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Sunday, June 9th, 2019

Last week (June 3rd-7th) 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 7th, 2019.

In the United States House of Representatives

Chamber of the United States House of Representatives

The House chamber (U.S. Congress photo)

LEGAL STATUS FOR DREAMERS, OTHER IMMIGRANTS: Voting 237 for and 187 against, the House on June 4th passed a Democratic bill (H.R. 6) that would grant permanent legal status and a path to citizenship to as many as 2.1 million Dreamers who were brought illegally to the United States as children and face potential deportation under a Trump administration directive now on hold.

The bill would grant relief to new Americans who were younger than eighteen when they entered the United States; have been continuously present in the United States for at least four years; have clean law enforcement records and have received a high school or equivalent degree and met other conditions.

In addition, the bill would provide the same deportation protection and citizenship path to a few hundred thousand aliens who have been allowed to remain in the United States in recent decades for humanitarian reasons.

They are 3,600 Liberians shielded by “deferred enforced departure status” and 300,000 immigrants from countries including El Salvador, Nicaragua and Haiti receiving “temporary protected status.” Federal courts have stayed administration efforts to designate these individuals for deportation.

On September 5th, 2017, Donald Trump revoked former President Barack Obama’s executive order known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which temporarily shielded dreamers from potential deportation and gave them the right to work legally. Trump allowed Congress six months to either to write protections into law or stand aside as removals go forward. He said he would work with Democratic lawmakers to enact legislation safeguarding dreamers, but set terms they would not accept. Courts have temporarily blocked Trump’s order.

Zoe Lofgren, D-California, said immigrants protected by this bill and their households “contribute around $17.4 billion per year in federal taxes and $9.7 billion per year in state and local taxes. Annually, these households generate over $75 billion in spending power. That money helps to fuel local economies, creating new jobs and bringing new economic prosperity to everyone living and working” with these individuals.

Ken Buck, R-Colorado, said: “Republicans are for a compassionate solution to help DACA recipients, but that solution must be paired with commonsense border security, interior enforcement and changes in policy to stem the tide of illegal border crossings, human smuggling and frivolous claims of asylum. Tragically, this bill does nothing to address the crisis at our 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 (4): Democratic Representatives Suzanne Bonamici, Earl Blumenauer, Peter DeFazio, Kurt Schrader

Voting Nay (1): 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 (1): Republican Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers

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

Cascadia total: 12 aye votes, 4 nay votes, 1 not voting

PROHIBITIONS ON ALIEN GANG MEMBERS: Voting 202 for and 221 against, the House on June 4 defeated a Republican motion that sought to make it more difficult for members of criminal gangs to use H.R. 6 (above) as a subterfuge for unlawfully gaining legal status. Democrats said the bill already has safeguards to prohibit undocumented aliens who are a threat to national security, including gang members, from obtaining green cards and a path to citizenship,

Sponsor Ben Cline, R-Virginia, said members voting against his motion “cannot look their constituents in the eye and honestly say that criminals will not get green cards.” But Joe Neguse, D-Colorado, said that by reading the bill, Republicans would learn “that gang members are not eligible even if they have not been convicted of a crime.” 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 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

$19.1 BILLION DISASTER AID: Voting 354 for and 58 against, the House on June 3rd approved $19.1 billion in disaster aid to homeowners, farmers, businesses, local governments and other entities in more than 40 states and territories struck by natural disasters such as wildfires, flooding, hurricanes and tornadoes in recent years. In part, the bill provides $1.4 billion to Puerto Rico, including $600 million in food assistance, along with aid to repair storm damage at military bases and funding to mitigate the impact of future disasters in and near cities such as Houston. A yes vote was to send H.R. 2157 to Donald Trumo.

Nita Lowey, D-New York, said this vote repudiates “the political stunts and grandstanding that have made it difficult to deliver much-needed disaster relief to families and communities across America.”

Chip Roy, R-Texas, said it was wrong to “spend $19 billion that is not paid for when we are racking up approximately $100 million an hour in national debt.”

A yes vote was to send H.R. 2157 to Donald Trump.

The State of Idaho

Voting Aye (1): Republican Representative Mike Simpson

Voting Nay (1): Republican Representative Russ Fulcher

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 (9): Democratic Representatives Suzan DelBene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Pramila Jayapal, Kim Schrier, Adam Smith, and Denny Heck; Republican Representatives Dan Newhouse and Cathy McMorris Rodgers

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

Cascadia total: 15 aye votes, 1 nay vote, 1 not voting

In the United States Senate

Chamber of the United States Senate

The Senate chamber (U.S. Congress photo)

ANDREW SAUL, SOCIAL SECURITY COMMISSIONER: Voting 77 for and 16 against, the Senate on June 4 confirmed Andrew M. Saul, 72, a partner in a New York City-based family investment firm, for a six-year term as commissioner of Social Security. During the George W. Bush administration, Saul was chairman of the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, which manages retirement plans for several million active and retired civil servants and military personnel.

Saul also served as vice chairman of the Metropolitan Transit Authority in New York, and he has been a Republican Party fund-raiser and congressional candidate. He drew some Democratic opposition, in part, because of his refusal to take a stand on escalating labor management disputes that he will encounter at the SSA.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said Saul “has spent decades building a successful career in business and in public administration,” including oversight of retirement programs “relied upon by literally millions of Americans” in the federal workforce.

Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland, said that when asked about “attacks on the rights of Social Security workers, Mr. Saul provided only vague statements that included no commitments to take meaningful action to improve labor practices at Social Security.” Hollen led a group of sixteen Democrats in opposition to Saul.

A yes vote was to confirm the nominee.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

Voting Aye (1): Democratic Senator Ron Wyden

Voting Nay (1): Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley

The State of Washington

Voting Aye (1): Democratic Senator Maria Cantwell

Voting Nay (1): Democratic Senator Patty Murray

Cascadia total: 4 aye votes, 2 nay votes

Key votes ahead

The House is expected to vote during the week of June 10th on whether to hold Attorney General William Barr and former White House counsel Don McGahn in contempt of Congress, while the Senate will consider a measure blocking arms sales to Bahrain and Qatar.

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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