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
|Member of Congress||This week’s score||Change from last report|
|Senator Bob Casey (D)||29.3%||no change|
|Senator Pat Toomey (R)||88.1%||no change|
|PA-01 Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R)||64.0%||no change|
|PA-02 Rep. Brendan Boyle (D)||13.1%||no change|
|PA-03 Rep. Dwight Evans (D)||11.6%||no change|
|PA-04 Rep. Madeleine Dean (D)||3.7%||no change|
|PA-05 Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D)||6.0%||no change|
|PA-06 Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D)||4.9%||no change|
|PA-07 Rep. Susan Wild (D)||8.3%||no change|
|PA-08 Rep. Matt Cartwright (D)||19.3%||no change|
|PA-09 Rep. Dan Meuser (R)||97.4%||no change|
|PA-10 Rep. Scott Perry (R)||90.2%||no change|
|PA-11 Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R)||95.3%||no change|
|PA-12 Rep. Fred Keller (R)||94.1%||no change|
|PA-13 Rep. John Joyce (R)||97.5%||no change|
|PA-14 Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R)||94.9%||no change|
|PA-15 Rep. Glenn W. Thompson (R)||97.7%||no change|
|PA-16 Rep. Mike Kelly (R)||96.6%||no change|
|PA-17 Rep. Conor Lamb (D)||22.6%||no change|
|PA-18 Rep. Mike Doyle (D)||14.9%||no change|
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 no votes 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.
Words From Our Nation’s Sages
In honor of National Women’s Suffrage Month
“… in view of this entire disfranchisement of one-half the people of this country, their social
and religious degradation,—in view of the unjust laws above mentioned, and because women do
feel themselves aggrieved, oppressed, and fraudulently deprived of their most sacred rights, we
insist that they have immediate admission to all the rights and privileges which belong to them as
citizens of these United States….”
Votes of Interest
The House Passes Defense Appropriations for 2021
This is a continuation of the 2021 Defense funding process that has been going on for the past several weeks. Last week’s featured legislation was an Authorization that establishes what funds may or may not be spent on. An appropriation, like this bill, actually sets the funding levels and directs the money to go from our coffers and into the indicated departments and programs. This Defense appropriation was for about $700 billion.
As with many other large spending packages, it was the amendments process that was more interesting than the final bill vote itself. One item that did not even get a floor vote was an amendment to withhold any funds used to implement the transgendered serviceperson ban, effectively overturning it. That passed by a voice vote. But other items that did get roll call votes are detailed below, with the voting breakdown of our Pennsylvania delegation:
- Rep. Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) introduced Amendment 863, to prohibit the use of funds for military recruitment via popular online venues like Twitch and e-sports activities. This failed 126-292. Here in PA, we saw a 6-11-1 vote, with PA-02’s Brendan Boyle, PA-02’s Dwight Evans, PA-04’s Madeleine Dean, PA-05’s Mary Gay Scanlon, PA-07’s Susan Wild and PA-19’s Mike Doyle voting YES. PA-14’s Guy Reschenthaler was out for all of the voting on these amendments.
- Rep. Blumenauer (D-OR) introduced Amendment 864, to keep the Department of Justice from “interfering” with any programs that states may introduce to legalize cannabis, or support said legalization (like access to banking). This passed, with a 254-163 vote. The Pennsylvania delegation split 7-10-1. All of the Republicans present voted NO, and they were joined by PA-08’s Matt Cartwright and PA-17’s Conor Lamb.
- Rep. Underwood (D-IL) introduced Amendment 865, which would forbid any Department of Justice funding from being used to pursue “litigation that undermines the Affordable Care Act.” This passed, 234-181. Our PA MoCs voted 10-7-1, with Rep. Fitzpatrick joining the Democrats in voting YES.
- Rep. Allen (R-GA) introduced Amendment 869, to reduce a portion of the budget for the Department of Housing and Urban Development and Department of Transportation by 5%. This failed, 123-292. Our MoCs from PA voted 5-12-1 on this amendment. The MoCs who voted YES are PA-09’s Dan Meuser, PA-10’s Scott Perry, PA-11’s Lloyd Smucker, PA-12’s Fred Keller and PA-16’s Mike Kelly.
Before the final vote, there was a vote on a Motion to Recommit, According to Congress.gov the instructions that went along with the motion to recommit would have sent the bill back to committee to increase a grant program by $15 million and decrease funding for “legal representation to immigrants arriving at the southwest border seeking asylum and other forms of legal protection in the United States” by a similar amount. That last ditch attempt to sink this appropriations package failed, in a 197-219 vote. All Republicans present voted YES, to send this bill back to committee, and they were joined by 12 Democrats. Our delegation voted 9-8-1, with PA-17’s Conor Lamb joining the GOP MoCs in voting YES. Then this Defense Appropriation package moved to a final vote.
Vote date: Friday, July 31, 2020 Vote Tally: 217-197
Party Breakdown: All Republicans present voted NO on this bill, and they were joined by Libertarian Justin Amash and twelve Democrats. The Democrats voting NO represented both far ends of the political spectrum, with the Squad, Pramila Jayapal and Ro Khanna from the left; and Collin Peterson, Anthony Bindisi and Ben McAdams from the right.
- “House votes to end military ban on transgender troops,” from Roll Call
- “Defense appropriations bill on tap this week,” from Politico
- “Overnight Defense: House passes $695B Pentagon spending bill as part of broader package,” from The Hill
Two Child Care Rescue Bills Pass the House
“We cannot talk about reopening our economy without having a conversation about how families will care for their children.”
Those were the words of Rep. Haley Stevens (D-MI) as the House took on a pair of bills to stabilize the childcare industry. To provide context, the Pennsylvania Capital Star reports that “in many parts of the country, child care costs rival the cost of college tuition.” They added that the cost burden falls more heavily on families of color, where the average cost of child care for a family with 2 children below school age was roughly 40% of the median income for a black family. Child care is a gender justice issue as well as an economic justice issue for working families.
The two bills introduced to provide assistance to the child care industry go at two different angles. The first bill provides $50 billion in block grants to the care providers so that they can re-tool operations to meet the needs of the pandemic environment and re-open. The second bill “would invest up to $10 billion per year through 2024 in the nation’s child care infrastructure, change federal tax policy to help workers access child care and help providers cover expenses” (also per the Capital-Star).
H.R. 7027 Vote date: Wednesday, July 29, 2020 Vote Tally: 249-163 Party Breakdown: All Democrats present voted YES, and they were joined by 18 Republicans. Libertarian Justin Amash and 162 Republicans voted NO.
H.R. 7327 Vote date: Wednesday, July 29, 2020 Vote Tally: 250-161 Party Breakdown: All Democrats present voted YES, and they were joined by 20 Republicans. Libertarian Justin Amash and 160 Republicans voted NO.
- “WATCH: Pelosi holds news conference ahead of vote on child care economic relief bills,” from PBS NewsHour
- “Pa.’s Fitzpatrick votes with Dems as House passes package to rescue child care industry,” from Pennsylvania Capital-Star
- “Rep. Stevens: Childcare rescue package is critical for the economy,” from The Michigan Advance
The voting from the Pennsylvania Congressional delegation was the same on both bills:
Legislation for Change passed the House
This bill creates bipartisan commission would be created from policy experts and lawmakers, and would work under the framework of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. As per the Congressional Black Caucus, the group would examine “such issues as mortality and homicide rates, arrest and incarceration rates, poverty, violence, fatherhood, mentorship, drug abuse, disparate income and wealth levels, school performance at various grade levels, and health. The commission will be required to produce an annual report of recommendations and solutions that will be submitted to the president and cabinet secretaries, Congress, the chairs of the appropriate committees of jurisdiction, and the public.”
The Senate bill was sponsored by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and the identical House bill was sponsored by Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL). Rep. Wilson said this of the legislation:
“It’s not easy being black and male in America. Despite historic gains made in the last 50 years, black males from all walks of life continue to face challenges and hardships that have created significant disparities in the areas that are most critical to ensuring that our boys have equal opportunities to develop the skills required to become successful men. The commission and its work will provide the atomic blast of long overdue support that this issue merits and desperately needs.”
Vote date: Monday, July 27, 2020 Vote Tally: 368-1
Party Breakdown: This vote was taken under a suspension of the rules, so it needed a ⅔ supermajority to pass. There was only one NO vote, from GOP Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama.
- “House Passes the Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys Act,” from The Chicago Crusader
- “Marco Rubio’s, Frederica Wilson’s Proposed Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys Clears Congress,” from Florida Daily
- “Congress passes bill to examine how systemic racism affects Black men and boys,” from Revolt
This bill was part of MoCTrack’s Legislation for Change collection of bills highlighted in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and the ensuing protests. We are delighted that it has now passed both houses of the legislative branch!!
Bureaucratic Confirmation #1 – Housing and Urban Development
Senate Confirmation Vote on Dana T. Wade to be an Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Dana Wade has served in several senior staff roles in the Senate, including deputy staff director for the Senate Appropriations Committee under Sen. Richard Shelby (D-AL) and deputy staff director for the Senate Banking Committee. She served as the acting Federal Housing Administration commissioner for part of 2017 and 2018 before being moved to the Office of Management and Budget.
Her confirmation means that the top three roles at the Department of Housing and Urban development are being held by Senate-confirmed leaders for the first time in nearly two years.
Vote date: Tuesday July 28, 2020 Vote Tally: 57-40
Party Breakdown: All 53 Republicans voted YES. They were joined by four Democrats (Doug Jones of Alabama, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, Chris Murphy of Connecticut and Joe Manchin of West Virginia). All other Democrats and Independents voted NO.
- “HUD finally gets top three confirmed again,” from Dodd Frank Update
- “Senate confirms Dana Wade as new FHA commissioner,” from Housing Wire
- “Industry Reaction: Dana Wade Confirmed as Federal Housing Commissioner,” from DS News
Bob Casey voted NO and Pat Toomey voted YES.
Bureaucratic Confirmations #2 & #3 – a new pair of National Labor Relations Board Members
Senate Confirmation Vote on Marvin Kaplan, to a five year NLRB term expiring August 2025
Senate Confirmation Vote on Lauren McGarity McFerran, to a five year NLRB term expiring December 2024
The National Labor Relations Board is a five member independent board, tasked with protecting the rights of employees and their freedom to create unions. Members serve five year terms, and the custom has been to have three positions go to the party of the president and two positions go to the minority party.
As custom is rarely respected by the Trump Administration, both of the seats on the NLRB to be held by Democrats have been left vacant for months, leading to several unanimous, three-person pro-corporate decisions by the NLRB. One such decision related to union election rules, and was partly overturned by a federal court for skipping the required note-and-comment period mandated for all major administrative rules changes. That same pro-corporate trio of board members has decided to appeal that court finding.
One of the confirmations from this week (McGarity McFerran) is filling one of the long-vacant Democrat seats. The other (Kaplan) is providing a new term to a current board member. One of the takeaways from the voting on the McGarity McFerran nomination is that there are only seven Republican senators who respect the custom of providing the minority party with NLRB seats.
Kaplan Vote date: Wednesday, July 29, 2020 Vote Tally: 52-46
Party Breakdown: This was a straight party line vote, with Democrats and Independents all voting NO and the Republicans all voting YES.
McFerran Vote date: Wednesday, July 29, 2020 Vote Tally: 53-42
Party Breakdown: This nominee had the unanimous support of Democrats and Independents in the Senate and they were joined by seven Republicans. Those Republicans are Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, Steve Daines of Montana, Lindsay Graham of South Carolina, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and John Cornyn of Texas..
- “Senate confirms 2 NLRB nominees,” from HR Dive
- “U.S. Senate To Vote On New NLRB Member,” from JD Supra
- “IN BRIEF: Senate confirms Kaplan, McFerran to new terms at NLRB,” from Reuters
On Marvin Kaplan, Bob Casey voted NO and Pat Toomey voted YES.
On Lauren McGarity McFerran, Bob Casey voted YES and Pat Toomey voted NO.
Judicial Confirmation #1 – PENNSYLVANIA
Senate Confirmation Vote on William Scott Hardy to be United States District Judge for the Western District of Pennsylvania
Scott Hardy is a Pittsburgh native who practiced labor and employment law in western Pennsylvania. His career has been focused primarily on representing non-profit, corporations, universities and local government employers. He is a Republican and has donated to a number of Pennsylvania politicians, including Senator Toomey.
The Vetting Room made this interesting observation about Scott Hardy’s nomination process:
At a time of fierce partisanship over judicial nominations, Toomey and Casey have generally proven cooperative, plugging through the long list of Pennsylvania vacancies. Hardy is, thus, the product of a process that works.
That impression, that Senators Casey and Toomey have been fairly successful in working together to find qualified judges for our federal courts here in Pennsylvania, is bolstered by the joint press release the pair released this week upon the confirmation of Scott Hardy. In it, Senator Toomey applauded the nominee as “an impartial jurist who will serve the people of Pennsylvania with fairness and integrity.” Senator Casey echoed that sentiment, noting “ his intellect, experience and character have prepared him well to faithfully and independently administer justice.” The statement ends by sharing “Since 2011, Senators Toomey and Casey have worked together, in a bipartisan fashion, to fill vacancies on the federal bench in Pennsylvania. Together they have now vetted, recommended, and confirmed 28 Federal District Court Judges for Pennsylvania.”
Vote date: Monday, July 31, 2020 Vote Tally: 65-30
Party Breakdown: All thirty NO votes were from Democrats. Thirteen democrats and one Independent joined the Republicans in voting YES.
- “W. Scott Hardy – Nominee to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania,” from The Vetting Room
- “U.S. Senate approves Pittsburgh attorney for federal bench,” from The Pittsburgh Post Gazette
- “Trump nominates Scott Hardy to federal bench in Pittsburgh,” from TribLIVE
Bob Casey voted YES and Pat Toomey voted YES.
Judicial Confirmation #2 – LOUISIANA
Senate Confirmation Vote on David Cleveland Joseph to be United States District Judge for the Western District of Louisiana
There are seven judicial seats in the Western District of Louisiana. When the Trump Administration began, there were five vacancies on the court, positions that Mitch McConnell held open during the Obama Administration. With this confirmation of David Joseph, the Trump Administration has now filled all five of those vacancies.
David Joseph has worked as an attorney in both the private and public sector. He is a former Army JAG officer, and he has worked in the Louisiana federal prosecutor’s office since 2014. In 2018 he was confirmed by the Senate to serve as the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana. The Vetting Room reports that “Joseph’s office prosecuted Lake Charles police officer Robert Hammac for using excessive force during an arrest.” It also quoted David Joseph directly. Of that prosecution, the new judge observed that “officers who betray the badge and the public’s trust, as the defendant did here, dishonor their profession and endanger the safety of their fellow officers.”
Vote date: Tuesday July 28, 2020 Vote Tally: 55-42
Party Breakdown: All 53 Republicans voted for this nominee, and they were joined by two Democrats (Doug Jones of Alabama and Joe Manchin of West Virginia).
- “David Joseph – Nominee to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana,” from The Vetting Room
- “U.S. Attorney David Joseph confirmed as federal judge,” from The Ouachita Citizen
- “Kennedy, Cassidy praise David Joseph in confirmation as U.S. District Judge,” from The Shreveport Times
Bob Casey voted NO and Pat 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.
- H.R.2420 – National Museum of the American Latino Act
- H.Con.Res.107 – Directing the Clerk of the House to make a correction in the enrollment of H.R. 4 (changing the name of the ‘Voting Rights Advancement Act’ to the ‘John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act’)
- S.881 – PROSWIFT “Promoting Research and Observations of Space Weather to Improve the Forecasting of Tomorrow” Act
- S.4346 – Antitrust Criminal Penalty Enhancement and Reform Permanent Extension Act
- H.R.4686 – Sami’s Law
- H.R.7575 – Water Resources Development Act
- S.2381 – Traveling Parents Screening Consistency Act
- S.2638 – Friendly Airports for Mothers Improvement Act
- H.R.7512 – COMMS “Communications Outreach Media and Mail Standards” Act
- S.529 – National Landslide Preparedness Act
- S.850 – Highly Rural Veteran Transportation Program Extension Act
- S.914 – Coordinated Ocean Observations and Research Act
- S.2336 – Department of Veterans Affairs Information Technology Reform Act
One other matter passed without objection. The House brought the matter of H.Res.1074 – In the matter of Representative David Schweikert to the floor and it passed by voice vote. The resolution merely states “that the House adopt the Report of the Committee on Ethics dated July 30, 2020, In the Matter of Allegations Relating to Representative David Schweikert.”
An article from NPR, titled “House Unites To Reprimand GOP Lawmaker Tied To 11 Ethics Violations” has additional details. Rep. Schweikert (R-IL) has admitted to 11 ethics violations and he will pay a $50,000 fine. The Congressman failed to disclose over $300,000 in loans, and did not report around $140,000 of campaign contributions.
Ethics Committee Chair Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) took to the floor of the House to speak on his committee’s work in this case and others. He said, “one of our most basic obligations as members of Congress is to adhere to the principle that public office is a public trust. To uphold that trust, and to maintain civic confidence in the integrity of this body, we as members have bound ourselves by certain standards of official conduct.”
The Failure to Pass the Next Coronavirus Rescue bill
As discussed in last week’s MoCTrack, the end of July marked the expiration of a number of provisions in the CARES Act, including mortgage and foreclosure protections, increased unemployment compensation, and expanded nutritional supplemental programs. While the House passed a relief bill over ten weeks ago, the Senate Republicans could barely come to consensus within their own party over what should be included in the next relief package, let alone conduct negotiations with the Democrats.
As of publication time, there was still mixed messaging about issues as important as corporate indemnification on employee claims (which Mitch McConnell has indicated is a red line, but the White House has said does not need to be included in the final bill). There has been talk from Republicans about the HEALS (Heath, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools) Act they have proposed as an alternative to the House HEROES Act, but there is no bill text available on either Congress.gov or Govtrack.us. Accordingly, we are reliant on analysis like this, from the New York Times, to judge the content of the GOP bill:
Please note, a second round (post CARES Act) of additional small business aid funding already passed in June, which accounts for why there is no funding of that sort in the HEROES Act.
MoC comments on the failure to pass phase 4 coronavirus relief
🔵 Senator Bob Casey, @SenBobCasey, 07/31/20:
“What we saw on the Senate floor this week was a disgrace to our democracy. It’s an insult to working families that Senator McConnell and his allies blocked the Senate from passing relief for those impacted by the virus when R’s are sitting in the muck of their own complacency.
Democrats passed the HEROES Act in MAY. Republicans sat on their hands for TWO MONTHS blocking relief for working families, and what did they come up with? A demand for corporate immunity and a skinflint proposal which would be catastrophic for our economy.
Millions of workers are unemployed and families are losing their paychecks through no fault of their own. Just last week 1.4 million Americans filed new claims for unemployment. And Republicans want to take $1,600 out of their pockets every single month. Unemployment benefits expire today. One in four renters are at risk of evictions. Resources for state and local governments are dried up. Republicans have thrown away their own ideology to pander to a corrupt President.
If Republicans cared about the economy, they’d first be laser focused on getting the pandemic under control. But half will barely acknowledge the pandemic, and many of those remaining won’t challenge the President because they are scared he will tweet at them. If Republicans cared about the middle class and the economy, why wouldn’t they keep giving our unemployed workers the extra $600 they need to cover their bills and pay for food?
This isn’t just simply the right thing to do. It also increases demand and puts money back into the economy. There’s absolutely no rhyme or reason. Republicans are turning their backs on working families. Can you imagine suddenly having your paycheck cut by 43%, in the middle of an economic crisis? That’s exactly what Republicans are doing to the average unemployed worker by objecting to the extended benefits Democrats offered. Meanwhile the GOP bill is stuffed with $2 billion for a new FBI building that even Senate Republicans acknowledge has nothing to do with COVID.
@SenateDems WANT to negotiate & reach bipartisan agreement but the White House & @SenateGOP don’t even have a unified position among their own party. They won’t lead, they won’t follow, they won’t get out of the way. They only agree on a maniacal obsession w/ blocking HEROES. Even with over 151,000 Americans dead and over 17 million unemployed, Republicans in the Senate are fighting for corporate immunity & a big tax deduction for ‘three martini lunches’ instead of working people. The Republican majority is the Nation’s most dangerous con artist.”
🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle, @CongBoyle, 07/30/20:
“More than 30 million Americans are receiving emergency unemployment benefits through the CARES Act. Senator McConnell is considering cutting that benefit by $400. That’s unacceptable. This pandemic is not over and families are still struggling.”
🔵 PA-03’s Rep. Dwight Evans, @RepDwightEvans, 07/30/20:
”Millions of Americans have to make rent and pay their mortgages later this week.
But @SenateGOP is putting these families at risk, trying to cut unemployment benefits by $400 a week and refusing to extend anti-eviction protections!”
🔵 PA-04’s Rep. Madeleine Dean, @RepDean, 07/31/20:
“The Senate skipped town right as unemployment benefits expire. Americans need relief now — some cannot wait another week. The Senate should be passing the #HeroesAct today.”
🔵 PA-05’s Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, @RepMGS, 07/31/20:
“The House passed the #HEROESAct 10 WEEKS AGO to provide needed relief to families, small businesses & frontline workers as we continue to deal with this global health crisis. Senator McConnell’s alternative bill doesn’t even come close. We need to pass the Heroes Act now!”
🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild, @RepSusanWild, 07/28/20:
“Just a reminder to @senatemajldr that rent/mortgage payments are due on Saturday…the day after the federal eviction moratorium ends.
Without help, millions of Americans won’t be able to keep a roof over their heads in the middle of a pandemic.
This bill needs passed ASAP”
🔵 PA-08’s Rep. Matt Cartwright, @RepCartwright, 07/30/20:
“By letting enhanced unemployment benefits expire and not coming to the table to negotiate, Mitch McConnell is really saying “let them eat cake.”
Leader McConnell, don’t be Marie Antoinette.
We need to negotiate NOW and pass real relief for struggling workers.”
Shared with embedded video of the MoC’s floor speech on the same topic
🔴 PA-12’s Rep. Fred Keller, @RepFredKeller, 07/30/20:
“Let’s put the the Democrats’ $3 trillion dollar proposal into perspective:
$3 trillion = 63% of the U.S. federal budget for FY20
The HEROES Act = more debt and more government control”
🔴 PA-14’s Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, @GReschenthaler, 07/31/20:
“The Democrats’ 𝙨𝙥𝙚𝙣𝙙 𝙪𝙨 𝙞𝙣𝙩𝙤 𝙤𝙗𝙡𝙞𝙫𝙞𝙤𝙣 stimulus plan won’t renew the last three years of economic success.
We need to trust the party and president who spurred the greatest growth in a generation to return our economy to its highs.”
🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle, @USRepMikeDoyle, 07/29/20:
“Thanks, @billpeduto for telling it like it is. Local governments all over the country are going to be sunk by the ‘perfect storm’ of #COVID19 expenses and reduced revenues due to the #pandemic shutdown.
The #HeroesAct passed by the House included aid for state and local governments. The #COVID bill introduced by Senate Republicans doesn’t. @senatemajldr MUST agree to include support for municipalities in the next #COVID19 relief bill. The Senate SHOULD pass the #HEROESAct!!!”
MoC Twitter Action
Courtesy of contributor Susan Vogel
Twitter Action – our lawmakers say farewell to John Lewis
🔵 Senator Bob Casey, @SenBobCasey, 07/30/20:
“Today, the Nation says one last goodbye to John Lewis, an American hero and warrior for justice with unwavering optimism for the future of this country. John walked us across the bridge, now it’s on us to carry forward his vision for civil rights, voting rights and equal justice.”
🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, @RepBrianFitz, 07/27/20:
“Today, we said goodbye to John Lewis. An American hero, an icon, a colleague. ‘Never become bitter. Never become hostile. Never hate. Live in peace. We’re one. One people and one love.’
Rest in Peace, Congressman.”
🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle, @CongBoyle, 07/30/20:
“This week we were able to remember Congressman John Lewis on the floor of Congress. It was an honor to have worked beside John in Congress these past few years. John inspired us all to be better people toward each other. He will be greatly missed.” tweeted with embedded C-SPAN video of the MoC’s floor speech
🔵 PA-03’s Rep. Dwight Evans, @DwightEvansPA, 07/30/20:
The MoC shared a link to a New York Times opinion piece authored by Rep. Lewis.
🔵 PA-04’s Rep. Madeleine Dean, @RepDean, 07/27/20:
“We were so lucky to have worked with Congressman Lewis. May we continue our work with his spirit in our minds and hearts.”
🔵 PA-05’s Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, @RepMGS, 07/30/20:
“A few days before he passed, @repjohnlewis penned these words. May we all continue to carry on his legacy. “Though I am gone, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe.” #GoodTrouble”
🔵 PA-06’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, @RepHoulahan, 07/30/20:
‘Though I may not be here with you, I urge you to answer the highest calling of your heart and stand up for what you truly believe.’
Rep. John Lewis’ spirit will continue to live through those willing to stand up for what is right.”
🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild, @RepSusanWild, 07/27/20:
“From the Edmund Pettus Bridge to the halls of Congress, John Lewis believed so fiercely in the promise of our nation that he gave his blood, sweat, and his lifetime to march us closer to realizing our highest ideals.
Our nation owes you everything for your #GoodTrouble.” tweeted along with livestream from the New York Times of John Lewis lying in state at the US Capitol
🔵 PA-08’s Rep. Matt Cartwright, @RepCartwright, 07/28/20:
“As Rep. John Lewis lies in state at the Capitol today, we remember how he fought relentlessly to push America to live up to its ideals. He was among the bravest people I ever knew. I was so privileged to know him, and I’ll never forget him. Rest in peace.” tweeted with a YouTube livestream of John Lewis lying in state at the Capitol
Twitter Action – MoCs on Legislation
🔵 Senator Bob Casey, @SenBobCasey, 07/29/20:
“Last night on the Senate floor, I read, introduced and passed a resolution to recognize the 30th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) while calling for further action to strengthen home and community living for people with disabilities. #ADA30”
🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, @RepBrianFitz, 07/30/20:
“No veteran should be homeless, and we must do whatever we can to take care of those who served our country. By adding an option to donate to homeless veterans on tax returns, we will increase the number of donations to help our veterans in need.” tweeted with a link to a Patch article titled “Reps. Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Help Homeless Veterans”
🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle, @RepBrendanBoyle, 0727/20:
“Proud to join my colleagues in support of the Commission on the Social Status of Black Men and Boys Act, which will provide our country with a guidebook for closing barriers that inhibit equitable outcomes. #BlackMenAndBoysAct”
🔵 PA-03’s Rep. Dwight Evans, @RepDwightEvans, 07/28/20
“Health care is a right, not a privilege. But right now, more than 400 rural hospitals are at risk of closing. I’m fighting for solutions like the Rural Help Act which will help keep rural and urban hospitals open so no community is left behind” tweeted with a link to a NBC article titled “Rural Help Act looks to keep rural hospital doors open through Medicare reimbursement rates”
🔵 PA-05’s Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, @RepMGS, 07/26/20:
“Today marks the 30th anniversary of the ADA. When it comes to ensuring equality, inclusivity, and accessibility for Americans with disabilities, there is still much work to be done — especially when it comes to voting rights. #ADA30 Learn more about the legislation I introduced this week, alongside @RepRaskin, to expand voting rights for Americans with disabilities.” tweeted with a link to her official website statement
🔵 PA-06’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, @RepHoulahan, 07/30/20:
“As we seek to build a more equitable nation, it’s crucial for our small business community to reflect the diversity of this country and that people from all backgrounds are represented at the highest levels of leadership and decision-makers. Earlier this month, I mounted an effort to highlight the importance of diversity in Small Business leadership and their Open Network for Board Diversity (ONBOARD) Program.
That’s also why I’m calling on the Senate to pass H.R. 5084, the “Improving Corporate Governance through Diversity Act of 2019,” which I helped passed with bipartisan support in the House last November. The Improving Corporate Governance through Diversity Act of 2019 would increase gender, racial, and ethnic diversity on corporate boards of directors. Join me in supporting diversity in our business leadership.”
🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild, @RepSusanWild, 07/31/20:
“147 !! PA Organizations see the harm to the Children’s Health Insurance Program #COVID19 has caused — and so do I.
Scheduled cuts to the program, in the middle of a pandemic no less, put the health of our kids in jeopardy.
Time to pass the #CHIPPERAct.”
🔵 PA-08’s Rep. Matt Cartwright, @RepCartwright, 07/29/20:
“We could be on the brink of a child care crisis if Congress doesn’t act.
That’s why we’re advancing two bills in the House today to provide relief for families & child care providers, and to support the safe reopening of our economy.”
🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry, @RepScottPerry, 07/30/20:
“The CCP and other maligned foreign regimes can’t be allowed to use US laws to carry out their espionage and intellectual property theft.
Yesterday, I joined my colleagues to introduce the Protecting America from Spies Act to prevent our adversaries’ agents from entering the US.”
🔴 PA-11’s Rep. Lloyd Smucker, @RepSmucker, 07/31/20:
“.@RepTomRice introduced the Healthy Workplace Tax Credit which I was proud to co-sponsor. The creation of the Healthy Workplace Tax credit helps small businesses provide employees with a safe environment to return to work.” tweeted with his official website statement
🔴 PA-12’s Rep. Fred Keller, @RepFredKeller, 07/31/20:
“Today I voted NO on H.R. 7617, the House Democrat’s second partisan spending bill that would:”
🔴 PA-15’s Rep. Glenn W. Thompson, @CongressmanGT, 07/31/20:
“Less than 25% of the Coronavirus Relief Funds have been spent. The LOCAL Act extends the deadline to spend these funds by a year. Some projects take time, like securing broadband connectivity. With reliable connectivity, our rural communities can thrive. #RuralBroadbandDay” tweeted with embedded 6 NBC video”
🔵 PA-17’s Rep. Conor Lamb, @RepConorLamb, 07/30/20:
“Too many families in #PA17 are struggling to afford childcare during this pandemic. The bipartisan SAFE Kids & Jobs Act is commonsense legislation designed to get money for care into the hands of working families as quickly as possible.” tweeted with his official website statement
🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle, @USRepMikeDoyle, 07/29/20:
“The #COVID19 pandemic has had a drastic effect on our economy, with childcare facilities one of the most important institutions at risk. We need safe child care facilities to continue operation so parents and #essentialworkers can keep our country functioning and help our economy recover. That’s why I will #ThinkBabiesAndAct to pass H.R. 7027, which would dedicate $50B to childcare, and H.R. 7327, which would expand the availability and safety of childcare, to help promote our economic recovery and build a better future for all Americans.”
Tweet of the Week
🔵 Senator Bob Casey, @SenBobCasey, 07/29/20:
“’A 1- or 2-year-old missing two meals has long-term consequences for health and development.’
#SNAP recipients in PA include about 750,000 children. Republicans are fighting harder to protect business lunch write-offs than they are to protect these kids from going hungry.” tweeted with content from the Washington Post that reads “Senate GOP won’t extend pandemic food stamps but doubled ‘three-martini lunch deduction”
🔴 Senator Pat Toomey, @SenToomey, 07/30/20:
“Masks during a pandemic shouldn’t be controversial. Wearing them in public is our best way to protect each other. @SenatorBennet and I are teaming up and asking everyone to please, for the benefit of your neighbors, friends, and your community, #WearAMask. “ Note – this is Senator Toomey’s only tweet this week.
🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, @RepBrianFitz, 07/29/20:
“Recently, @USDA announced that they will launch a third round of their Farmers to Families Food Box Program. This program has benefited struggling farmers and hungry families across the country, and I am happy to see the department working to increase food security.”
🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle, @RepBrendanBoyle, 07/30/20:
“Today, our economy moved closer to disaster. This financial mess could have been avoided if President Trump had just done his job, followed the science, and taken decisive action to stop the virus. Apparently, basic leadership is just too much to ask.
Now, hardworking American families are going to be the ones that bear the brunt of the President’s botched response. Millions are unemployed and are forced to make agonizing choices about whether there’s enough money to put food on the table or pay all the bills each month.” tweeted with a link to a CNBC article titled “Second-quarter GDP plunged by worst-ever 32.9% amid virus-induced shutdown”
🔵 PA-03’s Rep. Dwight Evans, @RepDwightEvans, 07/26/20:
“The resiliency of gun violence survivors continues to inspire me. That’s why I’ve been fighting my entire career to make our communities safer.” tweeted with a link to a Philadelphia Inquirer Opinion piece titled “Paralyzed gunshot survivors started a support group. A year later, they are still going strong.”
🔵 PA-04’s Rep. Madeleine Dean, @RepDean, 07/28/20:
“AG Barr didn’t seem to like my questions, but he outright admitted that peaceful protestors will be met with chemical irritants and force. “It’s a very important, non-lethal option.” Take your disdain up with the First Amendment and the right to peacefully assemble.” tweeted with a video clip of the MoC’s questioning of AG Barr at the recent Judiciary Committee hearing
🔵 PA-05’s Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, @RepMGS, 07/28/20:
“AG Barr has been repeating false conspiracy theories peddled by the President to cast doubt on voting-by-mail. The President has voted by mail and so has AG Barr.
When I asked him if he had any evidence to back up these claims, Barr said, under oath, ‘no.’” tweeted with a video clip of the MoC’s questioning of AG Barr at the recent Judiciary Committee hearing
🔵 PA-06’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, @RepHoulahan, 07/29/20:
“I had my first child while I was active duty in the Air Force. Part of the reason I chose to separate from the military was a lack of access to affordable child care, so this is important to me. No parent should have to choose between starting a family and having a career.”
🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild, @RepSusanWild, 07/29/20:
“Chris Martin’s commitment to his craft and his community is inspiring. As he prepares to retire, I am truly grateful for his dedication to excellence. Chris – Congratulations on all that you’ve achieved – you’ve made #PA07 proud to be home to @MartinGuitar.” tweeted with embedded video of the MoC’s floor speech about Mr. Martin
🔵 PA-08’s Rep. Matt Cartwright, @RepCartwright, 07/30/20:
“I was proud to help craft @AppropsDems FY21 Commerce-Justice-Science bill. It provides funding increases to help create jobs, fix the country’s infrastructure, boost American manufacturing, implement police reforms, and address the opioid crisis.” tweeted with embedded video of the MoC’s floor speech
🔴 PA-09’s Rep. Dan Meuser, @RepMeuser, 07/30/20:
“Tuesday’s House Judiciary Hearing was one of the most disgraceful events I have witnessed since coming to Congress. We must be united in solving problems for the American people, not prolonging them through November 3rd.” tweeted with embedded video of the MoC’s floor speech
🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry, @RepScottPerry, 07/30/20:
“Very saddened to hear of the passing of Herman Cain. He was a true American patriot, driven by his passion to make our Nation better for all. He’ll be sorely missed, and I send my prayers to his family and friends. Godspeed, Herman. See you on the High Ground.”
🔴 PA-11’s Rep. Lloyd Smucker, @RepSmucker, 07/29/20:
“We should be supporting small businesses by allowing them to reopen safely. The governor is doing the opposite, ‘Wolf’s action was an unnecessary and excessive blow to an industry that’s already reeling.’” tweeted with a Lancaster Online opinion piece titled “Lancaster County restaurant owner says Wolf’s latest COVID-19 crackdown excessive”
🔴 PA-12’s Rep. Fred Keller, @RepFredKeller, 07/29/20:
“Every dollar Congress spends is a dollar that our children and grandkids will have to pay back.
I am proud to join my colleagues in @RepublicanStudy to address our nation’s out-of-control debt, protect American values, and fight for the American taxpayer.” tweeted with images of the Republican Study Committee’s reports
🔴 PA-13’s Rep. John Joyce, @RepJohnJoyce, 07/30/20:
“It is awesome to be in Somerset County at Guy Chemical Company as we welcome
@VP @Mike_Pence to highlight the Trump Administration’s pro-growth, pro-worker agenda. We’re focusing on creating American jobs for American workers, and will achieve a #GreatAmericanComeback!”
🔴 PA-14’s Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, @GReschenthaler, 08/02/20:
“Conservatives have to stay strong and defend what we believe in. We are the party of freedom and economic prosperity.
Our values will help our nation recover from this pandemic.” tweeted with embedded video
🔴 PA-15’s Rep. Glenn W. Thompson, @CongressmanGT, 07/29/20:
“COVID-19 has shown us just how much the country depends upon a skilled and trained workforce. Have you checked out http://FindSomethingNew.org yet? Thank you @IvankaTrump for your support of career and technical education!”
🔴 PA-16’s Rep. Mike Kelly, @MikeKellyPA, 07/31/20:
“As someone who has donated plasma, it’s an easy way to make a big difference for someone in need. If you’ve recovered from COVID-19, consult your doctor about where you can donate and help save lives!”
🔵 PA-17’s Rep. Conor Lamb, @RepConorLamb, 07/26/20:
“The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law 30 years ago today. Although we’ve come a long way we still have more work to do to ensure that people with disabilities have the same rights & opportunities as everyone else. #ADA30 #PA17”
🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle, @USRepMikeDoyle, 07/30/20:
“It is outrageous but not surprising that @realdonaldtrump didn’t confront @kremlinrussia_e about Russia allegedly giving the Taliban money and weapons to kill US and NATO soldiers in Afghanistan.
This is another outrageous example of @realdonaldtrump siding with @GovernmentRF over our own intelligence agencies and military personnel.
@POTUS’s job is to protect our military service members from harm. He owes it to those who risk their lives for our nation to force Russia to stop paying the Taliban to kill US and NATO troops in Afghanistan.” tweeted with embedded video from the president’s Axios interview
Casey in the News
Courtesy of contributor Linda Houk
“Is this the United States of America? We can’t make enough gloves and masks and gowns?”
“The same country that put a man on the moon more than 50 years ago ought to be able to produce enough gowns and masks and other protective equipment.”
“If you’re a commander-in-chief and you’ve got a war against a virus, you have to act like it every day,”
— from an article in WAVY 10, titled “Democrats and Republicans want to protect US medical supply chains”
“He wasn’t just a prophet, he wasn’t just a brave American. He was a patriot… The way he would approach strangers and walking through the halls of Congress, instead of walking by people, he was always willing to talk. Just a really decent person in addition to being heroic.”
— from an article in WENY News, titled “Local lawmakers remember late Georgia Rep. John Lewis”
“The economic crisis will continue until we get the public health crisis under control.”
—from an article in the Morning Call, titled “What will Congress do about the expired $600 federal boost to weekly unemployment benefits?”
“I can’t believe Senate Republicans pretended like this would all just go away.”
— from an article on KIT4 Island News, titled “GOP, Democrats ‘very far apart’ on stimulus talks, Mnuchin says”
“The federal COVID-19 response has dramatically exposed the failures of outdated, legacy federal IT systems and shone a light on the need for agencies to more quickly modernize their networks…
Congress authorized the TMF specifically to rapidly advance projects that can have an impact quickly, subject to oversight of a board of experts and specific criteria. We should provide a major funding allocation to the TMF now for projects that will provide the bandwidth, security, and functionality needed to make teleworking federal workers just as productive at home as in the office, and for other urgent COVID-19 response needs such as scaling claims processing systems, improving the security of citizen information, enhancing fraud prevention, and addressing long-delayed and well documented enterprise legacy IT systems modernizations…
As you are aware, the HEROES Act, passed by the House of Representatives on May 15, 2020, included $1 billion for the TMF, to remain available until the end of Fiscal Year 2022. We urge you to include the same level of funding for TMF in the next COVID-19 supplemental spending bill to help address technology and related risks identified during the ongoing COVID-19 response.”
— excerpts of a letter from Senator Casey and a handful of his colleagues to the Appropriations Committee leadership, as reported in an article in FedScoop titled “$1B boost to TMF draws support from Senate Democrats”
“By ‘low-income housing’ President Trump means Black and Brown people. This is a racist tweet and a racist policy that would allow further discrimination in housing. President Trump’s cynical view of Americans in suburban communities is also an insult to those who live there.”
— from an article in The Week titled “Democrats accuse Trump of ‘openly endorsing segregation’ with ‘Suburban Lifestyle Dream’ tweet”
Toomey in the News
Courtesy of contributor Elayne Baker
‘With a price tag exceeding $1 trillion, the HEALS Act is not a narrow measure – and this is before Speaker Pelosi insists on her pound of flesh. Nonetheless, my staff and I will be reviewing the details of this bill in the coming days and the accompanying changes that will be made.”
— from a 07/31/20 KITV article titled “Stimulus talks stall heading into the weekend“
“Wearing a mask should not be controversial. Study after study affirms that wearing a mask reduces the spread of coronavirus. As our economy continues to reopen and until a vaccine is available, wearing a face mask when you venture out is the most practical and cost-effective manner in which we, as Americans, can do our part to protect one another. Please, for the benefit of your neighbors, friends, and those who live in your community, wear a mask.”
— from a 07/31/20 MyChesCo article titled “Bipartisan Toomey and Bennet Resolution: “Please Wear a Mask””
“I do not support moving the presidential election and the president does not have the unilateral authority to do so. However the president is right to point out that universally mailing ballots to people who don’t request them…would likely lead to voter fraud.”
— from a 07/30/20 article in Lehigh Valley Live titled ”‘We will be voting in Northampton County in November’: Trump election tweet elicits pledge”
Committee Corner – House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis
Courtesy of environmental contributor Andrea Wittchen, Partner, iSpring
On June 30, 2020, the majority members of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis released their 547-page report on the committee’s work. The report, entitled “Solving the Climate Crisis,” is an ambitious and expansive roadmap for Congress to, in their words, “build a prosperous, clean energy economy that values workers, advances environmental justice, and is/ prepared to meet the challenges of the climate crisis.”
The Select Committee was authorized on January 9, 2019, by the 116th Congress to prepare climate policy recommendations that would achieve substantial and permanent reduction in pollution and other activities that contribute to the climate crisis. The committee is comprised of Rep. Kathy Castor (D – FL), Chairperson, along with eight other Democratic members and Rep. Garret Graves (R – LA), Ranking Member, along with five other Republican members. They were tasked with providing a report by March 31, 2020, a date that was postponed due to the intervention of COVID. The Committee was not tasked with producing actual legislation. In fact, by their charter, they were not able to do that. Instead, they were to create policy recommendations, strategies and plans that Congress could consider in order to achieve the stated objectives.
🍃What Does the Plan Cover?
Obviously at 547 pages, the plan covers an enormous amount of material. It identifies 12 key pillars under which are organized hundreds of recommendations for Congressional action. If you would like to review source materials, you have some options:
- You can read the full plan for yourself here
- You can read a 4-page fact sheet that outlines the 12 pillars here
- If you are interested in more details on sub-categories of the 12 pillars without reading the whole report, you can find them here
- Or there’s a very helpful 2-page summary sheet from which much of this information is drawn here
For our purposes, the 12 pillars can be combined into four major focus areas:
- Grow Our Economy and Put Americans Back to Work in Clean Energy Jobs. This includes:
- Rapid deployment of all types of zero-carbon energy sources and new transmission infrastructure;
- More domestic manufacture of clean energy, clean vehicles, and zero-emission technologies including throughout the supply chain;
- Creating new economic sectors such as direct air capture and low-carbon building materials, and
- Creating new, high-quality, good-paying clean energy economy jobs bolstered by the strengths of union representation
- Protect the Health of All Families. This includes:
- Prioritizing environmental justice communities for investment and enforcement of environment laws;
- Strategic planning for community response to climate-related health risks and disasters;
- Preparing for the effects of climate crisis by ensuring hospitals can withstand climate impacts, have secure supply chains and that state and local governments have climate crisis response plans, and
- Protecting the health of workers by strengthening standards for all those exposed to severe heatwaves
- Make Sure Our Communities and Farmers Can Withstand the Impacts of Climate Change. This includes:
- Launching a National Climate Adaptation Program so that homes, businesses and critical infrastructure can withstand climate change;
- Strengthening building codes for federally funded projects;
- Accelerating resilient recovery by expediting disaster relief payments and rebuilding wisely, and
- Helping farmers and ranchers implement soil health practices that support resiliency.
- Protect America’s Land and Waters for the Next Generation. This includes:
- Protecting at least 30% of all U.S. lands and ocean areas by 2030;
- Limiting fossil fuel extraction leasing;
- Protecting and restoring vital ecosystems to sequester carbon and improve natural resilience, and
- Creating jobs by reestablishing the Civilian Conservation Corps and creating a Climate Resilience Service Corps.
🍃What Does It Accomplish?
As Committee Member Sean Casten (D-IL) has explained, the goal of the Committee was to first look at the science to determine what was needed to meet the challenges of the rapidly-evolving climate crisis. After understanding that, the Committee then sought to identify what specific actions that were consistent with the science could be taken to meet those challenges.
To combat the worst effects of climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that in order to hold global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels it is necessary to reduce net anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions by at least 45% from global 2010 levels by 2030 and reach net-zero by 2050. Based on those scientific requirements, the Climate Crisis Action Plan calls for “reaching 100% clean, net zero emissions economy-wide in the U.S. by no later than 2050 and achieving net-negative emissions during the 2nd half of the century” along with the enabling objective of “establishing ambitious interim targets to assess progress and reduce pollution in environmental justice communities.”
After completing the Plan, the Committee then submitted it to the non-partisan think tank Energy Innovation for an independent analysis of what the plan could achieve. Energy Innovation concluded that, examining only a subset of the recommendations, the plan could achieve:
- Net-zero carbon dioxide emissions before 2050,
- 62,000 deaths avoided annually by 2050
- Nearly $8 trillion in cumulative climate and health benefits through 2050
- Reduced net U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by at least 37% below 2010 levels in 2030 and 88% below 2010 levels in 2050.
🍃What Doesn’t It Do?
As mentioned above, the Plan does not create any legislation. It only provides the roadmap for legislation. The value of the Committee’s charge to investigate the entire challenge of the climate crisis is that they could take a holistic view of the situation and develop wide-ranging recommendations for solutions. But Congress, as we know, is siloed and so every one of these recommendations will require slicing and dicing among a variety of committees with often overlapping jurisdictions. This will slow down a process that is inherently slow and seriously challenge our ability to achieve the objectives in the Plan.
Luckily, the Plan can serve as a benchmark to measure progress being made by each new piece of legislation so that we don’t lose our way in the weeds.
A second concern, related to the first, is how to sequence the legislation. What do we do first, second, third? What can we do concurrently? What part relies on another part being completed? How much is already partially done? There has been some substantial environmental legislating done in the House in this session, all of it stalled by McConnell in the Senate. How much of that can be resurrected and passed in a Senate under Democratic control?
Another thing to keep in mind is that the Committee’s charge was climate change. It was not environmental justice (EJ). The charge included consideration of environmental justice issues but it was not primarily focused on EJ. Therefore issues such as those like the Flint water crisis are not dealt with directly since lead pipes are not a climate change issue although the Flint water crisis is clearly an EJ issue. While there is substantial consideration of environmental justice in the context of climate change, the bulk of recommendations are not focused primarily on EJ.
The other thing the Plan can’t do is deliver us a new Administration. Without that, the Plan is virtually useless.
🍃How Does It Relate to the Green New Deal?
This is obviously a pertinent question. The Green New Deal (GND) and “Solving the Climate Crisis” serve two very different purposes. The GND is a broad, aspirational statement of where we would like to see the country go. It topped out at 14 pages and was never designed to be a detailed roadmap to specific legislation. It also dealt with a much wider view of the landscape of “green”. It did address the issue of climate change but also environmental and social justice. In many ways, the GND was the roadmap for “Solving the Climate Crisis.” Re-reading the GND, one sees that many of the categories outlined in it are taken up in much greater detail in “Solving the Climate Crisis.” If the Green New Deal stuck a stake in the ground, “Solving the Climate Crisis” strings the wire between the stakes and lays out the plots of ground that need to be plowed.
Remember also, that the Green New Deal was only a resolution to indicate a sense of the Congress, both chambers. It proposed no new specific legislation and it was voted down by the Senate.
In order for this thorough, far-sighted and amazing piece of work to have any impact at all, 3 things have to happen:
- We need a Democratic President
- We need Democratic control of both chambers of Congress
- Even with complete Democratic control, we need the political will to make it happen.
That will require a high degree of commitment to the future and a willingness to jettison commitments to corporate interests, particularly those in the fossil fuel industries. One example from the Plan – we need to spend at least $800 billion on energy infrastructure PER YEAR to get to the goals outlined. Where do we find that kind of money? Hint: $650 billion in direct and indirect fossil fuel subsidies are paid out each year. Do we have the political will to end them?
Call to Action – Coronavirus Relief bill pressure, take two!
A number of programs to help Americans weather this unprecedented pandemic, like expanded nutrition assistance (SNAP), the $600 unemployment boost, and eviction and foreclosure protections have expired as of July 31st. These are programs that are helping millions of Pennsylvanians, and keeping over ten million Americans from falling into poverty.
Since the Congressional Republicans have still not come to the table to negotiate a phase 4 relief package, we need to stick to last week’s action. We must call Senator Toomey and put emotional pressure on him to support a relief package.
“It’s not obvious to me that we need to load the money cannon and fire that off again,” – Pat Toomey on June 18th
“For us to load the money cannon again and say, ‘Let’s spend literally trillions more,’ that’s a tough sell.” – Pat Toomey on July 25th
Senator Toomey is one of the Republican senators who has been the most outspoken in his desire to NOT see another rescue bill. So it is our job to make him FEEL otherwise.
Since we need to appeal to emotions, a script is not going to cut it. These messages need to come from the heart. But here are some tips you can use to making a successful emotional appeal:
- Start off the message with what you want.
- Tie your request to how you are feeling – anxious, scared, fearful, hopeless, etc.
- Give a personal example of what you are experiencing that is causing your emotional state; OR
- Include info about a person you love, and how this situation is affecting them.
- Close by reiterating your request of the Senator.
Here is an example message, using these tips:
I have contacted the Senator to ask him to support efforts to help us all by supporting the extension of coronavirus rescue programs (1). I know that they end in less than a week, and I am scared of what will happen then (2). My husband’s industry has been affected by this downturn, and I am terrified that without the boost of these programs, he will lose his job (3, 4). We can’t just be left high and dry on July 31st. We need Senator Casey to help Pennsylvanians, and support the renewal of the SNAP and unemployment programs, as well as foreclosure and eviction protections. (5)
Emotional pleas work best when they are crafted out of personal experience, so please take a moment and craft your own message. We only have a short time to work on Senator Toomey, so please contact him each day this week via one of these methods:
Option ONE: CALL
TOLL FREE – (855) 552-1831 Allentown – (610) 434-1444
Erie – (814) 453-3010 Harrisburg – (717) 782-3951
Johnstown – (814) 266-5970 Philadelphia – (215) 241-1090
Pittsburgh – (412) 803-3501 Washington – (202) 224-4254
Wilkes Barre – (570) 820-4088
Option TWO: RESISTBOT
Text RESIST to 50409 or on Twitter, direct message “Resist” to @Resistbot
Then follow their directions. It takes about one to two minutes to complete a full letter
Option THREE: FAX
Send a free FAX straight to Toomey https://faxzero.com/fax_senate/T000461
Option FOUR: TWEET
Use the Hashtags #HEROESAct, #COVID19, and #Coronavirus
Or search for those hashtags, and like/retweet content people have already composed to amplify their messaging.
Option FIVE: Senator Toomey’s Website Contact Form
Use this site – https://www.toomey.senate.gov/?p=contact – to send an email to the Senator.
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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