Pennsylvania Member of Congress Tracking Report – 05.31.20

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46 mins read

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 CongressThis week’s scoreChange from last report
Senator Bob Casey (D)29.8% 0.0%
Senator Pat Toomey (R)87.9% 0.0%
PA-01 Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R)64.7% 0.0%
PA-02 Rep. Brendan Boyle (D)13.2% 0.0%
PA-03 Rep. Dwight Evans (D)12.1% 0.0%
PA-04 Rep. Madeleine Dean (D)4.1% 0.0%
PA-05 Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D)6.6% 0.0%
PA-06 Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D)5.5% 0.0%
PA-07 Rep. Susan Wild (D)9.2% 0.0%
PA-08 Rep. Matt Cartwright (D)20.2% 0.0%
PA-09 Rep. Dan Meuser (R)98.6% 0.0%
PA-10 Rep. Scott Perry (R)89.8% 0.0%
PA-11 Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R)95.7% 0.0%
PA-12 Rep. Fred Keller (R)95.3% 0.0%
PA-13 Rep. John Joyce (R)98.6% 0.0%
PA-14 Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R)95.8% 0.0%
PA-15 Rep. Glenn W. Thompson (R)98.2% 0.0%
PA-16 Rep. Mike Kelly (R)96.4% 0.0%
PA-17 Rep. Conor Lamb (D)24.5% 0.0%
PA-18 Rep. Mike Doyle (D)15.1% 0.0%

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. There were only House votes this week, and none of them were scored..

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 House Tweaks Aid Program for Small Businesses, part one

House Vote on H.R. 7010: Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act

After the onslaught of implementation complaints about the Paycheck Protection Act (PPP), Congress passed this measure to fix some of the issues and extend its usefulness. According to Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN), the measure’s primary sponsor, this legislation will create more flexibility by:

  • Extending the expense forgiveness period from eight weeks to twenty-four weeks
  • Reducing the 75 percent payroll ratio requirement
  • Eliminating 2-year loan repayment restrictions for future borrowers
  • Allowing payroll tax deferment for PPP recipients
  • Extending the June 30 rehiring deadline

The bill has a large coalition of organizations supporting it, including the US Chamber of Commerce, the Small Business Roundtable, the National Retail Federation, the Real Estate Roundtable, the National Restaurant Association and all of its 50 state subsidiaries, and the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations.

Vote date:        Thursday, May 28, 2020                      Vote Tally:            417-1

Party Breakdown: The only NO vote was from Freedom Caucus member Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY).

Additional Reading:

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 House Tweaks Aid Program for Small Businesses, part two

House Vote on H.R. 6782: TRUTH (Transparency and Reporting for the Underbanked and Taxpayers at Home) Act

As with the first bill to adjust and add flexibility to the coronavirus response packages, this measure was also introduced by Rep. Dean Phillips (D-MN).  But unlike its companion bill, this did not receive near unanimous support.  This measure is designed to create transparency and accountability in how the funds designated for small business rescue are spent.  And some GOP House members are staunchly devoted to providing cover for the President, and they refused to sign on.

Rep. Phillips was the author of the portion of the original Phase Two response bill that created a Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery (SIGPR) to audit spending under the relief program and a congressional oversight panel.  And since President Trump announced in his signing statement that he would not abide by such a plan, this bill was introduced to remedy that. It would make public all public spending on the coronavirus response, including business recipients and funds received.

Vote date:        Thursday, May 28, 2020     Vote Tally:            269-147 (failed)

Party Breakdown: This vote was taken under a suspension of the rules, so it needed to achieve a ⅔ supermajority to pass, instead of the standard simple majority.  This bill was just short of the votes it needed, getting 65% of our MoCs voting YES.  All the Democrats present voted YES, along with 38 Republicans. 146 Republicans and the 1 Independent voted NO.


Additional Reading:

AyeRFitzpatrick, BrianPA 1st AyeRPerry, ScottPA 10th
AyeDBoyle, BrendanPA 2nd AyeRSmucker, 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

China Human Rights Policy gets a House Vote

House Vote on S. 3744: Uyghur Human Rights Policy Act

This is a bill that passed the Senate by unanimous consent two weeks ago.  The bill calls on the executive branch to submit a report to Congress within 180 days to identify human rights violations like torture, abduction, indefinite detention without trial, and other offenses against the Uyghur minority in China. People identified in such a report would be subject to sanction.   

Vote date:        Wednesday, May 27, 2020                   Vote Tally:            413-1

Party Breakdown: The only NO vote was from Freedom Caucus member Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY).

Additional Reading:

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 House wants to Negotiate on FISA Reform

House Vote on Motion to Disagree to the Senate Amendments and Request a Conference on the legislation H.R. 6172: USA FREEDOM Reauthorization Act

Instead of bringing up the FISA reform bill that the Senate negotiated and passed (all within their own house) up for a vote, the House of Representatives instead voted to request a conference committee. This would permit the House and Senate to assign negotiators and work together to create a bill amenable to both parties and both houses.

Vote date:        Thursday, May 28, 2020                                   Vote Tally:            284-122

Party Breakdown: Like most FISA related votes, this did not break down along party lines in a predictable manner. Of the Democrats present, 211 voted YES and 21 voted NO, with many of the NO votes coming from members of the Progressive Caucus. Of the Republicans, 73 voted YES and 100 voted NO.  And despite the ability to vote by proxy, 24 Republicans chose not to vote at all.

Additional Reading:

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

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.6168 – Veterans’ Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act
  • S.3084 – A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to modify the limitation on pay for certain high-level employees and officers of the Department of Veterans Affairs
  • S.3414 – Major Medical Facility Authorization Act
  • H.R.6509 – Public Safety Officer Pandemic Response Act
  • S.2746 – Law Enforcement Suicide Data Collection Act

MoCs reactions to the murder of George Floyd and the aftermath

🔵 Senator Bob Casey, @SenBobCasey, 05/31/20:

“Pennsylvanians and people across our Nation are angry, sad, tired and desperate for change. As leaders, we must recognize this pain. As a Commonwealth & country, we must raise our voices and call for justice in a system that has, for too long, turned a blind eye to the injustice.

We can and we must reform these systems and hold those accountable who abuse them.

As Pennsylvanians protest not only for the murder of George Floyd, but the decades of injustice and oppression that came before it, I urge all involved to be peaceful and to keep each other safe. We should not let these demonstrations eclipse their purpose.

I see you. I hear you. And I stand with you, side-by-side, in our shared values of making our Commonwealth and our country a more just and equal system for all.”

🔴 Senator Pat Toomey has no comments on this topic on his official website, Facebook or Twitter as of 1pm on Sunday, May 31, 2020.

🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, via Facebook, 05/31/20:

“Last July, I called on the Justice Department to designate Antifa as a domestic terrorist organization. They are now showing our nation and the world why they must be designated accordingly. Violence, vandalism, and arson is not peaceful protest, it is criminal and terroristic behavior and must be enforced accordingly. The mayors and governors responsible for these areas must demonstrate leadership, designate full authority to the National Guard to assist law enforcement, and save these cities now. We are a nation of the rule of law, not mob rule.”

🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle, via his official website, 05/28/20:

“America in 2020 is aflame, fighting a two-front war.

On one front, we fight a new virus. On the other, we fight an enemy as old as the republic itself.

More than a million Americans have suffered from COVID-19. Millions more suffer from a different sickness, racism.

The evidence is overwhelming that George Floyd is a victim of the latter. His essential right to breathe was taken by the hands of another. And he is not the first.

Unique among nations, America was born not out of one race or religion. Rather, in its very founding document was a radical commitment to the full equality of all people. It is foundational to the American Experiment.

Racism is not just an assault on the individual of a different race. It is a grievous blow against the very idea of America.

We will soon discover a vaccine for virus COVID-19. But we must also, at long last, once and for all, eradicate all forms of racial prejudice and discrimination.

Only then can America fully breathe.”

🔵 PA-03’s Rep. Dwight Evans, via his official website, 05/29/20:

“Evans Welcomes Arrest in George Floyd’s Death, Calls for Trump to Apologize for Encouraging Violence”

“The arrest of the officer is an important first step. People of color need to be able to count on the police to protect and serve them the same as white Americans can. What happened to George Floyd is an outrage and disgustingly similar to what happened to Eric Garner in New York only a few years ago, and similar to far too many inexcusable deaths at the hands of a police officer. This arrest, and the firing of three other officers, seem to indicate a real chance of accountability and justice in this case. I hope and pray that will be so.”

“President Trump has been making this situation worse. No elected official should encourage violence against their fellow Americans. He should apologize and stop trying to further divide this nation. He asked African Americans four years ago, ‘What the hell do you have to lose?’ and day after day, he keeps showing us the answer.

“What we need from our elected officials and police officers is constructive solutions to de-escalate these situations and save lives. For example, I am an original co-sponsor of Rep. Hakeem Jeffries’ bill that would forbid the use of chokeholds, the Eric Garner Excessive Use of Force Prevention Act, H.R. 4408. I urge the House Judiciary Committee to take up that bill as soon as possible.”

🔵 PA-04’s Rep. Madeleine Dean, @RepDean, 05/29/20:

“We must demand justice for Ahmaud, Breonna, George, their families, and communities all too familiar with their pain. Enough is enough. On @HouseJudiciary we are calling for an investigation by

@TheJusticeDept.  This must stop.” tweeted with image of letter from the House Judiciary to Attorney General Barr

🔵 PA-05’s Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, @RepMGS, 05/31/20:

“Our country is hurting.

We must demand justice.

We need to listen to each other.

We need to see each other.

And we must keep each other safe.”

🔵 PA-06’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, @RepHoulahan, 05/27/20:

“Racism is what occurred in New York City and in Minneapolis to both Mr. Cooper and Mr. Floyd on Monday morning. Mr. Cooper should never have had to deal with such an attack from a stranger in Central Park. And Mr. Floyd should be alive today.

Systemic racism is also what’s occurring as black and brown people succumb in disproportionate numbers to COVID 19.

Our society is one where people of color may not be able to be safe in a park or on the streets, or may not have access to quality health care.

We need conversation that spurs action to tackle systemic racism in our country. Our communities aren’t safe when people’s lives are at risk due to the color of their skin. I believe we have the capacity & responsibility to do better as a country. People’s lives depend on it.“

🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild, @RepSusanWild, 05/27/20:

🔵 PA-08’s Rep. Matt Cartwright has no comments on this topic on his official website, Facebook or Twitter as of 1pm on Sunday, May 31, 2020.

🔴 PA-09’s Rep. Dan Meuser has no comments on this topic on his official website, Facebook or Twitter as of 1pm on Sunday, May 31, 2020.

🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry has no comments on this topic on his official website, Facebook or Twitter as of 1pm on Sunday, May 31, 2020.

🔴 PA-11’s Rep. Lloyd Smucker has no comments on this topic on his official website, Facebook or Twitter as of 1pm on Sunday, May 31, 2020.

🔴 PA-12’s Rep. Fred Keller, @RepFredKeller, 05/29/20:

“The horrific and unjust killing of George Floyd represents the worst kind of policing and shows just how far we need to still go in developing a culture of mutual respect between law enforcement and those they are sworn to protect and serve.

While George Floyd should undoubtedly be alive today, ripping apart communities and cities is no way to honor his memory. Lawlessness does not beget justice. The more people harmed by the ongoing violence in the wake of Floyd’s tragic and disgusting death only deepens the wound caused by this brutal act.”

🔴 PA-13’s Rep. John Joyce has no comments on this topic on his official website, Facebook or Twitter as of 1pm on Sunday, May 31, 2020.

🔴 PA-14’s Rep. Guy Reschenthaler has no comments on this topic on his official website, Facebook or Twitter as of 1pm on Sunday, May 31, 2020.

🔴 PA-15’s Rep. Glenn W. Thompson has no comments on this topic on his official website, Facebook or Twitter as of 1pm on Sunday, May 31, 2020.

🔴 PA-16’s Rep. Mike Kelly, @MikeKellyPA, 05/31/20:

“The death of #GeorgeFloyd is a tragedy. Our nation is right to mourn. I ask all western PA to unite in love of neighbor & to treat all people as we would like to be treated.

But riots are self-defeating & create more problems than they solve. Riot prevention is justice for all.”

🔵 PA-17’s Rep. Conor Lamb has no comments on this topic on his official website, Facebook or Twitter as of 1pm on Sunday, May 31, 2020.

🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle, @USRepMikeDoyle, 05/30/20:

“Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. George Floyd.

 I support @HouseJudiciary calling for @TheJusticeDept to evaluate the actions of local officials investigating their deaths and the patterns of unconstitutional conduct at the Louisville Metro and Minneapolis Police Departments.

Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. George Floyd.

They, their families, and their communities deserve justice. We must actively push for answers. Local law enforcement and officials must be held accountable. No Americans should live in fear.”

Tweet of the Week

🔵 Senator Bob Casey, @SenBobCasey, 05/29/20:

“We have a moral obligation to teach about and learn from the Holocaust so that it never happens again. That’s why I’m a proud co-sponsor of the bipartisan Never Again Education Act – now signed into law – to strengthen Holocaust education in America. #NeverAgain”

🔴 Senator Pat Toomey has not tweeted since Memorial Day

🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, @RepBrianFitz, 05/29/20:

“May is #NationalMilitaryAppreciationMonth. Our military is vital for the safety of every American, and we need to make sure they receive the support that they need and deserve, every day.”

🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle, @CongBoyle, 05/28/20:

“The #coronavirus crisis should not be a food security crisis too. We must invest in critical food assistance programs like #SNAP and #WIC.” tweeted with a link to a Vox article titled “Coronavirus is exacerbating America’s hunger crisis

🔵 PA-03’s Rep. Dwight Evans, @RepDwightEvans, 05/30/20:

🔵 PA-04’s Rep. Madeleine Dean, @RepDean, 05/26/20:

“Don’t feed into the fear-mongering.

I just cast my vote by mail — and the process was safe and secure. I was able to social distance and exercise my right — it’s a win-win.”

🔵 PA-05’s Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, @RepMGS, 05/29/20:

“COVID-19 has forced us to make significant changes to our everyday lives to keep one another safe, including how we exercise our right to vote. Here’s a helpful guide as to how you can make your voice heard in the June 2nd primary!” tweeted with a link to the representative’s own Medium piece titled “How To Vote in the PA Primary During COVID-19

🔵 PA-06’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, @RepHoulahan, 05/27/20:

“What type of world do we want for our children?

Especially now, many of us may find ourselves asking that same question, as I have volunteering with my daughter. One thing is for certain—we are a better community, commonwealth, and country when we look out for one another.”

🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild, @RepSusanWild, 05/30/20:

“We voted. Both the House and Senate agree: @BetsyDeVosED shouldn’t prevent students (many of them vets) with mountains of debt, who were lied to by for-profit colleges, from having those loans forgiven. Time to override a veto” tweeted with a link to a Washington Post article titled “Trump stands with DeVos, vetoes measure to overturn her controversial student loan forgiveness rule

🔵 PA-08’s Rep. Matt Cartwright, @RepCartwright, 05/29/20:

“.@HHSGov has yet to provide #COVID19 relief for many types of senior living centers, but they face similar challenges to nursing homes & hospitals in providing care. Today I urged HHS to ensure all types of senior living communities have what they need to protect older Americans.” tweeted with an image of the letter sent to the Department of Health and Human Services

🔴 PA-09’s Rep. Dan Meuser, @RepMeuser, 05/29/20:

“Yesterday, I introduced the Coronavirus Swindlers, Crooks, and Manipulators (SCAM) Act, a bipartisan effort to crack down on the rising number of scams during the #COVID19 pandemic.

For the full press release, please visit:” tweeted with a link to his official website statement

🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry, @RepScottPerry, 05/29/20:

“I support President @realDonaldTrump’s decision to terminate U.S. relations with the WHO, who failed in its response to COVID-19 – proving only to be a pawn in the CCP’s lying and deceit. American taxpayers should not fund an accomplice of the CCP.”

🔴 PA-11’s Rep. Lloyd Smucker, @RepSmucker, 05/29/20:

“Looking to keep your kids engaged with educational opportunities? Visit my website for a list of virtual tours of Washington, DC sights for you and your family to enjoy”  tweeted with a link to a resource list on his official website

🔴 PA-12’s Rep. Fred Keller, @RepFredKeller, 05/30/20:

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, the World Health Organization has been more concerned with having China’s back than preventing the spread of this awful virus. Thank you, President @realDonaldTrump for holding them accountable!”

🔴 PA-13’s Rep. John Joyce, @RepJohnJoyce, 05/27/20:

“For too long, the Chinese Communist Party has taken advantage of innocent people in its own country & around the world. We must hold this regime accountable for its actions. Honored to serve on the #ChinaTaskForce as we combat the Chinese government’s threats to our nation.”

🔴 PA-14’s Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, @GReschenthaler, 05/30/20:

“In 1938, Churchill warned of the perils of appeasement as Britain signed the Munich Agreement, handing the Sudetenland over to Germany.

Today we’re facing a rising power in China that we can no longer appease. The US & our allies must take strong & swift action to deter the CCP.”

🔴 PA-15’s Rep. Glenn W. Thompson, @CongressmanGT, 05/26/20:

“FARMERS & RANCHERS

The @USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program opens today. If your production and sales have suffered as a result of #COVID19, you may be eligible for assistance. More details and a link to the application here

🔴 PA-16’s Rep. Mike Kelly, @MikeKellyPA, 05/28/20:

“Sam Johnson was an American hero and among our greatest patriots. He served our country and the people of Texas selflessly – in the military and in Congress – and made a lasting impact on all of us. It was an honor to serve alongside him. He will be missed.”

🔵 PA-17’s Rep. Conor Lamb, @RepConorLamb, 05/29/20:

“The $99 million grant for @PGHtransit announced by @USDOT for the BRT connection between Downtown & Oakland is great news for our region. #PA17” tweeted with a link to a TribLive article titled “Pittsburgh rapid bus line project lands $100M from federal government

🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle, @USRepMikeDoyle, 05/29/20:

“Social media companies have an obligation to moderate harmful content on their platforms, whether it be misinformation/disinformation or it promotes violence. No matter the source, @realdonaldtrump. Our nation needs to do better @Twitter @Facebook @Google.

Casey in the News

Courtesy of contributor Linda Houk

“On Wednesday afternoon, I received the results of a COVID-19 ELISA IgG Antibody Test, which were positive. This positive test means that I likely had COVID-19 at some point over the last several months and have since developed an antibody response to the virus.

Earlier this spring, I experienced a low-grade fever and some mild flu-like symptoms for a number of days.  I consulted my physician over the phone, who suggested that I quarantine at home in Scranton for a period of two weeks.  Fortunately, I was easily able to isolate myself. My wife was out of town at the time to be with our eldest daughter and son-in-law, who were expecting their first child. In consultation with my doctor, I chose not to seek medical care because my symptoms were relatively mild and manageable. My fever went away on its own by mid-April, and it was never recommended that I be tested for the virus. I was able to work during my illness, remotely engaging with constituents and staff and keeping a full schedule.

Last week, I consulted Dr. Brian Monahan, the Capitol’s Attending Physician, and received the COVID-19 ELISA IgG Antibody Test to determine whether my earlier symptoms may have been the result of the virus, and if I might be a candidate to donate blood plasma. The results of this test revealed substantial levels of COVID-19 antibody in my blood, significantly more than the amount required to qualify me as a plasma donor. In an effort to help others fighting this virus, I will be making my first donation today in Taylor, Pennsylvania.  I encourage others who have recovered from COVID-19 to consult with their own physician to see if they may also be eligible to donate.

I will continue to follow the guidance of public health experts by wearing a mask in public and observing social distancing practices, and I hope that others will do the same to help slow the spread of this virus.”

— from Senator Casey’s official website, dated 05/29/20; many press outlets quoted portions of this statement, so it seemed best to provide it in full

 “Tens of thousands of people are dying in nursing homes without an action plan, which has to start at the federal level — the administration and Congress doing more to combat this problem.”

—from an article in Axios, titled “Pennsylvania Sen. Casey calls for action plan to contain coronavirus infections in nursing homes

Toomey in the News

Courtesy of contributor Elayne Baker

Mr. Toomey described the banking sanctions as a way to heap political pressure on China.

“When business interests and financial interests realize this tool can be deployed, I think there’s going to be a whole new pressure on the government not to trigger this kind of response. So my hope is it will increase the likelihood that the worst potential behavior from Beijing is averted for the sake of the people of Hong Kong.”

— from a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article titled “Toomey, Van Hollen call for sanctions on Chinese banks that violate Hong Kong autonomy

“It’s really the acceleration and increasingly aggressive steps that the Communist Party of China has been taking to increasingly, systematically, deny the people of Hong Kong the fundamental freedoms they were promised.” — from an article in Erie News Now titled “Toomey urges sanctions bill to protect Hong Kong autonomy

Call to Action!!

Please join MoCTrack in welcoming Pennsylvania’s new Indivisible organizer, Becca Litt.  Becca comes to us by way of the Warren campaign , and has a background in social work.  When Becca was asked her choice in lifting a particular issue for this week’s Call to Action, she replied that she wanted to provide this content about the murder of George Floyd, the resulting unrest around the country, and how best to respond to this situation to best promote social justice.

Thanks for this content, Becca – and for those of you who would like to contact Becca, she can be reached at
Becca@Indivisible.org.

TAKING ACTION IN SOLIDARITY WITH MINNEAPOLIS – from Indivisible

On May 25, George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, was murdered by Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer. Chauvin kneeled on Floyd’s neck for seven minutes, suffocating him as Floyd pleaded repeatedly that he couldn’t breathe. Videos of the murder went viral with many noting the devastating similarities between Floyd’s killing and that of Eric Garner in 2014. In response, Minneapolitans took to the streets to protest both Floyd’s death and the long legacy of anti-Black racism and police violence in the city and in our nation.

While the four officers responsible for Floyd’s death were fired, we know justice has not yet been achieved.

The protests have persisted, despite being met with increasing violence from the Minneapolis Police Department. Protestors have been tear-gassed and met with disproportionate use of force.

George Floyd’s death is horrific, but not unique. America’s police and criminal justice systems are the legacies of our country’s white supremacist, slave-owning history. Structural racism persists across every facet of American life and is perhaps most evident in the way that law enforcement interacts with communities of color. All across the country, Black people are more likely to be harassed, arrested, and killed by police than their white counterparts.

We have a national crisis of white supremacist violence against Black people in this country. In the past 10 years alone, we witnessed the deaths of thousands of Black people at the hands of police. Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Sandra Bland, and Philando Castile are just some of the names of those we’ve lost to racialized police violence.

What you can do right now to help

At Indivisible, we believe Black Lives Matter without qualifications, asterisks, or add-ons. We also believe in the right for communities to protest and protect themselves against state-sanctioned violence.

To support Black Minneapolitans fighting for their community, we recommend donating and supporting these local organizations:

In addition, we encourage Indivisibles to pursue their own anti-racist education. Here are a few resources we found helpful:

A note for social media: You’ll notice we didn’t link to video of any of these horrific incidents. That’s on purpose. Out of respect for those affected by these acts of violence, we urge readers not to continue sharing these traumatic videos and instead focus on lifting up the right voices, taking the right actions, and supporting the right organizations.

What can Congress and candidates do?

We need transformative change in our country—and there’s no silver bullet. But here are a few things that elected officials and candidates can do right now:

Ask your representative to co-sponsor the Omar-Pressley resolution. Reps. Ilhan Omar (MN-5) and Ayanna Pressley (MA-7) have introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives condemning police violence. Call your representative and demand that they co-sponsor the resolution and speak out publicly about the need for the House to pass it without delay.

MoCTrack would like to add that this resolution is so new that it does not yet have an identifying number as of the time of the report (the clerk’s office often runs a few days behind the introduction of materials, and can take even longer in these coronavirus times). We will provide the number as soon as it is available.  But here is what we do know about the resolution, from Rep. Pressley’s statement:

In addition to calling on the House of Representatives to condemn all acts of police brutality, racial profiling and excessive use of force, the resolution calls for the adoption of reforms and policies at all levels of government to end these injustices including:

  1. Efforts to improve oversight and independent investigations to hold individual law enforcement officers and police departments accountable,
  2. Calling on the Department of Justice to reassert its statutory authority to investigate individual instances of racial profiling, police brutality and violence and investigate and litigate individual law enforcement officers and police departments routinely violating civil rights;
  3. Supporting efforts to establishing all-civilian review boards with the authority to investigate incidents of police misconduct to ensure community-level oversight, accountability, and disciplinary action of police officers; and
  4. The adoption of sound and unbiased law enforcement policies at all levels of government that reduce the disparate impact of police brutality, racial profiling and use of force on Black and Brown people and other historically marginalized communities.

Rep. Ilhan Omar, who represents the district where the murder of George Floyd took place, said the following in her own statement:

From slavery to lynching to Jim Crow, Black people in this country have been brutalized and dehumanized for centuries. The war on drugs, mass criminalization, and increasingly militarized police forces have led to the targeting, torture and murder of countless Americans, disproportionately black and brown. The murder of George Floyd in my district is not a one-off event. We cannot fully right these wrongs until we admit we have a problem. As the People’s House, the House of Representatives must acknowledge these historical injustices and call for a comprehensive solution. There are many steps on the path to justice, but we must begin to take them.

Please consider calling your MoC, regardless of their party, and ask them to support Representative Pressley’s new resolution about police violence against people of color and the steps that must be taken to address police brutality, racial profiling and excessive use of force.

This report was brought to you by the Pennsylvania  MoCTrack team…

CCLinda Houk
Elayne BakerKierstyn Piotrowski Zolfo
Gary GarbSusan Vogel

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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