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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, November 3rd, 2019

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (October 28th-31st)

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Mem­bers of Con­gress vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Thurs­day, Octo­ber 31st.

In the United States House of Representatives

Chamber of the United States House of Representatives

The House cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress pho­to)

ADOPTING RULES FOR IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS: Vot­ing 232 for and 196 against, the House on Octo­ber 31st adopt­ed a res­o­lu­tion (H. Res 660) offered by major­i­ty Democ­rats set­ting ground rules for pub­lic hear­ings that will be the next phase of the ongo­ing inquiry into poten­tial impeach­ment of Don­ald Trump.

The res­o­lu­tion was sup­port­ed by all but two of the 234 Democ­rats who vot­ed and opposed by all 196 Repub­li­cans who vot­ed. Four rep­re­sen­ta­tives did not vote.

The Democ­rats vot­ing no were Jeff Van Drew of New Jer­sey and Collin Peter­son of Min­neso­ta. Inde­pen­dent Justin Amash of Michi­gan vot­ed yes.

The Select Per­ma­nent Com­mit­tee on Intel­li­gence will begin pub­lic hear­ings and is autho­rized to release tran­scripts of the tes­ti­mo­ny it has already tak­en in closed ses­sions. The pan­el will report its find­ings to the Judi­cia­ry com­mit­tee, which would decide in addi­tion­al pub­lic hear­ings whether to send arti­cles of impeach­ment to the full House. Any House vote(s) on impeach­ment could occur in Decem­ber.

If the House vot­ed to impeach, the Sen­ate would con­duct a tri­al to deter­mine if Trump would be removed from office.

Democ­rats said the pro­ce­dure will be sim­i­lar to that used in pre­vi­ous impeach­ments, includ­ing the House Repub­li­can major­i­ty’s 1998 impeach­ment of Pres­i­dent Bill Clin­ton. The res­o­lu­tion pro­vides Intel­li­gence com­mit­tee Repub­li­cans the same oppor­tu­ni­ty as Democ­rats to ques­tion wit­ness­es, with staff attor­neys for each par­ty allot­ted 45 min­utes per wit­ness before law­mak­ers ask ques­tions.

How­ev­er, Democ­rats would main­tain con­trol of inquiry since major­i­ty votes would be need­ed to call wit­ness­es and issue sub­poe­nas.

Trump and/or his coun­sel will be able to par­tic­i­pate when the pro­ceed­ings reach the Judi­cia­ry com­mit­tee. They can present a defense case, respond to evi­dence, cross-exam­ine wit­ness­es, raise objec­tions and request addi­tion­al evi­dence and tes­ti­mo­ny. But they can only call wit­ness­es if major­i­ty Democ­rats agree that the tes­ti­mo­ny is “nec­es­sary or desir­able to a full and fair record” of the pro­ceed­ings.

If Trump declines to coop­er­ate with the Judi­cia­ry Com­mit­tee, he could lose some of the rights grant­ed to him at the out­set.

Speak­er Nan­cy Pelosi, D‑California, said: “These open hear­ings, seek­ing the truth and mak­ing it avail­able to the Amer­i­can peo­ple, will inform Con­gress on the very dif­fi­cult deci­sion we will have to make in the future as to whether to impeach the pres­i­dent. That deci­sion has not been made. That is what the inquiry will inves­ti­gate, and then we can make the deci­sion based on the truth. I don’t know why the Repub­li­cans are afraid of the truth.”

Minor­i­ty Leader Kevin McCarthy, R‑California, said the House “is using its pow­er to dis­cred­it democ­ra­cy. By using secret inter­views and selec­tive leaks to por­tray the pres­i­den­t’s legit­i­mate actions as an impeach­able offense. Democ­rats are con­tin­u­ing their per­ma­nent cam­paign to under­mine his legit­i­ma­cy. For the last three years, they have pre­de­ter­mined the pres­i­den­t’s guilt, they have nev­er accept­ed the vot­ers’ choice to make him pres­i­dent.”

A yes vote was to adopt the 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

DECLARING ARMENIAN MASSACRE A GENOCIDE: Vot­ing 405 for and 11 against, the House on Octo­ber 29th adopt­ed a res­o­lu­tion (H. Res 296) offi­cial­ly rec­og­niz­ing Turkey’s killing of up to 1.5 mil­lion Arme­ni­ans in the fad­ing Ottoman Empire in 1915–16 as a geno­cide. Three mem­bers answered “present,” which indi­cates they par­tic­i­pat­ed in the roll call with­out tak­ing a stand.

They were Repub­li­can Paul Gosar of Ari­zona and Democ­rats Ilhan Omar of Min­neso­ta and Eddie Ber­nice John­son of Texas.

More than thir­ty coun­tries and forty-nine U.S. states have for­mal­ly declared the killings a delib­er­ate, pre­med­i­tat­ed exter­mi­na­tion, or geno­cide, as opposed to Turkey’s asser­tion that the deaths were col­lat­er­al dam­age of World War I.

For the Unit­ed States to offi­cial­ly declare an Armen­ian geno­cide, this mea­sure would have to pass the Sen­ate and gain Pres­i­dent Trump’s sig­na­ture.

Brad Sher­man, D‑California, said: “It is crit­i­cal that we coun­ter­act Turkey’s geno­cide denial, because geno­cide denial is the last act of a geno­cide — first you oblit­er­ate a peo­ple, then you seek to oblit­er­ate their mem­o­ry, and final­ly you seek to oblit­er­ate the mem­o­ry of the oblit­er­a­tion.… We must rec­og­nize this geno­cide to remove the stain on Amer­i­ca’s hon­or because, up until now, we have refused to acknowl­edge truth and we have been silent, all in an effort at appease­ment” of Turkey.

Chris Smith, R‑New Jer­sey, said: “The Armen­ian geno­cide is the only geno­cide of the 20th cen­tu­ry where sur­vivors, fam­i­ly, and all those who care about this impor­tant issue have been sub­ject­ed to the ongo­ing out­rage of a mas­sive, well-fund­ed, aggres­sive cam­paign of geno­cide denial, open­ly sus­tained and lav­ish­ly fund­ed by… the gov­ern­ment of Turkey.”

No mem­ber spoke against the res­o­lu­tion.

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

SANCTIONING TURKEY OVER ITS INVASION OF SYRIA: Vot­ing 403 for and 16 against, the House on Octo­ber 29th passed a bill (H.R. 4695) to penal­ize Turkey and Edro­gan’s gov­ern­ment if it resumes or con­tin­ues attacks on Kur­dish forces and civil­ians in north­east­ern Syr­ia that began when Don­ald Trump reduced Amer­i­ca’s mil­i­tary pres­ence there in ear­ly Octo­ber.

The bill would freeze the U.S. assets of top gov­ern­ment offi­cials and can­cel their U.S. visas while impos­ing sanc­tions on cer­tain Turk­ish banks.

In addi­tion, the bill would block the sale of U.S. arms that Turkey could use in its Syr­i­an offen­sive and require the admin­is­tra­tion to devel­op a strat­e­gy for pre­vent­ing a resur­gence of Islam­ic-state mil­i­tary strength in the region.

Gus Bili­rakis, R‑Florida., said the bill would send “a uni­fied, bipar­ti­san mes­sage to Turkey that, if you want to be con­sid­ered a strate­gic ally of the Unit­ed States, a true ally, you have to act like one.”

No mem­ber spoke against the bill.

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

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

PROHIBITING MINING NEAR GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK: Vot­ing 236 for and 185 against, the House on Octo­ber 30th passed a bill (H.R. 1373) that would make per­ma­nent a tem­po­rary mora­to­ri­um on the issuance of new min­ing claims on fed­er­al­ly owned land sur­round­ing Grand Canyon Nation­al Park in north­ern Ari­zona. Dur­ing the House­’s debate on the leg­is­la­tion, there was dis­cus­sion of ground­wa­ter pol­lu­tion attrib­uted to an inop­er­a­tive ura­ni­um mine that was opened in 1986 in near­by Kaibab Nation­al For­est..

Ed O’Haller­an, D‑Arizona, said: “Poten­tial con­t­a­m­i­na­tion of the water by ura­ni­um min­ing would have a rip­ple effect that would dev­as­tate the 40 mil­lion peo­ple that rely on the Col­orado Riv­er and local aquifers. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, areas in and near the [Grand Canyon] are plagued by the tox­ic lega­cy of ura­ni­um min­ing to this day.”

Paul Gosar, R‑Arizona, said the bill would “pre­vent access to the high­est grade and largest quan­ti­ty of ura­ni­um reserves in the coun­try. In doing so, [it] has seri­ous defense and ener­gy secu­ri­ty impli­ca­tions” because ura­ni­um “is a source of renew­able ener­gy and also an irre­place­able appli­ca­tion in defense and med­i­cine.”

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 Jaime Her­rera-Beut­ler

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Dan New­house

Not Vot­ing (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

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

In the United States Senate

Chamber of the United States Senate

The Sen­ate cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress pho­to)

LOWERING HEALTHCARE COVERAGE STANDARDS: The Sen­ate on Octo­ber. 30th failed, 43 for and 52 against, to adopt a Demo­c­ra­t­ic res­o­lu­tion (S.J. Res 52) that would pro­hib­it states from offer­ing in their health-insur­ance exchanges dilut­ed ver­sions of the cov­er­age required by the Patient Pro­tec­tion Act.

The mea­sure sought to block a Trump regime rule under which states could obtain waivers to offer short-term poli­cies that omit or weak­en Patient Pro­tec­tion Act require­ments in place since law was enact­ed in 2010.

The law’s stan­dards are intend­ed to guar­an­tee cov­er­age for indi­vid­u­als with pre-exist­ing con­di­tions while requir­ing PPA poli­cies to cov­er “essen­tial health ben­e­fits” such as pedi­atric care, men­tal health and sub­stance-abuse treat­ments, emer­gency care, out­pa­tient ser­vices and mater­ni­ty care. Back­ers of the admin­is­tra­tion’s waiv­er pol­i­cy said it gives states flex­i­bil­i­ty to devel­op low­er-priced cov­er­age alter­na­tives.

But crit­ics call such poli­cies “junk insur­ance” that would destroy the health law by siphon­ing off healthy and younger pol­i­cy­hold­ers.

Jeanne Sha­heen, D‑New Hamp­shire, said: “I think it is impor­tant to under­stand the short­com­ings of these junk plans that the admin­is­tra­tion is pro­mot­ing. These plans are allowed to deny cov­er­age to some­one who has a pre­ex­ist­ing con­di­tion.”

John Baras­so, R‑Wyoming, claimed in response: “Repub­li­cans remain one hun­dred per­cent com­mit­ted to pro­tect­ing peo­ple with pre­ex­ist­ing con­di­tions. We will pro­tect them today, tomor­row, and always.”

A yes vote was to adopt the res­o­lu­tion.

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

Key votes ahead

The Sen­ate will debate appro­pri­a­tions bills and judi­cial nom­i­na­tions dur­ing the week of Novem­ber 4th, while the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives will be in recess.

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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