Pennsylvania Member of Congress Tracking Report – 12/13/20

62 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!

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)28.8%-0.2%
Senator Pat Toomey (R)87.5%-0.7%
PA-01 Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R)62.2%-0.7%
PA-02 Rep. Brendan Boyle (D)13.3%+0.4%
PA-03 Rep. Dwight Evans (D)11.2%-0.2%
PA-04 Rep. Madeleine Dean (D)3.5%-0.1%
PA-05 Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon (D)5.6%-0.1%
PA-06 Rep. Chrissy Houlahan (D)4.7%-0.1%
PA-07 Rep. Susan Wild (D)7.9%-0.1%
PA-08 Rep. Matt Cartwright (D)18.8%-0.2%
PA-09 Rep. Dan Meuser (R)96.3%-1.2%
PA-10 Rep. Scott Perry (R)90.5%+0.1%
PA-11 Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R)94.9%-0.5%
PA-12 Rep. Fred Keller (R)92.9%-1.5%
PA-13 Rep. John Joyce (R)96.5%-1.1%
PA-14 Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R)94.0%-1.1%
PA-15 Rep. Glenn W. Thompson (R)97.2%-0.6%
PA-16 Rep. Mike Kelly (R)96.1%-0.5%
PA-17 Rep. Conor Lamb (D)21.6%-0.4%
PA-18 Rep. Mike Doyle (D)15.1%+0.4%

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 Defense Authorization bill was scored this week in both the House and the Senate, as Trump opposed it.  Do keep in mind that with a bill that large, the reasons why Trump opposed it (refusal to include a section to punish social media outlets like Twitter, refusal to remove a section about renaming military bases named for Confederate figures) do not necessarily match with the reasons why lawmakers may have voted for or against the bill.

Votes of Interest 

Shutdown averted… for a week

House Vote on H.R. 8900: Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021, and Other Extensions Act

Late on Friday night President Trump signed this continuing resolution, after its passage by the House and the Senate. This delaying bill, which extends the deadline for funding by just one week, through December 18, 2020, is necessary because Congress cannot come to an agreement about 2021 spending and a covid relief package.

A number of lawmakers have tried to broker a bipartisan deal, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will not budge on two key items.  He insists upon the inclusion of liability protections for corporations (so they can force employees back to work in potentially unsafe conditions and face no consequences over transmission of the coronavirus). And McConnell has expressed that he will not support financial relief for states and municipalities, who are bearing the burden of increased service costs (like emergency medical services) and decreasing revenue.

As Rachel Maddow says, “keep your eyes on this space.” We will know more about both covid relief and government funding by next Friday.

Vote date: Wednesday, December 9, 2020 Vote Tally: 343-67

Party Breakdown: All Democrats present voted YES and they were joined by 111 Republicans. Libertarian Justin Amash of Michigan voted NO along with 66 Republicans.

Additional Reading:

Note: News outlets have reported that the Senate has passed the measure, presumably by unanimous consent, and that President Trump has signed it into law.  However the Congressional clerk has not yet updated the bill information on any of the tracking websites, so we cannot provide a link, or confirm without question that both senators supported the measure.  But since we know that the Senate did not take any roll call votes yesterday, it is safe to assume that this continuing resolution had the support of Senators Casey and Toomey.

Congress Passes the 2021 Defense Authorization Package

House Vote on H.R. 6395: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021

Senate Vote on H.R. 6395: National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2021

The 2021 National Defense Authorization Act passed with veto-proof margins in both houses of Congress, despite veto threats from President Trump. This 740 billion package funding our military operations for the next year. A summary of the bill from the Library of Congress can be found here, but some of the key provisions included are:

  • a 3% pay increase for members of the armed services
  • expanded civilian federal employees’ access to paid leave benefits
  • authorization to rename military bases named for Confederate military figures
  • an increase of more than 5,000 military troops
  • “funding for a new initiative aimed at checking China’s military power in southeast Asia,” per Stars and Stripes, the new $2.2 billion Pacific Deterrence Initiative
  • restrictions on a president’s authority to withdraw troops from Germany and Afghanistan
  • construction projects at military bases
  • the purchase of two Virginia-class attack submarines

This package does NOT include any content related to the repeal of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, a section of law that protects social media corporations from liability for content provided by users. President Trump demanded that this be shoe-horned into the NDAA, but members of both parties refused, indicating that changes to the Communications Decency Act have nothing to do with the military budget. The refusal to include this content prompted the veto threat from the President. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said that the House would be called back into session after Christmas if the President did veto the military funding.

House Vote date: Tuesday, December 8, 2020 Vote Tally: 335-78
Senate Vote Date: Friday, December 11, 2020 Vote Tally: 84-13

Party Breakdown: This is one of those bills that creates a situation where people of both parties will vote NO to signal disapproval of different portions of the package.

In the House, the Democrats split with 195 voting YES, 37 voting NO and 1 person voting Present.  The Republicans split with 140 voting YES, 40 voting NO and 16 people not voting at all. Libertarian Justin Amash voted NO.  

In the Senate, the Independents split 1-1, with Maine’s Angus King voting YES and Vermont’s Bernie Sanders voting NO.  The Republicans split 43-7, with the NOs coming from libertarian leaning folks like Kentucky’s Rand Paul and Utah’s Mike Lee as well as fiscal conservatives like Arkansas’s Tom Cotton.  And the Democrats split 40-5, with the NO votes coming from the leftmost side of the party – Massachusetts pair Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren, New Jersey’s Cory Booker, and Ordegon’s pair of Jeff Merkley and ROn Wyden.

Additional Reading:

Senator Casey voted YES and Senator Toomey voted YES.

To emphasize the point that different lawmakers might vote NO for different reasons on a bill this large, here are two contrasting explanations from lawmakers of different parties

🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle, from his website statement on the NDAA vote when it first came before the House: “…on the National Defense Authorization Act itself, I voted AGAINST this bill. I was one of only forty-two Democrats to oppose it. It authorized over $700 billion in Defense spending. Since the beginning of the Trump administration, US military spending has increased by more than $100,000,000,000, almost 20 percent. I do not believe this increase in military spending can be justified, especially given the trillions of dollars of needs we now have combatting COVID-19.”

🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry, from his website statement on the NDAA vote when it first came before the House: “…The bill brought to a vote today by Speaker Pelosi weakens our National defense, denies the authorities of the Commander-in-Chief, and jeopardizes funding for our military – all because of political posturing. The bill prohibits the President from bringing our Troops home from Afghanistan or moving units from Germany and South Korea to better position them for today’s threat landscape. It also severely limits the ability of the President to address threats on our borders and prohibits our nuclear security readiness, all while somehow breaking the budget caps upon which we agreed.  I’m hopeful that our differences will be resolved in the Conference Committee (between the House and Senate), and the resulting product is one that I can support – one that ultimately and fully supports, equips, and enables our Troops to secure our Nation and keep us safe.”

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.

HBCUs are promised better communication from federal agencies 

House Vote on S. 461: HBCU PARTNERS (Propelling Agency Relationships Towards a New Era of Results for Students) Act

According to Diverse, a publication centered on issues of diversity in higher education, this measure “requires federal agencies with relevant grants and programs to, on an annual basis, develop plans to expand the participation of HBCUs in their agency activities and track their progress towards engagement–related goals.”

Vote date: Monday, December 7, 2020 Vote Tally: 388-6

Party Breakdown: All NO votes were placed by Republicans and the lone Libertarian.

All Pennsylvania lawmakers who were present voted YES.

Veterans and Servicemembers to receive improved assistance from the DOJ

House Vote on H.R. 8354: Servicemembers and Veterans Initiative Act
This bill is designed to help members of the military in their interactions with the Department of Justice. El Paso’s NBC affiliate, KTSM 9, explains that it “will assign specific duties to the Department of Justice (DOJ) to represent the legal interests of service members, veterans and their families that include serving as legal and policy advisor to the attorney general, developing policy recommendations, serving as a liaison between the DOJ and military departments and more.”

Vote date: Tuesday, December 8, 2020 Vote Tally: 400-1

Party Breakdown: The only NO vote was placed by Libertarian Justin Amash of Michigan.
All Pennsylvania lawmakers who were present voted YES.

Energy Standards for Ceiling Fans 

House Vote on H.R. 5758: Ceiling Fan Improvement Act 

This bill sets new energy standards for ceiling fans, especially large ones used in warehouse and industrial settings.

Vote date: Wednesday, December 9, 2020 Vote Tally: 396-2

Party Breakdown: The pair of NO votes were placed by Republicans.

All Pennsylvania lawmakers who were present voted YES.

Drone Usage on Federal Lands to be Studied

House Vote on H.R. 5040: AIR (Aerial Incursion Repercussion) Safety Act of 2020

Utah Policy explains the intent behind this bill. “Drones flown in a wildfire suppression area create additional hazards to fire fighting personnel and increase risk to structures and lives on the ground. When people fly drones into the fire fighting area, fire manager must ground their own drones and helicopters until the air space is clear.” In light of this, the AIR Safety Act authorizes a number of federal agencies (like the Bureau of Land Management, USDA Forest Service, and Federal Aviation Administration) to conduct a study on how drone usage and trespassing affects firefighting efforts, and how to address the issue. 

Vote date: Thursday, December 10, 2020 Vote Tally: 382-6

Party Breakdown: The pair of NO votes were placed by Republicans.
All Pennsylvania lawmakers who were present voted YES.

Wasteful, Indiscriminate Fishing Method to be Phased Out 

House Vote on S. 906: Driftnet Modernization and Bycatch Reduction Act

This is a bill that passed the Senate unanimously in the summer  and now received its vote in the House. The good folks at the Turtle Island Restoration Network provided the best recap for this bill. “Large mesh driftnets more than a mile long are left in the ocean overnight to catch swordfish and thresher sharks but also indiscriminately capture, injure, and kill other marine species including whales, dolphins, sea lions, sea turtles, fish, and sharks. Most of these animals, referred to as “bycatch,” are then discarded. The use of driftnets by a single fishery in California is responsible for 90 percent of the dolphins and porpoises killed along the West Coast and Alaska. At least six endangered, threatened, or protected species are harmed by driftnets off the California coast…[This bill will] phase out harmful large mesh drift gillnets utilized in the federal waters off the coast of California, the only place the nets are still used in the United States.”

Vote date: Thursday, December 10, 2020 Vote Tally: 283-105

Party Breakdown: All Democrats present voted YES, along with 56 Republicans and Libertarian Justin Amash.  All 105 NO votes were from Republicans.

The following Pennsylvania MoCs voted NO:

🔴 PA-09’s Rep. Dan Meuser 🔴 PA-13’s Rep. John Joyce

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

🔴 PA-12’s Rep. Fred Keller 🔴 PA-16’s Rep. Mike Kelly

Mitch McConnell’s Lame Duck Judicial Confirmation EXTRAVAGANZA

For the past several weeks we have been tracking the Senate Republicans taking this last opportunity to pack the courts with young, conservative and sometimes unqualified judges in these last weeks of the Trump Administration. The first two judges were confirmed in the week ending November 15th, and judges three through seven were confirmed in the week ending November 22nd. After a week off for Thanksgiving, the judicial confirmation blitz continued with judges eight through eleven getting confirmed in the week ending December 6th.  We pick up there this week and one more lame duck judge..  For an overview on this judicial action, see the Politico article, “Republicans seek to stymie Biden with final Trump nominees.”

Lame Duck Judicial Confirmation #12 

Senate Confirmation Vote on Stephen Sidney Schwartz 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.”

This new judge, Stephen Schwartz, is a key example of all the issues with Trump nominees.  First, he is exceedingly young, barely out of law school ten years. That alone makes him unqualified for the federal judiciary, according to the American Bar Association.  He also has political ties, having worked at a law firm that represented Senator Ted Cruz.  And the new judge’s past legal work makes clear his opposition to the very nature of the federal office where he will be employed.  Much as past nominees to bureaucratic positions have opposed their roles (Betsy DeVos, and opponent to public schools leading the Department of Education; or Andrew Wheeler, a coal lobbyist tasked to lead the Environmental Protection Agency), The Vetting Room notes that Schwarz exhibits “a background of legal resistance to agency determinations,” while the mandate of his new position is to decide on just those agency determinations.

The legal minds at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights are vehemently opposed to this confirmation, and they penned a detailed letter explaining all the ways that Stephen Schwatrz has shown himself to be inappropriate for the judicial role.  Among the subject headers in that letter are that Schwarts has:

  • Worked to Restrict Voting Rights
  • Sought to Undermine LGBTQ Equality
  • Worked to Limit Reproductive Freedom
  • Worked to Diminish Environmental Protections

The Leadership Conference also outlined Schwartz’s anti-immigration efforts and his membership in the far-right Federalist Society, along with his lack of experience.

Let’s leave the final word to our new, supposedly unbiased member of the federal judiciary.  In 2005, Stephen Schwartz declared, “…abortion is wrong, that racial preferences in college admissions are dangerous, that gay marriage should stay illegal, that immigration should be curtailed, that school vouchers are an excellent idea, that communism is a bad idea, that Lawrence Summers makes a good point, that drug use is immoral, that religion is indispensable to a moral system, and many, many other things that I believe.”

Vote date: Tuesday, December 8, 2020 Vote Tally: 49-47

Party Breakdown: This was a straight party line vote. All Republicans voted YES, while the Independents and Democrats voted NO.

Additional Reading:

Senator Casey voted NO and Senator Toomey voted YES.

The Federal Communications Commission gets a new, last-minute Chairperson

Senate Confirmation Vote on Nathan A. Simington, of Virginia, to be a Member of the Federal Communications Commission for a term of five years from July 1, 2019

Nathan Simington was confirmed not just to serve as a member, but to be the chairperson of the FCC after the end-of-year departure of current chairman Ajit Pai.  The reporters at Tech Crunch have a good recaps of the behind the scenes shuffling that led to this confirmation:

Simington has been a senior adviser at the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, where recently he helped craft the public-relations effort there around Trump’s attacks on Section 230, the law that prevents companies like Twitter and Amazon from being liable for things posted on them by users. (The outgoing president primarily objects to the frequent labeling of his tweets as misleading or outright false.)

The rush to confirm a new Commissioner follows the unceremonious dumping of Mike O’Rielly, a Republican Commissioner who has generally fallen in line with this administration’s policies but made the fatal error of speaking out against the effort to change Section 230. Due to be nominated for another term, he was instead dropped in favor of Simington, who has demonstrated no scruple about using the FCC as a muzzle for social media.

During the confirmation process, Mr. Simington’s deficiencies were highlighted. Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) noted that his “only qualification is his eagerness to defend the president’s attacks on the First Amendment and Sec. 230.”  And Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) noted that “during his confirmation hearing even the most basic questions about FCC issues seemed to trip [him] up.”

Vote date: Tuesday, December 8, 2020 Vote Tally: 49-46

Party Breakdown: This was a straight party line vote.  All Republicans voted YES, while the Independents and Democrats voted NO.

Additional Reading:

Senator Casey voted NO and Senator Toomey voted YES.

Multiple Federal Elections Commission Vacancies Filled… Finally

The Federal Elections Commission is tasked with overseeing and enforcing elections finance and communication rules for federal elections.  They have not had a full slate of members since February 2017, and the Trump Administration was all too pleased to leave seats vacant, particularly when they failed to achieve a quorum and were statutorily unable to issue any decisions. They have piled up over 440 cases during their time of forced impotence.

FEC rules do not allow more than three members of any one political party to be a party of the six member board.  So this week’s vacancies filled two GOP seats and one Democratic seat.  The Fulcrum provides a concise recap of the backgrounds of the three new FEC members:

Trump quickly nominated Dickerson, the top attorney at the Institute for Free Speech, which advocates for almost total deregulation of money in politics as part of its agenda to promote unfettered First Amendment rights. A week from the election, Trump announced his two other picks: Cooksey, general counsel to GOP Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri and before that an aide to GOP Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, and Broussard, who has been a senior FEC attorney for 12 years and before that was an IRS lawyer and New Orleans prosecutor.

Most Senators had no issues with the exemplary experience and background of Shana Broussard, but the two GOP nominees received only party-line support.

Senate Confirmation Vote on Sean J. Cooksey, of Missouri, to be a Member of the Federal Election Commission for a term expiring April 30, 2021

Vote date: Wednesday, December 9, 2020 Vote Tally: 50-46

Party Breakdown: All of the Republicans present along with Independent Angus King of Maine voted YES.  All of the Democrats present, along with Independent Bernie Sanders of Vermont voted NO.
Senator Casey voted NO and Senator Toomey voted YES.

Senate Confirmation Vote on Shana M. Broussard, of Louisiana, to be a Member of the Federal Election Commission for a term expiring April 30, 2023

Vote date: Wednesday, December 9, 2020 Vote Tally: 92-4

Party Breakdown: The four NO votes were all from Republicans – Rick Scott of Florida, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas.  All other senators present voted YES.

Senator Casey voted YES and Senator Toomey voted YES.

Senate Confirmation Vote on Allen Dickerson, of the District of Columbia, to be a Member of the Federal Election Commission for a term expiring April 30, 2025

Vote date: Wednesday, December 9, 2020 Vote Tally: 49-47

Party Breakdown: This was a straight party line vote.  All Republicans voted YES, while the Independents and Democrats voted NO.

Senator Casey voted NO and Senator Toomey voted YES.

Additional Reading:

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.1503 – Orange Book Transparency Act 
  • H.R.4761 – DHS Opioid Detection Resilience Act
  • H.R.5273 – Securing America’s Ports Act
  • H.R.8428 – Hong Kong People’s Freedom and Choice Act
  • H.Res.189 – Supporting sustained United States leadership to accelerating global progress against maternal and child malnutrition and supporting United States Agency for International Development’s commitment to global nutrition through its multi-sectoral nutrition strategy
  • H.Res.823 – Condemning the Government of Iran’s state-sponsored persecution of its Baha’i minority and its continued violation of’ the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
  • H.Res.1100 – Reaffirming the importance of the strategic partnership between the United States and Mongolia
  • S.1153 – Stop Student Debt Relief Scams Act
  • H.R.631 – For the relief of Arpita Kurdekar, Girish Kurdekar, and Vandana Kurdekar
  • H.R.683 – PRRADA (Puerto Rico Recovery Accuracy in Disclosures Act)
  • H.R.1375 – PAID (Provide Accurate Information Directly) Act
  • H.R.2477 – BENES (Beneficiary Enrollment Notification and Eligibility Simplification)Act
  • H.R.4225 – For the relief of Maria Isabel Bueso Barrera, Alberto Bueso Mendoza, Karla Maria Barrera De Bueso, and Ana Lucia Bueso Barrera
  • H.R.5663 – Safeguarding Therapeutics Act
  • H.R.7146 – For the relief of Victoria Galindo Lopez
  • H.R.7572 – For the relief of Median El-Moustrah
  • H.R.8161 – The One Stop Shop Community Reentry Program Act
  • H.R.8235 – Open Courts Act
  • H.Res.1250 – Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives with respect to the principles that should guide the national artificial intelligence strategy of the United States
  • S.134 – Combat Online Predators Act (a bill sponsored by Sen. Toomey, Sen. Casey and PA-01’s Rep. Fitzpatrick)
  • S.578 – ALS Disability Insurance Access Act
  • S.1014 – Route 66 Centennial Commission Act
  • S.1811 – Water Resources Development Act
  • S.2258 – Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act 
  • S.2904 – IOGAN (Identifying Outputs of Generative Adversarial Networks) Act
  • S.3325 – PARENTS (Providing Adequate Resources to Enhance Needed Time with Sons and Daughters) Act
  • S.3703 – Promoting Alzheimer’s Awareness to Prevent Elder Abuse Act
  • S.3729 – Motor Carrier Safety Grant Relief Act
  • S.4138 – Telework for U.S. Innovation Act
  • S.4460 – State Veterans Homes Domiciliary Care Flexibility Act
  • H.R.1426 – Timely Review of Infrastructure Act
  • H.R.1570 – Removing Barriers to Colorectal Cancer Screening Act 
  • H.R.1966 – Henrietta Lacks Enhancing Cancer Research Act
  • H.R.3361 – RIVER (Reliable Investment in Vital Energy Reauthorization) Act
  • H.R.3797 – Medical Marijuana Research Act
  • H.R.5541 – Tribal Power Act
  • H.R.7105 – Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act
  • H.R.7898 – To amend the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act to require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to consider certain recognized security practices of covered entities and business associates when making certain determinations
  • S.2315 – Whistleblower Act
  • S.3418 – STORM (Safeguarding Tomorrow through Ongoing Risk Mitigation) Act
  • S.3451 – FASTER (Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education, and Research) Act
  • S.4996 – Bankruptcy Administration Improvement Act
  • H.R.970 – Robert E. Lee Statue Removal Act
  • H.R.1240 – Young Fishermen’s Development Act
  • H.R.1520 – Purple Book Continuity Act
  • H.R.5458 – Rocky Mountain National Park Boundary Modification Act
  • H.R.5459 – Rocky Mountain National Park Ownership Correction Act
  • H.R.7098 – Saguaro National Park Boundary Expansion and Study Act 
  • H.R.7489 – Long Bridge Act
  • H.R.8906 – To amend title XXIX of the Public Health Service Act to reauthorize the program under such title relating to lifespan respite care
  • S.1031 – Duck Boat Safety Enhancement Act
  • S.1130 – Scarlett’s Sunshine on Sudden Unexpected Death Act
  • S.1310 – Organization of American States Legislative Engagement Act
  • S.2730 – Drone Advisory Committee for the 21st Century Act

MoC Quotes – Social media and traditional press

Twitter Action – the pandemic and the state of COVID relief

🔵 Senator Bob Casey, @SenBobCasey, 12/08/20:

“President-elect Biden has chosen a health team of proven leaders with decades of experience in medicine, public health, government and crisis management. This diverse team will be ready to lead on day one, control the COVID crisis and build back better.”

🔴 Senator Pat Toomey, @SenToomey, 12/09/20:

“Wishing @GovernorTomWolf a full recovery. I am glad to hear he isn’t currently experiencing any symptoms. COVID-19 can infect anyone. Don’t forget to wear a mask when you venture out and wash your hands regularly!”

🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, @RepBrianFitz, 12/09/20:

“My @ProbSolveCaucus colleagues and I have put together a comprehensive, common sense, bipartisan, and bicameral #COVID19 relief package to deliver real results for the American people. We cannot afford to wait any longer. #LetsWork” tweeted with embedded video from a press conference. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has since dismissed this proposal.

🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle, @RepBrendanBoyle, 12/11/20:


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

“I thank Dr. Fauci for both acknowledging the U.S. history of racism in medical research AND spotlighting the vital role of Dr. Corbett, an African American female scientist, in making sure a Covid vaccine will be safe & effective.”  tweeted with a link to a CNN POlitics article titled “Fauci wants people to know that one of lead scientists who developed the Covid-19 vaccine is a Black woman

🔵 PA-04’s Rep. Madeleine Dean, @RepDean, 12/11/20:

“A bipartisan agreement on long overdue relief is blocked by @senatemajldr. It’s clear who stands in the way of relief to American workers, businesses, and local govts.

Leader McConnell – families and businesses are suffering, stop holding up the relief.” tweeted with a Fox Business article titled “Coronavirus relief deal talks sputter as McConnell pushes back on state aid

🔵 PA-05’s Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, @RepMGS, 12/11/20:

“It’s simple math. 

$1200 ÷ 259 days = $4.63/day 

That’s not relief.  That’s obscene. 

We need a deal for the American people NOW.”

🔵 PA-06’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, @RepHoulahan, 12/09/20:

“Even when following CDC guidelines, no one is immune to this contagious disease. Wishing you a full recovery, @GovernorTomWolf. To our community, please continue taking appropriate measures to reduce the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19.”

🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild, @RepSusanWild, 12/11/20:

“Pennsylvania families are hurting. I continue to be floored by the lack of urgency in passing COVID relief. We can’t wait any longer. I don’t know how to say it any clearer.”

🔵 PA-08’s Rep. Matt Cartwright, @RepCartwright, 12/10/20:

“Disadvantaged communities in NEPA have been disproportionately harmed by the hazards of abandoned mine lands (AML) and #COVID19. #EnviroJusticeNow means cleaning up Appalachia’s AML sites, and passing COVID relief that supports our most vulnerable.” tweeted with a link to a YouTube video of a panel titled “Fighting for Environmental Justice through Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation

🔴 PA-09’s Rep. Dan Meuser, @RepMeuser, 12/10/20:

“I spoke with @TeamCavuto on @FoxBusiness this afternoon about the latest COVID-19 relief efforts in Congress.” tweeted with embedded video of the MoC’s interview

🔴 PA-11’s Rep. Lloyd Smucker, @RepSmucker, 12/10/20:

“Speaker Pelosi has blocked needed aid for American families and small businesses. #PA11 families and businesses need relief now. Tell Speaker Pelosi it’s time to reopen the #PPP and help restore our economy.”


🔴 PA-12’s Rep. Fred Keller, @RepFredKeller, 12/10/20:

“To put it plainly, shutdowns do not work. 

As with his previous orders, the governor’s latest shutdown will advantage big box stores, destroy countless small businesses and restaurants, and cause more harm than it solves.

Read my full statement.”  tweeted with an image of his official website statement

🔴 PA-13’s Rep. John Joyce, @RepJohnJoyce, 12/11/20:

“Small businesses are the heart of our community. 

Congress could reopen the #PaycheckProtectionProgram and free up $138B for families, workers, and farmers TODAY – but Democrats are standing in the way. 

How many more #smallbiz need to close before we can act?”

🔴 PA-14’s Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, @GReschenthaler, 12/11/20:

“Governor Wolf’s latest lockdown restrictions do not address the public health effects of this virus.

Banning indoor dining will only achieve one thing:

Killing PA’s small businesses and decimating their employees financially.” tweeted with a paywalled Wall Street Journal article about New York restaurants

🔴 PA-15’s Rep. Glenn W. Thompson, @CongressmanGT, 12/11/20:

“If you are a farmer whose production has been impacted by COVID-19, take advantage of @USDA’s Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) as well as the Dairy Margin Coverage Program (DMC). TODAY is the deadline!”

🔵 PA-17’s Rep. Conor Lamb, @RepConorLamb, 12/09/20:

“I cosponsored the bipartisan Coronavirus for American Families Act to give $1,000 per adult & $1,000 per child—up to $4,000 for a family of four. No more time for delays or failed negotiations. Congress must act now. #PA17”

🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle, @USRepMikeDoyle, 12/09/20:

“There have been many reports of @OSHA_DOL failing to investigate workplace safety violations during the #COVID #pandemic. Everyone deserves a safe workplace. I joined 38 of my colleagues in demanding that @USDOL ensure that workplace safety violations are being found and fixed.”

Tweet of the Week

🔵 Senator Bob Casey, @SenBobCasey, 12/11/20:

“The principles enshrined in the Declaration of Human Rights are as relevant today as in 1948. We must stand up for our rights and those of others—and with COVID-19 fueling injustices at home and abroad, #humanrights must be at the center of recovery efforts. #HumanRightsDay

As a global leader, the U.S. has a responsibility to remember that disability rights ARE human rights. This summer I introduced legislation to establish an Office of International Disability Rights within the @StateDept to advocate for disability rights around the world.

Promoting international human rights also means taking a hard look at our systems at home. In addition to cosponsoring the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, my LEAD Initiative aims to ensure someone’s ethnicity or mental ability does not preclude them from fair treatment.

President John F. Kennedy once said “The rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened.” All people—at home and around the world—deserve to be treated with dignity, have their basic needs met and live in a society that values equal justice.”

🔴 Senator Pat Toomey, @SenToomey, 12/09/20:

“No child should ever experience the trauma Madison Zezzo did. At age 13, her best friend’s father stalked and harassed her online. From posting thousands of doctored, horrifying images to sending her unceasing explicit messages, her early teenage years were consumed by a monster. At first, despite all the horror and grief, her stalker was only sentenced to probation and counseling. When the behavior escalated thereafter, he was ultimately sent to prison. The horrifying experience that Madison and the entire Zezzo family were subjected to is proof that we need tough penalties to punish online predators.

@SenBobCasey, @RepBrianFitz and I have fought to make sure that we do. Last night, Congress passed our bipartisan bill which will enhance federal criminal penalties on those who stalk or cyberstalk minors. I look forward to the president signing it into law. No legislation can return to Madison the time and innocence she lost at the hands of a stalker, but it can aid in preventing such horrible experiences for others in the future. Read more on @abc27News:

🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, @RepBrianFitz, 12/11/20:

“My Rosie the Riveter Congressional Gold Medal Act could not have become law without the efforts of Levittown’s Mae Krier.

Thank you Mae for your tireless advocacy on behalf of your fellow Rosies, and for your service to our country.” tweeted with a link to the Bucks County Courier Times article titled “Levittown ‘Rosie the Riveter:’ Mission accomplished with Trump signature on medal honor

🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle, @RepBrendanBoyle, 12/11/20:

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

“Last year, I voted for the #ClimateActionNow Act to prevent Trump from pulling us out of the #ParisAgreement – & from giving up on our climate goals.

Soon we can say #WeAreStillIn as Pres.-elect Biden prepares to reposition America as a climate champion.Earth globe americas #TimeToAct”

🔵 PA-04’s Rep. Madeleine Dean, @RepDean, 12/09/20:

“The 2021 Defense Budget is far from perfect, but glad to see a $15M PFAS health study and an acknowledgement of the student loan crisis. Looking forward to continuing the work, to ensure our communities have access to affordable college and clean water.” tweeted with a link to the MoC’s official website statement

🔵 PA-05’s Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, @RepMGS, 12/13/20:

“Only a few days left of open enrollment! Now more than ever, it’s crucial to have reliable and affordable health insurance. Don’t wait. Enroll in a 2021 plan before December 15th!”

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

“233 years ago today, our Commonwealth was the second to ratify the Constitution Scroll. We have weathered many battles, and this year is no exception.  Still, we stand united in our common purpose and ready for the challenges ahead.”

🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild, @RepSusanWild, 12/08/20:

“Do you, or someone you know, need help paying energy bills?

Getting assistance with outstanding energy costs can start with just a phone call to your provider. 

Click the link below for more information and assistance opportunities:


🔵 PA-08’s Rep. Matt Cartwright, @RepCartwright, 12/11/20:

“During the pandemic, we are relying on the internet for work, school, and even doctor’s visits – but too many in our rural areas don’t have these opportunities. This is a major step to making broadband more available across PA! LINK

🔴 PA-09’s Rep. Dan Meuser, @RepMeuser, 12/05/20:

“Tonight, @realDonaldTrump communicated what America is about…Freedom…That’s what Trumpism is really about.”

🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry, @RepScottPerry, 12/09/20:

“Wishing @GovernorTomWolf a speedy recovery from #COVID19 — get well soon.” 

This was Rep. Perry’s only tweet this week.

🔴 PA-11’s Rep. Lloyd Smucker, @RepSmucker, 12/09/20:

“Last evening, I supported reauthorizing the National Defense Authorization Act to keep American strong and safe and to provide our troops with a pay raise and the benefits they and their families rightfully deserve.”

🔴 PA-12’s Rep. Fred Keller, @RepFredKeller, 12/10/20:

“Proud to join more than 100 of my Republican colleagues on an amicus brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold the sanctity of our vote, guarantee the voices of the electorate are heard, and ensure that Americans have confidence in our election.”

🔴 PA-13’s Rep. John Joyce, @RepJohnJoyce, 12/10/20:

“Free & fair elections require the American people to have confidence in our electoral system. 

Today I joined an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to carefully consider the State of Texas’ case against Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Georgia.”

🔴 PA-14’s Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, @GReschenthaler, 12/10/20:

“Someone give @realDonaldTrump the Nobel Peace Prize already.”

🔴 PA-15’s Rep. Glenn W. Thompson, @CongressmanGT, 12/09/20:

“It’s Computer Science Education Week, an opportunity for students of all ages to learn about the importance and benefits of computer science and the endless professional opportunities that abound with a skills-based education! #CSEdWeek2020” tweeted with embedded video of the MoC’s floor speech from C-SPAN

🔴 PA-16’s Rep. Mike Kelly, @MikeKellyPA, has not tweeted since November 18, 2020

🔵 PA-17’s Rep. Conor Lamb, @RepConorLamb, 12/08/20:

“Tonight the House passed the bipartisan National Defense Authorization Act to give our troops a well-deserved pay raise & provide our Vietnam era veterans exposed to Agent Orange w/ much- needed additional health care benefits. #PA17” tweeted with a link to the MoC’s official website statement

🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle, @USRepMikeDoyle, 12/11/20:

“It’s the 40th anniversary of the #Superfund program, which has benefited countless neighborhoods across the country by helping to transform dangerous old polluted sites into productive new businesses – or parks that are community assets.”

Casey in the News 

Courtesy of contributor Linda Houk

“The problem is this: Protecting people with disabilities to connect them with the resources that they need and also to reduce demands on police, on law enforcement, to address non-criminal complaints.”

“It’s easy to describe this problem. It’s exceedingly more difficult to solve it, but we’ve got to try.”

— from an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer, titled “Sen. Bob Casey cites shooting of Walter Wallace Jr. in pushing bills to divert 911 calls for mental health crises

 “We’ve got to figure out better ways to assure tens of millions of Americans about the vaccine’s efficacy.”

— from an article in Homeland Preparedness News, titled “Successful U.S. mass vaccination campaign requires targeted preparedness, experts say

“Dollars that will prevent layoffs of police officers and firefighters and teachers. There’s already been too much of that. There have already been a lot of layoffs because state and local governments have not had any help in many, many months now,”

— from an article in WGAL 8 NBC, titled “US Sen. Bob Casey remains optimistic about COVID-19 relief package” 

“I commend Governor Wolf and Secretary Levine for taking this difficult, but necessary, action to contain COVID-19 in Pennsylvania, in an effort to protect lives and prevent our hospitals from being overwhelmed. There’s no question that these measures will result in real challenges for restaurant owners, workers and families. That’s why it’s vital that Congress do its part to come together and pass a COVID-19 relief bill to help those impacted by this pandemic” 

—from an article in Erie News Now, titled “Reaction to New COVID-19 Restrictions from Around Pennsylvania

 “I like the framework of it.” …  “I don’t like the dollar amounts because none of them are high enough.”

— from an article in WENY News, titled “Two relief proposals are up for debate in Washington. Here are some of the differences.” 

Toomey in the News 

Most coverage of Senator Toomey in traditional media this week centered around his acceptance of President-elect Biden as well as the first quote below, uttered this week in response to President Trump’s attempts to influence state-level lawmakers to overturn the results of the election.  Despite that quote being repeated in dozens of articles, we have only cited it once.

“It’s completely unacceptable and it’s not going to work and the president should give up trying to get legislatures to overturn the results of the elections in their respective states.”  

— from an article in Bloomberg titled “Trump Presses State Republicans to Overturn Biden’s Victory

“[Senator Chris Coons of Delaware] has excellent relationships with a tremendous number of senators, including many Republicans. And I would include myself in that.” 

— from a Politico article titled “Biden’s ambassador to the GOP” 

“Nearly 700 women died last year in the United States as a result of complications from pregnancy and childbirth, but we know that as many as two-thirds of these deaths may be preventable. This legislation will help improve health outcomes for pregnant women and mothers enrolled in Medicaid by increasing information and resources to better monitor and treat at-risk pregnancies, as well as inform Congress on policies that may assist states in reducing maternal deaths.” 

— from a North Central PA article titled “Sens. Toomey and Brown propose pregnancy care improvements for Medicaid recipients” 

“House passage of the Combat Online Predators Act speaks to the remarkable dedication of the entire Zezzo family for keeping children safe and ensuring there are strong penalties for monsters who stalk and cyberstalk children. Madison and her parents, Erin and Tony, deserve our gratitude for helping get this legislation through Congress, and I look forward to the president signing it into law.”

— from an article in The Bradford Era titled “Bill to combat stalking of children goes to President for signature

Preview to the 117th Congress – leadership positions

Please find below a list of the announced leadership roles for the upcoming 117th Congress.  As of now, we only know about the positions for the House. Information on Senate positions will need to wait until after the Georgia special election on January 5th.


Speaker of the House, nomineeNancy PelosiCalifornia
Majority LeaderSteny HoyerMaryland
Majority WhipJim ClyburnSouth Carolina
Assistant SpeakerKatherine ClarkMassachusetts
Democratic Caucus ChairHakeem JeffriesNew York
Democratic Congressional Campaign CommitteeSean MaloneyNew York


Minority LeaderKevin McCarthyCalifornia
Minority WhipSteve ScaliseLouisiana
Republican Conference ChairLiz CheneyWyoming
Republican Policy Committee ChairGary PalmerAlabama
National Republican Congressional Committee Tom EmmerMinnesota

While no Pennsylvanians are in any of the most powerful positions, two of the more senior lawmakers from Pennsylvania were given secondary positions. 🔵 PA-08’s Rep. Matt Cartwright was named the 

House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee Co-Chair.  And 🔴 PA-15’s Rep. Glenn W. Thompson was elected by the Republican Steering Committee to serve as Republican Leader of the House Agriculture Committee.

Call to Action – Pennsylvania lawmakers undermining democracy

By now you will know that the Supreme Court of the United States has decided against hearing the meritless lawsuit filed by the state of Texas against Pennsylvania and three other states. While that decision comes as a relief, we cannot let it pass without comment that seven Republican Members of Congress joined in on an amicus brief that would have stripped their own constituents and all of the people of our entire commonwealth of their votes.

Those seven Republican lawmakers are:

🔴 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-12’s Rep. Fred Keller 🔴 PA-16’s Rep. Mike Kelly

🔴 PA-13’s Rep. John Joyce

If you are a constituent in one of those congressional districts, we encourage youtube contact your representative to let them know how you feel about their participation in this lawsuit.

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

CC Linda Houk

Elayne Baker Susan Vogel

Gary Garb Kierstyn Piotrowski ZolfoWe 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 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.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Previous Story

Congress Must Pass the Missing Persons & Unidentified Remains Act

red framed eyeglasses on newspapers
Next Story

IC-SS 12-14-20: Last 2020 Zoom Dec 15 - Join us!

Latest from Pennsylvania

%d bloggers like this: