014. Federal employees also received retroactive pay for the shutdown period. The only concession made by Senate Democrats was to require income verification for Obamacare subsidies. The final vote on H.R. 2775 was 81-18, with all 18 votes against the bill from Republican members. Johnson voted with the Republican Party against the bill.
Johnson acknowledged the challenges Republicans would face after the ACA went into effect. The law is that much harder to repeal, now that the people have enrolled in the ACA health plans. He said, "It’s no longer just a piece of paper that you can repeal and it goes away. There’s something there. We have to recognize that reality. We have to deal with the people that are currently covered under Obamacare." Johnson favors removing the mandates, but keeping the online exchanges.
Johnson is suing the Office of Personnel Management over the subsidies provided by the government for Congressional members and staffers. The subsidies are to help offset the cost of their health insurance plans. Johnson is suing on the grounds these subsidies are not available to all people seeking insurance under the ACA. He said, "The American people have an expectation — Wisconsinites have an expectation — that members of Congress should be subjected to the letter of the law just like they’re held to the letter of the law. In this case, members of Congress now are not being held to the letter of the law, and that creates an alienation. It creates a wedge between a member of Congress and their constituents." Jim Sensenbrenner had harsh words for Johnson's lawsuit. He said, "Senator Johnson’s lawsuit is an unfortunate political stunt. I am committed to repealing Obamacare, but the employer contribution he’s attacking is nothing more than a standard benefit that most private and all federal employees receive — including the President. Success in the suit will mean that Congress will lose some of its best staff and will be staffed primarily by recent college graduates who are still on their parents’ insurance. Senator Johnson should spend his time legislating rather than litigating as our country is facing big problems that must be addressed by Congress — not the courts. All Republicans want to repeal Obamacare, but this politically motivated lawsuit only takes public attention away from how bad all of Obamacare really is and focuses it on a trivial issue. Fortunately, Senator Johnson’s suit is likely frivolous and will not achieve the result he’s seeking."
Johnson responded to Sensenbrenner's comments. He said, "I have always respected Congressman Sensenbrenner, but I am disappointed and puzzled by his disagreement with me on an issue that all but two congressional Republicans (including Congressman Sensenbrenner) have voted in favor of — ending the special treatment for members of Congress and their staffs under Obamacare. By no means do I believe this issue is trivial, or my lawsuit to overturn this injustice is frivolous,” Johnson said in his response. “This is an issue of basic fairness that I believe is worth fighting for."
Johnson voted for Senate Amendment 1197 -- Requires the Completion of the Fence Along the United States-Mexico Border. The amendment was rejected by the Senate on June 18, 2013, with a vote of 39 - 54. The purpose of the amendment was to require the completion of 350 miles of fence described in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 before registered provisional immigrant status may be granted. It would also require 700 miles of fence be completed before the status of registered provisional immigrants may be changed to permanent resident status. The vote followed party lines.
Violence Against Women (2013)
Johnson voted against S.47 -- Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013. The bill was passed by the Senate on February 12, 2013, with a vote of 78 - 22. The purpose of the bill was to combat violence against women, from domestic violence to international trafficking in persons. All 22 dissenting votes were cast by Republicans.
Previous congressional sessions
Johnson voted for the fiscal cliff compromise bill, which made permanent most of the Bush tax cuts originally passed in 2001 and 2003 while also raising tax rates on the highest income levels. The bill was passed in the Senate by a 89 - 8 vote on January 1, 2013.
August 2013 ad about Johnson
League of Conservation Voters
The League of Conservation Voters spent $2 million on ads against Johnson and other climate change deniers in August of 2013. According to the LCV president, Gene Karpinski, "The American people are tired of Washington politicians ignoring basic scientific facts and standing in the way of action on climate change. This ad campaign shows that members of Congress won’t be able to sweep their extreme, anti-science voting records under the rug." Johnson responded to the ads saying, "The League of Conservation voters is not an organization with a balanced approach to a cleaner environment. "They are an extreme left group on an environmental jihad."
To view the full congressional electoral history for Ron Johnson, click [show] to expand the section.
Comprehensive donor information for Johnson is available dating back to 2010. Based on available campaign finance records, Johnson raised a total of $15,235,898 during that time period. This information was last updated on April 25, 2013.
|Ron Johnson (Wisconsin)'s Campaign Contribution History|
|2010||U.S. Senate (Wisconsin)||$15,235,898|
|Grand Total Raised||$15,235,898|
Johnson won election to the U.S. Senate in 2010. During that election cycle, Johnson's campaign committee raised a total of $15,235,898 and spent $15,043,252.
|U.S. Senate, Wisconsin, 2010 - Ron Johnson (Wisconsin) Campaign Contributions|
|Total Raised by General Election Opponent||$20,803,357|
|Total Spent by General Election Opponent||$20,342,208|
|Top contributors to Ron Johnson (Wisconsin)'s campaign committee|
|Top 5 industries that contributed to campaign committee|
The website OpenCongress tracks the voting records of each member to determine with whom he or she votes most and least often. The results include a member from each party.
Johnson most often votes with:
Johnson least often votes with:
Ideology and leadership
Lifetime voting record
According to the website GovTrack, Johnson missed 3 of 580 roll call votes from January 2011 to April 2013. This amounts to .5%, which is better than the median of 1.7% among current senators as of April 2013.
Congressional staff salaries
The website Legistorm compiles staff salary information for members of Congress. Johnson paid his congressional staff a total of $1,427,919 in 2011. He ranks fourth on the list of the lowest paid Republican senatorial staff salaries and ranks fourth overall of the lowest paid senatorial staff salaries in 2011. Overall, Wisconsin ranks 24th in average salary for senatorial staff. The average U.S. Senate congressional staff was paid $2,529,141.70 in fiscal year 2011.
Based on congressional financial disclosure forms and calculations made available by OpenSecrets.org, Johnson's net worth as of 2012 was estimated between $9,216,014 to $39,668,000. That averages to $24,442,007, which is higher than the average net worth of Republican Senate members in 2012 of $6,956,438.47. Johnson ranked as the 8th most wealthy senator in 2012.
|Ron Johnson Yearly Net Worth|
|Year||Avg. Net Worth||% Difference from previous year|
National Journal vote ratings
Each year National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted in the previous year. Johnson was 1 of 2 members who ranked 22nd in the conservative rankings in 2012.
- See also: National Journal vote ratings
Each year National Journal publishes an analysis of how liberally or conservatively each member of Congress voted in the previous year. Johnson ranked 2nd in the conservative rankings.
Voting with party
Johnson voted with the Republican Party 92.4% of the time, which ranked 4th among the 46 Senate Republican members as of June 2013.
This section displays the most recent stories in a Google news search for the term Ron + Johnson + Wisconsin + Senate
- All stories may not be relevant to this page due to the nature of the search engine.
- Social media:
- Political profiles:
- Financial (federal level):
- Interest group ratings:
- Issue positions:
- Public statements:
- Voting record:
- Media appearances:
- Media coverage:
- Official Senate website "Biography," Accessed October 17, 2011
- Congressional Quarterly "Senate Committee List" Accessed January 22, 2013
- Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, First Session of the 112th Congress," accessed September 5, 2013
- Congressional Record, "Resume of Congressional Activity, Second Session of the 113th Congress," accessed March 4, 2014
- Politico, "Ron Johnson: Obama ‘not leading’ on Syria", accessed September 2, 2013
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Ron Johnson explains vote against resolution on Syria strike", accessed September 5, 2013
- Politico, "Senate panel approves Syria measure," accessed September 5, 2013
- USA Today, "Senate committee approves Syria attack resolution," accessed September 5, 2013
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- Politico, "How Senate Foreign Relations Committee members voted on Syria," accessed September 5, 2013
- Project Vote Smart, "PN 48 - Nomination of John Brennan to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
- CNN, "Rand Paul says he's heard from White House after filibuster," March 7, 2013
- USA Today, "Rand Paul filibuster ranks among Senate's longest," March 7, 2013
- ABC News, "Rand Paul Wins Applause From GOP and Liberals," March 7, 2013
- The Blaze, "Here Are All the GOP Senators That Participated in Rand Paul’s 12+ Hour Filibuster… and the Ones Who Didn’t," March 7, 2013
- Los Angeles Times, "Sen. Rand Paul ends marathon filibuster of John Brennan," March 7, 2013
- Breitbart, "AWOL: Meet The GOP Senators Who Refused to Stand With Rand," March 7, 2013
- Politico, "Rand Paul filibuster blasted by Sens. John McCain, Lindsey Graham," March 7, 2013
- Washington Post, "Eric Holder responds to Rand Paul with ‘no’," March 7, 2013
- Senate.gov, "H.R. 2642 (Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013)," accessed February 12, 2014
- New York Times, "Senate Passes Long-Stalled Farm Bill, With Clear Winners and Losers," accessed February 12, 2014
- Politico, "Senate approves $1.1 trillion spending bill," accessed January 20, 2014
- U.S. Senate, "January 16 Vote," accessed January 20, 2014
- Roll Call, "House Passes $1.1 Trillion Omnibus," accessed January 20, 2014
- Project Vote Smart, "HR 325 - To Ensure the Complete and Timely Payment of the Obligations of the United States Government Until May 19, 2013 - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
- The Washington Post, "Reid, McConnell propose bipartisan Senate bill to end shutdown, extend borrowing," accessed October 16, 2013
- Senate.gov, "H.R. 2775 As Amended," accessed October 31, 2013
- New York Times, "With Health Law Cemented, G.O.P. Debates Next Move", accessed January 2, 2014
- The Hill, "Johnson to sue over O-Care contributions", accessed January 6, 2014
- Roll Call, "Sensenbrenner Blasts Ron Johnson’s Lawsuit Against Staff Healthcare Contributions", accessed January 6, 2014
- Project Vote Smart, "S Amdt 1197 - Requires the Completion of the Fence Along the United States-Mexico Border - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
- Project Vote Smart, "S 47 - Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 - Voting Record," accessed September 25, 2013
- U.S. Senate "Roll Call Vote on the Fiscal Cliff" Accessed January 4, 2013.
- Seattle PI, "Wis. Sen. Ron Johnson endorses Mitt Romney," April 1, 2012
- U.S. Congress House Clerk "Statistics of the Congressional Election of November 2, 2010"
- Open Secrets "Donor history for Ron Johnson" Accessed April 25, 2013
- Open Secrets "2010 Race: Wisconsin Senate," Accessed November 26, 2011
- OpenCongress, "Ron Johnson," Accessed August 8, 2013
- Gov Track "Ron Johnson," Accessed July 5, 2013
- GovTrack, "Johnson," Accessed April 11, 2013
- LegiStorm "Ron Johnson"
- OpenSecrets.org "Johnson, 2012," accessed January 14, 2014
- National Journal, "2012 Congressional Vote Ratings," February 28, 2013
- National Journal, "Searchable Vote Ratings Tables: Senate," February 23, 2012
- OpenCongress, "Voting With Party," accessed July 2014
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