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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, September 29th, 2019

Last Week (September 23-27) 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, September 27th, 2019.

In the United States House of Representatives

Chamber of the United States House of Representatives

The House chamber (U.S. Congress photo)

PROVIDING WHISTLEBLOWER COMPLAINT TO CONGRESS: Voting 421 for and none against, the House on September 25th called upon Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence, to provide the appropriate congressional committees with a whistleblowers complaint alleging misconduct by Donald Trump centered on his interactions this year with the Ukrainian government.

When this vote occurred, adopting House Resolution 576, the administration already had sent the complaint to Capitol Hill after having sequestered it from lawmakers since late August. The Senate adopted an identical disclosure resolution on a voice vote (no roll call was taken).

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said:

“Our national security depends on this [whistleblower] framework. This vote today is about more than just any one president. This resolution is about the preservation of our American system of government.”

Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., voted for the resolution but said of Democrats: “Instead of moving on, they keep going down the impeachment path. People are sick and tired of the constant harassment of the president.”

A yes vote backed release of the whistleblower’s complaint to Congress.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

Voting Aye (5): Democratic Representatives Suzanne Bonamici, Earl Blumenauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrader; Republican Representative Greg Walden

The State of Washington

Voting Aye (10): Democratic Representatives Suzan DelBene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Pramila Jayapal, Kim Schrier, Adam Smith, and Denny Heck; Republican Representatives Jaime Herrera-Beutler, Dan Newhouse, and Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Cascadia total: 17 aye votes

BLOCKING REPUBLICAN MEASURE ON IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY: Voting 232 for and 193 against, the House on September 25th blocked a Republican attempt to force consideration of a resolution (House Resolution 590) disapproving of Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to begin a formal impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump. Pelosi, D-California, had announced the inquiry the day before, basing it, in part, on Trump having asked the Ukrainian government to produce damaging information about former Vice President Joe Biden, a potential Democratic opponent of his in the 2020 presidential election.

This resolution was quashed by a parliamentary ruling that it did not qualify as a “privileged question” entitled to floor action under House rules. On the vote being reported here, Democrats upheld that ruling after it was appealed by Republicans. As a privileged resolution, the measure was not debatable.

A yes vote was in opposition to allowing debate on the GOP resolution.

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

LIMITING SEPARATION OF MIGRANT CHILDREN AND PARENTS: Voting 230 for and 194 against, the House on September 25th passed a bill (H.R. 2203) that would impose stricter requirements for the Department of Homeland Security’s treatment of migrant families, including a ban on removing children from parents or guardians within 100 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border except by court order. When a separation is ordered, the Department must electronically track of the location of the dislocated family members.

The bill would:

  • create a DHS ombudsman’s office for receiving and acting on complaints related to immigration practices including the abuse of migrants;
  • improve the training of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers for dealing with vulnerable populations;
  • provide Congress with a plan for requiring immigration officers to wear body cameras and establish an independent commission to investigate and make a public accounting of the Trump regime’s treatment of migrant families at and near the border since January 2017.

In addition, the bill would reverse Trump administration policies designed to dissuade immigrants from Mexico and the Northern Triangle counties of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras from seeking asylum in the United States.

Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas, said: “Our American values, moral conscience and Constitution require that we treat all individuals on American soil humanely and respectfully. This bill helps ensure that that happens.”

Mike Rogers, R-Alabama, said: “All this bill does is waste taxpayers dollars on a duplicative new [ombudsman’s] office designed to demoralize law enforcement and serve the demands of illegal immigrants.”

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

REPORTING CRIME IN SANCTUARY CITIES: Voting 207 for and 216 against, the House on September 25 defeated a bid by Republicans to allow victims of crimes by undocumented immigrants in sanctuary cities to report the incident to the Department of Homeland Security ombudsman’s office that would be created by H.R. 2203 (above). More than 400 municipalities nationwide are known as sanctuary cities because they decline to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement on grounds it would disrupt their community policing efforts.

Sponsor Mark Green, R-Tennessee, said his amendment would allow victims and their families an opportunity to be heard by policymakers in Congress and by the Department of Homeland Security. “Why would we not let the victims be heard?”

Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, said Green completely missed the point of the office of the ombudsman, saying: “An ombudsman is supposed to be focused on oversight related to the inner workings of the department, not on external policy issues.”

A yes vote was to adopt the Republican 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, 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

NULLIFYING TRUMP BORDER EMERGENCY: Voting 236 for and 174 against, the House on September 27th adopted a measure (Senate Joint Resolution 54) that would nullify a fake national emergency Donald Trump declared on the southwest border over immigration concerns.

Trump has used the February 15th declaration as authority for diverting $3.6 billion appropriated for military construction at bases domestically and overseas to a non-military account for building 175 miles of border barriers.

If Trump vetoes the measure as he is expected to do, two-thirds majority votes in both chambers would be required for an override.

Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, said it was “a disgrace that money is being stolen from over two dozen states and territories, ensuring that American taxpayers, not Mexico as the president repeatedly promised, are actually paying for the wall.”

Ross Spano, R-Florida, said: “When are Democrats going to get serious about securing our border? […[ My constituents did not elect me to stand by silently as we transition to open borders in this country and I will not.”

A yes vote was to send the resolution to the president.

The State of Idaho

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

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 Jaime Herrera-Beutler and Cathy McMorris Rodgers

Voting Nay (1): Republican Representative Dan Newhouse

Cascadia total: 14 aye votes, 3 nay votes

MEDICAL SCREENING OF UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS: Voting 230 for and 184 against, the House on September 26th passed a bill (HR 3525) that would require U.S. Customs and Border Protection to conduct medical screenings within twelve hours of undocumented immigrants apprehended on the southwest border and establish an electronic database that all relevant Department of Homeland Security departments could use to track their medical histories.

These requirements do not apply to migrants legally seeking U.S. asylum at ports of entry because their medical care is mainly handled by other agencies.

Under this bill, vulnerable groups including children would receive priority care and pediatric medical experts would be assigned to each of the nine Customs and Border Protection sectors in the southwest. Lauren Underwood, D-Illinois, said electronic recordkeeping for undocumented migrants is needed because “when I was at the border, I saw busy, overworked Border Patrol officials having to keep health records on paper. I also saw how these records dont always follow migrants between facilities and transfers of custody.”

Jim Banks, R-Indiana, said the bill “would require the Border Patrol to divert resources from its core mission of protecting our nations borders and create a new medical screening system for those who illegally cross and enter the country between ports of entry. I believe every part of that is wrongheaded.”

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

GIVING HEALTH-RECORDS PREFERENCE TO VETERANS: Voting 202 for and 213 against, the House on September 26th defeated a Republican motion that sought to give veterans preferred access to an electronic health-records system that would be established by H.R. 3525 (above) in the Department of Homeland Security for tracking medical histories of newly arrived undocumented immigrants, particularly children and those with serious illnesses.

Mark Green, R-Tennessee, said constituents would find it appalling that “we are about to give this health record system to illegal immigrants before our veterans receive it.”

Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, called the motion the gimmick of gimmicks. “It does nothing for veterans healthcare, not a single thing,” Hoyer said in remarks on the House floor. “You know it. I know it. Everybody in this House knows it. All it does is try to delay this bill for ten years.”

A yes vote was to adopt the Republican motion.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

Voting Aye (2): Republican Representative Greg Walden; Democratic Representative Kurt Schrader

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

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: 7 aye votes, 10 nay votes

OPENING FEDERAL BANKING SYSTEM TO MARIJUANA FIRMS: Voting 321 for and 103 against, the House on September 25th passed a bill (H.R. 1595) that would permit cannabis-related businesses to use federally regulated banks and credit unions in states where marijuana usage has been legalized.

Marijuana, a product of cannabis, is a prohibited substance under federal law but allowed for recreational or medicinal use in a majority of the states (including Washington), the District of Columbia and four U.S. territories.

Cannabis-related firms usually are forced to deal in cash because the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the National Credit Union Administration prohibit financial institutions from accepting their deposits. The bill also would allow the industrial hemp industry and firms that support cannabis-based businesses to use the federal banking system without fear of reprisal.

Ed Perlmutter, D-Colorado, said the bill would…

“… help law enforcement root out illegal transactions to prevent tax evasion, money laundering and other white-collar crime. Most importantly, this will also reduce the risk of violent crime in our communities.”

David Kustoff, R-Tennessee, said that with this bill, “We are voting to nationally legalize marijuana throughout our banking system rather than taking a direct vote to legalize what is currently an illegal substance.”

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

The State of Idaho

Voting Aye (1): Republican Representative Mike Simspon

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

Cascadia total: 16 aye votes, 1 nay vote

In the United States Senate

Chamber of the United States Senate

The Senate chamber (U.S. Congress photo)

PASSING STOPGAP FUNDING THRU NOVEMBER 21ST: Voting 81 for and 16 against, the Senate on September 26th passed a continuing resolution (H.R. 4378) to provide stopgap appropriations for the first seven weeks of fiscal 2020, which starts October 1st. Averting a government shutdown, the bill would fund agencies at 2019 levels while giving negotiators time to reach agreement on regular appropriations bills for the 2020 budget year.

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

The State of Idaho

Voting Aye (1): Republican Senator Mike Crapo

Voting Nay (1): Republican Senator Jim Risch

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: 5 aye votes, 1 nay vote

NULLIFYING TRUMP BORDER EMERGENCY: Voting 54 for and 41 against, the Senate on September 25th sent the House a measure (Senate Joint Resolution 54) that would nullify a national emergency Donald Trump declared February 15th on the U.S.-Mexico border (see House issue above) as a backdoor means of obtaining funds for wall construction that Congress has declined to appropriate. The president has used the emergency declaration to divert $3.6 billion from military-construction projects to his wall project.

Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the bill provides “the surest and likely the only way to restore funding the President has stolen from our troops and military projects across the country. President Trump promised Mexico would pay for the wall, not American taxpayers, and certainly not the military — the men and women and their families involved in keeping our nation secure.”

No senator spoke against the resolution. A yes vote was to send the resolution to the House, where it was approved and sent to Trump.

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

EUGENE SCALIA, SECRETARY OF LABOR: Voting 53 for and 44 against, the Senate on September 26th confirmed Eugene Scalia to be Secretary of the Department of Labor. Scalia, the son of deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, has been employed in a Washington law firm with a specialty of representing corporations in labor-management disputes.

Backers said he occasionally took the side of unions while serving as the department’s chief attorney under President George W. Bush.

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

Cascadia total: 2 aye votes, 4 nay votes

LWIC will be on hiatus for two weeks

The House and Senate are in recess until the week of October 14th, so there will be no further installments of Last Week In Congress until mid-October.

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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