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Sunday, May 12th, 2019

Last week (May 5th-10th) in Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted

Happy Mother’s Day! Here’s how Cascadia’s Members of Congress voted on major issues during the legislative week ending Friday, May 10th, 2019.

In the United States House of Representatives

Chamber of the United States House of Representatives

The House chamber (U.S. Congress photo)

HEALTHCARE COVERAGE STANDARDS: The House on May 9th voted, 230 for and 183 against, to prohibit states from offering in their health-insurance exchanges diluted versions of the coverage required by the Patient Protection Act. The bill (HR 986) would prohibit the Trump administration from granting waivers allowing states to offer short-term policies that omit or weaken PPA requirements. The law’s standards are intended to guarantee coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions while requiring PPA policies to cover “essential health benefits” including pediatric care, mental health and substance-abuse treatments, emergency care, outpatient services and maternity care.

Backers of the administration’s waiver policy said it gives states flexibility to develop lower-priced coverage alternatives. But critics call such policies “junk insurance” that would eventually bring down the PPA-required coverage by siphoning off healthy and younger policyholders.

Jan Schakowsky, D-Illinois, said: “You can sign up for one of these what we call `junk policies,’ and you’re perfectly well, and then all of a sudden you have some kind of an illness that – guess what – is not covered and won’t be covered because by then you’ll have a pre-existing condition. (This bill) would protect pre-existing conditions, no questions, period, end of story.”

Greg Walden, R-Oregon, said no member of Congress wants to eliminate coverage of pre-existing conditions, but “what we’re arguing about here is (whether) health insurance is affordable for Americans, and are there better ways using states as laboratories to innovate and bring down the cost of care and the cost of insurance….”

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, and Kurt Schrader

Voting Nay (1): 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, Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Cascadia total: 11 aye votes, 6 nay votes

DEMOCRATIC STANCE ON PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS: Voting 302 for and 117 against, the House on May 9th adopted a Democratic-sponsored amendment to HR 986 (above) that would prohibit the Trump administration from granting Patient Protection Act waivers that would result in state-run exchanges raising the cost of comprehensive coverage for individuals with pre-existing conditions, thereby imperiling the coverage.

Frank Pallone, D-New Jersey, said that “by encouraging states to promote and expand short-term insurance plans, the administration is giving insurers a green light to directly discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions.”

Greg Walden, R-Oregon, quoted the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services as stating “the administration’s policy on Affordable Care Act waivers does nothing to erode pre-existing conditions. (They) cannot be waived.”

A yes vote was to adopt the amendment.

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 (10): Democratic Representatives Suzan DelBene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Pramila Jayapal, Kim Schrier, Adam Smith, and Denny Heck; Republican Representatives Jaime Herrera-Beutler, Dan Newhouse, Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Cascadia total: 15 aye votes, 2 nay votes

REPUBLICAN STANCE ON PRE-EXISTING CONDITIONS: Voting 182 for and 231 against, the House on May 9th defeated a Republican motion to HR 986 (above) asserting that neither current law nor Trump administration policies would allow state-run insurance exchanges to sell policies under the Affordable Care Act that weaken protections for those with pre-existing conditions.

Greg Walden, R-Oregon, said: “Republicans will always protect people with pre-existing conditions. You can run your ads, you can deceive people, you can mislead people, but we will always fight to protect people with pre-existing conditions.”

Elissa Slotkin, D-Michigan, said: “It is not enough to say that you protect pre-existing conditions; it is what happens on the ground that matters. The administration has tried every play in the book to undercut (and) sabotage protections for pre-existing conditions,” and has joined a lawsuit “to invalidate the entirety of the [Patient Protection and] Affordable Care Act.”

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 (2): Republican Representatives Jaime Herrera-Beutler and Dan Newhouse

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

Not Voting: Republican Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Cascadia total: 11 aye votes, 5 nay votes, 1 not voting

$19.1 BILLION DISASTER RELIEF: Voting 257 for and 150 against, the House on May 10 passed a bill (HR 2157) that would provide $19.1 billion to homeowners, businesses, farmers, local governments and other entities ravaged by wildfires, hurricanes, flooding, mudslides, tornadoes, volcanic eruptions and typhoons in the United States and its territories including Puerto Rico in recent years. The bill drew GOP opposition because it omits $4.5 billion sought by the administration in security funding and humanitarian aid on the southern border.

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, Kurt Schrader; 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 Dan Newhouse

Voting Nay (2): Republican Representatives Jaime Herrera-Beutler and Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Cascadia total: 13 aye votes, 4 nay votes

ADDED FUNDING FOR BORDER CHILDREN: Voting 189 for and 215 against, the House on May 10th defeated a Republican motion to add $2.88 billion to H.R. 2157 (above) for programs to care for more unaccompanied migrant children who have entered the United States at the southern border.

Kay Granger, R-Texas, said the motion “provides another opportunity to provide the funding necessary to continue to care for these children.

Rosa DeLauro, D-Connecticut, called this the wrong bill for funding those programs, adding, “And keep in mind, this is the one-year anniversary of the child-abuse policy that separates kids at the border.”

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, and 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: 11 aye votes, 6 nay votes

In the United States Senate

Chamber of the United States Senate

The Senate chamber (U.S. Congress photo)

REVIVAL OF EXPORT-IMPORT BANK: Voting 79 for and 17 against, the Senate on May 7th confirmed Kimberly A. Reed as president of the Ex-Im Bank.

A federal entity important to the Pacific Northwest, the Export-Import Bank finances the sale of American goods and services abroad when conventional credit is difficult to obtain because of high political or commercial risks.

The bank has been sidelined for nearly four years by congressional conservatives who see it as an instrument of corporate welfare in the service of manufacturers like Boeing, General Electric, John Deere and Caterpillar. By confirming Reed and two other Ex-Im directors this week, the Senate gave the bank the quorum it needs to once again approve deals of more than $10 million. Reed worked most recently as head of the International Food Information Council Foundation.

Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, said senators “have a choice — do they care about these businesses; do they care about manufacturing; do they care about workers; do they care about the dignity of workers; or do they care more about their extreme special interest politics? I stand with our workers.”

Mike Lee, R-Utah, said the bank “has unfortunately been used as a giant tool for corporate welfare operated to benefit the wealthiest and the most politically connected businesses in America, as well as their overseas clients and, believe it or not, foreign governments.”

A yes vote was to confirm the nominee.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

Voting Aye (2):
Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

The State of Washington

Voting Aye (2):
Senators Patty Murray & Maria Cantwell

Cascadia total: 6 aye votes

Key votes ahead

The House will take up healthcare bills in the week of May 13, while 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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