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, February 2nd, 2020

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (January 27th-31st)

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

In the United States House of Representatives

Chamber of the United States House of Representatives

The House cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress pho­to)

EXPANDING CONSUMER RIGHTS IN CREDIT REPORTS: Vot­ing 221 for and 189 against, the House on Jan­u­ary 29th passed a bill (H.R. 3621) that would require firms such as Equifax, Exper­ian and Trans Union to adopt cer­tain con­sumer-friend­ly pro­ce­dures in judg­ing the cred­it­wor­thi­ness of the hun­dreds of mil­lions of Amer­i­cans in their port­fo­lios.

Over­seen by the Con­sumer Finan­cial Pro­tec­tion Bureau, the bill would:

  • pro­hib­it firms from report­ing on debt incurred for life-sav­ing med­ical treat­ments;
  • delay for one year cred­it report­ing on all oth­er forms of med­ical debt;
  • reduce from sev­en to four years the peri­od for retain­ing adverse infor­ma­tion in cred­it reports;
  • reduce from ten to sev­en years the dead­line for expung­ing bank­rupt­cy infor­ma­tion;
  • and pro­hib­it most employ­ers from bas­ing work­place deci­sions on cred­it reports unless they are required by law to do so.

Address­ing stu­dent debt, bill would enable bor­row­ers who are delin­quent or have default­ed on a pri­vate-sec­tor edu­ca­tion loan to repair their cred­it by mak­ing at least nine of 10 con­sec­u­tive month­ly pay­ments on the loan on time.

Once the loan is back on track, cred­it agen­cies would have to remove the episode from the borrower’s his­to­ry. Mil­i­tary per­son­nel deployed to com­bat or per­sons vic­tim­ized by nat­ur­al dis­as­ters dur­ing the ten months could sus­pend and then resume pay­ments with­out fac­ing con­se­quences.

Joyce Beat­ty, D‑Ohio, told col­leagues and C‑SPAN view­ers: “The cur­rent cred­it-report­ing sys­tem is rigged in favor of the cred­it report­ing agen­cies, plain and sim­ple. They have all the pow­er. They are account­able to no one. Ordi­nary Amer­i­can con­sumers are not their cus­tomers but their prod­ucts.”

Patrick McHen­ry, R‑North Car­oli­na said the bill “pre­vents employ­ers from know­ing the cred­it­wor­thi­ness of employ­ees,” cre­at­ing a sit­u­a­tion “in which employ­ees who are in sig­nif­i­cant debt could be tar­gets of bribes or extor­tion or per­haps take mon­ey that is owed to oth­er peo­ple.”

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 (6): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, and Adam Smith

Vot­ing Nay (3): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera-Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Not Vot­ing (1): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Den­ny Heck

Cas­ca­dia total: 10 aye votes, 6 nay votes, 1 not vot­ing

DEFINING MODELS FOR CREDIT SCORES: Vot­ing 201 for and 208 against, the House on Jan­u­ary 29th defeat­ed a Repub­li­can motion that sought to pro­hib­it cred­it reports com­piled under the terms of H.R. 3621 (above) from using mod­els that fac­tor in the indi­vid­u­al’s “polit­i­cal opin­ions, reli­gious expres­sion or oth­er expres­sion pro­tect­ed by the First Amend­ment.”

The amend­ment would for­bid the Con­sumer Finan­cial Pro­tec­tion Bureau from requir­ing such mod­els even though the agency has no plans to do so.

French Hill, R‑Arkansas, said the con­sumer bureau (which Mick Mul­vaney has vowed to dis­man­tle) “has too much pow­er, and we should make sure that Amer­i­cans do not lose access to cred­it based on the deci­sions of an unac­count­able orga­ni­za­tion” with a “his­to­ry of over­step­ping its bounds.”

Joyce Beat­ty, D‑Ohio, said Repub­li­cans failed to reform abus­es by cred­it-report­ing firms when they con­trolled the House. “There is a new Demo­c­ra­t­ic major­i­ty in this Con­gress, and we are act­ing to fix this bro­ken sys­tem,” she said.

A yes vote was to adopt the motion.

The State of Idaho

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

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 (6): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith

Not Vot­ing (1): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Den­ny Heck

Cas­ca­dia total: 6 aye votes, 10 nay votes, 1 not vot­ing

ASSERTING CONGRESSIONAL CONTROL OVER WAR WITH IRAN: Vot­ing 228 for and 175 against, the House on Jan­u­ary 30th adopt­ed an amend­ment to H.R. 550 that would deny fund­ing of any U.S. mil­i­tary action against Iran or its proxy forces that lacks con­gres­sion­al autho­riza­tion, except when there is an immi­nent threat to the Unit­ed States, its armed forces or its ter­ri­to­ries. The mea­sure asserts the sole con­sti­tu­tion­al pow­er of Con­gress to declare war as spelled out in the 1973 War Pow­ers Res­o­lu­tion. The pres­i­dent would have to noti­fy Con­gress with­in 48 hours if he mar­shals the U.S. mil­i­tary against Iran, then with­draw the force with­in a spec­i­fied peri­od unless Con­gress votes to autho­rize the action.

Lloyd Doggett, D‑Texas, said Trump “wants sole con­trol over whether our nation is plunged into a war with Iran. Today we say, ‘No, Mr. Pres­i­dent, you are not yet the tyrant that you wish to become. You defied mil­i­tary judg­ment by reject­ing the Iran nuclear agree­ment. You abrupt­ly aban­doned our Kur­dish allies and you’ve tak­en us to the brink of war with an assas­si­na­tion of a for­eign leader with­out any immi­nent threat demon­strat­ed.’ We reject his reck­less and impul­sive esca­la­tion, the end­less blood­shed and the lack of vision beyond pro­mot­ing his own self­ish inter­ests.”

Liz Cheney, R‑Wyoming, said the mea­sure “would call into ques­tion whether the pres­i­dent could defend our clos­est ally in the Mid­dle East — Israel — with­out first get­ting approval from 535 mem­bers of the House and Sen­ate. It would call into ques­tion whether he could pro­tect our diplo­mats in Iraq” and “defend against Iran’s attacks on inter­na­tion­al ship­ping. As the U.S. faces [its] adver­saries, it is absolute­ly crit­i­cal that the pres­i­dent retains the flex­i­bil­i­ty to act swift­ly and deci­sive­ly when our inter­ests or forces are threat­ened.”

A yes vote was to amend the bill and send it to the Sen­ate.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

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

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

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (6): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, and Adam Smith

Vot­ing Nay (3): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera-Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Not Vot­ing (1): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Den­ny Heck

Cas­ca­dia total: 9 aye votes, 7 nay votes, 1 not vot­ing

REPEALING IRAQ INVASION AUTHORIZATION RESOLUTION: Vot­ing 236 for and 166 against, the House on Jan­u­ary 30th adopt­ed an amend­ment to H.R. 550 (above) that would repeal the 2002 Iraq inva­sion res­o­lu­tion, which has been cit­ed as the legal basis of U.S. mil­i­tary actions in Iraq and numer­ous oth­er glob­al the­aters over the past eigh­teen years, includ­ing the recent U.S. assas­si­na­tion at the Bagh­dad air­port of Iran­ian Gen­er­al Qasem Soleimani.

Con­gress would have six months to update U.S. war author­i­ty, and until it does so, the pres­i­dent could imme­di­ate­ly deploy forces to pro­tect nation­al secu­ri­ty with­out seek­ing con­gres­sion­al approval. Oppo­nents said the lapse would endan­ger U.S. troops and increase Amer­i­can expo­sure to ter­ror­ist attacks.

Jim McGov­ern, D‑Massachusetts, said: “Tax­pay­er dol­lars have been shov­eled over­seas. Poli­cies have changed from one admin­is­tra­tion to the next. But too often, Con­gress remained silent because we feared the polit­i­cal risk of a vote.”

Scott Per­ry, R‑Pennsylvania, said: “Many of us agree, the [war author­i­ty] needs to be updat­ed. We want to do this cor­rect­ly, but this isn’t the cor­rect way to do it, and we should not aban­don our ser­vice­mem­bers in com­bat.”

A yes vote was to amend the bill and send it 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, and Adam Smith; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jaime Her­rera-Beut­ler

Vot­ing Nay (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Dan New­house and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Not Vot­ing (1): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Den­ny Heck

Cas­ca­dia total: 11 aye votes, 5 nay votes, 1 not vot­ing

In the United States Senate

Chamber of the United States Senate

The Sen­ate cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress pho­to)

DENYING TRUMP REMOVAL TRIAL WITNESSES: Vot­ing 49 for and 51 against, the Sen­ate on Jan­u­ary 31st defeat­ed a motion to allow votes on sub­poe­nas for wit­ness­es and doc­u­ments in the impeach­ment tri­al of Don­ald Trump.

The only sen­a­tors break­ing par­ty ranks were Repub­li­cans Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Rom­ney of Utah, who vot­ed with Democ­rats in favor of issu­ing sub­poe­nas. The motion did not name poten­tial wit­ness­es.

But Democ­rats said in debate they wished to sub­poe­na, among oth­ers, John Bolton, Trump’s for­mer nation­al secu­ri­ty advis­er, for tes­ti­mo­ny about top­ics includ­ing his report­ed con­ver­sa­tions with the pres­i­dent about Trump’s solic­i­ta­tion of per­son­al polit­i­cal favors from Ukrain­ian offi­cials in return for his release of near­ly $400 mil­lion in U.S. mil­i­tary aid to Ukraine.

Trump defend­ers said the Sen­ate should make its deci­sion on remov­ing him from office based on evi­dence sub­mit­ted by the House.

Rep­re­sent­ing the House, Adam Schiff, D‑California, said: “The facts will come out. In all of their hor­ror, they will come out… The doc­u­ments the pres­i­dent has been hid­ing will come out. The wit­ness­es the pres­i­dent has been con­ceal­ing will tell their sto­ries. And we will be asked why we did not want to hear that infor­ma­tion when we had the chance, when we could con­sid­er its rel­e­vance and impor­tance in mak­ing this most momen­tous deci­sion.”

White House deputy coun­sel Patrick Philbin said: “The Sen­ate is not here to do the inves­ti­ga­to­ry work the House did not do. The reac­tion of this body should be to reject the arti­cles of impeach­ment, not to con­done and put its impri­matur on the way the pro­ceed­ings were han­dled in the House and not to pro­long mat­ters fur­ther to redo work the House failed to do by not seek­ing evi­dence and not doing a fair and legit­i­mate process.”

A yes vote was to allow motions to issue sub­poe­nas for wit­ness­es and doc­u­ments.

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

PROHIBITING TESTIMONY BY JOHN BOLTON: Vot­ing 51 for and 49 against, the Sen­ate on Jan­u­ary 31st tabled (killed) a Demo­c­ra­t­ic-spon­sored motion to sub­poe­na John Bolton, the for­mer nation­al secu­ri­ty advis­er to Don­ald Trump, to tes­ti­fy in the pres­i­den­t’s removal tri­al.

This fol­lowed defeat of a broad­er motion (above) autho­riz­ing the tri­al to sub­poe­na rel­e­vant wit­ness­es and doc­u­ments so far with­held by the pres­i­dent and his defend­ers from House and Sen­ate impeach­ment pro­ceed­ings.

Bolton, who has said he will tes­ti­fy if sub­poe­naed, has fin­ished a book man­u­script report­ed­ly con­tain­ing first­hand accounts of actions and com­ments by Trump over sev­er­al months in 2019 at the heart of the Democ­rats’ impeach­ment case. This was a par­ty-line vote except that Repub­li­cans Susan Collins of Maine and Mitt Rom­ney of Utah vot­ed with Democ­rats in favor of call­ing Bolton to tes­ti­fy.

A yes vote was in oppo­si­tion to call­ing Bolton as a wit­ness.

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

Key votes ahead

The House will take up dis­as­ter relief for Puer­to Rico and a bill strength­en­ing work­er rights to orga­nize and bar­gain col­lec­tive­ly dur­ing the week of Feb­ru­ary 3rd, while the Sen­ate will con­clude Don­ald Trump’s removal tri­al, hav­ing decid­ed not to hear from any wit­ness­es or sub­poe­na any doc­u­ments. Con­gress will also con­vene in a joint ses­sion for the State of the Union Address.

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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