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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 28th, 2021

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (March 22nd-26th)

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Unit­ed States Sen­a­tors vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Fri­day, March 26th, 2021.

In the United States Senate

Chamber of the United States Senate

The Sen­ate cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

EXTENDING PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM: Vot­ing 92 for and sev­en against, the Sen­ate on March 25th gave final con­gres­sion­al approval to a bill (H.R. 1799) extend­ing from March 31st to May 31st the dead­line for small busi­ness­es to apply for COVID-19 res­cue funds under the Pay­check Pro­tec­tion Program.

Begun in March 2020, the PPP pro­vides firms with few­er than 500 employ­ees with for­giv­able loans for meet­ing pay­roll and cer­tain over­head costs includ­ing rent or mort­gage pay­ments. The loans are for­giv­en if recip­i­ents agree to not lay off work­ers and rehire those already dis­missed as a con­se­quence of Covid-19.

To date, the Small Busi­ness Admin­is­tra­tion has approved about eight mil­lion loans total­ing near­ly $704 bil­lion with $93 bil­lion yet to be allo­cat­ed, includ­ing $28.6 bil­lion ear­marked for restau­rants and addi­tion­al set-asides for minor­i­ty- and women-owned businesses.

Susan Collins, R‑Maine, called it “imper­a­tive that we act imme­di­ate­ly …because we are just days away from the PPP being closed” to new applications.

Rand Paul, R‑Kentucky, object­ed to the bil­l’s $15 bil­lion in deficit spend­ing, say­ing: “In Wash­ing­ton, every day is a good day to spend money.”

A yes vote was to send the bill to Pres­i­dent Biden.

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

DENYING AID TO CONVICTED RIOTERS: Vot­ing 48 for and 52 against, the Sen­ate on March 25th defeat­ed an amend­ment that sought to deny aid under H.R. 1799 (above) to any per­son con­vict­ed in the pre­ced­ing two years of a felony relat­ed to a riot at the Capi­tol or in U.S. cities.

John Kennedy, R‑Louisiana, said sen­a­tors “either approve of the riot­ing that hap­pened this sum­mer and at the Capi­tol or you don’t.”

Ben Cardin, D‑Maryland, said the amend­ment should be defeat­ed “for the sake of get­ting this bill to the president…so we can help our small businesses.”

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Aye (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: 2 aye votes, 4 nay votes

MARTIN WALSH, SECRETARY OF LABOR: Vot­ing 68 for and 29 against, the Sen­ate on March 22nd con­firmed Mar­tin J. Walsh, fifty-three, the may­or of Boston, as sec­re­tary of the Depart­ment of Labor, the first union mem­ber to head the depart­ment since 1977. Walsh had been pres­i­dent of Labor­ers Local 223 in Boston and head of the city’s Build­ing and Con­struc­tion Trades Council.

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

VIVEK MURTHY, U.S. SURGEON GENERAL: Vot­ing 57 for and 43 against, the Sen­ate on March 23 con­firmed Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, forty-four, as U.S. sur­geon gen­er­al, a post he once held under for­mer Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma. An advis­er to Pres­i­dent-elect Joe Biden on COVID-19 issues fol­low­ing the Novem­ber elec­tion, Murthy has been a physi­cian at Brigham and Wom­en’s Hos­pi­tal in Boston.

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

SHALANDA YOUNG, DEPUTY BUDGET DIRECTOR: Vot­ing 63–37, the Sen­ate on March 23rd con­firmed Sha­lan­da D. Young, a for­mer staff direc­tor of the House Appro­pri­a­tions Com­mit­tee, as deputy direc­tor of the Office of Man­age­ment and Bud­get. She also is under con­sid­er­a­tion to be nom­i­nat­ed as OMB director.

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

RACHEL LEVINE, ASSISTANT HEALTH SECRETARY: Vot­ing 52 for and 48 against, the Sen­ate on March 24 con­firmed Rachel L. Levine, six­ty-three, as assis­tant sec­re­tary for the Depart­ment of Health and Human Ser­vices. She becomes the first open­ly trans­gen­der per­son to be con­firmed by the Senate.

Levine has been a pro­fes­sor of pedi­atrics and psy­chi­a­try at the Penn State Col­lege of Med­i­cine and was physi­cian gen­er­al for Penn­syl­va­nia from 2015 to 2017.

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

LWIC will be on hiatus for two weeks

As is cus­tom­ary at East­er­time, Con­gress will be in recess for the next two weeks. Last Week In Con­gress will return in mid-April.

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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