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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, July 5th, 2020

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (June 29th-July 3rd)

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Mem­bers of Con­gress vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Fri­day, July 3rd.

In the United States House of Representatives

Chamber of the United States House of Representatives

The House cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress pho­to)

IMPROVING ACCESS TO CREDIT DATA: Vot­ing 234 for and 179 against, the House on June 29 passed a bill (H.R. 5332) that would require the cred­it bureaus Exper­ian, Tran­sUnion and Equifax to estab­lish a joint online por­tal giv­ing con­sumers free any­time access to infor­ma­tion on their cred­it scores and reports, dis­pute his­to­ries and sale of per­son­al data to third par­ties. Con­sumers now must deal sep­a­rate­ly with the bureaus and they are allowed a lim­it­ed num­ber of free views. The Con­sumer Finan­cial Pro­tec­tion Bureau would over­see the por­tal.

Josh Got­theimer, D‑New Jer­sey, said: “By cre­at­ing this one-stop por­tal, all three cred­it bureaus will now have to work togeth­er to help pro­tect you and make your lives bet­ter, not the oth­er way around.”

Bar­ry Lou­d­er­milk, R‑Ga., called the Con­sumer Finan­cial Pro­tec­tion Bureau “an unac­count­able reg­u­la­to­ry agency that took many rogue actions under the pre­vi­ous admin­is­tra­tion.”

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

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simp­son

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (4): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, Kurt Schrad­er

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Greg Walden

The State of Washington

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 and Dan New­house

Not Vot­ing (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 11 aye votes, 5 nay votes, 1 not vot­ing

EXPANDING THE PATIENT PROTECTION ACT: Vot­ing 234 for and 179 against, the House on June 29 passed a Demo­c­ra­t­ic bill (H.R. 1425) that would reshape the Patient Pro­tect and Afford­able Care Act (PPA) by steps such as broad­en­ing its Med­ic­aid expan­sion, cap­ping med­ical expen­di­tures for cer­tain cov­er­age lev­els and low­er­ing the cost of pre­scrip­tion drugs.

The bill would raise the nation­al debt by at least $50 bil­lion over 10 years while extend­ing cov­er­age to four mil­lion Amer­i­cans in addi­tion to the 23 mil­lion already using the law to cov­er a large share of their med­ical expens­es.

The bill would require states that have not yet joined the PPA’s Med­ic­aid expan­sion to do so or face a cut in the fed­er­al­ly paid share of their basic Med­ic­aid pro­gram. For new­ly join­ing states, the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment would cov­er one hun­dred per­cent of added costs for three years and 90 per­cent there­after.

In addi­tion, the bill stip­u­lates that enrollees in Patient Pro­tec­tion Act Sil­ver plans could not be charged more than 8.5 per­cent of their annu­al income for pre­mi­ums, deductibles and relat­ed charges.

The bill also would require phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies to nego­ti­ate with the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment the prices of approx­i­mate­ly two hun­dred and fifty top-sell­ing pre­scrip­tion drugs offered in Medicare Part D and employ­er plans.

Fur­ther, the bill would nul­li­fy an exec­u­tive order by Don­ald Trump that allows the sale of plans that do not meet Patient Pro­tec­tion Act require­ments such as cov­er­age of pre-exist­ing con­di­tions and the pro­vi­sion of “essen­tial health ben­e­fits” includ­ing mater­ni­ty and pedi­atric care.

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

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simp­son

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (4): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, Kurt Schrad­er

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Greg Walden

The State of Washington

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 and Dan New­house

Not Vot­ing (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 11 aye votes, 5 nay votes, 1 not vot­ing

REPUBLICAN AMENDMENT TO DELAY EFFECTIVE DATE OF PPA BILL: Vot­ing 187 for and 223 against, the House on June 29 defeat­ed a Repub­li­can bid to keep H.R. 1425 (above) from tak­ing effect until after fed­er­al health offi­cials cer­ti­fy its low­er­ing of drug prices would not delay the devel­op­ment of COVID-19 vac­cines or ther­a­pies by crimp­ing phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies’ research bud­gets.

Greg Walden, R‑Oregon, said the Con­gres­sion­al Bud­get Office found the bill would hin­der med­ical inno­va­tion and sup­press promis­ing new drugs. “Will that be a cure for Covid or a cure for ALS or a cure for can­cer?”

Frank Pal­lone, D‑New Jer­sey, called the mea­sure “cov­er to the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal indus­try to con­tin­ue to raise prices, just as we have seen them do on thou­sands of drugs this year alone.”

A yes vote was to adopt the motion.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simp­son

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Greg Walden

Vot­ing Nay (4): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrad­er

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera-Beut­ler and Dan New­house

Vot­ing Nay (7): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Den­ny Heck

Not Vot­ing (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 5 aye votes, 11 nay votes, 1 not vot­ing

APPROVING $1.5 TRILLION FOR INFRASTRUCTURE: Vot­ing 233 for and 188 against, the House on July 1st approved a $1.5 tril­lion infra­struc­ture pack­age, with one-third allo­cat­ed to improv­ing roads, bridges, mass tran­sit and inter­state rail­ways over five years.

The bill (H.R. 2) con­tains numer­ous green pro­vi­sions to address the cli­mate cri­sis.

Fund­ing also would be used to:

  • upgrade munic­i­pal drink­ing-water sys­tems;
  • dredge har­bors;
  • add elec­tric vehi­cles to the postal fleet;
  • improve rur­al and inner-city broad­band;
  • build afford­able hous­ing and improve pub­lic facil­i­ties rang­ing from util­i­ties to hos­pi­tals to dis­ad­van­taged schools.

While the bill would derive much of its rev­enue from the High­way Trust Fund, which is sup­port­ed by fuel tax­es, it would rely heav­i­ly on deficit spend­ing.

Brad Schnei­der, D‑Illinois, said the bill treats cli­mate dam­age as “an exis­ten­tial threat. We see it in ris­ing lake lev­els.… We see it across the coun­try in stronger storms and longer hur­ri­cane sea­sons, longer fire sea­sons and dis­rupt­ed grow­ing sea­sons. We have to act now. We have to reduce emis­sions.”

Frank Lucas, R‑Oklahoma, said: “We are in the mid­dle of a pan­dem­ic [and] if there was ever a time for Con­gress to set aside par­ti­san­ship and work togeth­er to cre­ate thought­ful leg­is­la­tion, it is now. Yet here we are, debat­ing a $1.5 tril­lion ‘Green New Deal’ wish list instead of a smart infra­struc­ture bill.”

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

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simp­son

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (4): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, Kurt Schrad­er

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Greg Walden

The State of Washington

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

BARRING HELP FOR CHINA: By a vote of 224 for and 193 against, the House on July 1st approved a Repub­li­can motion that would pro­hib­it fund­ing in H.R. 2 (above) from being used to line the pock­ets of state-owned Chi­nese com­pa­nies or build prison camps for Chi­na’s pop­u­la­tion of Mus­lim Uighurs.

Rick Craw­ford, R‑Arkansas, said: “Chi­na’s indus­tri­al plan makes their goal clear: Dom­i­nate glob­al inno­va­tion and man­u­fac­tur­ing by any means nec­es­sary. Chi­na is buy­ing and steal­ing Amer­i­can tech­nol­o­gy explic­it­ly to over­take our semi­con­duc­tor, robot­ic and elec­tric vehi­cle indus­tries.”

The Pacif­ic North­west­’s own Peter DeFazio, D‑Oregon, said: “If only we had a pres­i­dent who would take mean­ing­ful action against Chi­na.… Yeah, we just recent­ly found out that he begged Pre­mier Xi Jin­ping to buy more farm prod­ucts to help his reelec­tion. And by the way, he said he liked the prison camps, he thought they were a good idea. He actu­al­ly said that.”

A yes vote was to adopt the motion.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simp­son

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Greg Walden

Vot­ing Nay (4): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrad­er

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (4): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera-Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers; Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Kim Schri­er

Vot­ing Nay (6): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Adam Smith, and Den­ny Heck

Cas­ca­dia total: 7 aye votes, 10 nay votes

EXTENDING EVICTIONS FREEZE: Vot­ing 232 for and 180 against, the House on June 29th passed a bill (H.R. 7301) that would extend until mid-2021 a freeze on evic­tions and fore­clo­sures linked to finan­cial hard­ship caused by the coro­n­avirus. The cur­rent mora­to­ri­um will expire July 25th.

The bill also would cre­ate a $100 bil­lion fund to help ten­ants pay rent and util­i­ty bills dur­ing the pan­dem­ic.

David Cicilline, D‑Rhode Island, said: “Mil­lions of Amer­i­cans have lost their jobs and are dan­ger­ous­ly close to los­ing their homes. The relief this Con­gress pro­vid­ed has kept mil­lions of Amer­i­cans housed. We must con­tin­ue to act.”

Bill Huizen­ga, R‑Michigan, said the bill allo­cates more than $119 bil­lion to the Depart­ment of Hous­ing and Urban Devel­op­ment but “fails to pro­vide any over­sight for that new fund­ing.”

A yes vote was to extend the mora­to­ri­um while mak­ing the relief avail­able to a wider swath of house­holds.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simp­son

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (3): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, and Peter DeFazio

Vot­ing Nay (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Greg Walden; Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Kurt Schrad­er

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (7): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Den­ny Heck

Vot­ing Nay (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera-Beut­ler and Dan New­house

Not Vot­ing (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 11 aye votes, 5 nay votes, 1 not vot­ing

BARRING AID TO UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS: Vot­ing 191 for and 219 against, the House on June 29th defeat­ed a Repub­li­can bid to amend H.R. 7301 (above) in order to increase over­sight of the Depart­ment of Hous­ing and Urban Devel­op­ment and pro­hib­it undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants from receiv­ing ben­e­fits.

Bill Huizen­ga, R‑Michigan, said “we should not be spend­ing mon­ey on those who are unlaw­ful­ly present in the Unit­ed States at a time when mil­lions of Amer­i­cans and legal res­i­dents are out of work… and fight­ing to do more with less.”

Max­ine Waters, D‑California, spoke of the one in two mem­bers of Con­gress who are mil­lion­aires, say­ing: “While they are in Wash­ing­ton, they don’t pay any rent, many of them. They sleep in their offices at night. And yet they are talk­ing about deny­ing peo­ple rent who don’t have anoth­er dime.”

A yes vote was to adopt the motion.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simp­son

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Greg Walden

Vot­ing Nay (4): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrad­er

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera-Beut­ler and Dan New­house

Vot­ing Nay (7): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Den­ny Heck

Not Vot­ing (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 5 aye votes, 11 nay votes, 1 not vot­ing

In the United States Senate

Chamber of the United States Senate

The Sen­ate cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress pho­to)

GOING ON RECORD IN FAVOR OF TOTAL WITHDRAWAL FROM AFGHANISTAN: Vot­ing 60 for and 33 against, the Sen­ate on July 1st tabled (killed) an amend­ment to the fis­cal 2021 mil­i­tary bud­get (S. 4049) requir­ing a com­plete with­draw­al over one year of the 8,600 U.S. com­bat troops in Afghanistan. The under­ly­ing bill, which remained in debate, oppos­es any “pre­cip­i­tous” end­ing of Amer­i­ca’s twen­ty-year mil­i­tary involve­ment there, and Don­ald Trump has called for reduc­ing the troop lev­el to 4,500 by year’s end but has not set a with­draw­al date.

Jim Inhofe, R‑Oklahoma, said: “While I dis­agree with the sub­stance of the amend­ment, I think the Sen­ate should vote on it.”

Amend­ment spon­sor Rand Paul, R‑Kentucky, not­ed that the deploy­ment is cost­ing $50 bil­lion per year, and asked his fel­low sen­a­tors if they sup­port “stay­ing in Afghanistan for anoth­er gen­er­a­tion.” Asked Paul: “Are you for con­tin­u­ing a war that has lost its pur­pose? Today, we get to vote up or down: Are you for the war or against the war? Does the war still have a mis­sion?”

A yes vote was in oppo­si­tion to the troop-with­draw­al amend­ment.

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

LWIC will be on hiatus for a couple weeks

Both cham­bers are expect­ed to be in recess until the week of July 20th. Last Week In Con­gress will resume late this month after Con­gress has recon­vened.

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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