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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, March 1st, 2020

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (February 24th-28th)

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Mem­bers of Con­gress vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Fri­day, Feb­ru­ary 28th.

In the United States House of Representatives

Chamber of the United States House of Representatives

The House cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress pho­to)

DESIGNATING LYNCHING A HATE CRIME: Vot­ing 410 for and four against, the House on Feb­ru­ary 26th passed a bill (H.R. 35) that would des­ig­nate lynch­ing a fed­er­al hate crime. The bill is named in hon­or of Emmett Till, a four­teen-year-old African-Amer­i­can who was mur­dered in Mis­sis­sip­pi in 1955 after hav­ing been false­ly accused of sig­nal­ing advances on a white woman.

The bill says “at least 4,742 peo­ple, pre­dom­i­nant­ly African Amer­i­cans, were report­ed lynched in the Unit­ed States between 1882 and 1968,” and notes that more than 200 anti­lynch­ing bills have been intro­duced in con­gres­sion­al his­to­ry but then shelved. Although lynch­ing can be pros­e­cut­ed under fed­er­al laws includ­ing civ­il rights statutes, this marks its first spe­cif­ic des­ig­na­tion as a fed­er­al crime.

The bill would add lynch­ing to a 1968 hate-crimes law that already cov­ers — and requires increased penal­ties for — offens­es based on the victim’s per­ceived or actu­al gen­der, race, col­or, reli­gion, nation­al ori­gin, eth­nic­i­ty, dis­abil­i­ty or sex­u­al ori­en­ta­tion. The four mem­bers vot­ing against the bill were Repub­li­cans Louie Gohmert of Texas, Thomas Massie of Ken­tucky and Ted Yoho of Flori­da and inde­pen­dent Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Justin Amash of Michi­gan.

Karen Bass, D‑California, said: “Make no mis­take, lynch­ing is ter­ror­ism… direct­ed at African Amer­i­cans. Lynch­ing was com­mon­ly used for 256 years dur­ing the peri­od of enslave­ment and for almost 100 years after slav­ery, well into the 1950s. And, frankly, even today, peri­od­i­cal­ly you will hear news sto­ries of noos­es being left on col­lege cam­pus­es, in work lock­er rooms to threat­en and ter­ror­ize African Amer­i­cans, a vicious reminder that the past is nev­er that far away.”

Anoth­er sup­port­er, Don Bacon, R‑Nebraska, con­curred with Bass, remark­ing: “With at least 5,000 lynch­ings in our nation’s his­to­ry, this bill is… acknowl­edg­ment that evil did occur, that mil­lions felt fear in their hous­es, their homes and their com­mu­ni­ties; that many feared for the lives of their dads, their hus­bands and sons; and that this… will help facil­i­tate rec­on­cil­i­a­tion.”

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 Mike Simp­son and Russ Fulcher

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (4): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, Kurt Schrad­er; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Greg Walden

Not Vot­ing (1): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Suzanne Bonam­i­ci

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: 16 aye votes, 1 not vot­ing

OUTLAWING FLAVORED TOBACCO PRODUCTS : Vot­ing 213 for and 195 against, the House on Feb­ru­ary 28th passed a bill (H.R. 2339) that would:

  • pro­hib­it the man­u­fac­ture and sale of fla­vored tobac­co prod­ucts includ­ing e‑cigarettes and tra­di­tion­al men­thol cig­a­rettes;
  • impose an excise tax on the sale of prod­ucts such as e‑cigarettes and vap­ing devices that deliv­er nico­tine in liq­uid form;
  • out­law the mar­ket­ing, adver­tis­ing and online sales of e‑cigarettes and vap­ing prod­ucts to indi­vid­u­als under twen­ty-one;
  • require the Gov­ern­ment Account­abil­i­ty Office to study the impact of liq­uid-nico­tine prod­ucts on pub­lic health;
  • and fund stop-smok­ing demon­stra­tion pro­grams in poor com­mu­ni­ties.
  • In addi­tion, the bill would require the Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion to start reg­u­lat­ing prod­ucts con­tain­ing syn­thet­ic nico­tine and require col­or cod­ing to height­en the impact to warn­ings on cig­a­rette pack­ages.

Don­na Sha­lala, D‑Florida, said tobac­co com­pa­nies “knew that the pipeline of life­time smok­ers was dwin­dling, so they start­ed mar­ket­ing new vap­ing prod­ucts to young peo­ple through Insta­gram ads and influ­encers and oth­er social media plat­forms. They also hand­ed out free vap­ing prod­ucts at music events and movies. They clear­ly tar­get­ed chil­dren — our chil­dren — and their strat­e­gy worked. Today, 26.7 per­cent of 12th graders vaped in the last month. This rate has more than dou­bled in the last two years alone.”

Michael Burgess, R‑Texas, said the bill “claims to curb youth tobac­co use, includ­ing vap­ing. The real­i­ty is it bans many types of tobac­co prod­ucts that are legal­ly and vol­un­tar­i­ly used by adults. While I do not sup­port any form of tobac­co use, it is a choice for law-abid­ing adults to make. The unin­tend­ed con­se­quences of sud­den­ly mak­ing legal tobac­co prod­ucts ille­gal will like­ly push peo­ple to the black mar­kets to seek the same prod­uct or worse.”

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 (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

PENALIZING HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS FOR DEATHS OF NONVIABLE NEWBORNS: Vot­ing 187 for and 220 against, the House the House on Feb­ru­ary 28th defeat­ed a Repub­li­can mea­sure that sought to add abor­tion-relat­ed lan­guage to a pend­ing bill (H.R. 2339, above) that would out­law the sale and man­u­fac­ture of fla­vored tobac­co prod­ucts. The pro­posed Repub­li­can amend­ment was essen­tial­ly a mir­ror of a bill (S. 311, below) debat­ed ear­li­er in the week by the Sen­ate. A yes vote was to add the Repub­li­can lan­guage to the tobac­co bill.

The State of Idaho

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

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

Cas­ca­dia total: 6 aye votes, 11 nay votes

In the United States Senate

Chamber of the United States Senate

The Sen­ate cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress pho­to)

PENALIZING HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS FOR DEATHS OF NONVIABLE NEWBORNS: Vot­ing 56 for and 41 against, the Sen­ate on Feb­ru­ary 25th failed to reach six­ty votes need­ed to advance a Repub­li­can-draft­ed bill (S. 311) that would pre­scribe rules of care for new­borns that sur­vive failed late-term abor­tions.

Health­care providers includ­ing doc­tors could face up to five years in prison if they failed to imme­di­ate­ly ensure the hos­pi­tal­iza­tion of a new­born show­ing signs of life after an attempt­ed abor­tion.

The new­born would have to receive the same lev­el of care pro­vid­ed to “any oth­er child born alive at the same ges­ta­tion­al age.” The bill also would require med­ical prac­ti­tion­ers or employ­ees of hos­pi­tals, clin­ics or physi­cian’s offices to report to law enforce­ment agen­cies any vio­la­tion they wit­nessed.

NPI EDITOR’S NOTE: Planned Par­ent­hood has repeat­ed­ly stat­ed that the prac­tice that Repub­li­cans want to out­law is not actu­al­ly per­formed in repro­duc­tive health clin­ics. “This leg­is­la­tion is based on lies and a mis­in­for­ma­tion cam­paign, aimed at sham­ing women and crim­i­nal­iz­ing doc­tors for a prac­tice that doesn’t exist in med­i­cine or real­i­ty,” for­mer Planned Pres­i­dent Lean­na Wen stat­ed last year.  “When you’re pro­vid­ing abor­tion care, this isn’t some­thing that hap­pens,” Guttmacher’s Eliz­a­beth Nash con­curred in a state­ment to CBS News. For addi­tion­al back­ground, con­sid­er read­ing this op-ed by Dr. Jen Gunter.

A yes vote was to over­come a Demo­c­ra­t­ic-led fil­i­buster and advance the bill.

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

IMPOSING LIMITS ON REPRODUCTIVE CARE: Vot­ing 53 for and 44 against, the Sen­ate on Feb­ru­ary 25th failed to reach six­ty votes need­ed to advance a Repub­li­can-draft­ed bill (S. 3275) that would out­law abor­tions after twen­ty weeks of fer­til­iza­tion on grounds that the fetus can feel pain by then.

The bill repu­di­ates the Roe v. Wade stan­dard that abor­tion is legal up to when the fetus reach­es via­bil­i­ty — usu­al­ly after 24-to-28 weeks of preg­nan­cy — and after via­bil­i­ty if the pro­ce­dure is nec­es­sary to pro­tect the health or life of the moth­er.

Under Roe, via­bil­i­ty occurs when the fetus can poten­tial­ly sur­vive out­side the womb with or with­out arti­fi­cial aid. The bill allows exemp­tions for vic­tims of rape or incest and to save the moth­er’s life. Rape vic­tims must receive coun­sel­ing and med­ical care at least 48 hours before the pro­ce­dure could be exempt­ed.

Doc­tors who vio­late the law could be crim­i­nal­ly pros­e­cut­ed.

James Inhofe, R‑Oklahoma, declared: “A baby is a baby whether in or out­side of the womb, and each baby deserves a chance to live as an indi­vid­ual cre­at­ed in the image of God.”

Edward Markey, D‑Massachusetts, said: “This is more than a debate about access to safe abor­tion ser­vices. This is about fight­ing for gen­der equal­i­ty” and “mak­ing sure that access to repro­duc­tive health­care is nev­er restrict­ed.”

A yes vote was to over­come a Demo­c­ra­t­ic-led fil­i­buster and advance the bill.

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 Sen­ate will debate judi­cial nom­i­na­tions and a bill on geot­her­mal ener­gy dur­ing the first week of March. The House sched­ule was to be announced.

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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