Good morning! Here’s how Cascadia’s Members of Congress voted on major issues during the legislative week ending Thursday, December 24th.
In the United States House of Representatives
APPROVING $900 BILLION FOR COVID-19 RELIEF: Voting 359 for and 53 against, the House on December 21st approved a $900 billion COVID-19 relief package that would start delivering benefits immediately.
The measure (H.R. 133) includes:
- onetime payments of $600 to those with incomes under $75,000 and of $1,200 to couples earning less than $150,000;
- $300 per week through March 14th in added jobless benefits for laid-off employees as well as “gig economy” workers and the self-employed;
- $284 billion in forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for businesses with fewer than 300 workers that retain or reinstate employees;
- an expansion of PPP to include newspapers, radio and TV broadcasters, religious institutions and nonprofits;
- $82 billion for K‑12 and post-secondary education with a focus on making classrooms COVID-free;
- tax credits for employers granting paid sick leave; and expanded earned-income and child tax credits for low-income families impacted by the pandemic.
In addition, the bill would put an end to surprise billing for emergency and out-of-network medical care. The bill was sent to the Senate after being joined with a $1.4 trillion measure to fund the government through September.
Donna Shalala, D‑Florida, said in debate: “With this bill, we are attempting to right our moral compass and fulfill our obligation [to] those suffering across our country, and guide us out of this dark winter.”
Chip Roy, R‑Texas, said in a press release the bill would “rack up debt, fund the very local governments locking downs schools and businesses, extend federal subsidies to pay people more not to work than to work, fall short on desperately needed small business relief…”
A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate.
Voting Aye (2): Republican Representatives Mike Simpson and Russ Fulcher
Voting Aye (5): Democratic Representatives Suzanne Bonamici, Earl Blumenauer, Peter DeFazio, Kurt Schrader; Republican Representative Greg Walden
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
In the United States Senate
SENDING CORONAVIRUS AID TO DONALD TRUMP: Voting 92 for and six against, the Senate on December 21st gave final congressional approval to a bill (H.R. 133, above) that would provide $900 billion in coronavirus relief along with $1.4 trillion in government-wide appropriations for fiscal 2021.
In addition to outlays noted above, the bill would:
- provide $29 billion for purchasing and distributing vaccines;
- $25 billion in emergency rental aid plus a moratorium on evictions through January; $22 billion to help states address COVID-19;
- $20 billion targeted to Main Street businesses;
- $16 billion for airlines and $14 billion for mass transit plus a few billion for Amtrak and inner-city bus service;
- $15 billion for cultural venues and movie theaters;
- $13 billion for food stamps and nutrition programs to sustain hungry children;
- $13 billion for farmers and ranchers;
- $10 billion to keep child-care centers open;
- and $1.3 billion in forgiveness of federal loans for infrastructure repairs at historically Black colleges and universities.
The bill also would expand Pell Grants for low-income college students and, for the first time, qualify those in prison for Pell grants to pay tuition costs.
Rob Portman, R‑Ohio, called the package “a targeted bill that focuses on providing a bridge between now and the time at which the vaccines will be widely available.”
Criticizing the bill’s use of deficit spending to make appropriations, Rand Paul, R‑Kentucky, said the country “can be saved, we can survive this [pandemic] if we pull together, but adding more debt is a mistake.”
A yes vote was to send the bill to Donald Trump.
Voting Aye (2):
Voting Aye (2):
Voting Aye (2):
Cascadia total: 6 aye votes
Last Week In Congress will return in the new year
The 117th Congress will convene on January 3rd, 2021.
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!
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