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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 12th, 2019

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

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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