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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, September 13th, 2020

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (September 7th-11th)

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Unit­ed States Sen­a­tors vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Fri­day, Sep­tem­ber 11th, 2020.

In the United States Senate

Chamber of the United States Senate

The Sen­ate cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress pho­to)

BLOCKING REPUBLICAN CORONAVIRUS PACKAGE: Vot­ing 52 for and 47 against, the Sen­ate on Sep­tem­ber 10th failed to reach six­ty votes need­ed to advance a Repub­li­can-spon­sored coro­n­avirus relief pack­age.

Con­sist­ing of $300 bil­lion in new spend­ing and $350 bil­lion in recy­cled funds, the bill (S 178).stopped well short of a com­pet­ing $3.4 tril­lion mea­sure passed by House Democ­rats in May. The Sen­ate bill would fund sup­ple­men­tal unem­ploy­ment ben­e­fits of $300 per week through the end of 2020 and a sec­ond round of Pay­check Pro­tec­tion Pro­gram for­giv­able loans for small busi­ness­es, while erect­ing a shield against law­suits for busi­ness­es tak­ing rea­son­able steps to pro­tect against COVID-19 expo­sure. The bill omit­ted aid passed by the House such as $1 tril­lion to help states and local­i­ties avert lay­offs, $200 bil­lion in haz­ard pay for essen­tial work­ers and $100 bil­lion to help ten­ants pay rent.

In part, the Sen­ate bill would pro­vide $70 bil­lion for K‑12 edu­ca­tion includ­ing tax cred­its for pri­vate-school tuition; $31 bil­lion for devel­op­ing Covid-19 vac­cines and ther­a­peu­tics; $29.4 bil­lion for the U.S. mil­i­tary; $29 bil­lion for col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties; $25 bil­lion for pub­lic health ser­vices; $20 bil­lion for farm­ers and ranch­ers; $15.5 bil­lion for the Nation­al Insti­tutes of Health; $10 bil­lion for the U.S. Postal Ser­vice and $5 bil­lion in aid to child­care cen­ters.

John Thune, R‑South Dako­ta, said: “We may need to spend more” for coro­n­avirus relief in the future. “This bill is sim­ply an attempt to direct relief funds to some of the biggest pri­or­i­ties right now, like help­ing the hard­est hit small busi­ness­es weath­er this cri­sis and pro­vid­ing more resources for test­ing, treat­ment and vac­cines. These are areas we should all agree on.”

Minor­i­ty Leader Charles Schumer, D‑New York, said the bill “does not help renters keep a roof over their heads or Amer­i­can fam­i­lies put food on the table. It short­changes health care and edu­ca­tion. It does not pro­vide a dime to pro­tect essen­tial state and local ser­vices. It is laden with poi­son pills…to guar­an­tee the bil­l’s fail­ure. The truth of the mat­ter is, Repub­li­cans… don’t want to pass a bill.”

A yes vote was to advance the bill.

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 Maria Cantwell and Pat­ty Mur­ray

Cas­ca­dia total: 2 aye votes, 4 nay votes

Key votes ahead

Con­gress in the week of Sep­tem­ber 14th will debate leg­is­la­tion to fund the gov­ern­ment on a stop­gap basis when the new fis­cal year begins Octo­ber 1st.

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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