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, June 21st, 2020

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (June 15th-19th)

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Unit­ed States Sen­a­tors vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Fri­day, June 19th, 2020.

The House was in recess.

In the United States Senate

Chamber of the United States Senate

The Sen­ate cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress pho­to)

REPAIRING NATIONAL PARKS, FUNDING PUBLIC LANDS: Vot­ing 73 for and 25 against, the Sen­ate on June 17th passed a bill (H.R. 1957) that would autho­rize $9.5 bil­lion over five years for repair­ing facil­i­ties at the Nation­al Park Ser­vice, oth­er fed­er­al land agen­cies and Indi­an Edu­ca­tion Ser­vice schools.

In addi­tion, the bill would per­ma­nent­ly require an annu­al bud­get of at least $900 mil­lion for the Land and Water Con­ser­va­tion Fund, which pro­vides fed­er­al and non-fed­er­al agen­cies with rev­enue for acquir­ing unde­vel­oped land for con­ser­va­tion and recre­ation­al pur­pos­es.

All fund­ing in the bill would come from roy­al­ties from oil and gas drilling oper­a­tions on fed­er­al prop­er­ty. The bill would set aside about $6.5 bil­lion over five years for long-neglect­ed repairs at scores of nation­al parks and relat­ed prop­er­ties, gen­er­at­ing tens of thou­sands of pri­vate-sec­tor jobs and halv­ing the park ser­vice’s $12.5 bil­lion back­log of unfund­ed main­te­nance.

Steve Daines, R‑Montana, one of the bil­l’s Repub­li­can sup­port­ers, said: “Today, for the first time ever in the U.S. Sen­ate, we will vote to make fund­ing for a crit­i­cal con­ser­va­tion pro­gram, the Land and Water Con­ser­va­tion Fund, full and manda­to­ry. This fund­ing will pro­tect the pro­gram and pro­vide cer­tain­ty for our land man­agers, for con­ser­va­tion­ists, for sports men and women.”

Bill Cas­sidy, R‑Louisiana, said the bill wrong­ly excludes coastal storm-mit­i­ga­tion projects from the Land and Water Con­ser­va­tion Fund. He said that “because sea lev­els are ris­ing,” res­i­dents of coastal states “are increas­ing­ly exposed to flood­ing” and “will be increas­ing­ly in dan­ger.”

A yes vote was to send the bill to the House.

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

WAIVING RULE ON DEFICIT SPENDING: The Sen­ate on June 15th vot­ed, 68 for and 30 against, to allow H.R. 1957 (above) to move for­ward as a deficit-spend­ing mea­sure. The bill is pro­ject­ed to add at least $17 bil­lion to the nation­al debt over 10 years, accord­ing to Sen. Mike Enzi, R‑Wyoming.

On this vote, the Sen­ate waived a pay-as-you-go bud­get require­ment that increas­es in manda­to­ry-spend­ing pro­grams must be off­set by tax hikes or manda­to­ry-spend­ing cuts else­where in the bud­get.

Our own Maria Cantwell, D‑Washington, who sup­port­ed the waiv­er, told col­leagues and peo­ple watch­ing on C‑SPAN: “I can’t ask for a bet­ter tax pol­i­cy or fis­cal pol­i­cy than to use [oil and gas roy­al­ties] to pre­serve open space and pub­lic land and gen­er­ate rev­enue and help all of us enjoy the out­doors.”

Enzi, an oppo­nent of the waiv­er, said: “Dur­ing this fis­cal year, we have already run up a deficit of $1.9 tril­lion — more than twice the size of the deficit we ran at the same time last year. We also just added $2.4 tril­lion to our debt as the nation nec­es­sar­i­ly respond­ed to the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic.”

A yes vote was to exempt the bill from a “deficit neu­tral” bud­get rule.

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 Pat­ty Mur­ray and Maria Cantwell

Cas­ca­dia total: 4 aye votes, 2 nay votes

CONFIRMING JUSTIN WALKER AS APPELLATE JUDGE: Vot­ing 51 for and 42 against, the Sen­ate on June 18th con­firmed Justin R. Walk­er, 38, to serve on the Unit­ed States Court of Appeals for the Dis­trict of Colum­bia, which is regard­ed as the sec­ond most impor­tant U.S. court because it has juris­dic­tion over fed­er­al agen­cies and the reg­u­la­tions they issue.

Walk­er’s judi­cial expe­ri­ence con­sists of nine months’ ser­vice as a fed­er­al dis­trict court judge in Ken­tucky. He is a for­mer fac­ul­ty mem­ber at the Uni­ver­si­ty of Louisville Law School and protg of Major­i­ty Leader Mitch McConnell, and his resume also includes clerk­ships for for­mer Supreme Court Jus­tice Antho­ny Kennedy and then-Judge Brett Kavanaugh of the D.C. appel­late court.

McConnell, R‑Kentucky, describ­ing his pro­tege, said Walk­er has “demon­strat­ed an impres­sive grasp of legal prece­dent. At his cur­rent post as dis­trict judge for the West­ern Dis­trict of Ken­tucky, he elo­quent­ly applied this under­stand­ing to uphold Amer­i­cans’ reli­gious lib­er­ty, and he earned the approval of the Amer­i­can Bar Asso­ci­a­tion with a rat­ing of well-qual­i­fied.”

Demo­c­ra­t­ic Leader Chuck Schumer, D‑New York, said: “I would like [Mitch] McConnell to go home and tell the cit­i­zens of Ken­tucky why he nom­i­nat­ed some­one who wants to repeal our health­care law when the COVID cri­sis is hurt­ing peo­ple there as it is every­where else. In the mid­dle of a nation­al health­care cri­sis, the Repub­li­can Sen­ate major­i­ty is poised to con­firm a judge who oppos­es [the Patient Pro­tec­tion and Afford­able Care Act].

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

Key votes ahead

Both cham­bers will take up mea­sures to reform polic­ing prac­tices in the week of June 22nd, and the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives will also con­sid­er a bill grant­i­ng state­hood to the Dis­trict of Colum­bia.

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.

Adjacent posts

  • Enjoyed what you just read? Make a donation


    Thank you for read­ing The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate, the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute’s jour­nal of world, nation­al, and local pol­i­tics.

    Found­ed in March of 2004, The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate has been help­ing peo­ple through­out the Pacif­ic North­west and beyond make sense of cur­rent events with rig­or­ous analy­sis and thought-pro­vok­ing com­men­tary for more than fif­teen years. The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate is fund­ed by read­ers like you and trust­ed spon­sors. We don’t run ads or pub­lish con­tent in exchange for mon­ey.

    Help us keep The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate edi­to­ri­al­ly inde­pen­dent and freely avail­able to all by becom­ing a mem­ber of the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute today. Or make a dona­tion to sus­tain our essen­tial research and advo­ca­cy jour­nal­ism.

    Your con­tri­bu­tion will allow us to con­tin­ue bring­ing you fea­tures like Last Week In Con­gress, live cov­er­age of events like Net­roots Nation or the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion, and reviews of books and doc­u­men­tary films.

    Become an NPI mem­ber Make a one-time dona­tion

Submit a Comment

By submitting a comment, you agree to abide by our Commenting Guidelines. If you submit any links to other websites in your comment or in the Website field, these will be published at our discretion. Please read our statement of Privacy Practices before commenting to understand how we collect and use submissions to the Cascadia Advocate. Your comment must be submitted with a name and email address as noted below. We will not publish or share your email address. *

*
*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>