Last Week In Congress
Last Week In Congress is a long-running Sunday series on NPI's Cascadia Advocate that helps people across the Pacific Northwest and beyond follow how Washington, Oregon, and Idaho's United States lawmakers voted. The illustration above incorporates photo art depicting the U.S. Capitol from NPI's image library.

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Unit­ed States Rep­re­sen­ta­tives vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Sat­ur­day, August 22nd, NPI’s sev­en­teenth anniver­sary. (Leg­isla­tive weeks ordi­nar­i­ly end on Fri­days, but the House held a extra­or­di­nary Sat­ur­day ses­sion yesterday.)

In the United States House of Representatives

Chamber of the United States House of Representatives
The House cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

SHORING UP POSTAL SERVICE: Vot­ing 257 for and 150 against, the House on August 22nd passed a bill (H.R. 8015) that would pro­hib­it the Unit­ed States Postal Ser­vice (USPS) from reduc­ing ser­vice below lev­els in effect at the start of the year and require it to treat offi­cial elec­tion envelopes as first-class mail in this fal­l’s bal­lot­ing. In addi­tion, the bill would pro­vide $25 bil­lion request­ed by USPS for cop­ing with the coro­n­avirus pan­dem­ic in the bud­get year start­ing on Octo­ber 1st.

Until the pan­dem­ic has run its course, the bill would pro­hib­it the USPS from:

  • Delay­ing deliv­er­ies or increas­ing the vol­ume of unde­liv­ered mail;
  • Clos­ing or con­sol­i­dat­ing any post office or reduc­ing the busi­ness hours;
  • Deny­ing over­time pay to USPS employees;
  • Water­ing down mea­sure­ments of whether ser­vice stan­dards are being achieved;
  • Low­er­ing nation­wide or region­al ser­vice standards.

Jim McGov­ern, D‑Massachusetts, said the bill is need­ed because “we have a pres­i­dent who does not want every vote count­ed in the upcom­ing elec­tion because he believes if we do count every vote, he will lose. We’re in the mid­dle of a pan­dem­ic. More and more peo­ple will be vot­ing by mail.… The cur­rent post­mas­ter gen­er­al is not inter­est­ed in reform­ing the post office, he’s inter­est­ed in dis­man­tling it.…”

Deb­bie Lesko, R‑Arizona., called the bill “pho­ny polit­i­cal the­ater to once again bash Pres­i­dent Trump just in time for the Sun­day talk shows and the Repub­li­can Nation­al Con­ven­tion. And just like all the oth­er times, the media will lap it up. Would­n’t it be nice if we were… vot­ing on a nego­ti­at­ed COVID relief pack­age to help the Amer­i­can peo­ple that could actu­al­ly be signed into law.”

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

Not Vot­ing (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Greg Walden

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (8): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Den­ny Heck; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jaime Her­rera Beutler

Vot­ing Nay (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Dan New­house and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 12 aye votes, 4 nay votes, 1 not voting

CRIMINALIZING POSTAL WORKER INTERFERENCE: Vot­ing 182 for and 223 against, the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives on August 22nd defeat­ed a Repub­li­can motion to H.R. 8015 (above) stip­u­lat­ing it is a fed­er­al crime for any postal work­er to tam­per with elec­tion mail. The mea­sure also sought to allo­cate fund­ing in the bill to pri­or­i­tize the deliv­ery of pre­scrip­tion drugs, equip­ping mail per­son­nel with pro­tec­tive gear and pro­cess­ing elec­tion ballots.

James Com­er, R‑Kentucky, said: “This upcom­ing elec­tion will put mil­lions, pos­si­bly hun­dreds of mil­lions, of votes in the lit­er­al hands of postal ser­vice work­ers who we must trust to deliv­er bal­lots safe­ly and on time.”

Bren­da Lawrence, D‑Michigan, said vot­ing fraud already is a fed­er­al crime and not­ed that “every postal employ­ee takes an oath that they will adhere to the Constitution.…”

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

Not Vot­ing (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Greg Walden

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (3): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

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

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

Key votes ahead

Con­gress is in recess until late September.

Unless Con­gress returns to vote on a coro­n­avirus relief pack­age or oth­er leg­is­la­tion, Last Week In Con­gress will be on hia­tus for about a month.

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.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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