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 7th, 2020

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (June 1st-5th)

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Unit­ed States Sen­a­tors vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Fri­day, June 5th, 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 VOICE OF AMERICA CHIEF: Vot­ing 53 for and 38 against, the Sen­ate on June 4th con­firmed con­ser­v­a­tive doc­u­men­tary film­mak­er Michael Pack to lead the U.S. Agency for Glob­al Media, which over­sees the Voice of Amer­i­ca, Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia and oth­er ser­vices that report news about Amer­i­ca and glob­al devel­op­ments to for­eign audi­ences.

Don­ald Trump has repeat­ed­ly crit­i­cized the VOA for its cov­er­age of Chi­na, Rus­sia and his admin­is­tra­tion, prompt­ing Democ­rats to warn that Pack will seek to infuse pro­pa­gan­da into the VOA’s typ­i­cal­ly inde­pen­dent and unbi­ased cov­er­age.

For­mer­ly named the Broad­cast­ing Board of Gov­er­nors, the glob­al media agency has an annu­al bud­get of $750 mil­lion. Pack­’s nom­i­na­tion also proved con­tro­ver­sial over deal­ings between a non­prof­it he runs, Pub­lic Media Lab, and a for-prof­it film com­pa­ny, Man­i­fold Pro­duc­tions, oper­at­ed by his wife.

Democ­rats said in debate the non­prof­it improp­er­ly chan­neled $4 mil­lion over many years to the for-prof­it com­pa­ny in trans­fers he failed to accu­rate­ly report to the Inter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice and lat­er acknowl­edged to be “over­sights.” The office of the Dis­trict of Colum­bia attor­ney gen­er­al office is inves­ti­gat­ing the trans­ac­tions.

Jim Risch, R‑Idaho, said debate over Pack reflect­ed “the dif­fer­ence of polit­i­cal phi­los­o­phy between the two par­ties. Regard­less of the breast-beat­ing and the rend­ing of gar­ments over what an awful per­son [he] is, and how awful his busi­ness­es have been, keep in mind, this is all pol­i­tics. If you see the kind of work that he has done, he makes Amer­i­ca proud when he makes a doc­u­men­tary.”

Jeff Merkley, D‑Oregon, said Pack’s IRS fil­ings in 2011 through 2018 “did not accu­rate­ly dis­close a rela­tion­ship between his non­prof­it and his for-prof­it.”

“When he was asked if, in fact, there were com­mon offi­cers between the two, he answered no when the answer was clear­ly yes,” Sen­a­tor Merkley stat­ed. “He did not dis­close that his for-prof­it ben­e­fit­ed from the set­up of the non­prof­it. Mr. Pack did admit to the [Sen­ate] that he made over­sights; that is the term he used, ‘over­sights.’ But he has refused to cor­rect his tax fil­ings.”

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

CONFIRMING CORONAVIRUS INSPECTOR GENERAL: Vot­ing 51 for and 40 against, the Sen­ate on June 2nd con­firmed asso­ciate White House coun­sel Bri­an D. Miller as the chief watch­dog over the admin­is­tra­tion’s dis­tri­b­u­tion of tril­lions of dol­lars in coro­n­avirus relief funds. Demo­c­ra­t­ic Leader Chuck Schumer, D‑New York  said in a let­ter that Miller’s close­ness to Pres­i­dent Trump dis­qual­i­fies him to over­see huge pan­dem­ic expen­di­tures under White House con­trol.

But the Sen­ate con­duct­ed no floor debate on his nom­i­na­tion to become spe­cial inspec­tor gen­er­al for pan­dem­ic recov­ery.

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

CONFIRMING DEPUTY UNDERSCRETARY AT PENTAGON: Vot­ing 78 for and 18 against, the Sen­ate on June 3rd con­firmed Dr. James H. Ander­son as deputy under­sec­re­tary of defense for pol­i­cy, a civil­ian post that involves help­ing to devise and exe­cute nation­al-secu­ri­ty, nuclear-deter­rence and mis­sile-defense strate­gies, among oth­er duties. He had been an assis­tant defense sec­re­tary over­see­ing sev­er­al areas mil­i­tary pol­i­cy.

No sen­a­tor spoke in sup­port of Ander­son the Sen­ate floor.

Chris Van Hollen, D‑Maryland, said he vot­ed against the nom­i­nee because of Sec­re­tary of Defense Mark Esper’s com­ment that the U.S. mil­i­tary needs to ”dom­i­nate the bat­tle­space” to quell protests and riot­ing on Amer­i­can streets. Van Hollen said he had “lost con­fi­dence that any nom­i­nee can be trust­ed to stand up to the pres­i­den­t’s attempts to weaponize the Defense Depart­ment for his per­son­al and polit­i­cal ends.”

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

In the week of June 8th, the Sen­ate plans to take up a bill renew­ing the Land and Water Con­ser­va­tion Fund, while the House 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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