Good morning! Here’s how Cascadia’s United States Representatives voted on major issues during the legislative week ending Friday, April 24th.
In the United States House of Representatives
OVERSEEING TRILLIONS IN CORONAVIRUS SPENDING: Voting 212 for and 182 against, the House on April 23rd adopted a resolution (H. Res 938) that would create a special committee armed with subpoena power to oversee the administrations distribution of coronavirus relief funding expected to top $3 trillion this year. The panel also will examine any private-sector price gouging.
The House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis, comprised of members from both parties, will be chaired James Clyburn, D‑South Carolina, and controlled by the Democratic majority.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D‑California, said it would be patterned after a committee established by then-Senator Harry Truman of Missouri to police fraud and waste in the Roosevelt Administrations World War II military spending. But Republicans called it a vehicle to disparage Donald Trump in a presidential election year.
James Comer, R‑Kentucky, said: “America’s families are suffering right now. But instead of helping American families, Speaker Pelosi wants to set up a new, costly, unnecessary select committee. This is an outrageous attempt to yet again use Congress to smear President Trump in an election year, just like their impeachment charade a few months ago.”
Jim McGovern, D‑Massachusetts, said: “When it comes to $2 trillion, I don’t think there can be enough oversight. My constituents are puzzled as to why some of the money that was designed to go to small businesses ended up going to mega-businesses like Shake Shack or Ruth’s Chris Steak House.
A yes vote was to establish a coronavirus oversight committee.
Voting Nay (2): Republican Representatives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson
Voting Aye (4): Democratic Representatives Suzanne Bonamici, Earl Blumenauer, Peter DeFazio, Kurt Schrader
Voting Nay (1): Republican Representative Greg Walden
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
APPROVING $484 BILLION IN CORONAVIRUS RELIEF: Voting 388 for and five against, the House on April 23rd approved a $484 billion package to help hospitals, small businesses, farms and other recipients cope with economic misfortune over the next few months of the coronavirus pandemic.
The bill (H.R. 266) would provide:
- $321 billion for a second round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) forgivable loans to businesses with 500 or fewer employees, including a $60 billion set-aside for minority-owned companies and other enterprises overlooked in the first round because they lacked clout with banks. The loans will be converted to grants if the recipient retains workers now employed and rehires ones already dismissed during the pandemic.
- $75 billion to reimburse hospitals and other medical providers for losses attributable to the pandemic.
- $25 billion for state-level coronavirus testing while requiring an administration strategy for the large-scale, nationwide COVID-19 testing deemed necessary for sustained economic recovery.
- $62 billion to leverage hundreds of millions in repayable Small Business Administration disaster loans to faltering enterprises including family farms and agribusiness spreads.
Congress has now enacted four coronavirus relief packages totaling more than $2.7 trillion since March 6. It previously approved:
- $8.3 billion for purposes including the provision of test kits, masks and ventilators; research into vaccines and diagnostic and therapeutic procedures; expansion of hospital surge capacity, and support of state and local preparedness.
- $100 billion to fund, in part, free virus testing for all Americans who request it along with paid sick leave and paid family and medical leave for workers impacted by the pandemic at firms with fewer than 500 employees.
- $2.2 trillion to fund round one of the PPP for small businesses; direct payments to larger companies; $600 weekly in added jobless benefits, and payments of $1,200 to individuals and $2,400 to couples plus $500 per child up to specified earning levels.
Brad Sherman, D‑California, praised the latest bill but said “we need to shift from the economic to the biological focus on defeating this disease. So far, only one-tenth of 1 percent of the coronavirus money has gone for medical research to prevent and treat the virus.”
Andy Biggs, R‑Arizona, said the bill leaves unanswered “the question of how much longer the American people acquiesce to unconstitutional and crushing government action. We need to open up America now. I call on our governors to free their citizens immediately.”
A yes vote was to send the bill to Donald Trump, who signed it into law. The Senate had already passed the bill on a non-record vote.
Voting Aye (2): Republican Representatives Mike Simpson and Russ Fulcher
Voting Aye (5): Democratic Representatives Suzanne Bonamici, Earl Blumenauer, Peter DeFazio, Kurt Schrader; Republican Representative Greg Walden
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
Last Week In Congress will be on hiatus again next week
Congress is in recess until the week of May 4th.
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!
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