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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, November 22nd, 2020

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (November 16th-20th)

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Mem­bers of Con­gress vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Fri­day, Novem­ber 20th.

In the United States House of Representatives

Chamber of the United States House of Representatives

The House cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

EXPANDING FEDERALLY FUNDED APPRENTICESHIPS: Vot­ing 246 for and 140 against, the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives on Novem­ber 20th passed a bill (H.R. 8294) that would autho­rize $3.5 bil­lion over five years to expand fed­er­al­ly fund­ed appren­tice­ship programs.

While the bill would pre­pare work­ers for jobs in tra­di­tion­al indus­tries such as man­u­fac­tur­ing, trans­porta­tion and con­struc­tion, it also would fund instruc­tion and on-the-job train­ing for spe­cial­ized fields such as ear­ly child­hood edu­ca­tion, advanced health care and green energy.

In addi­tion, the bill would pro­mote work oppor­tu­ni­ties for per­sons with diverse back­grounds and crim­i­nal records tra­di­tion­al­ly left out of appren­tice­ship programs.

The bill drew Repub­li­can oppo­si­tion, in part, because it would quash Trump’s Indus­try Rec­og­nized Appren­tice­ship Pro­grams (IRAPs), which receive fed­er­al fund­ing but oper­ate with few reg­u­la­tions and are not wel­com­ing to unions.

Jahana Hayes, D‑Connecticut, said the bill “would cre­ate one mil­lion appren­tice­ship oppor­tu­ni­ties… with an aver­age start­ing salary after com­ple­tion of around $70,000” free of of stu­dent debt.

“It ensures busi­ness­es can fill key vacan­cies with cre­den­tialed, skilled employ­ees — in short, putting peo­ple back to work,” Hayes said.

Vir­ginia Foxx, R‑North Car­oli­na, said the bill “rein­forces the idea, there’s only one way to do things, the gov­ern­men­t’s way. When will the Democ­rats learn that the Amer­i­can peo­ple are not inter­est­ed in gov­ern­ment-man­dat­ed social­ist poli­cies. Once again, Democ­rats are choos­ing to bend to the will of ‘big labor’ instead of putting Amer­i­can work­ers first.”

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, and 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 (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera-Beut­ler and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Not Vot­ing (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Dan Newhouse

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

DEFEATING REPUBLICAN APPRENTICESHIPS PLAN: Vot­ing 142 for and 243 against, the House on Novem­ber 20th defeat­ed a Repub­li­can alter­na­tive to HR 8294 (above). The amend­ment sought to shift the focus of fed­er­al­ly fund­ed appren­tice­ships from Depart­ment of Labor-reg­is­tered pro­grams, which issue nation­al­ly rec­og­nized work cre­den­tials and allow exten­sive union involve­ment, toward region­al busi­ness-run Indus­try Rec­og­nized Appren­tice­ship Programs.

IRAPs receive tax­pay­er fund­ing but oper­ate with few fed­er­al rules and dimin­ished or non-exis­tent union par­tic­i­pa­tion. The Repub­li­can mea­sure also would slash fund­ing lev­els in the under­ly­ing bill and end coor­di­na­tion between the depart­ments of labor and edu­ca­tion in struc­tur­ing apprenticeships.

Vir­ginia Foxx, R‑North Car­oli­na, said the Repub­li­can alter­na­tive removes “bar­ri­ers that have developed…in the cur­rent [eighty-year-old] sys­tem, cre­ates par­i­ty between union and non-union spon­sored pro­grams and makes it eas­i­er for every­one to par­tic­i­pate, par­tic­u­lar­ly the small businesses.…”

Bob­by Scott, D‑Virginia, said the pro­pos­al backed by Foxx and her col­leagues “under­mines the core premise…to cre­ate one mil­lion more [appren­tice­ships] over the next five years. There is a 77 per­cent reduc­tion in fund­ing” in the Repub­li­can plan, “result­ing in only 219,000 mil­lion new appren­tice­ship opportunities.…”

A yes vote was to adopt the Repub­li­can plan.

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 Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

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 Dan Newhouse

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)

BLOCKING JUDY SHELTON AS FED GOVERNOR: Vot­ing 47 for and 50 against, the Sen­ate on Novem­ber 17th failed to advance the nom­i­na­tion of lib­er­tar­i­an econ­o­mist Judy L. Shel­ton, 66, to the Fed­er­al Reserve Sys­tem Board of Gov­er­nors. But Repub­li­cans left open the pos­si­bil­i­ty of a revote this year on her appoint­ment to the sev­en-mem­ber board that sets U.S. mon­e­tary policy.

Shel­ton served under Don­ald Trump as U.S. envoy to the Euro­pean Bank for Recon­struc­tion and Devel­op­ment. She has been affil­i­at­ed with con­ser­v­a­tive orga­ni­za­tions includ­ing the Hoover Insti­tu­tion and the Atlas Net­work and numer­ous “sound mon­ey” and “free mar­ket” causes.

Although Shel­ton pre­sent­ed her­self to the Sen­ate as an ortho­dox econ­o­mist, she has endorsed a return to the gold stan­dard; called for abol­ish­ing the Fed; ques­tioned whether the Fed should remain inde­pen­dent; doubt­ed the accu­ra­cy of gov­ern­ment sta­tis­tics; advo­cat­ed a sin­gle North Amer­i­can cur­ren­cy; urged the elim­i­na­tion of fed­er­al deposit insur­ance; and both sup­port­ed and opposed the cen­tral bank’s use of low inter­est rates and bond pur­chas­es to fight reces­sions. She has walked back some of her most provoca­tive com­ments on eco­nom­ic policy.

Nobody spoke on behalf of Shel­ton on the Sen­ate floor.

Demo­c­ra­t­ic Leader Chuck Schumer, D‑N.Y., said Shel­ton’s crit­i­cism of fed­er­al deposit insur­ance, “an insti­tu­tion that has pro­tect­ed Amer­i­can sav­ings since the 1930s,” helps explain why “over one hun­dred and thir­ty of the nation’s top econ­o­mists, includ­ing sev­en Nobel lau­re­ates, have opposed her nom­i­na­tion, as have count­less alum­ni of the Fed­er­al Reserve Board of Governors.”

A yes vote was to advance the nom­i­na­tion to a final vote.

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

CONFIRMING STEPHEN VADEN AS U.S. TRADE JUDGE: Vot­ing 49 for and 43 against, the Sen­ate on Novem­ber 18th con­firmed Stephen A. Vaden, thir­ty-eight, the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture gen­er­al coun­sel, for a life­time appoint­ment to the Unit­ed States Court of Inter­na­tion­al Trade.

A spe­cial­ized unit of the fed­er­al judi­cia­ry, the nine-judge pan­el adju­di­cates trade and cus­toms-law dis­putes involv­ing fed­er­al agen­cies, cor­po­ra­tions, labor unions, pri­vate cit­i­zens, for­eign gov­ern­ments and oth­er litigants.

A yes vote was to con­firm the nominee.

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

LWIC will be on hiatus again until December

Con­gress is in Thanks­giv­ing recess until the week of Novem­ber 30th.

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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