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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, May 24th, 2020

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (May 18th-22nd)

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Unit­ed States Sen­a­tors vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Fri­day, May 22nd, 2020.

The House was in recess.

In the United States Senate

Chamber of the United States Senate

The Sen­ate cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress pho­to)

CONFIRMING RATCLIFFE AS INTELLIGENCE CHIEF: On a par­ty-line vote of 49 for and 44 against, the Sen­ate on May 21st con­firmed Rep­re­sen­ta­tive John L. Rat­cliffe, R‑Texas, as the nation’s top intel­li­gence offi­cial.

He becomes the sixth direc­tor of nation­al intel­li­gence (DNI) since the office was cre­at­ed after 911 to improve coor­di­na­tion among the sev­en­teen U.S. civil­ian and mil­i­tary intel­li­gence agen­cies. Rat­cliffe, 54, ardent­ly defend­ed Don­ald Trump dur­ing House impeach­ment hear­ings last year, prompt­ing Demo­c­ra­t­ic sen­a­tors to ques­tion whether he would inde­pen­dent­ly over­look the Amer­i­can spy appa­ra­tus or, instead, shape intel­li­gence to please the White House.

Repub­li­cans said his mem­ber­ship on the House Select Com­mit­tee on Intel­li­gence and back­ground as a fed­er­al pros­e­cu­tor qual­i­fy him to become DNI, and they point­ed to his pledge of inde­pen­dence dur­ing Sen­ate con­fir­ma­tion hear­ings.

Dur­ing brief debate before the con­fir­ma­tion vote, no Repub­li­can sup­port­er cit­ed Rat­clif­fe’s qual­i­fi­ca­tions for the posi­tion.

Charles Grass­ley, R‑Iowa, said: “With this new posi­tion comes great respon­si­bil­i­ty. [Rat­cliffe] will have tremen­dous pow­er to do good and to be trans­par­ent. I would like to remind [him][that]transparency brings account­abil­i­ty, and the pub­lic’s busi­ness ought to be pub­lic. In con­clu­sion, please, Con­gress­man Rat­cliffe and, please, the greater intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty, remem­ber you were cre­at­ed by statute, but Con­gress was cre­at­ed by the Con­sti­tu­tion.”

Our own Ron Wyden, D‑Oregon, said: “With Don­ald Trump as pres­i­dent and William Barr as attor­ney gen­er­al, the lead­er­ship of the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty is one of democ­ra­cy’s last lines of defense. That is why the Amer­i­can peo­ple need a [DNI] who under­stands how the law pro­tects their rights.… Noth­ing that John Rat­cliffe has said dur­ing his con­fir­ma­tion process or through­out his career pro­vides a glim­mer of hope that he is a per­son who would speak truth to pow­er and stand up for the rights of Amer­i­cans.”

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 Nay (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Nay (1): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tor Maria Cantwell

Not Vot­ing (1): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray

Cas­ca­dia total: 2 aye votes, 3 nay votes, 1 not vot­ing

CONFIRMING TRAINOR AS ELECTION COMMISSIONER: On a par­ty-line vote of 49 for and 43 against, the Sen­ate on May 19th con­firmed James E. Train­or III of Austin, Texas, for a seat on the Fed­er­al Elec­tion Com­mis­sion.

The FEC is a post-Water­gate pan­el charged with enforc­ing cam­paign-finance laws in fed­er­al con­tests. It pub­lish­es can­di­dates’ cam­paign finance data, enforces rules for cam­paign con­tri­bu­tions and spend­ing and super­vis­es the pub­lic fund­ing of pres­i­den­tial elec­tions. An attor­ney spe­cial­iz­ing in elec­tion law, Train­or advised Don­ald Trump’s 2016 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign. He becomes the fourth mem­ber of the six-mem­ber FEC, giv­ing it a quo­rum for con­duct­ing busi­ness for the first time since late August. There was no Sen­ate floor debate on Train­or’s nom­i­na­tion.

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 Nay (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Pat­ty Mur­ray and Maria Cantwell

Cas­ca­dia total: 2 aye votes, 4 nay votes

Key votes ahead

The House will vote in the week of May 25th on extend­ing the For­eign Intel­li­gence Sur­veil­lance Act, while the Sen­ate 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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