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Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Sunday, August 14th, 2022

Last Week In Congress: How Cascadia’s U.S. lawmakers voted (August 7th-12th)

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Mem­bers of Con­gress vot­ed on major issues on July 29th and dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing August 12th, 2022.

In the United States House of Representatives

Chamber of the United States House of Representatives

The House cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

INFLATION REDUCTION ACT: The House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives on August 12th con­curred in the Sen­ate amend­ments to H.R. 5376, send­ing to Pres­i­dent Joe Biden a major cli­mate and health focused bill that would allow Medicare to begin nego­ti­at­ing pre­scrip­tion drug costs and make major invest­ments in com­bat­ing the cli­mate cri­sis. The leg­is­la­tion was adopt­ed along par­ty lines, with every Demo­c­rat vot­ing yea and every present Repub­li­can vot­ing nay.

Four Repub­li­cans missed the vote.

“These mon­u­men­tal invest­ments are – for fam­i­lies, in health care – are ful­ly paid for, ensur­ing the biggest cor­po­ra­tions and wealth­i­est pay their fair share.  And that is an esti­mate of about $160 bil­lion a year of tax­es they are unlaw­ful­ly not pay­ing,” said Speak­er Nan­cy Pelosi dur­ing floor debate on the leg­is­la­tion. “Right now, fam­i­lies are being harmed by cor­po­rate profiteering.”

“I urge all my col­leagues to reject this out-of-touch bill. Reject the crush­ing new tax­es. Reject the bal­loon­ing of gov­ern­ment. Reject the spend­ing on things we don’t need with mon­ey we don’t have,” said top Repub­li­can Kevin McCarthy.

A yes vote was to send the leg­is­la­tion 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

In the United States Senate

Chamber of the United States Senate

The Sen­ate cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

INFLATION REDUCTION ACT: The Sen­ate on August 7th passed a cli­mate and health focused bud­get bill (H.R. 5376, above), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive John A. Yarmuth, D‑Kentucky. The bil­l’s pro­vi­sions include changes to Medicare pre­scrip­tion drug pro­grams and var­i­ous sub­si­dies for non-fos­sil fuel sources of ener­gy and ener­gy effi­cien­cy pro­grams, while its tax pol­i­cy changes include a fif­teen per­cent alter­na­tive min­i­mum tax on large com­pa­nies and about $80 bil­lion of increased fund­ing for the Inter­nal Rev­enue Service.

A sup­port­er, Sen­a­tor Mark Warn­er, D‑Virginia, said it “will help fight infla­tion, invest in domes­tic ener­gy pro­duc­tion and man­u­fac­tur­ing, reduce car­bon emis­sions, and low­er health­care costs for mil­lions of Americans.”

An oppo­nent, Sen­a­tor Chuck Grass­ley, R‑Iowa, called the bill “a long list of reck­less tax increas­es and spend­ing.” The vote was 50 yeas to 50 nays, with Vice Pres­i­dent Kamala Har­ris cast­ing a 51st tiebreak­ing yea vote.

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

IMMIGRATION AND ASYLUM CLAIMS: As part of the vote-a-rama on the Infla­tion Reduc­tion Act (above) the Sen­ate on August 6th reject­ed a motion to waive a point of order applied to an amend­ment spon­sored by Sen­a­tor Jon Tester, D‑Montana, to H.R. 5376. The amend­ment would have required the Sur­geon Gen­er­al to devel­op a plan for han­dling changes in immi­gra­tion lev­els that would result from end­ing a sus­pen­sion of asy­lum claims due to the fed­er­al gov­ern­men­t’s declared Covid emer­gency. The vote was 56 yeas to 44 nays, with a three-fifths (six­ty vote thresh­old) required for approval.

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

REPUBLICAN AMENDMENT TO RESTRICT IRS’ AUDITING POWERS: As part of the vote-a-rama on the Infla­tion Reduc­tion Act (above), the Sen­ate on August 6th reject­ed an amend­ment spon­sored by Sen­a­tor Mike Crapo, R‑Idaho, to H.R. 5376, that would have barred the Inter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice from using the bil­l’s increase in agency fund­ing to audit tax­pay­ers with annu­al tax­able incomes below $400 thou­sand. Crapo said in the absence of such a lim­i­ta­tion, “super­sized IRS fund­ing will squeeze bil­lions from the mid­dle-class work­ers and small busi­ness­es through ramped-up audits.”

An oppo­nent, Sen­a­tor Ron Wyden, D‑Oregon, said: “Bil­lion­aires often have lit­tle or no tax­able income for years on end. So under this amend­ment, the bil­lion­aires who live off their bor­row­ings would be immune from audit.” The vote was 50 yeas to 50 nays, with Vice Pres­i­dent Har­ris cast­ing a 51st tiebreak­ing nay vote.

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

WEAKENING MEDICARE’S AUTHORIZATION TO NEGOTIATE DRUG PRICES: As part of the vote-a-rama on the Infla­tion Reduc­tion Act (above), the Sen­ate on August 7th reject­ed an amend­ment spon­sored by Sen­a­tor Roger Mar­shall, R‑Kansas, to H.R. 5376 that would have exclud­ed cer­tain Medicare Part D pre­scrip­tion drugs and break­through ther­a­py drugs from the bil­l’s drug pric­ing pro­vi­sions. Mar­shall said the exclu­sion would pro­mote the devel­op­ment of “new inno­v­a­tive drugs for life-threat­en­ing ill­ness­es, like Alzheimer’s and cancers.”

An oppo­nent, Sen­a­tor Ron Wyden, D‑Oregon, said it “would water down the new nego­ti­a­tions pro­gram, so it would be hard­er to nego­ti­ate over the most expen­sive drugs in Medicare today.” The vote was 50 yeas to 50 nays, with Vice Pres­i­dent Har­ris cast­ing a 51st tiebreak­ing nay vote.

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

EASING APPROVAL FOR FOSSIL FUEL PROJECTS: As part of the vote-a-rama on the Infla­tion Reduc­tion Act (above), the Sen­ate on August 7th reject­ed a motion to waive a bud­getary point of order against an amend­ment spon­sored by Sen­a­tor Shel­ley Moore Capi­to, R‑West Vir­ginia, to H.R. 5376. The amend­ment would have stream­lined per­mit­ting for infra­struc­ture and ener­gy projects such as petro­le­um gas pipelines. Capi­to said faster project reviews would ease “infla­tion, per­mit­ting, and ener­gy sup­ply chal­lenges” that are hurt­ing the Unit­ed States.

An amend­ment oppo­nent, Sen­a­tor Tom Carp­er, D‑Delaware, said it “would under­mine pro­tec­tion of our water qual­i­ty, weak­en air qual­i­ty pro­tec­tions, harm wildlife, and would have sig­nif­i­cant impacts on vul­ner­a­ble communities.”

The vote was 49 yeas to 50 nays.

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

OFFSHORE OIL AND PETROLEUM GAS PRODUCTION: As part of the vote-a-rama on the Infla­tion Reduc­tion Act (above), the Sen­ate on August 7th reject­ed an amend­ment spon­sored by Sen­a­tor John Kennedy, R‑Louisiana, to H.R. 5376 that would have required the Inte­ri­or Depart­ment to hold at least ten sales of leas­es, over the next five years, to pro­duce oil and petro­le­um gas in off­shore waters that are part of the Out­er Con­ti­nen­tal Shelf. The vote was 50 yeas to 50 nays, with Vice Pres­i­dent Har­ris cast­ing a 51st tiebreak­ing nay vote.

NAYS: Cantwell D‑WA, Mur­ray D‑WA, Merkley D‑OR, Wyden D‑OR
YEAS: Risch R‑ID, Crapo R‑ID

GUTTING PROPOSED IRS INVESTMENTS: As part of the vote-a-rama on the Infla­tion Reduc­tion Act (above), the Sen­ate on August 7th reject­ed an amend­ment spon­sored by Sen­a­tor Ted Cruz, R‑Texas, to H.R. 5376 that would have removed the bil­l’s increase in fund­ing for the Inter­nal Rev­enue Service.

Cruz called the increase a “ter­ri­ble idea” that would “make the IRS larg­er than the Pen­ta­gon, the State Depart­ment, the FBI, and the Bor­der Patrol all combined.”

An oppo­nent, Sen­a­tor Ron Wyden, D‑Oregon, said the new staffers were need­ed to ensure that “wealthy tax cheats” do not “get away with break­ing the law scot-free.” The vote was 50 yeas to 50 nays, with Vice Pres­i­dent Har­ris cast­ing a 51st tiebreak­ing nay vote.

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

INSULIN SUBSIDIES POISON PILL AMENDMENT: As part of the vote-a-rama on the Infla­tion Reduc­tion Act (above), the Sen­ate reject­ed an amend­ment spon­sored by Sen. John Kennedy, R‑Louisiana, to H.R. 5376 that would have rein­stat­ed a fed­er­al gov­ern­ment rule, repealed by the Biden admin­is­tra­tion, to autho­rize health cen­ters fund­ed by the gov­ern­ment to pro­vide deeply dis­count­ed sup­plies of insulin and epi­neph­rine to patients at the centers.

Kennedy said the rule “would sub­stan­tial­ly and dra­mat­i­cal­ly low­er the cost of insulin for mil­lions of Americans.”

An oppo­nent, Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray, D‑Wash., called the amend­ment part of a Repub­li­can effort to derail the attempt to pass the under­ly­ing bill. The vote was 50 yeas to 50 nays, with Vice Pres­i­dent Har­ris cast­ing a 51st tiebreak­ing nay vote.

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

REPUBLICAN BORDER SECURITY AMENDMENT: As part of the vote-a-rama on the Infla­tion Reduc­tion Act (above), the Sen­ate on August 7th reject­ed an amend­ment spon­sored by Sen­a­tor Dan Sul­li­van, R‑Alaska, to H.R. 5376 that would have pro­vid­ed $500 mil­lion for build­ing pedes­tri­an fenc­ing and bar­ri­ers on the bor­der with Mexico.

Sul­li­van said the spend­ing was need­ed to pre­vent “crime; vic­tims of human traf­fick­ing, many of them chil­dren; a fen­tanyl epi­dem­ic killing our young peo­ple; chaos–all fueled by a law­less border.”

An oppo­nent, Sen­a­tor Gary C. Peters, D‑Michigan, said the off­set­ting cut in spend­ing at the Home­land Secu­ri­ty Depart­ment would derail an effort to pro­tect gov­ern­ment work­ers from harm­ful per- and poly­flu­o­roalkyl sub­stances (PFAS). The vote was 50 yeas to 50 nays, with Vice pres­i­dent Har­ris cast­ing a tiebreak­ing 51st nay vote.

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

SMALL BUSINESS TAX PROVISIONS: As part of the vote-a-rama on the Infla­tion Reduc­tion Act (above), the Sen­ate on August 7th passed an amend­ment spon­sored by Sen­a­tor John Thune, R‑South Dako­ta, to H.R. 5376 that would exempt aggre­ga­tions of busi­ness­es that are owned by a sin­gle enti­ty from the bil­l’s min­i­mum cor­po­rate book tax, and extend by 1 year a cap on the allow­able state and local tax deduc­tion for fed­er­al income tax pay­ers. Thune said the amend­ment would “help ensure our nation’s small- and medi­um-size busi­ness­es aren’t hit with a mis­guid­ed and entire­ly inap­pro­pri­ate $35 bil­lion tax hike.” ’

An oppo­nent, Sen­a­tor Ron Wyden, D‑Oregon, said “there are no tax increas­es on small busi­ness­es in our bill.” The vote was 57 yeas to 43 nays.

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

EVEN MORE SMALL BUSINESS TAX PROVISIONS: As part of the vote-a-rama on the Infla­tion Reduc­tion Act (above), the Sen­ate on August 7th passed an amend­ment spon­sored by Sen­a­tor Mark Warn­er, D‑Virginia, to H.R. 5376 that would strike the one year exten­sion of a cap on the allow­able state and local tax deduc­tion for fed­er­al income tax pay­ers and replace it with a two year exten­sion of the cap on excess busi­ness loss­es. Warn­er said the amend­ment “will allow us to move for­ward on this his­toric legislation.”

An oppo­nent, Sen­a­tor John Thune, R‑South Dako­ta., said the one year exten­sion he had pro­posed in a sep­a­rate amend­ment was the bet­ter pol­i­cy. The vote was 50 yeas to 50 nays, with Vice Pres­i­dent Har­ris cast­ing a 51st tie break­ing yea vote.

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

CONSTANCE MILSTEIN, AMBASSADOR TO MALTA: The Sen­ate on August 6th con­firmed the nom­i­na­tion of Con­stance J. Mil­stein to be the U.S. ambas­sador to Mal­ta. Mil­stein, cur­rent­ly an exec­u­tive at Ogden CAP Prop­er­ties, a New York City real estate com­pa­ny, was an aide to the Army sec­re­tary in the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion. The vote was 57 yeas to 34 nays.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor Jim Risch

Not Vot­ing (1): Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor 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, 1 nay vote, 1 not voting

LWIC will be on hiatus for a few weeks

Con­gress is not expect­ed to recon­vene for sev­er­al weeks, which means Last Week In Con­gress will be on hia­tus until September.

Edi­tor’s Note: The infor­ma­tion in NPI’s week­ly How Cas­ca­di­a’s U.S. law­mak­ers vot­ed fea­ture is pro­vid­ed by Tar­get­ed News Ser­vice. 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!

© 2022 Tar­get­ed News Ser­vice, LLC. 

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