Pennsylvania Member of Congress Tracking Report – 12/06/20

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61 mins read

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

Tracking Congress in the Age of Trump

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

Member of CongressThis week’s scoreChange from last report
Senator Bob Casey (D)29.0%0.0%
Senator Pat Toomey (R)88.2%0.0%
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. No bills were scored this week.

The last vote that the FiveThirtyEight folks have tracked is the Amy Coney Barrett confirmation.  It is possible that they are retiring this number, now that Trump’s tenure as our president is ending. We will keep this number up for the time being, and in the 117th Congress, we will establish a new metric for assessing MOC voting records.


Quick Links

Votes of Interest 

The House Votes to Decriminalize Cannabis 

House Vote on H.R. 3884: MORE (Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement) Act 
This week the House passed a bill that would decriminalize marijuana. Pennsylvania’s own Rep. Dwight Evans (D-PA-03) shared a recap of the bill and why he supports it, so we will include that text in lieu of our own recap:

Rep Evans notes, “the MORE Act would make several important reforms:

  • Remove marijuana, or cannabis, from the list of federally controlled substances;
  • Authorize the provision of resources, funded by an excise tax on marijuana, to address the needs of communities that have been seriously impacted by the War on Drugs, including increasing the participation of communities of color in the booming cannabis market; and
  • Provide for the expungement of federal marijuana convictions and arrests. 

The MORE Act would also establish an Opportunity Trust Fund to provide funding for:

  • Services to individuals, including job training, reentry services and substance use disorder services;
  • Loans to assist small businesses that are owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals; and
  • Programs that minimize barriers to marijuana licensing and employment for individuals adversely impacted by the War on Drugs, including in states like Pennsylvania that currently have only legalized medical marijuana. This provision is because of the inclusion of Evans’ Homegrown Act.”

Vote date: Friday, December 4, 2020
Vote Tally: 228-164
Party Breakdown: Most Republicans voted NO, while the lone Libertarian and most Democrats voted YES. Six Democrats and five Republicans crossed party lines. The only Pennsylvanian MoC to do so was 🔵 PA-17’s Rep. Conor Lamb, who voted NO.

Additional Reading:

Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Statement on House Passage of MORE Act to Federally Decriminalize Marijuana,” from The Sierra Sun Times

NoRFitzpatrick, BrianPA 1stNoRPerry, ScottPA 10th
AyeDBoyle, BrendanPA 2ndNoRSmucker, LloydPA 11th
AyeDEvans, DwightPA 3rdNoRKeller, FredPA 12th
AyeDDean, MadeleinePA 4thNoRJoyce, JohnPA 13th
AyeDScanlon, MaryPA 5thno voteRReschenthaler, GuyPA 14th
AyeDHoulahan, ChrissyPA 6thNoRThompson, GlennPA 15th
AyeDWild, SusanPA 7thNoRKelly, MikePA 16th
AyeDCartwright, MatthewPA 8thNoDLamb, ConorPA 17th
NoRMeuser, DanielPA 9thAyeDDoyle, MikePA 18th

The Senate Votes to Change Disability Rules for People with ALS 

Senate Vote on S. 578: ALS Disability Insurance Access Act

The process for most people to receive Social Security Disability benefits is long and complicated. And even after one is approved – which can take one to two years, or more – current rules impose a five month wait period before one can receive medical insurance coverage.

The bill that passed in the Senate this week would eliminate that wait period for people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. That disease, a progressive neuromuscular disorder, is incurable and most people die within two to five years of diagnosis. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), one of the original co-sponsors of the legislation, observed, “families in Michigan coping with an ALS diagnosis already endure tremendous hardships. The last thing they should deal with is unnecessary waiting periods for their Social Security Disability Insurance.”

Vote date: Wednesday, December 2, 2020
Vote Tally: 96-1
Party Breakdown: The only lawmaker to vote NO was Republican Mike Lee of Utah.

Additional Reading:

Bob Casey voted YES and Pat Toomey voted YES.

Suspension of the Rules Votes in the House

All of the other votes taken in the House were expected to pass by wide margins and were considered under a suspension of the rules, requiring a ⅔ supermajority to pass. The lame duck session is often used to consider this sort of legislation. Since these bills are uncontroversial, we will only note those lawmakers from Pennsylvania who voted NO.

House Vote on S. 2981: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps Amendments Act

According to the Library of Congress bill summary, this legislation updates requirements for the commissioner officers serving with NOAA, to change “service requirements, training and physical fitness, education loan assistance, recruitment, hiring and promotions, separation and retirement, sexual harassment and assault prevention, and other workforce issues.”

Vote date: Friday, December 4, 2020
Vote Tally: 265-124

The following Pennsylvania lawmakers voted NO:

🔴 PA-09’s Rep. Dan Meuser

🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry

🔴 PA-12’s Rep. Fred Keller

🔴 PA-13’s Rep. John Joyce

🔴 PA-15’s Rep. Glenn W. Thompson

🔴 PA-16’s Rep. Mike Kelly


House Vote on H.R. 1380: Big Cat Public Safety Act

GovTrack notes that this bill “revises requirements governing the trade of big cats (i.e., species of lion, tiger, leopard, cheetah, jaguar, or cougar or any hybrid of such species). Specifically, it revises restrictions on the possession and exhibition of big cats, including to restrict direct contact between the public and big cats.”

Vote date: Thursday, December 3, 2020
Vote Tally: 272-114
The following Pennsylvania lawmakers voted NO:

🔴 PA-09’s Rep. Dan Meuser

🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry

🔴 PA-12’s Rep. Fred Keller

🔴 PA-13’s Rep. John Joyce

🔴 PA-15’s Rep. Glenn W. Thompson

🔴 PA-16’s Rep. Mike Kelly


House Vote on H.R. 7995: Coin Metal Modification Authorization and Cost Savings Act

This bill allows the US Mint to perform a study to see if changing the metal composition of coins will reduce costs to taxpayers while not causing a disruption in the production of coinage. A more detailed summary from the Library of Congress can be found here

Vote date: Wednesday, December 2, 2020 Vote Tally: 343-41

There was only one Pennsylvania lawmaker to vote NO:

🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry


Starting on November 15th and continuing on November 22nd, we discussed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s big push to confirm a final batch of Trump judges to lifetime appointments in our nation’s country.  He shoved through two judges in that first week of lame duck confirmations, and another five in the next week. As the Senate took off for Thanksgiving, we now pick up with judges eight through eleven, as well as a pair of bureaucratic confirmations. For more on this judicial action, see the Courthouse News Service article “Republicans Confirm More Trump Judges Amid Pandemic Relief Talks.”

Lame Duck Judicial Confirmation #8 – Mississippi 

Senate Confirmation Vote on Taylor B. McNeel to be United States District Judge for the Southern District of Mississippi

Mr. McNeel is a graduate of the University of Mississippi for both his undergraduate and legal education, and he has spent his entire legal career at the firm of Brunini, Grantham, Grower & Hewes, PLLC in Biloxi, Mississippi. According to The Vetting Room, he is an experienced attorney who has “handled both bench and jury trials in federal and state court, as well as appeals in the Mississippi Supreme Court and the Mississippi Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.” 

Vote date: Tuesday, December 1, 2020
Vote Tally: 53-39
Party Breakdown:
All Republicans present voted YES, and they were joined by four Democrats – Doug Jones of Alabama, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, Ben Cardin of Maryland and Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Thirty-eight Democrats and one Independent voted NO.

Additional Reading:

Bob Casey voted NO and Pat Toomey voted YES.

Lame Duck Judicial Confirmation #9 – Ohio

Senate Confirmation Vote on J. Philip Calabrese, of Ohio, to be United States District Judge for the Northern District of Ohio

J. Philip Calabrese graduated from Harvard Law School in 2000 before clerking for a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. He then worked in private practice for most of two decades before he was appointed to an Ohio county court in 2019.

Some of the cases he handled during his time in private practice caused concern during his confirmation hearings. For those of you who watch Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, the now-bankrupt coal company Murray Energy and its litigious founder/owner Bob Murray (link contains a magnificent musical number that has some NSFW language) will be familiar. Murray often filed ‘SLAPP’ lawsuits, “strategic lawsuit against public participation,” filed to keep people from offering any criticism.  Newly confirmed Judge Calabrese represented Bob Murray in SLAPP suits against a local news outlet that criticized Murray for firing hundreds of employees.

Vote date: Tuesday, December 1, 2020
Vote Tally: 58-35

Party Breakdown: All Republicans present voted YES, and they were joined by eight Democrats. Thirty-four Democrats voted NO along with one Independent. Ohio’s Senators – Republican Rob Portman and Democrat Sherrod Brown – still work cooperatively on the judicial nomination process (as do our own pair of Pennsylvania senators), so Sen. Brown’s involvement in the choice of Judge Calabrese may explain why he has more than the normal handful of Democratic senators supporting his confirmation.

Additional Reading:

Bob Casey voted NO and Pat Toomey voted YES.

Lame Duck Judicial Confirmation #10 – Federal Claims

Senate Confirmation Vote on Kathryn C. Davis to be a Judge of the United States Court of Federal Claims for a term of fifteen years

The Federal Claims Court is a special segment of the judiciary that deals with “complex factual and statutory construction issues in tax law,” according to their website.  They also handle bid and contract law disputes and “intellectual property, Indian tribe, and various statutory claims against the United States.”  Unlike many other judicial positions, confirmed judges do not get lifetime appointments, but instead serve for 15 years.  The Vetting Room outlined the problems facing this special court, observing “the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (CFC) is facing a vacancy crisis.  One of the factors exacerbating the situation is the Trump Administration’s slow pace in nominations and their predilection for naming young attorneys with little background in the court’s specialized docket.”

Ms. Davis most recently worked at the Department of Justice, where she defended the Trump Administration in cases relating to student loans, the border wall, and immigration policy. Prior to that, she defended the Obama and Bush Administrations in cases relating to detainees held in the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility. Davis has some roots in Pennsylvania, as she attended Temple University’s Law School and worked at the private firm of McKissock & Hoffman P.C. in Philadelphia.

Vote date: Wednesday, December 2, 2020
Vote Tally: 51-45

Party Breakdown: This was a party line vote, with all Republicans voting YES and all Democrats and Independents voting NO.

Additional Reading:

Lame Duck Judicial Confirmation #10 – Federal Claims

Senate Confirmation Vote on Kathryn C. Davis to be a Judge of the United States Court of Federal Claims for a term of fifteen years

The Federal Claims Court is a special segment of the judiciary that deals with “complex factual and statutory construction issues in tax law,” according to their website.  They also handle bid and contract law disputes and “intellectual property, Indian tribe, and various statutory claims against the United States.”  Unlike many other judicial positions, confirmed judges do not get lifetime appointments, but instead serve for 15 years.  The Vetting Room outlined the problems facing this special court, observing “the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (CFC) is facing a vacancy crisis.  One of the factors exacerbating the situation is the Trump Administration’s slow pace in nominations and their predilection for naming young attorneys with little background in the court’s specialized docket.”

Ms. Davis most recently worked at the Department of Justice, where she defended the Trump Administration in cases relating to student loans, the border wall, and immigration policy. Prior to that, she defended the Obama and Bush Administrations in cases relating to detainees held in the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility. Davis has some roots in Pennsylvania, as she attended Temple University’s Law School and worked at the private firm of McKissock & Hoffman P.C. in Philadelphia.

Vote date: Wednesday, December 2, 2020
Vote Tally: 51-45

Party Breakdown: This was a party line vote, with all Republicans voting YES and all Democrats and Independents voting NO.

Additional Reading:

Bob Casey voted NO and Pat Toomey voted YES.

Lame Duck Judicial Confirmation #11 – Armed Forces Appeals 

Senate Confirmation Vote on Liam P. Hardy  to be a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces for the term of fifteen years

There is very little information available about this confirmation. Law360.com (A subscription site) has the tiniest of blurbs available to the public, calling this nominee a “Trump Administration lawyer” and “former Kirkland partner.”  They also note that the position to which Mr. Hardy was confirmed is one where civilian judges review decisions made by the military legal system.

Vote date: Thursday, December 3, 2020
Vote Tally: 59-34

Party Breakdown: All Republicans present voted YES, and they were joined by eleven Democrats and one Independent. Thirty-four Democrats voted NO.
Bob Casey voted NO and Pat Toomey voted YES.

Lame Duck Bureaucratic Confirmation #1 – Federal Reserve

Senate Confirmation Vote on Christopher Waller to be a Member of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System for a term of fourteen years

The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote an excellent piece about the confirmation for Mr. Waller. They note that Waller taught economics for over two decades before joining the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank in 2009, where he now serves as the research director. About that research, it concerns, “how the Fed’s communications affect financial markets and the benefits of an independent central bank.”

The Inquirer also notes that the confirmation of Waller should do little to change the current philosophy of the Fed.  They explain:

Waller is a top aide to James Bullard, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, and a well-known “dove.” Doves are policymakers who are generally thought to favor lower interest rates to help boost job growth and who tend to worry less about the risk of inflation. Those who worry more about the threat of inflation, by contrast, are generally referred to as “hawks”… Waller’s economic tilt won’t likely make much difference to the Fed’s policy, because the Fed is almost as dovish as they can be.

The Fed seats are normally confirmed in pairs, with one seat going to each party.  The Democratic seat is still vacant, and will likely be left to the Biden Administration to fill.

Vote date: Thursday, December 3, 2020
Vote Tally: 48-47

Party Breakdown: Almost all Republicans voted YES, but Rand Paul of Kentucky voted NO. Sen. Paul was joined by all forty-five Democrats and one Independent.

Additional Reading:

Bob Casey voted NO and Pat Toomey voted YES.

Lame Duck Bureaucratic Confirmation #2 – National Credit Union

Senate Confirmation Vote on Kyle Hauptman to be a Member of the National Credit Union Administration Board for a term expiring August 2, 2025

The National Credit Union Administration does what its name indicates – it oversees and performs rulemaking as it relates to our country’s credit unions. It has a three member board, where no more than two members may be of the same party.  The other two members are currently one Democrat and one Republican, so the confirmation of the Trump Administration’s nominee means that the Gp will maintain control of the NCUA for the first two years  of the Biden Administration.

Prior to his confirmation, Mr. Haputman worked for Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) as an economic advisor, and he also served as the Staff Director on the Senate Banking Committee’s Subcommittee on Economic Policy. Before that, he served on the SEC and on the 2016 Presidential Transition Team for President Trump.

Vote date: Wednesday, December 2, 2020
Vote Tally: 56-39

Party Breakdown: All Republicans voted YES. They were joined by Independent Angus King of Maine and (and unusual line-up of) four Democrats – Doug Jones of Alabama, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire and Mark Warner of Virginia.


Additional Reading:

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/months and other ceremonial activities.

  • S.1153 – Stop Student Debt Relief Scams Act
  • H.R.1044 – Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act
  • H.R.3349 – Republic of Texas Legation Memorial Act
  • H.R.3465 – Fallen Journalists Memorial Act
  • S.434 – A bill to require the collection of certain data relating to Bureau of Land Management land acquisitions
  • S.496 – Young Fishermen’s Development Act
  • S.945 – Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act
  • S.4054 – United States Grain Standards Reauthorization Act 
  • H.R.306 – Kettle Creek Battlefield Survey Act
  • H.R.1049 – National Heritage Area Act
  • H.R.1819 – War Crimes Rewards Expansion Act
  • H.R.3682 – Land Grant-Mercedes Traditional Use Recognition and Consultation Act
  • H.R.4153 – Health Care Access for Urban Native Veterans Act
  • H.R.5517 – Gandhi-King Scholarly Exchange Initiative Act
  • H.R.7045 – To require the Secretary of Agriculture to conduct a study on lands that could be included in a National Forest in Hawai’i
  • H.R.7903 – To amend the Small Business Act to establish the Community Advantage Loan Program
  • H.R.8199 – 504 Credit Risk Management Improvement Act
  • H.R.8211 – 504 Modernization and Small Manufacturer Enhancement Act
  • H.R.8229 – Parity for HUBZone Appeals Act 
  • H.R.8810 – National Landslide Preparedness Act

H.Res.17 – Expressing concern over the detention of Austin Tice and Majd Kamalmaz

  • H.Res.958 – Condemning the practice of politically motivated imprisonment and calling for the immediate release of political prisoners in the Russian Federation and urging action by the United States Government to impose sanctions with respect to persons responsible for that form of human rights abuse
  • H.Res.996 – Expressing the sense of Congress that the activities of Russian national Yevgeniy Prigozhin and his affiliated entities pose a threat to the national interests and security of the United States and of its allies and partners
  • H.Res.1115 – Calling for the immediate release of Trevor Reed, a United States citizen who was unjustly sentenced to 9 years in a Russian prison
  • S.199 – Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Reservation Restoration Act
  • S.212 – Indian Community Economic Enhancement Act 
  • S.914 – Coordinated Ocean Observations and Research Act

S.1342 – Great Lakes Environmental Sensitivity Index Act

Update on COVID relief and the looming shutdown

To recap the tortured process to get us to where we are today:

  • On March 6, 2020, the first bill to address the coronavirus pandemic was signed into law. This legislation, H.R. 6074: Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act, divided about $8 billion between the Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the State Department, and small business loans.
  • On March 18, 2020, the second coronavirus package was signed into law. The bill, H.R. 6201: Families First Coronavirus Response Act, was a roughly $8 billion package that included funds for testing, food security programs, limited emergency family and sick leave, limited unemployment insurance and Medicaid funding.
  • On March 27, 2020, the third coronavirus relief bill was signed into law. H.R. 748: Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, or the CARES Act, included direct payments to Americans, increased unemployment benefits, assistance to corporations/small businesses and hospital and health provider assistance. Some changes were made to increase the duration and utility of the “PPP” portion of this bill, the small business protection part, after votes taken in the last week of May.

That’s where the bipartisan cooperation ended. Now we get to the Senate Republican stonewalling portion of this process:

  • On May 15, 2020 the House passed the first version of the HEROES (Health & Economic Recovery Omnibus Emergency Solutions) Act, $3 trillion in funding and programs including extended unemployment insurance, new stimulus payments to families, more money for testing, tracing and treatment, and a slew of other programs.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to consider or schedule it.
  • On October 1, 2020, the House passed a new version of the HEROES Act, reducing the overall price tag from over $3.4 trillion to $2.2 trillion.  package still included extended unemployment insurance and a new $1,2000 stimulus check to families, but it reduced the level of aid provided to state, local and tribal governments by half. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to consider or schedule it.

In the past several month, House Speaker Pelosi has worked with various Republicans, including Treasury Secretary Mnuchin, to come up with a compromise relief package, but that was cut off prior to the election.  Now talks have resumed.  The story of the negotiations can be told through these CNBC news headlines from each day of this past week:

Complicating this situation is a December 11, 2020 deadline. Facing a funding deadline and looming shutdown back in late September, Congress passed a continuing resolution. That’s the mechanism that funding the government at existing levels until a specified date… and that date is this coming Friday. So the government needs to pass another funding bill, or another Continuing resolution, by Friday, december 11, 2020 or else we will have another government shutdown.

In a US News and World Report article titled “Pelosi Says Coronavirus Relief Could Come With Omnibus Funding Bill,” noted that Speaker Pelosi and Leader McConnell have discussed attaching “new coronavirus relief legislation to an omnibus funding bill lawmakers must pass in a week to avoid a government shutdown.”  So that means we all need to keep our eyes on the news this coming week to see if federal assistance will be coming soon or well into the first months of the Biden Administration.

Twitter Action – COVID and pandemic release

🔵 Senator Bob Casey, @SenBobCasey, 11/25/20:

“My statement on Pennsylvania surpassing 10,000 COVID-19 deaths.”

🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle, @CongBoyle, 12/04/20:

The MoC retweeted content from the PA Department of State“The pandemic has been tough. But Pennsylvanians can prove that together we are tougher!  #MaskUpPA to help #StopTheSpread of #COVID19 in our communities. #PAagainstCOVID http://PA.gov/COVID

🔵 PA-03’s Rep. Dwight Evans, @RepDwightEvans, 12/03/20:

“The relief we passed in March WORKED for the many families & small businesses that received it.

Now Senate Republicans need to join @HouseDemocrats in passing a new Covid relief package as a bridge to the new year!

#ReliefCantWait”

🔵 PA-04’s Rep. Madeleine Dean, @RepDean, 12/04/20:

“Let me be clear: We cannot go home without a deal. 

Families 

Small businesses

State and Local Government 

Our country cannot handle another delay. We need relief now.”

🔵 PA-05’s Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, @RepMGS, 12/05/20:

“We must remain vigilant as we continue to combat the ongoing pandemic. Please continue to wear your mask and social distance.” tweeted with a link to a CNN article titled “Covid-19 has already exhausted the US. And it’s only the start of a dark and deadly winter

🔵 PA-06’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, @RepHoulahan, 12/03/20:

“I’ve been working with a group of Republicans & Democrats on a COVID relief package. This proposal is bipartisan, bicameral, and answers the call for action echoing across our country. I’m hopeful the momentum continues and we can deliver relief for our Commonwealth and country.” tweeted with embedded Bloomberg video of the MoC discussing the relief negotiations

🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild, @RepSusanWild, 12/03/20:

“Yesterday was the single deadliest day of this pandemic yet. This is not over.

Our businesses need support to keep doors open & our families need paychecks to keep food on the table.

We need to legislate like our loved ones lives & livelihoods are at stake. Because they are.”

🔵 PA-08’s Rep. Matt Cartwright, @RepCartwright, 12/04/20:

“Our economy gained 245,000 jobs last month, but we’re still down about 10 million jobs since February. We have a long way to go in our recovery & we can’t get there without comprehensive relief for families, small businesses, health care & seniors. We have to get this done.”

🔴 PA-09’s Rep. Dan Meuser, @RepMeuser, 12/03/20:

“ICYMI, I spoke with @Owens_abc27 about whether Pennsylvania is utilizing all available federal resources to expand testing capacity and help our healthcare system mitigate the spread of COVID-19.” tweeted with an ABC 27 article titled “PA Congressman: Why is state not spending federal money to fight Coronavirus?

🔴 PA-11’s Rep. Lloyd Smucker, @RepSmucker, 11/30/20:

“A second vaccine candidate is headed to @US_FDA for Emergency Use Authorization review. I applaud the work being done to help fight COVID-19. #OperationWarpSpeed”  tweeted with an AP News article titled “Moderna asking US, European regulators to OK its virus shot

🔴 PA-12’s Rep. Fred Keller, @RepFredKeller, 12/04/20:

“Speaker Pelosi just admitted that her continued effort to block coronavirus relief FOR MONTHS was just one big political stunt. 

She even had the audacity to say that she’s “proud of where we are” while American small businesses and livelihoods are being decimated.”

🔴 PA-13’s Rep. John Joyce, @RepJohnJoyce, 12/02/20:

“All of us can do our part to defeat #COVID19 and save lives and livelihoods.”

🔴 PA-14’s Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, @GReschenthaler, 12/03/20:

“Nancy Pelosi needs to get her priorities straight.

Millions of Americans are struggling to pay bills & small businesses are shutting their doors for good & all she cares about is marijuana & tigers.

Delivering aid to Americans in need should be our only priority right now.”

🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle, @USRepMikeDoyle, 12/04/20:

“#COVID19 is spreading so fast in #PA that we’re facing a serious shortage of hospital beds and medical staff in the coming weeks. Please do all you can to #SlowTheSpread – wear masks and social distance.” tweeted with a link to an AP New article titled “Pennsylvania hospital beds filling up amid virus surge

Tweet of the Week…s (since we had no report last week)

🔵 Senator Bob Casey, @SenBobCasey, 12/03/20:

“More than one billion people are living with a disability. On this International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we are reminded that not all disabilities are visible. We must take care to create an inclusive world for ALL people with disabilities. #IDPD2020”

🔴 Senator Pat Toomey, @SenToomey, has only tweeted twice since November 24th, both in celebration of holidays.

🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, @RepBrianFitz, 11/28/20:

“Small businesses are the backbone of our nation’s economy. This #SmallBusinessSaturday, be sure to shop online or safely in person at the amazing small businesses throughout our community!”

🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle, @CongBoyle, 12/04/20:

“With a total of 47 states now having reformed their laws pertaining to marijuana use in one way or another, it is now time for Congress to take action at the federal level. The #MOREAct will right the scales for people who have been imprisoned at a disproportionate rate for marijuana-related offenses; clear the way for patients to more readily obtain medical cannabis treatments; and ensure that the cannabis market will be an equal-opportunity industry moving forward.

#EndCannabisProhibition”

🔵 PA-03’s Rep. Dwight Evans, @RepDwightEvans, 12/02/20:

“50 years ago, @EPA was established to protect & preserve our environment & human health.

Our communities of color are disproportionately burdened by #ClimateCrisis impacts. As we recognize #EPAat50 we must fight to #RestoreEPA and its promise of #EnvironmentalJustice for all.”

🔵 PA-04’s Rep. Madeleine Dean, @RepDean, 12/02/20:


“Today, we remember those lost on December 2, 2015. We must pass legislation that addresses and ends gun violence — to honor the lives lost and keep future lives safe.”

🔵 PA-05’s Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, @RepMGS, 12/02/20:

“Just wanted to check in before I get on the road to head back to DC. We’ve got a lot on the agenda for the next week, including continued COVID-19 relief negotiations. I’ll keep you updated!” This was tweeted with an embedded video update from Rep. Scanlon.  We at MoCTrack want to commend lawmakers who do these short video updates for constituents, and hope more will start the practice in the 117th Congress.

🔵 PA-06’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, @RepHoulahan, 12/04/20:

“This is great news for our country and an important first step towards returning compassion to our immigration system. Dreamers, you’re home.” tweeted with a link to a Washington Post article titled “Federal judge restores DACA, orders DHS to accept first-time applications from immigrants

🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild, @RepSusanWild, 12/03/20:

“Health care is a right— not a privilege. You deserve quality, affordable health coverage, and now is the time to get it.

Open enrollment is going on NOW until December 15th. Sign up today at http://HealthCare.gov or call 1-800-318-2596 for free help.

Let’s #GetCovered PA!”

🔵 PA-08’s Rep. Matt Cartwright, @RepCartwright, 11/30/20:

“The Biden-Harris administration will face major challenges in getting us through to the other side of this pandemic & economic downturn. @Transition46 has put together an accomplished team that’s ready to rebuild our economy for the benefit of the workers who power it every day.”

🔴 PA-09’s Rep. Dan Meuser, @RepMeuser, 11/25/20:

“My family wishes all Pennsylvanians, Americans, and @realDonaldTrump and his family a Happy Thanksgiving. We are grateful for @realDonaldTrump and for his leading the charge on the most rapid solution to a virus that anyone could have done or hoped for. God Bless America.”

🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry, @RepScottPerry, 12/03/20:

“Today, @HouseDemocrats conducted official business without a quorum- the minimum # of members required. That’s unconstitutional. That’s why @HouseGOP, @FreedomCaucus led a lawsuit against proxy voting. We won’t stop fighting @speakerpelosi & Dems eroding the Constitution & rules.”

🔴 PA-11’s Rep. Lloyd Smucker, @RepSmucker, 12/04/20:

“House Democrats are focused on their partisan agenda. @HouseGOP lead by @GOPLeader are focused on our #CommitmentToAmerica. Since the start of this pandemic, @HouseGOP have been focused on working to support the American people. It’s time Democrats take note and do the same.

🔴 PA-12’s Rep. Fred Keller, @RepFredKeller, 12/03/20:

“The Left continues to condemn any effort to investigate the election results yet they spent four years trying to tear down President @realDonaldTrump with absolutely no evidence. 

The American people deserve to know that our elections are free and fair.” tweeted with embedded Fox News video of President Trump

🔴 PA-13’s Rep. John Joyce, @RepJohnJoyce, 12/02/20:

“In a letter to AG Barr this week, I urged @TheJusticeDept to take courageous action to safeguard the integrity of the election & ensure that every American’s legal vote is counted once.

The American people deserve, and justice demands, action now. https://bit.ly/2KS6LVE”

🔴 PA-14’s Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, @GReschenthaler, 12/01/20:

“Is there anything Fauci hasn’t flip-flopped on?” tweeted with a link to a Business Insider article titled “Fauci said authorities should ‘close the bars and keep the schools open’ to cut down on coronavirus infection spread

🔴 PA-15’s Rep. Glenn W. Thompson, @CongressmanGT, 12/03/20:

“I am honored that my colleagues have put their faith in me to be Republican Leader of the Agriculture Committee. Let’s get to work! #FarmFamiliesFirst”

🔴 PA-16’s Rep. Mike Kelly, @MikeKellyPA, has not tweeted since November 18th

🔵 PA-17’s Rep. Conor Lamb, @RepConorLamb, 12/04/20:

“The President has signed into law a bill to rename the Hookstown Post Office in #PA17 to honor the service & sacrifice of Staff Sergeant Dylan Elchin. You can learn more about Dylan here:”

🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle, @USRepMikeDoyle, 12/02/20:

“#BillBarr is the latest @GOP official to acknowledge that #ELECTION2020 wasn’t rigged nor tainted with fraud.” tweeted with a link to a Washington Post article titled“Barr says he hasn’t seen fraud that could affect the election outcome


Casey in the News 

Courtesy of contributor Linda Houk

“Families need funds to pay for rent, food and health care. Small businesses need support as they struggle to make payroll and keep their doors open. Workers need additional unemployment benefits.… And our state and local governments need help to keep health departments open, transit systems running, cops and firefighters in their communities and to prevent thousands of layoffs.”

“I hope that there’s an opportunity to make it bigger.”

— from an article in the Morning Call, titled “Will Pennsylvania get more federal coronavirus dollars soon? Toomey, Casey split shows it will be tough

“It’s not in front of us, and I just don’t think it’s really something that’s near-term and urgent for a lot of Americans.”

“Now if things change, if we get the majority, and the Supreme Court—not only the fight on the confirmation—but the cases that start to emerge from this court, I think it’s a very corporate, right-wing court and it could be even more so now, and I think that’s where the country will be engaged.”

—from an article in the Wall Street Journal, titled “Debate Looms on Supreme Court Expansion

“Once you get agreement, there’s a kind of momentum that I hope will take over… Having [relief] for two months is a heck of a lot better than having zero…”

“I think we’re gonna need a New Deal Works Progress Administration-like bill.”

—from an article on WFMZ TV News, titled “Capitol Hill appears ready to move forward on another stimulus

Senator Casey also did an interview with the Bradford Era, in an article titled “Casey: Parties must work together for COVID relief.” Some of the key quotes from that piece are included below:

  • “COVID-19 has reached every corner of our nation and every county in our Commonwealth. Today, I am thinking about the 10,000 Pennsylvanians who have lost their lives to this virus, and all those who loved them.”
  • “We mourn for those we have lost and pray for those still suffering, as well as for their friends and families who are grieving.”
  • “Pennsylvanians, especially our frontline health care workers, have been fighting this relentless pandemic for more than eight months. COVID-19 has now claimed the lives of more than 10,000 Pennsylvanians, and over a quarter of a million Americans.”
  • “We are now seeing the largest wave of cases to date, and I am saddened to know that there will be more deaths in the weeks to come.”
  • “It is critical that we all follow the guidance from public health authorities to stay home, wear a mask and avoid gatherings with people outside our families, in order to protect each other and do our part to stop the spread of this vicious virus.”
  • “It is past time for Senate Republicans to work with Democrats, including the incoming Biden Administration, on robust legislation to provide states and the health care system with the resources they need to mitigate the spread of the virus.”.
  • “We must work together for the health and safety of the American people to protect frontline workers, implement a national testing strategy, advise people across all states to wear a mask and safeguard the seniors, people with disabilities and workers in nursing homes and other long-term care settings, who are among those put most at risk amid the pandemic.”

Toomey in the News 

Courtesy of contributor Elayne Baker

“[I] will not be objecting to Pennsylvania’s slate of electors.” 

— from a Spotlight PA article (with an headline that does NOT refer to Sen. Toomey) titled “GOP leaders ask Congress to reject Pa.’s electors for Joe Biden

“As the Senate considers Dr. Yellen’s nomination to lead Treasury, I look forward to discussing with her a variety of issues, especially the requirement for CARES Act temporary emergency lending facilities to shut down by year-end and remain shut down, absent congressional action.” 

— from a Newsweek article (with another headline that does NOT refer to Sen. Toomey), titled “GOP Senator Suggests He May Oppose Biden’s Treasury Pick, Says He ‘Voted Against’ Yellen for Fed” 

“Rape is an appalling, heinous crime and victims deserve justice and our suppor. The fact that there are backlogs in testing rape kits, which are often used in the fight for justice, is entirely inexcusable. This bipartisan bill helps lessen the ramifications of these backlogs by ensuring that victims can apply for and receive benefits and support services, even if their rape kit is delayed to a point that a victim missed the deadline to apply in their state.” 

— from an article in the Times Observer titled “Sex assault survivors bill introduced

“I am sympathetic to the idea that people who are involved in [the] cannabis industry — in an entirely legal fashion, in the state in which they operate — ought to be able to have ordinary banking services. That’s my starting point, and then there’s a lot of details to work out, but I am open to that.”

— from an article in The Leaf Online titled “New hope for banking reform in Senate transition

“We’ve got a particularly attractive opportunity to expand trade with Taiwan. Strengthening those trade ties with Taiwan would benefit us both in security terms and in economic growth. For the U.S. and Taiwan certainly, but even the Indo-Pacific region, as a whole. Taiwan is already our tenth largest trading partner in goods….

…Today, half of Taiwan’s trade and eighty percent of its investment is with China or Hong Kong. The U.S. can provide an alternative path. One of the things that we need to bear in mind as we go down this road, I hope, of expanding our trade and liberalizing trade with Taiwan is we should have free trade, not managed trade. We should have a free trade agreement that is based on maximizing free trade in goods and services, as well as the movement of capital…

…The goal of the agreement should be to lower barriers to trade and investment, preferably to eliminate barriers to trade and investment, and we could do that. I intend to introduce this week a Senate resolution in support of a U.S.-Taiwan free trade agreement. Since the Economic Cooperation Framework of 2010, Taiwan has expressed a desire to pursue new free trade agreements. And we should credit Taiwan to coming to the table to negotiate with the U.S.” 

— from a North Central PA article titled “Sen. Pat Toomey endorses U.S.-Taiwan trade agreement” 

“President Trump should accept the outcome of the election and facilitate the presidential transition process.”

— from a Bloomberg News article titled “More Republicans Say It’s Time for Trump to Start Transition

Call to Action – COVID relief

It is not hyperbole to say that tens of millions of Americans will face hunger and/or homelessnessif another phase of coronavirus relief legislation is not passed soon. The eviction and foreclosure moratorium is set to run out, and state and local governments are struggling under the weight of increased services and reduced revenue. Everyone needs help.

Regardless of the party of your Congressperson, please call them as well as BOTH of our senators to tell them that we are counting on them to pass a bill to help Americans impacted by this pandemic.


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:

  1. Start off the message with what you want.
  2. Tie your request to how you are feeling – anxious, scared, fearful, hopeless, etc.
  3. Give a personal example of what you are experiencing that is causing your emotional state; OR
  4. Include info about a person you love, and how this situation is affecting them.
  5. Close by reiterating your request of the Senator.

Here is an example message, using these tips:

I have contacted <lawmaker> to ask <him/her> to support efforts to help us all by supporting the extension of coronavirus rescue programs (1). We have been struggling these past months, I am scared of what will happen when the foreclosure moratorium ends (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. We need <lawmaker> 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 this week to put the pressure on all of our Members of Congress, because December 11, 2020 is when the continuing resolution funding the government ends… and there are indications that this is the last chance to get a relief package passed before the Biden Administration takes over… in which case a relief package would not be brought up for several more months.

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!


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