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, June 23rd, 2019

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (June 17th-21st)

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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