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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, July 28th, 2019

Last Week (July 22nd-26th) 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, July 26th, 2019.

In the United States House of Representatives

Chamber of the United States House of Representatives

The House cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress pho­to)

BOYCOTTS, DIVESTITURE, SANCTIONS AGAINST ISRAEL: The House on July 23 vot­ed, 398 for and 17 against, to con­demn the anti-Israel “BDS” move­ment, which is a glob­al cam­paign that encour­ages busi­ness­es, gov­ern­ments and oth­er enti­ties to boy­cott, divest from and sanc­tion Israel and firms owned by Israelis. The non-bind­ing mea­sure (H. Res­o­lu­tion 246) also reaf­firms U.S. sup­port of a nego­ti­at­ed two-state solu­tion to the Israeli-Pales­tin­ian con­flict.

How­ev­er, the mea­sure stops short of bind­ing pro­vi­sions approved by the Sen­ate in Feb­ru­ary that give a fed­er­al green light to anti-BDS laws enact­ed by state and local gov­ern­ments in the Unit­ed States. Those laws deny con­tracts and oth­er ben­e­fits to com­pa­nies or indi­vid­u­als sup­port­ing the BDS move­ment.

Lee Zeldin, R‑New York, said the BDS move­ment “is sup­port­ed by peo­ple who want to see the destruc­tion of the world’s only Jew­ish state, and that is not some­thing that we can stand idly by and watch hap­pen.”

Elliot Engel, D‑New York, said: “Do you want to crit­i­cize a gov­ern­ment? That is your right. Do you want to stop buy­ing prod­ucts from a cer­tain coun­try? That is also your right. But par­tic­i­pat­ing in an inter­na­tion­al com­mer­cial effort that under­mines Israel’s legit­i­ma­cy and scut­tles the chances of a two-state solu­tion isn’t the same as an indi­vid­ual exer­cis­ing First Amend­ment rights.”

No mem­ber spoke against the res­o­lu­tion.

A yes vote was to adopt the res­o­lu­tion.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simp­son

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (4): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrad­er; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Greg Walden

Vot­ing Nay (1): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Earl Blu­me­nauer

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (9): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Den­ny Heck; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera-Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Vot­ing Nay (1): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Prami­la Jaya­pal

Cas­ca­dia total: 15 aye votes, 2 nay votes

SHORING UP MULTIEMPLOYER PENSIONS: Vot­ing 264 for and 169 against, the House on July 24 passed a bill (H.R. 397) that would set up a new lend­ing unit in the Trea­sury Depart­ment to aid up to 160 finan­cial­ly trou­bled mul­ti­em­ploy­er pen­sion plans cov­er­ing 1 mil­lion-plus union work­ers.

The new Pen­sion Reha­bil­i­ta­tion Admin­is­tra­tion would make 30-year loans at low inter­est rates to help those plans keep their promis­es to retirees.

In mul­ti­em­ploy­er plans, com­pa­nies fund pen­sion plans cov­er­ing mul­ti­ple union locals. The employ­ers pool risk and achieve economies of scale for hold­ing down admin­is­tra­tive and med­ical costs. But the Pen­sion Ben­e­fit Guar­an­ty Corp., the fed­er­al agency that insures pri­vate-sec­tor retire­ment ben­e­fits, has warned that it lacks resources to ade­quate­ly cov­er ben­e­fits at risk in fail­ing mul­ti-employ­er plans.

The Con­gres­sion­al Bud­get Office projects that the pro­gram would cost tax­pay­ers $48.5 bil­lion over its first ten years.

Deb­bie Din­gell, D‑Michigan, said: “Today, we are telling mil­lions of Amer­i­cans who worked a life­time for their pen­sions that are now in jeop­ardy, through no fault of their own, that we are stand­ing with you. We are lis­ten­ing. We are tak­ing action.”

Dusty John­son, R‑South Dako­ta, said the bill “cre­ates a new fed­er­al… bureau­cra­cy. It allows for bil­lions of dol­lars of loans to be just for­giv­en. It pro­vides loan terms that actu­al­ly encour­age not pay­ing down the prin­ci­pal of these loans.”

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 (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

SECOND VOTE ON “BDS” MOVEMENT: Vot­ing 200 for and 232 against, the House on July 24th defeat­ed a motion by Repub­li­cans stat­ing that no pen­sion plans receiv­ing loans under H.R. 397 (above) could par­tic­i­pate in the so-called BDS move­ment against Israel (above).

Back­ers of the motion offered no evi­dence of any union par­tic­i­pa­tion in the move­ment, and crit­ics said they were using Israel as a wedge issue.

Bri­an Mast, R‑Florida, said: “If you are one of the 398 mem­bers who vot­ed last night to con­demn the BDS move­ment, then you should sup­port this (motion), stand with our ally Israel.…”

Bradley Schnei­der, D‑Illinois, called the motion “a cyn­i­cal, par­ti­san gim­mick, con­tin­u­ing a dan­ger­ous effort to make Israel a wedge issue. It must stop.”

A yes vote was to adopt the 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, and 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

REQUIRING HUMANE TREATMENT OF MIGRANTS: Vot­ing 233 for and 195 against, the House on July 24th passed a bill (H.R. 3239) set­ting min­i­mal stan­dards for the gov­ern­men­t’s treat­ment of migrants in its cus­tody.

The bill would require Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion (CBP) — the agency pri­mar­i­ly respon­si­ble for bor­der con­trols — to con­duct med­ical screen­ings of migrants with­in twelve hours of their deten­tion, or three hours for chil­dren, the dis­abled, and preg­nant women, and pro­vide health­care as war­rant­ed.

In addi­tion, CBP would have to pro­vide appro­pri­ate hygien­ic care includ­ing access to toi­lets, reg­u­lar show­ers and drink­ing water and ade­quate cloth­ing, bed­ding and incar­cer­a­tion space. The bill also would require CBP to enlist child wel­fare and health care pro­fes­sion­als for deal­ing with unac­com­pa­nied chil­dren and to pro­vide inter­preters, chap­er­ones and men­tal health care as war­rant­ed.

The bill directs the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty inspec­tor gen­er­al to con­duct unan­nounced inspec­tions at ports of entry, bor­der patrol posts and deten­tion facil­i­ties and report its find­ings to Con­gress.

Bar­bara Lee, D‑California, said:

“We can no longer allow indi­vid­u­als to suf­fer, be abused or die under CBP. Our val­ues demand that we take this action. It is past time for us to pro­tect adults and chil­dren flee­ing vio­lence, seek­ing a safe haven in Amer­i­ca.”

Gre­go­ry Steube, R‑Florida, said the bill “does not address the root caus­es of the con­di­tions at CBP facil­i­ties,” which are that U.S. Immi­gra­tion and Cus­toms Enforce­ment and the Depart­ment of Health and Human Ser­vices “do not have enough space avail­able to take cus­tody of these indi­vid­u­als.”

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 (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

GRANTING TEMPORARY LEGAL STATUS TO VENEZUELAN MIGRANTS: Vot­ing 272 for and 158 against, the House on July 25th passed a bill (H.R. 549) con­fer­ring Tem­po­rary Pro­tect­ed Sta­tus on as many as 200,000 Venezue­lan cit­i­zens who have tak­en refuge in the Unit­ed States from domes­tic tur­moil in their coun­try. The Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty occa­sion­al­ly grants TPS to migrants from coun­tries beset by war or nat­ur­al dis­as­ters.

After pay­ing a $360 fee, recip­i­ents acquire legal U.S. res­i­den­cy for eigh­teen months and can apply for work per­mits and Social Secu­ri­ty num­bers.

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, and Kurt Schrad­er

Vot­ing Nay (1): 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 Jaime Her­rera-Beut­ler and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Dan New­house

Cas­ca­dia total: 13 aye votes, 4 nay votes

APPROVING TWO-YEAR BUDGET DEAL: Vot­ing 284 for and 149 against, the House on July 25th approved a two-year bud­get deal (H.R. 3877) that would raise the nation­al debt ceil­ing to accom­mo­date addi­tion­al deficit spend­ing through July 31st, 2021. The bill would allow mil­i­tary spend­ing to increase by $46.5 bil­lion and dis­cre­tionary non-mil­i­tary spend­ing by $56.5 bil­lion over fis­cal 2019 lev­els.

In addi­tion, the bill pro­hibits tax increas­es but makes slight cuts to pub­lic ser­vices over two years to par­tial­ly off­set ris­ing red ink.

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Sen­ate.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mike Simp­son

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Russ Fulcher

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (3): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci and Peter DeFazio; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Greg Walden

Vot­ing Nay (2): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Earl Blu­me­nauer and 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: 11 aye votes, 6 nay votes

In the United States Senate

Chamber of the United States Senate

The Sen­ate cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress pho­to)

SEPTEMBER 11TH VICTIMS’ COMPENSATION: By a vote of 97 for and two against, the Sen­ate on July 23rd gave final con­gres­sion­al approval to a bill (H.R. 1327) that would reau­tho­rize the Sep­tem­ber 11th Vic­tims Com­pen­sa­tion Fund through fis­cal 2090. The bill orig­i­nat­ed in the House.

Admin­is­tered by a spe­cial mas­ter, the fund pays eco­nom­ic and non-eco­nom­ic dam­ages to 911 first respon­ders and their sur­vivors as well as to those afflict­ed by health prob­lems as a result of tak­ing in 911 cleanup efforts, and to their sur­vivors. In addi­tion, the bill would allow claims to be filed until Octo­ber 2089, remove a cap on non-eco­nom­ic dam­ages in cer­tain cir­cum­stances and index for infla­tion the pro­gram’s annu­al lim­its on com­pen­sa­tion for eco­nom­ic loss­es.

Although the bill is pro­ject­ed to cost $10.2 bil­lion in its first ten years, and count­less bil­lions after that as can­cers and oth­er latent dis­eases emerge, it does not include a “pay for” mech­a­nism or long-term fund­ing means.

Kirsten Gilli­brand, D‑New York, said: “Our 911 heroes deserve this pro­gram as it is writ­ten in the bill, with­out these amend­ments, which will only force them to have to come back here again and again.”

Mike Lee, R‑Utah, said the bill “has a pecu­liar fea­ture” in that it “autho­rizes the pro­gram for sev­en­ty-two years and does not spec­i­fy a dol­lar amount. In oth­er words, with­out any finite autho­riza­tion, it offers no way to ensure that the mon­ey actu­al­ly gets to its intend­ed ben­e­fi­cia­ries and is not lost in gov­ern­ment bureau­cra­cy or mis­use.”

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

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (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: 6 aye votes

BUDGET CUTS TO FINANCE 911 COMPENSATION: Vot­ing 22 for and 77 against, the Sen­ate on July 23rd failed to reach 60 votes need­ed to advance a mea­sure that sought to cut manda­to­ry spend­ing (except for Medicare, Social Secu­ri­ty and vet­er­ans) by less than one per­cent over 10 years to help pay the cost of H.R. 1327 (above). The defeat of this amend­ment means that all Trea­sury pay­ments into the 911 com­pen­sa­tion fund will be deficit spend­ing.

Rand Paul, R‑Kentucky, said:

“The Repub­li­cans and Democ­rats agree on one thing: Spend­ing mon­ey is the most impor­tant thing they can do. The deficit does­n’t mat­ter.”

Demo­c­ra­t­ic Leader Chuck Schumer, D‑New York, said: “Some sen­a­tors [like Rand Paul] vot­ed proud­ly for tax cuts, unpaid for, to the wealth­i­est of Amer­i­cans, but demand­ed off­sets for these folks who had served us.”

A yes vote was to adopt the amend­ment.

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

Cas­ca­dia total: 2 aye votes, 4 nay votes

CONFIRMING MARK ESPER AS SECRETARY OF DEFENSE: Vot­ing 90 for and eight against, the Sen­ate on July 23rd con­firmed Mark T. Esper as the 27th sec­re­tary of defense since the office was estab­lished in 1947.

He becomes the first con­firmed defense sec­re­tary since James Mat­tis resigned in Decem­ber 2018. Esper, fifty-five, joined the admin­is­tra­tion in 2017 as sec­re­tary of the Army, and before that he was a lob­by­ist for the U.S. defense con­trac­tor Raytheon. He was an infantry offi­cer with the 101st Air­borne Divi­sion dur­ing the Gulf War in 1990–91 and served as chief of staff to the Her­itage Foun­da­tion, a con­ser­v­a­tive think-tank, from 1996–98. He was a deputy assis­tant sec­re­tary of defense in the George W. Bush admin­is­tra­tion.

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 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

CONFIRMING GENERAL MARK MILLEY AS JOINT CHIEFS CHAIRMAN: Vot­ing 89 for and one against, the Sen­ate on July 25th con­firmed Army Gen. Mark Mil­ley to become chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in Sep­tem­ber, replac­ing Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dun­ford as the nation’s top leader in uni­form.

Mil­ley has been an infantry offi­cer and com­man­der of Spe­cial Forces units in a career that has includ­ed ser­vice in the Iraq War and a multi­na­tion­al mis­sion in Bosnia-Herze­gov­ina to imple­ment the Day­ton Accords peace agree­ment. The lone neg­a­tive vote was cast by Jeff Merkley, D‑Oregon.

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 (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Maria Cantwell and Pat­ty Mur­ray

Cas­ca­dia total: 5 aye votes, 1 nay vote

Key votes ahead

Next week, the Sen­ate will vote on a bill set­ting mil­i­tary and domes­tic spend­ing lev­els through Sep­tem­ber 2021 and rais­ing the nation­al debt lim­it through July 2021. The House is in recess until the week of Sep­tem­ber 9th.

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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