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 12th, 2020

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (January 6th-10th)

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Mem­bers of Con­gress vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Fri­day, Jan­u­ary 10th.

In the United States House of Representatives

Chamber of the United States House of Representatives

The House cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress pho­to)

ASSERTING CONGRESSIONAL CONTROL OVER WAR WITH IRAN: The House on Jan­u­ary 9th vot­ed, 224 for and 194 against, to require the Trump admin­is­tra­tion to obtain advance con­gres­sion­al approval for mil­i­tary actions against Iran or its proxy forces except when there is an immi­nent threat to the Unit­ed States, its armed forces or its ter­ri­to­ries.

The mea­sure (House Con­cur­rent Res­o­lu­tion 83) invoked the 1973 War Pow­ers Res­o­lu­tion, which asserts the pow­er of Con­gress to declare war under Arti­cle I of the Con­sti­tu­tion. Under the Viet­nam-era law, pres­i­dents must noti­fy Con­gress with­in forty-eight hours when they send the U.S. mil­i­tary into com­bat, then with­draw the forces with­in a spec­i­fied peri­od unless Con­gress has declared war against the ene­my or oth­er­wise autho­rized the action.

Democ­rats said the mea­sure will have priv­i­leged sta­tus in the Sen­ate and be eli­gi­ble for pas­sage by a major­i­ty vote there.

But Repub­li­cans called it non-bind­ing. The war pow­ers law has nev­er been suc­cess­ful­ly used to end hos­til­i­ties abroad. Last year, the House and Sen­ate invoked it to end America’s mil­i­tary involve­ment in Yemen’s civ­il war, but were turned back when Pres­i­dent Trump suc­cess­ful­ly vetoed the mea­sure.

Thomas Massie, R‑Kentucky., said: “This vote isn’t about sup­port­ing or oppos­ing Pres­i­dent Trump.… [It] is about exer­cis­ing our con­sti­tu­tion­al author­i­ty. More impor­tant­ly, it is about our moral oblig­a­tion to decide when and where our troops are going to be asked to give their lives.”

Don Bacon, R‑Nebraska, said the res­o­lu­tion “is designed to embar­rass our pres­i­dent in front of the world and, in real­i­ty, gives com­fort to Iran’s lead­er­ship. It weak­ens Amer­i­ca and embold­ens our ene­mies.”

A yes vote was to send the mea­sure 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 (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

REGULATING CANCER-LINKED “PFAS” CHEMICALS: Vot­ing 247 for and 159 against, the House on Jan­u­ary 10th passed a bill (H.R. 535) that would give the Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency one year to des­ig­nate a class of chem­i­cals known as “PFAS” for cov­er­age by the fed­er­al Super­fund law (for­mal­ly known as the Com­pre­hen­sive Envi­ron­men­tal Response, Com­pen­sa­tion, and Lia­bil­i­ty Act of 1980), which requires aban­doned tox­ic sites to be cleaned up and impos­es retroac­tive legal lia­bil­i­ty on those respon­si­ble for the pol­lu­tion.

The des­ig­na­tion would require cleanup actions near scores of mil­i­tary bases and man­u­fac­tur­ing sites through­out the Unit­ed States where PFAS com­pounds have leached into ground­wa­ter and drink­ing water.

But they would join a long list of Super­fund sites await­ing reme­di­a­tion.

The bill also would require the EPA to set stan­dards for PFA air emis­sions and lev­els in drink­ing water and test all PFAS com­pounds with­in five years, and it would bar new com­pounds from the mar­ket­place.

“PFAS” stands for per­flu­o­roalkyl and poly­flu­o­roalkyl sub­stances.

They are com­po­nents of fire-fight­ing foam used at air­ports and mil­i­tary instal­la­tions as well as non­stick cook­ware; per­son­al-care prod­ucts includ­ing floss and make­up; house­hold items includ­ing paints and stains; water-repel­lent cloth­ing and car­pet­ing; and oth­er every­day prod­ucts.

There are more about 7,800 PFA com­pounds, some of which the Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion (FDA) has approved for use in food pack­ag­ing and med­ical devices, oth­ers of which are linked to extreme­ly seri­ous health con­di­tions includ­ing kid­ney, liv­er, tes­tic­u­lar and pan­cre­at­ic can­cers; infer­til­i­ty; weak­ened immune sys­tems and impaired child­hood devel­op­ment.

Mary Gay Scan­lon, D‑Pennsylvania, said: “The fact of the mat­ter is that the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment has known about the dan­gers pre­sent­ed by PFAs for years. The chem­i­cal indus­try has known for even longer and, unsur­pris­ing­ly, has fought tooth and nail against efforts to reg­u­late their dis­tri­b­u­tion and use.”

Deb­bie Lesko, R‑Arizona, said: “I don’t hear my Demo­c­ra­t­ic col­leagues here talk­ing about the PFAS chem­i­cals that are help­ing peo­ple,” such as devices that plug holes in infants’ hearts. She said the bill “cre­ates an unre­al­is­tic con­di­tion that EPA must require man­u­fac­tur­ers and proces­sors to test each chem­i­cal in the entire PFAS class.a task that will be enor­mous­ly expen­sive and time-con­sum­ing.”

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

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 (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: 12 aye votes, 4 nay votes, 1 not vot­ing

PROTECTING FETUSES FROM PFAS: Vot­ing 187 for and 219 against, the House on Jan­u­ary 10th defeat­ed a Repub­li­can-spon­sored motion spec­i­fy­ing that “the unborn child” be includ­ed in the “vul­ner­a­ble pop­u­la­tions” pro­tect­ed from PFAS in H.R. 535 (above) sec­tions con­cern­ing the Safe Drink­ing Water Act.

Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers, R‑Washington, said the act “already iden­ti­fies preg­nant women as an at-risk group. How­ev­er, there is not just one, there are two peo­ple at risk, the preg­nant woman and the unborn child.”

Deb­bie Din­gell, D‑Michigan, called the amend­ment unnec­es­sary because the bill suf­fi­cient­ly pro­tects vul­ner­a­ble pop­u­la­tions.

A yes vote was to adopt the motion.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Russ Fulcher

Not Vot­ing (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mike Simp­son

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Greg Walden

Vot­ing Nay (4): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, 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: 5 aye votes, 11 nay votes, 1 not vot­ing

In the United States Senate

Chamber of the United States Senate

The Sen­ate cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress pho­to)

SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATOR JOVITA CARRANZA: Vot­ing 86 for and 5 against, the Sen­ate on Jan­u­ary 6th con­firmed Jovi­ta Car­ran­za, the Unit­ed States trea­sur­er since June 2017, as admin­is­tra­tor of the Small Busi­ness Admin­is­tra­tion, replac­ing Lin­da McMa­hon, who resigned in April 2019.

After a career of near­ly three decades with UPS, Car­ran­za served as deputy SBA admin­is­tra­tor under Pres­i­dent George W. Bush from 2006–2009. Car­ran­za, 71, was raised in Chica­go as the child of immi­grants from Mex­i­co.

Ben­jamin Cardin, D‑Maryland, said: “In near­ly 30 years at UPS, where she began as a part-time pack­age han­dler, Trea­sur­er Car­ran­za became the high­est rank­ing Lati­na in the his­to­ry of the com­pa­ny… I am opti­mistic that [she] can be the leader and advo­cate that SBA and Amer­i­can small busi­ness­es need right now.”

No sen­a­tor spoke against the nom­i­nee.

A yes vote was to con­firm Car­ran­za.

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

Key votes ahead

The House will take up mea­sures con­cern­ing age dis­crim­i­na­tion in the work­place and stu­dent loan for­give­ness dur­ing the com­ing week of Jan­u­ary 13th, while the Sen­ate will vote on judi­cial and exec­u­tive branch nom­i­na­tions and pos­si­bly a mea­sure restrain­ing the admin­is­tra­tion’s actions against Iran.

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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