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Sunday, November 3rd, 2019

Last Week (October 28th-31st) 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 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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