Pennsylvania Member of Congress Tracking Report – 09/29/19

78 mins read
Graphic by Kelly Pollock.

This is a 100% volunteer effort brought to you by a handful of progressive Democrats and Independents who share a vision of an informed electorate.  We want to offer a big thank you to the Pennsylvania Together and Pennsylvania Statewide Indivisible organizations who host our report and help us share it out to the residents of our Commonwealth!

Tracking Congress in the Age of Trump

The lower the number, the more the legislator votes in opposition to the Trump agenda.

Member of Congress This week’s score Change from last report
Senator Bob Casey (D) 28.7% -0.5%
Senator Pat Toomey (R) 87.5% -0.7%
PA-01 Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R) 68.5% -0.5%
PA-02 Rep. Brendan Boyle (D) 14.2% -0.1%
PA-03 Rep. Dwight Evans (D) 12.8% -0.1%
PA-04 Rep. Madeleine Dean (D) 2.1% -0.1%
PA-05 Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D) 6.0% -0.1%
PA-06 Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D) 4.3%  0.0%
PA-07 Rep. Susan Wild (D) 8.0% -0.2%
PA-08 Rep. Matt Cartwright (D) 22.5% -0.1%
PA-09 Rep. Dan Meuser (R) 97.8%  0.0%
PA-10 Rep. Scott Perry (R) 88.7% +0.1%
PA-11 Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R) 95.7%   0.0%
PA-12 Rep. Fred Keller (R) 94.4% +0.3%
PA-13 Rep. John Joyce (R) 97.9% +0.1%
PA-14 Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R) 95.7%  0.0%
PA-15 Rep. Glenn W. Thompson (R) 98.6%  0.0%
PA-16 Rep. Mike Kelly (R) 96.5%  0.0%
PA-17 Rep. Conor Lamb (D) 27.8% -0.4%
PA-18 Rep. Mike Doyle (D) 16.4% -0.1%

Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight website assesses the voting records of our MoCs to provide this index, by comparing any bills where President Trump has stated a position, and comparing the vote of the legislator to that opinion. Two votes scored this week were in the Senate, one on a nomination, and the other related to ending President Trump’s fake national emergency over wall funding. That same fake emergency/wall funding vote was also scored in the House.

Want to see exactly what votes went into giving your MoC the numbers above?  Click on the name of any legislator and you will be brought to their 538 webpage, where all of the positions that went into the index are listed in an easy-to-read format.

Words From Our Founders

“The Governor Senators and all Officers of the United States to be liable to impeachment for mal and corrupt conduct, and upon conviction to be removed from office and disqualified for holding any place of trust or profit.”

Alexander Hamilton’s notes from the Constitutional Convention, 1787

Whistleblower/Impeachment related Votes

The whistleblower scandal and impeachment process are omnipresent in every media outlet. Accordingly, we are not going to do deep dives into votes that are already so thoroughly explored in media. Instead, we will link to several articles where more info can be found.  If, however, a vote on this topic has been glossed over by the media, you will find more info here. 

The Senate unanimously supports the release of the whistleblower complaint to Congress

Senate Action on S. Res. 325: “A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that the whistleblower complaint received on August 12, 2019, by the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community should be transmitted immediately to the Select Committee on Intelligence of the Senate and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of Representatives.”

As this was a unanimous consent process, no actual votes were recorded, but it had the support of both Casey and Toomey

The House demands the whistleblower complaint be released

House vote on H.Res. 576: “Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives with respect to the whistleblower complaint of August 12, 2019, made to the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community.”

As opposed to the Senate action, this was an actual roll call vote that took place around dinner time on Wednesday, September 25, 2019. The measure passed, 421-0.

Aye R Fitzpatrick, Brian PA 1st   Aye R Perry, Scott PA 10th
Aye D Boyle, Brendan PA 2nd   Aye R Smucker, Lloyd PA 11th
Aye D Evans, Dwight PA 3rd   Aye R Keller, Fred PA 12th
Aye D Dean, Madeleine PA 4th   Aye R Joyce, John PA 13th
Aye D Scanlon, Mary PA 5th   Aye R Reschenthaler, Guy PA 14th
Aye D Houlahan, Chrissy PA 6th   Aye R Thompson, Glenn PA 15th
Aye D Wild, Susan PA 7th   Aye R Kelly, Mike PA 16th
Aye D Cartwright, Matthew PA 8th   Aye D Lamb, Conor PA 17th
Aye R Meuser, Daniel PA 9th   Aye D Doyle, Mike PA 18th

The House GOP tries (and fails) to slap at House Speaker Pelosi over impeachment

House Vote on H.Res. 590: Raising a question of the privileges of the House

Ten minutes before the unanimous vote noted above, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy attempted to force action on a catty, nasty resolution designed to embarrass House Speaker Pelosi.  It includes tidbits like this:

Whereas the Speaker’s extraordinary decision to move forward with an impeachment inquiry without any debate or vote on such a resolution by the full House undermines the voting privileges afforded to each Member and the constituents they represent; and

Whereas this unprecedented and politically motivated decision by Speaker Pelosi represents an abuse of power and brings discredit to the House of Representatives: Now, therefore, be it

That the House of Representatives disapproves of the actions of the Speaker of the House, Mrs. Pelosi of California, to initiate an impeachment inquiry against the duly elected President of the United States, Donald J. Trump.

Instead of getting to vote on the bill itself, this vote is on a motion to table – it stops debate, and makes everyone decide whether or not the issue should be continued. Accordingly, a NO vote means an MoC supports the measure, while a YES vote means to stop debate and discard the resolution.  The measure was tabled after a 232-193 vote, on pure party lines.

No R Fitzpatrick, Brian PA 1st   No R Perry, Scott PA 10th
Aye D Boyle, Brendan PA 2nd   No R Smucker, Lloyd PA 11th
Aye D Evans, Dwight PA 3rd   No R Keller, Fred PA 12th
Aye D Dean, Madeleine PA 4th   No R Joyce, John PA 13th
Aye D Scanlon, Mary PA 5th   No R Reschenthaler, Guy PA 14th
Aye D Houlahan, Chrissy PA 6th   No R Thompson, Glenn PA 15th
Aye D Wild, Susan PA 7th   No R Kelly, Mike PA 16th
Aye D Cartwright, Matthew PA 8th   Aye D Lamb, Conor PA 17th
No R Meuser, Daniel PA 9th   Aye D Doyle, Mike PA 18th

Votes of Interest

The House addresses ICE/CBP oversight and improving the care of migrant detainees

House Vote on H.R. 2203: Homeland Security Improvement Act

House Vote on H.R. 3525: U.S. Border Patrol Medical Screening Standards Act

You may remember that just before the Independence Day recess, the Congress voted to send increased funding to Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. There was an attempt to add in some measures to improve conditions and treatment of detainees, as well as increase oversight. Those measures were stripped out, due to some interference by the Problem Solvers Caucus.  The pair of bills that came up this week, in combination with a humanitarian standards bill that passed the House in July, seek to remedy the missing oversight and improve conditions for migrants detained by our government.

Our fellow Indivisible activists in NY-16 were kind enough to recap these bills for us:

H.R. 2203 – This bill establishes various bodies and policies related to border security. It also limits when the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may separate a child from a parent or legal guardian. The bill establishes a commission to investigate and make a complete accounting of the handling of migrant families and children at the southern border since January 2017.  DHS shall appoint an Ombudsman for Border and Immigration Related Concerns. The bill establishes a committee to advise DHS as to how various programs may impact border communities. DHS shall ensure U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers receive initial and continual education on topics such as interaction with vulnerable populations. DHS shall provide Congress with a plan to require the use of body cameras during border security or immigration enforcement activities.    A child may not be removed from a parent or legal guardian at or near a port of entry or within 100 miles of the border except in certain instances, such as when a court determines that such removal is in the child’s best interests. DHS shall establish an electronic system to track separated children and the parents and legal guardians of such children.  The bill stops the implementation of various rules limiting requests for asylum, and imposes certain rules on the treatment of detained individuals.  The bill requires various reports, including a Government Accountability Office report on migrant deaths.

H.R. 3525 – This bill requires U.S. Customs and Border Protection to establish procedures to ensure consistent and efficient medical screenings for all  individuals stopped between ports of entry. The screenings shall take place within 12 hours of the initial stop. The bill imposes various requirements for screenings, including documentation of current medical complaints and recordkeeping. The Department of Homeland Security shall research and report to Congress new approaches to improve the screening procedures and recommend any necessary corrective actions,  as well as a plan to record the results of the screenings in electronic  health records that are interoperable with other DHS systems.

The votes on these two bills differed slightly. The H.R. 2203 vote, to provide additional oversight, was taken on Wednesday, September 25, 2019. That measure passed, 230-194. It received no Republican votes, and 1 Democrat crossed party lines to vote NO as well (Collin Peterson of Minnesota).  Our 18 Pennsylvania MoCs voted along party lines.

H.R. 3525, for improved medical screenings, was voted upon the next day, September 26th. That bill passed 230-184. Two members of each party crossed lines, including 🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick.

Aye R Fitzpatrick, Brian PA 1st   No R Perry, Scott PA 10th
Aye D Boyle, Brendan PA 2nd   No R Smucker, Lloyd PA 11th
Aye D Evans, Dwight PA 3rd   No R Keller, Fred PA 12th
Aye D Dean, Madeleine PA 4th   No R Joyce, John PA 13th
Aye D Scanlon, Mary PA 5th   No R Reschenthaler, Guy PA 14th
Aye D Houlahan, Chrissy PA 6th   No R Thompson, Glenn PA 15th
Aye D Wild, Susan PA 7th   No R Kelly, Mike PA 16th
Aye D Cartwright, Matthew PA 8th   Aye D Lamb, Conor PA 17th
No R Meuser, Daniel PA 9th   Aye D Doyle, Mike PA 18th

The House passes a bill to allow cannabis business to access banking services

House Vote on H.R. 1595: Secure And Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2019

The SAFE Banking Act was introduced by Colorado Democrat Rep. Ed Perlmutter. It had a broad base of 206 cosponsors (180D, 26R), including 🔵all 8 of Pennsylvania’s Democrats as well as 🔴 PA-09’s Rep. Dan Meuser and 🔴 PA-14’s Rep. Guy Reschenthaler.

Fox News provided a succinct explanation of the situation faced by cannabis business right now, as well as the fix provided by this bill:

The SAFE Banking Act would allow cannabis businesses to access financial services that have long been difficult to find due to their gray-area status — often legal in their individual state but illegal federally. Even cannabis businesses like hemp growers and CBD manufacturers that don’t work directly with THC, the intoxicating chemical in marijuana, have struggled to access banking services due to trepidation that still hangs over the industry. Under the bill, marijuana businesses would be able to open accounts, take on loans, accept credit cards and deposit money into banks that now seldom associate with them for fear of repercussions from the federal government.

Those services will be important for a sector that added 64,389 jobs in 2018, according to a report by Leafly and Whitney Economics, and could grow even more as pot laws continue to loosen across the United States.

Some provisions were added to the bill to increase Republican support, and make the bill more palatable to the Senate.  Market Watch reports that “One provision would prevent the return of Operation Choke Point, an Obama-era program that Crapo mentioned at the July hearing and that involved investigating banks for doing business with payday lenders and firearms dealers.  Another new provision aims to protect financial firms that serve the hemp industry, which is a force in Kentucky.” The latter measure was added to entice Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is still not in favor of bringing this measure to the floor of the Senate for a vote. 

The vote for this bill came on Wednesday, September 25, 2019.  It was raised under a suspension of the rules, meaning it required a ⅔ supermajority to pass, and it did so easily, 321-103. One Democrats voted NO, and the GOP caucus was nearly split in half, but a thin majority of Republicans voted YES. Only one PA MoC had issues with this bill:

Aye R Fitzpatrick, Brian PA 1st   Aye R Perry, Scott PA 10th
Aye D Boyle, Brendan PA 2nd   Aye R Smucker, Lloyd PA 11th
Aye D Evans, Dwight PA 3rd   Aye R Keller, Fred PA 12th
Aye D Dean, Madeleine PA 4th   No R Joyce, John PA 13th
Aye D Scanlon, Mary PA 5th   Aye R Reschenthaler, Guy PA 14th
Aye D Houlahan, Chrissy PA 6th   Aye R Thompson, Glenn PA 15th
Aye D Wild, Susan PA 7th   Aye R Kelly, Mike PA 16th
Aye D Cartwright, Matthew PA 8th   Aye D Lamb, Conor PA 17th
Aye R Meuser, Daniel PA 9th   Aye D Doyle, Mike PA 18th

The House and Senate pass a resolution about Trump’s fake emergency

Senate Vote on S.J.Res. 54: A joint resolution relating to a national emergency declared by the President

House Vote on S.J.Res. 54

If this feels like a flashback to February, you are not wrong.  This is the same situation, wherein President Trump used provisions of the 1976 National Emergencies Act to grab funding lawfully appropriated by Congress for other purposes and use them for his border wall. If you’d like to read the deals of how the 1976 National Emergencies Act works, MoCTrack devoted a past Learning about Legislation explainer piece to that topic.  The provisions of the Act allow for Congress to bring it up for a review vote every six months. Last time around, both the House and Senate passed the Joint Resolution to end the emergency by majorities, but when President Trump vetoed the resolution, there were not enough votes to overturn the veto.

This time around, the Senate voted upon the resolution first, and it passed, 54-41 on Wednesday, September 25, 2019.  All of the Democrats were joined by 11 Republicans, including Sen. Toomey.  While that is an impressive showing, one fewer GOP Senator joined the YES group (Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who did not place a vote this time). Casey voted YES and Toomey voted YES.

Then the measure moved to the House on Friday, September 27, 2019.  It passed 236-174. In February there were 13 Republicans who voted YES, this time there were 11 (along with Justin Amash, who is now an Independent).  Two of the GOP MoCs who voted YES in February did not place votes this time (the retiring Will Hurd of Texas, and Wisconsim’s Mike Gallagher).  One GOP MoC who did not place a vote in February joined with the Democrats in voting YES this time – John Katko of New York. 

No members of Pennsylvania delegation changed their position between February and this time:

Aye R Fitzpatrick, Brian PA 1st   No R Perry, Scott PA 10th
Aye D Boyle, Brendan PA 2nd   No R Smucker, Lloyd PA 11th
Aye D Evans, Dwight PA 3rd   No R Keller, Fred PA 12th
Aye D Dean, Madeleine PA 4th   No R Joyce, John PA 13th
Aye D Scanlon, Mary PA 5th   No R Reschenthaler, Guy PA 14th
Aye D Houlahan, Chrissy PA 6th   No R Thompson, Glenn PA 15th
Aye D Wild, Susan PA 7th   No R Kelly, Mike PA 16th
Aye D Cartwright, Matthew PA 8th   Aye D Lamb, Conor PA 17th
No R Meuser, Daniel PA 9th   Aye D Doyle, Mike PA 18th

Neither House has enough votes to overcome a presidential veto.

The Senate passes a continuing resolution to avoid a shutdown

Senate Vote on H.R. 4378: Continuing Appropriations Act, 2020, and Health Extenders Act of 2019

Last week we recapped a vote in the House on a continuing resolution to avoid another government shutdown.  President Trump’s program to pay farmers being hurt by his trade war with China was at the center of the inability to work out a deal in time to pass a normal appropriations bill making it necessary to kick the can down the road for six weeks. Funding will run out by October 1st.

This week was the Senate’s turn to pass the continuing resolution. The measure came to the floor on Thursday, September 26, 2019.  It passed the Senate 81-16. All 16 NO votes came from Republicans. Casey voted YES and Toomey voted NO.

Normally Senator Toomey issues statements when he votes no on spending bills,though  he did not do so this time.  But, to get a flavor of his normal explanation for such votes, here’s an excerpt from Senator Toomey’s August statement: “Our country does not have a revenue problem. We have a spending problem. And until Congress is willing to make tough spending choices, the national debt will continue to rise and trillion dollar deficits will be the norm.”

Senate Bureaucratic Confirmation #1

Senate Vote on Eugene Scalia to be Secretary of Labor

In the aftermath of the Epstein scandal, which forced the resignation of former Secretary of Labor, Alexander Acosta, the Trump Administration nominated as his replacement Eugene Scalia, son of the late Supreme Court Justice.

A Vox piece about Mr. Scalia noted that he is “a corporate lawyer who’s spent his career fighting against workers…on behalf of America’s largest businesses, including Wall Street banks, Walmart, and SeaWorld.” Vox added that “Scalia has a gift for unraveling consumer and worker protections.”

Rolling Stone went to the heart of the matter in their article titled “Trump’s New Labor Secretary Is Pretty Skilled at Hurting Laborers.”  That piece discusses several of the cases that Scalia was involved in, including when he “helped UPS fight a lawsuit by its workers who had paid for their protective workplace gear, and defended SeaWorld from allegations that it violated federal worker-safety regulations after one of its trainers was killed by an orca.”

The final word, though, belongs to the powerful Labor organization, the AFL-CIO, who implored senators to vote against this nomination.  They said, in that letter:

As demonstrated by his entire career, Eugene Scalia is the antithesis of what is required from a Secretary of Labor and what working people deserve to expect from the Department of Labor. Corporations and the rich already have abundant representation in the Trump administration. Working people cannot afford to have yet another corporate defender representing them at the Labor Department.

Mr. Scalia’s confirmation vote was taken on Thursday, September 26, 2019.  He was confirmed 53-44, in a pure party line vote. Casey voted NO and Toomey voted YES.

Senate Bureaucratic Confirmation #2

Senate Vote on Daniel Habib Jorjani to be Solicitor of the Department of the Interior.

The Solicitor for any of our nation’s bureaucratic entity provides counsel, advice and representation to the department’s leadership team.  In the case of the Department of the Interior, much of that advice will revolve around land use and the extractive industries (mining, energy exploitation).  Mr. Jorjani’s resume shows that he is well versed in that field.

The nominee has an extensive resume in both the public and private sector. According to Department of Influence, a website and organization devoted to tracking the revolving door between industry and government, at the start of his career, Mr. Jorjani was based in St. Petersburg, Russia, where he provided Foreign Corruption Practices Act (FCPA) guidance for U.S.-based clients in the energy sector. He has much experience in the Department of the Interior, dating back to the George W. Bush administration. “From 2001 to 2005 Jorjani was the Counselor and Chief of Staff to the Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management, and Budget, and from 2005 to 2009 he was the Counselor to the Deputy Secretary of the Department of the Interior.’

By far the most significant work he has done, however, is with the Koch brothers. As one of their highest paid employees, he was general counsel to a group that:

…spearheaded a Charles and David Koch energy initiative that aimed to drive the national narrative around energy and the tremendous benefits of reliable affordable energy for all Americans. The energy initiative was created in response to the commitment by liberal billionaire Tom Steyer to steer $100 million into ads in several states to make climate change a priority issue in the elections; numerous setbacks at the state level where Koch network backed advocacy groups have been fighting against renewable energy standards; and the new EPA regulations to curb carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.”

In a vote taken on Tuesday, September 24, 2019, Mr. Jorjani was confirmed 51-43. He received no support from Democrats, and they were joined in voting NO by GOP Sen. Susan Collins of Maine. Casey voted NO and Toomey voted YES.

Our Pennsylvania MoCs speak about Impeachment and the Ukraine Whistleblower Complaint

It is important to see how all of our MoCs are aligning themselves and what arguments they are using to support their decisions.  But making this more interesting, early on September 25, 2019 the White House mistakenly sent out talking points not just to the Republican caucus, but also to the Democrats.  The New York Times has more on that story of administrative incompetence. It is worth reviewing that attempt at spin, and gauge how much our GOP MoCs conformed to the White House’s direction.  In case you don’t want to read all of those statements, we’ve summarized the GOP MOC usage of White House approved talking points:

🔵 Senator Bob Casey, from his official website, 09/25/19:

The senator’s statement is VERY long, as well as full of footnotes and historical references. Below is an excerpt from it

“The recent revelation that President Trump pressured a foreign government to investigate his political opponents is a textbook case of abuse of power which demands action. In order to hold President Trump fully accountable, I support a formal impeachment inquiry in the House of Representatives. My concerns about the President’s conduct have grown over months, particularly as I thoroughly reviewed Special Counsel Mueller’s report. President Trump’s most recent actions with regard to Ukraine have created new urgency to take action. Given this clear abuse of power, I believe I have an obligation to outline the conduct, both during the Russian investigation and the Ukraine matter, that is within the well-established definition of the “high crimes and misdemeanors” that the Senate would consider in an impeachment trial…

…Congress must confront the facts before us. A failure to do so would be an abrogation of our most basic responsibilities. In order to hold President Trump accountable, I agree with Speaker Pelosi’s call to open a formal impeachment inquiry and begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump. If the House votes to impeach the President, I would be required as a U.S. Senator to vote in a Senate trial that would determine whether the President should be convicted and removed from office. Should such a situation arise, I will keep an open mind. However, at this time, I cannot ignore the public evidence which has confronted all of us.

As our Founders debated the merits of impeachment during the during the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Elbridge Gerry rose and offered a powerful justification for including such a provision in the final Constitution: “A good magistrate will not fear [impeachments]. A bad one ought to be kept in fear of them.” In the face of such blatant abuse of power and self-interested violations of the public trust—high crimes and misdemeanors—Congress must act.”

🔴 Senator Pat Toomey,  from his official website, 09/24/19 and 09/25/19:

Senator Toomey issued two separate statements.

09/24/19 – “As I have said repeatedly, a candidate for federal office seeking the assistance of a foreign government would be inappropriate. Today will shed more light on what transpired as President Trump has decided to release an un-redacted transcript of his call with the Ukrainian president. Further, the Senate unanimously approved yesterday a resolution calling for the full whistleblower complaint to be given to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. The administration should comply with this request.”

09/25/19 – “The memorandum released by the White House today reveals no quid pro quo. While the conversation reported in the memorandum relating to alleged Ukrainian corruption and Vice President Biden’s son was inappropriate, it does not rise to the level of an impeachable offense.”

🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, from The Doylestown Intelligencer, 09/26/19

None of the Congressman’s official social media presences acknowledge the existence of the impeachment process. He did, however, do an interview with a friendly local media outlet.

“The Congressman believes that law enforcement matters must always remain separate and distinct from political matters at all times. Whether or not law enforcement matters and investigations should be initiated or closed are decisions that should be made by law enforcement and law enforcement alone, not by politicians,” Fitzpatrick’s office wrote. “The Congressman believes that Speaker (Nancy) Pelosi’s response, however, to move forward with impeachment proceedings is ill-advised and will only further divide this Congress and our nation, and the Congressman is opposed to her decision.”

🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle, from his official website, 09/25/19:

“Here are the basic, indisputable facts:

1) President Trump pushed a foreign government to interfere in our presidential election by coming up with dirt on one of his political opponents.

2) He used hundreds of millions of dollars in public money to pressure a foreign government into agreeing to give him the help he sought.

3) The White House covered all of this up, and if not for the courage of a whistleblower the public would still be in the dark.

Fidelity to our Constitution demands President Trump be impeached.”

🔵 PA-03’s Rep. Dwight Evans, from his official website, 09/24/19:

Philadelphia congressman has supported impeaching Trump since 2017 – “Starting a formal impeachment inquiry is necessary because we have to stop the damage Trump has been doing to our government, to our Constitution, to our democracy. Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson gave a good overview of this recently,” Evans said.

“To add to Eugene Robinson’s points, both President Truman and legendary Speaker Sam Rayburn used to say, ‘A jackass can kick a barn down, but it takes a carpenter to build one.’ The work of rebuilding must start with cleansing the Oval Office.

An allegation of trying to use the power of the presidency against another country, in the context of withholding funds that Congress approved, to create dirt on a political opponent – this is incredibly serious and must be investigated.

Let’s be clear: I have been for impeachment since 2017 – as more and more members have come to see, Trump’s actions have forced our hand. It is our duty. A president must be held to a high standard. The soul of America is at stake.

Impeachment is not a cause for celebration – it is too serious for anyone from either party to fall back on the usual party politics. No one should be above the law. The House, the Senate and the White House ALL have a duty to work for the citizens. It’s not supposed to be the other way around.

Beginning a formal impeachment investigation is about protecting the Constitution that was written and signed nearly 250 years ago in Philadelphia.

The Democratic majority in the House can investigate AND legislate at the same time – we’ve already been doing both for over eight months now. We can address challenges such as infrastructure, health care, education, gun violence & poverty, regardless of who is in the Oval Office. The Senate can too.”

🔵 PA-04’s Rep. Madeleine Dean, from her official website, 05/21/19:

“Given countless opportunities to work with Congress — a co-equal branch of government responsible for oversight on behalf of the American people — to get to the truth, President Trump and his Administration have obstructed justice over and over again, leaving us no choice: We must open an impeachment inquiry into the President of the United States.”

“The President’s outrageous disregard for the law – his cruel and constant corruption – cannot go unanswered.  It will not go unanswered. The American people deserve the truth on the President’s ongoing obstruction of justice, corruption, and abuses of power. It is the right time for the committee to launch a formal impeachment inquiry – in parallel with ongoing oversight – to give that to them.”

“I take no pleasure in calling for this historic action, and yet I do so with an American sense of optimism — that our government of, by, and for the people is far stronger than a singularly amoral president.”

🔵 PA-05’s Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, from her official website, 05/21/19:

The representative’s statement is long.  Below, please find an excerpt.

“The President’s attempts to prevent witnesses from testifying is either evidence itself of obstruction and a clear signal that the President fears whatever the witnesses have to say. These efforts are not exclusive to this investigation, but to several issues critical to the American people — the people we took an oath to protect and represent. The President has also withheld information about healthcare enrollment data, how many children have been separated from their families at our border, and misrepresented reports about the quality of our water and air…

…The President cannot be trusted by Americans and the world.  Having the courage to not only think about the long-term consequences of this administration, including our position in the world, the foundation of our republic, and the rule of law should not be partisan. It is the courage that we as Americans must have, together.”

🔵 PA-06’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, from her official website, 09/24/19:

This is excerpted from a statement jointly issued by Rep. Houlahan and six of her first term colleagues (Gil Cisneros of California, Jason Crow of Colorado, Elaine Luria of Virginia, Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey, Elissa Slotkin of Michigan and Abigail Spanberger of Virginia)

“Our lives have been defined by national service. We are not career politicians. We are veterans of the military and of the nation’s defense and intelligence agencies. Our service is rooted in the defense of our country on the front lines of national security…

…flagrant disregard for the law cannot stand. To uphold and defend our Constitution, Congress must determine whether the president was indeed willing to use his power and withhold security assistance funds to persuade a foreign country to assist him in an upcoming election.

If these allegations are true, we believe these actions represent an impeachable offense. We do not arrive at this conclusion lightly, and we call on our colleagues in Congress to consider the use of all congressional authorities available to us, including the power of “inherent contempt” and impeachment hearings, to address these new allegations, find the truth and protect our national security.

As members of Congress, we have prioritized delivering for our constituents — remaining steadfast in our focus on health care, infrastructure, economic policy and our communities’ priorities. Yet everything we do harks back to our oaths to defend the country. These new allegations are a threat to all we have sworn to protect. We must preserve the checks and balances envisioned by the Founders and restore the trust of the American people in our government. And that is what we intend to do.”

🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild, from her official website, 09/24/19:

“The use of one’s public office to target political opponents and invite foreign interference in our elections is unequivocally unacceptable. Equally troubling is the President’s repeated obstruction and stonewalling of Congress’s constitutional oversight responsibilities. Today, I am announcing that, should the administration continue to withhold the whistleblower complaint at the heart of this matter, I will support an impeachment inquiry of the President of the United States. Because the House of Representatives has thus far been deprived of its ability to check the Executive in the way our nation’s founders intended, I view such an inquiry as the only way to get all of the facts and establish whether this President did, in fact, leverage the disbursement of foreign aid in exchange for Ukrainian interference in our election.

If these allegations are true, I want to be very clear about what they mean: the President of the United States used his Office—and taxpayer dollars—to coerce a foreign leader to investigate his political rival for purposes of bolstering his 2020 re-election prospects. That would be an unprecedented abuse of presidential power warranting the most severe and swift remedy contemplated in our Constitution: impeachment.

When the people of the 7th Congressional District gave me the honor of representing them in Congress, I promised to respect the political differences in our community and represent the interests of all my constituents, regardless of political affiliation or non-affiliation.  Make no mistake, in my swing district, this is not the politically expedient decision. However, should we have to proceed down this route, it is the only decision that would be consistent with the oath I took to support and defend the Constitution and uphold the laws of the United States. As this process unfolds, I want my constituents to know that my top priorities remain unchanged: I will continue to be laser-focused on improving the everyday lives of hardworking Pennsylvanians across the Greater Lehigh Valley and advancing my important work on the Education & Labor, Foreign Affairs, and Ethics Committees.”

🔵 PA-08’s Rep. Matt Cartwright, from his official website, 09/24/19:

“At some point, it becomes necessary to announce certain conduct by an American president as unacceptable. There have been credible allegations this week that the President abused the power of his office, on the international stage, for his own political gain. We need to get to the bottom of these serious allegations through comprehensive impeachment proceedings and document production. Whether such hearings result in actual impeachment of the president and/or senior cabinet officials remains to be seen.”

🔴 PA-09’s Rep. Dan Meuser, from his official website, 09/24/19 and 09/25/19:

Rep. Meuser issued two separate statements.

09/24/19 – “Speaker Pelosi’s impeachment inquiry announcement confirms what we have known all along: since Democrats were unable to defeat President Trump in a lawfully conducted election, they are now focused on trying to unlawfully remove him from office.

After harassing the President through countless investigations that began before he was elected related to tax returns, Russian collusion, obstruction of justice, and hotel business operations – none of which were based in fact and costing tens of millions of taxpayer dollars – one would think that Democrat leadership would move on to matters of actual importance. Democrat leadership has, however, chosen to focus on creating a far-fetched scandal related to a phone call with a foreign government leader. They are moving forward with an impeachment inquiry based on a transcript they have not read, one that the President is releasing tomorrow, and without the questionable whistleblower report.

This farce, which chooses to push a presumption of guilt where evidence is nonexistent, is nothing short of a Constitutional embarrassment for our country.

As the Representative of Pennsylvania’s Ninth Congressional District, I remain focused on the issues that matter to the people I work for – lowering prescription drug and health care costs, protecting our country’s borders, and growing our economy through job creation, revitalization, and international trade deals like the USMCA. All of these issues are areas where the President is providing real leadership by aiming to correct the shortcomings of the past.

We in Congress are supposed to work every day to make things better for our constituents and to put the public ahead of politics. It is up to the public to choose Representatives that conduct themselves in this manner.”

09/25/19 – “After reading the transcript from President Trump’s call with President Zelensky, it’s clear that there was no quid pro quo and that it was reasonable for them to discuss the potential corruption that may have transpired between the former Vice President and Ukraine.

The Democrats believe this justifies impeachment. I do not agree and I’m quite sure any reasonable American, Republican or Democrat, does not agree either.

Speaker Pelosi is again acting in political interests instead of in the public’s best interest. There is obviously no justification for impeachment. No high crime or misdemeanor was committed by the President. If there should be any inquiries, it should be surrounding the potential corruption mentioned in the transcript involving the former Vice President. This seems to be conveniently dismissed.”

🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry, from his official website, 09/24/19:

“Democrats have been trying get rid of this President since before he was even sworn into Office. Speaker Pelosi’s decision to pursue impeachment – based on unsubstantiated, indirect, and anonymous allegations – only shows that she’s finally given in to the socialist wing of the Democrat Party. This isn’t about holding the President accountable, or the Rule of Law; it’s about political power and undermining the will of the American People – at enormous taxpayer expense – to satisfy the radical left. The real issues in front of Congress are languishing. Citizens across the Country should know whether their Member of Congress – as well as their candidates for Congress – support impeachment, even as it’s being considered prior to any ‘evidence.’”

🔴 PA-11’s Rep. Lloyd Smucker, from his official website, 09/24/19:

“Remember when the Democrat Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, said for two years that he had proof, beyond circumstantial, of Russian collusion?  He lied. The conclusion from the Attorney General following the extensive Mueller report was, in fact, No collusion. 

So, we should be highly skeptical of the Democrats who are, again, rushing to condemn the President on hearsay and without all the information. For example, we know the whistleblower was not in the room when the call with the President of Ukraine took place. President Trump has confirmed that he will release on Thursday the complete, full declassified and un-redacted transcript of his phone call with President Zelensky of Ukraine. Democrats are rushing to impeachment without the facts — and the facts are currently unclear.

The Democrats have made clear that their partisan obstruction agenda of impeaching the President is more important than actually solving the issues the American people elected us to solve.”  

🔴 PA-12’s Rep. Fred Keller, from his official website, 09/24/19 and 09/25/19:

Rep. Keller issued two separate statements.

09/24/19 – “Engaging in an ‘impeachment inquiry’ is code word for continuing the type of costly investigations that have led this nation down an empty rabbit hole time and again. Ever since the 2016 election results came in, Democrats and never-Trumpers have been determined at any cost to delegitimize our duly elected President. Enough is enough. The American people are tired of this charade. It’s time for Congress to focus on real action on legislation that would benefit the American people.”

09/25/19 – “The transcript released today by the White House proves that the Democrats’ baseless impeachment inquiry is based on the Democrats’ standard operating procedure since Nancy Pelosi became Speaker: Ready. Fire. Aim. The transcript clearly shows that nothing worthy of impeachment occurred, but it does prove that Speaker Nancy Pelosi has completely lost control of her conference. The radical socialists in her party have the reins, and as long as they continue to push the House toward a baseless impeachment of our duly elected President, the American people will suffer.”

🔴 PA-13’s Rep. John Joyce, from his official website, 09/24/19:

“Joyce Statement on Democrats’ Endless Investigations – Time and again, House Democrats have proven that they prioritize endless investigations over meaningful legislation – always to the detriment of the American people. Rather than squander the balance of the 116th Congress on politically-motivated impeachment proceedings, I encourage House Democrats to remember their commitment to serve those whom they represent. Alongside President Trump, we must work together to deliver real solutions for the critical issues facing our nation including securing our southern border, strengthening our economy, and defending Americans at home and abroad.”

🔴 PA-14’s Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, from his official website, 09/24/19 and 09/26/19:

Rep. Reschenthaler issued two separate statements.

09/24/19 – “This is a sad day for our democracy. Speaker Pelosi’s decision to begin a formal impeachment inquiry based on secondhand allegations shows just how desperate the Democrats are to undo the will of the American people. President Trump has agreed to release the unredacted transcript of his phone call with the president of Ukraine and the House Intelligence Committee has yet to hold any hearings on this matter. Calling for impeachment before learning the facts sets a dangerous precedent and shows that once again, House Democrats are putting political theatre before the needs of the American people.”

09/25/19 – “The release of the whistleblower complaint and this morning’s hearing once again prove that Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats, the Party of Impeachment, are overreaching in their efforts to undo the results of the 2016 election. Their unprecedented impeachment inquiry is based purely on a partisan whistleblower complaint consisting of secondhand rumors, alleged hearsay, and publicly available press stories. This entire charade is irresponsible and desperate, and it’s distracting from the real concerns of hardworking Americans.”

🔴 PA-15’s Rep. Glenn W. Thompson, from his official website, 09/25/19:

“Speaker Pelosi may have formally announced an impeachment inquiry yesterday, but it’s clear this stunt began on January 20, 2017. There are some in Congress who simply cannot accept the outcome of the presidential election. You heard collusion, conspiracy, and doing away with the electoral college. Now you’re going to hear impeachment, term limits for the Supreme Court, and other socialist ideas with the only goal of winning elections. What we’re not hearing are the best and brightest ideas on how to better the lives of everyday people who are just trying to get a leg up, support their families, and live in safe communities.”

🔴 PA-16’s Rep. Mike Kelly, from his official website, 09/25/19:

“Socialist Democrats have never been able to accept that the American people chose President Trump to lead them in November 2016. It’s no surprise, therefore, that Speaker Pelosi hastily announced an impeachment inquiry without evidence to support the allegations surrounding his call with the Ukrainian president. Now that the transcript of their conversation has been released, it’s clear this was another crying wolf moment for impeachment-crazed Democrats. Americans deserve better than this from their elected representatives.”

🔵 PA-17’s Rep. Conor Lamb, from his official website, 09/23/19, 09/24/19, 09/25/19 and 09/27/19:

Rep. Lamb issued FOUR separate statements.

09/23/19 – “We need to get the full text of the whistleblower complaint by Thursday.  We cannot allow even the possibility to exist that our President used the immense power of that office to protect his own selfish interests, rather than to protect the American people. The safety and security of all Americans is at stake in Ukraine and anywhere that our adversaries threaten the cause of freedom.  As lawmakers, we swore an oath to protect and defend the Constitution.  We will get the truth.”

09/24/19 – “As I said yesterday, we need to get the full text of the whistleblower complaint by Thursday, not just the transcript of one phone call. It appears that we will learn more facts in the coming days, and I’ll have more to say after that.”

09/25/19 – “Today the House overwhelmingly passed a Resolution for the Administration to comply with the law by providing the complete Whistleblower complaint to Congress, beyond just the phone call readout released earlier today.  This same Resolution passed unanimously in the Senate yesterday. There’s nothing partisan about following the law and protecting our national security.   Congress must continue our work to get the truth.”

09/27/19 – “Congress must continue our work to get the truth.  I fully support the House Intelligence Committee’s inquiry, and I believe that at each step of the way we must follow the evidence where it leads. Every member of Congress and the President has taken an oath to defend this country, and that is why this investigation is so important.  Our work must be focused only on facts, not partisanship.”

🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle, from his official website, 09/24/19 and 09/26/19:

Rep. Doyle issued two separate statements. The first are somewhat lengthy, so excerpts are included below. The second statement is quoted in full.

09/24/19 – “Several months ago, I called for an impeachment inquiry of President Trump to begin immediately, and I have been frustrated and angry that the Trump Administration has stonewalled Congress and refused to comply with valid subpoenas as we have exercised our Constitutional oversight responsibilities.

I believe that the recent allegations only add to the urgency of a full and immediate impeachment inquiry – and that Congress must use all of the powers granted it by the Constitution to carry out its oversight responsibilities and get the facts. If the latest allegations are accurate, that would be a gross misuse of the powers of his office on a number of levels and, in my opinion, an impeachable offense.”

09/26/19 – “The whistleblower report and the House Intelligence Committee hearing with DNI Maguire today highlighted serious, credible charges that President Trump broke the law – and confirmed my belief that Congress must fully investigate the allegations and follow the facts wherever they may lead.

The allegations – some of which appear to be validated by the memorandum released by the White House yesterday describing the call between President Trump and President Zelensky – are serious enough to justify impeachment and merit the investigation planned in the House. I believe that a thorough impeachment inquiry must move forward expeditiously.”

MoC Twitter Action

Courtesy of contributor Helen

Twitter Action – Whistleblower/Impeachment

While we already covered our MoCs’ official statements, some of them had additional comments about the whistleblower complaint and impeachment on Twitter.

🔵 Senator Bob Casey, @SenBobCasey, 09/25/19:

🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle, @RepBrendanBoyle, 9/25/19:

🔵 PA-03’s Rep. Dwight Evans, @RepDwightEvans, 9/24/19:

🔵 PA-04’s Rep. Madeleine Dean, @RepDean, 9/26/19:

🔵 PA-06’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, @RepHoulahan, 9/23/19:

🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild, @RepSusanWild, 9/24/19:

🔵 PA-08’s Rep. Matt Cartwright, @RepCartwright, 9/24/19:

🔴 PA-11’s Rep. Lloyd Smucker, @RepSmucker, 9/24/19:

🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle, @USRepMikeDoyle, 9/24/19:

Twitter Action – Climate

🔵 Senator Bob Casey, @SenBobCasey, 09/24/19:

🔵 PA-04’s Rep. Madeleine Dean, @RepDean, 9/26/19:

🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle, @USRepMikeDoyle, 9/23/19:

Twitter Action – Planned Parenthood/ Women’s issues

🔵 PA-04’s Rep. Madeleine Dean, @RepDean, 9/27/19:

🔵 PA-05’s Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, @RepMGS, 9/23/19:

🔵 PA-06’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, @RepHoulahan, 9/25/19:

🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle, @USRepMikeDoyle, 9/26/19:

Tweet of the Week

🔵 Senator Bob Casey, @SenBobCasey, 9/23/19:

🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle, @RepBrendanBoyle, 9/26/19:

🔵 PA-03’s Rep. Dwight Evans, @RepDwightEvans, 9/24/19:

🔵 PA-04’s Rep. Madeleine Dean, @RepDean, 9/23/19:

🔵 PA-05’s Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, @RepMGS, 9/24/19:

🔵 PA-06’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, @RepHoulahan, 9/23/19:

🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild, @RepSusanWild, 9/27/19:

🔴 PA-11’s Rep. Lloyd Smucker, @RepSmucker, 9/27/19:

🔴 PA-12’s Rep. Fred Keller, @RepFredKeller, 9/24/19:

🔴 PA-14’s Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, @GReschenthaler, 9/23/19:

🔴 PA-15’s Rep. Glenn W. Thompson, @CongressmanGT, 9/27/19:

🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle, @USRepMikeDoyle, 9/26/19:

Casey in the News

Courtesy of contributor Linda Houk

“I’m pleased that the CDC has decided to invest in studying the impact of PFAS on health in communities across the country, including in southeastern Pennsylvania… I was proud to advocate for the CDC study and its funding and will continue to fight to rid our communities of this contamination. While there is still more work to do, this is a positive step as we work to ensure all Pennsylvanians have clean drinking water.”

from an article in the Reporter titled ‘$1M announced for PFAS contamination testing’

“The 2017 GOP tax bill is just another tale of how the rich get richer. This law was sold to American workers as a ‘middle-class miracle,’ and yet it was actually a huge giveaway to large corporations who used their tax cut to engage in unprecedented corporate stock buybacks… I am happy to join Senator Booker in our continued effort to put America’s workers first. I hope my Republican colleagues will join us.”

from an article in Financial Regulation News titled ‘Congress introduces bill to give “worker dividend” in stock buybacks

“That is a serious, grave circumstance for a president to ask for any favor that has a political objective. If there is not a law against this, then I’d say damn it, we should pass a law to make it illegal… This isn’t obstructive conduct that relates to the breaking in of a headquarters in the 1970s. … This isn’t obstructive conduct as we saw in the Clinton years. This is conduct related to a foreign adversary interfering with an American election,”

from an article in Trib Live titled ‘Sen. Bob Casey labels Trump call ‘a textbook abuse of power’

“Congress must confront the facts before us. A failure to do so would be an abrogation of our most basic responsibilities. In order to hold President Trump accountable, I agree with Speaker Pelosi’s call to open a formal impeachment inquiry and begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump”

from an article in WFMZ titled ‘Local lawmakers react to Trump impeachment inquiry’

“The president has demonstrated in real time that he’s willing to abuse his power to advance his political interests. There is a textbook case of abuse of power and the only way to stop it is to take action… It is clear to me that the president is willing to abuse his power with impunity.

He doesn’t seem to have gotten the message from the Mueller report that his actions should be in the national interests, not in his political interests… He’s apparently ready, willing and able to continually abuse his power to advance his political interests.”

from an article in the Bradford Era titled ‘Pa. lawmakers split on impeachment decision

Toomey in the News

Courtesy of contributor Elayne Baker

“I’m hoping that these things can be compartmentalized and that we can continue to pursue policy that I’ve been advocating. But I acknowledge that a lot of clamoring for impeachment is not helpful. It makes it more difficult.” 

from an article in the Free Beacon titled ”Impeachment Inquiry Stalls Gun Control Talks, Senate Staffers Say

“The single biggest challenge that Pennsylvania employers face is finding skilled workers. One of the biggest problems for a lot of young people is graduating from college with a mountain of debt and not necessarily having the optimal skill set for the jobs out there.”

from an article in the Citizens Voice titled “Toomey explores workforce training issues during tour of NEPA school

“I think sometimes corrections officers are the forgotten men and women of law enforcement… Well there’s some people that just don’t think the death penalty should ever be imposed under any circumstances.”

some disjointed statements from an article about a bill Sen. Toomey is promoting related to the death penalty, from an article on the Fox 56 website titled “Senator Pat Toomey pushing law in memory of slain corrections officer

Learning about Legislation – “Hotlining” a motion

Many people were surprised earlier this week, when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell acceded to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s demand to bring a resolution related to the whistleblower complaint to the floor of the Senate. The Senate typically moves so slowly, it was almost shocking to see how quickly a measure could move through when all were in agreement.  The process used to expedite the resolution is referred to informally as “hotlining.”  Technically, the Senate performed some complex negotiations to ensure that all Senators would agree to the resolution, and that it would be passed by unanimous consent.

The Congressional Research Service white paper titled “The Legislative Process on the Senate Floor:

An Introduction” describes the process of hotlining in this manner:

Just as the right of extended debate encourages Senate committee and party leaders to bring up bills for consideration by unanimous consent, the right to debate combined with the right to offer non-germane amendments encourages the same leaders to seek unanimous consent agreements limiting or foreclosing the exercise of these rights while a bill is being considered. Without such an agreement (or in the absence of a successful cloture process), the bill could be debated for as long as Senators wish—as could each amendment offered, whether germane or not, unless the Senate votes to table it. These are the essential conditions under which the Senate considers a bill if it adheres to its standing rules…

…It must be emphasized, however, that such agreements are unanimous consent agreements. They cannot be imposed on the Senate by any vote of the Senate; they require the concurrence or acquiescence of each and every Senator.

Negotiating these complex unanimous consent agreements can be a difficult and time-consuming process, the responsibility for which falls primarily on the majority and minority leaders and the leaders of the committee with jurisdiction over the bill at issue. They consult interested Senators, but it would be impractical to consult every Senator about every bill scheduled for floor action. For this reason, individual Senators and their staffs take the initiative to protect their own interests by advising the leaders of their preferences and intentions. Negotiations sometimes take place on the floor and on the public record, but at least the preliminary discussions and consultations usually occur in meetings during quorum calls or off the floor. (The negotiation process may also be facilitated by use of the clearance process [or “hotline”], an informal communication mechanism by which each party’s leadership gauges the preferences of its conference members.)

It was illuminating to see that the Senate was capable of setting aside partisan bickering to quickly assert their Article I powers.

Call to Action – Make your phone calls!

Tell all three MoCs that you support the impeachment inquiry

  1. Call Senator Casey and thank him for coming out in support of the impeachment inquiry.
  2. Call Senator Toomey and tell him that you read his inadequate statement that quoted the first sentence of the White House’s talking points. In this situation, the health of our nation requires that he put his oath of office above fealty to his party.
  3. Call your Congressperson. The following suggested messaging comes from Indivisible National:

🔵 For House Democrats – call and say thank you and to keep it up. If they haven’t been vocal enough, demand they get stronger and publicly support a swift vote in the House before Thanksgiving.

🔴 For House Republicans – remind them of their oath to protect the Constitution and that you demand they support impeachment now. Remind them that if Congress does nothing, then our Constitution means nothing. Our democracy will mean nothing.

This report brought to you by the PA-08 MoCTrack team…

Elayne Baker
Gary Garb
Helen
Linda Houk
Kierstyn Piotrowski Zolfo

We are seeking additional assistance. Our Congresspeople are always busy and there is always more for us to cover — tasks big and small to fit any level of time commitment or experience. Can you help us out?  Please email KierstynPZ@gmail.com and put “MoCTrack Help” in the subject. Thanks!

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