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Sunday, June 30th, 2019

Last Week (June 24th-28th) 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 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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