NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

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.

Adjacent posts

  • Donate now to support The Cascadia Advocate


    Thank you for read­ing The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate, the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute’s jour­nal of world, nation­al, and local pol­i­tics.

    Found­ed in March of 2004, The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate has been help­ing peo­ple through­out the Pacif­ic North­west and beyond make sense of cur­rent events with rig­or­ous analy­sis and thought-pro­vok­ing com­men­tary for more than fif­teen years. The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate is fund­ed by read­ers like you: we have nev­er accept­ed adver­tis­ing or place­ments of paid con­tent.

    And we’d like it to stay that way.

    Help us keep The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate edi­to­ri­al­ly inde­pen­dent and freely avail­able by becom­ing a mem­ber of the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute today. Or make a dona­tion to sus­tain our essen­tial research and advo­ca­cy jour­nal­ism.

    Your con­tri­bu­tion will allow us to con­tin­ue bring­ing you fea­tures like Last Week In Con­gress, live cov­er­age of events like Net­roots Nation or the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion, and reviews of books and doc­u­men­tary films.

    Become an NPI mem­ber Make a one-time dona­tion