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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, April 25th, 2021

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (April 19th-23rd)

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Mem­bers of Con­gress vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing Fri­day, April 23rd, 2021.

In the United States House of Representatives

Chamber of the United States House of Representatives

The House cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

CONFERRING STATEHOOD ON THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: By a vote of 216 for and 208 against, the House on April 22nd passed a bill (H.R. 51) that would admit to the union a fifty-first state includ­ing most of the cur­rent Dis­trict of Colum­bia. The new state named “Wash­ing­ton, Dou­glass Com­mon­wealth” (hon­or­ing the for­mer slave and abo­li­tion­ist leader Fred­er­ick Dou­glass) would give the more than 700,000 D.C. res­i­dents — a pop­u­la­tion larg­er than that of two cur­rent states — vot­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tion in Con­gress, adding two seats to the Sen­ate and one in the House.

A por­tion of the cur­rent Dis­trict con­tain­ing the Capi­tol, White House, Supreme Court and oth­er prin­ci­pal fed­er­al gov­ern­ment build­ings would not be part of the new state. Dis­trict of Colum­bia res­i­dents pay fed­er­al tax­es and are rep­re­sent­ed by a non­vot­ing del­e­gate in the House. The Dis­trict casts three elec­toral votes in pres­i­den­tial elec­tions, as would the new state.

Jim McGov­ern, D‑Massachusetts, said D.C. res­i­dents “pay more per capi­ta in fed­er­al income tax­es than any state.. They have defend­ed our nation in every war… It’s time to give [them] the full vot­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tion and the con­trol over local mat­ters that they right­ful­ly deserve.”

Guy Reschen­thaler, R‑Pennsylvania, said: “This is noth­ing more than a mere pow­er grab by the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty to try to stack the Sen­ate, try to get two more votes to end the fil­i­buster, to pack the Supreme Court… This is just an attempt to dis­man­tle our sys­tem of government.”

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

GIVING D.C. BACK TO MARYLAND: By a vote of 205 for and 215 against, the House on April 22nd reject­ed a motion to make the Dis­trict of Colum­bia part of the state of Mary­land, as an alter­na­tive to D.C. state­hood under H.R. 51 (above). The cur­rent fed­er­al dis­trict con­tain­ing the nation’s cap­i­tal was cre­at­ed on land donat­ed by Mary­land. Oppo­nents of state­hood offer return­ing the dis­trict to Mary­land as a way to pro­vide cap­i­tal res­i­dents with vot­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tion in Con­gress and con­trol of local affairs with­out adding seats to the Congress.

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

BANS ON ENTERING THE UNITED STATES: Vot­ing 218 for and 208 against, the House on April 21st passed a bill that would restrict the pres­i­den­t’s abil­i­ty to ban entry to the Unit­ed States by class­es of foreigners.

The mea­sure (H.R. 1333) is a response to for­mer Pres­i­dent Trump’s orders pro­hibit­ing entry by trav­el­ers from some major­i­ty-Mus­lim nations, which were upheld by the Supreme Court after lengthy litigation.

The bill would pro­hib­it bias based on reli­gion in restrict­ing entry and make the pres­i­dent obtain a find­ing from the sec­re­tary of state that the for­eign­ers would under­mine nation­al secu­ri­ty or pub­lic safe­ty. To be legal under this bill, a ban would have to be based on spe­cif­ic evi­dence, be nar­row­ly tai­lored to address a poten­tial threat and pro­vide for waivers for fam­i­ly and human­i­tar­i­an reasons.

Judy Chu, D‑California, said: “We must make sure no pres­i­dent is ever able to ban peo­ple from com­ing to the U.S. sim­ply because of their reli­gion. While pre­serv­ing the pres­i­dents’ abil­i­ty to respond to emer­gen­cies like pan­demics, this bill… requires that any future trav­el ban is based on cred­i­ble facts and actu­al threats.”

Tom Cole, R‑Oklahoma, said the bill “would com­plete­ly gut the pres­i­den­t’s long­stand­ing powers…to make deter­mi­na­tions of who can enter the coun­try and under what cir­cum­stances. It would also bury the pres­i­dent under exten­sive and super­flu­ous noti­fi­ca­tion and con­sul­ta­tion require­ments that would elim­i­nate the pres­i­den­t’s abil­i­ty to move quick­ly to con­front threats.”

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

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

PROVIDING LEGAL HELP AT PORTS OF ENTRY: By a vote of 217 for and 207 against, the House on April 21 passed a bill (H.R. 1573) to per­mit per­sons detained at U.S. ports of entry for more than an hour of “sec­ondary inspec­tion” to com­mu­ni­cate with an attor­ney, fam­i­ly mem­ber, immi­gra­tion spon­sor or oth­ers who may help sup­port their appli­ca­tion for admission.

Cur­rent­ly, the right to con­sult an attor­ney is lim­it­ed to those tak­en into cus­tody or who are the focus of a crim­i­nal investigation.

The leg­is­la­tion was inspired by chaot­ic con­di­tions and pro­longed deten­tions at ports of entry in 2017, when the Trump admin­is­tra­tion abrupt­ly banned admis­sion of trav­el­ers from some countries.

Our own Prami­la Jaya­pal, D‑Washington, said the bill “would ensure that peo­ple who have already been vet­ted and grant­ed law­ful sta­tus have a mean­ing­ful oppor­tu­ni­ty to call an attor­ney, a rel­a­tive, or oth­er inter­est­ed par­ty, like a mem­ber of Con­gress, when they get held for more than hour in sec­ondary inspection.”

Tom McClin­tock, R‑California, said the bill “would grind legit­i­mate trade and trav­el to a halt by pro­vid­ing that vir­tu­al­ly any­one referred to sec­ondary inspec­tion can with­in an hour con­sult with an attor­ney and call oth­er third par­ties […] This bill gives CBP [Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion] the Hob­son’s choice of cur­tail­ing inspec­tions or rou­tine­ly back­ing up traf­fic for hours.”

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

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

ATTEMPTING CENSURE OF REPRESENTATIVE WATERS: Vot­ing 216 for and 210 against, the House on April 20th blocked a Repub­li­can-spon­sored mea­sure (H Res 331) to cen­sure Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Max­ine Waters, D‑California, for her remarks in Min­neso­ta on April 17th urg­ing pro­tes­tors to “stay on the streets” and be “more con­fronta­tion­al” if jurors acquit­ted for­mer Min­neapo­lis police offi­cer Derek Chau­vin of charges in the death of George Floyd.

Chau­vin was con­vict­ed on April 20th of mur­der and manslaugh­ter. Top House Repub­li­can Kevin McCarthy, R‑California, said the remarks “raised the poten­tial for vio­lence.” Major­i­ty Leader Ste­ny Hoy­er, D‑Maryland, said Waters did not advo­cate vio­lence and called the cen­sure res­o­lu­tion a “pho­ny effort to dis­tract” from Repub­li­cans’ vio­lent rhetoric.

A yes vote was to block the resolution.

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)

COMBATING HATE CRIMES AGAINST ASIAN AMERICANS: By a vote of 94 for and 1 against, the Sen­ate on April 22nd passed a bipar­ti­san bill (S 937) that would require the Jus­tice Depart­ment, states and local­i­ties to step up efforts to track and pre­vent hate crimes. While it would apply to all hate crimes, whether based on race, reli­gion, her­itage or gen­der, the leg­is­la­tion was prompt­ed by a recent out­break of attacks and harass­ment against Amer­i­cans of Asian and Pacif­ic Islander her­itage dur­ing the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Jus­tice Depart­ment would begin a year­long study of hate crime and, with the Depart­ment of Health and Human Ser­vices, advise states and local­i­ties on how to bet­ter track hate crime and con­duct pub­lic edu­ca­tion cam­paigns to raise aware­ness. Grants would be pro­vid­ed to help improve hate crime report­ing, inves­ti­ga­tion and pre­ven­tion efforts at the state and local level.

States and local­i­ties receiv­ing help would be required to report every six months on their hate crime sta­tis­tics and reduc­tion programs.

Major­i­ty Leader Chuck Schumer, D‑New York, said: “Asian-Amer­i­cans across the coun­try have been vic­tims of a surge of dis­crim­i­na­tion and racial­ly moti­vat­ed vio­lence and big­otry… By pass­ing this bill we say to the Asian-Amer­i­can com­mu­ni­ty that their gov­ern­ment is pay­ing atten­tion to them, has heard their con­cerns and will respond to pro­tect them.”

No sen­a­tor spoke in oppo­si­tion to the bill.

The neg­a­tive vote was cast by Josh Haw­ley, R‑Missouri.

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

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

VANITA GUPTA, ASSOCIATE ATTORNEY GENERAL: By a vote of 51 for and 49 against, the Sen­ate on April 21st con­firmed Vani­ta Gup­ta to be asso­ciate attor­ney gen­er­al, mak­ing her the first woman of col­or to hold what is the third-rank­ing posi­tion at the Depart­ment of Justice.

Gup­ta, forty-six, an expe­ri­enced civ­il rights attor­ney, head­ed the depart­men­t’s civ­il rights divi­sion dur­ing the Oba­ma administration.

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

LISA MONACO, DEPUTY ATTORNEY GENERAL: Vot­ing 98 for and 2 against, the Sen­ate on April 20th con­firmed Lisa Mona­co to be deputy attor­ney gen­er­al, the sec­ond-rank­ing posi­tion at the Depart­ment of Justice.

Mona­co, fifty-three, was a top home­land secu­ri­ty and coun­tert­er­ror­ism aide to 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 Sen­ate will con­sid­er a water infra­struc­ture bill and a mea­sure to reduce methane emis­sions dur­ing the week of April 26th. There will be no votes in the House. Pres­i­dent Biden will address a joint ses­sion on Wednesday.

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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