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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 7th, 2021

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (March 1st-6th)

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Mem­bers of Con­gress vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Sat­ur­day, March 6th, 2021.

In the United States House of Representatives

Chamber of the United States House of Representatives

The House cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

EXPANDING VOTING RIGHTS, REFORMING CAMPAIGN FINANCE: Vot­ing 220 for and 210 against, the House on March 3rd passed a bill (H.R. 1) designed to broad­ly expand par­tic­i­pa­tion in U.S. elec­tions and make lim­it­ed changes in the way cam­paigns are financed. The bill would:

  • increase reg­is­tra­tion oppor­tu­ni­ties; require vot­ing sys­tems to be backed up with auditable paper ballots;
  • qual­i­fy felons who have served their time to vote in fed­er­al elections;
  • require pres­i­den­tial and vice-pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates to dis­close per­son­al and any cor­po­rate tax returns; mod­ern­ize vot­ing equip­ment and hard­en sys­tems against cyberattacks;
  • and pro­hib­it influ­ence ped­dling by inau­gur­al committees.

The bill would apply pri­mar­i­ly to fed­er­al elec­tions but also affect state and local bal­lot­ing in major ways. In oth­er pro­vi­sions, the bill would:

Ger­ry­man­der­ing: Require states to use 15-mem­ber bipar­ti­san and com­mis­sions rather than par­ti­san ger­ry­man­der­ing to redraw con­gres­sion­al dis­tricts fol­low­ing the decen­ni­al census.

Vot­er reg­is­tra­tion: Autho­rize $750 mil­lion over five years on state pro­grams to make vot­er reg­is­tra­tion eas­i­er. States would have to allow no-excuse absen­tee vot­ing (vote at home); auto­mat­i­cal­ly reg­is­ter res­i­dents who sign up for gov­ern­ment ser­vices includ­ing edu­ca­tion; allow reg­is­tra­tion appli­ca­tions online and in per­son on Elec­tion Day; and pro­vide at least fif­teen days’ ear­ly voting.

Pub­lic cam­paign financ­ing: Impose a sur­charge on penal­ties paid by cor­po­rate and high-income tax cheats and use the pro­ject­ed $2 bil­lion in rev­enue over 10 years to par­tial­ly finance House gen­er­al and pri­ma­ry elec­tion cam­paigns. Incum­bents and chal­lengers who agree to a $200 lim­it on indi­vid­ual con­tri­bu­tions would receive $6 in pub­lic funds for each $1 raised privately.

Tech­nol­o­gy plat­forms: Require large social media net­works (includ­ing Face­book, Google and Twit­ter) to com­pile pub­lic data­bas­es of for­eign actors and oth­er enti­ties seek­ing to pur­chase at least $500 annu­al­ly in polit­i­cal ads and iden­ti­fy anony­mous “dark mon­ey” financiers of polit­i­cal ads to the public.

Lloyd Doggett, D‑Texas, said the bill “restores guardrails to our democ­ra­cy that almost went off the rails as Repub­li­cans pledged their loy­al­ty to the cult of Don­ald Trump. Repub­li­cans have long found suc­cess cre­ative­ly sup­press­ing the votes, restric­tive vot­er ID laws, lim­it­ing vot­er hours, loca­tions, and extreme ger­ry­man­der­ing… Fraud is their descrip­tion of any elec­tion that they lose.”

Clau­dia Ten­ney, R‑New York, brand­ed the bill as “an attempt to destroy democ­ra­cy by fed­er­al­iz­ing aspects of U.S. elec­tions con­sti­tu­tion­al­ly del­e­gat­ed to the states. It would pro­hib­it com­mon­sense vot­er ID rules, encour­age bal­lot har­vest­ing, require no-excuse absen­tee and ear­ly vot­ing, per­mit felons and nonci­t­i­zens to vote, and make col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties… vot­er-reg­is­tra­tion agencies.”

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

REJECTING AMENDMENT TO REMOVE DEMOCRACY PANEL: Vot­ing 207 for and 218 against, the House on March 2nd refused to remove from H.R. 1 (above) a pro­posed com­mis­sion for pro­tect­ing U.S. demo­c­ra­t­ic insti­tu­tions against for­eign inter­fer­ence. The amend­ment was spon­sored by Repub­li­cans, who said ample defens­es already are in place to fend off manip­u­la­tion from abroad.

Rod­ney Davis, R‑Illinois, said “absolute­ly no one wants for­eign inter­fer­ence in our elec­tions, but the last thing we need to do is cre­ate a com­mis­sion with anoth­er lay­er of bureau­cra­cy when we have pro­grams in place that have been suc­cess­ful for our local elec­tion officials.”

Zoe Lof­gren, D‑California, said that “in light of the evi­dence of for­eign inter­fer­ence in the 2016, 2018 and 2020 fed­er­al elec­tions, the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment needs a coor­di­nat­ed approach to pro­tect and secure our democracy.”

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

PREVENTING, PUNISHING MISCONDUCT BY POLICE: The House on March 3rd passed, 220 for and 212 against, a bill (H.R. 1280) that would set fed­er­al rules and guide­lines for polic­ing prac­tices at all lev­els of government.

In addi­tion to address­ing mis­con­duct by fed­er­al offi­cers, the bill would use the high lev­els of police fund­ing in fed­er­al pro­grams to induce state and local reforms. Dubbed the George Floyd Jus­tice in Polic­ing Act, the bill would:

Choke­holds: Pro­hib­it fed­er­al police from using choke­holds or oth­er appli­ca­tions of pres­sure on the carotid arter­ies, throats or wind­pipes of per­sons being restrained, and use fed­er­al finan­cial incen­tives to encour­age state and local police to do the same. The use of choke­holds based on race would be defined as a civ­il rights violation.

No more qual­i­fied immu­ni­ty: Elim­i­nate the “qual­i­fied immu­ni­ty” defense from fed­er­al and non-fed­er­al civ­il lit­i­ga­tion in which a police offi­cer is sued for dam­ages based on mis­con­duct includ­ing exces­sive use of force.

Lynch­ing, no-knock drug war­rants: Make lynch­ing a fed­er­al crime and pro­hib­it no-knock war­rants in fed­er­al drug cas­es while using fed­er­al fund­ing to induce states and local­i­ties to do the same.

Fed­er­al sub­poe­na pow­er: Give the Depart­ment of Jus­tice sub­poe­na pow­er for inves­ti­gat­ing dis­crim­i­na­to­ry and bru­tal pat­terns and prac­tices by local depart­ments, and fund efforts by state attor­neys gen­er­al to inves­ti­gate trou­bled departments.

Reg­istry of mis­con­duct: Estab­lish a Nation­al Police Mis­con­duct Reg­istry of offi­cers fired by local depart­ments for rea­sons includ­ing exces­sive use of force.

Racial, reli­gious pro­fil­ing: Pro­hib­it racial, reli­gious and dis­crim­i­na­to­ry pro­fil­ing by fed­er­al and non­fed­er­al law enforce­ment; aggriev­ed indi­vid­u­als could bring civ­il actions for declara­to­ry or injunc­tive relief.

Use of force: Require police to jus­ti­fy use of force on grounds it was “nec­es­sary” rather than mere­ly “rea­son­able” and require state and local police to report use-of-force data by race, sex, dis­abil­i­ty, reli­gion and age to a Depart­ment of Jus­tice database.

Evi­dence stan­dard: Low­er the crim­i­nal-intent stan­dard of evi­dence in police mis­con­duct pros­e­cu­tions under fed­er­al law from “will­ful” to “reck­less.”

Cam­era rules: Require uni­formed fed­er­al police to wear body cam­eras and marked fed­er­al police cars to mount dash­board cam­eras, while giv­ing state and local depart­ments finan­cial incen­tives to do the same.

Local over­sight: Fund local task forces to devel­op prac­tices based on com­mu­ni­ty polic­ing rather than the use of force.

Mil­i­tary equip­ment: Lim­it the Pen­tagon’s trans­fer of com­bat-lev­el equip­ment to state and local police.

Sex­u­al mis­con­duct: Make it a crime for a fed­er­al offi­cer to engage in sex, even if it is con­sen­su­al, with an indi­vid­ual under arrest or in cus­tody, and use finan­cial incen­tives to encour­age states to enact the same prohibition.

Ritchie Tor­res, D‑New York, said the pur­pose of the bill “is not to sec­ond guess offi­cers who act in good faith [but] to hold liable offi­cers who repeat­ed­ly abuse their pow­er and who rarely, if ever, face con­se­quences for their repeat abus­es. If you are a good offi­cer, you have noth­ing to fear. But if you are a bad offi­cer, you have account­abil­i­ty to fear.…”

Nicole Mallio­takis, R‑New York., said the bill “aims to crip­ple or degrade our law enforce­ment” and would “dimin­ish pub­lic safe­ty and prevent…officers from serv­ing and pro­tect­ing our com­mu­ni­ties, all while try­ing to hold them per­son­al­ly liable. The brave men and women who put on the uni­form every day deserve better.”

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

In the United States Senate

Chamber of the United States Senate

The Sen­ate cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

APPROVING $1.9 TRILLION IN VIRUS RELIEF: Vot­ing 50 for and 49 against, the Sen­ate on March 6 approved a $1.9 tril­lion coro­n­avirus relief pack­age (H.R. 1319, the Amer­i­can Res­cue Plan) that would:

  • expand unem­ploy­ment ben­e­fits by $300 per week from March 14th through Sep­tem­ber 6th;
  • deliv­er pay­ments of $1,400 per per­son to indi­vid­u­als with incomes up to $75,000, sin­gle par­ents earn­ing up to $112,500 and cou­ples up to $150,000;
  • increase the Child Tax Cred­it in a way designed to even­tu­al­ly cut child pover­ty near­ly in half;
  • deliv­er $350 bil­lion to state, coun­ty, city, trib­al and ter­ri­to­r­i­al governments;
  • estab­lish a $25 bil­lion grant pro­gram for the restau­rant industry;
  • increase Patient Pro­tec­tion Act pre­mi­um sub­si­dies for a large num­ber of the uninsured;
  • fund the reopen­ing of K‑12 schools;
  • pro­vide $25 bil­lion in rental aid to avert evic­tions and $10 bil­lion to help land­lords meet their expenses;
  • and fund pro­grams to vac­ci­nate against COVID-19 and slow the spread of the virus.

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

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

ADVANCING VIRUS RELIEF: By a tal­ly of 51 for and 50 against, with Vice Pres­i­dent Kamala Har­ris cast­ing the decid­ing vote, the Sen­ate on March 4th advanced the Amer­i­can Res­cue Plan (H.R. 1319, above) toward a vote on final pas­sage, which then occurred on Sat­ur­day, March 5th.

Unlike the House-passed ver­sion, the bill would leave the $7.25 per hour fed­er­al min­i­mum wage unchanged. A yes vote was to advance the bill.

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

KEEPING FEDERAL MINIMUM WAGE AT $7.25: Vot­ing 42 for and 58 against, the Sen­ate on March 5th failed to reach six­ty votes need­ed to include a pro­posed raise in the fed­er­al min­i­mum wage — from $7.25 per hour at present to $15 per hour by 2025 — in H.R. 1319 (above).

The amend­ment, spear­head­ed by Bernie Sanders, sought to over­come a par­lia­men­tary rul­ing that found the wage hike to be not ger­mane to the bill.

A yes vote was to grad­u­al­ly raise the fed­er­al min­i­mum wage.

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

MIGUEL CARDONA, SECRETARY OF EDUCATION: Vot­ing 64 for and 33 against, the Sen­ate on March 1st con­firmed Miguel A. Car­dona, forty-five, as sec­re­tary of edu­ca­tion, the first Lati­no to hold that position.

An edu­ca­tor in pub­lic schools for twen­ty years, he served most recent­ly as Con­necti­cut’s com­mis­sion­er of edu­ca­tion. A bilin­gual son of Puer­to Rican par­ents, he was raised in pub­lic hous­ing in Connecticut.

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

GINA RAIMONDO, SECRETARY OF COMMERCE: Vot­ing 84 for and 15 against, the Sen­ate on March 2nd con­firmed Gina M. Rai­mon­do, forty-nine, the first woman gov­er­nor of Rhode Island, as sec­re­tary of commerce.

For­mer­ly a ven­ture cap­i­tal­ist, she has an under­grad­u­ate degree in eco­nom­ics from Har­vard Col­lege and is a grad­u­ate of Yale Law School.

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

CECILIA ROUSE, CHIEF ECONOMIC ADVISER: Vot­ing 95 for and 4 against, the Sen­ate on March 2nd con­firmed Cecil­ia E. Rouse, fifty-sev­en, as chair of the Coun­cil of Eco­nom­ic Advis­ers, a White House unit that deter­mines admin­is­tra­tion eco­nom­ic poli­cies. The dean of the Prince­ton School of Pub­lic and Inter­na­tion­al Affairs and a spe­cial­ist in labor eco­nom­ics, Rouse also served for­mer pres­i­dents Bill Clin­ton and Barack Oba­ma as an eco­nom­ic adviser.

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 and Sen­ate leg­isla­tive sched­ules for the week of March 8th have yet to be announced, but both cham­bers will be in session.

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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