Last Week In Congress
Last Week In Congress is a long-running Sunday series on NPI's Cascadia Advocate that helps people across the Pacific Northwest and beyond follow how Washington, Oregon, and Idaho's United States lawmakers voted. The illustration above incorporates photo art depicting the U.S. Capitol from NPI's image library.

Good morn­ing! Here’s how Cascadia’s Mem­bers of Con­gress vot­ed on major issues dur­ing the leg­isla­tive week end­ing April 28th, 2023.

In the United States House of Representatives

Chamber of the United States House of Representatives
The House cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

“DEFAULT ON AMERICA” ACT: The House on April 26th passed the Repub­li­can-named “Lim­it, Save, Grow Act” (H.R. 2811), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jodey C. Arring­ton, R‑Texas. The bill would sus­pend the fed­er­al debt lim­it until spring 2024 and make numer­ous spend­ing and pol­i­cy changes, includ­ing rescind­ing unob­lig­at­ed fund­ing for COVID and Inter­nal Rev­enue Ser­vice pro­grams, estab­lish­ing work require­ments for Med­ic­aid and food stamp pro­grams, and reduc­ing sub­si­dies for elec­tric vehi­cles and ener­gy effi­cien­cy and renew­able energy.

Arring­ton called the bil­l’s $4.8‑trillion spend­ing cut “an impor­tant first step to get­ting our fis­cal house in order and a good faith effort to bring the pres­i­dent to the nego­ti­at­ing table” for bud­get talks.

An oppo­nent, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Bren­dan F. Boyle, D‑Pennsylvania, said the bill made risky cuts to pub­lic safe­ty, health, and food pro­grams, and rep­re­sent­ed “reck­less brinkman­ship” by rais­ing doubts about whether the U.S. will pay its debt oblig­a­tions. The vote was 217 yeas to 215 nays.

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Yea (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Cliff Bentz and Lori Chavez-DeRemer

Vot­ing Nay (4): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Val Hoyle, and Andrea Salinas

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Yea (2): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Dan New­house and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Vot­ing Nay (8): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Marie Glue­senkamp Perez, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strickland

Cas­ca­dia total: 6 yea votes, 12 nay votes

CALLING FOR THE RELEASE OF MARK SWIDAN: The House on April 25th passed a res­o­lu­tion (H. Res. 90), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Michael Cloud, R‑Texas, to demand that Chi­na’s gov­ern­ment imme­di­ate­ly release from prison Mark Swidan, a U.S. cit­i­zen whom Chi­na sen­tenced to death in 2012 after being con­vict­ed of drug traf­fick­ing charges.

Cloud said Swidan has been severe­ly mis­treat­ed while in prison, and that “no drugs were ever found on Swidan or in his hotel room, and the pros­e­cu­tion did not pro­duce any evi­dence tying him to the drugs.”

The vote was unan­i­mous with 418 yeas.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Yea (6): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Val Hoyle, Earl Blu­me­nauer, and Andrea Sali­nas; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Cliff Bentz and Lori Chavez-DeRemer

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Yea (10): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Marie Glue­senkamp Perez, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strick­land; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Dan New­house and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 18 yea votes

ENCOURAGING EXPANSION OF ABRAHAM ACCORDS: The House on April 25th passed a res­o­lu­tion (H. Res. 311), spon­sored by Rep. Ann Wag­n­er, R‑Mo., to encour­age Mid­dle East coun­tries to join the Abra­ham Accords for improv­ing rela­tions between Israel and neigh­bor­ing countries.

Wag­n­er said: “Israel is a force for peace and a bea­con of democ­ra­cy in a chal­leng­ing region. At a time of height­ened anti-Semi­tism across the globe, it is more impor­tant than ever that we main­tain our strong con­nec­tion to this very key ally.” The vote was 401 yeas to 19 nays.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Yea (6): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Val Hoyle, Earl Blu­me­nauer, and Andrea Sali­nas; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Cliff Bentz and Lori Chavez-DeRemer

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Yea (9): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Marie Glue­senkamp Perez, Derek Kilmer, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strick­land; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Dan New­house and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Vot­ing Nay (1): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Prami­la Jayapal

Cas­ca­dia total: 17 yea votes, 1 nay vote

IMPROVING EMERGENCY TELECOMMUNICATIONS: The House on April 26th passed the Advanced, Local Emer­gency Response Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions Par­i­ty Act (H.R. 1353), spon­sored by Rep. Bill John­son, R‑Ohio.

The bill would require the Fed­er­al Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion (FCC) to take mea­sures to improve emer­gency com­mu­ni­ca­tions ser­vices, such as 9–1‑1 calls, in areas of the coun­try that lack ade­quate ser­vices. John­son said the bill would help “ensure every­one has access to crit­i­cal life­sav­ing emer­gency ser­vices regard­less of where they live or trav­el.” The vote was 422 yeas to 1 nay.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Yea (6): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Val Hoyle, Earl Blu­me­nauer, and Andrea Sali­nas; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Cliff Bentz and Lori Chavez-DeRemer

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Yea (9): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Marie Glue­senkamp Perez, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strick­land; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Dan Newhouse

Not Vot­ing (1): Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 17 yea votes, 1 not voting

UPDATING REGULATIONS TO ENABLE PRECISION AGRICULTURE: The House on April 26th passed the Pre­ci­sion Agri­cul­ture Satel­lite Con­nec­tiv­i­ty Act (H.R. 1339), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Robert E. Lat­ta, R‑Ohio, to require the Fed­er­al Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Com­mis­sion to eval­u­ate poten­tial changes to its rules gov­ern­ing the use of satel­lites to enable pre­ci­sion agri­cul­ture prac­tices. Lat­ta said of the ben­e­fit of such changes: “Farm­ers use infor­ma­tion in real time to make smarter deci­sions on how to opti­mize inputs and whether and when to plant or har­vest. When ter­res­tri­al or cel­lu­lar net­works are not avail­able, satel­lite broad­band steps in to make these tech­nolo­gies work.” The vote was 409 yeas to 11 nays.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Yea (6): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Val Hoyle, Earl Blu­me­nauer, and Andrea Sali­nas; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Cliff Bentz and Lori Chavez-DeRemer

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Yea (9): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Marie Glue­senkamp Perez, Derek Kilmer, Prami­la Jaya­pal, Kim Schri­er, and Adam Smith; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Dan New­house and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Not Vot­ing (1): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mar­i­lyn Strickland

Cas­ca­dia total: 17 yea votes, 1 not voting

FAILED ATTEMPT TO INSIST ON WITHDRAWAL FROM SOMALIA: The House on April 27th reject­ed a res­o­lu­tion (H. Con. Res. 30), spon­sored by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Matt Gaetz, R‑Florida, that would have ordered the removal of U.S. sol­diers sta­tioned in Soma­lia with­in one year. Gaetz said: “I have yet to see the evi­dence that U.S. troops are the essen­tial ele­ment to fus­ing rela­tion­ships among war­ring African war­lords, clans, and tribes” and suc­ceed in sta­bi­liz­ing Somalia.

An oppo­nent, Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Richard McCormick, R‑Georgia, voiced con­cerns that if the U.S. mil­i­tary leaves Soma­lia, “we will have an increase in ter­ror­ist activ­i­ties” and there­fore an increased threat to U.S. security.

The vote was 102 yeas to 321 nays.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

Vot­ing Yea (1): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Val Hoyle

Vot­ing Nay (5): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Earl Blu­me­nauer, and Andrea Sali­nas; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Cliff Bentz and Lori Chavez-DeRemer

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Yea (2): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Prami­la Jaya­pal and Marie Glue­senkamp Perez

Vot­ing Nay (8): Demo­c­ra­t­ic Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Kim Schri­er, Adam Smith, and Mar­i­lyn Strick­land; Repub­li­can Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Dan New­house and Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers

Cas­ca­dia total: 3 yea votes, 15 nay votes

In the United States Senate

Chamber of the United States Senate
The Sen­ate cham­ber (U.S. Con­gress photo)

EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT: Vot­ing 51 for and 47 against, the Sen­ate on April 27th failed to reach 60 votes need­ed to advance a mea­sure (SJ Res 4) aimed at push­ing the Equal Rights Amend­ment (ERA) clos­er to rat­i­fi­ca­tion into the Con­sti­tu­tion. The res­o­lu­tion sought to replace a 1982 dead­line for states to vote on rat­i­fi­ca­tion with an open-end­ed rat­i­fi­ca­tion period.

This poten­tial­ly would val­i­date rat­i­fi­ca­tion votes by Neva­da, Illi­nois and Vir­ginia that occurred after 1982 but leave unre­solved the sta­tus of rat­i­fi­ca­tion votes by five states dur­ing the 1970s that they have since rescinded.

The ERA states: “Equal­i­ty of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the Unit­ed States or by any state on account of sex.”

Ben Cardin, D‑Maryland, said ERA rat­i­fi­ca­tion is need­ed because “there are still sys­temic chal­lenges based upon sex in our work­place, in health care and domes­tic vio­lence.” No sen­a­tor spoke against this attempt to advance the ERA.

A yes vote was to clear the way for ERA ratification.

Edi­tor’s Note: This Equal Rights Amend­ment vote sum­ma­ry was pro­vid­ed by VoteFacts.com News Reports, a strict­ly non­par­ti­san, fact-based news site whose mis­sion is to help civic mind­ed indi­vid­u­als and orga­ni­za­tions track the most con­se­quen­tial and news­wor­thy issues debat­ed in the U.S. House and Sen­ate in the 117th Con­gress (2021–2022) and 118th Con­gress (2023–2024).

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

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

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Yea (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Maria Cantwell and Pat­ty Murray

Cas­ca­dia total: 4 yea votes, 2 nay votes

JOSHUA DAVID JACOBS, VA UNDERSECRETARY: The Sen­ate on April 26th con­firmed the nom­i­na­tion of Joshua David Jacobs to be the Vet­er­ans Affairs Depart­men­t’s Under Sec­re­tary for Ben­e­fits. Jacobs is cur­rent­ly a senior ben­e­fits man­age­ment advi­so­ry offi­cial at the VA, and was in a sim­i­lar role at the VA dur­ing the Oba­ma admin­is­tra­tion. A sup­port­er, Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Mur­ray, D‑Washington, said Jacobs’ expe­ri­ence at the VA “shows his deep com­mit­ment to serv­ing those who served our nation and why he is such a strong fit and trust­ed choice for this role.”

The vote was 74 yeas to 25 nays.

The State of Idaho

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

The State of Oregon

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

The State of Washington

Vot­ing Yea (2):
Demo­c­ra­t­ic Sen­a­tors Maria Cantwell and Pat­ty Murray

Cas­ca­dia total: 4 yea votes, 2 nay votes

VOIDING ANOTHER EPA RULE: The Sen­ate on April 26th passed a res­o­lu­tion (S.J. Res. 11), spon­sored by Sen­a­tor Deb Fis­ch­er, R‑Nebraska, to dis­ap­prove of and void an Envi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency rule lim­it­ing nitro­gen oxide air emis­sions from heavy-duty engines. Fis­ch­er said: “The tech­nol­o­gy required to meet this new rule’s stan­dards will cost between approx­i­mate­ly $2,500 and $8,500 per vehi­cle. This means that many truck­ers will choose to keep their old heavy-duty vehi­cles, which do have high­er rates of emis­sions, instead of buy­ing vehi­cles that are both afford­able and more climate-conscious.”

A res­o­lu­tion oppo­nent, Sen­a­tor Alex Padil­la, D‑California, said: “For the sake of clean air, for the sake of our envi­ron­ment, and for the sake of the health of all com­mu­ni­ties across the coun­try, I urge you to oppose this repeal.”

The vote, on April 26, was 50 yeas to 49 nays. The res­o­lu­tion was able to pass thanks to the absence of Sen­a­tor Dianne Fein­stein of Cal­i­for­nia and the defec­tion of Sen­a­tor Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

The State of Idaho

Vot­ing Yea (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 yea votes, 4 nay votes

Key votes ahead

The House will be in recess this week, with no floor votes expected.

The Sen­ate will be in ses­sion and work­ing on judi­cial nominations.

Votes are expect­ed to con­firm Michael Far­biarz and Robert Kirsch to the fed­er­al bench in New Jer­sey and Ore­lia Ele­ta Mer­chant to the fed­er­al bench in New York.

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!

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About the author

Targeted News Service provides comprehensive public policy coverage of government activities at the federal, congressional and state level, including weekly voting reports for NPI's Last Week In Congress series. TNS' president and editor Myron Struck has been a professional journalist since 1973, working for The Washington Post, Miami Herald, Manassas (Virginia) Journal-Messenger, Prince William (Virginia) Journal, Defense News, Defense Electronics, Roll Call, States News Service, CCH Publications (TaxDay), CD Publications and Campaigns & Elections Magazine.

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