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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, March 21st, 2021

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (March 15th-19th)

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Mem­bers of Con­gress vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Fri­day, March 19th, 2021.

In the United States House of Representatives

Chamber of the United States House of Representatives

The House cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

REMOVING EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT DEADLINE: Vot­ing 222 for and 204 against, the House on March 17th adopt­ed a res­o­lu­tion (H.J. Res 17) that would remove June 30th, 1982, as the dead­line for states to rat­i­fy the Equal Rights Amend­ment. When Con­gress sent the ERA to the states in 1972, it set a 1979 dead­line that it lat­er moved to 1982. As many as thir­ty-eight states have vot­ed for rat­i­fi­ca­tion. But five rescind­ed their approval and Vir­gini­a’s rat­i­fi­ca­tion last year is under­cut by a Depart­ment of Jus­tice rul­ing that the 1982 dead­line must be obeyed. The ERA states: “Equal­i­ty of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the Unit­ed States or by any State on account of sex.”

Judy Chu, D‑California, said: “It was not an acci­dent that women were left out of the Con­sti­tu­tion. The founders very much believed us to be unequal, and as such, we could not own prop­er­ty, vote, hold cer­tain jobs or even serve on a jury… This is our chance to fix [that] by doing what they refused to do — assert in the Con­sti­tu­tion that women, too, have rights. The ERA will not end dis­crim­i­na­tion, but it will empow­er us to fight it in court.”

Michelle Fis­chbach, R‑Minnesota, said men and women “are already equal under law. The Fifth and Four­teenth Amend­ments to the Con­sti­tu­tion require as much, guar­an­tee­ing equal pro­tec­tion for all under the laws of this coun­try. To me, the ERA is unnec­es­sary, redun­dant and divi­sive. The only thing it will do is empow­er the far left­’s spe­cial inter­est groups to [pur­sue] activist litigation.…”

A yes vote was to send the res­o­lu­tion 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

RENEWING VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT: Vot­ing 244 for and 172 against, the House on March 17th approved a five-year exten­sion of the 1994 Vio­lence Against Women Act, which uses fed­er­al grants and laws to reduce crimes direct­ed pri­mar­i­ly at women. In part, the bill (H.R. 1620) would:

  • pro­hib­it per­sons con­vict­ed of domes­tic abuse, mis­de­meanor stalk­ing or dat­ing vio­lence from pos­sess­ing firearms;
  • ensure that those los­ing work because of domes­tic vio­lence qual­i­fy for unem­ploy­ment benefits;
  • require shel­ters to admit trans­gen­der individuals;
  • strength­en trib­al juris­dic­tion over out­siders charged with com­mit­ting crimes on reservations;
  • improve the care of chil­dren exposed to domes­tic violence;
  • expand rape pre­ven­tion and edu­ca­tion programs;
  • and step up efforts to address sex­u­al vio­lence on campuses.

Lucy McBath, D‑Georgia, said domes­tic vio­lence is “espe­cial­ly dead­ly when it occurs in the house­hold with a gun… Clos­ing the ‘boyfriend loop­hole’ is a crit­i­cal step to pre­vent abusers from obtain­ing a weapon that will like­ly be used to esca­late abuse…”

Michelle Fis­chbach, R‑Minnesota, said the bill would “force wom­en’s domes­tic-vio­lence shel­ters to take in men who iden­ti­fy as women, strip away pro­tec­tions for reli­gious orga­ni­za­tions and elim­i­nate Sec­ond Amend­ment rights with­out due process.”

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

The State of IdahoVot­ing 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

PROTECTING DREAMERS, OTHER IMMIGRANTS: Vot­ing 228 for and 197 against, the House on March 18th passed a bill (H.R. 6) that would grant per­ma­nent legal sta­tus and a path to cit­i­zen­ship to as many as 2.1 mil­lion “dream­ers” who were brought ille­gal­ly to the Unit­ed States as chil­dren and face poten­tial depor­ta­tion. The bill would grant relief to dream­ers who were younger than eigh­teen when they entered the Unit­ed States and meet oth­er qualifications.

In addi­tion, the bill would pro­vide the same depor­ta­tion pro­tec­tion and cit­i­zen­ship path to hun­dreds of thou­sands of aliens now the Unit­ed States under a human­i­tar­i­an pro­gram known as Tem­po­rary Pro­tect­ed Status.

Zoe Lof­gren, D‑California, said the bill allows Dream­ers “to get right with the law… and go on and become the full Amer­i­cans that they are except for their paperwork.”

Bud­dy Carter, R‑Georgia, said the bill “does noth­ing to solve the prob­lem” of a human­i­tar­i­an cri­sis on the south­ern bor­der and even encour­ages more ille­gal immigration.

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 (8): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strick­land; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Dan Newhouse

Vot­ing Nay (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 12 aye votes, 5 nay votes

REJECTING REPUBLICAN AMENDMENT TARGETING IMMIGRANT GANG MEMBERS: Vot­ing 203 for and 216 against, the House on March 18th defeat­ed a Repub­li­can motion that sought to pre­vent mem­bers of crim­i­nal gangs from using a law designed to pro­tect dream­ers (H.R. 6, above) as a sub­terfuge for acquir­ing legal sta­tus. Democ­rats said the bill already has safe­guards to pro­hib­it undoc­u­ment­ed peo­ple who are a threat to nation­al secu­ri­ty, includ­ing gang mem­bers, from obtain­ing green cards and path to citizenship.

A yes vote was to adopt the motion.

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

OVERHAULING FARM-WORKER VISAS: Vot­ing 247 for and 174 against, the House on March 18th passed a bill (H.R. 1603) that would over­haul the H‑2A visa pro­gram, which admits undoc­u­ment­ed migrants for tem­po­rary U.S. agri­cul­tur­al jobs the domes­tic work­force is unable or unwill­ing to fill.

Over time, the bill could enable hun­dreds of thou­sands of these work­ers to apply for legal res­i­den­cy for them­selves, spous­es and minor children.

In addi­tion to meet­ing labor short­ages, the bill would estab­lish a manda­to­ry fed­er­al E‑Verify sys­tem by which agri­cul­tur­al employ­ers could deter­mine work­ers’ immi­gra­tion status.

Under the bill, undoc­u­ment­ed migrants employed in U.S. farm work (includ­ing at dairies) for at least one hun­dred and eighty days over the two pre­ced­ing years would qual­i­fy for Cer­ti­fied Agri­cul­tur­al Work­er sta­tus, which they could con­tin­u­al­ly renew by work­ing at least one hun­dred days annu­al­ly in farm jobs.

In addi­tion, undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants (and spous­es and minor chil­dren) employed in U.S. agri­cul­ture before the law takes effect would qual­i­fy to pur­sue legal sta­tus. All appli­cants would have to clear sev­er­al hur­dles includ­ing crim­i­nal and nation­al-secu­ri­ty back­ground checks.

The Pacif­ic North­west­’s own Dan New­house, R‑Washington, who rep­re­sents Cen­tral Wash­ing­ton, said the bill a cre­ates a “mer­it-based pro­gram for for­eign work­ers to legal­ly work in agri­cul­ture, elim­i­nat­ing incen­tives for ille­gal migra­tion and strength­en­ing both our nation­al secu­ri­ty and our nation­al food sup­ply chain.”

Tom McClin­tock, R‑California, said “this cer­tain­ly is an amnesty bill” because “it says if you’re here ille­gal­ly and you have a friend vouch for you and you worked 2,000 hours in agri­cul­ture — the equiv­a­lent of thir­teen forty hour weeks — you get legal status.”

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

The State of IdahoVot­ing Aye (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mike Simpson

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Russ Fulcher

The State of Oregon

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

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (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: 16 aye votes, 1 nay vote

APPROVING MEDALS FOR CAPITOL POLICE: The House on March 17th vot­ed, 413 for and 12 against, to award three Con­gres­sion­al Gold Medals in hon­or of U.S. Capi­tol and Dis­trict of Colum­bia police who defend­ed the Capi­tol against an armed insur­rec­tion on Jan­u­ary 6. Those vot­ing against the bill (HR 1085) were Repub­li­cans Andy Big­gs of Ari­zona; Matt Gaetz and Greg Steube of Flori­da; Mar­jorie Tay­lor Greene and Andrew Clyde of Geor­gia; Thomas Massie of Ken­tucky; Andy Har­ris of Mary­land; John Rose of Ten­nessee; Bob Good of Vir­ginia; and Louie Gohmert, Michael Cloud and Lance Good­en of Texas.

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

The State of IdahoVot­ing Aye (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Mike Simp­son and Russ Fulcher
The State of Oregon

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

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Aye (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: 17 aye votes

In the United States Senate

Chamber of the United States Senate

The Sen­ate cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

CONFIRMING DEB HAALAND AS INTERIOR SECRETARY: The Sen­ate on March 15th con­firmed, 51–40, Deb Haa­land, D‑New Mex­i­co, as sec­re­tary of the Depart­ment of the Inte­ri­or. Haa­land, six­ty, is the first native Amer­i­can appoint­ed to a Cab­i­net posi­tion, and in 2018, she and Sharice Davids, D‑Kansas, became the first Native Amer­i­can women elect­ed to Con­gress. A mem­ber of the Lagu­na Pueblo Nation, she iden­ti­fies her­self as a thir­ty-fifth-gen­er­a­tion New Mexican.

A yes vote was to con­firm the nominee.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing 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

CONFIRMING XAVIER BECERRA AS HEALTH SECRETARY: Vot­ing 50 for and 49 against, the Sen­ate on March 18th con­firmed Xavier Becer­ra, the attor­ney gen­er­al of Cal­i­for­nia, as sec­re­tary of the Depart­ment of Health and Human Ser­vices, the first Lati­no to hold that posi­tion. Becer­ra, six­ty-two, was a Demo­c­ra­t­ic con­gress­man from Cal­i­for­nia between 1993–2018.

A yes vote was to con­firm the nominee.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing 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

CONFIRMING ISABEL GUZMAN AS SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATOR: Vot­ing 81 for and 17 against, the Sen­ate on March 16th con­firmed Isabel C. Guz­man, forty-nine, as admin­is­tra­tor of the Small Busi­ness Admin­is­tra­tion (SBS). She was a top offi­cial at the SBA dur­ing the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion and worked most recent­ly as direc­tor of the Office of the Small Busi­ness Advo­cate in Cal­i­for­nia. A yes vote was to con­firm the nominee.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing 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 vote on Biden admin­is­tra­tion nom­i­nees dur­ing the week of March 22nd, while the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives will be in recess.

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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