This is a 100% volunteer effort brought to you by a handful of progressive Democrats and Independents who share a vision of a more 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 Congress||This week’s score||Change from last report|
|Senator Bob Casey (D)||29.5%||-0.3%|
|Senator Pat Toomey (R)||88.0%||+0.1%|
|PA-01 Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R)||64.5%||-0.2%|
|PA-02 Rep. Brendan Boyle (D)||13.0%||-0.2%|
|PA-03 Rep. Dwight Evans (D)||12.0%||-0.1%|
|PA-04 Rep. Madeleine Dean (D)||4.0%||-0.1%|
|PA-05 Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D)||6.4%||-0.2%|
|PA-06 Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D)||5.3%||-0.2%|
|PA-07 Rep. Susan Wild (D)||9.0%||-0.2%|
|PA-08 Rep. Matt Cartwright (D)||20.0%||-0.2%|
|PA-09 Rep. Dan Meuser (R)||98.6%||0.0%|
|PA-10 Rep. Scott Perry (R)||89.9%||+0.1%|
|PA-11 Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R)||95.8%||+0.1%|
|PA-12 Rep. Fred Keller (R)||95.6%||+0.3%|
|PA-13 Rep. John Joyce (R)||98.6%||0.0%|
|PA-14 Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R)||95.9%||+0.1%|
|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)||24.0%||-0.5%|
|PA-18 Rep. Mike Doyle (D)||14.9%||-0.2%|
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 two House votes scored this week – one for the Justice in Policing Act, and other on DC statehood.
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
A Trio of Police Reform Votes in Congress
What follows is a rundown of the drama in Congress this week related to Police Reform legislation. There were three separate votes that were a part of the action. Instead of running down the contents of the bills in question – the Senate Republicans’ JUSTICE Act and the House Democrats’ George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, please refer to this chart, from last week’s MoCTrack, to review the differences between the two bills. The shortest possible assessment of the bills is the Senate version is full of loopholes and ignores major issues, while the House version has more outright bans of objectionable policies.
1️⃣ Vote One: the GOP’s toothless bill fails to achieve cloture
Prior to a bill coming to the floor of the Senate for a vote, it must achieve cloture – with 60 senators agreeing to end debate. The Senate Republican’s version of police reform failed to achieve cloture. Here is what each of our senators had to say about the failure of the JUSTICE Act to get enough support to make it to the floor for a full vote:
🔵 Senator Bob Casey, from an article on the WTAE website titled “Pa. US Senator Casey calls for ‘accountability’ in federal police reform legislation”, 06/25/20:
“If you want to know the difference between the two bills, it comes down to one word: accountability. We are either going to deal in this moral moment with accountability for law enforcement misconduct or not.
Just on that basic issue, chokeholds. you have two choices: ban them, or incentivize the banning. Our bill bans them. The reason we’re having this debate is because of what happened with a law enforcement officer murdering an American citizen using a chokehold. If the American people hadn’t seen that, I’m not sure we’d be debating this…
…We’ve got to do more. We’ve got to make sure that Black Americans are not continually robbed, literally robbed of equal protection of the law. Their constitutional rights are violated, and sometimes their life ends because we don’t have accountability.
It’s supported overwhelmingly by the American people. They want real action. They don’t want us nibbling around the edges. they want real accountability, they want real transparency.”
🔴 Senator Pat Toomey, via his official website, 06/24/20:
“After weeks of telling anyone with a notebook or microphone that the Senate has an obligation to consider policing reforms, Senate Democrats today blocked the opportunity to even consider legislation on this issue.
“To be clear, this vote wasn’t on final passage of Senator Tim Scott’s JUSTICE Act. Rather, this was a vote to determine whether or not the Senate should even proceed to consideration of any policing reforms. This came after Senate Democrats received repeated assurances of a full debate, and opportunities to amend this bill as they saw fit.
“Again, a vote today would only have served to start the legislative process. And after all the amendment votes were cast, if Senate Democrats did not like the final product, they still could vote no and stop the legislation from moving forward. But instead, Senate Democrats chose obstruction and politics over actual debate and legislating.”
Vote date: Wednesday, June 24, 2020 Vote Tally: 55-45 (failed)
Party Breakdown: A supermajority of 60 votes was needed to bring this bill to the floor for debate and a final vote. Democrats Doug Jones of Alabama and Joe Manchin of West Virginia voted YES along with most Republicans. All the other Democrats and Independents voted NO. All of the Republicans voted YES, with the exception of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. He voted NO, but for a very special reason. GovTrack explains, “Sometimes a party leader will vote on the winning side, even if it is against his or her position, to have the right to call for a new vote under a motion to reconsider.”
- “Senate Democrats Block GOP Police-Reform Bill,” from Courthouse News
- “Senate Democrats Stall Republican Police Reform Bill to Force Negotiations,” from New Yorker’s Intelligencer
- “Trump’s police executive order and Senate’s blocked bill prove neither take reform seriously,” an opinion piece in NBC News
Senator Casey voted NO and Senator Toomey voted YES.
2️⃣ Vote Two: the GOP’s last ditch attempt to hijack the House Democrat’s police reform bill
This is the portion of the Congressional proceedings in question, the House Republican’s choice to offer a Motion to Recommit with Instructions. This image below details the steps before the final vote, from Congress’s website.
At the end of the debate on the House Democrats’ police reform bill, Rep. Pete Stauber (R-MN) offered a Motion to recommit (more on what that means in our Learning About Legislation section). He offered this motion “with instruction” – to replace the entire text of the bill with the text of the Senate Republican’s bill. That is the one we discussed above, the one that failed to get enough support to achieve cloture! The House then debated that motion before it came to a vote.
Vote date: Thursday, June 25, 2020 Vote Tally: 180-236 (failed)Party Breakdown: All of the Democrats voted NO, as did Libertarian Justin Amash of Michigan and three Republicans – Thomas Massie of Kentucky, Andy Harris of Maryland and Warren Davidson of Ohio. All of the other Republicans voted YES.
3️⃣ Vote three, the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act passes the House (without the loophole-ridden GOP replacement text)
With the partisan Motion to Recommit with Instructions out of the way, the real bill could finally get its vote. Only two of our Pennsylvania lawmakers were chosen to speak on the floor in the run-up to the final vote (both in support of the bill). If you would like to hear them, they can be found at this C-Span link. The video itself is over five and a half hours long, so the minute markers for our PA lawmakers speeches are indicated below:
🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle, 2:49:12
🔵 PA-04’s Rep. Madeleine Dean, 1:56:16
There is additional coverage of our lawmakers’ opinions on this bill in this week’s Twitter coverage, with statements or commentary from almost all of our Representatives.
Vote date: Thursday, June 25, 2020 Vote Tally: 236-181
Party Breakdown: All Democrats Present voted YES. They were joined by three Republicans – Brian Fitzpatrick of PA-01, Will Hurd of Texas and Fred Upton of Michigan. The remaining Republicans and Libertarian Justin Amash voted NO.
- “House Democrats pass sweeping police overhaul, Senate stalls,” from The Philadelphia Inquirer
- “House Passes Sweeping Policing Bill Targeting Racial Bias and Use of Force,” from The New York TImes
- “House Approves Police Reform Bill, But Issue Stalled Amid Partisan Standoff,” from NPR
- “House approves police reform bill named in honor of George Floyd,” from CNN Politics
The House wants Washington,D.C. to be the 51st State
Washington, DC has a population of 700,000 people, and yet they have no voting representation in Congress, in either the House or the Senate. Both Vermont and Wyoming have populations that are smaller than DC, and each of those states have three votes (two senators and one at-large representative). This bill, H.R. 51, would create a 51st state, named “Washington, Douglass Commonwealth,” after Frederick Douglass, and to separate it from the northwestern state. The bill was introduced by Rep. Eleanor Norton, who represents DC in the House, but does not get a vote on legislation. She stated, according to CBS News, “the United States is the only democratic country that denies both voting rights in the national legislature and local autonomy to the residents of the nation’s capital.”
This is the first time a DC statehood bill has passed in one of our legislative houses. It is, however, unlikely to get any further in this Congress, as both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and President Trump have expressed opposition to the idea of DC statehood.
Vote date: Friday, June 26, 2020 Vote Tally: 232-180
Party Breakdown: All Republicans present voted NO, and they were joined by Libertarian Justin Amash and Democrat Collin Peterson of Minnesota. All other Democrats voted YES.
- “House approves measure to make Washington, D.C. a state,” from CBS News
- “House approves statehood for DC in 232-180 vote,” from The Hill
- “In Historic Vote, House Backs Statehood For D.C.; Trump And The Senate Say No,” from NPR
Senate Confirmation Vote on Cory T. Wilson to be United States Circuit Judge for the Fifth Circuit
Judge Cory Wilson currently serves on the Mississippi state Court of Appeals. He had already been nominated for a district court seat (and had yet to be confirmed), but while his nomination was pending he was RE-nominated for a seat on a more senior court, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
After going to Yale Law School, Wilson clerked for a judge on the Eleventh Circuit before going to work in private practice. He worked in the private sector for all but one year of his career (when he served as a White House Fellow), before being elected to the state legislature in Mississippi in 2016. He then was appointed to the judicial seat in Mississippi in 2019.
Our friends at the Vetting Room collected some of Wilson’s tweets on controversial subjects that cast doubt on his ability to maintain the open-mind required of a good judge:
Wilson also maintains an active Twitter account His tweets and his writings have already drawn sharp criticism from liberal groups. Specifically, Wilson has called for the reversal of the Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade,] and has referred to same-sex marriage as “a pander to liberal interest groups.” Similarly, Wilson has been sharply critical of the Affordable Care Act, describing the law’s passage as “perverse” and “illegitimate.” … in a tweet on October 5, 2018, Wilson praises Sen. Susan Collins for supporting the nomination of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, praising her for rejecting “ugly tactics employed by the Left.” Similarly, the day before the 2018 election, Wilson wrote that the election was a choice between “#RepublicanResults, or unhinged Dem #Resistance.”
But the final word has to go to The Alliance for Justice:
Alliance for Justice strongly opposed the confirmation of Cory Wilson to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. Wilson called the Affordable Care Act “illegitimate” and “perverse” and made clear that courts should invalidate the law and take away health care from millions. He called civil rights organizations “rent-a-mobs.” He denounced claims of voter suppressions as “poppycock” and championed measures to make it harder for African Americans to vote…. Wilson’s record as a legislator, his prolific presence of social media, and his op-ed writings, paint a picture of a deeply partisan political actor.
Vote date: Wednesday, June 24, 2020 Vote Tally: 52-48
Party Breakdown: This was nearly a party line vote. Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins voted NO along with all the Independents and Democrats. The other Republicans all voted YES.
- “Judge Cory Wilson – Nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit,” from The Vetting Room
- “Cory Wilson – United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit,” from the Alliance for Justice
- “Trump’s 200th judge called for the ‘complete and immediate reversal’ of Roe v. Wade,” from CBS News
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.327 – Wounded Veterans Recreation Act
- S.2472 – Neil A. Armstrong Test Facility Act
- H.R.7036 – Antitrust Criminal Penalty Enhancement and Reform Permanent Extension Act
- H.R.7259 – Patents for Humanity Program Improvement Act
- S.3377 – Antitrust Criminal Penalty Enhancement and Reform Permanent Extension Act
- S.3798 – Hong Kong Autonomy Act (introduced by Senator Toomey)
- S.Res.579 – A resolution encouraging the international community to remain committed to collaboration and coordination to mitigate and prevent the further spread of COVID-19 and urging renewed United States leadership and participation in global efforts on therapeutics and vaccine development and delivery to address COVID-19 and prevent further deaths
- S.Res.596 – A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate that the Hong Kong national security law proposed by the Government of the People’s Republic of China would violate the obligations of that government under the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Hong Kong Basic Law and calling upon all free nations of the world to stand with the people of Hong Kong
A bit of special good news in the land of unanimously passed legislation… One of the bills that was included in our Legislation for Change package of calls to action, “S.2163 – Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys Act,” passed the Senate unanimously on Thursday. Please consider contacting your Representative to let them know you support this bill and hope it gets a speedy vote in the House!
MoC Twitter Action
Courtesy of contributor Susan Vogel
Twitter Action – Coronavirus
🔵 Senator Bob Casey, @SenBobCasey, 06/26/20:
“Don’t bothsides this pandemic. Only one party downplayed the severity of #COVID19, prioritized super-rich stock market investors, suggested sacrificing our seniors, demonized mask-wearing & are still trying to gut affordable health care.
Republicans did.” tweeted with a link to a New York Times opinion titled “America Didn’t Give Up on Covid-19. Republicans Did.”
🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, @RepBrianFitz, 06/23/20:
“Independent restaurants have been hit especially hard by the #COVID19 pandemic. Without help, they will suffer from the economic impact of the pandemic for years. I am proud to partner with
@RepSusanWild & @RepDwightEvans to help restaurants in our region.” tweeted with a link to a Pennsylvania Business report article titled “Reps. Fitzpatrick, Wild introduce legislation to stabilize restaurant industry after COVID-19”
🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle, @RepBrendanBoyle, 06/24/20:
“As we begin to reopen our economy, it is important to practice social distancing and other good habits that will help slow the spread of #COVID19. Wear a mask, wash your hands frequently, and avoid touching your face.” tweeted with a link to a CNBC article titled “CDC warns U.S. may reimplement strict coronavirus measures if cases go up ‘dramatically’”
🔵 PA-03’s Rep. Dwight Evans, @RepDwightEvans, 06/24/20:
“During a global pandemic, Democrats are fighting to strengthen Americans’ health care. Republicans are fighting to take it away.” tweeted with images of content from the Protect Our Care website
🔵 PA-05’s Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, @RepMGS, 06/27/20:
“COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted Black & Brown communities.
Dr. @alastanford took the community into her own hands as so many Black women do when our institutions fail them. She recruited Black health care workers to form the Black Doctors #COVID19 Consortium.
On their days off for months, the Black Doctors Consortium has used personal resources to test thousands of patients in church parking lots & rec centers.
Dr. @alastanford represents the very best of who we are & the leadership we desperately need in times of crisis.” tweeted with embedded C-SPAN video of her floor speech on this topic
🔵 PA-06’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, @RepHoulahan, 06/22/20:
“Happening now! Chester County is offering COVID-19 nasal swab testing free of charge. The Health Dept. has done a great job at spreading out locations all over Chester–take a look!
Register and find details here”
🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild, @RepSusanWild, 06/26/20:
“This week, I joined my colleagues @RepCartwright, @RepMeuser, @RepBrianFitz & @RepMalinowski on Business Matters to discuss the future of our region in the midst of #COVID19. Watch our full bipartisan conversation here👇👇” tweeted with a link to a video round table shared by Allentown WFMZ 69, titled “Business Matters – Five Members of Congress”
🔵 PA-08’s Rep. Matt Cartwright, @RepCartwright, 06/24/20:
“This afternoon, I joined an @AARPPA tele-town hall to discuss health care and the #coronavirus with PA seniors. We covered how the #CARESAct expanded telehealth and improved Medicare to help them stay safe, as well as ongoing concerns about outbreaks in nursing homes.
The #HeroesAct would create “strike teams” to quickly fight nursing home outbreaks & require robust #COVID19 case reporting. The Senate should work with us to get a final bill we all can agree on, & I’ll continue to review more ways to protect nursing home residents & staff.
There were lots of other important questions about unemployment benefits, stimulus checks, social security, and more. I want to remind you that I’m here to help. My office is available via phone for extended hours, 9am-8pm Monday-Friday, at 570-341-1050. “
🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry, @RepScottPerry, 06/25/20:
“We’ve lost 4,500 Pennsylvania Seniors to COVID-19, and their grieving families deserve answers as to why Gov. Wolf contravened federal guidance and endangered their loved ones.
I sent a letter with @SelectGOP to ask PA AG Shapiro to open an investigation immediately.”
🔴 PA-12’s Rep. Fred Keller, @RepFredKeller, 06/22/20:
“At today’s @HouseEdLaborGOP I asked @Avik Roy about the possibility of a second wave of COVID-19.
His important answer: “We’re seeing a rise in cases and that’s being driven in part by a rise in testing…we are not seeing a corresponding spike in deaths.” tweeted with embedded C-SPAN video
🔴 PA-15’s Rep. Glenn W. Thompson, @CongressmanGT, 06/25/20:
“Expediting CSBG guidance & funding will better serve local communities, who are facing numerous challenges as a result of #COVID19. There is no better way to empower local agencies. Pleased to join @RepDeSaulnier for H.R. 7328, the Community Services Block Grant Enhancement Act.”
🔵 PA-17’s Rep. Conor Lamb, @RepConorLamb, 06/22/20:
“We must do more to protect nursing home residents & healthcare workers during #COVID19. Thanks to Dr. Patricia Gennari from western PA for sharing her family’s story during today’s Congressional Task Force on Aging roundtable. #PA17”
🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle, @USRepMikeDoyle, 06/23/20:
“Rather than use the full force of the Defense Production Act, @realDonaldTrump enlisted the help of Jared Kushner and volunteers to fix our shortage of #PPE. We must hold the Trump Administration accountable for its inadequate response to #COVID19.” tweeted with a link to a video from the hearing titled “Doyle Questions Trump Administration Officials about COVID-19 Response”
Twitter Action – The House’s George Floyd Justice in Policing Act
🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, @RepBrianFitz, 06/25/20:
The representative did not tweet any text, but instead shared a link to his lengthy website statement titled “Fitzpatrick Statement on Police Reform Legislative Packages.”
🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle, @CongBoyle, 06/25/20:
“We have seen too many lives taken and communities devastated by racial injustice.
Today, I’m proud to stand with @TheBlackCaucus and @HouseDemocrats in the fight for justice and pass the #JusticeInPolicingAct.” tweeted with embedded C-SPAN video of his floor speech in support of the bill
🔵 PA-03’s Rep. Dwight Evans, @RepDwightEvans, 06/25/20:
“Today @HouseDemocrats are voting to pass the #JusticeInPolicing Act to address the systemic racism towards the Black community by America’s police forces.
✅ Learn more about the bill
✅Become a citizen co-sponsor of the bill
✅Comment on the bill
🔵 PA-04’s Rep. Madeleine Dean, @RepDean, 06/25/20:
“Today, we must rise to this civil rights moment and pass the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act. This means holding officers accountable, banning chokeholds, and creating a national police registry.
We cannot, and we will not, allow these injustices to continue.”
🔵 PA-05’s Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, @RepMGS, 06/25/20:
“Proud to stand with my colleagues, led by @RepKarenBass & @TheBlackCaucus, as we prepare to pass the George Floyd #JusticeInPolicing Act.
#BlackLivesMatter Change will take all of us. This bill is a critical step as we work to dismantle systemic racism in our country.”
🔵 PA-06’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, @RepHoulahan, 06/25/20:
“Today’s passing of the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 is a culmination of decades-long activism by Black leaders, activists, and elected representatives.
It was a privilege to cosponsor and help pass this bill in the United States House of Representatives. For too long, Black lives have been lost to police brutality. Today, we take an important step towards combating the systemic racism in our criminal justice system.
The road to full equality is still long, and we must continue the hard, but necessary work of dismantling systemic racism in our country.”
🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild, @RepSusanWild, 06/25/20:
“For weeks, thousands of Americans have taken to the streets – demanding that enough finally be enough.
We cannot fail this moment.
Tonight, with the George Floyd #JusticeInPolicingAct, we honor this movement with sweeping legislative action to move our country forward.”
🔵 PA-08’s Rep. Matt Cartwright, @RepCartwright, 06/25/20:
“The House is voting today on the #JusticeInPolicing Act to improve public safety through better police training and accountability. Learn more about the bill and become a citizen co-sponsor at http://JusticeInPolicing.us.”
🔴 PA-09’s Rep. Dan Meuser, @RepMeuser, 06/26/20:
“Democrats have prioritized politics over progress and squandered an opportunity to institute meaningful change. Check out my latest from the @LDNews. 🔽” tweeted with a link to the Congressman’s opinion piece in the Lebanon Daily News, titled “Democrats blew chance for meaningful change after Floyd tragedy“
🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry, @RepScottPerry, 06/25/20:
“Washington Democrats are more interested in political posturing than finding bipartisan solutions and implementing meaningful police reform.
Yesterday, Senate Dems blocked debate on the #JUSTICEAct.
Today, the House is voting on legislation that ignored Republican input.”
🔴 PA-11’s Rep. Lloyd Smucker, @RepSmucker, 06/25/20:
“We need bipartisanship to prevail in Washington and I am hopeful that police reforms may be considered in a conference committee. Read my full statement opposing H.R. 7120.” tweeted with a link to the representative’s official website statement
🔴 PA-12’s Rep. Fred Keller, @RepFredKeller, 06/24/20:
“It is disappointing that Congressional Democrats are more interested in scoring political points than improving law enforcement. They have:
❌Shut Republicans out of legislative discussions
❌Crafted their bill in secret
❌Blocked the commonsense #JUSTICEAct
More via @FoxNews” tweeted with embedded Fox News video
🔴 PA-13’s Rep. John Joyce, @RepJohnJoyce, 06/23/20:
“Our law enforcement officers put their lives on the line every day to protect our community.
Rather than defund or dismantle the police, the #JUSTICEAct supports these brave Americans and offers commonsense solutions to strengthen training, transparency, and accountability.”
🔴 PA-14’s Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, @GReschenthaler, 06/26/20:
“The Democrats’ policing reform bill passed yesterday was nothing more than a messaging bill.
Republicans & Democrats agree on 80% of policing reform issues. My hope is that we can work together, bring @SenatorTimScott’s #JusticeAct to the floor, & achieve meaningful reform.” tweeted with embedded video
🔴 PA-15’s Rep. Glenn W. Thompson, @CongressmanGT, 06/22/20:
“Proud to co-sponsor the #JUSTICEAct. This bill will help build a mutual respect and trust between the police and the communities they serve.”
🔵 PA-17’s Rep. Conor Lamb, @RepConorLamb, 06/25/20:
“Tonight the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act passed with bipartisan support to give police officers the tools & training to help them protect & serve all people as community experts. #PA17” tweeted with the congressman’s official website statement
🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle, @USRepMikeDoyle, 06/25/20:
“I voted for the #GeorgeFloyd #JusticeInPolicing Act to end excessive use of force and systemic racism in law enforcement, demilitarize police departments, monitor misconduct by police officers, and hold them accountable.” tweeted with the congressman’s official website statement
Tweet of the Week
🔵 Senator Bob Casey, @SenBobCasey, 06/27/20:
“I have never known a child to be a threat to national security. The order issued last evening by Judge Dolly M. Gee to release migrant children held in U.S. custody is the right decision, but it shouldn’t have taken a pandemic to treat children with basic compassion.
We have heard of the inhumane conditions asylum-seeking children and their families face in detainment, including troubling accounts of medical care not being provided until children are very ill.
I’ve long expressed opposition to child and family detention, including specific concerns about the facility in Berks County. Enough is enough. There’s no legitimate reason to hold children and families in detention.
These facilities, including the Berks Family Residential Center in Pennsylvania, should be closed for good. The job of government is to protect children, not incarcerate them.”
🔴 Senator Pat Toomey, @SenToomey, 06/21/20:
“The best title I’ve ever had, or ever will have, is dad. Wishing all the other dads a very happy, safe, and relaxing #FathersDay.”
🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, @RepBrianFitz, 06/22/20:
“The Great American @OutdoorsAct will permanently #FundLWCF and #RestoreOurParks for generations. This is the largest conservation bill in years, and I am proud to be a part of it. @RepCunningham @SenCoryGardner @Sen_JoeManchin @RepSherrill @CongMikeSimpson” tweeted with a link to the Philadelphia Inquirer article titled “Independence Park, Valley Forge, Pinelands could benefit from bill with billions for conservation”
🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle, @RepBrendanBoyle, 06/27/20:
“The support Congress provided has alleviated hardships for millions of Americans and helped avert an even greater economic collapse. We must continue to do more and not withdraw aid prematurely.” tweeted with a link to a US News & World Report article titled “Study: CARES Act Relief Has Kept Poverty in Check”
🔵 PA-03’s Rep. Dwight Evans, @RepDwightEvans, 06/24/20:
”I’m sounding the alarm about the need for action NOW in #Philadelphia, Harrisburg & Washington to make sure the fall election goes smoothly in #Philly & PA. Here’s my letter to @GovernorTomWolf and @PhillyMayor.” tweeted with an image of the multi-page letter
🔵 PA-04’s Rep. Madeleine Dean, @RepDean, 06/24/20:
“AG Barr lost his credibility a long time ago, yet he continues to politicize his role and be the President’s fixer.
Today, I’m back in DC with my @HouseJudiciary colleagues for a hearing on AG Barr and Trump’s political interference. Watch the broadcast here:” tweeted with a link to the House Judiciary Committee hearing
🔵 PA-05’s Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, @RepMGS, 06/27/20:
“It should never have taken a global pandemic to release migrant children being held in U.S. custody. Subjecting children to mental and physical illness by needlessly incarcerating them is never part of the solution.
This decision impacts the 3 family detention facilities in our country, one of which is Berks. Our work is far from over, and oversight must continue, but this is a step in the right direction for children who have been denied justice – and safety – within our borders.” tweeted with a link to a New York Times article titled “U.S. Must Release Children From Family Detention Centers, Judge Rules”
🔵 PA-06’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, @RepHoulahan, 06/24/20:
“After West Chester’s anti-racism march, I sat down again with Kyle Boyer, Pres. of our local @NAACP chapter. We talked about the ongoing fight for equitable criminal justice, our passion for education, and yes, how we even taught at the same school in PHL⬇️” tweeted with a link to a Daily Local News article titled “Houlahan and Boyer on race relations: ‘In the end this is all about equity’”
🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild, @RepSusanWild, 06/24/20:
“During this time of extreme stress for young people, our schools need the resources to reach out to students and better support their mental health.
In the next #COVID19 aid package, we have to address this need. Check out our bipartisan letter ⬇️”
Tweeted with an image of the letter and its pages of signatures
🔵 PA-08’s Rep. Matt Cartwright, @RepCartwright, 06/24/20:
“In Northeastern Pennsylvania, we take pride in our parks, forests, and game lands. That’s why I’m working to pass the #GreatAmericanOutdoors Act, a bipartisan bill to fully invest in the Land and Water Conservation Fund and support PA’s recreation economy. #FundLWCF”
🔴 PA-09’s Rep. Dan Meuser, @RepMeuser, 06/26/20:
“Today, I voted against H.R. 51, the Washington, D.C. Admission Act and in support of the Republican Motion to Recommit to condition D.C. Statehood on commonsense requirements. To read my full statement, please visit:” tweeted with a link to his official website statement
🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry, @RepScottPerry, 06/24/20:
“DEADLINE ALERT: Applications for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) close in less than one week. To apply, learn more about the program, or find an eligible lender, please visit:” tweeted with a link to the Small Business Administration website
🔴 PA-11’s Rep. Lloyd Smucker, @RepSmucker, 06/24/20:
“June is #NationalCandyMonth, #PA11 is home to many confectioners producing America’s favorite candy. #PA11 is proud to have so many great companies making sweet treats in our district!”
🔴 PA-12’s Rep. Fred Keller, @RepFredKeller, 06/26/20:
“The city is tied to the idea of the American Republic. A living piece of collaboration. With the creation of a 51st state of Washington, Douglass Commonwealth that collaboration will be gone. Democrats believe it is a small price to pay for two senators.” tweeted with a link to a Fox News article titled “GOP Rep. Keller introduces motion to require proposed DC state to protect gun rights, monuments”
🔴 PA-13’s Rep. John Joyce, @RepJohnJoyce, 06/23/20:
“Proud to join Congresswoman @EliseStefanik and 20+ colleagues to support our hardworking apple growers in PA and beyond.”
🔴 PA-14’s Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, @GReschenthaler, 06/27/20:
“Objectivity dies in the Washington Post.”
🔴 PA-15’s Rep. Glenn W. Thompson, @CongressmanGT, 06/28/20:
“Students & Families with High Schoolers: @PHEAAaid is offering a webinar on July 9 to assist students with understanding higher education financial decisions, how to apply for financial aid, and the types of aid available. Register Here”
🔴 PA-16’s Rep. Mike Kelly, @MikeKellyPA:
🔵 PA-17’s Rep. Conor Lamb, @RepConorLamb, 06/23/20:
“We must work together to find solutions to the veteran suicide crisis. Thanks to
@AMVETSHQ @BoulderCrestFdn & Sheep Dog Impact Assistance for hosting an important conversation about how we can help our servicemembers & veterans. #PA17”
🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle, @USRepMikeDoyle, 06/23/20:
“Today marks 200 days since the House passed H.R. 4, the Voting Rights Advancement Act, to #RestoreTheVote, end voter suppression, and ensure that all Americans can safely exercise their right to vote.
Voting rights are the cornerstone of our democracy, but remain under threat today. I cosponsored and voted in favor of #HR4 to #RestoreTheVote, and it’s past time for the Senate to vote on this bill!”
Casey in the News
Courtesy of contributor Linda Houk
“No organization likes change often… Sometimes change has to be imposed. This isn’t working.
I used to believe this theory that if you can discipline and hold accountable the bad apples one by one by one, that that will be enough…But I no longer believe that, to be blunt about it. This is a system – the criminal justice system, policing, and frankly a lot of parts of our government – that’s infused with racism.”
—from an article on WESA 90.5FM, titled “Casey Calls For Sweeping Reform To Address Police System ‘Infused With Racism‘”
“We are not in a moment that is merely a legislative moment where we are considering the advancement of policy… We are in a moral moment for the country. This doesn’t happen very often. This is a moral moment and even if you didn’t agree with me, you would agree that this isn’t a typical debate.
“It really just doesn’t meet the moment. Just on policy, bill vs. bill, I don’t think anyone could make a compelling argument that what they have proposed meets the moment.”
—from an article in the Penn Live Patriot-News, titled “Casey, Toomey stand behind political divide as police reform proposals head for failure”
“It has engaged a cross-section of Americans in ways that I have never seen. They’re all saying to us, ‘You’ve got to do something transformative here. You’ve got to bring about systemic change.’
This is a system … that is infused with racism… This is a systemic racism problem that pervades the entire criminal justice system as well as parts of society.”
— from an article in the Ellwood City Ledger, titled “Casey says Americans want ‘transformative’ change in policing reform legislation”
“A lot more could have been done once we knew how fast this was spreading in long-term care settings.”
—from an article in Erie News Now, titled “Nursing home deaths, COVID-19 to headline Thursday House hearing”
Toomey in the News
Courtesy of contributor Elayne Baker
“What you really need to do is to get started, and however weak you think the bill is you can offer up an amendment, an entire substitute, an entirely different bill, a very common form of amendment in the Senate is to strike the entire bill that is under consideration and offer a replacement…soooo…..I’m sorry that just doesn’t make sense.”
— from a Times-Herald article titled “Pa. senators react as police reform bill stalls in the Senate”
On the topic of a new stimulus payment bill: “I don’t think that’s a good idea at this point.”
— from an article on KMOV4, titled “Trump administration open to a second round of stimulus payments. Here’s what that could look like”
“I’m a skeptic about the idea of doing that. That was an emergency measure taken when we were in a full-blown crisis and, frankly, knew it was wildly inefficient because all kinds of people were getting checks whose work was not jeopardized.”
— from an article in The Hill titled “Next COVID-19 bill depends on June jobs report”
“Temporary nonimmigrant workers contribute to the U.S. economy, pay taxes, and help drive innovation and job creation.
Even in the current employment environment, limiting visas for these workers will only serve to prevent companies from filling open positions.
This will slow economic growth, drive up the costs of goods and services, and ultimately cost jobs for American workers.”
— from a MyChesCo article titled “Toomey Statement on Trump Administration Limiting Nonimmigrant Visas”
“Today, the Senate stood up to the communist regime in Beijing and stood with the people of Hong Kong. “The mandatory sanctions established in this bill will punish those in China who seek to undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy or erode the basic freedoms promised to Hongkongers. I very much appreciate the great work done by Senator Van Hollen in helping to get this bill passed and I hope the House will take it up and pass it in short order, so the president can sign it.”
— from an article in American Military News titled “US Senate passes bill to sanction China over Hong Kong takeover”
Learning about Legislation – The Motion to Commit, revisited
This week, we highlighted the vote taken by the House immediately before the final vote on the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, where the Republicans wanted to amend the bill by replacing the entire text of the bill introduced in the House with the text of the Senate GOP’s loophole-ridden offering. This action is called a “motion to recommit,” which literally means to send something back to a committee. This is the last step that a dissenting party can take before the final vote is taken on legislation.
In a 2016 white paper on the Motion to Recommit process, the Congressional Research Service explains:
The motion to recommit is often referred to as ‘the minority’s motion,’ because preference in recognition for offering a motion to recommit is given to a member of the minority party who is opposed to the bill. The stated purpose of giving the minority party this right was to allow them to ‘have a vote upon its position upon great public questions.’ House rules protect this minority right…
Motions to recommit are of two types: ‘straight’ motions and motions that include instructions. A Member offering a ‘straight’ motion to recommit seeks to send the measure to committee with no requirement for further consideration by the House. A Member offering a motion to recommit with instructions seeks to immediately amend the underlying bill on the House floor.
A motion to recommit may have various procedural effects, including amending an underlying measure, sending it to one or more committees, providing additional time for its consideration, or potentially disposing of the legislation. Due to its inclusion of policy language, the motion to recommit might also have political effects, such as allowing Members to go on record as supporting or opposing a specific policy and creating a comprehensive public record to emphasize the minority party’s differences from the platform of the majority.
So, a motion to recommit is a vote taken where a legislator has the opportunity to express his or her adherence to a principle or to the will of his or her party. Such motions are rarely, if ever, reported on in the press, so our local legislators usually make their votes on motions to recommit straight party line affairs.
Support this Bill – Protect Our Post Offices!!
H.R. 6425: Protect Our Post Offices Act
Our United States Postal Service is in danger! During the coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump has blocked vital funding that the Postal Service desperately needs to stay in business. The Center for American Progress notes that “each day, nearly half a million U.S. Postal Service workers deliver lifesaving medications, heartfelt letters from family members, vote-by-mail ballots, and other indispensable pieces of mail to Americans living across the country—from major cities to remote rural communities.” And, since we need to have the option to mail in our ballots if we want to stay safe and relieve burdens upon our electoral volunteers and workers for the November elections, the US Postal service is a major player in protecting our democracy!
Part of the issue is that the Post Office is running out of money because of a 2006 bill that puts requirements on the USPS that no other federal department is burdened with. Politifact explains, “the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act required the Postal Service to pre-fund future retiree health benefits, not pensions. The law put a financial strain on the service, which has defaulted on some of the statutorily prescribed payments.” MoCTrack would like to add that the 2006 bill was passed in a lame duck session of Congress, just as the GOP was about to hand over control of both Houses of Congress to Democrats for the first time in over a decade.
There are things we can do to help the USPS. Some people are rallying in support of the organization and participating in caravans to deliver petitions to Washington. But what you can do from home is to encourage your lawmaker to support H.R. 6425: Protect Our Post Offices Act, a bill that would appropriate $25 billion to the USPS, money that would remain available to help it weather the stresses put on the service by the coronavirus pandemic
Here is a list of the Pennsylvania lawmakers who are already co-sponsors of this bill:
🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle 🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild
🔵 PA-03’s Rep. Dwight Evans 🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle
🔵 PA-04’s Rep. Madeleine Dean
If your lawmaker is listed above, please consider calling them to thank them for supporting the postal service by co-sponsoring H.R. 6425, the Protect our Post Offices Act.
The following Pennsylvania House members have NOT come out in support of this bill as of Saturday, June 27, 2020:
🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick 🔴 PA-12’s Rep. Fred Keller
🔵 PA-05’s Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon 🔴 PA-13’s Rep. John Joyce
🔵 PA-06’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan 🔴 PA-14’s Rep. Guy Reschenthaler
🔵 PA-08’s Rep. Matt Cartwright 🔴 PA-15’s Rep. Glenn W. Thompson
🔴 PA-09’s Rep. Dan Meuser 🔴 PA-16’s Rep. Mike Kelly
🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry 🔵 PA-17’s Rep. Conor Lamb
🔴 PA-11’s Rep. Lloyd Smucker
Accordingly, we ask you to call them to express your support for this bill and tell them you want them to co-sponsor H.R. 6425, the Protect our Post Offices Act. Here is a sample script you can use:
Each day, nearly half a million U.S. Postal Service workers deliver lifesaving medications, heartfelt letters from family members, and other indispensable pieces of mail to Americans living across the country—from major cities to remote rural communities. The U.S. Postal Service often provided last-mile service to the online retailers who are powering our economy. I also rely on the U.S. Postal Service, and I support H.R. 6425, the Protect our Post Offices Act.
Five of your Pennsylvania colleagues are already co-sponsors of this legislation and I would like Representative <name> to join them.”
Thank YOU for taking action to support a federal agency that provides a half million jobs and an irreplaceable service to all Americans… one that protects our democracy!
Editor’s Note – MoCTrack LOVES a good rally or political action. If you are like us and want to know more about what folks have been doing in person to support the USPS, you can read more about those portal worker rallies and actions (that we mentioned above) here:
- ‘Save The USPS!’: U.S. Postal Service Workers Calling On Congress To Provide Funding In Next Stimulus Bill, from 3 CBS Philly
- Postal Workers caravan delivers 2 million ‘Save USPS’ petitions to Washington, from People’s World
- Postal Day of Action: “We Need the Postal Service!”, from Labor Notes
This report was brought to you by the Pennsylvania MoCTrack team…
CC Linda Houk
Elayne Baker Kierstyn Piotrowski Zolfo
Gary Garb Susan VogelWe 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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