Legislative Advocacy

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

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.

Vot­ing Nay (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Russ Fulcher and Mike Simpson

Vot­ing Aye (4): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Peter DeFazio, and Kurt Schrader

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cliff Bentz

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

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.

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jim Risch and Mike Crapo

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

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.

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jim Risch and Mike Crapo

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

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.

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jim Risch and Mike Crapo

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

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.

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jim Risch and Mike Crapo

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

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.

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jim Risch and Mike Crapo

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

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.

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jim Risch and Mike Crapo

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

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.

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jim Risch and Mike Crapo

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

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.

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jim Risch and Mike Crapo

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

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.

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jim Risch and Mike Crapo

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

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.

Vot­ing Nay (2):
Repub­li­can Sen­a­tors Jim Risch and Mike Crapo

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

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.

Vot­ing Nay (1): Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor Jim Risch

Not Vot­ing (1): Repub­li­can Sen­a­tor Mike Crapo

Vot­ing Aye (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley

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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