NPI's Cascadia Advocate

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, January 19th, 2020

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (January 13th-17th)

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Mem­bers of Con­gress vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Fri­day, Jan­u­ary 17th.

In the United States House of Representatives

Chamber of the United States House of Representatives

The House cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress pho­to)

SENDING IMPEACHMENT ARTICLES TO SENATE: Vot­ing 228 for and 193 against, the House on Jan­u­ary 15th adopt­ed a res­o­lu­tion send­ing to the Sen­ate the two arti­cles of impeach­ment against Pres­i­dent Trump the House approved on Decem­ber 18th. Min­neso­ta Demo­c­rat Collin Peter­son, who vot­ed with Repub­li­cans in oppo­si­tion, was the only mem­ber to break par­ty ranks.

The mea­sure (House Res­o­lu­tion 798) also appoint­ed sev­en House Democ­rats to make the case for impeach­ment in a Sen­ate tri­al now under­way.

If con­vict­ed by a two-thirds vote of sen­a­tors present, Trump would be removed from office. Trump has denied any wrong­do­ing, and lead­ers of the Senate’s Repub­li­can major­i­ty have pre­dict­ed acquit­tal.

Jer­rold Nadler, D‑New York, said “This tri­al is nec­es­sary because Pres­i­dent Trump grave­ly abused the pow­er of his office when he strong-armed a for­eign gov­ern­ment to launch inves­ti­ga­tions into his domes­tic polit­i­cal rival.…And then he vio­lat­ed the Con­sti­tu­tion by stonewalling Con­gress’ efforts to inves­ti­gate…”

Minor­i­ty Leader Kevin McCarthy, R‑California, said: “This was all an exer­cise in raw par­ti­san pol­i­tics con­trary to the inten­tions of our founders…the fastest and weak­est and thinnest impeach­ment in Amer­i­can his­to­ry.”

A yes vote was to send the two impeach­ment arti­cles to the Sen­ate (see the impeach­ment vote in this spe­cial edi­tion of LWIC) and appoint tri­al man­agers.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Russ Fulcher

Not Vot­ing (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive 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, 5 nay votes, 1 not vot­ing

RELAXING EVIDENCE STANDARD FOR AGE DISCRIMINATION: Vot­ing 261 for and 155 against, the House on Jan­u­ary 15th passed a bill (H.R. 1320) that would relax the stan­dard of proof for plain­tiffs to win law­suits filed under the Age Dis­crim­i­na­tion in Employ­ment Act of 1967.

The law pro­tects job appli­cants and employ­ees against age-based bias in hir­ing and fir­ing, pro­mo­tions, com­pen­sa­tion and oth­er con­di­tions of employ­ment.

Under a 2009 Supreme Court deci­sion, plain­tiffs must prove by a pre­pon­der­ance of the evi­dence that their age was the sole basis for an adverse employ­ment deci­sion.

This bill would restore the law’s orig­i­nal, less-restric­tive stan­dard under which plain­tiffs must prove age was only a moti­vat­ing fac­tor — not the sole fac­tor — behind the deci­sion. In addi­tion, the bill spec­i­fies that the less demand­ing stan­dard also applies to law­suits filed under the Amer­i­cans With Dis­abil­i­ties Act of 1990 (com­mon­ly abbre­vi­at­ed as the ADA), the Reha­bil­i­ta­tion Act of 1973 and the anti­re­tal­ia­to­ry pro­vi­sions of Title VII of the Civ­il Rights Act of 1964.

The Pacif­ic North­west­’s own Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, D‑Oregon, said “age dis­crim­i­na­tion in the work­place remains dis­turbing­ly per­va­sive. Accord­ing to the AARP, three in five work­ers over the age of 45 report­ed see­ing or expe­ri­enc­ing age dis­crim­i­na­tion on the job. Amer­i­cans are liv­ing and work­ing longer, and we must do all we can to pro­tect them from dis­crim­i­na­tion.”

Tim Wal­berg, R‑Michigan, said: “Right now, we have an econ­o­my that is boom­ing… Our focus should be on pro­tect­ing work­ers and encour­ag­ing greater work­force par­tic­i­pa­tion and not reward­ing lawyers through increased oppor­tu­ni­ties to gar­ner legal fees… This bill is designed to help attor­neys, not work­ers.”

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

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Russ Fulcher

Not Vot­ing (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive 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 (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 (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Dan New­house and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 13 aye votes, 3 nay votes, 1 not vot­ing

BLOCKING ADMINISTRATION RULE ON STUDENT LOANS: Vot­ing 231 for and 180 against, the House on Jan­u­ary 16th nul­li­fied a new Trump admin­is­tra­tion rule that would offer poten­tial debt relief to cer­tain stu­dents defraud­ed by their col­lege in obtain­ing a fed­er­al edu­ca­tion loan but quash Oba­ma-era “bor­row­er defense” pro­tec­tions for stu­dents enrolled in for-prof­it col­leges.

The mea­sure (House Joint Res­o­lu­tion 76) was spon­sored by Democ­rats. The Trump rule would apply to defraud­ed stu­dents at pri­vate and pub­lic insti­tu­tions as well as for-prof­it col­leges but would help far few­er stu­dents than the Oba­ma rule because of stricter eli­gi­bil­i­ty stan­dards for obtain­ing relief.

Andy Levin, D‑Michigan, said Trump admin­is­tra­tion offi­cials “will go to the ends of the earth to defend preda­to­ry for-prof­it col­leges at the expense of our stu­dents and tax­pay­ers.” He said their rule “cre­ates unnec­es­sary obsta­cles for stu­dents seek­ing debt relief” from these schools.

Vir­ginia Foxx, R‑North Car­oli­na, said: “Where the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion went hay­wire was when they blurred the dis­tinc­tion between what acts or omis­sions con­sti­tute fraud ver­sus an inad­ver­tent mis­take.” She said that under the Oba­ma rule, “a sin­gle mar­ket­ing error” could sub­ject the school to finan­cial duress.

A yes vote was to send the res­o­lu­tion 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

In the United States Senate

Chamber of the United States Senate

The Sen­ate cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress pho­to)

SETTING NEW RULES FOR NORTH AMERICAN TRADE: Vot­ing 89 for and 10 against, the Sen­ate on Jan­u­ary 16th passed a bill (H.R. 5430) giv­ing final con­gres­sion­al approval to the Unit­ed States-Mex­i­co-Cana­da Agree­ment (USMCA), which would replace the twen­ty-five-year-old North Amer­i­can Free Trade Agree­ment (NAFTA) as the frame­work for com­merce among the three coun­tries.

The agree­ment requires Mex­i­co to guar­an­tee work­ers the right to join unions and engage in col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing; autho­rizes fast-track probes of labor vio­la­tions in Mex­i­co and fac­to­ry-spe­cif­ic penal­ties when trans­gres­sions are found; gives U.S. dairy and poul­try farm­ers more access to Cana­di­an mar­kets; rais­es envi­ron­men­tal stan­dards but does not address cli­mate change; sets wage require­ments that ben­e­fit U.S. and Cana­di­an auto fac­to­ries over Mex­i­co’s; and pro­tects Inter­net com­pa­nies against lia­bil­i­ty for their users’ con­tent.

Our own Ron Wyden, D‑Oregon, said the agree­men­t’s strong rules on dig­i­tal trade and tech­nol­o­gy “pro­tect every sin­gle Amer­i­can indus­try” while empow­er­ing the Unit­ed States “to fight back against author­i­tar­i­an gov­ern­ments that use the Inter­net as a tool to repress their own peo­ple, bul­ly Amer­i­can busi­ness­es and work­ers and med­dle with the free speech rights of Amer­i­can cit­i­zens.”

Pat Toomey, R‑Pennsylvania, object­ed to the fact that the bil­l’s $843 bil­lion open­ing price tag was not off­set else­where in the fed­er­al bud­get and there­fore would increase the nation­al debt.

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

CONFIRMING PETER GAYNOR AS FEMA CHIEF: Vot­ing 81 for and eight against, the Sen­ate on Jan­u­ary 14th con­firmed Peter T. Gaynor as admin­is­tra­tor of the Fed­er­al Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency, where he had been deputy admin­is­tra­tor and then act­ing admin­is­tra­tor between Octo­ber 2018 and March 2019. Gaynor, the direc­tor of the Rhode Island Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency between 2015–2018, is a Marine Corps vet­er­an who served in Iraq.

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 (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

Key votes ahead

The Sen­ate will con­duct an impeach­ment tri­al of Pres­i­dent Trump dur­ing the week of Jan­u­ary 20th, while the House 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!

© 2020 Thomas Vot­ing Reports.

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