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Sunday, June 23rd, 2019

Last week (June 17th-21st) 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, June 21st, 2019.

In the United States House of Representatives

Chamber of the United States House of Representatives

The House chamber (U.S. Congress photo)

$982.8 BILLION SPENDING PACKAGE: Voting 226 for and 203 against, the House on June 19th approved a $982.8 billion package consisting of four of the twelve appropriations bills that will fund government operations in fiscal 2020, which starts October 1st, 2019.

The bill (H.R. 2740) funds a $690.2 billion Pentagon budget while repealing the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) and prohibiting the diversion of military funds to wall construction on the southeast border.

In addition, the bill would provide $17.2 billion for operating the State Department and $24 billion in bilateral foreign aid including $3.3 billion for Israel, $1.52 billion for Jordan, $1.4 billion for Egypt and $445.7 million for Ukraine.

The bill also would appropriate:

  • $42.2 billion for K-12 education programs;
  • $41.1 billion for the National Institutes of Health;
  • $13.3 billion for the Department of Labor;
  • $4 billion for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services;
  • and $495 million for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, among hundreds of other outlays.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

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 (6): Democratic Representatives Suzan DelBene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Pramila Jayapal, Kim Schrier, and Adam Smith

Voting Nay (3): Democratic Representative Denny Heck; Republican Representatives Dan Newhouse and Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Not Voting (1): Republican Representative Jaime Herrera-Beutler

Cascadia total: 10 aye votes, 6 nay votes, 1 not voting

WARRANTLESS COLLECTION OF AMERICANS’ COMMUNICATIONS: Voting 175 for and 253 against, the House on June 18th defeated an amendment to H.R. 2740 (above) aimed at restricting intelligence agencies’ use of the billions of telecommunications involving Americans inadvertently collected as part of warrantless surveillance of foreign targets under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The amendment sought to withhold funding to administer Section 702 next fiscal year unless the government takes additional steps to prevent violations of Americans’ Fourth Amendment privacy rights.

For example, stricter controls would have to be imposed to keep agencies from using warrantless targeting of foreigners, which is permitted, to intentionally or accidentally access the communications of people in the United States.

The FISA law gives agencies including the National Security Agency and FBI warrantless access to commercial databases of foreigners’ voice and digital communications — phone calls, emails, online chats, text messaging and social-media postings — that pass through wireless and landline facilities in the United States. But in order to use the data to target Americans, they must obtain court warrants based on probable cause.

When the government inadvertently collects innocent Americans’ communications, the information must be expunged or disregarded, although the law lacks a means for outsiders to see if that has occurred.

Sponsor Justin Amash, R-Michigan, said his amendment would “allow the government to continue using Section 702 for its stated purpose of gathering foreign intelligence, while limiting the government’s warrantless collection of Americans’ conversations.”

Mike Conaway, R-Texas, said the amendment could mean that “if a terrorist located in a foreign country communicates with conspirators located in the United States, the Intelligence community might not be able to use Section 702 to target that terrorist because he is communicating with a person in the United States.”

A yes vote was to adopt the amendment.

The State of Idaho

Voting Aye (1): Republican Representative Russ Fulcher

Voting Nay (1): Republican Representative Mike Simpson

The State of Oregon

Voting Aye (3): Democratic Representatives Suzanne Bonamici, Peter DeFazio, Kurt Schrader

Voting Nay (2): Democratic Representative Earl Blumenauer; Republican Representative Greg Walden

The State of Washington

Voting Aye (5): Democratic Representatives Suzan DelBene, Rick Larsen, Pramila Jayapal, and Adam Smith; Republican Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Voting Nay (4): Democratic Representatives Derek Kilmer, Kim Schrier, and Denny Heck; Republican Representative Dan Newhouse

Not Voting (1): Republican Representative Jaime Herrera-Beutler

Cascadia total: 9 aye votes, 7 nay votes, 1 not voting

U.S. FUNDING TO COMBAT CLIMATE DAMAGE: Voting 174 for and 251 against, the House on June 18th defeated an amendment to prohibit U.S. funding in H.R. 2740 (above) to support the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. With one hundred and ninety-five signatory nations including the United States, the convention, or treaty, is the governing authority for a series of international efforts to slow the rate of global warming.

For example, it ushered in the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, the Paris Agreement in 2015 and, in 2010, the goal among nations to limit global temperature rises to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial (about 1850) levels.

Amendment sponsor Jodey Arrington, R-Texas, called it “reckless and naive to bind taxpayers to international agreements that compromise our freedom and our economic security and virtually do nothing to impact the environment.”

Harley Rouda, D-California, said: “Ninety-seven percent of scientists recognize that climate change is real. The Department of Defense recognizes this is one of the top, if not the number one, national threats to our security.”

A yes vote was to withhold United States government support of international efforts to address climate damage.

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 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

Not Voting (1): Republican Representative Jaime Herrera-Beutler

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

CITIZENSHIP QUESTION ON CENSUS: Voting 192 for and 240 against, the House on June 20th defeated a Republican effort to fund the Trump administration’s proposed addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

The amendment was offered to a $690.4 billion spending package (HR 3055) for fiscal 2020 that remained in debate at week’s end.

The Supreme Court is now weighing the constitutionality of a citizenship question, which Democrats say is a partisan tactic to deter undocumented aliens from taking part in the census. Under the Constitution, the decennial census is required to count all persons living in the United States.

Amendment sponsor Steve King, R-Iowa, referred to the use of the census in allocating congressional districts and said…

… it is important that we understand that the voices in this Congress be the voices of American citizens, not the voices of illegal aliens.

Jose Serrano, D-New York, said the amendment would…

… reduce the accuracy and increase the undercount in places like Florida, Texas, Alabama, Michigan, California and New York. This, in turn, will affect reapportionment and the distribution of federal funds for the next decade in many of the communities we represent.

A yes vote was to adopt the Republican amendment.

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 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

Not Voting (1): Republican Representative Jaime Herrera-Beutler

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

In the United States Senate

Chamber of the United States Senate

The Senate chamber (U.S. Congress photo)

BLOCKING ARMS FOR SAUDI ARABIA: Voting 53 for and 45 against, the Senate on June 20th adopted a measure (S.J. Resolution 36) that would disapprove of billions of dollars in planned and ongoing U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia and its allies in the Middle East for use in a Saudi-led war against Iranian-backed forces in Yemen. Congress voted this year to end U.S. involvement in the Yemen war, but President Trump successfully vetoed the measure.

Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, said the Saudis already have “enough arms to blow up the Middle East ten times over. Is there just no stopping? Is there no limitation to what we will do? Do we not believe that any of our arms sales should be conditioned on behavior?”

Jim Risch, R-Idaho, said: “These sales are needed to address the legitimate security requirements of other countries we support in response to there being numerous threats from Iran and its proxies. These threats are real.”

A yes vote was to block the arms sales.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

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

The State of Washington

Voting Aye (2):
Democratic Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray

Cascadia total: 4 aye votes, 2 nay votes

Key votes ahead

The House will debate fiscal 2020 appropriations bills in the week of June 24th, while the Senate will take up the 2020 military budget and emergency spending to deal with immigration overflow on the southwest border.

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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