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
Indivisible Legislative Scorecard
It’s HERE! This week we bring you the debut of the PA Indivisible Legislative Scorecard. We will score votes that relate to issues of importance to the Indivisible organization. The Indivisible movement is focused on four key principles – equality, justice, compassion and inclusion. Those values are reflected in legislation on:
- 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
Not all bills are equal, though. After deciding which bills to score, we also assign them a multiplier value of 1, 2, or 3. Bills that are central to the Indivisible movement – like H.R. 1, the For the People Act – are weighted more heavily than simple resolutions, which are often only an expression of sentiments and do not lead to any actual change. Deeds are valued above words.
|🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick||44.4%|
|🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle||100.0%|
|🔵 PA-03’s Rep. Dwight Evans||100.0%|
|🔵 PA-04’s Rep. Madeleine Dean||100.0%|
|🔵 PA-05’s Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon||100.0%|
|🔵 PA-06’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan||100.0%|
|🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild||100.0%|
|🔵 PA-08’s Rep. Matt Cartwright||100.0%|
|🔴 PA-09’s Rep. Dan Meuser||0.0%|
|🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry||0.0%|
|🔴 PA-11’s Rep. Lloyd Smucker||0.0%|
|🔴 PA-12’s Rep. Fred Keller||0.0%|
|🔴 PA-13’s Rep. John Joyce||0.0%|
|🔴 PA-14’s Rep. Guy Reschenthaler||0.0%|
|🔴 PA-15’s Rep. Glenn W. Thompson||0.0%|
|🔴 PA-16’s Rep. Mike Kelly||0.0%|
|🔵 PA-17’s Rep. Conor Lamb||100.0%|
|🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle||100.0%|
These initial House scores include the votes on four measures from this 117th Congress:
- The House Impeachment 2 vote
- Stripping Qanon MoC Marjorie Taylor Greene of her committee assignments
- This week’s COVID Relief package
- This week’s vote on the Equality Act
The votes on impeachment and the Equality Act were weighted the most heavily (3), with their long term implications and broad application. The COVID relief package received a moderate weighting (2) for the broad applicability, but short term effect (this would be different if the minimum wage had a chance of staying in the final bill, as that has major equity implications). And the Taylor Greene resolution received the lowest weight (1), as it is more a statement of principles than anything else.
We will eventually be scoring our pair of Senators as well, but they have only had one vote to score so far, on impeachment. Once they have three scorable votes their information will be included. Eventually (perhaps after the next long congressional recess when MoCTrack has some break time) we will have all of this up on the Pennsylvania Indivisible website. But for now it is a MoCTrack only feature.
Votes of Interest
Biden’s COVID Relief Plan moves forward
After hours of debate and weeks of negotiations, at 2AM on Saturday morning the House passed the Biden Administration’s COVID Relief package, the American Rescue Plan. While the bill itself is over 500 pages long (making any comprehensive recap and impossibility for a report like this) the major provisions of the package include:
- $1,400 survival checks (which, when added to the checks from earlier this year, add up to the $2,000 total discussed during the presidential campaign)
- An extension of the federal unemployment expansion
- Funding for state and local governments
- Funding for vaccine dispersal
- Funding to help schools make changes needed for safe reopening
- An expansion of nutritional programs like SNAP
- An increase to the child tax credit
- An increase to bring the minimum wage up to $15.00 and hour
That last provision will not survive in the Senate, as the Parliamentarian has ruled that this is not eligible to be considered in legislation proceeding under budget reconciliation rules. The minimum wage piece stayed in the House version of the bill even after the Senate Parliamentarian made her ruling because, as Nancy Pelosi noted, “as a matter of practice, I don’t get involved in the rules of the United States Senate.”
Vote date: Saturday, February 27, 2021 Vote Tally: 219-212
Party Breakdown: All 212 Republicans voted NO, and they were joined by two Democrats – Jared Golden of Maine and Kurt Schrader of Oregon. The remaining 219 Democrats present voted YES.
- “House passes $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package in party-line vote,” from ABC News
- “House passes Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid relief package,” from CNN Politics
- “House passes $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill with $1,400 checks, vaccine funding,” from NBC News
- “13 House Republicans are voting by proxy on COVID relief bill, citing pandemic, but they’re speaking at CPAC,” rom CBS News
A Great Day for LGBTQ+ Civil Rights
This week the House passed the Equality Act, a bill designed to grant LGBTQ+ people civil rights protections. In 2019, when the bill was first introduced, Yardley Councilman David Bria composed a recap of the bill for MoCTrack, so it is a great time to revisit his assessment.
“The resolution makes a simple but important amendment to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and all subsequent Acts addressing discrimination. It seeks to define sex discrimination to include discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, giving the LGBTQ community full protection. Presently, there is ambiguity as to whether sex discrimination is meant to include sexual orientation and gender identity….
…Twenty-one (22) states plus Washington D.C. [had, in 2019] laws which prohibit
discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. They are Maine, New Hampshire,
Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Delaware,
Maryland, Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Washington,
Oregon, California, Hawaii and New York. Here in Pennsylvania, prohibitions on sex discrimination are interpreted to include discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity—though this is not codified into law.”
When the bill passed during the 116th Congress, it was clear that the Republican led Senate had no interest in scheduling it for a vote. That is not the case in this 117th Congress. This is one in a long list of bills that will pass or fail based solely upon the willingness of the most centrist Democractic senators (hey Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema!!) to reform or eliminate the filibuster.
Vote date: Thursday, February 25, 2021 Vote Tally: 224-206
Party Breakdown: All 212 Democrats voted YES. Three Republicans crossed party lines to vote YES with the Democrats – New York’s Tom Reed and John Katoko, and 🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick. The remaining 206 Republicans voted NO.
- “House votes to pass Equality Act, prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity,” from the Washington Post
- “House Passes The Equality Act: Here’s What It Would Do,” from NPR
- “Two GOP lawmakers who supported the Equality Act in 2019 changed their votes this time,” from CNN Politics
The House Expands Wilderness Protections in Colorado
The Library of Congress has provided this summary of the Colorado Wilderness Act:
This bill designates specified lands in Colorado managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) or the Forest Service as wilderness and as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System.
The bill designates specified lands in Colorado administered by the BLM, the National Park Service, and Bureau of Reclamation as wilderness and as components of the National Wilderness Preservation System….
…The bill designates specified lands managed by the BLM as (1) potential wilderness areas, and (2) the Pisgah East Wilderness and the Pisgah West Wilderness upon publication by Interior of a notice in the Federal Register that all nonconforming uses of such lands authorized by this bill have ceased.
The delicate phrasing of “nonconfirming uses” from that last paragraph quoted above includes mining, fracking and other resource exploitation.
Vote date: Friday, February 26, 2021 Vote Tally: 227-200
Party Breakdown: All but one of the Democrats present voted YES – the contrarian was Vincente Gonzalez of Texas. For the Republicans, 199 voted NO and 8 broke with the party to vote YES, among them was 🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick.
- “House votes to protect millions of acres of wilderness and other public lands in sweeping legislation,” from The Wilderness Society
- “US House approves package of public land bills that includes Colorado Dem priorities,” from Denver’s ABC News affiliate
- “U.S. House votes to expand Colorado federal lands, limit oil and gas drilling on them,” from the Denver Post
Legal Communication Protections updated for the COVID era
Communications between incarcerated people and their attorneys are privileged, and jails and prisons are forbidden from recording or monitoring such interactions. But in the COVID era, prisoners are not permitted to have in-person contact with their legal representation, relying upon electronic means of communication. And emails are something that prisons have been able to monitor. This bill would remedy that, if enacted, giving incarcerated people the privacy needed to formulate a legal strategy with their representation, free from prying eyes.
Vote date: Wednesday, February 24, 2021 Vote Tally: 414-11
Party Breakdown: All Democrats present voted YES, along with 195 Republicans. The 11 lawmakers who voted NO were all Republicans, but none were from Pennsylvania. This measure passed under a suspension of the rules, so a ⅔ supermajority was needed for passage.
- “Jeffries Reintroduces Legislation Bringing Prison-Attorney Privilege into 21st Century,” from Kings County Politics
- Editorial content – “Lawyers can’t visit clients in prison, so quit monitoring their emails,” from The Los Angeles Times
Senate Vote on the Second Impeachment of Donald J. Trump, Guilty or Not Guilty
Because of our “health break” here at MoCTrack, we missed recapping the impeachment vote in a timely manner. We know you are all more than well aware of the details, but we wanted to include the vote here to fulfill our completionist urge.
Vote date: Saturday, February 13, 2021 Vote Tally: 57-43
Party Breakdown: Forty-three Republicans voted NOT GUILTY. The coalition who voted GUILTY included all 48 Democrats, both Independents and 7 Republicans. The seven senators who placed country above party are Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Ben Sasse of Nebraska, Richard Burr of North Carolina, our own Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Mitt Romney of Utah.
Senator Casey voted GUILTY and Senator Toomey voted GUILTY.
Biden Cabinet Nominee #7 – Veterans Affairs
Senate Confirmation Vote on Denis Richard McDonough of Maryland, to be Secretary of Veterans Affairs
Denis McDonough is only the second non-veteran ever chosen to lead the Department of Veterans’ Affairs. But while he did not serve in uniform, McDonough is an experienced administrator, having served as President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, a deputy national security advisor and the chief of staff of the national security staff.
Upon his confirmation McDonough acknowledged the scope of the issues facing his new department, which has struggled under scandal-ridden leadership and problems providing care to its 18 million veterans. He said, “this won’t be easy. The Department of Veterans Affairs faces great challenges, challenges made even more daunting by the coronavirus pandemic. Its capabilities have not always risen to the needs of our veterans.”
Vote date: Monday, February 8, 2021 Vote Tally: 87-7
Party Breakdown: The YES votes came from all 48 Democrats, both of the Independents and 37 Republicans. The 7 Republicans who voted NO were Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Rick Scott of Florida, Joni Ernst of Iowa, Roger Marshall of Kansas, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Bill Hagerty of Tennessee and Ted Cruz of Texas.
- “Senate Confirms Denis McDonough To Head Veterans Affairs Department,” from NPR
- “Senate confirms Denis McDonough as secretary of Veterans Affairs,” from CNN Politics
- “Denis McDonough confirmed as President Biden’s Veterans Affairs chief,” from the Washington Post
Senator Casey voted YES and Senator Toomey did not vote.
Biden Cabinet Nominee #8 – Agriculture
Senate Confirmation Vote on Thomas J. Vilsack to be Secretary of Agriculture
Secretary Vilsack is perhaps the most qualified of all of President Biden’s nominees, having served in this same position for the entire Obama presidency, from 2009 to 2017.
Per the Des Moines Register, Vilsack made this statement upon his confirmation:
We’re going to be a USDA that represents and serves all Americans. We have a lot of work ahead of us to contain the pandemic, transform America’s food system, create fairer markets for producers, ensure equity and root out systemic barriers, develop new income opportunities with climate smart practices, increase access to healthy and nutritious food, and make historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy in rural America.
As for the NO vote from Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator said, “I think we need somebody a little bit more vigorous, in terms of protecting family farms and taking on corporate agriculture.”
Vote date: Tuesday, February 23, 2021 Vote Tally: 92-7
Party Breakdown: All 48 Democrats voted YES. Of the Independents, Angus King of Maine voted YES and Bernie Sanders of Vermont voted NO. The Republicans were split, with 44 voting YES and 6 voting NO. The six NO votes came from Dan Sullivan of Alaska, Marco Rubio of Florida, Rick Scott of Florida, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas.
- “Vilsack confirmed as Agriculture secretary,” from Politico
- “Senate confirms Tom Vilsack to serve again as agriculture secretary,” from CNN Politics
- “Vilsack confirmed for 2nd stint as US agriculture secretary,” from the Associated Press
Senator Casey voted YES and Senator Toomey voted YES.
Biden Cabinet Nominee #9 – United Nations Ambassador
Senate Confirmation Vote on Linda Thomas-Greenfield to be Representative of the United States of America to the Sessions of the General Assembly of the United Nations
The fine journalists at the Voice of America provided this recap of Linda Thomas-Greenfield’s career, and we cannot improve upon their work:
During her State Department career, Thomas Greenfield has worked in both Democratic and Republican administrations. An Africa specialist, she served as U.S. ambassador to Liberia, and held posts in Kenya, The Gambia and Nigeria. Under then-President Barack Obama, she served as the assistant secretary for the Bureau of African Affairs (2013-2017), developing and managing Washington’s policy toward sub-Saharan Africa. She has also worked in Geneva at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations.
Vote date: Tuesday, February 23, 2021 Vote Tally: 78-21
Party Breakdown: All 47 Democrats present voted YES, as did both Independents. On the Republican side, 29 voted YES and 21 voted NO. Those NO votes came from across the GOP spectrum, from the insurrectionist crowd like Cruz and Hawley; the 2021 presidential hopefuls like Rubio , Sasse and Cotton; and old-school GOP lawmakers like our own Pat Toomey and Tim Scott.
- “Linda Thomas-Greenfield confirmed as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations,” from CNBC
- ”Senate Confirms Biden’s Pick for UN Ambassador,” from the Voice of America
- “‘It can only get better’: Linda Thomas-Greenfield headed to crisis-plagued U.N.,” from Politico
Senator Casey voted YES and Senator Toomey voted NO.
Biden Cabinet Nominee #10 – Energy
Senate Confirmation Vote on Jennifer Mulhern Granholm to be Secretary of Energy
New Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm is a former attorney general and then governor of Michigan who served as the state’s leader from 2003-2011. Her experience leading the state with the largest automotive manufacturing presence necessitated a familiarity with energy policy.
During her confirmation hearing, she made the following statements:
“I believe that I was nominated by the president because I am obsessed with creating good paying jobs in America. Having been the governor of Michigan when the automotive industry was on its knees, I understand what it’s like to look in the eyes of men and women who have lost jobs through no fault of their own.”
“I knew we had to diversify, both inside and outside the auto industry. When I say ‘inside’ the auto industry, I mean we had to make car 2.0 — the electric vehicle, including the guts to that vehicle, the battery. And diversifying outside the auto industry, we had to create jobs in new sectors.”
Vote date: Thursday, February 25, 2021 Vote Tally: 64-35
Party Breakdown: The YES votes came from all 48 Democrats, both of the Independents and 14 Republicans. All 35 NO votes were from Republicans.
- “Jennifer Granholm is confirmed as energy secretary,” from the New York Times
- “Former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm confirmed as energy secretary,” from NBC News
- “Jennifer Granholm sworn in as energy secretary,” from UPI
Senator Casey voted YES and Senator Toomey voted NO.
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.
- S.35 – Officer Eugene Goodman Congressional Gold Medal Act
- H.R.1192 – PRRADA (Puerto Rico Recovery Accuracy in Disclosures Act of 2021)
- S.422 – Senate Shared Employee Act
- S.Res.75 – A resolution celebrating Black History Month
Quotes of Interest
Our Representatives discuss the American Rescue Plan, the COVID relief bill
🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, shared via Facebook, 02/27/21:
“In a time of such desperate need for targeted COVID-19 relief, the House Majority has decided to rush a nearly $2 trillion, untargeted spending package.
Here are the facts:
• House Leadership is forging ahead with their incredibly expensive partisan relief plan while over $1 trillion in funds from previously-enacted laws remain unspent to fight COVID and reopen our economy.
• Less than 1% of the American Rescue Plan would be spent on vaccine-related activities and programs, which should be the #1 top priority.
• Less than 9% of the $1.9 trillion plan goes to combatting COVID-19 through public health spending such as national vaccination program, tracking, and more testing.
• This bill would extend eligibility for some benefits to those in this country illegally.
• This bill spends $100 million on the Silicon Valley Underground Transit Expansion and other pet projects like $1.5 million for the Seaway International Bridge, which connects New York to Canada. This has zero connection to COVID relief.
• This bill spends over $10 billion on overseas, non-domestic items.
One thing we can all agree on: there is a significant need to quickly disseminate adequate resources to the many Americans in need in a targeted and direct fashion. Along with a number of my bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus colleagues, I am insisting that this, and any COVID-19 relief package moving forward, be a product of bipartisan compromise. Any COVID-19 relief package must also guarantee that assistance is given solely to those in need and in no way diverted to wasteful, non-COVID related spending. We must work together and deliver real relief to the struggling American families and workers who need it most.
To do so, we must have individual, stand-alone votes on each aspect of the plan: individual, stand-alone votes for a national vaccination program, the safe reopening of schools, direct stimulus payments, funding for our local governments, and an upgrade to our federal information technology infrastructure to specifically address the recent breaches of government data systems. Each of these individual bills must be targeted and efficient. Currently, more than $1 trillion of the American Rescue Plan is unrelated to providing assistance to impacted families and workers across our nation. Under no circumstance should the next COVID-19 relief package include anything that is not direct, targeted relief for the many Americans impacted by the pandemic.
For months, the calls for unity and bipartisanship have been hopeful and encouraging. But of the hundreds of amendments submitted by House GOP members for the COVID-19 relief package, only two have been accepted. Now, more than ever, it is of the utmost importance that both sides come together, as we did in December, and unite on putting together the best possible package for our constituents. It’s my hope and aim that my colleagues take this opportunity to reach across the aisle and unite to best serve the people of our country. No more purely ideological proposals, we must quickly come to a unified solution together.”
🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle, @CongBoyle, 02/27/21:
“After 12 months of death and despair, the American recovery begins tonight. This is a big and bold plan. One of the largest bills in the history of Congress. It is exactly the sort of bold plan that is needed to meet the crisis of this moment.”
🔵 PA-03’s Rep. Dwight Evans, @RepDwightEvans, 02/26/21:
“Later today, I will vote to pass President Biden’s BIG and BOLD $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan – WITH the $15 minimum wage included. This plan includes:
✅ Extending expanded unemployment benefits
✅ $1,400 checks to finish job of delivering $2,000 payments
✅ Robust expansion of Child Tax Credit
✅ Expansion of nutrition assistance
✅ Housing support
✅ Funding to reopen schools safely”
🔵 PA-04’s Rep. Madeleine Dean, @RepDean, 02/27/21:
“Inspired by the need to act *boldly* and the 70% of Americans that support the #AmericanRescuePlan — I’ll be voting Yes!
My YES vote is for:
✅ Direct payments to families.
✅ Funding for our schools to reopen.
✅ Support to small businesses.
✅ Aid to our state and local govts.”
🔵 PA-05’s Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, @RepMGS, 02/27/21:
“Early this morning, the House passed the #AmericanRescuePlan to deliver long overdue relief to the American people! Republicans used every trick in the book to delay this vote. We held firm — because the American people cannot wait.”
🔵 PA-06’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, @RepHoulahan, 02/27/21:
“Early this morning, I voted to pass the American Rescue Plan because we need to get this virus under control once and for all. This legislation is comprehensive –
- direct cash relief for Pennsylvanians
- increased support for small businesses
- aid for state and local governments to accelerate vaccine distribution
- funds for our schools to both safely and quickly reopen
- enhanced unemployment for Pennsylvanians who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own
We cannot afford to wait. Too many lives and livelihoods have already been lost. I urge the Senate to move expediently so we can get Pennsylvanians the relief they deserve.”
🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild, @RepSusanWild, 02/27/21:
“Late night, but I just got back from voting YES on the COVID relief bill.
We’re bringing relief checks, small business aid, and support for schools and working families to #PA07. More to be done, but this crucial legislation will be a lifeline to those who need it most.”
🔵 PA-08’s Rep. Matt Cartwright, @RepCartwright, 02/27/21:
The #AmericanRescuePlan has passed the House.
The Senate should act quickly so we can send it to the President’s desk as soon as possible.
We can’t afford to keep the American people waiting.
Shots in arms.
Money in pockets.
Kids back in school.
People back to work.
We’re passing the #AmericanRescuePlan today to get it done.
🔴 PA-09’s Rep. Dan Meuser, via his official website, 02/26/21:
“Over the past year, Congress has allocated nearly $4 trillion to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, Democrat Leadership is following through on a campaign promise made by President Biden to spend another $2 trillion. Further assistance is appropriate for those individuals, families, and businesses who have been hit the hardest, including restaurants, but this bill fails to recognize the improving economic conditions as well as the fact that more than $1 trillion from previous relief packages remains unspent. Just 9% of this bill goes towards combatting the virus, and just 1% is directed for vaccines. Instead, the apparent priorities of the Democrat Leadership include a bail-out for mismanaged states, pension funds, an increase in the minimum wage, and half a billion dollars for the arts and humanities. Congress has already provided $68 billion for our schools, more than double the CDC’s highest estimate of what it would take for our schools to open safely. We should be able to unite in supporting an economic recovery, open our schools, increase testing, and ensure the efficient distribution of vaccines.”
🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry, via his Facebook page, 02/26/21:
“WRONG PLAN, WRONG TIME, WRONG REASONS —
• Less than 9% of the $1.9 trillion plan goes to combatting COVID-19 through public health spending (national vaccination program, tracking, and testing)
• Hundreds of billions in bailouts to Blue State governors to reward their lockdowns, including a biased spending formula that disproportionately rewards states that unfairly locked out thousands of small businesses
• Over $140 million to fund Speaker Pelosi’s costly, controversial, unbuilt transit project in the San Francisco Bay area, which has nothing to do with defeating the COVID pandemic.
• $70 million for New Jersey’s portion of the Gateway Tunnel Project – a long-standing priority for Senator Schumer.
• Billions more in foreign aid on top of the more than $30 billion just enacted in December
🔴 PA-11’s Rep. Lloyd Smucker, via his official website, 02/27/21:
“Rep. Smucker Opposes $1.9 Trillion Hyper-Partisan Wish List:
“This $1.9 trillion legislation is not a stimulus plan, and it is not “COVID-19 relief.” It is a highly partisan wish list, rather than a targeted and temporary approach to help get individuals back to work, children back in classrooms, and crush COVID-19. Both parties came together five times to support ongoing aid to families, small businesses, and our healthcare heroes, but now Speaker Pelosi and congressional Democrats are choosing a push aside their Republican colleagues. They have lost sight of the priorities that we can all agree on and the relief that needs to be provided. Along with the 1.4 million job-killing minimum wage hike and $86 billion private pension bailout shows the American people that this bill is not about defeating COVID-19.”
“This legislation sends money to places that it does not need to go. Ways and Means Committee Republicans released an analysis that nearly one-third of the $150 billion Coronavirus Relief Fund provided to state and local governments to combat the pandemic remains unspent. This bill also sends stimulus checks to individuals who never experienced job loss or financial impacts during the pandemic. In fact, Ways and Means Committee Democrats blocked my amendment to incentivize the hiring of long-term unemployed individuals. At the same time, this underlying legislation may pay individuals more to be unemployed than they would earn while working.”
“Congress could do much better than this bloated, greedy, and hyper-partisan $1.9 trillion spending wish list. Both parties could come together to create a better bill, including many of the commonsense and good-faith proposals Republicans have offered throughout the committees’ process. Many House Republicans, myself included, worked with House Democrats to advance previous COVID-19 legislation. House Republicans have shown time and time again that we will work with our colleagues across the aisle, but today’s purely partisan legislation tells us that Democrats will not reciprocate and work with House Republicans. The American people deserve better.”
🔴 PA-12’s Rep. Fred Keller, via his official website, 02/27/21:
“Congressman Fred Keller rejects Biden’s $2 trillion partisan wish list:
“Today’s vote clearly shows the disconnect that exists between what Washington Democrats want and what the American people truly need. Rather than spend trillions more in taxpayer dollars on items unrelated to COVID-19, we should first look at being accountable for the more than $1 trillion that has yet to be spent from previous relief efforts.
“Any further relief must be temporary, targeted, and tied to COVID-19. Unfortunately, less than 10 percent of this latest package addresses public health. I voted to reject this bill because it comes at a significant cost the American taxpayer and fails to move our nation closer to our goals of defeating this virus and returning our nation to normal.”
🔴 PA-13’s Rep. John Joyce, via his official website, 02/27/21:
“DR. JOYCE: COVID RELIEF SHOULD BE TARGETED TO WORKERS, STUDENTS, AND VACCINES:
“The American people want to crush this pandemic, rebuild our economy, and restore our communities. Congress should be focused on getting Americans safely back to work, children and teachers back to the classroom, and vaccines into arms. Instead, the Biden White House sent a partisan wish list and Congressional Democrats rejected every opportunity to make it better. This so-called ‘relief’ plan is merely a bailout for poorly-managed states and a vehicle for Democrats’ radical priorities, including taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood and job-killing climate schemes.
“Rather than prioritize workers and our small business community, this legislation would destroy jobs, incentivize endless lockdowns, and keep our small businesses closed. With a nearly $2 trillion price tag for American taxpayers, only 9 percent of this funding would be used to combat the pandemic and only 5 percent would support the full reopening of K-12 schools. Today, I’m voting no on this radical wish list – but you can be certain that I will keep working to fully reopen our economy, to get our kids back into the classroom, and to accelerate vaccine distribution in Pennsylvania and around the country.”
🔴 PA-14’s Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, @GReschenthaler, 02/26/21:
“Democrats are disguising a progressive payoff as a COVID relief bill.
Ⓧ It doesn’t reopen our schools
Ⓧ It doesn’t reopen our economy
Ⓧ It doesn’t provide targeted relief where it’s actually needed
It does almost nothing to combat COVID or the problems our country is facing.”
🔴 PA-15’s Rep. Glenn W. Thompson, @CongressmanGT, 02/27/21:
“#AfterMidnightMadness With bipartisan opposition Democrats jammed the almost $2 Trillion H.R. 1319 Pelosi Payoff despite most recent targeted COVID relief was signed into December 27th & together, with previously enacted stimulus laws, over $1 trillion remain unspent
#AfterMidnightMadness While your children & grandchildren slept Democrats piled on almost $2 Trillion of debt on their future while less than 9% of that goes to actually combatting COVID-19 through public health spending while paying for a tunnel for Pelosi & a bridge for Schumer
🔴 PA-16’s Rep. Mike Kelly, via his official website, 02/27/21:
“No amount of deficit spending will heal an economy that remains locked down. This so-called American Rescue Plan focuses more on progressive pet projects than opening America while only 9% of this bill focuses on COVID testing and vaccine distribution. Congress’ top priorities must be to get Americans back to work, our kids back to school, more efficient vaccine distribution, and a return to fiscal sanity so we can get our country back on a path to prosperity.”
🔵 PA-17’s Rep. Conor Lamb, via his official website, 02/27/21:
“This bill provides wartime-level funding to help end the COVID-19 pandemic. To honor the 500,000 Americans who have lost their lives, we must fight this virus to the finish, and the size and scope of this bill will allow us to do that.
“The funding in this bill will deliver vaccines quicker, make schools safer, and better support the unemployed. It will help the millions more who have lost hours at work due to the pandemic, and will protect people’s jobs, especially those who work for airlines and the public sector.
“Millions of Americans are worrying today about how to make ends meet, and when a vaccine will help them get back to normal. They deserve to see their government act with the urgency demanded by this deadly disease. The Senate should pass this bill without delay.”
🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle, @USRepMikeDoyle, 02/27/21:
“Early this morning, the House approved the #AmericanRescuePlan with my support. It will speed up production & distribution of the #COVID19 #vaccine, reopen our schools, and provide more support to hard-pressed families, small businesses, and state and local governments.”
🔵 Senator Bob Casey, @SenBobCasey, 02/26/21:
“LGBTQ+ adults face a lifetime of discrimination, resulting in higher poverty and increased health risks in old age. I applaud the PA Department of Aging’s move to recognize LGBTQ+ older adults as a population of “greatest social need” under the Older Americans Act.”
🔴 Senator Pat Toomey, @SenToomey, 02/25/21:
“Dani Ritchie of Butler County testified at today’s Banking Committee hearing on COVID and small businesses. I asked her what would help her hair salon – a $15 minimum wage or an easing of Pennsylvania’s lockdown on businesses?
Her answer was straightforward: “We definitely need to reopen… The 50% capacity just doesn’t make sense… the distance between our stations is much more than 6 ft. so I absolutely believe we can safely accommodate 100%.” Watch: tweeted with embedded video
🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, @RepBrianFitz, 02/25/21:
“Each time I see this, I can’t help but note the hypocrisy that exists in House leadership. The same people who support installing protective fencing around their offices & homes are denying federal LE agents’ repeated calls for the same fencing to be used along our border.
Fencing that LE says is needed to help them do their jobs protecting our nation. When asked to explain this hypocrisy, House leadership cannot. This “rules apply to thee but not to me” culture must end now.
High standards are good. Double-standards are bad. Actions must always match words and everyone must be held to the same standard.”
🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle, @RepBrendanBoyle, 02/24/21:
“We should never have to hide who we are, or who we love. Hate crimes like this must be fully investigated and prosecuted. This marks at least the seventh death of a trans person in 2021, barely two months into the year.
But, today brings hope with this week’s expected passage of #TheEqualityAct , that would guarantee explicit, permanent protections for LGBTQ people under our nation’s existing civil rights laws.”
🔵 PA-03’s Rep. Dwight Evans, @RepDwightEvans, 02/26/21:
“After actively opposing the deportation of Black immigrants with my @TheBlackCaucus
colleagues, I am pleased to see that #Philly-area resident Christian M’Bagoyi has not been deported.”
🔵 PA-04’s Rep. Madeleine Dean, @RepDean, 02/26/21:
“Grateful for the opportunity to serve as Vice Chair of the @HouseJudiciary this Congress.
Our committee will be addressing everything from police reform and racial justice to big tech monopolies to gun violence.
I’m excited to be a part of the leadership team. Let’s get to work.”
🔵 PA-05’s Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, @RepMGS, 02/26/21:
“Working people are the ones hit the hardest by COVID-19. But when workers come together, they have power. If we pass the #PROActNow, we can empower Pennsylvania workers to fight for higher wages, safer workplaces, and better benefits.”
🔵 PA-06’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, @RepHoulahan, 02/25/21:
PASSED: Two years ago, I shared my Molly’s story with you all as I fought for the #EqualityAct 🌈. The world has changed a lot since then, but still, our LGBTQ+ Americans lack the protections & respect they deserve. We must keep speaking out until this historic legislation is law.
🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild, @RepSusanWild, 02/23/21:
“Today’s news reminds me of the time I spent with Hatice Cengiz, Jamal Khashoggi’s fiancée.
This report shows the direct involvement of #MBS. It’s a step towards justice, but we need more. That’s why I’ll keep supporting the Jamal Khashoggi Press Freedom Accountability Act.”
🔵 PA-08’s Rep. Matt Cartwright, @RepCartwright, 02/23/21:
“It’s crucial to ensure the IRS has sufficient resources to modernize its systems and serve the American people. After the trouble so many in #PA08 had with their stimulus checks last year, there’s clearly room for improvement. Join me & @AppropsDems today:” with video link for hearing
🔴 PA-09’s Rep. Dan Meuser, @RepMeuser, 02/25/21:
“Instead of working with Republicans to balance constitutional rights and protections from discrimination, Democrats are once again threatening the liberties of Americans to appease their far-left base. See below for my full statement on H.R. 5”
🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry, @RepScottPerry, 02/26/21:
“We can’t be in the business of normalizing terrorism while fighting terrorism. This strike highlights how ridiculous it is that we’re still trying to negotiate with Iran while they’re literally trying to kill Americans RIGHT NOW. #Iran #Syria”
🔴 PA-11’s Rep. Lloyd Smucker, @RepSmucker, 02/25/21:
“It is safe for students to return to the classroom. President Biden and Democrats need to put STUDENTS not the teacher unions first. America’s students deserve better.”
🔴 PA-12’s Rep. Fred Keller, @RepFredKeller, 02/24/21:
“Today, we announced the reintroduction of the Bureau of Prisons Reform Caucus. This bipartisan caucus will continue to bring greater oversight to federal prisons and advocate for our corrections officers and the communities they serve. Our release”
🔴 PA-13’s Rep. John Joyce, @RepJohnJoyce, 02/26/21:
“Rather than help for hardworking Americans, the Democrats’ “COVID relief” legislation is a bailout & vehicle for radical policy priorities – like taxpayer-funded abortion & job-killing climate schemes.
With a $2 trillion price tag, only 9% would go to combating the pandemic.”
🔴 PA-14’s Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, @GReschenthaler, 02/26/21:
“3 weeks ago, Biden rescinded Trump’s national emergency declaration at the border, now the crisis worsens by the day.
Biden’s weakness on immigration is directly responsible for a staggering increase in minors who suffer this arduous & dangerous journey.”
🔴 PA-15’s Rep. Glenn W. Thompson, @CongressmanGT, 02/25/21:
“The climate is changing, the Earth’s temperature is rising, and I trust the science that says global industrial activity has contributed. But doomsday scenarios are part of the problem, not the solution.
#ConservativeClimateSolutions and innovation will help us win this fight.”
🔴 PA-16’s Rep. Mike Kelly, @MikeKellyPA, 02/25/21:
“All people should be treated with respect and no one should face discrimination, but this bill would erode our nation’s progress toward women’s equality and threaten religious liberty. Read my statement on the so-called Equality Act.”
🔵 PA-17’s Rep. Conor Lamb, @RepConorLamb, 02/25/21:
“Today the House passed the #EqualityAct with bipartisan support. Next stop the U.S. Senate & then to the President. #PA17”
🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle, @USRepMikeDoyle, 02/26/21:
“I voted for the Protecting America’s Wilderness & Public Lands Act to protect clean water & air, preserve 1.5 million acres of wilderness, & combat the #ClimateCrisis. We’re fighting to #KeepItWild for future generations.”
Casey Quote of the Week
Courtesy of contributor Linda Houk
On raising the minimum wage
“Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour will increase incomes for over 30 million workers and lift millions of children out of poverty. The time to act is now. Congress needs to step up and finally raise the minimum wage for hardworking families in Pennsylvania and throughout the nation.”
—from an article on CBS 21 News, titled “Officials urge Congress to increase the minimum wage”
Toomey Quote of the Week
Courtesy of contributor Linda Houk
On the state of the economy
“We are well past the point where our economy is collapsing… In fact our economy is growing rapidly. There’s also real danger that we have overheating … that can lead to inflation.”
—from an article on WWNYTV 7 News, titled “Fed’s Powell: Recovery incomplete, high inflation unlikely”
Fitzpatrick in the News
Research courtesy of contributor CC
“If passed, my bipartisan GYMS Act will create a $30 billion recovery fund, providing grants to affected businesses in the health and fitness industry and the resources they need to survive this crisis. There is no question that the hardworking men and women of this industry deserve our help.
The COVID-19 pandemic has crippled the fitness industry across our nation. Unlike many other businesses financially impacted by the pandemic, health and fitness clubs did not have the capability to pivot to new revenue streams, and many even failed to qualify for assistance in the first CARES Act.”
— from a Ripon Advance blog post titled “Bipartisan bill unveiled by Fitzpatrick offers pandemic relief to fitness industry”
“I thank President Biden and our service members for responding to the recent attacks on U.S. and coalition targets. Responses like this are a necessary deterrent and remind Iran, its proxies, and our adversaries around the world that attacks on U.S. interests will not be tolerated. We must hold the Iranian regime accountable for its dangerous and provocative actions that threaten Israel, the Middle East, and the entire world.”
— from a Levittown Now article titled “Congressman Supportive Of Syria Air Strikes”
“The very foundation of our democracy is based upon the American people’s faith in our electoral system. Now, more than ever, it is vitally important we take steps to rebuild that faith. Ending the partisan gridlock at the Federal Election Commission will both increase transparency and re-instill confidence in the American people that all campaigns are held accountable and adhere to the same set of rules.”
— from a Mason Web TV article titled “Bill Introduced to Fix America’s Election Watchdog”
“Kangaroos are victims of the largest commercial slaughter of land-based wildlife in the world. As a member of the bipartisan Congressional Animal Protection Caucus and an outspoken defender of animals, I will continue to be committed to ensuring that our government is doing everything in its power to promote and protect animal welfare. Our bipartisan Kangaroo Protection Act of 2021 will make it illegal to exploit kangaroos in the United States and ensure that penalties are imposed for violations. I am proud to join my colleague Rep. Carbajal in this fight.”
— from an article in the San Luis Obispo Tribune titled “Central Coast congressman wants to ban U.S. sale of kangaroo body parts. This is why”
“A 2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey showed that approximately 44% of teens reported being a victim of violence at the hands of their partner. Now, with the advent of social media, there are even more tools and avenues that are used to pursue and harass innocent victims. This is a significant issue that impacts everyone — teens, parents, teachers, friends, and our communities, as well. This bipartisan resolution is a step to empower victims and educate the public. Together, we can raise awareness about teen dating violence and promote safe, healthy relationships.”
— from an article in the Winchester Star titled “Wexton introduces resolution to raise awareness about teen dating violence”
“It is an honor to serve as Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Europe, Energy, the Environment, and Cyber. It is my highest priority to advance our foreign policy goals and American diplomatic interests. For 14 years prior to running for Congress, I served our country as an FBI Supervisory Special Agent fighting political corruption and supporting global counterterrorism efforts. Throughout my tenure with the FBI, I worked diligently to promote freedom and democracy and will bring that same determination and gained-knowledge to my role as Ranking Member.I look forward to working with my colleagues to provide bipartisan oversight of American foreign policy.”
— from a Levittown Now article titled “Congressman Named Ranking Member Of Subcommittee”
Just a tiny update since the last MoCTrack Report. On February 11, 2021, the House unanimously passed H.Res. 111 which assigned 🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild to a seat on the House Committee for Science, Space and Technology. Her website does not reflect this information (yet?), but the content was in the resolution.
Call to Action – Support H.R. 1: For the People Act
This message comes from Indivisible National:
“Donald Trump’s presidency and attempts to steal the 2020 election have put into focus the cracks in our democratic system. That’s why In the 117th Congress, Democrats’ first order of business was introducing H.R. 1, the For the People Act, signaling that structural democracy reform is their number one priority. With our democracy in crisis, we need a robust reform package that targets voter suppression, gerrymandering, money in politics, corruption, and more.
H.R. 1 is an important first step towards building an equitable democracy, along with the D.C. statehood bill and John Lewis Voting Rights Act. Without a functional democracy in which everyone is included and represented, we can’t achieve any of our other progressive goals. All the issues we care about deeply: health care, immigration, ending wars, racial justice, climate change—fixing these things requires a democracy that is responsive to the people, not the powerful and wealthy.
The only way to ensure a fair, equitable democracy for all is structural democracy reform now. Call your Representatives and demand they vote yes on H.R. 1. Our democracy depends on it.”
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.