Congressman Mark Pocan says he’s heading back to work in Washington, D.C., after a two-month hiatus during which he underwent triple bypass heart surgery.
In a wide-ranging press conference at his district office Wednesday, Pocan addressed several topics he predicted will dominate 2018. That includes a Democratic push to preserve legal protections for people brought to the U.S. illegally as children, the decision by federal regulators to repeal so-called “net neutrality” rules, the recently enacted Republican tax overhaul and the 2018 elections, in which Pocan predicts Democrats will win big.
Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, had surgery on Nov. 8 and has not voted in the U.S. House since Oct. 26. In that span, he missed several high-profile votes, most notably on the sweeping tax overhaul bill that President Donald Trump signed last month.
Speaking to reporters in Madison on Wednesday, Pocan, 53, said he has been recovering in Wisconsin since the surgery and is poised to go back to Congress next week. He said his recovery is progressing “above schedule” and he’s now incorporating jogging and other exercise.
“I feel really healthy, and I’m looking forward to getting back to work,” Pocan said.
Pocan represents Wisconsin’s 2nd Congressional District, which includes all of Dane County.
Topics Pocan addressed Wednesday included:
- Protection from deportation for so-called “Dreamers,” or immigrants who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children. Last year, Trump announced an end to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program that protected such immigrants, while urging Congress to come up with a legislative fix before a March deadline. Congressional Democrats are pushing to preserve those protections and have sought to link it to their potential support for a resolution to fund the federal government and avert a government shutdown later this month. Pocan said Wednesday “that should be an absolute, that we get DACA taken care of.”
- The Federal Communication Commission’s repeal of net neutrality rules last month. In junking the Obama-era rules, the commission — at the urging of big telecom companies — scrapped the longtime principle that all web traffic must be treated equally, meaning Internet service providers would be free to slow down or block access to services they don’t like. Pocan said he received 6,400 constituent contacts opposing the FCC’s decision on net neutrality. “No one supported what they did to the Internet,” Pocan said.
- The 2018 elections. Pocan predicted that Democrats will win control of the U.S. House, currently controlled by Republicans, 239-193. Pocan also predicted Republican Gov. Scott Walker will lose to the Democratic nominee for that office, with Walker’s push to provide $3 billion in public incentives to Taiwanese electronics maker Foxconn playing a key role. “Everyone’s got their own idea of how they would have spent $3 billion, and it’s not the way Scott Walker did — and I think it’s going to be bad for him,” Pocan said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.