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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 10th, 2021

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (January 4th-8th)

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Mem­bers of Con­gress vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Fri­day, Jan­u­ary 8th, 2021.

In the United States House of Representatives

Chamber of the United States House of Representatives

The House cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

OBJECTING TO ARIZONA’S ELECTORAL VOTES: Vot­ing 121 for and 303 against, the House on Jan­u­ary 6th defeat­ed a bid to reject Ari­zon­a’s eleven elec­toral votes won by Pres­i­dent-elect Joe Biden.

Oppo­nents of accept­ing, or cer­ti­fy­ing, the votes said Con­gress should appoint a com­mis­sion to audit the 2020 pres­i­den­tial bal­lot­ing in Ari­zona and five oth­er states Biden nar­row­ly car­ried. The objec­tion was brought by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Paul Gosar, R‑Arizona, and Sen­a­tor Ted Cruz, R‑Texas.

Near­ly six­ty per­cent of Repub­li­cans who vot­ed sup­port­ed the objec­tion, while Democ­rats vot­ed unan­i­mous­ly against it. The vote occurred about nine hours after a vio­lent, armed mob of Trump sup­port­ers streamed through the Capi­tol, destroy­ing prop­er­ty, defil­ing his­tor­i­cal spaces and forc­ing law­mak­ers to shel­ter in place for extend­ed peri­ods, many behind bar­ri­cad­ed doors.

Jim Jor­dan, R‑Ohio, argued that in sev­er­al states, Democ­rats “changed the elec­tion rules…in an uncon­sti­tu­tion­al fash­ion, and that’s what we’re going to show over the next sev­er­al hours of debate. The Con­sti­tu­tion is clear…only state leg­is­la­tures set elec­tion law. In Ari­zona, the law says vot­er reg­is­tra­tion ends on Oct. 5. Democ­rats said we don’t care what the law says. They went to a court, got an Oba­ma-appoint­ed judge to extend it eigh­teen days. No debate, no discussion.…They did an end run around the Con­sti­tu­tion in every state that Repub­li­cans will object to today.…It was a pat­tern, it was their tem­plate, they did it in [Ari­zona, Geor­gia, Michi­gan, Penn­syl­va­nia, Neva­da, Wis­con­sin] and yet some of our mem­bers say you should­n’t do any­thing about it, just let it go.”

Jamie Raskin, D‑Maryland, said: “The 2020 elec­tion is over and the peo­ple have spo­ken .…The pres­i­dent has not just had his day in court, he’s had more than two months in court look­ing for a judge to embrace these argu­ments. More than 50 cas­es. At least 88 dif­fer­ent judges includ­ing many appoint­ed by the pres­i­dent him­self have metic­u­lous­ly reject­ed the pres­i­den­t’s claim of fraud and corruption.…The plain­tiffs have lost every case on every issue on the most sweep­ing terms. There is no basis in fact or law to jus­ti­fy the unprece­dent­ed relief being request­ed in nul­li­fy­ing these elec­tions. We are here to count the votes, let us do our job.”

A yes vote was to reject Ari­zon­a’s elec­toral votes.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Russ Fulcher

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mike Simpson

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Nay (5): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrad­er; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

The State of Washington

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

Cas­ca­dia total: 1 aye vote, 16 nay votes

OBJECTING TO PENNSYLVANIA’S ELECTORAL VOTES: Vot­ing 138 for and 282 against, the House on Jan­u­ary 7th defeat­ed a bid to deny cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of Penn­syl­va­ni­a’s twen­ty elec­toral votes won by Biden. About six­ty-eight per­cent of Repub­li­cans who vot­ed backed the move. All Democ­rats who vot­ed opposed it.

Lodged by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Scott Per­ry, R‑Pennsylvania, and Sen. Josh Haw­ley, R‑Missouri, the objec­tion was part of an effort by con­gres­sion­al allies of Don­ald Trump to nul­li­fy Biden’s vic­to­ry based on unsub­stan­ti­at­ed claims of irreg­u­lar­i­ties that state and fed­er­al courts have uni­ver­sal­ly rejected.

Minor­i­ty Whip Steve Scalise, R‑Louisiana, argued that sev­er­al states “did not fol­low the con­sti­tu­tion­al require­ment for select­ing electors…”

“Nowhere in Arti­cle 2, Sec­tion 1 does it give the sec­re­tary of state of a state that abil­i­ty. Nowhere does it give the gov­er­nor that abil­i­ty. It exclu­sive­ly gives that abil­i­ty to the leg­is­la­tures… We’ve seen over and over again states where the ‘Demo­c­rat Par­ty’ [sic] has…  selec­tive­ly gone around this process… So Pres­i­dent Trump has stood up to it… Over 100 of my col­leagues asked the Supreme Court to address this prob­lem just a few weeks ago, and unfor­tu­nate­ly, the court chose to punt… We don’t have that lux­u­ry today. We have… to restore integri­ty to the elec­tion process which has been lost by so many mil­lions of Americans.”

Conor Lamb, D‑Pennsylvania, said: “These objec­tions don’t deserve an ounce of respect… A woman died out there (in the Capi­tol) tonight and you’re mak­ing these objec­tions. Let’s be clear about what hap­pened in this cham­ber today. Invaders came in for the first time since the War of 1812.”

“They des­e­crat­ed these halls and this cham­ber and prac­ti­cal­ly every inch of ground where we work… Enough has been done here today already to try to strip this Con­gress of its dig­ni­ty, and these objec­tors don’t need to do any more. We know that that attack today did­n’t mate­ri­al­ize out of nowhere.”

“It was inspired by lies, the same lies that you’re hear­ing in this room tonight, and the mem­bers who are repeat­ing those lies should be ashamed of them­selves and their con­stituents should be ashamed of them.”

A yes vote was to reject Penn­syl­va­ni­a’s elec­toral votes.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Russ Fulcher

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mike Simpson

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Aye (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

Vot­ing Nay (4): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrader

The State of Washington

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

Cas­ca­dia total: 2 aye votes, 15 nay votes

ADOPTING RULES FOR THE 117TH CONGRESS IN THE U.S. HOUSE: Vot­ing 217 for and 206 against, the House on Jan­u­ary 4th adopt­ed rules to gov­ern its oper­a­tions dur­ing the 117th Congress.

The pack­age (House Res­o­lu­tion 8) was added to a body of stand­ing rules that has con­trolled House pro­ceed­ings since the 1st Con­gress in 1789.

The new rules would require com­mit­tees to dis­close “truth in tes­ti­mo­ny” infor­ma­tion in real time about wit­ness­es at hear­ings. This would inform mem­bers and the pub­lic — before and dur­ing the ses­sions — about any finan­cial or fidu­cia­ry inter­est wit­ness­es have in the top­ic under dis­cus­sion. In addi­tion, the rules would:

  • Allow inves­tiga­tive com­mit­tees to imme­di­ate­ly issue or re-issue sub­poe­nas to for­mer pres­i­dents, vice pres­i­dents and White House staff in their per­son­al or pro­fes­sion­al capacities;
  • Estab­lish a select com­mit­tee on eco­nom­ic dis­par­i­ty, reau­tho­rize select com­mit­tees on cli­mate, Covid-19 and the mod­ern­iza­tion of Con­gress and make per­ma­nent an office pro­tect­ing whistle­blow­ers against retal­i­a­tion by their con­gres­sion­al superiors;
  • Require an ethics rule to pro­hib­it mem­bers from cir­cu­lat­ing by elec­tron­ic means any “deep fake” video, audio file or image “that has been dis­tort­ed or manip­u­lat­ed with the intent to mis­lead the public;”
  • Allow mem­bers to vote remote­ly, by proxy, on the House floor and per­mit com­mit­tees to con­duct busi­ness by video links;
  • Pro­mote trans­paren­cy in gov­ern­ment by broad­en­ing the avail­abil­i­ty of House doc­u­ments in machine-read­able for­mats and expand­ing pub­lic dig­i­tal access to com­mit­tee wit­ness dis­clo­sure forms and vot­ing records on amend­ments and markups;
  • Give per­ma­nent sta­tus a diver­si­ty office and require com­mit­tees to state plans for address­ing inequities in areas includ­ing gen­der, race and sex­u­al orientation;
  • Weak­en the role of the “motion to recom­mit” in enabling the minor­i­ty par­ty to force votes and shape leg­is­la­tion at the close of floor debates and pro­hib­it debate on such motions;
  • Require the House­’s offi­cial ter­mi­nol­o­gy to be gender-neutral;
  • Deny access to the House floor to for­mer mem­bers con­vict­ed of crimes relat­ed to their con­gres­sion­al ser­vice or elec­tion and grant floor priv­i­leges to the Dis­trict of Colum­bia mayor;
  • Bar access by reg­is­tered lob­by­ists and for­eign agents to recre­ation­al areas where mem­bers work out;
  • Exempt bills com­bat­ing the cli­mate cri­sis or the spread of COVID-19 from “pay as you go” bud­get rules;
  • Require mem­bers to per­son­al­ly cov­er the cost of set­tle­ments paid to resolve staff mem­bers’ charges of mis­con­duct includ­ing sex­u­al harass­ment and discrimination;
  • Make per­ma­nent a require­ment that bills con­sid­ered by the Rules Com­mit­tee for floor con­sid­er­a­tion must first receive a com­mit­tee hear­ing and markup;
  • Allow the major­i­ty par­ty to “deem” that a con­gres­sion­al bud­get res­o­lu­tion has been adopt­ed, rather than adopt one.

Deb­bie Wasser­man Schultz, D‑Florida, approv­ing­ly not­ed that the rules “exempt cli­mate leg­is­la­tion from bud­getary restric­tions, clear­ing the way for ambi­tious fed­er­al invest­ments to com­bat cli­mate change.”

Tom Cole. R‑Oklahoma, said “this pack­age stinks. It is deeply cyn­i­cal and deeply short-sight­ed. It tram­ples on minor­i­ty rights and it ensures a pow­er grab by Demo­c­ra­t­ic leadership.”

A yes vote was to adopt the rules package.

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 Cliff Bentz

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (7): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strickland

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

Cas­ca­dia total: 11 aye votes, 6 nay votes

In the United States Senate

Chamber of the United States Senate

The Sen­ate cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

OBJECTING TO ARIZONA’S ELECTORAL VOTES: Vot­ing 6 for and 93 against, the Sen­ate on Jan­u­ary 6th defeat­ed a bid to deny cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of Ari­zon­a’s eleven elec­toral votes (see House issue above).

The votes against cer­ti­fi­ca­tion were cast by Repub­li­cans Tom­my Tuberville of Alaba­ma, Roger Mar­shall of Kansas, John Kennedy of Louisiana, Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mis­sis­sip­pi, Josh Haw­ley of Mis­souri and Ted Cruz of Texas.

Cruz, a spon­sor of the objec­tion, said: “I want to speak to the Repub­li­cans who are con­sid­er­ing vot­ing against these objec­tions. I under­stand your con­cerns. But I urge you to pause and think, what does it say to near­ly half the coun­try that believes this elec­tion was rigged if we vote not even to con­sid­er the claims of ille­gal­i­ty and fraud in this election…I’m not argu­ing for set­ting aside this elec­tion” but to have it scru­ti­nized at by a con­gres­sion­al­ly appoint­ed commission.

Sen­a­tor Mitch McConnell, R‑Kentucky, said: “The Con­sti­tu­tion gives us here in Con­gress a lim­it­ed role. We can­not sim­ply declare our­selves a nation­al board of elec­tions on steroids. The vot­ers, the courts and the states have all spo­ken. If we over­rule them, it would dam­age our Repub­lic for­ev­er… If this elec­tion were over­turned by mere alle­ga­tions from the los­ing side, our democ­ra­cy would enter a death spi­ral… Every four years would be a scram­ble for pow­er at any cost.”

A yes vote was to reject Ari­zon­a’s elec­toral votes.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (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: 6 nay votes

OBJECTING TO PENNSYLVANIA’S ELECTORAL VOTES: Vot­ing 7 for and 92 against, the Sen­ate on Jan­u­ary 7th turned back a chal­lenge to the cer­ti­fi­ca­tion of Penn­syl­va­ni­a’s twen­ty elec­toral votes in the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion (see House issue above). The sen­a­tors vot­ing to sus­tain the objec­tion, all Repub­li­cans, were Tom­my Tuberville of Alaba­ma, Rick Scott of Flori­da, Roger Mar­shall of Kansas, Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mis­sis­sip­pi, Josh Haw­ley of Mis­souri, Ted Cruz of Texas and Cyn­thia Lum­mis of Wyoming. Haw­ley raised the objec­tion along with Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Scott Per­ry, R‑Pennsylvania.

There was no debate on the Penn­syl­va­nia challenge.

Josh Haw­ley, R‑Missouri, said ear­li­er that Con­gress “is the place” to resolve elec­toral dis­putes. “In Penn­syl­va­nia, quite apart from alle­ga­tions of any fraud, you have a state con­sti­tu­tion that has been inter­pret­ed for over a cen­tu­ry to say there is no mail-in bal­lot­ing per­mit­ted except for in very nar­row cir­cum­stances, and yet last year, [state] elect­ed offi­cials passed a whole new law that allows uni­ver­sal mail-in bal­lot­ing and then when Penn­syl­va­nia cit­i­zens tried to be heard…before the [state] supreme court, they were dis­missed on grounds of pro­ce­dure and time­li­ness in vio­la­tion of that court’s own precedents.”

Com­ment­ing after the Capi­tol had been secured from the vio­lent mob that had stormed it, Mitt Rom­ney, R‑Utah, said: “What hap­pened here today was an insur­rec­tion incit­ed by the Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States. Those who choose to sup­port his dan­ger­ous gam­bit by object­ing to the results of a legit­i­mate demo­c­ra­t­ic elec­tion will for­ev­er be seen as… com­plic­it in an unprece­dent­ed attack against our democ­ra­cy. Fair­ly or not, they’ll be remem­bered for their role in this shame­ful episode in Amer­i­can his­to­ry. That will be their legacy.”

A yes vote was to reject Penn­syl­va­ni­a’s elec­toral votes.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (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: 6 nay votes

Key votes ahead

The House and Sen­ate are sched­uled to be in recess dur­ing the week of Jan­u­ary 11th; how­ev­er, the House may con­sid­er a sec­ond impeach­ment of Don­ald Trump.

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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