Pennsylvania Member of Congress Tracking Report – 12/22/19

69 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, Pennsylvania Statewide Indivisible and Demcast 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 CongressThis week’s scoreChange from last report
Senator Bob Casey (D)28.3%0.0%
Senator Pat Toomey (R)88.0%0.0%
PA-01 Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R)66.2%+0.2%
PA-02 Rep. Brendan Boyle (D)13.5%+0.3%
PA-03 Rep. Dwight Evans (D)12.3%+0.3%
PA-04 Rep. Madeleine Dean (D)3.3%+1.5%
PA-05 Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D)6.3%+1.3%
PA-06 Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D)4.9%+1.4%
PA-07 Rep. Susan Wild (D)7.8%+1.1%
PA-08 Rep. Matt Cartwright (D)21.2%+0.1%
PA-09 Rep. Dan Meuser (R)98.3%+0.1%
PA-10 Rep. Scott Perry (R)89.0%+0.3%
PA-11 Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R)95.4%+0.1%
PA-12 Rep. Fred Keller (R)93.5%+0.9%
PA-13 Rep. John Joyce (R)98.3%+0.1%
PA-14 Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R)94.9%+0.4%
PA-15 Rep. Glenn W. Thompson (R)98.1%+0.1%
PA-16 Rep. Mike Kelly (R)96.1%+0.1%
PA-17 Rep. Conor Lamb (D)24.4%  0.0%
PA-18 Rep. Mike Doyle (D)15.6%+0.3%

Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight website assesses the voting records of our MoCs to provide this index, by comparing any legislation where President Trump has stated a position, and comparing the vote of each MoC to the President’s opinion. Four House votes were scored this week – the pair of impeachment articles, the USMCA trade agreement and a bill reversing a section of the GOP Tax Plan from 2017. Many unexpected lawmakers moved toward Trump this week because of the USMCA vote.

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.

Votes of Interest  

The President is Impeached

* House Vote on Article I of H. Res. 755: Impeaching Donald John Trump, President of the United States

* House Vote on Article II of H. Res. 755: Impeaching Donald John Trump, President of the United States

* House Vote on Motion to Table H.Res. 770: Disapproving the manner in which Chairman Adam B. Schiff of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and Chairman Jerrold Lewis Nadler of the Committee on the Judiciary have conducted committee action during the impeachment inquiry of P.

By now you will have been inundated with more info than you could possibly want to read about the House impeachment votes, and you will know that our Pennsylvania lawmakers voted along party lines.  Instead of covering that pair of votes, let’s look instead at the third vote noted above, which got little to no news coverage in the run-up to the big impeachment votes.

On the same day that the House considered the Articles of Impeachment, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy introduced a resolution to condemn both House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff and House Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler.  Many of the complaints included in this resolution are ones that various Republican Members of Congress carped about during the public hearings. Those include GOP demands that they are required to get a minority hearing day (they aren’t), that the two Chairmen limited some GOP questioning (which they did, to prevent the improper outing of the whistleblower), and that they also  interrupted GOP questioning of witnesses (again, just to protect the whistleblower’s identity). Most of this content continued the trend of the Republicans, being unable to defend the president on the merits of this impeachment charges, making unending process complaints.

But tucked into this resolution was one particularly interesting tidbit:

Chairman Schiff compelled the production of documents from AT&T and Verizon and, in violation of clause 2(k)(6) of rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives, publicly used these documents to smear the personal attorneys of the President, a journalist, and to create a false narrative about a sitting Member of Congress and current and former congressional staff

Two of the unnamed parties mentioned in this excerpt are Rudy Guiliani and Rep. Devin Nunes.  If you’d like to read about the situation that Kevin McCarthy was referring to, try out this Washington Post piece titled “The chain of phone calls that kept Giuliani at the center of Trump’s Ukraine pressure.

The Republicans tried to force this bill to the floor, but a Motion to Table was called. That is the procedure that essentially dismisses legislation.  So a YES vote on a Motion to Table means that the lawmaker wants the resolution tossed into the garbage, and a NO vote indicates support. Kevin McCarthy brought up this measure the morning of the impeachment vote, on Wednesday, December 18, 2019.  The Motion to Table vote passed, 226-191. The vote was almost entirely on party lines, with Democrats voting YES and Republicans voting NO. The only Democrat to vote YES was Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson, who went on to side with the GOP on impeachment later in the day.  PA MoCs voted along party lines.

Congress averts a shutdown, in Three Parts

The three sets of votes noted below are why we aren’t living through another holiday season shutdown. Each year the Congress has to pass a cluster of 12 separate spending bills to fund the government.  Those are called appropriations bills. The fiscal year for the federal government starts on October 1st each year, so since no agreement had been come to on those appropriations, the Congress had been passing continuing resolutions, which means that they keep spending at existing levels.  Those continuing resolution, or CRs, are legislative procrastination (or, more charitably, allowing for more negotiation time).  We have already seen a couple of CRs since the fall, leading up to the December 20th deadline.

A few more legislative tidbits about this set of bills. In many articles there is talk about those 12 big appropriation bills being divided into two big chunks (not three).  Technically, that is true. The reason I included the Defense Authorization (NDAA) in this discussion as a third, related bill is because last week the Congress stripped out a cluster of contentious provisions from the NDAA and let the two appropriations bills from this week cover those topics. That links them together.  

Also, if you were to go online and look up the pair of appropriations bills, you would see that one shows up with a title of a bill “DHS Cyber Hunt and Incident Response Teams Act” and the other appears as the “National Law Enforcement Museum Commemorative Coin Act.  This is one of those cases where the Congress took existing legislation that had made it to a certain point in the legislative process, stipped out the original text, and replaced it with the appropriations bill text. It’s a weird bit of administrative business that lets them hasten the voting process on time sensitive bills.

Now, on to content! Politico presents this as a “nearly $1.4 trillion, two-part spending deal” that “will boost federal budgets by a total of $49 billion.” The same article also notes that on the topic of the southern border wall funding (which had stymied negotiations on the NDAA, and was subsequently punted into this pair of bills), “two parties struck a compromise to funding the U.S.-Mexico barrier at about $1.4 billion.”

The New York Times presented some additional content about priorities from this spending agreement.  Bullet points below are quotes taken from their article, “Spending Deal to Avert Shutdown Carries Key Priorities for Both Parties:”

  • “Funding for President Trump’s immigration policies remains largely unchanged.”
  • “They put no limitations on the president’s ability to transfer funds from other Pentagon accounts”
  • “Taxes that were intended to help pay for President Barack Obama’s signature health care law — the so-called Cadillac tax, the health insurance tax and the medical device tax — will be permanently eliminated.”
  • “Gun violence research will receive funding for the first time in more than two decades.”
  • “The age to buy tobacco products will be raised to 21.”
  • “Lawmakers set a May deadline to negotiate a compromise on surprise medical billing and drug prices.”
  • “Lawmakers also negotiated temporary increases in federal matching rates for Medicaid for American territories”
  • “Lawmakers also negotiated… restoring a pension fund for retired miners and health benefits that was at risk as a result of coal companies going bankrupt.”
  • “Less than a year before the 2020 vote, lawmakers agreed to $425 million for election security.”
  • “Congress also agreed to allocate $7.6 billion for the Census Bureau to conduct the 2020 census.”

At the close of this process, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell released a statement wherein he said this: “There are two timeless truths about the appropriations process in divided government. First, neither side will ever get what they would consider to be perfect bills. But second, full-year funding definitely beats drifting endlessly from CR to CR.”  It is rare to agree with McConnell on anything, but he is correct that setting a budget is far better than living with the monthly looming threat of a CR resulting in yet another Trump shutdown.

So… How did our lawmakers vote?

Part One

Senate Vote on S. 1790: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020

The conference committee version of this had passed the house last week.  The Senate vote took place on Tuesday, December 17, 2019. It passed 86-8. Those NO votes were equally split between Republicans and Democrats.  Casey voted YES and Toomey voted YES.

Congress averts a shutdown, Part Two 

House Vote on H.R. 1158: Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020

Senate Vote on H.R. 1158: Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2020

The House Vote was taken on Tuesday, December 17, 2019, and it passed 280-138.  This is one of those rare bills that saw nearly equal levels of dissent in both parties.  Roughly one-third of MoCs of each party (75 of 225 Dems; 69 of 192 GOP) present for the vote opposed the measure.  The PA voting breakdown split in a fairly interesting manner.. 

AyeRFitzpatrick, BrianPA 1st
NoRPerry, ScottPA 10th
NoDBoyle, BrendanPA 2nd
NoRSmucker, LloydPA 11th
AyeDEvans, DwightPA 3rd
NoRKeller, FredPA 12th
AyeDDean, MadeleinePA 4th
NoRJoyce, JohnPA 13th
AyeDScanlon, MaryPA 5th
AyeRReschenthaler, GuyPA 14th
AyeDHoulahan, ChrissyPA 6th
AyeRThompson, GlennPA 15th
AyeDWild, SusanPA 7th
NoRKelly, MikePA 16th
AyeDCartwright, MatthewPA 8th
AyeDLamb, ConorPA 17th
AyeRMeuser, DanielPA 9th
NoDDoyle, MikePA 18th

The Senate  took up the bill on Thursday, December 19, 2019 and it passed 81-11.  Those eleven NO votes came from four GOP and seven Democratic senators. Casey voted YES and Toomey voted YES.

Congress averts a shutdown, Part Three 

House Vote on H.R. 1865: Further Consolidated Appropriations Act
Senate Vote on H.R. 1865: Further Consolidated Appropriations Act

This House Vote was also taken on Tuesday, December 17, 2019, and it passed 297-120. Almost all of the dissent on this bill came from the GOP.  Only 7 Democrats voted NO, and they were joined by around two-thirds of the GOP caucus (112). This is how our PA MoCs voted:

AyeRFitzpatrick, BrianPA 1st
NoRPerry, ScottPA 10th
AyeDBoyle, BrendanPA 2nd
NoRSmucker, LloydPA 11th
AyeDEvans, DwightPA 3rd
NoRKeller, FredPA 12th
AyeDDean, MadeleinePA 4th
NoRJoyce, JohnPA 13th
AyeDScanlon, MaryPA 5th
AyeRReschenthaler, GuyPA 14th
AyeDHoulahan, ChrissyPA 6th
AyeRThompson, GlennPA 15th
AyeDWild, SusanPA 7th
NoRKelly, MikePA 16th
AyeDCartwright, MatthewPA 8th
AyeDLamb, ConorPA 17th
NoRMeuser, DanielPA 9th
AyeDDoyle, MikePA 18th

The Senate voted on Thursday, December 19, 2019 and it passed 71-23.  Casey voted YES and Toomey voted NO.

President Trump’s long-touted trade deal, the USMCA, passes the House

House Vote on H.R. 5430: United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement Implementation Act

President Trump’s USMCA, the trade agreement that will replace NAFTA, is a measure that is nearly four years in the making, if one starts with Trump’s campaign promises to get rid of the existing agreement. Instead of outlining all the details, MoCTrack would like to point you to a curated list of reading materials for more information:

The most useful short recap of what is contained in the USMCA came from Vox. They report that the USMCA includes new country of origin rules, improved labor laws, extended intellectual property protections, a six year renegotiation point and a sunset of sixteen years.

The House vote was held on Thursday, December 19, 2019 and it passed with overwhelming support, 385-41.  Thos NO votes were from 38 Democrats, 2 GOP lawmakers and the lone House Independent. Our Pennsylvania delegation was unanimous in their support of the USMCA.

AyeRFitzpatrick, BrianPA 1st
AyeRPerry, ScottPA 10th
AyeDBoyle, BrendanPA 2nd
AyeRSmucker, LloydPA 11th
AyeDEvans, DwightPA 3rd
AyeRKeller, FredPA 12th
AyeDDean, MadeleinePA 4th
AyeRJoyce, JohnPA 13th
AyeDScanlon, MaryPA 5th
AyeRReschenthaler, GuyPA 14th
AyeDHoulahan, ChrissyPA 6th
AyeRThompson, GlennPA 15th
AyeDWild, SusanPA 7th
AyeRKelly, MikePA 16th
AyeDCartwright, MatthewPA 8th
AyeDLamb, ConorPA 17th
AyeRMeuser, DanielPA 9th
AyeDDoyle, MikePA 18th

The USMCA trade agreement now goes to the Senate for approval.

One provision of the GOP Tax Scam is reversed in the House

House Vote on H.R. 5377: Restoring Tax Fairness for States and Localities Act

One of the pieces of the 2017 GOP Tax Scam that was the most contentious was the provision that would limit the cap on tax deductions for state and local taxes (SALT). The 2017 tax bill capped those deductions at  $10,000. From the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Lawmakers from New Jersey, which has the highest average property taxes in the nation, and other high-tax states, such as New York, Connecticut, and California, have complained that the change had a significant and unfair impact on their constituents.  

The House, controlled by Democrats, voted largely along party lines to remove the $10,000 cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions for tax years 2020 and 2021. For tax year 2019, it would raise the cap for married couples filing taxes jointly to $20,000. The $10,000 cap would remain in place for taxpayers who earn more than $100 million, money that would pay for $500 tax breaks for teachers and first responders.

In a vote taken on Thursday, December 19, 2019, this bill passed 218-206. While this was supported mostly by Democrats and opposed by Republicans, the vote was not a party line affair. Sixteen Democrats crossed party lines to vote NO, while five Republicans voted YES.  This is how PA voted:

AyeRFitzpatrick, BrianPA 1st
NoRPerry, ScottPA 10th
AyeDBoyle, BrendanPA 2nd
NoRSmucker, LloydPA 11th
AyeDEvans, DwightPA 3rd
NoRKeller, FredPA 12th
AyeDDean, MadeleinePA 4th
NoRJoyce, JohnPA 13th
AyeDScanlon, MaryPA 5th
NoRReschenthaler, GuyPA 14th
AyeDHoulahan, ChrissyPA 6th
NoRThompson, GlennPA 15th
AyeDWild, SusanPA 7th
NoRKelly, MikePA 16th
AyeDCartwright, MatthewPA 8th
AyeDLamb, ConorPA 17th
NoRMeuser, DanielPA 9th
AyeDDoyle, MikePA 18th

Nonpartisan judicial confirmation votes

This week the Senate confirmed a dozen new judges to lifetime appointments in the federal judiciary. The following eight confirmations were made with the support of over three-quarters of senators present. For the sake of brevity, we’ll skip the detail:

  • The Senate confirmed Anuraag Singhal to the federal courts in Florida on 12/19/19, in a vote of 76-17. Casey voted YES and Toomey voted YES.
  • The Senate confirmed Karen Spencer Marston to the federal courts here in Pennsylvania on 12/19/19, in a vote of 87-6. Casey voted YES and Toomey voted YES.
  • The Senate confirmed Jodi W. Dishman to the federal courts in Oklahoma on 12/19/19, in a vote of 75-17. Casey voted YES and Toomey voted YES.
  • The Senate confirmed John M. Gallagher to the federal courts here in Pennsylvania on 12/19/19, in a vote of 83-9. Casey voted YES and Toomey voted YES.
  • The Senate confirmed Bernard Maurice Jones II to the federal courts in Oklahoma on 12/19/19, in a vote of 91-3. Casey voted YES and Toomey voted YES.
  • The Senate confirmed Mary Kay Vyskocil to the federal courts in New York on 12/19/19, in a vote of 91-3. Casey voted YES and Toomey voted YES.
  • The Senate confirmed Kea Whetzal Riggs to the federal courts in New Mexico on 12/19/19, in a vote of 94-0. Casey voted YES and Toomey voted YES.
  • The Senate confirmed Gary Brown to the federal courts in New York on 12/19/19, via a voice vote (which presumes unanimity). It can be inferred that both Casey and Toomey voted YES.

Contentious judicial vote #1

Senate Confirmation Vote on Matthew McFarland to be United States District Judge in Ohio

This judicial nominee fits the mold of the typical Trump Administration pick in that he is a white male with a deep background in anti-choice organizations and other conservative affiliations.

NARAL Pro-Choice America wrote up a dossier on McFarland that includes:

  • “In his initial Senate Judiciary Committee questionnaire, McFarland disclosed that he was a member of the Scioto County Right to Life organization in 1997. However, an article from 2004 states that McFarland noted in his 2004 campaign literature that “he’s an avid Second Amendment supporter and a member of his county’s Right to Life group.”  McFarland later amended his questionnaire to disclose that he was a Right to Life member from approximately 1997 to 2004.”
    • “The Scioto County Right to Life group lists their mission as “to promote and defend the right to life of all innocent human beings, from the time of fertilization until natural death.” 
  • “In his personal capacity, McFarland volunteered for the campaign of Betty Montgomery to be attorney general of Ohio. Montgomery, a Republican, “helped write and successfully defend” Ohio’s so-called “partial-birth abortion ban.” 

On top of that, the Vetting Room notes that the nominee “…has a few donations of record, all to Ohio Republicans. In addition, McFarland has been a member of many conservative organizations, including the Federalist Society, the National Rifle Association, and the Scioto County Right to Life.”

McFarland was confirmed in a 56-38 vote on Wednesday, December 18, 2019. Four Democrats crossed party lines to vote for him alongside all of the Republicans. Casey voted NO and Toomey voted YES.

Contentious judicial vote #2

Senate Confirmation Vote on Daniel Mack Traynor to be United States District Judge in North Dakota

This judicial nominee has a fairly standard (if low key) work history and educational background, having clerked for a judge on his state’s supreme court,and worked in private practice for over 20 years.  What apparently made him objectionable is the outspoken, partisan content on his social media presence. Alliance for Justice collected some of his tweets about which they wrote, “In the past few years, Traynor has frequently taken to Twitter to criticize liberals on health care and immigration, spread right-wing conspiracy theories, and show his strong support for President Trump and his agenda.”  Here are some examples (using framing provided by the Alliance for Justice):

  • The day after President Trump was elected, Traynor tweeted, “It feels good to be deplorable. #MAGA.”
  • In response to questions asked by Lester Holt during a presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Traynor retweeted Ann Coulter: “So great that Lester isn’t wasting time on trivial issues like immigrants accepting welfare, taking jobs, killing Americans.”
  • Traynor retweeted a link to an article regarding Hillary Clinton that stated, “what a bad idea for a political party to knowingly nominate someone who is likely guilty of criminal offenses.”
  • In a response to a tweet that is now unavailable, Traynor tweeted, “And a Federal Circuit Court Judge. That bunch are all drunks.” This tweet has since been deleted from his account.
  • In response to an article about the ACLU’s opposition to a North Dakota ethics measure, Traynor tweeted, “That ACLU is one bad ass momma.” The tweet has since been deleted from his account.

Such comments make it questionable that this nominee could maintain the political impartiality necessary for members of the judiciary.  But, in a vote taken on Thursday, December 19, 2019, Traynor was confirmed in a 50-41 vote. This vote was entirely on party lines. Casey voted NO and Toomey voted YES.

A pair peculiar outcomes for judicial confirmations

Senate Confirmation Vote on Robert J. Colville to be United States District Judge in Pennsylvania 

Senate Confirmation Vote on Lewis J. Liman to be United States District Judge in New York

If you look back through all of the judicial confirmations that we have covered here in MoCTrack, the typical voting pattern is that the nominee will get unanimous or near-unanimous support from Republicans (occasionally with Susan Collins of Maine as the lone GOP holdout) and opposition from most Democrats (with Alabama’s Doug Jones, Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema and West Virginia’s Joe Manchin as the likely Dem contrarians).  This pair of nominees, however, saw a very different pattern for this GOP-led Senate. Both judicial nominees received unanimous support from the Democrats present, with the Republicans split down the middle.

The Vetting Room explains why, for the Liman nomination:

The judicial nomination process often involves dealmaking, where nominations are logrolled together to satisfy different stakeholders.  A perfect example of this is with regard to the 8-nominee New York package put together by the White House in consultation with Democratic Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.  As part of the package, the White House has nominated a candidate they wouldn’t otherwise consider: Lewis Liman… Liman is a Democrat and a more liberal candidate than most Trump will put forward.  However, it is far from uncommon for Presidents to nominate judges of the opposing party to the bench.

As for the Colville nomination, there is some opposition amongst the more conservative members of the Senate Republican caucus. He had previously been nominated for a judicial seat under President Obama, and a number of GOP senators are unhappy because of his support for abortion rights.

Judge Liman was confirmed on Thursday, December 19, 2019 in a 64-29 vote and Judge Colville was confirmed that same day in a 66-27 vote. In both cases all the NO votes came from Republicans.  Casey voted YES and Toomey voted YES on both of these confirmations.

Unanimously passed legislation

The following bills were passed through unanimous consent or voice vote (which presumes unanimity, as any member can object to the voice vote and ask for a roll call). This list excludes bills related to post offices, stamps, memorials, awareness weeks and other ceremonial activities.

  • H.R. 453 – Eastern Band of Cherokee Historic Lands Reacquisition Act
  • H.R. 2647 – Safer Occupancy Furniture Flammability Act
  • H.R. 3172 – Safe Sleep for Babies Act
  • H.R. 3362 – Small Airport Mothers’ Rooms Act
  • H.R. 4227 – Mapping Accuracy Promotes Services Act
  • H.R. 4229 – Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability Act
  • H.R. 4920 – Department of Veterans Affairs Contracting Preference Consistency Act
  • H.R. 4998 – Secure and Trusted Communications Networks Act 
  • S. 50 – Columbia River In-Lieu and Treaty Fishing Access Sites Improvement Act
  • S. 216 – Spokane Tribe of Indians of the Spokane Reservation Equitable Compensation Act
  • S. 2824 – Artistic Recognition for Talented Students Act
  • H.R.777 – Debbie Smith Reauthorization Act of 2019
  • H.R. 2726 – Banning Smoking on Amtrak Act
  • H.R. 4719 – Funding Instruction for Safety, Health and Security Avoids Fishing Emergencies Act
  • S. 2774 – Veteran Treatment Court Coordination Act 
  • S. 153 – Supporting Veterans in STEM Careers Act
  • H.R. 2476 – Securing American Nonprofit Organizations Against Terrorism Act
  • S. 439 – Members of Congress Pension Opt Out Clarification Act
  • S. 1029 – Courthouse Dogs Act
  • S. 1309 – Combating Global Corruption Act
  • S. 1434 – Construction Consensus Procurement Improvement Act
  • S. 1608 – Promoting Physical Activity for Americans Act
  • S. 1822 – Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability Act 
  • S. 3147 – Improving Safety and Security for Veterans Act
  • H.R. 4779 – To extend the Undertaking Spam, Spyware, And Fraud Enforcement With Enforcers beyond Borders Act of 2006 
  • S. Con. Res. 31 – A concurrent resolution recognizing the importance and significance of the 2020 Census and encouraging individuals, families, and households across the United States to participate in the 2020 Census to ensure a complete and accurate count

Links to  MoCs’ floor speeches from the Impeachment of President Trump

The names below will link to a long C-SPAN video.  It will take you directly to the timestamp indicated, where the MoC’s speech begins.  In case the timestamp link fails, the start time for the MoC’ speech is indicated next to their name below.

Our MoCs’ official statements on the impeachment of President Trump, for those who did not make floor statements

🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, from his official website, 12/17/19:

“Second only to declaring war, impeaching a President and overturning the results of an election is the most significant action that Congress can take.  Impeachment is a constitutional nuclear option of last resort. Historical precedent demands that this only occurs in the most extreme of circumstances, and should happen only after a formal law enforcement investigation where independent, non-partisan factual findings of criminal activity are presented to Congress.

As a former FBI Supervisory Special Agent and Special Assistant U.S. Attorney, any legitimate investigation must be completely nonpartisan, must be 360 degrees in its scope, must leave no stone unturned, must not prejudge the outcome, must follow the facts wherever they lead and must report those facts with unimpeachable integrity.

None of those elements have occurred here. This rushed impeachment inquiry was poisoned from the very start when House leadership made the irresponsible decision to place this investigation in the hands of Chairman Schiff’s Intelligence Committee rather than referring the matter to law enforcement to conduct the fact-finding.  In addition to dangerously politicizing an incredibly important national security committee, which will take years to recover from, this irresponsible decision broke with long-standing historical precedent in our nation regarding impeachment inquiries on multiple fronts. As a result, we were left with partisan politicians from both parties arguing over presumptions and perceptions rather than having an indisputable evidentiary record and bipartisan agreement on the facts.

In March of this year, Speaker Pelosi told the Washington Post, “Impeachment is so divisive to the country that unless there’s something so compelling and overwhelming and bipartisan, I don’t think we should go down that path, because it divides the country.” Chairman Nadler himself has stated, “There must never be a narrowly voted impeachment or an impeachment substantially supported by one of our major political parties and largely opposed by the other. Such an impeachment would lack legitimacy, would produce divisiveness and bitterness in our politics for years to come. And will call into question the very legitimacy of our political institutions.”

Let me be clear: President Trump’s call with President Zelensky showed poor judgement. Law enforcement matters must always remain separate and distinct from political matters.  Decisions on whether to open a law enforcement investigation, whether to close a law enforcement investigation and what investigative steps to take in conducting an ongoing law enforcement investigation, are decisions that should be made by law enforcement and law enforcement alone.  This is necessary both for the substantive integrity of an investigation as well as maintaining the public’s trust and confidence in the results of an investigation. 

This impeachment inquiry has violated every investigative principle, has violated Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Nadler’s own impeachment standard, has been entirely partisan, and has been wholly divisive.  From the very start it was never designed by House leadership to be a genuine fact-finding mission. By pursuing an entirely partisan path with an artificial timeline and a predetermined outcome, and with the issue at hand being as serious as the overturning of the results of an election, House leadership has set a very dangerous precedent for our nation, and one which I will not support. 

It is incumbent upon all of us in our community, regardless of how you have viewed this entire situation, to do our part to heal our nation from this very divisive environment.  Our nation cannot sustain the divisive tone that we are currently experiencing. We must talk to each other and treat each other with respect, we must try to see the world through other people’s eyes, and we must never forget that there is far more that unites us as Americans.  Each and every one of us must do our part to lower the volume and to bridge the gap. Each and every one of us has a responsibility to hold ourselves to this high standard. The future of our democracy, and the future of our nation, depends on it.“

🔵 PA-03’s Rep. Dwight Evans, from his official website, 12/18/19:

“Impeachment is a solemn and historic task. With the outrageous, ongoing conduct of President Trump, impeachment is necessary for upholding our oath of office and the Constitution. Benjamin Franklin said after the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia that we have ‘a republic, if you can keep it.’ House Democrats intend to keep it.

“This impeachment process, holding the president accountable, is only possible because the House majority changed, but the root cause of it all is the president’s own unconstitutional, reckless behavior. He withheld $391 million in congressionally approved, tax-funded military aid from a free country, Ukraine, that is trying to defend itself from a dictatorship, Russia, and he did this for political gain. His action appears to have cost Ukrainian lives. He obstructed investigation and oversight by Congress, which is a co-equal, independent branch of government under the Constitution. He appears to have no shame or regret about any of this behavior, which means he is likely to repeat it unless he is held accountable.

“No one is above the law in America – that is the principle the House is voting to uphold. Now the nation will be watching the Senate to see if senators will uphold their oath to do impartial justice.”

🔵 PA-06’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, @RepHoulahan, 12/16/19:

“On both Articles of Impeachment – that of the abuse of power and that of the obstruction of Congress – I will vote to impeach this President. After deep reflection, I believe this is the right thing to do for our nation and consistent with my oath of office. Full statement below” links to embedded video

🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild, from her official website, 12/18/19:

“Today, I took a vote I never wanted to take – a vote to impeach the President of the United States. My votes were grounded in fact and law, in accordance with the Constitution and my conscience.

“I voted to impeach the President of the United States for abusing the power of his office in leveraging foreign aid to a vital ally in exchange for foreign interference in our elections. I then cast a second vote to impeach the President for his obstruction of Congress because the separation of powers is vital to the system of checks and balances at the heart of our democracy.

“The future of our Republic is at stake: Failure to condemn the solicitation of foreign influence in our elections would have set a dangerous precedent. Failure to condemn the blanket obstruction of a coequal branch of government would have set an equally dangerous precedent.

“My votes were based in law and our Constitution – they were, unfortunately, made necessary by the President’s conduct.

“Now that we have taken this vote, we must continue the work that the American people elected us to do. I look forward to advancing that work alongside my colleagues – Republicans and Democrats alike – so that we can improve the everyday lives of the people of my community.”

🔵 PA-08’s Rep. Matt Cartwright, from The Citizens Voice, 12/16/19

“When I first ran for Congress, I was motivated to build a brighter and more prosperous future for Northeast Pennsylvania; to bring new investment to our region; to address the rising costs of health care; to make our communities safer; and to ensure our veterans and seniors have the support they’ve earned.

Over the past several years, I’m proud to have developed a strong record of working with both Democrats and Republicans to deliver for our district. In that time, I have introduced more Republican-supported bills than any other House Democrat.

Recently, deep-pocketed dark money groups have spent staggering amounts of money attempting to tell a different story, painting me as a crazed partisan, hell-bent on impeachment.

Nothing could be further from the truth. I have been diligent in working with President Trump when our interests have aligned, and we have passed several bills into law together. These laws now protect low-income veterans from being scammed out of their hard-earned benefits; prevent taxpayer dollars from being used on personal expenses of government officials; and safeguard the rights of child victims of pornography. Earlier this year, at my urging, President Trump signed an executive order to address our nation’s kidney transplant shortage.

When it came to impeachment, I have been one of the loudest Democratic voices urging restraint. I voted against articles of impeachment multiple times over the past three years.

Then, a government employee blew the whistle on a July 25 phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Zelensky. The whistleblower disclosed that Trump pressured the Ukrainian president to launch an investigation of a political rival by withholding military aid that by law was supposed to go to Ukraine immediately. Only after the whistle was blown was the aid released. This obviously called for a robust investigation.

Shortly after these allegations surfaced, I was pressed by a reporter on how I would vote if an impeachment vote was held that day. My answer again was “no!” Because people are presumed innocent, and I had not heard Trump’s side of the story.

Months later, I remained in the ever-shrinking pool of undecided Americans on impeachment, because I wanted to hear Trump’s innocent explanation on this charge. I was glad when the House Judiciary Committee invited the president to come or send his lawyers and representatives. Yet, the president has refused to participate in the House investigation and has barred the members of his team to come testify and explain their actions.

The evidence, and lack of any rebuttal, point clearly to Trump’s attempt to use taxpayer funds to bribe a foreign leader for the sole purpose of boosting his own political prospects. In the process, he threatened our national security, jeopardized the integrity of our democracy, and since then has obstructed justice by refusing to obey properly issued subpoenas. I believe there is sufficient evidence of these things to warrant further proceedings. So I will vote to send this matter to the Senate, where at long last we may well hear an innocent explanation for all of it. Despite every indication that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has prejudged the outcome, I hope he will join us in a serious endeavor to find the truth.

Unfortunately, McConnell has not been a partner in advancing the interests of the American people. Right now, in his Republican-controlled Senate, he is blocking over 275 of our bills, all of which passed with House Republican support. I suspect he is not acting on them so he can peddle the false narrative that House Democrats aren’t doing anything except investigating the president. McConnell is a fierce partisan and would not hesitate to hold up bills that help Americans in all walks of life just to try to score political points.

In the end, I took only one oath, the one to support, uphold and defend our Constitution. And even though it may be unpopular at times, I intend to remain faithful to that oath.

Moving forward, I remain committed to doing what I came to Congress to do all along: improve the lives of all Northeastern Pennsylvanians.”

🔵 PA-17’s Rep. Conor Lamb, from his official website, 12/12/19:

“After reviewing all of the evidence and witness testimony in this investigation, I believe that President Trump abused his power and obstructed Congress, and I will vote for both articles of impeachment.

“The facts are clear — the President withheld weapons from the Ukrainians, even though Congress agreed that the weapons were needed to fight the Russians.  Instead of using his office to oppose Russian aggression, the President used it to oppose his political opponent. This served his personal interests, but not our national security interests. The President has admitted these facts and refuses to acknowledge that he did anything wrong.

“I did not come to Congress to impeach the President.  But I took an oath to protect our country and defend the Constitution.  What the President did was wrong. It made our country less safe. That is why I will vote for impeachment.

“Impeachment is not stopping us from getting good, bipartisan work done.  We reached an agreement with the administration on an important trade deal that will protect American workers.  Today we will vote on a bill to cut drug prices and add vision, dental and hearing benefits to Medicare. I will keep working with both parties in the House to get things done for people in our District.”

🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle, from his official website, 12/18/19:

“Today, I voted to impeach President Trump because he abused the power of his office by illegally soliciting election assistance from a foreign government and refused to comply with Congressional subpoenas.

The evidence is clear, the law is clear, and our Constitution is clear.

In the interests of national security, our democracy, and the rule of law, I strongly support impeachment, and I believe that if Senators weigh the overwhelming and uncontested evidence as unbiased jurors, they will vote to convict and remove President Trump from office.”

Twitter Action

Contributed by @ElastigirlVotes

Twitter Action – ACA/ healthcare

🔵 Senator Bob Casey, @SenBobCasey, 12/20/19:

🔵 PA-03’s Rep. Dwight Evans, @DwightEvansPA, 12/20/19:

🔵 PA-06’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, @RepHoulahan, 12/16/19:

🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild, @RepSusanWild, 12/19/19:

🔵 PA-08’s Rep. Matt Cartwright, @RepCartwright, 12/18/19:

🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle, @USRepMikeDoyle, 12/19/19:

Twitter Action – USMCA/ trade

🔴 Senator Pat Toomey, @SenToomey, 12/19/19:

🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, @RepBrianFitz, 12/19/19:

🔵 PA-03’s Rep. Dwight Evans, @RepDwightEvans, 12/19/19:

🔵 PA-04’s Rep. Madeleine Dean, @RepDean, 12/19/19:

🔵 PA-06’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, @RepHoulahan, 12/19/19:

🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild, @RepSusanWild, 12/19/19:

🔵 PA-08’s Rep. Matt Cartwright, @RepCartwright, 12/19/19:

🔴 PA-09’s Rep. Dan Meuser, @RepMeuser, 12/19/19:

🔴 PA-11’s Rep. Lloyd Smucker, @RepSmucker, 12/19/19:

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

🔴 PA-13’s Rep. John Joyce, @RepJohnJoyce, 12/20/19:

🔴 PA-14’s Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, @GReschenthaler, 12/19/19:

🔴 PA-15’s Rep. Glenn W. Thompson, @CongressmanGT, 12/20/19:

🔴 PA-16’s Rep. Mike Kelly, @MikeKellyPA, 12/19/19:

Twitter Action – MoCs on Legislation

🔵 Senator Bob Casey, @SenBobCasey, 12/19/19:

🔴 Senator Pat Toomey, @SenToomey, 12/18/19:

🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, @RepBrianFitz, 12/20/19:

🔵 PA-04’s Rep. Madeleine Dean, @RepDean, 12/17/19:

🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle, @CongBoyle, 12/17/19:

🔵 PA-03’s Rep. Dwight Evans, @RepDwightEvans, 12/20/19:

🔵 PA-05’s Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, @RepMGS, 12/14/19:

🔵 PA-06’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, @RepHoulahan, 12/19/19:

🔵 PA-08’s Rep. Matt Cartwright, @RepCartwright, 12/16/19:

🔴 PA-12’s Rep. Fred Keller, @RepFredKeller, 12/16/19:

🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild, @RepSusanWild, 12/17/19:

🔴 PA-13’s Rep. John Joyce, @RepJohnJoyce, 12/17/19:

🔴 PA-15’s Rep. Glenn W. Thompson, @CongressmanGT, 12/19/19:

🔵 PA-17’s Rep. Conor Lamb, @RepConorLamb, 12/17/19:

🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle, @USRepMikeDoyle, 12/19/19:

Tweet of the Week

🔵 Senator Bob Casey, @SenBobCasey,12/19/19:

🔴 Senator Pat Toomey, @SenToomey, 12/17/19:

🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle, @RepBrndanBoyle, 12/16/19:

🔵 PA-03’s Rep. Dwight Evans, @RepDwightEvans, 12/20/19:

🔵 PA-05’s Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, @RepMGS, 12/19/19:

🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild, @RepSusanWild, 12/17/19:

🔴 PA-09’s Rep. Dan Meuser, @RepMeuser, 12/21/19:

🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry, @RepScottPerry, 12/19/19:

🔴 PA-11’s Rep. Lloyd Smucker, @RepSmucker, 12/21/19:

🔴 PA-16’s Rep. Mike Kelly, @MikeKellyPA, 12/18/19:

Casey in the News 

Courtesy of contributor Linda Houk

I have serious concerns about this proposed rule” … “appears to be yet another attempt by the Trump administration to make it more difficult for people with disabilities to receive benefits.

from an article on titled “Social Security proposal could cut off thousands

For many older adults, choosing to remain in the workforce or retire is a personal decision. However, adults age 65 and over with disabilities are often stripped of this choice due to Medicaid age restrictions that force them to choose between continuing to work or losing their Medicaid coverage—which supports their daily living needs.”

Instead of forcing seniors with disabilities out of the workforce we should be supporting them by removing barriers that reduce their independence. That’s why I worked with Senator Portman to introduce the SENIOR CARE Act, which would allow seniors with disabilities to work and keep their Medicaid coverage.”

from an article in the News Journal titled “Stivers, Portman intro SENIOR CARE Act

Virtually every cost in the life of a middle-class family is up and that dynamic is frankly one of the reasons why (Trump) won the last election… There was a frustration that neither party was addressing that basic problem.

from an article on Hot Air titled “Trump’s Campaigning On The Roaring Economy. Here’s How Democrats Plan To Stop Him.

The GOP’s hopes to destroy the ACA live another day… This is health care sabotage at its worst.

from an article in the Trib Live titled “Sen. Casey derides ‘obscene lawsuit’ to gut Affordable Care Act; patient advocates lament limbo

We’re really here to see a good program that helps our veterans that have done so much for us and there is just no way we can adequately repay them but the least we can do is make sure they have medical care, they have shelter, and have opportunities, for job opportunities and growth.

from an article on PA Home Page titled “Senator Casey Meets with Veterans

As a juror I will carefully consider all of the evidence in accordance with my oath of office to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.

from an article in the Pocono Record titled “Cartwright, Wild approve articles of impeachment against Trump

Toomey in the News 

Courtesy of contributor Elayne Baker

I think it would be extremely inappropriate to put a bullet in this thing immediately when it comes over. I think we ought to hear what the House impeachment managers have to say, give the President’s attorneys an opportunity to make the defense, and then make a decision about whether and to what extent it would go forward from there… 

I think there’s a big disagreement about what rises to a level of impeachment. So after the arguments are made, then I think that’s the time to decide whether witnesses are necessary.”

from a WESA article titled “Casey Says New Witnesses Should Be Called In Senate Impeachment Trial” [editor’s note: despite the title of this article, rest assured the quote is actually from Sen. Toomey]

The USMCA’s many flaws arise from its unprecedented intent. It is the only trade pact ever meant to diminish trade.

Since Nafta’s implementation, American exports to Mexico have grown more than fivefold. But imports grew even more, widening the trade deficit. The Trump administration finds this unacceptable, even though the trade deficit is mostly meaningless. Hence USMCA has a myriad of provisions to warm the hearts of protectionists.

from a Business Insider article (quoting a paywalled Toomey Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal) titled “A GOP senator slammed Trump’s NAFTA rewrite, saying it ‘the only trade pact ever meant to diminish trade’

Medicare’s prescription drug program limits insurers from providing seniors with plans that best fit their needs. My bill with Senator Crapo aims to address this by encouraging insurers to develop and offer a greater variety of prescription drug plans to seniors.” 

from an article in the Pennsylvania Business Report titled “Sen. Toomey introduces legislation to reduce drug costs for seniors

I will say, I’ve got to listen carefully to what the House has to say. I think that’s an obligation that I have. But I can also tell you candidly since some of this has been conducting in public.  I would be deceiving you if I didn’t acknowledge that I have not seen a crime committed that rises to the level of impeachment. I’m not aware of a crime having been committed much less one that rises to the level of impeachment… at this point I don’t think the case has been made.

from an interview/article on WPHT Newsradio 1210 titled “Senator Toomey: I Haven’t Seen A Crime That Rises To Level of Impeachment

I think the president is mistaken on this… USMCA is an exercise, through all types of new provisions, to diminish trade — and that’s why I hope Republicans will reconsider this.

from an NBC  News article titled “GOP’s Toomey says USMCA agreement diminishes free trade” 

We’ve had trade deficits with the rest of the world for over 40 consecutive years. And what country has the biggest economy, the highest standard of living, the strongest growth, and best prospects going forward?  We do. And that’s because trade deficits don’t matter. That money gets reinvested back in the United States. So unfortunately USMCA is an exercise through all kinds of new provisions to diminish trade, and that’s why I hope Republicans will reconsider this. We’ve historically recognized that we’re all better off with more open markets.

from an article in Mediaite titled “GOP Senator Criticizes Trade Agreement as “Complete Capitulation to Pelosi”

Call to Action – Keep up the impeachment calls 

Thank you to everyone who turned out to the Indivisible – MoveOn – Rapid Response events this past week.  There were more than 600 events around the country, with turnout at those events bringing out between 100,000 and 200,000 people who are committed to defending our constitution and the rule of law.

What’s next? THREE phone calls.

  • Call #1 – Let your Representative know what you thought of their vote on the Articles of Impeachment. This was a party line vote.  So if you have a Democratic MoC, thank them for their votee, and if you have a GOP Representative, express your disappointment.
  • Call #2Let Senator Toomey know you expect him to be an impartial witness, and put his oath of office above his loyalty to his political party.  Senator Toomey has expressed some sentiments that put him in the camp of wanting to provide some checks on the power of the President.  Earlier this year he voted against President Trump’s fake emergency (letting Trump raid funds already appropriated by Congress to other purposes) and then again when the Senate tried to overturn that veto.  Senator Toomey has also been pushing legislation that would stop a president from being able to claim security concerns to implement trade tariffs… and it is not just a messaging bill. He is promoting it, incessantly.   When you call Senator Toomey be sure to express your concern that President Trump’s decision to ignore Congressional subpoenas and directing witnesses to not show for hearings is a dangerous power for a president, and if he truly believes in limits to presidential powers, voting to impeach the president for Obstruction of Congress is a reasonable next step.
  • Call #3Tell Senator Casey you have his back. Bob Casey is probably getting tons of calls from Trump supporters.  Make sure that’s not all his staff hears. Let him know that you support impeachment.
  • EXTRA CREDIT –  Get creative! Here’s what we folks in PA-01 did to let GOP Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick know how disappointed we were in his vote against impeachment.  We made a very large oath of office to remind him of his obligations to his constituents and the Constitution.

This is our last normal MoCTrack for a few weeks.  We are taking next weekend off, and shortly after the new year we will get you all a recap of the legislative action of 2019.  We’ll be back with our next normal, weekly report on 01/12/2020! Enjoy the holiday season and have a safe and happy new year!

This report brought to you by the Pennsylvania MoCTrack team: 

  • Elayne Baker 
  • Gary Garb
  • Helen a.k.a. @ElastigirlVotes
  • Linda Houk
  • Kierstyn Piotrowski Zolfo

We can always use 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 and put “MoCTrack Help” in the subject. Thanks!

DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks. If you appreciate our content, please consider a small monthly donation.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Previous Story

Why the Green New Deal Must Include the Arts

Next Story

Help Surviving The Holidays

Latest from Call To Action

%d bloggers like this: