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, October 4th, 2020

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (Sept. 28th-October 2nd)

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Mem­bers of Con­gress vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Fri­day, Octo­ber 2nd.

In the United States House of Representatives

Chamber of the United States House of Representatives

The House cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress pho­to)

APPROVING $2.2 TRILLION FOR CORONAVIRUS RELIEF: Vot­ing 214 for and 207 against, the House on Octo­ber 1st approved an amend­ed $2.2 tril­lion coro­n­avirus relief pack­age (H.R. 925, named the Revised HEROES Act by Democ­rats) that would autho­rize $600 per week in added job­less ben­e­fits through Jan­u­ary and a sec­ond round of stim­u­lus pay­ments of $1,200 to indi­vid­u­als and $2,400 to fam­i­lies up to cer­tain income lev­els, plus expand­ed child tax cred­its.

The bill also pro­vides, in part:

  • $436 bil­lion for state, local, trib­al and ter­ri­to­r­i­al gov­ern­ments;
  • $182 bil­lion for K‑12 schools;
  • $120 bil­lion for restau­rants;
  • $75 bil­lion for coro­n­avirus test­ing, trac­ing and iso­la­tion;
  • $57 bil­lion for child-care cen­ters;
  • $50 bil­lion for ten­ants’ rental assis­tance;
  • $50 bil­lion for hos­pi­tals serv­ing poor com­mu­ni­ties;
  • $50 bil­lion in grants to small busi­ness­es;
  • $39 bil­lion for col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties;
  • $28.3 bil­lion for air­line pay­rolls;
  • $28 bil­lion for vac­cine pro­cure­ment, dis­tri­b­u­tion and edu­ca­tion;
  • $21 bil­lion in home­own­er mort­gage aid;
  • $15 bil­lion to sus­tain the Postal Ser­vice and $3.6 bil­lion to boost bal­lot secu­ri­ty and vot­er par­tic­i­pa­tion in this year’s elec­tions.

As men­tioned, the bill is a reduced ver­sion of the $3 tril­lion HEROES Act, which passed the House May 15th but stalled in the Sen­ate. The House has now passed six COVID-19 relief bills since March 4, four of which have become law.

In oth­er pro­vi­sions, the bill would:

  • expand food stamps and nutri­tion­al assis­tance;
  • fund stu­dent-loan for­give­ness of up to $10,000 per bor­row­er;
  • expand access to the Patient Pro­tec­tion Act;
  • require Occu­pa­tion­al Health and Safe­ty Admin­is­tra­tion coro­n­avirus work­place rules; give the Cen­sus Bureau more time to com­pile data for redraw­ing leg­isla­tive dis­tricts next year;
  • pro­vide tax cred­its to incen­tivize employ­ers to retain work­ers;
  • expand earned-income tax cred­its for low-income fam­i­lies;
  • sus­pend for one year a cap on deduc­tions for state and local tax pay­ments in cer­tain states and shore up mul­ti-employ­er pen­sion plans in col­lec­tive bar­gain­ing agree­ments.

Richard Neal, D‑Massachusetts, said the bill “pro­vides access to health care by cre­at­ing a broad open enroll­ment peri­od so indi­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies can obtain cov­er­age through Afford­able Care Act mar­ket­places… In Amer­i­ca, most work­ers who lose their jobs also lose health insur­ance. This is a safe­ty net to help them main­tain their insur­ance cov­er­age.”

Rod­ney Davis, R‑Illinois, said the bill “is filled with sev­en­ty-one pages of fed­er­al elec­tion man­dates that have noth­ing to do with the coro­n­avirus. It is anoth­er attempt by Democ­rats to fed­er­al­ize our elec­tions” at a time when “more than one mil­lion peo­ple have already vot­ed… It would be a dis­as­ter for elec­tion admin­is­tra­tors and lead to more con­fu­sion sur­round­ing the 2020 elec­tion.”

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

Cas­ca­dia total: 10 aye votes, 7 nay votes

PEACEFUL TRANSFER OF PRESIDENTIAL POWER: Vot­ing 397 for and five against, the House on Sep­tem­ber 29th adopt­ed a mea­sure (House Res­o­lu­tion 1155) affirm­ing “the order­ly and peace­ful trans­fer of pow­er called for by the Con­sti­tu­tion” if Don­ald Trump is vot­ed out of office this year.

This was a response to Trump’s repeat­ed refusal to com­mit to relin­quish­ing pow­er on Jan­u­ary 20th, 2021, should he lose the Novem­ber elec­tion. The five neg­a­tive votes were cast by Repub­li­cans Matt Gaetz of Flori­da, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Clay Hig­gins of Louisiana, Steve King of Iowa and Thomas Massie of Ken­tucky.

Eric Swal­well, D‑California, called it “beyond unset­tling to hear [Trump] sug­gest that the only result he will accept is the one where he wins… Sad­ly, the world is replete with exam­ples of dic­ta­tors and despots and their refusal to leave office and the chaos it caus­es… In Amer­i­ca, how­ev­er, it is not one per­son, but we, the peo­ple; we, the peo­ple, who rule.”

Gohmert said “as long as every­thing is legal and fair, you betcha, [Trump] will have a smooth tran­si­tion of power.…He just wants fair­ness in the vote, and he will fol­low the will of the peo­ple. It is a real shame that [Democ­rats] would­n’t allow an amend­ment, so we could say to both sides: ‘Fol­low the will of the peo­ple; have a prop­er tran­si­tion of pow­er.’ But, no, they would­n’t go there.”

A yes vote was to adopt the res­o­lu­tion.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (5): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, Kurt Schrad­er; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Greg Walden

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (10): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Den­ny Heck; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera-Beut­ler, Dan New­house, and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 17 aye votes

CONDEMNING SURGICAL PROCEDURES ON IMMIGRANT WOMEN: Vot­ing 232 for and 157 against, the House on Octo­ber 2nd adopt­ed a non-bind­ing con­dem­na­tion (House Res­o­lu­tion 1153) of unwant­ed gyne­co­log­i­cal surgery alleged­ly per­formed in recent years on numer­ous women held for immi­gra­tion offens­es at the Irwin Coun­ty Deten­tion Cen­ter in Geor­gia.

The Immi­gra­tion and Cus­toms Enforce­ment (ICE) facil­i­ty is man­aged by the pri­vate firm LaSalle Cor­rec­tions, and the oper­a­tions report­ed­ly were per­formed at a near­by hos­pi­tal. The Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­ri­ty inspec­tor gen­er­al recent­ly opened an inves­ti­ga­tion of the alle­ga­tions, which were raised in a nurse’s whistle­blow­er com­plaint.

Mary Gay Scan­lon, D‑Pennsylvania, a pro­po­nent of the res­o­lu­tion, said it was nec­es­sary to con­demn and inves­ti­gate “some of the most repul­sive and inhu­mane alle­ga­tions ever direct­ed at a U.S. fed­er­al agency.”

Deb­bie Lesko., R‑Arizona, said: “If the accu­sa­tions are true, they’re obvi­ous­ly hor­rif­ic… How­ev­er, we don’t know any­thing for cer­tain yet” while await­ing the out­come of the inspec­tor gen­er­al’s inves­ti­ga­tion.

A yes vote was to adopt the res­o­lu­tion.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mike Simp­son

Not Vot­ing (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Russ Fulcher

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (5): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, Kurt Schrad­er; 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 (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera-Beut­ler and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Not Vot­ing (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Dan New­house

Cas­ca­dia total: 12 aye votes, 3 nay votes, 2 not vot­ing

In the United States Senate

Chamber of the United States Senate

The Sen­ate cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress pho­to)

APPROVING STOPGAP FEDERAL BUDGET BILL: Vot­ing 84 for and 10 against, the Sen­ate on Sep­tem­ber 30th passed a bill (H.R. 8337) to fund the gov­ern­ment on a stop­gap basis in the open­ing weeks of fis­cal 2021, which began Octo­ber 1st. The bill, which became nec­es­sary when Con­gress failed to pass reg­u­lar appro­pri­a­tions bills for the new bud­get year, will fund agen­cies at 2020 spend­ing lev­els through Decem­ber 11th, 2020, avert­ing a gov­ern­ment shut­down.

A yes vote was to send the bill to Don­ald Trump.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (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 (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Maria Cantwell and Pat­ty Mur­ray

Cas­ca­dia total: 6 aye votes

HEALTH LAW BEFORE SUPREME COURT: Vot­ing 51 for and 43 against, the Sen­ate on Octo­ber 1st turned back a Demo­c­ra­t­ic attempt to end the Trump admin­is­tra­tion’s advo­ca­cy before the Supreme Court of lit­i­ga­tion to strike down the Afford­able Care Act. The bill (S. 4653) need­ed six­ty-three votes to advance. The court is sched­uled to hear oral argu­ments Novem­ber 10th in the law­suit Texas v. Unit­ed States that would kill the 2010 health law, and the Depart­ment of Jus­tice has filed a brief in sup­port of the suit.

A yes vote was to end admin­is­tra­tion involve­ment in the repeal law­suit.

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 (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Maria Cantwell and Pat­ty Mur­ray

Cas­ca­dia total: 4 aye votes, 2 nay votes

LWIC will be on hiatus until later this month

Con­gress is sched­uled to be in recess next week. Bar­ring an unsched­uled ses­sion of the House or Sen­ate, there will be no Last Week In Con­gress next Sun­day.

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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