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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, January 31st, 2021

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (January 25th-29th)

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Unit­ed States Sen­a­tors vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Fri­day, Jan­u­ary 29th, 2021. (The House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives was in recess, and did not hold any record­ed votes.)

In the United States Senate

Chamber of the United States Senate

The Sen­ate cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

ALLOWING SECOND TRUMP IMPEACHMENT TRIAL: Vot­ing 55 for and 45 against, the Sen­ate on Jan­u­ary 26th set aside an objec­tion by Rand Paul, R‑Kentucky, to the con­sti­tu­tion­al­i­ty of the upcom­ing impeach­ment tri­al of for­mer Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump. Paul said the Con­sti­tu­tion pro­vides for impeach­ment of sit­ting offi­cials, but not for­mer office­hold­ers. Democ­rats point­ed to the prece­dent of Sec­re­tary of War William Belk­nap’s impeach­ment and con­vic­tion in 1876 despite his last-minute res­ig­na­tion in an effort to avoid those penalties.

They also not­ed con­sti­tu­tion­al lan­guage allow­ing impeached and con­vict­ed offi­cials to be dis­qual­i­fied from hold­ing future office. Five Repub­li­cans joined all of the Sen­ate’s Democ­rats and inde­pen­dents in vot­ing to table Paul’s point of order. The Repub­li­cans were Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkows­ki of Alas­ka, Mitt Rom­ney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebras­ka and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.

Major­i­ty Leader Chuck Schumer, D‑New York, said:

“The the­o­ry that the impeach­ment of a for­mer offi­cial is uncon­sti­tu­tion­al is flat-out wrong by every frame of analy­sis: con­sti­tu­tion­al text, his­tor­i­cal prac­tice, prece­dent, and basic com­mon sense. It has been com­plete­ly debunked by con­sti­tu­tion­al schol­ars from all across the polit­i­cal spectrum.”

Paul argued:

“As of noon last Wednes­day, Don­ald Trump holds none of the posi­tions list­ed in the Con­sti­tu­tion. He is a pri­vate cit­i­zen… There­fore, I make a point of order that this pro­ceed­ing, which would try a pri­vate cit­i­zen and not a pres­i­dent, a vice pres­i­dent, or civ­il offi­cer, vio­lates the Con­sti­tu­tion and is not in order.”

A yes vote was to table a point of order so that the impeach­ment tri­al can begin.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (1): Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor Jim Risch

Not Vot­ing (1): Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor 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: 5 aye votes, 1 not voting

CONFIRMING JANET YELLEN, SECRETARY OF THE TREASURY: Vot­ing 84 for and 15 against, the Sen­ate on Jan. 25 con­firmed Janet L. Yellen, sev­en­ty-four as the sev­en­ty-eight sec­re­tary of the Trea­sury and first woman to lead the depart­ment in its two hun­dred and thir­ty-two-year history.

She served on the Fed­er­al Reserve Board of Gov­er­nors between 1994–1997 and 2010–2018, and from 2014 to 2018 she was the first woman to chair the Fed, hav­ing been nom­i­nat­ed by Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma. Dur­ing her con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing, Yellen expressed sup­port for expand­ed eco­nom­ic stim­u­lus as a response to COVID-19 as well as a $15-per-hour min­i­mum wage, envi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tion and rais­ing tax­es on those mak­ing more than $400,000 per year.

Ron Wyden, D‑Oregon, said: “At the Fed­er­al Reserve Chair Yellen changed decades of con­ven­tion­al eco­nom­ic wis­dom that put too much focus on infla­tion and deficits. She was cor­rect that pol­i­cy mak­ers should focus more on wages, employ­ment, and inequal­i­ty and that the econ­o­my safe­ly could run a lit­tle hotter.”

Dan Sul­li­van, R‑Alaska, said: “I cer­tain­ly intend­ed to vote for Sec­re­tary Yellen, but I was a no vote.…Despite a long robust dis­cus­sion, it was very dif­fi­cult to get her to com­mit to being a strong advo­cate for a robust all-of-the-above ener­gy sec­tor for the U.S. economy.”

A yes vote was to con­firm Yellen.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (1): Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor Mike Crapo

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor Jim Risch

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: 5 aye votes, 1 nay vote

ENDING FILIBUSTER AGAINST MAYORKAS: Vot­ing 55 for and 42 against, the Sen­ate on Jan­u­ary 28th defeat­ed a Repub­li­can fil­i­buster against the nom­i­na­tion of Ale­jan­dro May­orkas as Sec­re­tary of Home­land Secu­ri­ty, clear­ing the way for a Feb­ru­ary 1st final con­fir­ma­tion vote.

Josh Haw­ley, R‑Missouri., had blocked the nom­i­na­tion for eight days with argu­ments that May­orkas is soft on secur­ing the south­ern border.

Major­i­ty Leader Chuck Schumer, D‑New York, said:

“Our gov­ern­ment recent­ly suf­fered an unprece­dent­ed cyber­at­tack. In the wake of Jan­u­ary 6th, the threat of vio­lence and domes­tic ter­ror­ism remains of great con­cern. But because of the tac­tics of some Repub­li­can mem­bers… [the] nom­i­na­tion is being need­less­ly stalled.”

Sen­a­tor Charles (Chuck) Grass­ley, R‑Iowa, con­tend­ed that May­orkas politi­cized the EB‑5 Invest­ment Visa Pro­gram while head­ing U.S. Cit­i­zen­ship and Immi­gra­tion Ser­vices between 2009–2013. Under that pro­gram, qual­i­fied for­eign investors can obtain per­ma­nent U.S. res­i­dence by invest­ing at least $900,000 in enter­pris­es that cre­ate a spec­i­fied num­ber of new jobs.

A yes vote was to advance the nomination.

The State of IdahoVot­ing 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

Key votes ahead

The Sen­ate will debate more of Pres­i­dent Joe Biden’s nom­i­nees and a $1.9 tril­lion COVID-19 relief pack­age in the week of Feb­ru­ary 1st, while the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives’ sched­ule was to be announced.

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 Civic Impulse, LLC. 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!

© 2021 Civic Impulse, LLC. 

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