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Sunday, May 19th, 2019

Last week (May 13th-17th) in Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted

Good morning! Here’s how Cascadia’s Members of Congress voted on major issues during the legislative week ending Friday, May 17th, 2019.

In the United States House of Representatives

Chamber of the United States House of Representatives

The House chamber (U.S. Congress photo)

DEMOCRATIC REPAIR OF PATIENT PROTECTION ACT: Voting 234 for and 183 against, the House on May 16 passed a bill (HR 987) that would bolster sections of the Patient Protection Act the Trump administration has allowed to deteriorate while pursuing dismantlement and repeal of the law.

In an effort to reduce prescription drug costs, the measure also would change laws and regulations to expand and accelerate the marketing of generic versions of brand-name drugs. Reversing a presidential order, the bill would restore the Patient Protection Act’s original three-month limit on short-term health insurance plans that do not meet core coverage requirements, including protections for people with pre-existing conditions.

The bill would also authorize spending $100 million annually over 10 years on advertising campaigns and “navigator” programs to boost PPA enrollment. And it would recommend a $200 million outlay to establish insurance exchanges in states that now send residents to the federal exchange to buy PPA coverage.

Enrollment in federal and state PPA exchanges, or marketplaces, peaked at 12.7 million in the last year of the Obama administration, and has declined by 930,000 enrollees, or 7.3 percent, during the Trump administration, according to the Government Accountability Office. Unofficial tallies show that in 2018 about 25 million individuals received coverage in Patient Protection Act exchanges or as a result of the law’s expanded Medicaid eligibility, while 2.6 million young adults were covered by their parents’ health plan under terms of the law.

Mary Gay Scanlon, D-Pennsylvania., said the bill would “reverse the sabotage of the [Patient Protection Act] by this administration with respect to marketing and outreach, and rescind the Trump administration’s efforts to promote junk plans that lack the protections of the [Patient Protection and] Affordable Care Act.”

Phil Roe, R-Tennessee, said that by scaling back short-term, non-PPA compliant coverage, the bill would “double down on trying to force [the PPA] on people who don’t want it and can’t afford it….If (Democrats) want to get rid of junk plans, they can start by working with us to get rid of [the PPA].”

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate.

The State of Idaho

Voting Nay (2): Republican Representatives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson

The State of Oregon

Voting Aye (4): Democratic Representatives Suzanne Bonamici, Earl Blumenauer, Peter DeFazio, Kurt Schrader

Voting Nay (1): Republican Representative Greg Walden

The State of Washington

Voting Aye (8): Democratic Representatives Suzan DelBene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Pramila Jayapal, Kim Schrier, Adam Smith, and Denny Heck; Republican Representative Jaime Herrera-Beutler

Voting Nay (2): Republican Representatives Dan Newhouse and Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Cascadia total: 12 aye votes, 5 nay votes

CANCER RESEARCH V. HEALTH LAW ENROLLMENT: Voting 188 for and 228 against, the House on May 16th defeated a Republican motion to H.R. 987 (above) to shift millions of dollars from Patient Protection Act enrollment accounts to National Institutes of Health research into childhood cancer.

The measure targeted the Patient Protection Act’s navigator program, in which the government hires outside groups to help individuals and small businesses sign up for medical insurance in PPA marketplaces. The Trump administration has cut the navigator budget by about 90 percent while presiding over a 7.3 percent decline since 2016 in enrollment in the PPA’s state and federal marketplaces.

Greg Walden, R-Oregon, said: “If you support lowering the cost of prescription drugs and you support the work of the NIH in its effort to save countless lives of children with cancer, then you vote yes” on this motion.

Lucy McBath, D-Georgia (a member of the House’s freshman class), did not address the funding clash between cancer research and Patient Protection Act enrollments, but said Republicans should vote against the motion if they “are serious about protecting pre-existing conditions,” which the underlying bill does.

A yes vote was to adopt the motion.

The State of Idaho

Voting Aye (2): Republican Representatives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson

The State of Oregon

Voting Aye (1): Republican Representative Greg Walden

Voting Nay (4): Democratic Representatives Suzanne Bonamici, Earl Blumenauer, Peter DeFazio, Kurt Schrader

The State of Washington

Voting Aye (3): Republican Representatives Jaime Herrera-Beutler, Dan Newhouse, and Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Voting Nay (7): Democratic Representatives Suzan DelBene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Pramila Jayapal, Kim Schrier, Adam Smith, and Denny Heck

Cascadia total: 6 aye votes, 11 nay votes

EXPANDED PROTECTION AGAINST DISCRIMINATION — EQUALITY ACT: Voting 236 for and 173 against, the House on May 17th passed a bill (H.R. 5) that would expand the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Fair Housing Act of 1968 to protect LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer) individuals against discrimination based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.

The proposed Equality Act, sponsored by David Cicilline, would also expand the Civil Rights Acts listing of public accommodations to include retail stores, banks and transportation and healthcare services, and it would designate sexual characteristics as a protected class in public accommodations.

In addition, the bill would prohibit the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1994 from being invoked to sanction discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community.

Jackie Speier, D-California, said the bill is needed because the Trump administration “is seeking to make our LGBTQ families and friends not just second-class citizens, but to deny them the fundamental American rights etched into our Constitution. Congress cannot erase hatred with legislation, but…has an obligation to lead, to stamp out discrimination wherever it exists.”

Vicky Hartzler, R-Missouri., said the bill “does not end discrimination” but “imposes top-down, government-led discrimination against all Americans who hold a differing view of human sexuality and gender. This grossly misnamed bill punishes everyday citizens, silences free speech and viewpoint disagreements and discriminates against people of faith. In reality, this bill should be called the Women’s Inequality Act.”

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate.

The State of Idaho

Voting Nay (2): Republican Representatives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson

The State of Oregon

Voting Aye (5): Democratic Representatives Suzanne Bonamici, Earl Blumenauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrader; Republican Representative Greg Walden

The State of Washington

Voting Aye (7): Democratic Representatives Suzan DelBene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Pramila Jayapal, Kim Schrier, Adam Smith, and Denny Heck

Voting Nay (3): Republican Representatives Jaime Herrera-Beutler, Dan Newhouse, and Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Cascadia total: 12 aye votes, 5 nay votes

TITLE IX AMENDMENT TO PROPOSED EQUALITY ACT: The House defeated, 181 for and 228 against, a Republican motion that sought to void H.R. 5 (above) if it were to undercut protections conferred by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. The title ensures women and girls the same access as men and boys to federally funded education programs, including sports activities, in schooling through the collegiate level.

Gregory Steube, R-Florida, said: “Requiring biological females to face competition from biological males will mean the end of women’s sports in any meaningful sense.” Katy Hill, D-California, told Republicans: “You are on the wrong side of history, and we will be waiting for you on the other side when we reject this amendment” and pass the bill.

A yes vote was to adopt the motion.

The State of Idaho

Voting Aye (2): Republican Representatives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson

The State of Oregon

Voting Aye (1): Republican Representative Greg Walden

Voting Nay (4): Democratic Representatives Suzanne Bonamici, Earl Blumenauer, Peter DeFazio, Kurt Schrader

The State of Washington

Voting Aye (3): Republican Representatives Jaime Herrera-Beutler, Dan Newhouse, and Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Voting Nay (7): Democratic Representatives Suzan DelBene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Pramila Jayapal, Kim Schrier, Adam Smith, and Denny Heck

Cascadia total: 6 aye votes, 11 nay votes

In the United States Senate

Chamber of the United States Senate

The Senate chamber (U.S. Congress photo)

JEFFREY ROSEN, DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: Voting 52 for and 45 against, the Senate on May 16th confirmed Jeffrey A. Rosen, the deputy secretary of the Department of Transportation, as deputy attorney general. He replaces Rod J. Rosenstein as the second ranking official at the Department of Justice. Rosen, 61, previously served in the George W. Bush administration and has alternated between government assignments and work in private practice in Washington.

A yes vote was to confirm the nominee.

The State of Idaho

Voting Aye (2): Republican Senators Jim Risch and Mike Crapo

The State of Oregon

Voting Nay (2): Democratic Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

The State of Washington

Voting Nay (2): Democratic Senators Patty Murray & Maria Cantwell

Cascadia total: 2 aye votes, 4 nay votes

WENDY VITTER, FEDERAL DISTRICT JUDGE: Voting 52 for and 45 against, the Senate on May 16th confirmed Wendy Vitter, the general counsel of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans, as a federal district, or trial-level, judge for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Republicans said Vitter’s long experience as a parish-level district attorney helped qualify her for the federal judgeship, while Democratic criticized her views on women’s reproductive-rights, for making false statements about Planned Parenthood, and for declining to say whether she feels the Supreme Court correctly decided the landmark 1954 Brown v. Board of Education school-desegregation ruling.

Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said: “Ms. Vitter’s impressive legal career includes experience in private practice and a decade in the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office, where she handled more than 100 felony jury trials.”

Robert Casey, D-Pennsylvania, said Vitter “has a long record of opposing contraception, and has promoted false information about the safety of oral contraceptives. These views are not only outside of the mainstream — the judicial or legal mainstream — but they are also not supported by science.”

A yes vote was to confirm the nominee.

The State of Idaho

Voting Aye (2): Republican Senators Jim Risch and Mike Crapo

The State of Oregon

Voting Nay (2): Democratic Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

The State of Washington

Voting Nay (2): Democratic Senators Patty Murray & Maria Cantwell

Cascadia total: 2 aye votes, 4 nay votes

Key votes ahead

The House will take up bills to rejuvenate the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and reform rules for 401(k) retirement accounts in the week of May 20th. The Senate will debate disaster aid and judicial nominations.

Editor’s Note: The information in NPI’s weekly How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted feature is provided by Voterama in Congress, a service of Thomas Voting Reports. All rights are reserved. Reproduction of this post is not permitted, not even with attribution. Use the permanent link to this post to share it… thanks!

© 2019 Thomas Voting Reports.

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