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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, October 25th, 2020

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (October 19th-23rd)

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Unit­ed States Sen­a­tors vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Fri­day, Octo­ber 23rd.

In the United States Senate

Chamber of the United States Senate

The Sen­ate cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

SCALING BACK ANTI-POVERTY INVESTMENTS BY BANKS: Vot­ing 43 for and 48 against, the Sen­ate on Octo­ber 19th cleared the way for a Trump admin­is­tra­tion reg­u­la­to­ry roll­back that would allow banks to skirt anti-pover­ty objec­tives of the 1977 Com­mu­ni­ty Rein­vest­ment Act (CRA).

A civ­il rights law, the CRA gives banks incen­tives to issue loans for eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment and afford­able hous­ing in low- and mod­er­ate-income com­mu­ni­ties where they have branches.

In part, the roll­back would allow banks to com­ply with the law by meet­ing broad cri­te­ria rather than spe­cif­ic social and eco­nom­ic oblig­a­tions in poor com­mu­ni­ties. On this vote, the Sen­ate turned back a Demo­c­ra­t­ic-spon­sored mea­sure (HJ Res 90) to block the new rule, which has not yet tak­en effect.

Chris Coons, D‑Delaware, said the CRA “is a land­mark civ­il rights and anti-redlin­ing law cre­at­ed to improve the wel­fare of low- and mod­er­ate-income Amer­i­cans,” and which has “result­ed in tril­lions of dol­lars invest­ed in low- and mod­er­ate-income communities.”

Michael Crapo, R‑Idaho, said the CRA has “failed to improve eco­nom­ic out­comes for under­served groups, includ­ing minori­ties and low- and mod­er­ate income communities.…Importantly, the [Trump] rule does not change” the fed­er­al “oblig­a­tion to fight dis­crim­i­na­tion and ille­gal practices.”

A yes vote opposed a weak­en­ing of the Com­mu­ni­ty Rein­vest­ment Act.

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

BLOCKING REPUBLICAN CORONAVIRUS PACKAGE: Vot­ing 51 for and 44 against, the Sen­ate on Oct. 21 failed to reach 60 votes need­ed to advance a Repub­li­can-spon­sored $500 bil­lion coro­n­avirus-relief pack­age (S 178).

The mea­sure includ­ed funds to expand unem­ploy­ment ben­e­fits, extend the Pay­check Pro­tec­tion Pro­gram for busi­ness­es, build pro­tec­tive fea­tures at K‑12 schools, expand COVID-19 test­ing, advance vac­cine devel­op­ment and take oth­er steps to deal with the pan­dem­ic. Democ­rats called the bill small-bore com­pared to a $2.2 tril­lion mea­sure (the Revised HEROES Act) recent­ly passed by the House, not­ing that it omit­ted ben­e­fits includ­ing $1,200 stim­u­lus pay­ments to indi­vid­u­als, aid for renters and home­own­ers, expand­ed child tax cred­its and fund­ing for postal oper­a­tions, elec­tion secu­ri­ty and the 2020 Census.

Major­i­ty Leader Mitch McConnell, R‑Ky., said the pack­age would pro­vide “half a tril­lion dol­lars of good that Con­gress can do right now through pro­grams that Democ­rats do not even say they oppose. Amer­i­can fam­i­lies deserve for us to agree where we can, make law and push huge amounts of mon­ey out the door while Wash­ing­ton con­tin­ues argu­ing over the rest.”

Demo­c­ra­t­ic Leader Chuck Schumer, D‑New York, said “ema­ci­at­ed” bill “fails to include robust unem­ploy­ment insur­ance, enough fund­ing for schools and uni­ver­si­ties, or fund­ing for rental, hous­ing, or nutri­tion assis­tance. It does noth­ing for the cen­sus or our elec­tions” and is “total­ly inad­e­quate when it comes to fund­ing for test­ing and trac­ing, espe­cial­ly giv­en the new spike in cas­es and… that a sec­ond wave may be upon us.”

A yes vote was to advance the Repub­li­can 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

The Sen­ate will vote on the Supreme Court nom­i­na­tion of Amy Coney Bar­rett in the week of Octo­ber 26th, while the House is like­ly to 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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