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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, June 30th, 2019

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (June 24th-28th)

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cas­ca­di­a’s Mem­bers of Con­gress vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Fri­day, June 28th, 2019.

In the United States House of Representatives

Chamber of the United States House of Representatives

The House cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress pho­to)

PROTECTING U.S. ELECTIONS AGAINST ATTACKS: Vot­ing 225 for and 184 against, the House on June 27th passed a Demo­c­ra­t­ic bill (H.R. 2722) that would autho­rize a $600 mil­lion, mul­ti-year pro­gram to bol­ster state and local vot­ing sys­tems against attacks by adver­saries includ­ing Rus­sia.

In return for fed­er­al grants, author­i­ties would be required to start con­vert­ing vul­ner­a­ble, aging elec­tron­ic vot­ing machines to ones using paper bal­lots, which could be ver­i­fied by vot­ers on the spot and audit­ed by elec­tion offi­cials.

The bill requires vot­ing infra­struc­ture to be man­u­fac­tured in the Unit­ed States and sold from a list of ven­dors cer­ti­fied by the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty and Elec­tion Assis­tance Com­mis­sion.

In addi­tion, the bill would pro­hib­it Inter­net con­nec­tiv­i­ty to devices on which votes are marked or tab­u­lat­ed, and it would allo­cate $175 mil­lion to states and local­i­ties every two years for main­tain­ing their elec­toral sys­tems.

Jim McGov­ern, D‑Massachusetts, said be bill is need­ed because “our very democ­ra­cy is under attack. No troops have been sent into com­bat. No guns have been fired, but a for­eign adver­sary is turn­ing the Inter­net and the bal­lot box into bat­tle­fields with the integri­ty of the vote at stake.”

Tom Cole, R‑Oklahoma, said: “Tra­di­tion­al­ly, elec­tions are left to the states and local gov­ern­ments to con­duct as they see fit… in a way that best suits the unique needs of each com­mu­ni­ty. [This bill] turns all that on its head.”

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, and Peter DeFazio

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Greg Walden

Not Vot­ing (1): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Kurt Schrad­er

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

DISPUTE OVER BALLOT DROP-OFF LAWS: Vot­ing 189 for and 220 against, the House on June 27th defeat­ed a Repub­li­can motion to H.R. 2722 (above) tar­get­ing state bal­lot drop-off laws, which allow home­bound vot­ers to des­ig­nate a helper to per­son­al­ly deliv­er their absen­tee bal­lot to elec­tion offi­cials.

The motion required a state’s chief elec­tion offi­cer to inform the Fed­er­al Elec­tion Com­mis­sion when­ev­er a for­eign nation­al is cho­sen as the helper. Back­ers called this an anti-fraud mea­sure, while crit­ics said it was vot­er sup­pres­sion.

Rod­ney Davis, R‑Illinois, said the amend­ment is need­ed because “right now, a Russ­ian oper­a­tive could walk freely around states like Cal­i­for­nia, for exam­ple, col­lect­ing and turn­ing in absen­tee bal­lots, com­plete­ly alter­ing the out­come of an elec­tion.”

Pete Aguilar, D‑California, said bal­lot drop-off laws allow “greater par­tic­i­pa­tion in elec­tions because some home­bound vot­ers have no fam­i­ly or indi­vid­u­als to del­e­gate that role to. They should not be dis­en­fran­chised by our laws.”

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, and Peter DeFazio

Not Vot­ing (1): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tive 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, 10 nay votes, 1 not vot­ing

$4.5 BILLION FOR SOUTHWEST BORDER
: Vot­ing 305 for and 102 against, the House on June 27th approved a bipar­ti­san $4.5 bil­lion emer­gency pack­age to address a human­i­tar­i­an cri­sis on the south­west bor­der cen­tered on hun­dreds of thou­sands of migrants from Cen­tral Amer­i­ca who have entered the Unit­ed States in recent months to apply for asy­lum pro­tec­tions under fed­er­al and inter­na­tion­al law.

The bill (H.R. 3401) allo­cat­ed about $3 bil­lion for shel­ter, food, med­ical care and oth­er ser­vices for unac­com­pa­nied migrant chil­dren held in Depart­ment of Health and Human Ser­vices cus­tody, and as much as $1 bil­lion to agen­cies includ­ing U.S. Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion (CBP) and U.S. Immi­gra­tion and Cus­toms Enforce­ment (ICE). This was a scaled-back ver­sion of a Demo­c­ra­t­ic bill passed ear­li­er in the week, but then shelved, that raised stan­dards for the admin­is­tra­tion’s treat­ment of migrants and denied fund­ing to ICE.

Kay Granger, R‑Texas, said:

“Chil­dren are sleep­ing on the ground and need to be moved to shel­ters or homes. We need doc­tors and pedi­a­tri­cians and care­givers. This bill gives the agen­cies the funds to care for these chil­dren, to reduce the over­crowd­ing at bor­der facil­i­ties, to repay the states and to add immi­gra­tion judge teams.”

Adri­ano Espail­lat, D‑New York, said:

“I am deeply trou­bled by the way the Trump admin­is­tra­tion has han­dled the treat­ment of migrants, par­tic­u­lar­ly chil­dren, at the bor­der.…”

A yes vote was to send the bill to Don­ald Trump.

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 (3): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, and Peter DeFazio

Not Vot­ing (1): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Kurt Schrad­er

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (8): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Kim Schri­er, and Den­ny Heck; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera-Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Vot­ing Nay (2): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Prami­la Jaya­pal and Adam Smith

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

$4.5 BILLION FOR SOUTHWEST BORDER: Vot­ing 230 for and 195 against, the House on June 25th approved a $4.5 bil­lion emer­gency pack­age to address a human­i­tar­i­an cri­sis cen­tered on hun­dreds of thou­sands of migrants who have arrived in the Unit­ed States in recent months, main­ly from Cen­tral Amer­i­ca.

Draft­ed by Democ­rats, the bill exclud­ed fund­ing of Immi­gra­tion and Cus­toms Enforce­ment (ICE) pro­ce­dures for deal­ing with indi­vid­u­als seek­ing asy­lum in the Unit­ed States. But the House lat­er shelved this mea­sure and, instead, sent Don­ald Trump a Sen­ate-adopt­ed ver­sion of H.R. 3401 (see final House roll call vote on H.R. 3401 above, see final Sen­ate roll call vote below) that fund­ed both human­i­tar­i­an needs and his immi­gra­tion-enforce­ment poli­cies.

This ver­sion of the bill allo­cat­ed about $3 bil­lion for shel­ter, food, med­ical care and oth­er ser­vices for unac­com­pa­nied migrant chil­dren held in Depart­ment of Health and Human Ser­vices cus­tody. In addi­tion, the bill pro­vid­ed about $1 bil­lion to U.S. Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion for deal­ing with the deten­tion, care and pro­cess­ing of indi­vid­u­als apply­ing for asy­lum under fed­er­al and inter­na­tion­al law.

The bill would have required stricter over­sight of pri­vate firms oper­at­ing deten­tion cen­ters, allow mem­bers of Con­gress to con­duct unan­nounced inspec­tions of hold­ing facil­i­ties and require Con­gress to be noti­fied with­in twen­ty-four hours when a migrant child dies in fed­er­al cus­tody.

In addi­tion, the bill would have pro­vid­ed $200 mil­lion to devel­op more order­ly and humane pro­ce­dures for over­see­ing migrant fam­i­lies and unac­com­pa­nied chil­dren, enlist­ing the help of non-prof­it orga­ni­za­tions in the effort.

Nita Lowey, D‑New York, said: “The pres­i­den­t’s cru­el immi­gra­tion poli­cies that tear apart fam­i­lies and ter­ror­ize com­mu­ni­ties demand the strin­gent safe­guards in this bill to ensure these funds are used for human­i­tar­i­an needs only — not for immi­gra­tion raids, not for deten­tion beds, not for a bor­der wall.”

Call­ing the mea­sure “a sham bill,” Minor­i­ty Leader Kevin McCarthy, R‑California, said Democ­rats “are far more inter­est­ed in appear­ing to help chil­dren than in actu­al­ly help­ing them. The pace and vol­ume at which chil­dren have crossed our bor­der over the last year have com­plete­ly over­whelmed our exist­ing resources.”

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 (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: 11 aye votes, 6 nay votes

$383.3 BILLION APPROPRIATIONS PACKAGE: Vot­ing 227 for and 194 against, the House on June 25th approved a $383.3 bil­lion pack­age con­sist­ing of five of the twelve appro­pri­a­tions bills that will fund gov­ern­ment oper­a­tions in fis­cal 2020, which starts Octo­ber 1st. In part, the bill (H.R. 3055) pro­vides:

  • $80.4 bil­lion for vet­er­ans health care;
  • $50.1 bil­lion for the Depart­ment of Hous­ing and Urban Devel­op­ment;
  • $32 bil­lion for the Depart­ment of Jus­tice (includ­ing $9.46 bil­lion for Fed­er­al Bureau of Inves­ti­ga­tion salaries and expens­es);
  • $22.3 bil­lion for the Nation­al Aero­nau­tics and Space Admin­is­tra­tion;
  • $17.7 bil­lion for the Fed­er­al Avi­a­tion Admin­is­tra­tion;
  • $16.4 bil­lion for the Depart­ment of Com­merce (includ­ing $8.45 bil­lion for the Cen­sus Bureau);
  • … and $9.5 bil­lion for the Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency.

Address­ing gun vio­lence, the bill ful­ly funds the FBI’s Nation­al Instant Crim­i­nal Back­ground Check Sys­tem, while pro­vid­ing $80 mil­lion in grants to help states sup­ply data to the sys­tem, $125 mil­lion to fund the STOP School Vio­lence Act; $100 mil­lion for youth-men­tor­ing pro­grams and $20 mil­lion for police pro­grams in active-shoot­er train­ing. 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 (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: 11 aye votes, 6 nay votes

HIRING MORE IMMIGRATION JUDGES: Vot­ing 201 for and 220 against, the House on June 25th defeat­ed a Repub­li­can motion to add $75 mil­lion to H.R. 3055 (above) for hir­ing more immi­gra­tion judges and expand­ing court­room capac­i­ty. The funds were to be tak­en from the 2020 cen­sus bud­get. The under­ly­ing bill already pro­vides $110 mil­lion over 2019 lev­els to address a back­log of 800,000 immi­gra­tion cas­es, many of which involve asy­lum seek­ers from Cen­tral Amer­i­ca or per­sons who have over­stayed their visas or entered the Unit­ed States ille­gal­ly.

Will Hurd, R‑Texas, said: “Our cur­rent short­age of immi­gra­tion judges delays jus­tice for indi­vid­u­als who have valid immi­gra­tion claims, while pre­serv­ing many years of con­tin­ued ille­gal pres­ence for oth­ers who do not.”

Pete Aguilar, D‑California, said: “We need every dol­lar in this cen­sus because the admin­is­tra­tion is fear-mon­ger­ing, try­ing to force an under­count with the inclu­sion of the cit­i­zen­ship ques­tion.”

A yes vote was to trans­fer $75 mil­lion from cen­sus to immi­gra­tion accounts.

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)

$4.5 BILLION FOR SOUTHWEST BORDER: Vot­ing eighty-four in favor and eight against, the Sen­ate on June 26 passed a bill (H.R. 3401) that would appro­pri­ate $4.5 bil­lion in emer­gency fund­ing to help U.S. Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion, U.S. Immi­gra­tion and Cus­toms Enforce­ment and the depart­ments of Health and Human Ser­vices and Defense cope with an influx this year of hun­dreds of thou­sands of migrants on the south­west bor­der. The bill com­bines human­i­tar­i­an aid with fund­ing to car­ry out admin­is­tra­tion poli­cies for deal­ing with indi­vid­u­als main­ly from Cen­tral Amer­i­ca who seek asy­lum in the Unit­ed States.

Mitch McConnell, R‑Kentucky, said “there are no poi­son pills — just a clean bill to pro­vide the emer­gency appro­pri­a­tions the White House request­ed two long months ago.”

Demo­c­ra­t­ic Leader Chuck Schumer, D‑N.Y., said: “Pres­i­dent Trump, if you want to know the real rea­son there is chaos at the bor­der, look in the mir­ror.”

A yes vote was to pass a bill that the House lat­er approved and sent to Trump.

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

Cas­ca­dia total: 4 aye votes, 2 nay votes

$750 BILLION FOR MILITARY: Vot­ing eighty-six for and eight against, the Sen­ate on June 27th autho­rized a $750 bil­lion mil­i­tary bud­get for fis­cal 2020, includ­ing $75.9 bil­lion for war-fight­ing over­seas and more than $57 bil­lion for active-duty and retiree health care. The bill (S. 1790) would:

  • estab­lish a Unit­ed States Space Force with­in the Air Force;
  • set a 3.1 per­cent pay raise for uni­formed per­son­nel;
  • autho­rize $10 bil­lion for procur­ing nine­ty-four fifth-gen­er­a­tion Joint Strike Fight­er (F‑35 Light­ning II) air­craft;
  • expand and mod­ern­ize the U.S. nuclear arse­nal;
  • fund pro­grams for mil­i­tary vic­tims of sex­u­al assault and replace $3.6 bil­lion Don­ald Trump divert­ed from mil­i­tary pro­grams to wall con­struc­tion.

John Thune, R‑South Dako­ta, said the bill would “mod­ern­ize our nuclear arse­nal to max­i­mize our deter­rence capa­bil­i­ties. It also focus­es on ensur­ing that we are equipped to meet new threats on new fronts, includ­ing in space and cyber domains.” Mike Lee, R‑Utah, object­ed to bil­l’s $75.9 bil­lion out­lay for com­bat oper­a­tions being exempt­ed from bud­get caps that apply to the rest of the mil­i­tary bud­get. He called this “an unac­count­able slush fund for the Pen­ta­gon.”

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

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

Cas­ca­dia total: 4 aye votes, 2 nay votes

AUTHORIZATION OF MILITARY FORCE AGAINST IRAN: Vot­ing fifty in favor and forty against, the Sen­ate on June 28th failed to reach six­ty votes need­ed to advance an amend­ment to S. 1790 (above) that sought to require the admin­is­tra­tion to receive con­gres­sion­al autho­riza­tion in advance of any mil­i­tary action Don­ald Trump orders against Iran.

Mazie Hirono, D‑Hawaii, said the amend­ment “makes clear that only Con­gress can autho­rize the use of mil­i­tary force against Iran, and would pro­vide a clear check on Don­ald Trump, John Bolton and oth­er hawks in the admin­is­tra­tion.”

Tom Cot­ton, R‑Arkansas, called the amend­ment “sim­ply an act of appease­ment against the aya­tol­lahs who are cur­rent­ly con­duct­ing attacks against the Unit­ed States and our inter­ests on a reg­u­lar and grow­ing basis.”

A yes vote was to require a con­gres­sion­al autho­riza­tion for use of mil­i­tary force against Iran.

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

Last Week In Congress will be on hiatus next week

Con­gress will be in Fourth of July recess until the week of July 6th., so there will be not be an install­ment of Last Week In Con­gress next Sun­day.

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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