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, May 10th, 2020

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (May 4th-8th)

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Unit­ed States Sen­a­tors vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Fri­day, May 8th, 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 HEAD OF COUNTERINTELLIGENCE: Vot­ing 84 for and sev­en against, the Sen­ate on May 6th con­firmed William R. Evan­i­na as direc­tor of the Nation­al Coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence and Secu­ri­ty Cen­ter over crit­i­cism that he has been a reluc­tant sup­port­er of whistle­blow­er rights. The NCSC is the lead U.S. agency for safe­guard­ing Amer­i­ca against for­eign intel­li­gence pen­e­tra­tions.

The vote keeps Evan­i­na in a post he assumed in 2014 when Sen­ate con­fir­ma­tion was not required. After join­ing the FBI as a spe­cial agent in 1996, he inves­ti­gat­ed orga­nized crime and ter­ror­ist activ­i­ties, and he was pro­mot­ed in 2013 to head FBI-CIA joint coun­ter­in­tel­li­gence oper­a­tions. In 2014, Evan­i­na was tasked with putting into effect a new law pro­hibit­ing retal­i­a­tion against whistle­blow­ers in the intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty by revok­ing their secu­ri­ty clear­ances.

Sen­ate crit­ics say that six years lat­er, he has not yet com­plet­ed that assign­ment.

Mark Warn­er, D‑Virginia, called the con­fir­ma­tion essen­tial at a time when the U.S. intel­li­gence com­mu­ni­ty has no Sen­ate-con­firmed appointees in its top ranks. He said “now more than ever, we need at least one career intel­li­gence pro­fes­sion­al with a good record, con­firmed by this Sen­ate, stand­ing guard over” spy and counter-spy oper­a­tions.

Ron Wyden, D‑Oregon, said: “The fact is that Mr. Evan­i­na has failed repeat­ed­ly the key test on pro­tect­ing whistle­blow­er rights. Specif­i­cal­ly, he failed to enact whistle­blow­er pro­tec­tions that the Con­gress required in 2014.A six-year track record of let­ting down whistle­blow­ers and fail­ing to fol­low the law.”

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 Aye (1): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tor Maria Cantwell

Not Vot­ing (1): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray

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

UPHOLDING VETO OF WAR POWERS BILL: Vot­ing 49 for and 44 against, the Sen­ate on May 7th failed to reach a two-thirds thresh­old need­ed to over­turn Don­ald Trump’s veto of a res­o­lu­tion (S.J. Res 68) con­cern­ing the pos­si­bil­i­ty of war with Iran. The mea­sure sought to require the admin­is­tra­tion to obtain advance con­gres­sion­al approval for actions against Iran or its proxy forces except when there is an immi­nent threat to the Unit­ed States.

It did so by invok­ing the 1973 War Pow­ers Res­o­lu­tion, which asserts the pow­er of Con­gress to declare war under Arti­cle I of the Con­sti­tu­tion.

Under the 1973 law, pres­i­dents must noti­fy Con­gress with­in forty-eight hours when they send the U.S. mil­i­tary into com­bat, then with­draw the forces with­in a set peri­od unless Con­gress has autho­rized the action.

Jeff Merkley, D‑Oregon, said that as a result of Trump’s words and actions, “we have come with­in a hair’s breadth of war with Iran.The found­ing fathers were adamant about not hav­ing any­thing resem­bling a king in the new coun­try they were build­ing. The pres­i­dent was giv­en the pow­er to lead the nation’s armed forces as com­man­der in chief, but Arti­cle I, Sec­tion 8 of the Con­sti­tu­tion stat­ed: ‘The Con­gress shall have Pow­er… To declare war.’ ”

James Inhofe, R‑Oklahoma, said “nobody should want a pol­i­cy that would leave Amer­i­cans vul­ner­a­ble to the whims of Iran’s ter­ror­ist-sup­port­ing regime. If we do that, if we tie the pres­i­den­t’s hands so that he can­not defend Amer­i­can lives, we leave our­selves more vul­ner­a­ble and, there­fore, make war infi­nite­ly more like­ly, and accord­ing­ly, we must all vote to sus­tain the Pres­i­den­t’s veto.”

A yes vote was to over­ride the veto.

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 (1): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tor Maria Cantwell

Not Vot­ing (1): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray

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

Key votes ahead

The House will take up Con­gress’s fifth coro­n­avirus relief bill in the week of May 11th, while the Sen­ate will vote on judi­cial and exec­u­tive branch nom­i­na­tions.

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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