Pennsylvania Member of Congress Tracking Report – 11/15/20

37 mins read
Graphic by Kelly Pollock.

This is a 100% volunteer effort brought to you by a handful of progressive Democrats and Independents who share a vision of an informed electorate.  We want to offer a big thank you to the Demcast and Pennsylvania Indivisible organizations who host our report and help us share it out to the residents of our Commonwealth!

It’s good to be back after our long hiatus of election-volunteering and Protect the Result event-organizing.  It is possible that the coming Georgia special elections and the demands of helping out there may cause some upcoming irregularities in the MoCTrack schedule in the coming 7 weeks.  Please bear with us as we show 2020 the door, and help out with these last senate-deciding elections.

Tracking Congress in the Age of Trump

The lower the number, the more the legislator votes in opposition to the Trump agenda.

Member of CongressThis week’s scoreChange from last report
Senator Bob Casey (D)29.0%-0.3%
Senator Pat Toomey (R)88.2%+0.1%
PA-01 Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R)62.9%0.0%
PA-02 Rep. Brendan Boyle (D)12.9%0.0%
PA-03 Rep. Dwight Evans (D)11.4%0.0%
PA-04 Rep. Madeleine Dean (D)3.6%0.0%
PA-05 Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D)5.7%0.0%
PA-06 Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D)4.8%0.0%
PA-07 Rep. Susan Wild (D)8.0%0.0%
PA-08 Rep. Matt Cartwright (D)19.0%0.0%
PA-09 Rep. Dan Meuser (R)97.5%0.0%
PA-10 Rep. Scott Perry (R)90.4%0.0%
PA-11 Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R)95.4%0.0%
PA-12 Rep. Fred Keller (R)94.4%0.0%
PA-13 Rep. John Joyce (R)97.6%0.0%
PA-14 Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R)95.1%0.0%
PA-15 Rep. Glenn W. Thompson (R)97.8%0.0%
PA-16 Rep. Mike Kelly (R)96.6%0.0%
PA-17 Rep. Conor Lamb (D)22.0%0.0%
PA-18 Rep. Mike Doyle (D)14.7%0.0%

Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight website assesses the voting records of our MoCs to provide this index, by comparing any bills where President Trump has stated a position, and comparing the vote of the legislator to that opinion. The only items scored since our last report was the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

Quick Links

Votes of Interest

Lame Duck Judicial Confirmation #1 – Ohio

Lame Duck Judicial Confirmation #2 – Florida

Unanimously passed legislation

Our MoCs comment on the 2020 election and the presidential transition process

Pennsylvania’s GOP MoCs help Trump by casting doubt on the election process

Call to Action – Helping out in Georgia

Votes of Interest  

The Congressional schedule is a fluid thing, but in many years the week after Election Day, the one with Veterans Day in it, is one that Congress has in their home districts.  But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has made it clear by his actions that he is aware that the tenure of this Republican president is growing short.  He called the Senate back into session to vote on a last wave of Trump judicial nominees.  The first two of these lame duck nominees were confirmed this week, on the Tuesday and Thursday flanking Veterans Day.

In a Roll Call article titled “McConnell: ‘We’re going to clean the plate’ on judges”, the Republican leader explained his plans thusly: “We’re going to run through the tape. We go through the end of the year, and so does the president. We’re going to fill the 7th Circuit. And I’m hoping we have time to fill the 1st Circuit as well.”

Additional Reading:

Lame Duck Judicial Confirmation #1 – Ohio 

Senate Confirmation Vote on James Ray Knepp II to be United States District Judge for the Northern District of Ohio

James Knepp is a graduate of University of Toledo College of Law and he clerked for a judge in the Ohio federal courts before going to work in the private sector.  He was appointed to a judicial seat at the magistrate level in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio in 2010, where he has served ever since.

His nomination to this seat (a step up, as magistrate judges serve below the district judges) was the product of a bipartisan process, between Democrat Sen. Sharrod Brown and Republican Sen. Rob Portman.  Both senators supported and voted for this nominee. 

Vote date: November 10, 2020 Vote Tally: 64-24

Party Breakdown: All 48 Republican present voted YES.  They were joined by 16 Democrats.  The 2 Independents and 22 remaining Democrats in the chamber voted NO.


Additional Reading:

Casey voted NO and Toomey voted YES.

Lame Duck Judicial Confirmation #2 – Florida 

Senate Confirmation Vote on Aileen Mercedes Cannon to be United States District Judge for the Southern District of Florida

Aileen Cannon is currently an Assistant United States Attorney in Florida. Before she received her legal degree from the University of Michigan Law School, she spent two years as a paralegal with the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice. She clerked with an Appeals Court judge before working for a handful of years in the private sector.

One of the main concerns about Cannon is not her experience, but her age – she is 39.  Our friends at The Vetting Room explain: “As of this point, the Trump Administration has made an art form of finding attorneys who barely squeeze in under the twelve year practice requirement that the American Bar Association seeks for judges. Cannon, while still under forty, has practiced for approximately twelve years (including her clerkship) and has experience with civil and criminal litigation.“

Vote date: November 12, 2020 Vote Tally: 56-21

Party Breakdown: Twelve Democrats joined the 44 Republicans present for the vote in voting YES.  One Independent and 20 Democrats voted NO.


Additional Reading:

Casey voted NO and 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.8247 – Veterans COMPACT (Comprehensive Prevention, Access to Care and Treatment) Act
  • H.R.8472 – Impact Aid Coronavirus Relief Act

As the 116th Congress nears its end, once the House returns to Washington we should expect more bills to pass by voice vote and unanimous consent.

Our MoCs comment on the 2020 election and the presidential transition process

Some lawmakers have made multiple statements since November 7, 2020, when the presidential race was called and Joe Biden was named President-Elect. When possible, we’ve chosen their official statement.  When no press release was issued, we’ve chosen the quote that best represents the whole of their comments on the election and ensuing issues (like President Trump’s refusal to concede and blocking the transition process). 

🔵 Senator Bob Casey, @SenBobCasey, 11/11/20:

This tweet is from the Washington Post Live account, but it is a direct quote from Senator Casey, and the senator retweeted the content.

🔴 Senator Pat Toomey:

The only lawmaker for whom we cannot include just one quote is our junior senator. Pat Toomey went on a verbal JOURNEY this week, and we must cover each of his three stops on the trip.


First, he discounts the election being called

11/07/20, @SenToomey – “President Trump and former Vice President Biden have run hard, spirited campaigns that have inspired record civic engagement. I applaud both of them for their desire to serve our nation. Today’s announcement by the media of the election’s outcome is a projection. A final outcome will be reached when the election process concludes, which is after all legal votes have been counted, litigation is resolved, and any recounts are completed.

Next, tentative acceptance of a Biden presidency

11/09/20, WTAE, Pittsburgh’s Action news, in an article titled “Pa. US Sen. Toomey says Trump administration should start cooperating with Biden transition team” – “We’re on a path it looks likely Joe Biden is going to be the next president of the United States. It’s not 100% certain but it is quite likely. So I think a transition process ought to begin.  And you know, if it turns out that the unlikely scenario actually comes about and it turns out President Trump is determined to have won this election after all, then the transition, of course, becomes moot, and it expires and it evaporates. But I think that’s not the likely outcome, so I think it (the transition) should begin.”

Then, backtracking

11/11/20, CNN, “Retiring Republican senator refuses to acknowledge Biden’s victory” – 

🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, via an article in the Bucks County Courier Times, 11/11/20:

“We have a president-elect and we have pending litigation. Let it run its way through the courts and we’ll get a resolution in an open and transparent manner.”

🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle, @RepBrendanBoyle, 11/10/20:

“The final results aren’t that close. 

#Biden won. 

#Trump lost. 

@realDonaldTrump – Get over it. 

#PresidentElectBiden”

🔵 PA-03’s Rep. Dwight Evans, via his official website, 11/07/20:

“I am overjoyed to call Joe Biden and Kamala Harris our president-elect and vice president-elect! America needs their steady, experienced leadership, especially as we deal with the Covid-19 pandemic and the deep recession it has caused.

“And it is a historic day when we can call a woman of color our vice president-elect! This is a huge step forward for all Americans. I was pleased to welcome them both to Philadelphia and I look forward to working with them and their administration. They know how crucial the votes of Philadelphians and Pennsylvanians have been in making this happen.

“I know they are committed to protecting and expanding on the Affordable Care Act, which will be more vital than ever during this pandemic. I know they will be great partners with the returning House Democratic majority on that and other priorities such as voting reform, policing reform, addressing the affordable housing crisis that existed even before the pandemic, and much more.

“Pennsylvanians have been fortunate to have Governor Tom Wolf, Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar, Attorney General Josh Shapiro and dedicated local elections officials – including everyone who has worked so hard to count every vote – looking out for their constitutionally guaranteed right to vote.

“The people have spoken, and now we have a great opportunity to move forward together and make much-needed progress for Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and America.”

🔵 PA-04’s Rep. Madeleine Dean, @RepDean, 11/07/20:

“Today, we chose President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris. We chose decency, and rejected the corruption and indecency of the last four years. We chose leaders that will heal our wounds, unify this nation, and strive for brighter days.

We do not take this new day lightly. It’s time to work harder and work smarter than we have before. Our nation has waited long enough for relief and change. Today is the beginning.”

🔵 PA-05’s Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, @RepMGS, 11/14/20:

“The President has a sacred obligation to protect and defend our Constitution and laws, and he demeans himself and the office by filing frivolous lawsuits seeking to undermine the clear electoral result.” tweeted with a link to a a Penn Live piece, “League of Women Voters says there is no credible evidence of fraud in 2020 election | Opinion

🔵 PA-06’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, @RepHoulahan, 11/12/20:

🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild, @wildforcongress, 11/07/20:

Rep. Wild has had little to say directly about the presidential election on her congressional or campaign feeds. This retweet of content from John Schleuss, president of the largest union of journalists and communications professionals in the U.S and Canada, is the closest thing we could find to commentary on the results of the presidential election and the aftermath.

“This election—like all prior—shows how important a free press is to our democracy. Journalists were extremely cautious to review the results and report the facts and declare a winner when it was clear who truly won. We cannot be a free nation without a free press.”

🔵 PA-08’s Rep. Matt Cartwright, @CartwrightPA, 11/07/20:

“A record number of people made their voices heard in this election. They chose a vision for our nation rooted in working with & for every American. With @JoeBiden & @KamalaHarris in the White House, we can begin on the path to binding our nation’s wounds & move America forward!”

🔴 PA-09’s Rep. Dan Meuser, from an interview on The Volpe Report, 11/09/20:

“This thing is not over. I think the people of Pennsylvania and the people watching this show should know that for very good reason it’s not over, because the votes have not been accurately counted at this point.” quote from around 8:20 into the 29 minute interview 

🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry, from his Facebook presence, 11/09/20:

“ELECTION INTEGRITY — Folks, whether you’re right, left or center, every American deserves free and fair elections, no matter the outcome. Just wanted to share a letter I signed onto and sent to Gov. Wolf, et al, outlining our deep concerns over how the  Commonwealth handled the recent election, and what we believe needs to happen, at minimum, to restore faith in our system. #ElectionIntegrity #CountEveryLEGALVote”

🔴 PA-11’s Rep. Lloyd Smucker, @RepSmucker, 11/07/20:

🔴 PA-12’s Rep. Fred Keller, via his official website, 11/09/20:

“The citizens of the United States, not media outlets, determine the outcome of elections. With recounts and legal challenges expected, we must let the process play out. Count every legal vote.”

🔴 PA-13’s Rep. John Joyce, @RepJohnJoyce, 11/06/20:

“We must ensure that our election is fair, free, safe, secure, legitimate – and transparent. 

I’m calling on AG Barr & DOJ to safeguard the integrity of the election and ensure that every American’s legally-cast ballot is counted once.”

🔴 PA-14’s Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, @GReschenthaler, 11/09/20:

“A democracy can’t exist without free & fair elections.

I joined @RepCLoudTX’s letter asking @TheJusticeDept to ensure the integrity of our election by investigating irregularities & fraud in the vote counting process. The American people must have full confidence in the results.”

🔴 PA-15’s Rep. Glenn W. Thompson, @CongressmanGT, 11/07/20:

“Police cars revolving light Trust has been eroded in #Pennsylvania’s electoral system. Citizens of the Commonwealth deserve free & fair elections!

Letter to Gov. Wolf, Attorney General Shapiro, and Secretary of the Commonwealth Boockvar from me and my GOP Delegation Colleges.”

🔴 PA-16’s Rep. Mike Kelly, from his official website, 11/07/20:

“In our representative republic, it is not the media who declares the winner of elections. Right now, the Trump Campaign is engaged in several court cases to determine the integrity of the vote in multiple states. None of those states have officially certified their vote counts, and investigations into voting irregularities are ongoing. The winner of the election will be determined by the law, not media projections.”

🔵 PA-17’s Rep. Conor Lamb, @ConorLambPA, 11/07/20:

“Congratulations to President-elect @JoeBiden. You won the battle for the soul of the nation.”

🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle, @USRepMikeDoyle, 11/13/20:

“A @DHSgov report confirmed that #Election2020 was the safest in history & there is no evidence of serious #ElectionFruad. @POTUS must accept #ElectionResults2020 & acknowledge the outcome. To do otherwise degrades his office and undermines our #democracy!” tweeted with a New York Times article titled “Election Officials Directly Contradict Trump on Voting System Fraud

Pennsylvania’s GOP MoCs help Trump by casting doubt on the election process

On November 7, 2020, the nine Republcian House members from Pennsylvania released a letter, addressed to Pennsylvania’s Governor, Secretary of State and Attorney General.  The stated goal of this letter was to publicly ask for Attorney General Josh Shapiro to recuse himself from representing the Commonwealth in the lawsuits that have been filed by President Trump and the Republican Party concerning the election.  The reason they cite for this is that Shapiro himself was on the ballot in the election (aside – so were all nine of the lawmakers who signed this letter).

Upon reading the letter, a second motive for publicly releasing this letter becomes apparent. Here are some excerpts from the letter that make the purpose of the letter clear:

  • …we are deeply concerned with how the Commonwealth has handled the general election…
  • …volunteer legal observers being prevented from having access to vote counting locations… (note – this was a false allegation)
  • … we remain concerned about the integrity of the election…
  • …these actions continue to chip away at the foundation of our representational democracy…

These excerpts are nearly cut-and-pasted from the talking points coming directly out of both the Trump Administration and Trump-Pence campaign.  The lawmakers who issued this correspondence are clearly trying to cast doubt on the validity of the election process, the count and the results.


The full text of the letter is available below:

Dear Governor Wolf, Attorney General Shapiro, and Secretary Boockvar:

As Members of the Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation, we greatly understand that when a

legislative body creates law, the duty of an administration is to faithfully execute these laws. However, we are deeply concerned with how the Commonwealth has handled the general

Election.

From last minute guidance provided to the counties on the eve of the election, to the Attorney

General playing dual roles as a political candidate and legal arbiter with a vested personal

interest, to volunteer legal observers being prevented from having access to vote counting

locations, we believe these conflicts and irregularities have greatly eroded public trust in the

Commonwealth’s electoral system.

The citizens of the Commonwealth do not just expect free and fair elections, they deserve free

and fair elections.

We believe that every legal vote should be counted, and it is compulsory for the Secretary of the

Commonwealth to discount any votes that do not meet the letter of the law. On Friday,

November 6, United States Supreme Court Justice Alito issued a temporary order

requiring election officials to segregate ballots received after 8 p.m. on election day. While Secretary Boockvar has indicated this has already been occurring in Pennsylvania’s 67 counties,

there has been little evidence to support these statements.

This uncertainty follows guidance issued to the counties on the eve of the election instructing

them to disclose to party operatives individual information associated with rejected mail-in 

ballots, in an attempt to have corrections made, which is in direct conflict with Pennsylvania

election law. We believe that in order to faithfully execute the duties of the office of the

Secretary of the Commonwealth it is incumbent upon Secretary Boockvar to follow the law.

Statements made by Pennsylvania’s Attorney General, including social media posts calling the

outcome of the election, prior to the tabulation of a single vote are troubling and highlight the

Attorney General’s inability to maintain impartiality and to separate his sworn duties from his

political desires. We believe that due to this conflict, the Attorney General must recuse himself

from all future election proceedings and appoint an impartial designee moving forward.

As many of these issues will now be addressed by the United States Supreme Court, we remain

concerned about the integrity of the election and continued attempts by the administration and its

officials to put their thumbs on the scale in pursuit of what they believe should be a preordained

outcome. These actions continue to chip away at the foundation of our representational

democracy and challenges the citizens of Pennsylvania’s faith in their government. We implore

you to put politics aside and provide these requests all due consideration.

This letter was signed by all the Republican members of Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation, all of whom were re-elected in the very election they have cast doubt upon in the correspondence quoted above. 

🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick 🔴 PA-13’s Rep. John Joyce

🔴 PA-09’s Rep. Dan Meuser 🔴 PA-14’s Rep. Guy Reschenthaler

🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry 🔴 PA-15’s Rep. Glenn W. Thompson

🔴 PA-11’s Rep. Lloyd Smucker 🔴 PA-16’s Rep. Mike Kelly

🔴 PA-12’s Rep. Fred Keller

If your representative was one of the nine lawmakers who signed this letter, and placed the short term goals of their political party over the health of the democratic process in our country, you may want to contact them to let them know how you feel. Find your lawmaker’s contact information here.

Call to Action – Helping out in Georgia

On January 5, 2021, the two senate run-off races in Georgia will decide whether or not the first two years of the Biden Administration are spent dealing with the much-demonstrated obstructionism of Mitch McConnell, or an evenly-split Senate where Vice President Kamala Harris can break ties.  And that has caused a lot of us to turn our eyes to Georgia. 

But before we take action, let’s hear some advice from the magnificent Stacey Abrams, speaking on Pod Save America this week:

“We need volunteers. We do not need the world moving to Georgia. Unless you already had plans to come and establish residency, what we really need the most of is to know who you are, and that you are out there, ready to be called on. But we’ve got a lot of campaigning to do and we’ve got to build this up.

Please, please, please, do not make plans to come to Georgia just yet. This is a local election that has national implications, but we’ve got to do what we did before, and start with the people, start on the ground and build our way up.  We’d love your volunteers to sign up with us, and you’ll get information about how to volunteer with us.”

Confession time – your MoCTrack editor was one of those folks who was calling down to Georgia last week, trying to make contacts with activists there before realizing that in doing so she was one of a million folks taking time away from activists who need to quickly rebuild their ground game… and not field a ton of time-wasting calls from well-meaning folks who wanted to be helpful, but were achieving the opposite goal.

So… what can we do to help Georgia?

  1. Educate Yourself – Stacey Abrams and her Fair Fight organization have compiled this How to Get Involved guide. There are great links in there, but the best part is the “message guidance” section, which starts on page 3.  In it, you’ll find the key dates in the upcoming run-off process, as well as the granular messaging points that you should familiarize yourself with before volunteering.  Every election is different, and while you might have been 100% conversant with all of the talking points in your Pennsylvania district, they don’t necessarily translate to the upcoming run off races.
  2. DONATE (if you can) – this is going to be the most expensive run-off race in history. From CNBC, “The coming Georgia Senate runoff between GOP Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Democratic challenger Raphael Warnock is shaping up to cost tens of millions of dollars. Republicans are expected to shell out at least $100 million, according to a GOP strategist familiar with the plans… The parties are expected to spend even more if the other Georgia Senate election, between GOP Sen. David Perdue and Democrat Jon Ossoff, also heads to a January runoff.” And as we know, that race is indeed part of the run-off. Here are some of the places where you can donate, if your budget permits:
    1. Jon Ossoff Senate Campaign
    2. Raphael Warnock Senate Campaign
    3. GASenate.com – A combined fund sponsored by Stacey Abrams’ Fair Fight, that splits donations between the two candidate campaigns and Abrams’ own organization, which combats voter suppression
    4. New Georgia Project – an organization focused on voter registration, who is working to register thousands of Georgians who turn 18 in the window between November’s Election Day and January 5th. 
  3. Phone Bank – in this age of reduced physical contact, phone banking is the most effective way you can reach voters from the safety of your home. Both campaigns have set up phone banks for volunteers, using the Mobilize platform.
    1. Warnock for Georgia Phone banking – 11/16/20 through 11/21/20
    2. Run Your Ossoff Daily Phone Banks – 11/15/20 through 01/05/21
  4. Adopt a State – The Crooked Media/Vote Save America folks have a program where they will email you actions that you can take to help out with the Georgia run-off.  This is a great system, because many of the post-carding, text-banking and letter writing opportunities are just now being scaled up so that folks from across the country can help, but they aren’t quite ready for an influx of volunteers.  So right now, you can adopt Georgia, and then you’ll be contacted as these programs get up to speed.  Adopt Georgia HERE.
  5. Stand With Stacey and FAIR FIGHT – remember that quote from Stacey Abrams above, where she said the most important thing you can do is let her and her allies know you can volunteer, so that when they are ready, they will let you know how to help?  You can do that right here.
  6. Social media, KNOW the LINGO – our Georgia-based friends at DemCast have compiled this document with hashtags specific to the Georgia run-off and local media outlets to tag.  If you like to use Twitter and Instagram, these are useful tools that you can start using now.

There is so much we can do to help give Joe Biden and Kamala Harris the best possible inauguration gift – a Senate ready and willing to work with them to get work done that will help ALL Americans.  Let’s do all we can to ensure that the 117th Congress will have both a House AND Senate controlled by Democrats.

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

CC Linda Houk

Elayne Baker Susan Vogel

Gary Garb Kierstyn Piotrowski Zolfo

We can always use extra help. 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. Would you be willing to listen to a committee hearing and transcribe a few quotes from Pennsylvania lawmakers? Or are you a topic specialist on an issue of concern to activists, and would you like to contribute an occasional column?  Please email KierstynPZ@gmail.com and put “MoCTrack Help” in the subject. Thanks!


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


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