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!
We bid Farewell to “Tracking Congress in the Age of Trump”
Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight website assessed 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. And now that president Trump is gone, those numbers will no longer be updated. The numbers from last week’s report are the final lifetime stats for our Pennsylvania lawmakers.
In the coming weeks, as our MoCs get to work on legislation during the 117th Congress, Pennsylvania Indivisible will introduce a new legislative scorecard to make it easy to see how our lawmakers measure up to Indivisible’s values.
The Indivisible movement is focused on four key principles – equality, justice, compassion and inclusion. Those values are reflected in legislation related to:
- Ballot access, voting rights, campaign finance and ethics
- Civil rights, equality under the law and addressing systemic inequities
- Reinforcing and strengthening democratic norms, processes, and oversight
- Addressing economic inequality
It will take us a few weeks to get this up and running. Once the scorecard is live, you will find it here (on page one of MoCTrack) as well as on our new Pennsylvania Indivisible website at https://www.pa-indivisible.com/moc-tracking-report.html.
Thanks for your patience! Let’s say one last THANK YOU to the folks at FiveThirtyEight, and turn our eyes to the future!
PA-10’s Rep. Perry implicated in Trump scheme
If you’ve seen 🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry in the news recently, it may have been from the appalling video of him sitting in the secure room where House members were crammed during the insurrectionist Capitol Siege, bare-faced and smirking, refusing the mask offered to him by a colleague.
Or perhaps you saw the video or listened to the speech Rep. Perry gave later that same night as he partnered with Senator Josh Hawley to disenfranchise the voters of our Commonwealth. Perry was the House lawmaker who officially objected to the electors from Pennsylvania in the January 6-7th proceedings to certify Joe Biden as our 46th President. In his five minute floor speech Perry repeated President Trump’s lies and misinformation, citing unsubstantiated “lawbreaking” in the handling of Pennsylvania’s ballots as he called for the will of our Commonwealth to be discarded.
Now, according to a story broken by the reporters of the New York Times, it appears that Perry was not only responsible for attempting to discard the will of Pennsylvania voters, but he played a key role in a plot to overturn the election results for the entire nation. On Friday the Times reported on a plot to oust the Acting Attorney General at the Department of Justice (DOJ) and replace him with Jeffrey Clark, a DOJ attorney (and Pennsylvanian) who was amenable to President Trump’s election conspiracy theories and willing to use the DOJ to back Trump’s efforts to overturn the entire nation’s election results. In new reporting it has now been uncovered that Scott Perry was the Pennsylvania lawmaker who brought Clark into Trump’s orbit and made him aware of Clark’s willingness to go along with Trump’s planned abuse of the DOJ’s authority.
In an epic bit of shade, reporters Katie Benner and Catie Edmondson write that “the former president was willing to use the government to subvert the election, turning to more junior and relatively unknown figures for help as ranking Republicans and cabinet members rebuffed him.” They add that Rep. Perry facilitated the introduction of Clark to the President as he gained increasing access, since Perry “was among the scores of people feeding Mr. Trump false hope that he had won the election.”
This is a fast moving story, and no doubt more details will break in the coming days. We’ll give this report’s final words to Bill Palmer of The Palmer Report:
We’ve seen various House Republicans play various roles in Trump’s election overthrow plot with various degrees of criminal culpability, but this takes the cake… Scott Perry knowingly entered into a criminal conspiracy to commit election fraud with Donald Trump and Jeffrey Clark. Perry and Clark are both looking at federal prison time over this, and because Trump has already left office, it’s too late for him to pardon them. Our guess is that either Perry or Clark can get a generous plea deal by flipping on everyone else involved. We’ll see which of the two of them has the sense to cut a deal first. In any case, Perry’s career in the U.S. House of Representatives surely won’t last long after this.
If you are interested in adding your voice to those who are calling for Rep. Scott Perry to resign, consider lending support to a Resistbot campaign created by Kadida Kenner, activist and constituent of Rep. Perry. You can text “SIGN PDVSKO” to 50409, and the Resistbot will take you through some simple steps to sign onto her letter.
- “Pennsylvania Lawmaker Played Key Role in Trump’s Plot to Oust Acting Attorney General,” from The New York Times
- “Report: Pa. Rep. Scott Perry ‘played key role’ in Trump plot to oust acting attorney general,” from The Pennsylvania Capital-Star
- “Pa. Rep. Perry accused of playing pivotal role in Trump’s plot to oust attorney general,” from Harrisburg’s ABC News affiliate, ABC 27
- “Calls for Rep. Scott Perry to resign after report says he tried to overturn Georgia election,” from The York Daily Record
Votes of Interest
Biden Cabinet Nominee #1 – Director of National Intelligence
Senate Confirmation Vote on Avril Danica Haines to be Director of National Intelligence
The scheduling of the intelligence chief as the first confirmation of the Biden Administration is a clear acknowledgement of the perilous times we live in. The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) coordinates the 17 United States Intelligence agencies and acts as the chief intelligence advisor to the President.
You may remember that our last DNI, John Ratcliffe, did not even meet the basic requirements of the job and was the first person to hold that position who was confirmed on a partisan vote. Avril Haines is the precise opposite of her predecessor. MSNBC provided a short recap of her qualifications, observing that “she’s served as a deputy White House national security advisor; she helped lead the National Security Council; she was the deputy director of the CIA; and she even worked on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when it was chaired by Biden.” She is also the first woman to hold the position.
After the vote, Senator Casey released the following statement via Twitter: “I voted in favor of Avril Haines to become our next Director of National Intelligence. She has the necessary experience to lead the intelligence community and keep our nation safe. As the first woman to serve as DNI, she is making history.”
Vote date: Wednesday, January 20, 2021 Vote Tally: 84-10
Party Breakdown: The 46 Democrats and 2 Independents present voted YES and they were joined by 36 Republicans. The 10 NO votes came from the remainder of Republicans present. Included in the NO votes were several of the Republican senators who voted against the certification of election results – Roger Marshall of Kansas, Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas.
- “Senate confirms Avril Haines as director of national intelligence, the first Biden Cabinet nominee confirmed,” from CNN Politics
- “Senate confirms Biden’s intel chief, giving him first Cabinet official,” from The Hill
- “Avril Haines confirmed by US Senate as first female national intelligence chief,” from The Guardian
Senator Casey voted YES, while Senator Toomey did not vote.
Biden Cabinet Nominee #2, in three parts – Secretary of Defense
Part 1 – The House approves a Waiver
House Vote on H.R. 335: To provide for an exception to a limitation against appointment of persons as Secretary of Defense within seven years of relief from active duty as a regular commissioned officer of the Armed Forces
The principle of civilian authority over our nation’s military was codified in 1947’s National Security Act. At that time, it was mandated that 10 years elapse between the active service of a Secretary of Defense and his or her appointment to that cabinet role. This time period was reduced to 7 years via the passage of Section 903 of the FY2008 National Defense Authorization Act.
The Congressional Research Service provided a white paper to Congress in 2017, when President Trump nominated James Mattis to the role of Defense Secretary. Mattis had not been out of the military for the full 7 years, and this paper was designed “to assist Congress as it consider[ed] how to proceed with the proposed nomination.” In the introduction, the CRS explains:
How to advance the nation’s security while at the same time ensuring that instruments of force do not undermine the practice of American democracy has been a central question since the founding of the United States, if not before. The principle of civilian control of the military places ultimate authority over U.S. armed services in the hands of civilian leadership, with civilian responsibility and control of the military balanced between the executive and legislative branches of the government. In some ways, the relationship between the military and the civil society it serves can be thought of as a paradox: the military, by its very nature, has coercive power that could threaten civil society. Yet without a sufficiently strong and capable military, civil society becomes vulnerable to attack, and the former might not be able to defend the latter. The United States has balanced this tension through formulating and promulgating the principle of civilian control of the military. The fact that this principle has remained relatively unchallenged over the course of American history is, by most accounts, remarkable.
Ultimately, Congress did approve the waiver that allowed General Mattis to serve as President Trump’s Secretary of Defense. And now Congress was asked by President Biden to consider a similar waiver to allow for the confirmation of General Lloyd Austin to the role of Secretary of Defense.
General Austin made it clear that he understands and respects the concept of civilian control of the military. During his Senate confirmation hearings he stated that “the safety and security of our democracy demands competent civilian control of our armed forces. The subordination of military power to the civil,” before promising that he would create a support staff full of “experienced, capable civilian leaders” and that his chief of staff would be a person from outside the military.
These promises, coupled with his impeccable record and the historic nature of being our nation’s first African-American Secretary of Defense, led to General Austin’s waiver being easily approved by both the House and the Senate.
Vote date: Thursday, January 21, 2021 Vote Tally: 326-78
Party Breakdown: Nearly all of the Democratic caucus voted to approve the waiver, with 205 YES votes and 15 NO votes. The NOs came from the entire breadth of the Democratic caucus, from the Progressive wing with folks like Pramila Jayapal of Washington, Jamaal Bowman of New York and the four “Squad” members; to institutionalists like Tom Malinowski of New Jersey and Katie Porter of California; to “Blue Dogs” like Jared Golden of Maine. The Republicans saw about ⅔ of the members present voting YES and ⅓ voting NO (121-62, with 27 not voting). And those NO votes in the GOP came from across the spectrum as well, with Problem Solvers like Peter Meijer of Michigan; Pennsylvania insurrection pals like Scott Perry; and Freedom Caucus members like Thomas Massie of Kentucky.
Part 2 – The Senate approves a Waiver
Senate Vote on H.R. 335: To provide for an exception to a limitation against appointment of persons as Secretary of Defense within seven years of relief from active duty as a regular commissioned officer of the Armed Forces
Vote date: Thursday, January 21, 2021 Vote Tally: 69-27
Party Breakdown: This was one of those interesting votes where the breakdown was NOT on party lines, and the level of dissent was nearly equal for both parties. For the Democrats, 34 senators voted YES and 14 voted NO. Those Democrat NO votes came from all parts of the caucus – progressives like Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Ron Wyden of Oregon, as well as moderates like Chris Van Hollen of Maryland and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut. For the Republicans the vote breakdown was 33 YES votes and 13 NO votes. And for them, the NOs came from the moderate side like Susan Collins of Maine, the Libertarian-leaning folks like Mike Lee of Utah, the old-school conservatives like Ben Sasse of Nebraska and the pro-insurrectionists like Josh Hawley of Missouri. Meanwhile, the pair of Independents were both YES votes.
Senator Casey voted YES and Senator Toomey voted NO.
Part 3 – Secretary of Defense final vote
Senate Confirmation Vote on Lloyd James Austin to be Secretary of Defense
Vote date: Friday, January 22, 2021 Vote Tally: 93-2
Party Breakdown: The only two NO votes were from Republicans – Mike Lee of Utah and insurrection-friendly Josh Hawley of Missouri.
- “Congress approves waiver for Biden defense secretary pick Lloyd Austin,” from CNN Politics
- “Congress approves waiver for Biden’s pick for defense secretary,” from Defense News
- “Why Congress Gave Lloyd Austin a Pass,” from Slate
- “Lloyd Austin Confirmed As Defense Secretary, Becomes 1st Black Pentagon Chief,” from NPR
- “Lawmakers Confirm Biden’s Choice for Secretary of Defense,” from Voice of America
- “Austin confirmed as first Black defense secretary,” from Politico
Senator Casey voted YES and Senator Toomey voted YES.
Quotes of Interest
Editor’s note – we’ve changed up the Twitter and traditional media segments to streamline them. In the past Congress we aimed to be comprehensive in our coverage, but that led to a lot of filler communications being highlighted here just for the sake of all 20 lawmakers having a presence. For this 117th Congress, we hope to only include those quotes that are important from a policy perspective, indicative of an MoC’s personal philosophy, or that tickle your editor’s sense of humor (or outrage).
🔵 Senator Bob Casey, @SenBobCasey, 01/11/21
“There can be no justice without accountability for those involved in the insurrection against the federal government. As a Nation, we cannot advance our shared democratic values without consequences for those who have betrayed those values.”
🔴 Senator Pat Toomey, @SenToomey, 01/20/21:
“Thankfully I’ve convinced Mitch and Chuck to include rehearsal time in the forthcoming power sharing agreement. Our Blinding Lights cover needs a lot of work.”
🔵 Senator Bob Casey, @SenBobCasey, 01/22/21:
“It was my honor to have the opportunity today to thank some of the brave PA National Guardsmen and women who have been helping keep our Capitol safe.”
🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle, @RepBrendanBoyle, 01/21/21:
“End the filibuster now!”
🔵 PA-03’s Rep. Dwight Evans, @DwightEvansPA, 01/23/21:
“Disgraceful actions from Rep. Perry and he should be ashamed of himself. #resignPerry”
🔵 PA-04’s Rep. Madeleine Dean, @RepDean, 01/22/21:
“48 years later, Roe v Wade still stands — it is and shall remain the law of the land.
Women’s reproductive choices and health decisions should be made by women, not the government.”
🔵 PA-06’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, @RepHoulahan, 01/22/21:
“Last evening my colleagues and I received a response from the @USGAO [Government Accountability Office] with good news: they’ve accepted our request to investigate the attack on our U.S. Capitol. As we continue to work for the American people, we must reassure them our citadel of democracy is protected.”
🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild, @RepSusanWild, 01/21/21:
“In the midst of a global health crisis, we saw the cost go up for 600+ rx-drugs. These price increases can be a matter of life and death. This is on my list of top priorities for the 117th Congress. Pennsylvanians literally cannot afford for us to wait.”
🔵 PA-08’s Rep. Matt Cartwright, @RepCartwright, 01/20/21:
“Today we honor one of the most central traditions of American democracy: the peaceful transfer of presidential power. As Joe Biden is inaugurated, I’m so proud that we will have someone in the White House we can claim as our own in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
Joe knows the way of life of people here as well as the struggles they go through. He will bring that perspective to governing and be a great partner in helping Northeastern Pennsylvania come back stronger than before this pandemic.
He will help us achieve real relief for our families & businesses, and make long overdue infrastructure plans a reality. Joe Biden also knows our nation is deeply divided, and he wants to fix that by working with both Democrats and Republicans to solve the challenges we face. “
🔴 PA-11’s Rep. Lloyd Smucker, @RepSmucker, 01/22/21:
“I will always stand up and be a voice for the unborn and will oppose the Biden Administration’s efforts to roll back pro-life policies. I am proud to have received an A+ rating from @SBAList for fighting for life and supporting #prolife policies.”
🔴 PA-12’s Rep. Fred Keller, @RepFredKeller, 01/21/21:
“Canceling the Keystone XL pipeline is counter to President Biden’s message of unity. Thousands of hard-working Americans are now out of work and the progress we’ve made over the last four years in developing America’s energy independence hangs in the balance.”
🔴 PA-13’s Rep. John Joyce, @RepJohnJoyce, 01/21/21:
“After breathless calls for unity, President Biden’s actions speak louder than words. As he signs executive orders to kill family-sustaining jobs, end our energy independence & weaken our national security, rhetoric rings hollow for hardworking families.”
🔴 PA-14’s Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, @GReschenthaler, 01/21/21:
“The same day Joe Biden was inaugurated as president – surrounded by miles of walls – he signed an executive order to stop the construction of walls to protect our southern border.
This just proves the left’s only standard is a double standard.”
🔴 PA-16’s Rep. Mike Kelly, @MikeKellyPA, 01/22/21:
“Abortion is not health care. It is the loss of the most vulnerable and voiceless among us. Tens of millions of human beings are not here with us today because of Roe v. Wade. That’s a tragedy, not cause for celebration.”
🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle, @USRepMikeDoyle, 01/22/21:
“I’m pleased to see that President @JoeBiden has started reversing the pro-polluter, health-threatening environmental policies of former President #Trump. I look forward to working with @POTUS to protect our environment and halt #ClimateChange.”
Casey in the News
Courtesy of contributor Linda Houk
Casey on the inauguration
“Exactly two weeks ago, terrorists stormed the Capitol and attempted to undermine the will of the American people as expressed through their votes in a free, fair and lawful election. Today, American democracy prevailed when Joe Biden was sworn in as our Nation’s 46th President and Kamala Harris made history as the first woman and Black woman of South Asian descent to become Vice President. During his address, President Biden laid out a vision to heal our Nation, contain the COVID-19 pandemic and build our economy back better. It’s now time for us to get things done on behalf of working families.”
—from an article in WGAL 8 News, titled “Lawmakers who represent Susquehanna Valley weigh in on new presidential administration”
Casey on COVID Relief
“I think that Joe Biden and Kamala Harris not only want to focus on the immediate needs, whether it’s vaccines or getting schools open — but to make it big enough so you could have a beginning at least of a transformative impact on people’s lives.”
—from an article in the Philadelphia Tribune, titled “U.S. Sen. Bob Casey welcomes President Biden’s relief package for tackling pandemic”
Toomey in the News
Courtesy of contributor Linda Houk
Toomey on President Biden
“President Joe Biden took the oath of office today during a health crisis and significant political strife. I commend President Biden for his call for national unity, and his assurance to those who did not support him that he will nevertheless be president for all Americans. I urge the president to follow through on this commitment by working with members of Congress from both sides of the aisle to pursue policies that will lead to peace and prosperity for all Americans. I am praying for President Biden and his success in leading our country forward.”
—from an article in WGAL 8 News, titled “Lawmakers who represent Susquehanna Valley weigh in on new presidential administration”
Toomey on COVID Relief
“In less than one year, Congress has spent $3.4 trillion on direct COVID relief aid and nearly doubled the entire federal budget,” Toomey said. “Blasting out another $2 trillion in borrowed or printed money — when the ink on December’s $1 trillion aid bill is barely dry and much of the money is not yet spent — would be a colossal waste and economically harmful.”
“In particular, sending another $1,400 to children, the deceased, and tens of millions of workers who haven’t missed a paycheck, like federal and state employees, is senseless and will likely slow down a recovery in employment. It was a bad idea two weeks ago and it’s a bad idea now.”
—from an article in the Bradford Era, titled “Pa.’s senators react to Biden’s economic plan”
Fitzpatrick in the News
His long journey and many positions taken between Election Day and Inauguration Day
11/07/20 – Skepticism and doubt
“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.”
— and excerpt from a letter from Representative Fitzpatrick and his eight fellow Republicans PA Members of Congress to Pennsylvania state officials, including Governor Wolf
11/11/20 – Vague, unspecific platitudes
“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.”
— from a Bucks County Courier Times article titled “Fitzpatrick: Allow legal challenges to presidential election to run their course”
12/15/20 – Begrudging clarification
“We have a president-elect in Joe Biden. And we have a president and a campaign that are utilizing their legal access and rights to the courts… I think the alternative — if litigation were deep-sixed and short-circuited — there;s going to be lingering questions in the minds of too many people.”
— from the Philadelphia Inquirer article titled “‘Ticket-splitting’ voters in Bucks County show it’s the most competitive Philly suburb.”
01/06/21 – Strong words…
“What happened today was nothing short of a coup attempt. The President of the United States has been lying to his supporters with false information and false expectations. He lit the flame of incitement and owns responsibility for this. The rioters who stormed the Capitol today are criminals and thugs who should all be in jail. Our Country is better than this. The election is over. We must allow for the peaceful transition of power to now take place and come together to rebuild confidence in our democracy. ”
— from Rep. Fitzpatrick’s tweets after the Capitol siege
01/12/21 – …but no Action
“A concurrent censure resolution with language nearly identical to the impeachment resolution introduced in the House is the only immediate, appropriate, and effective means for achieving this… President Trump’s actions, behavior, and language are unacceptable and unbecoming of the office he holds for the next eight days.”
— an excerpt from Representative Fitzpatrick’s press release about the censure resolution he introduced as an alternative to impeachment
01/13/21 – A defence of his NO vote on Impeachment
“The only overwhelmingly bipartisan and bicameral solution that both holds the President accountable for his outrageous conduct and also unifies our nation is censure language that mirrors and is identical to the Democrat’s impeachment resolution. I introduced this very censure resolution the same day the article of impeachment was introduced. If we want to both hold the President accountable and unify our nation with a bipartisan voice, this censure resolution is the only path forward…
…I support a bipartisan censure resolution making sure that the Congress holds the President accountable by putting it on the record that Congress condemns his reprehensible conduct which led to the riots at our nation’s Capitol—a permanent stain on his legacy. Our country deserves closure, and the opportunity to begin anew with the incoming administration. And a censure resolution is the only unifying means for achieving this.”
— an excerpt from Representative Fitzpatrick’s explanation for his NO vote on impeachment
01/15/21 – Both Sides are the Problem (or, a return to his all-time favorite talking point)
“When we lose the ability to understand the nuance of a situation, we lose the ability to function in a relationship. We don’t live in a black or white world… I think both (political) parties are the problem. Every elected official’s job is to challenge their caucus and the other caucus.”
— from a Bucks County Courier Times article titled “Fitzpatrick talks Capitol insurrection, Trump’s legacy and why he voted no on impeachment”
And a postscript from the editorial board at the Philadelphia Inquirer…
You should check out the full article here -“Brian Fitzpatrick’s infuriating ‘no’ vote on impeachment shows a total lack of political courage”
Wondering why PA-01 Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick has his own section while other MoCs do not? Your MoCTrack editor is a PA-01 constituent and provides this with the assistance of volunteer CC. If you are interested in covering your own MoC’s quotes so that they can also appear in our PA MoCTrack Report, please email Pennsylvania.Indivisible@gmail.com to discuss details!
Biden’s Legislative Agenda
It is time for a return to normalcy. President Biden, like presidents before him (with the exception of the previous White House inhabitant) does have a legislative agenda, and from the very start he is letting Congress know the kind of legislation he would like to be considered. As he introduces legislative proposals across his tenure in office, MoCTrack will do our best to break them down for you.
The Biden Immigration Proposal
The following statement is available on the White House website page for “The Biden-Harris Administration Immediate Priorities:”
Immigration – President Biden will reform our long-broken and chaotic immigration system. President Biden’s strategy is centered on the basic premise that our country is safer, stronger, and more prosperous with a fair and orderly immigration system that welcomes immigrants, keeps families together, and allows people across the country—both newly arrived immigrants and people who have lived here for generations—to more fully contribute to our country.
Alongside this statement, President Biden’s team released a fact sheet that outlines the specific policies that they want to see included in any comprehensive immigration reform package. All quotes in the lists below come from that fact sheet This Biden Immigration bill, which is to be called the U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021, will encompass three areas of policy objectives, to:
- Provide pathways to citizenship and strengthen labor ,
- Prioritize smart border controls, and
- Address root causes of migration.
Citizenship and Labor items
- “An earned roadmap to citizenship for undocumented individuals” – undocumented residents will be able to apply for temporary legal status, and upon clearing security and criminal background checks, they can apply for green cards. After three years, green card holders can apply to become citizens.
- A pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, TPS holders, and immigrant farm workers – these residents would be eligible for green cards immediately
- A focus on keeping families together – the legislation would reform “the family-based immigration system by clearing backlogs, recapturing unused visas, eliminating lengthy wait times, and increasing per-country visa caps” and it would let people with family approved sponsorship to wait in our country on a temporary basis as green cards become available
- Programs to “promote immigrant and refugee integration and citizenship” through funding for state and local governments as well as grants for community based organizations
- Improvements to labor protections and employment verification
Border control items:
- “Supplement existing border resources with technology and infrastructure” – this includes deployment of technological solutions to expedite screening at ports of entry and “flexible solutions and technologies that expand the ability to detect illicit activity, evaluate the effectiveness of border security operations”
- “Manage the border and protect border communities” – this includes funding for officer training to promote “professionalism,” as well as the creation of a number of oversight bodies and studies. It also “provides for additional rescue beacons to prevent needless deaths along the border” and works with non-governmental experts to create guidelines and protocols for “standards of care for individuals, families, and children in CBP custody”
- “Crack down on criminal organizations” – this would improve and expand our government agencies’ cooperation with transnational anti-gang task forces and increased focus on smuggling and trafficking networks.
Mitigating Causes of Migration items:
- Increases assistance to the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, “conditioned on their ability to reduce the endemic corruption, violence, and poverty that causes people to flee their home countries”
- “Re-institutes the Central American Minors program to reunite children with U.S. relatives”
- Invests in our Immigration courts to protect vulnerable individuals seeking asylum – “The bill also restores fairness and balance to our immigrationsystem by providing judges and adjudicators with discretion to review cases and grant relief to deserving individuals. Funding is authorized for legal orientation programs and counsel for children, vulnerable individuals, and others when necessary to ensure the fair and efficient resolution of their claims.”
This package is a long way from the last attempts at immigration reform from the 115th Congress under Paul Ryan. Those bills – the Trump supported H.R. 4760 (115th): Securing America’s Future Act of 2018 and the co-called “compromise effort” (despite the fact that it had no Democratic support – it was merely a compromise between the zealots and the less awful wing of the GOP) of H.R. 6136 (115th): Border Security and Immigration Reform Act of 2018 – both failed to pass the House when they received votes in the summer of 2018. Biden’s proposal takes some of the topics that received support from Republicans, like enhanced border technology, but combines that with humane policies to create a path to citizenship for those who already live here and contribute to our economy and culture.
- “Factbox: What’s in Biden’s immigration bill proposal?” from Reuters
- “Biden immigration bill would provide more protections for child migrants,” from NBC News
- “Biden’s sweeping immigration bill, explained,” from Vox
- “Biden’s Bold Play on Immigration Reform Faces Uphill Battle,” from U.S. News & World Report
- “Biden’s plan to outdo Obama, undo Trump’s immigration legacy has begun,” from Politico
Next week we look forward to providing a breakdown of the Biden-Harris proposal for additional COVID Relief!
Call to Action – READ the New Indivisible Guide!
It’s a brand new Congress and Democrats have the TRIFECTA – control of the presidency, the House and the Senate (thank you GEORGIA)! The Original Indivisible Guide that inspired so many of us to action was tailored for our years in the wilderness, but now that our political world has moved into a new place, we need a new set of standard operating procedures!
The key Indivisible principles of equality, justice, compassion and inclusion are still the heart of our movement. But now that the Trump era is behind us, we need to refocus on the actions we must take to make the most of what we can get accomplished between now and the November 2022 elections. As Indivisible co-founders Leah & Ezra have said “If there’s one takeaway from this new guide, we hope it’s this: we have the power, we have the opportunity, it’s up to us, and the time is now.”
So grab a cup of tea (or maybe a glass of wine?) and block out a little bit of time to read the new Indivisible Guide!
This report is brought to you by the Pennsylvania MoCTrack team…
CC Linda Houk
Gary Garb Kierstyn Piotrowski Zolfo
We like to use the start of a new Congress to try out new things and change the report around a bit. For this 117th Congress we are aiming for a tighter, shorter but more info-packed report. If you like the changes or miss an old section, do let us know! Please email KierstynPZ@gmail.com and put “MoCTrack Comments” 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.