Pennsylvania Member of Congress Tracking Report – 06.21.20

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60 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 Demcast 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. No votes were scored this week.

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.

Happy Juneteenth!

“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired labor.”

— a portion of General Order No. 3, issued on June 19, 1865 by  Union Army General Gordon Granger in Galveston, Texas

Image of the original military order modified to include only order No. 3

Our Senators Celebrate Juneteenth

Who gets it, and who is just mouthing expected platitudes?

🔵 Senator Bob Casey, via his official website, 06/19/20:

“On Juneteenth, we commemorate President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation on the day—June 19, 1865—when news of emancipation reached people in the deepest parts of the former Confederacy in Galveston, Texas. This day came two months after the end of the Civil War and more than two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, a gap which represents a delay in justice that persists to this day. Slavery was officially abolished across the Nation several months later in December of 1865 with the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment.

Juneteenth is a celebration and an inspiration for this generation and future generations to come. It is a day to celebrate Black culture and history across our Commonwealth and our Nation. And it is a day for allies like myself to pledge to lift up Black Americans year-round. As we celebrate Juneteenth in the midst of cries for justice, we are called to listen, learn and take action to create change. It is not enough to recognize one important date in history. Once we spend this day in reflection and celebration, we must act. We must propel our Nation forward toward progress. 

I’m proud that Pennsylvania is one of 47 states which recognize Juneteenth as a state holiday, and I believe our Nation should recognize this important day in American history as a federal holiday. But commemorating Juneteenth is not a substitute for taking decisive action to protect the lives of Black Americans. Recent events in our Nation highlight that we have yet to overcome all the vestiges of slavery. Black Americans continue to be disproportionate victims of hate crimes and police brutality, and the recent murders of George Floyd and others underscore the inadequacy of passivity and the cruel impact that slavery, and much of its aftermath, has had on our country and its citizenry.

Though Juneteenth celebrations may look different this year, the significance of the day is not diminished. Let us celebrate and elevate our Black communities, and let us use this day to reflect on the work that remains to conquer racism in America. We cannot accept a system—informed by centuries-old prejudices and racial bias—that turns a blind eye to injustice and disregards the value of Black life.

It is past time for our federal government to formally recognize the day when Major General Gordon Granger proclaimed that Americans who had been enslaved in the Confederacy were now emancipated. June 19, 1865 was the dawn of a new era, a jubilant day which has come to represent the strength and resilience of Black Americans. 155 years later, I see this strength and resilience in Black Pennsylvanians. And on this Juneteenth, I am thinking critically about the ways our government has failed Black communities since that fateful day in Galveston, when those who were enslaved were promised freedom and equality. Now, we must not only strive toward better, fairer policies, but we must work every day to pass them into law. Our entire Nation will be stronger for it.

This Juneteenth, and every day, Black Lives Matter.”

🔴 Senator Pat Toomey, @SenToomey, 06/19/20:

“Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation in 1862. It would be 3 more years – June 19, 1865 – before all Black people were free in the U.S.. #Juneteenth marks a very important day of celebration for all Americans, when our nation began to ensure liberty & justice for **all**.”

Votes of Interest 

The Senate funds the Land and Water Conservation Fund 

Senate Vote on H.R. 1957: Great American Outdoors Act

This bill is a collection of initiatives that deal with issues facing our National parks and wilderness programs.  First it will permanently reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), a program that protects federal public lands and waters and encourages voluntary conservation of private lands. This excellent program is funded not by taxpayer dollars, but by using fees paid by fossil fuel extraction corporations who pay the federal government to lease public lands. Specifically, it permanently sets aside $900 million in oil and gas revenues to fund the LWCF.

There has also been a large backlog of renovation and maintenance tasks in our national parks.  This bill appropriates $6.5 billion to address those issues.

From a political perspective, many believe this bill was put on the floor of the Senate for a vote now because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell wanted to provide some campaign assistance to a pair of his most vulnerable GOP senators – Cory Gardener of Colorado and Steve Daines of Montana – as this is legislation that is quite popular in western states. That aim was telegraphed best by a tweet from President Trump, that applauded the pair for their efforts in putting this bill together.

It is expected that the House will bring this bill to the floor soon, and President Trump has already indicated he wants to sign it into law.

Vote date: Wednesday, June 17, 2020 Vote Tally: 73-25

Party Breakdown: All Democrats and Independents present voted YES, and they were joined by 28 Republicans.  The only NO votes came from Republicans.

Additional Reading:

Senator Casey voted YES and Senator Toomey voted NO. 

Senator Toomey has made no public comment on his NO vote.

Judicial Confirmation

Senate Confirmation Vote on Justin Reed Walker to be United States Circuit Judge for the District of Columbia Circuit

The D.C. Circuit is often referred to as the second most powerful court in the land, as it is tasked with overseeing cases that relate to legal challenges to the conduct of the national government. And the Trump Administration nominated a 37 year old judge who they only elevated to the judiciary less than a year ago! This is how our friends at The Vetting Room lay out the circumstances of this promotion of a judge that the American Bar Association rated as “unqualified”:

Last October, a former clerk to Justices Anthony Kennedy and Brett Kavanaugh was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, despite having never tried a single case.  What the nominee lacked in trial experience, however, he made up for in media experience, having made 162 media appearances in support of Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation.  Now, despite only being a judge for six months, Judge Justin Walker has been handpicked by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, with the recommendation of Kennedy and Kavanaugh, for elevation to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

The Alliance for Justice is equally scornful of this nomination, and they refer to this as promotion of a judge to the second most important court in the land after serving as a judge for less than  a year as “McConnell loyalist being rewarded for dutiful service to the Republican Party.”  They go on to provide this description of Judge Walker’s philosophies:

He has extreme views on unchecked executive power. He wants to weaken gun safety measures, including bans on assault weapons. He has shown contempt for public education. And, he would use his position on the powerful D.C. Circuit to weaken civil rights, worker, consumer, and environmental protections. He has been vehement in his opposition to the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) and is committed to using the courts to do what Trump, McConnell, and the Republican Party could not do through Congress— take away access to quality health care from millions, including people with preexisting conditions.

Vote date: Thursday, June 18, 2020 Vote Tally: 51-42

Party Breakdown: All Democrats and Independents present voted NO, and they were joined by Maine Repblican Sen. Susan Collins.  The remaining Republicans voted YES.

Additional Reading:

Senator Casey voted NO and Senator Toomey voted YES.

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.

  • S.712 – Robert Levinson Hostage Recovery and Hostage-Taking Accountability Act
  • S.3731 – Improving Social Security’s Service to Victims of Identity Theft Act

MoC Twitter Action

Courtesy of contributor Susan Vogel

Twitter Action – Juneteenth and Black Lives Matter

🔵 Senator Bob Casey, @SenBobCasey, 06/19/20:

“It is past time for our federal government to formally recognize #Juneteenth as a federal holiday. My full statement:” tweeted with link to his essay on the holiday from his official website

🔴 Senator Pat Toomey, @SenToomey, 06/17/20:

“I support the overarching goal of @SenatorTimScott’s JUSTICE Act: improving the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve. I am looking forward to reviewing this legislation and learning how it will impact both citizens and police officers.” comment made when retweeting content from Senator Tim Scott

🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, @RepBrianFitz, 06/15/20:

“@HurdOnTheHill is my close friend and a person that I look up to perhaps more than anyone else in Congress. He and I have been working daily on putting together a bipartisan package that will begin the journey of uniting our communities and our law enforcement officers.

While participating in peaceful demonstrations in our community over the past several weeks, I’ve seen the unity of outrage at George Floyd’s murder, the unity of appreciation for law enforcement to allow our community to peacefully protest under the First Amendment, and unity of outrage at those dishonoring George Floyd’s memory by looting, burning and rioting. Our path forward requires unity on all fronts.”

🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle, @RepBrendanBoyle, 06/11/20:

🔵 PA-03’s Rep. Dwight Evans, @RepDwightEvans, 06/19/20:

“Join me and Philadelphia Poet Laureate Trapeta Mason tonight for an Inspirational Juneteenth Observance! In addition to commemorating this celebratory day of freedom & liberation, I will also provide an update on the JusticeInPolicing Act.”

🔵 PA-04’s Rep. Madeleine Dean, @RepDean, 06/17/20:

“Enough of the unrelated amendments. We need #JusticeInPolicing now. If the demand for change isn’t loud enough, consider Rayshard Brooks getting gunned down after being found in a Wendy’s parking lot — those officers should have simply helped him find his way home.” tweeted with embedded C-SPAN video

🔵 PA-05’s Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, @RepMGS, 06/19/20:

Rep. Scanlon retweeted content from Barack Obama which reads, “Juneteenth has never been a celebration of victory, or an acceptance of the way things are. It’s a celebration of progress. It’s an affirmation that despite the most painful parts of our history, change is possible––and there is still so much work to do.” tweeted with a link to a New York Times opinion piece titled “Why Juneteenth Matters

🔵 PA-06’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, @RepHoulahan, 06/19/20:

“#JUNETEENTH2020 THREAD: 

Today is a day to celebrate, to reflect, & to acknowledge the road ahead. On June 19, 1865, the last forcibly enslaved Black Americans were notified of their freedom, 2.5 years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation 

As we commemorate this #Juneteenth, we know the journey towards freedom and justice continues in our nation. Today, I’m highlighting the voices of Black Americans. We must all answer this long overdue call for true equality under the law. 

“This year’s Juneteenth celebration takes on even more importance as Americans — of all races, creeds, and colors — are seeing how much black American lives, and history, have been ignored.” – 

@EWellingtonPHL

“Though holidays, symbols, statues, and flags matter, it will take more than increased recognition of Juneteenth to combat racism.” -@kcarterjackson

“Friday’s celebrations will be marked from coast to coast with marches and demonstrations of civil disobedience, along with expressions of Black joy in spite of an especially traumatic time for the nation.” -@aaronlmorrison & -@kat__stafford”  tweeted with embedded video and multiple links to content on the significance of the holiday

🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild, @RepSusanWild, 06/19/20:

“Today, my office will be closed in observance of #Juneteenth. My full thoughts on this important day.”

🔵 PA-08’s Rep. Matt Cartwright, @RepCartwright, 06/19/20:

“155 years ago today, news of the end of the civil war reached Texas and the last enslaved Black Americans were freed. Today on #Juneteenth, we celebrate the end of slavery, but know that the fight for racial justice and equality continues.” tweeted with embedded video

🔴 PA-12’s Rep. Fred Keller, @RepFredKeller, 06/19/20:

Rep. Keller retweeted this message from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, “Juneteenth is a day to celebrate the end of slavery in America and the beginning of a new birth of freedom. 165 years later, there is still work to do.

But meeting this moment will require more than policy changes. We must all do our part to build a more perfect union.”

🔴 PA-14’s Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, @GReschenthaler, 06/19/20:

“The #JUSTICEAct and @realdonaldtrump’s executive order are crucial to making sure we reform our police departments without handcuffing police officers from doing their jobs.

Proud to have worked with POTUS on these reforms.”

🔴 PA-16’s Rep. Mike Kelly, @MikeKellyPA, 06/19/20:

Rep. Kelly retweeted this message from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, “Juneteenth is a day to celebrate the end of slavery in America and the beginning of a new birth of freedom. 165 years later, there is still work to do.

But meeting this moment will require more than policy changes. We must all do our part to build a more perfect union.”

🔵 PA-17’s Rep. Conor Lamb, @RepConorLamb, 06/19/20:

“Today, we commemorate the end of slavery in America, even as we recognize that we have more work to do together to achieve the ideals of our nation.  #Juneteenth #PA17”

🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle, @USRepMikeDoyle, 06/19/20:

“I joined Michelle Kenney at a memorial rally for her son, Antwon Rose Jr., this morning. Honoring his life at the place he was killed was powerful. For Antwon Rose Jr., for #GeorgeFloyd, and for so many others – I will not stop fighting for justice.”

Twitter Action – Supreme Court Decisions on DACA and LGBTQ Rights

🔵 Senator Bob Casey, @SenBobCasey, 06/18/20:

“As we celebrate today’s #SCOTUS decision, I want to thank the many #DACA organizers–many undocumented themselves–who fought boldly and fiercely for this, working through unfathomable personal trauma while building a movement.

Next up: a path to citizenship. #HereToStay

This decision, though significant, doesn’t provide permanent protections for #Dreamers & TPS recipients. USCIS must immediately begin accepting DACA renewals, and Congress must pass bills to permanently protect their legal status, starting with the American Dream and Promise Act.”

🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, @RepBrianFitz, 06/15/20:

“Today’s #SCOTUS decision written by Justice Neil Gorsuch is a big win for our LGBT community! 🏳️‍🌈” tweeted with a link to an ABC News article titled “Supreme Court bans LGBT employment discrimination

🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle, @RepBrendanBoyle, 06/15/20:

“Today is an historic day for equality.  #SCOTUS has ruled it is illegal for an employer to fire someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.  When I was a member of the PA State House in 2009, I cast the deciding vote to ban #LGBTQ + discrimination in the workplace & housing. You should not be fired for who you are and/or who you love.” tweeted with a link to an AP News article titled “Justices rule LGBT people protected from job discrimination

🔵 PA-03’s Rep. Dwight Evans, @RepDwightEvans, 06/15/20:

“As a legislator who’s been voting with the #LGBTQ community since the 1990s, I welcome this decision!  The Senate should still vote on the #EqualityAct because this doesn’t cover housing or public accommodations.”

🔵 PA-04’s Rep. Madeleine Dean, @RepDean, 06/15/20:

“No one should be discriminated against because of who they are or who they love. Today, the law affirmed that.”

🔵 PA-05’s Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, @RepMGS, 06/18/20

“DREAMERS are #HeretoStay. HOME IS HERE.”  tweeted with a lin kto a Washington Post article titled “Supreme Court blocks Trump’s bid to end DACA, a wind for undocumented  ‘dreamers’

🔵 PA-06’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, @RepHoulahan, 06/16/20:

“8 yrs ago this week, DACA gave peace of mind to #Dreamers living in fear of being deported from the only home they’ve ever known. Now, the Supreme Court will make a ruling in the coming days on the fate of #Dreamers. The Senate must take action on H.R. 6 and protect our dreamers.”

🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild, @RepSusanWild, 06/16/20:

h”Aimee Stephens never saw the outcome of a case she took all the way to the Supreme Court, but today the #SCOTUS ruled that ALL #LGBTQ employees are protected under #TitleVII from discrimination at work.

What a welcome victory during #PrideMonth!” tweeted with a link to a New York Times article titled “Civil Rights Law Protects Gay and Transgender Workers, Supreme Court Rules

🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle, @USRepMikeDoyle, 06/18/20:

“For Dreamers, #HomeIsHere! I’m very pleased that #SCOTUS has rejected @realDonaldTrump’s efforts to end #DACA, protecting a legal pathway to citizenship for the 650,000 immigrants brought to the United States as children and call this country home!

Dreamers have contributed to this country and worked on the frontlines of this pandemic, and the #SCOTUS decision will allow them to live and work without fear of deportation. We must continue to fight to pass the #DreamandPromise Act!”

Twitter Action – MoCs on Legislation

🔵 Senator Bob Casey, @SenBobCasey, 06/20/20:

“Today I’m thinking of the remarkable courage displayed by the millions of refugees who flee persecution, violence and war. On #WorldRefugeeDay and every day, we must protect America’s role as a beacon of freedom and welcome the world’s most vulnerable. #RefugeesWelcome

The world is witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record. According to the UN, an unprecedented 70.8 million people were displaced at the end of 2018. Among them were nearly 30 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18.

On September 26, 2019, President Trump announced plans to restrict admission of refugees to the U.S. to 18,000 for FY 2020–a historic low limit on the number of refugees. Any efforts to deny asylum to the world’s most vulnerable are antithetical to American values.

I’m proud to cosponsor legislation including the Refugee Protection Act, No Ban Act and the Central American Women and Children Protection Act. The U.S. must remain a safe haven for those fleeing persecution, and recognize the contributions of refugees to American life.”

🔴 Senator Pat Toomey, @SenToomey, 06/18/20:

“The CCP is a gross violator of human rights. Yesterday a bipartisan bill I supported imposing sanctions on those responsible for these cruel & inhumane acts was signed into law. The firsthand accounts in this article further underscore the need for action:”  tweeted with a link to a Washington Examiner article titled “‘Your god is Xi Jinping’: Uighurs mocked and tortured in Chinese internment camps for their faith

🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, @RepBrianFitz, 06/17/20:

“PFAS chemical contamination can lead to serious health issues, and we must act with an urgency that matches the scale of the problem. The more we learn about these chemicals, the clearer the danger becomes.”  tweeted with a link to a Ripon Advance post titled “Fitzpatrick announces bipartisan bill to remove toxic chemicals from federal water project sites

🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle, @RepBrendanBoyle, 06/18/20:

“Today, I’m working with my @WaysMeansCmte colleagues to seek ways to provide much needed tax relief to support workers and families during the #coronavirus pandemic.” tweeted with a link to the Ways and Means Committee website

🔵 PA-03’s Rep. Dwight Evans, @RepDwightEvans, 06/19/20:

“I’m a lead co-sponsor of a $120 billion bill to help independent restaurants and their employees. #Philly’s restaurant sector helps make the city a great place to live & provides thousands of jobs that are vital to neighborhoods throughout #Philadelphia.” tweeted with a link to his colleague’s official website statement

🔵 PA-04’s Rep. Madeleine Dean, @RepDean, 06/17/20:

“When we say Black Lives Matter, what we are saying is that Black people deserve the same room to live life White people are afforded.” It’s that simple. We need #JusticeInPolicing now.
Tweeted with embedded C-SPAN video

🔵 PA-05’s Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, @RepMGS, 06/17/20:

“In hour 11 of debate on #JusticeInPolicing, our GOP colleagues still want to know why we say #BlackLivesMatter — it’s because our policing system acts as if Black lives don’t. 

Breonna Taylor’s life mattered. 

George Floyd’s life mattered. 

Eric Garner’s life mattered.”  tweeted with embedded C-SPAN video

🔵 PA-06’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, @RepHoulahan, 06/17/20:

“5 years ago, a gunman stole 9 souls from us @ the Mother Emanuel AME Church in #Charleston. We passed #gunviolence reform that would close the ‘Charleston loophole’. As we continue to combat racism and gun violence, it is imperative that the @senatemajldr take up these bills.”

🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild, @RepSusanWild, 06/18/20:

“#DYK, @USPS handles 48% of the world’s mail? And is one of the largest employers of veterans? AND is a lifeline for seniors in need of prescription medications? The Postal Service helps keep our nation flowing – and right now, it really needs our support to survive.

The #COVID19 crisis has hit the Postal Service hard, and without relief, it could begin to collapse as soon as September. That’s why 137 of my colleagues and I joined together in an effort to secure that relief ASAP.

Check out our letter to save @USPS”  tweeted with an image of this letter to the Senate leaders

🔵 PA-08’s Rep. Matt Cartwright, @RepCartwright, 06/18/20:

“NEPA is home to two beautiful National Heritage Areas: the Delaware & Lehigh and the Lackawanna Valley. They not only celebrate our industrial roots and preserve our natural areas, they also support our local small businesses and economy.

Today, @SenBobCasey & I introduced a bill with several PA Democrats & Republicans to renew federal investment in all five of our commonwealth’s National Heritage Areas, so they can continue to preserve our cultural landmarks and contribute to our economy:” tweeted with a link to his official website statement

🔴 PA-09’s Rep. Dan Meuser, @RepMeuser, 06/16/20:

“America’s infrastructure is in critical need of modernization. This week, I introduced the Infrastructure Bank for America Act of 2020. To learn more, please visit:” tweeted with a link to his official website statement

🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry, @RepScottPerry, 06/17/20:

“The T&I Committee is considering major transportation legislation. The Dems’ #MyWayOrTheHighway bill prioritizes the Green New Deal over repairs and modernization. I’m offering 20+ amendments to get to a bipartisan bill that’ll rebuild infrastructure and aid our economic recovery”

🔴 PA-11’s Rep. Lloyd Smucker, @RepSmucker, 06/18/20:

“After over 24 hours spent in markup considering over 300 amendments, this bill was an exercise in partisanship and was not a serious effort to improve our nation’s surface transportation infrastructure. My full statement on my vote against H.R. 2” tweeted with a link to his official website statement

🔴 PA-12’s Rep. Fred Keller, @RepFredKeller, 06/18/20:

“Proud to be an original co-sponsor of @RepPeteStauber’s #JUSTICEAct. The JUSTICE Act takes the necessary steps to implement needed improvements in law enforcement to help ensure equal justice is applied to every American.” tweeted with an image of his official website statement

🔴 PA-13’s Rep. John Joyce, @RepJohnJoyce, 06/18/20:

“Proud to join @SenatorTimScott & @RepPeteStauber to introduce the JUSTICE Act. Rather than defund or dismantle the police, this legislation will better equip these brave Americans to serve our communities. We cannot turn our backs on our law enforcement officers.”

🔴 PA-14’s Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, @GReschenthaler, 06/16/20:

“I introduced the End Chinese Communist Citizenship Act, which bars Chinese Communist Party members from receiving green cards. 

The CCP is a proven bad actor, pushing anti-American propaganda & stripping human rights. They should not enjoy the privileges of American citizenship.” tweeted with an image of the bill

🔴 PA-15’s Rep. Glenn W. Thompson, @CongressmanGT, 06/15/20:

“Back in DC for an #Education Full Committee Hearing looking at the impact of #COVID19 on current & future education #connectivity #distancelearning #transportation #CTE”

🔵 PA-17’s Rep. Conor Lamb, @RepConorLamb, 06/18/20:

“Tonight the House Transportation & Infrastructure Committee came together to pass the $494 billion INVEST in America Act, to begin the work of rebuilding our aging infrastructure for the 21st Century. #PA17” tweeted with a link to his official website statement

🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle, @USRepMikeDoyle, 06/20/20:

“Americans’ infrastructure is in crisis – and I support @TransportDems’ bill that would invest $319 billion to fix our roads and bridges and $105 billion to support transit agencies in adding new routes, providing reliable service, and encouraging public transit use.”

Tweet of the Week

Highlighting the best and worst tweeted content from our lawmakers

🔵 Senator Bob Casey, @SenBobCasey, 06/20/20:

“What are the President and Attorney General Barr trying to hide? This is the same kind of corruption that led to the impeachment proceeding. President Trump didn’t learn his lesson, and Barr must testify immediately. This isn’t a political stunt, this is an assault on democracy.”

🔴 Senator Pat Toomey, @SenToomey, 06/17/20:

“Our Constitution gives Americans the right to peacefully protest, but no right to riot and destroy property. Great work by @USAttyMcSwain and investigators to apprehend the person allegedly responsible for burning a police vehicle in Philly.”  tweeted with a link to a Philadelphia Inquirer article titled “The FBI used a Philly protester’s Etsy profile, LinkedIn, and other internet history to charge her with setting police cars ablaze

🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, @RepBrianFitz, 06/18/20:

“Today I had the pleasure of meeting Nicky Christopher, aka the Birthday Lawn Bandit, a 12-year-old from Yardley who has been working to brighten the day of kids across our community. 

Over the last few weeks, Nicky has decorated 100 homes to celebrate birthdays, graduations, and bar/bat mitzvahs. In a show of community, families & businesses have donated supplies & decorations to help Nicky continue to bring joy to our community. 

I wanted everyone to know that Nicky’s own birthday is on April 18, and I know that our community will show him the same kindness that he has shown others. Thank you, Nicky, for bringing joy to our community!” tweeted with images, and a link to an ABD News article titled “12-year-old ‘Birthday Lawn Bandit’ surprises kids in quarantine

🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle, @RepBrendanBoyle, 06/18/20:

“What’s at stake in #Census2020? 

– Over a trillion dollars in federal funding 

– Determination of Congressional seats by state

– Countless policy and business decisions made based on Census data

#WhyCensusMatters” tweeted with a link to the Census 2020 website

🔵 PA-03’s Rep. Dwight Evans, @RepDwightEvans, 06/19/20:

The Congressman retweeted this tweet from Eagles Nation that manages to combine a public service announcement and some epic trolling – “Don’t be embarrassed or ashamed to wear masks in public during these times! People actually wear Cowboys jerseys and don’t think it’s embarrassing or anything.”

🔵 PA-04’s Rep. Madeleine Dean, @RepDean, 06/17/20:

“Fill out your Census. Be counted. Pass it on. #2020Census 

http://my2020census.gov”

🔵 PA-05’s Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, @RepMGS, 06/18/20:

“It’s not about you. It’s about the law.”

🔵 PA-06’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, @RepHoulahan, 06/17/20:

“In the military, we always had a battle buddy to look out for. Now, we have our friends, families, and neighbors, especially vulnerable populations like the elderly and immunocompromised, to look out for. Do your part and wear a mask.” tweeted with a Forbes article titled “Face Masks May Be The Key Determinant Of The Covid-19 Curve, Study Suggests

🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild, @RepSusanWild, 06/18/20:

“The coronavirus has simply exacerbated [workplace] gender inequities by stripping away what supports women had in place to walk this tightrope, including childcare.”

Just another reason we have to prioritize making child care affordable & accessible.” tweeted with a link to an article in Inside Higher Ed titled “No Room of One’s Own – Early journal submission data suggest COVID-19 is tanking women’s research productivity

🔵 PA-08’s Rep. Matt Cartwright, @RepCartwright, 06/17/20:

“The #2020Census is key to determining how much federal funding we get for critical services we all rely on. An undercount could mean we get shortchanged. If you haven’t already, visit http://my2020Census.gov to complete yours and RT to make sure NEPA gets counted!”

🔴 PA-09’s Rep. Dan Meuser, @RepMeuser, 06/18/20:

“I was pleased to welcome @SecretaryRoss to Northeast PA this afternoon for a meeting with members of the @GWBChamber. Thank you to the Trump Administration for building a great national economy and leading a Great American Comeback.”

🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry, @RepScottPerry, 06/18/20:

“I’m honored to welcome @SBAgov Administrator Carranza  (@SBAJovita) to PA-10 tomorrow to meet with local business owners and employees benefiting from the #PaycheckProtectionProgram. In PA, the PPP has provided $20B to nearly 160,000 small businesses hardest hit by COVID-19.”

🔴 PA-11’s Rep. Lloyd Smucker, @RepSmucker, 06/20/20:

“June 20, 2020 is recognized as World Refugee Day. #PA11 is home to many refugees and we are so grateful to have them in our community. #WorldRefugeeDay”

🔴 PA-12’s Rep. Fred Keller, @RepFredKeller, 06/15/20:

“There’s a lot of money that has not been driven out…I think it’s a bit premature to be discussing another big stimulus without first looking at the impacts of what we’ve already done. The Paycheck Protection Program has been huge. The best stimulus is a job.” tweeted with embedded video

🔴 PA-13’s Rep. John Joyce, @RepJohnJoyce, 06/15/20:

“The @China_TaskForce has confirmed that the Chinese Communist Party lied to the world about COVID-19, allowing coronavirus to spread across the world and claim innocent lives. Helped by the @WHO, this corrupt regime began the pandemic with its cover-up.”

🔴 PA-14’s Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, @GReschenthaler, 06/19/20:

“Big Tech is so afraid of @realDonaldTrump winning re-election that they’ll do whatever it takes to silence conservative thinking, and even the president, on social media.

They are trying to steal the 2020 election.” tweeted with embedded Fox News video

🔴 PA-15’s Rep. Glenn W. Thompson, @CongressmanGT, 06/16/20:

“The need for improved broadband service to rural America is long overdue. Reliable, high speed connectivity can make a world of difference in our communities, particularly in the education of our nation’s young people. #ICYMI @EdLaborGOP’s hearing yesterday.” tweeted with embedded video og the Congressman speaking at the hearing

🔴 PA-16’s Rep. Mike Kelly, @MikeKellyPA, 06/14/20:

“Thank you to all our great soldiers that have defended freedom here at home and abroad. We appreciate you.” this message was retweeted above content from the US Army

🔵 PA-17’s Rep. Conor Lamb, @RepConorLamb, 06/14/20:

“The jobs of the future are right here in Pittsburgh as @astrobotic has been awarded a $200 mil contract from @NASA to put a rover on the Moon to help locate water. #PA17” tweeted with a Pittsburgh Business Journal article titled “Funding makes Astrobotic part of search for water on the moon

🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle, @USRepMikeDoyle, 06/19/20:

“Earlier this month, @realDonaldTrump issued an executive order sidestepping laws that require projects to undergo a review of their impact on the environment, public health, and endangered species before approval. This directly undermines our efforts to #ActOnClimate.

I joined @RepJayapal in urging @realDonaldTrump to withdraw his executive order and uphold these environmental reviews. We cannot let the Trump Administration put development projects before their long-lasting impact on our environment and public health. “ tweeted with a link to Rep. Jayapal’s statement regarding the aforementioned letter

Casey in the News 

Courtesy of contributor Linda Houk

“…it is time for us to create structural change that safeguards every American’s right to safety and equal justice.”

— from an article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, titled “Defund or invest? Congress looks to power of federal dollars to reform police departments

“We need a plan from CMS and we need resources to stop the spread of COVID-19 in nursing homes.”

— from an article in the Star-Tribune, titled “Harrowing blame game over COVID-19 toll in nursing homes

“Right now, Nursing Home Compare for a lot of families is almost worthless. It doesn’t provide accurate information. You have this bizarre circumstance where they’ve had all kinds of violations, all kinds of problems, even predating COVID-19, and you look at Nursing Home Compare, and there’s data on there that would mislead you to thinking it’s a facility that has not had problems.”

“I hope that someone from Johnstown, PA (referring to Secretary Azar) would understand that in our state, we need help for nursing homes… You can’t try to rectify it by just using spin and rhetoric. People want answers. People have suffered enough.”

— from an article on WPXI, titled “Senator calls Nursing Home Compare website ‘almost worthless’ right now” 

“I’m glad they have a bill, but this bill will not cut it.”

“This bill does not really ban chokeholds. Just to say you’re creating incentives by way of withholding the funding is not good enough.”

— from an article in 10 NBC Philadelphia, titled “Pa. Leaders Want to Ban Police Chokeholds and Track Problem Cops

Toomey in the News 

Courtesy of contributor Elayne Baker

“We’ve got to make sure that police departments are able and willing to identify the individual problems that they inevitably have, and that they get rid of people who need to be gotten rid of.”

— from an Erie News Now  article titled “Senate Republicans offer police reform bill with minimal federal mandates” 

“Senator Tim Scott is one of the most thoughtful and insightful members of the Senate.

“I support the overarching goal of the JUSTICE Act, which is to improve the relationship between law enforcement and the communities they serve. In the coming days, I look forward to reviewing this legislation and learning how it will impact both citizens and police officers.”

— from a MyChesCo article titled “Toomey Statement on the JUSTICE Act

“I wouldn’t base my confidence on the president’s negotiations on one account from one person, which has already been categorically refuted by another person in the room. As you may be aware, Bob Lighthizer the U.S. trade representative, was testifying before Senate Finance Committee yesterday. I am on that committee, and he was asked were you in the room at the time that this conversation supposedly took place, and Bob Lighthizer very adamantly insisted that he was in the room and no such conversation took place.

I think it would be a mistake to jump to a conclusion about one allegation, especially when it’s being specifically refuted.”

— from a Yahoo Finance article titled “Why John Bolton book revelations about Trump presidency hasn’t shaken the confidence of this senator” 

“Let’s remember, there’s no free lunch. All of this is either borrowed money or created money and, either way, Americans are going to pay a price for this…

 It’s not obvious to me that we need to load the money cannon and fire that off again.”

— from a Yahoo Money article titled “One key senator argues against more stimulus: No need to ‘load the money cannon’ again”

“In my state of Pennsylvania, we have fewer manufacturing jobs today than we had three years ago. Far more people are in the business of using steel and aluminum to produce things than the people who actually make steel and aluminum. So when tariffs raise the cost of the steel and aluminum, those are higher cost inputs for those manufacturers who are less able to compete with foreign companies that are not subject to those taxes.”

— an excerpt from Senator Toomey’s comments during a hearing with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, as reported in an article in S&P GLobal titled “US groups debate Canadian aluminum tariff as USMCA nears” 

“Those needs [at the corporate bond market] are being met, and I worry it starts to look like fiscal policy, or it starts to look a lot like the goal is to lower spreads, despite the fact that nominal rates are incredibly low. We run the risk that we diminish price signals that we get from the corporate bond market, which can be extremely important in enabling us to detect problems.”  

— from an article in the Courthouse News Service titled “Intercession of Fed Brings Some Calm to Rocky Markets

“It’s not clear to me why the Fed needs to be intervening actively in the corporate bond market right now.” 

— from a Yahoo Finance article titled “Powell Plays Down Significance of Move to Buy Corporate Bonds

Learning about Legislation – Comparing House & Senate Police Reform Bills

Last week, MoCTrack brought you some information about H.R. 7201, the Justice in Policing Act. This is the House bill that is designed to address police brutality and law enforcement reform. This is a bill that was introduced by members of the Congressional Black Caucus, and has the backing of the Democrats in the House.  And just this week it passed through the Judiciary Committee, and is expected to get to the House floor for a vote in the next week.

This past Wednesday, the Senate Republicans introduced their own policing reform bill, the Justice Act (Just and Unifying Solutions to Invigorate Communities Everywhere). This bill is so new that the clerk’s office has not provided it an identifying number, but Sen. Scott has made the full text and a section by section analysis available.

Let’s take a look at several key issues, side by side.

ProposalHouseSenate
ChokeholdsBANSRESTRICTS
Racial ProfilingBANSTRAINING
Police MisconductNational RegistryData Collection
No-Knock WarrantsBANSRESTRICTS
Use of ForceStandardizesData Collection
Establishes Lynching as a Hate Crime✔️✔️
Incentivizes Usage of Body Cameras✔️✔️
Create a National Accreditation Program for Police✔️
Modifies Qualified Immunity Rules to allow Victims of Police Brutality to Seek Damages✔️
Ends Distribution of Military Equipment to Police✔️
Punishes Falsified Police Reports✔️
Criminalizes Sexual Contact between Law
Enforcement and Prisoners
✔️

For those first five categories, it is key to note that the wording in the House bill is significantly stronger than that which is in the senate bill.  For example, the House bill has an outright ban on “the application of any pressure to the throat or windpipe, use of maneuvers that restrict blood or oxygen flow to the brain, or carotid artery restraints which prevent or hinder breathing or reduce intake of air is a punishment, pain or penalty.”  The working in the Senate bill is that “The attorney general shall develop a policy for federal law enforcement agencies that bans the use of chokeholds except when deadly force is authorized.” While the Senate version uses the word ‘ban’ it then goes on to carve a huge loophole by dropping in the ‘except…’  Law enforcement officials are permitted to use deadly force when they feel they are in fear for their life.  So almost any police officer could defend their use of a chokehold under the Senate’s weak wording. This same weakness in wording in the Senate bill continues throughout those other sections.

It is also key to provide a note about  those two areas where the Senate bill contains content that the House bill left out.  First, a cynic might observe that since the House made their offer first, from a public relations perspective it was a strategic move for the Senate version to find some areas that they could include that were not addressed in the House version, just so they could claim to be more comprehensive.  And there is also the fact that the two areas in question – falsification of police reports and sexual contact between a law enforcement official and a prisoner – are already illegal.  The Senate version just standardizes the federal response.

It is abundantly clear that the House version of law enforcement reform is the more aggressive of the two offerings. But these two bills will be changing in the coming weeks, as they undergo negotiations in their separate chambers.  MoCTrack will keep you posted as these bills progress through Congress.

Sources/Additional reading:

Call to Action

Please continue to call your lawmakers on the five bills outlined in last week’s Legislation for Change special section.  The Wonderful folks at Demcast reworked our content from last week into this more-easily-shareable link that you could share to your social media presences.  

Please keep calling your MoCs in support of ending racially based police brutality, stopping federal support for confederate symbols, creating a truth commission on racial healing, studying the social status of black men and boys, and repairing voting rights.  Those links have both explanations of the bills, and scripts you can use for contacting our lawmakers.

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

CC Linda Houk

Elayne Baker Kierstyn Piotrowski Zolfo

Gary Garb Susan 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!


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.


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