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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 14th, 2021

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (March 8th-12th)

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Mem­bers of Con­gress vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Fri­day, March 12th, 2021.

In the United States House of Representatives

Chamber of the United States House of Representatives

The House cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

GIVING FINAL OKAY TO VIRUS RELIEF: Vot­ing 220 for and 211 against, the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives on March 10th gave final con­gres­sion­al approval to a $1.9 tril­lion coro­n­avirus relief pack­age (H.R. 1319) that would:

  • add $300 per week to unem­ploy­ment checks through Sep­tem­ber 6th;
  • deliv­er pay­ments of $1,400 per per­son to 150 mil­lion Americans;
  • increase the Child Tax Cred­it in a way designed to cut child pover­ty near­ly in half;
  • deliv­er $350 bil­lion to state, coun­ty, city, trib­al and ter­ri­to­r­i­al governments;
  • pro­vide $25 bil­lion in grants to the restau­rant industry;
  • increase Patient Pro­tec­tion Act pre­mi­um subsidies;
  • 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 nov­el coro­n­avirus (SARS CoV‑2).

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

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 LABOR’S RIGHT TO ORGANIZE: Vot­ing 225 for and 206 against, the House on March 9th passed a bill (H.R. 842) that would pro­tect and expand employ­ee rights to col­lec­tive­ly bar­gain for bet­ter pay, ben­e­fits and work­ing con­di­tions. The bill would estab­lish the right to orga­nize as a civ­il right enforce­able in fed­er­al court, pro­hib­it the per­ma­nent replace­ment of strik­ing work­ers and enable employ­ees to file class-action law­suits over work­ing con­di­tions. The bill also would negate state right-to-work laws allow­ing non-union employ­ees to ben­e­fit from nego­ti­at­ed con­tracts with­out pay­ing union dues.

In addi­tion, the bill would:

  • Make it dif­fi­cult for employ­ers to clas­si­fy “gig econ­o­my” work­ers as inde­pen­dent con­trac­tors to pre­vent them from join­ing unions.
  • Autho­rize stiff Nation­al Labor Rela­tions Board fines for employ­ers who unlaw­ful­ly dis­rupt orga­niz­ing campaigns.
  • Impose per­son­al lia­bil­i­ty on cor­po­rate direc­tors who know­ing­ly sanc­tion their com­pa­ny’s union-bust­ing tactics.
  • Allow imme­di­ate rein­state­ment in court, through injunc­tive relief, of work­ers fired for union activity.
  • Allow medi­a­tion and arbi­tra­tion to resolve dis­putes between new­ly cer­ti­fied unions and com­pa­nies in draft­ing their first contract.
  • Per­mit unions to con­duct sec­ondary boycotts.
  • Allow union elec­tions to be con­duct­ed at neu­tral sites and pro­hib­it employ­ers’ “cap­tive audi­ence” meet­ings to per­suade workers.
  • Per­mit work­ers with mul­ti­ple employ­ers to nego­ti­ate direct­ly with the one exer­cis­ing the most con­trol over their employment.
  • Pre­vent employ­ers from using a work­er’s immi­gra­tion sta­tus to deter­mine his or her terms of employment.

Our own U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Prami­la Jaya­pal, D‑Washington, said the bill “will undo decades of Repub­li­can anti­work­er poli­cies. It puts pow­er back into the hands of work­ers and secures the right to orga­nize and bar­gain for good wages, fair ben­e­fits and an equal voice on the job.”

Scott Fitzger­ald, R‑Wisconsin, said the bill would “under­mine the abil­i­ty of states to choose their own labor laws by strik­ing down the right-to-work laws of twen­ty-sev­en states,” forc­ing “mil­lions of work­ers to pay dues to labor unions with­out any say about how their mon­ey was spent.”

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

EXPANDING CHECKS ON GUN SALES: The House on March 11 vot­ed, 227 for and 203 against, to expand fed­er­al gun back­ground checks to cov­er sales con­duct­ed at gun shows, over the Inter­net or through clas­si­fied ads, with an excep­tion for sales between fam­i­ly mem­bers. The bill (HR 8) would plug loop­holes that allow mil­lions of U.S. firearms sales to skirt the FBI’s Nation­al Instant Crim­i­nal Back­ground Check Sys­tem, which is struc­tured to deny guns to the men­tal­ly ill, indi­vid­u­als with crim­i­nal records and domes­tic abusers.

Mike Thomp­son, D‑California, said: “Every day thir­ty peo­ple are killed by some­one using a gun. That num­ber jumps to one hun­dred if you fac­tor in acci­dents and sui­cides involv­ing guns. The steady stream of gun vio­lence dev­as­tates fam­i­lies, com­mu­ni­ties, and schools… This sta­tus quo is not okay.

Greg Mur­phy, R‑North Car­oli­na, said the bill would “absurd­ly ham­per peo­ple’s abil­i­ty to exer­cise their con­sti­tu­tion­al right to defend them­selves. This sort of broad gov­ern­ment over­reach does not save lives but treats every­day law-abid­ing cit­i­zens like criminals.”

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 CHECKS ON UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS: Vot­ing 207 for and 217 against, the House on March 11 defeat­ed a Repub­li­can motion to H.R. 8 (above) requir­ing undoc­u­ment­ed immi­grants to be report­ed to U.S. Immi­gra­tion and Cus­toms Enforce­ment when fed­er­al back­ground checks detect they are attempt­ing to buy a firearm.

Ben Cline, R‑Virgina, said: “Since 1998, over 28,000 ille­gal aliens have been denied a firearm after fail­ing a [back­ground] check… This means over 28,000 crim­i­nals have been allowed to stay in the Unit­ed States when ICE should have been alert­ed about their crim­i­nal act but [was] not.”

No oppo­nent spoke against the motion.

A yes vote was to adopt the Repub­li­can requirement.

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

EXTENDING GUN BACKGROUND CHECKS: Vot­ing 219 for and 210 against, the House on March 11th passed a bill (H.R. 1446) that would allow more time for the FBI’s Nation­al Instant Crim­i­nal Back­ground Check Sys­tem to com­plete reviews of impend­ing gun sales. Now, sales auto­mat­i­cal­ly go through if the check is not fin­ished with­in three busi­ness or week­end days.

The bill would extend the win­dow to as many as twen­ty busi­ness days.

Jer­rold Nadler, D‑New York, said the bill would “close a dan­ger­ous loop­hole that puts weapons in the hands of indi­vid­u­als who should not legal­ly be per­mit­ted to pur­chase them mere­ly because the FBI is not able to com­plete the back­ground check in time.”

Kat Cam­mack, R‑Florida., said the bill “puts the onus on indi­vid­u­als to con­tact the gov­ern­ment if their back­ground check has­n’t been com­plet­ed in ten days. You know who can­not afford to wait? The sin­gle mom look­ing to pro­tect her­self and her chil­dren from a vio­lent ex who has just been released from jail.”

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)

CONFIRMING MARCIA FUDGE AS SECRETARY OF HOUSING: Vot­ing 66 for and 34 against, the Sen­ate on March 10th con­firmed Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mar­cia L. Fudge, D‑Ohio, as sec­re­tary of the Depart­ment of Hous­ing and Urban Devel­op­ment. Fudge, six­ty-eight, was a may­or in sub­ur­ban Cleve­land before enter­ing Con­gress in 2009, and she once chaired the Con­gres­sion­al Black Caucus.

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 MICHAEL REGAN AS EPA CHIEF: Vot­ing 66 for and 34 against, the Sen­ate on March 10th con­firmed Michael S. Regan, forty-four, as admin­is­tra­tor of the Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency, the first Black per­son to lead the agency in its 50-year his­to­ry. A spe­cial­ist in reduc­ing air pol­lu­tion, Regan served at the EPA under pres­i­dents Bill Clin­ton and George W. Bush and was sec­re­tary of the North Car­oli­na Depart­ment of Envi­ron­men­tal Quality.

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 House will take up a bill to pro­tect women against vio­lence dur­ing the week of March 15th, while the Sen­ate will vote on Biden admin­is­tra­tion nominees.

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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