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, February 28th, 2021

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (February 22nd-27th)

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Mem­bers of Con­gress vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Sat­ur­day, Feb­ru­ary 27th, 2021.

In the United States House of Representatives

Chamber of the United States House of Representatives

The House cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

APPROVING $1.9 TRILLION IN CORONAVIRUS RELIEF: Vot­ing 219 for and 212 against, the House on Feb­ru­ary 27th approved a $1.9 tril­lion coro­n­avirus relief pack­age (H.R. 1319, dubbed the Amer­i­can Res­cue Plan) that would:

  • expand unem­ploy­ment ben­e­fits by $400 per week from March 14th through August 29th, 2021;
  • deliv­er pay­ments of $1,400 per per­son to indi­vid­u­als earn­ing up to $75,000 and cou­ples up to $150,000;
  • raise the fed­er­al min­i­mum wage from $7.25 to $15 per hour by 2025; expand Pay­check Pro­tec­tion Pro­gram ben­e­fits for small busi­ness­es and nonprofits;
  • estab­lish a $25 bil­lion grant pro­gram for the restau­rant industry;
  • and increase Patient Pro­tec­tion Act pre­mi­um sub­si­dies for a large num­ber of the uninsured.

The bill would raise the Child Tax Cred­it from $2,000 to $3,600 for chil­dren younger than six and $3,000 for ages six through seventeen.

It would make the max­i­mum cred­it refund­able to sin­gle heads of house­hold earn­ing up to $112,500 and mar­ried cou­ples up to $150,000 as well as to fam­i­lies with lit­tle or no income in an attempt to lift 4.1 mil­lion chil­dren above the pover­ty line and reduce child pover­ty by 40 percent.

In addi­tion, the bill would expand the earned income tax cred­it (EITC) for low-income work­ing adults with­out chil­dren at home from $530 to $1,500 per per­son and raise the top income for receiv­ing the cred­it from $16,000 to $21,000 for indi­vid­u­als. It would low­er the age at which non-stu­dents can start claim­ing the EITC from twen­ty-five to sev­en­teen and make the cred­it avail­able to qual­i­fied work­ing seniors over six­ty-five. The bill also would provide:

K‑12 schools: $130 bil­lion for K‑12 schools to be used main­ly to fund ven­ti­la­tion improve­ments and projects to reduce class sizes, reverse pan­dem­ic learn­ing loss­es and sup­ply pro­tec­tive gear to teach­ers and pupils.

High­er edu­ca­tion: $40 bil­lion for post-sec­ondary edu­ca­tion, with col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties required to allo­cate at least half of their sum to Pell Grants.

State, local, and trib­al aid: $350 bil­lion to help state, local, trib­al and ter­ri­to­r­i­al gov­ern­ments meet expens­es includ­ing pay­roll costs of front-line work­ers, with six­ty per­cent direct­ed to states and the Dis­trict of Colum­bia and forty per­cent split between coun­ty and munic­i­pal gov­ern­ments. Trib­al gov­ern­ments would receive $20 bil­lion and ter­ri­to­ries $4.5 billion.

Child­care: $1 bil­lion for Head Start and $39 bil­lion in grants to keep child-care cen­ters open, with low-income fam­i­lies giv­en pri­or­i­ty for receiv­ing child-care tuition aid.

Food and nutri­tion: $12 bil­lion for pro­grams to address hunger, includ­ing the Sup­ple­men­tal Nutri­tion Assis­tance Pro­gram (food stamps), the Women, Infants and Chil­dren (WIC) nutri­tion pro­gram and a pro­gram that elec­tron­i­cal­ly pays gro­cery bills for chil­dren to off­set their loss of school meals.

Help for house­holds: $4.5 bil­lion for the Low-Income Ener­gy Assis­tance Pro­gram for home heat­ing and cool­ing plus bil­lions for Old­er Amer­i­cans Act ben­e­fi­cia­ries and pro­grams address­ing child abuse and domes­tic violence.

Trans­porta­tion: $28 bil­lion for mass tran­sit sys­tems; $8 bil­lion for air­ports; $1.5 bil­lion for Amtrak; and $15 bil­lion in pay­roll sup­port to avert air­line layoffs.

Strength­en­ing vac­ci­na­tion and virus trac­ing: $46 Bil­lion for trac­ing and mon­i­tor­ing COVID-19; $8.5 bil­lion for Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion vac­ci­na­tion efforts; $5.2 bil­lion for vac­cine research and man­u­fac­tur­ing; and $7.6 bil­lion for com­mu­ni­ty health centers.

Defense Pro­duc­tion Act: $10 bil­lion for fast-track­ing the pur­chase of goods and ser­vices for com­bat­ting Covid-19 under the Defense Pro­duc­tion Act.

Hous­ing: $25 bil­lion in rent and util­i­ty assis­tance; $10 bil­lion to help land­lords pay mort­gages, prop­er­ty tax­es and util­i­ty bills; $5 bil­lion for home­less shel­ters; and $5 bil­lion in hous­ing vouch­ers for vic­tims of domes­tic vio­lence and human trafficking.

Agri­cul­ture: $3.6 bil­lion for Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture food dis­tri­b­u­tion and grants and loans to farm­ers, plus hun­dreds of mil­lions for rur­al health care and loans to minor­i­ty farm­ers harmed by his­tor­i­cal­ly biased farm policies.

Vet­er­ans: $13.5 bil­lion for expand­ing health care includ­ing Covid-19 treat­ments for vet­er­ans; $750 mil­lion for vet­er­ans’ day care; $400 mil­lion for job retrain­ing; and $272 mil­lion for pro­cess­ing med­ical claims.

Fam­i­ly and sick leave: $570 mil­lion to fund fam­i­ly and sick leave with pay for postal work­ers and fed­er­al civ­il servants.

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 (3): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, and Peter DeFazio

Vot­ing Nay (2): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Kurt Schrad­er; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

The State of Washington

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

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

Cas­ca­dia total: 10 aye votes, 7 nay votes

OUTLAWING DISCRIMINATION BASED ON SEXUAL ORIENTATION: Vot­ing 224 for and 206 against, the House on Feb­ru­ary 25th passed a bill (H.R. 5) that would expand the Civ­il Rights Act of 1964 and Fair Hous­ing Act of 1968 to pro­tect LGBTQ (les­bian, gay, bisex­u­al, trans­gen­der, queer) indi­vid­u­als against dis­crim­i­na­tion based on their sex­u­al ori­en­ta­tion or gen­der identity.

The pro­posed Equal­i­ty Act also would expand the Civ­il Rights Act’s list­ing of pub­lic accom­mo­da­tions to include retail stores, banks and trans­porta­tion and health­care ser­vices, and it would des­ig­nate sex­u­al char­ac­ter­is­tics as a pro­tect­ed class in pub­lic accommodations.

In addi­tion, the bill would pro­hib­it the Reli­gious Free­dom Restora­tion Act of 1994 from being invoked to sanc­tion dis­crim­i­na­tion against the LGBTQ community.

Chris Pap­pas, D‑New Hamp­shire, said the bill “will bring our nation clos­er to the promise of its found­ing and change the lives of gen­er­a­tions of LGBTQ Amer­i­cans for the bet­ter. This should be one of the eas­i­est and most affirm­ing votes we ever take. Equal­i­ty is, after all, a self-evi­dent truth. It is part of the bedrock of this nation.”

Greg Steube, R‑Florida, said: “God inten­tion­al­ly made each indi­vid­ual male or female. When men or women claim their own sex­u­al iden­ti­ty they’re mak­ing a state­ment that God did not know what he was doing when he cre­at­ed them.…When the nation’s laws no longer reflect the stan­dards of God, that nation is rebelling against him and will bear the consequences.”

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 Cliff Bentz

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (7): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, 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

PROTECTING WILDERNESS, INCLUDING CASCADIA’S OLYMPICS: Vot­ing 227 for and 200 against, the House on Feb­ru­ary 26th passed a bill (H.R. 803) that would pro­tect more than three mil­lion acres of pub­lic land in the West as wilder­ness while putting a per­ma­nent ban on ura­ni­um min­ing claims on 1.2 mil­lion acres of fed­er­al­ly owned land sur­round­ing Grand Canyon Nation­al Park in north­ern Arizona.

In part, the bill would pro­tect from devel­op­ment more than one mil­lion unspoiled acres in Col­orado, 258,400 acres in Wash­ing­ton, 924,700 acres in Cal­i­for­nia and large swaths of pub­lic land in Ore­gon while expand­ing the Nation­al Wild and Scenic Riv­er Sys­tem by adding four hun­dred and six­ty miles of pro­tect­ed water­ways in Wash­ing­ton and four hun­dred and eighty miles in California.

Diana DeGette, D‑Colorado, said the bill “seeks to pro­tect some of our nation’s most trea­sured pub­lic land” and is about “more than just pro­tect­ing our envi­ron­ment, but pro­tect­ing our econ­o­my and way of life as well” while fur­ther­ing efforts to com­bat cli­mate change.

Doug Lam­born, R‑Colorado, said: “The most basic types of [wild­fire pre­ven­tion] are ille­gal under wilder­ness des­ig­na­tions. You can’t take a chain saw and trim under­brush. Parts of Col­orado are a tin­der box. Should this bill become law, we are going to see big­ger and hot­ter fires. I don’t want to see Col­orado burn up.”

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mike Simpson

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Russ Fulcher

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, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strickland

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

Cas­ca­dia total: 12 aye votes, 5 nay votes

FAILING TO BLOCK BIDEN’S ENERGY ORDERS: Vot­ing 204 for and 221 against, the House on Feb­ru­ary 26th defeat­ed a Repub­li­can bid to pre­vent H.R. 803 (above) from becom­ing law until after Pres­i­dent Biden has rescind­ed exec­u­tive orders aimed at trans­form­ing the U.S. ener­gy econ­o­my from one based on fos­sil fuels to clean ener­gy over the next three decades.

A yes vote was to adopt the amendment.

The State of Idaho

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

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

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

Cas­ca­dia total: 6 aye votes, 11 nay votes

In the United States Senate

Chamber of the United States Senate

The Sen­ate cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

JENNIFER GRANHOLM, SECRETARY OF ENERGY: Vot­ing 64 for and 35 against, the Sen­ate on Feb­ru­ary 25th con­firmed Jen­nifer M. Granholm, six­ty-two, as sec­re­tary of ener­gy. She was the first female gov­er­nor of Michi­gan and also served as Michi­gan’s attor­ney gen­er­al, the first woman to hold that post.

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 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

THOMAS VILSACK, SECRETARY OF AGRICULTURE: Vot­ing 92 for and 7 against, the Sen­ate on Feb­ru­ary 23rd con­firmed Thomas J. Vil­sack, sev­en­ty, as sec­re­tary of agri­cul­ture. A for­mer gov­er­nor of Iowa, he served as agri­cul­ture sec­re­tary through­out both terms of the Barack Oba­ma presidency.

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

LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD, UNITED NATIONS ENVOY: Vot­ing 78 for and 21 against, the Sen­ate on Feb­ru­ary 23rd con­firmed Lin­da Thomas-Green­field, six­ty-eight, as the Unit­ed States’ ambas­sador to the Unit­ed Nations.

A thir­ty-five-year vet­er­an of the For­eign Ser­vice, she served as assis­tant sec­re­tary of state for African affairs under for­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Obama.

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 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

Key votes ahead

The House will take up a bill to reform polic­ing prac­tices in the week of March 1st, while the Sen­ate will debate Pres­i­dent Biden’s Amer­i­can Res­cue Plan.

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!

© 2021 Thomas Vot­ing Reports.

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