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 thanks to the Demcast and Pennsylvania Indivisible organizations who host our report and help us share it out to the residents of our Commonwealth!
The Indivisible movement is focused on four key principles – equality, justice, compassion and inclusion. Accordingly, we score legislation that reflects those values:
- 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
|Lawmaker||Score||Change from last score|
|🔵 Senator Bob Casey||100.0%||n/a|
|🔴 Senator Pat Toomey||60.0%||n/a|
|🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick||50.0%||+15.0%|
|🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle||100.0%||0.0%|
|🔵 PA-03’s Rep. Dwight Evans||100.0%||0.0%|
|🔵 PA-04’s Rep. Madeleine Dean||100.0%||0.0%|
|🔵 PA-05’s Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon||100.0%||0.0%|
|🔵 PA-06’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan||100.0%||0.0%|
|🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild||100.0%||0.0%|
|🔵 PA-08’s Rep. Matt Cartwright||100.0%||0.0%|
|🔴 PA-09’s Rep. Dan Meuser||0.0%||0.0%|
|🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry||0.0%||0.0%|
|🔴 PA-11’s Rep. Lloyd Smucker||11.5%||+11.5%|
|🔴 PA-12’s Rep. Fred Keller||0.0%||0.0%|
|🔴 PA-13’s Rep. John Joyce||0.0%||0.0%|
|🔴 PA-14’s Rep. Guy Reschenthaler||0.0%||0.0%|
|🔴 PA-15’s Rep. Glenn W. Thompson||11.5%||+11.5%|
|🔴 PA-16’s Rep. Mike Kelly||0.0%||0.0%|
|🔵 PA-17’s Rep. Conor Lamb||100.0%||0.0%|
|🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle||100.0%||0.0%|
This week marks the introduction of our Senate scores, now that there are three votes to score. Included are the January impeachment vote, the COVID Relief package vote from earlier this month, and the historic confirmation of Secretary of the Interior Debra Haaland. The House scores this week have been updated to include the vote on the American Dream and Promise Act as well as the Farm Workforce Modernization Act.
Votes of Interest
The “Piecemeal” House Plan on Immigration Reform, Part 1 – Dreamers
While the Biden Administration has announced that they want to take on a broad immigration reform package (detailed in a January MoCTrack), the House has opted to pass immigration reform in pieces, focusing on populations of people who are the most sympathetic to the majority of Americans. Of the pair of bills that passed the House this week, this first piece of legislation protects both Dreamers (people brought into the country illegally as children) and Temporary Protected Status (TPS) recipients.
The American Dream and Promise Act will provide a path to citizenship for roughly 2.5 million people. TPS recipients, who have fled conditions like civil war or earthquake devastation in their home countries, will be allowed to apply for green cards after final bill enactment, if they have lived in the US for at least three years and were eligible for TPS on September 17, 2017. Then, after five years of holding green card status, they would be eligible for citizenship. Dreamers have a more complex path forward, per this bill. VOX explains:
DREAMers, on the other hand, would have to apply for “conditional permanent residency,” which would only be granted under certain conditions:
- They would have had to arrive in the US before turning 18 and been in the US for at least four years.
- They would need a relatively clean record — a felony conviction or three separate misdemeanors involving total jail time of 90 days would be disqualifying.
- They would need a high school diploma or GED, or be enrolled in a program to get either one.
- They would need to pass a background check and other eligibility requirements.
This “conditional status” designation would last for 10 years before they could apply for citizenship, but they would be allowed to work in the meantime. There would be other ways for DREAMers to be able to apply for a green card at any time, including serving in the military for two years, working for three years, or getting a degree from a higher education institution (or be at least two years through a bachelor’s or technical program).
A similar bill to protect Dreamers and TPS recipients passed in the 116th Congress, but with Mitch McConnell in charge of the Senate, it never was scheduled for a vote in the upper house. This 117th Congress version faces an uncertain future in the Senate… unless we end the filibuster.
Vote date: Thursday, March 18, 2021 Vote Tally: 228-197
Party Breakdown: All Democrats were present and every single one voted YES. On the Republican side, 197 voted NO, and 9 voted YES, including 🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick.
- “Two Immigration Bills Clear House as GOP Cite Border Surge,” from Bloomberg News
- “What to know about the House immigration bills being voted on this week,” from CNBC
- “The House’s piecemeal immigration reform, explained,” from VOX
The “Piecemeal” House Plan on Immigration Reform, Part 2 – Farm workers
This legislation streamlines and modernizes the temporary work visa process for agricultural workers, and the measure has the backing of hundreds of labor groups, including the United Farmworkers of America. Once again, VOX provides the best explainer for this bill:
The bill would give farmworkers who have worked in agriculture for at least 180 days over the past two years the ability to apply for “Certified Agricultural Worker” status, which can be renewed in six-month or five-year increments if they continue to work in agriculture for at least 100 days a year. It also offers long-term farmworkers a path to a green card, which requires at least four more years of experience in the industry and a $1,000 fee… Additionally, the bill would create a new program capped at 20,000 visas for year-round agricultural industries, which were previously barred from participating in the H-2A program and faced labor shortages, including dairy farming and producers of other animal products.
This industry desperately needs a solution, as current regulations have left farmers without enough workers to pick their produce, leaving crops rotting in fields. But much like its companion bill for Dreamers, this bill faces poor prospects in the Senate as long as the filibuster remains in place.
Vote date: Thursday, March 18, 2021 Vote Tally: 247-174
Party Breakdown: All but one Democrat voted YES on this bill, the single hold out was Jared Golden of Maine (who is starting to feel like the Joe Manchin of the House Democratic caucus). The Republicans were split, with 173 voting NO and 30 voting YES.
- “House Votes to Give Millions of Dreamers and Farmworkers a Path to Citizenship,” from The New York Times
- “House passes immigration bills with path to citizenship for “Dreamers” and farmworkers,” from CBS News
- “House to take up immigration reform bills amid border crisis,” from ABC News
The House Reauthorizes the Violence Against Women Act
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is a legislative package that first passed in 1994 to help victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence by providing resources. It also funded programs to investigate crimes against women and established the Office on Violence Against Women within the Department of Justice. The package must periodically be reauthorized, and it lapsed in 2018. In the 116th Congress the House passed an extension, but Mitch McConnell refused to bring it up for a vote in the Senate.
The GOP has balked at reauthorizing VAWA because of two new provisions that have been added to the package to modernize it. One of those provisions includes trans women under the VAWA protections. Another would close the so-called “boyfriend loophole” in gun ownership. Currently, a spouse or domestic partner who is convicted of domestic violence crimes is banned from gun ownership, but the same does not apply to stalkers or partners who are dating but not cohabiting. The new version of VAWA closes that loophole, much to the consternation of GOP lawmakers.
Vote date: Wednesday, March 17, 2021 Vote Tally: 244-172
Party Breakdown: All 215 Democrats present voted YES. This was another vote where the GOP was split, with 172 voting NO and 29 voting YES.
- “House Renews Violence Against Women Act, But Senate Hurdles Remain,” from NPR
- “Outrage as 172 Republicans vote to oppose Violence Against Women Act,” from The Independent
- “House passes Violence Against Women Act to revive, update domestic violence protections,” from USA Today
The GOP’s unsuccessful attempt to derail the VAWA
New York Republican MoC Elise Stefanik attempted to derail the VAWA vote by offering an amendment that would have discarded the entire text of the VAWA, and replace it with her own version of the bill. Her version of the VAWA extension omits protections for transgendered women as well as the new part of the bill that closes the “boyfriend loophole” – keeping abusive partners/stalkers from purchasing firearms.
Here’s what that looked like in the Congressional Record:
Vote date: Wednesday, March 17, 2021 Vote Tally: 177-249
Party Breakdown: All 218 Democrats present voted NO and they were joined by 31 Republicans. The remaining 177 GOP MOCs voted YES.
The House Extends Deadline for ratification for the Equal Rights Amendments
The Equal Rights Amendment passed in Congress in the 1970s with wide, bipartisan margins (354-24 in the House; 84-8 in the Senate). That triggered the process to get the requisite ¾ of states to ratify the amendment. But built into the original bill was a six year limit to achieve that goal. And while that deadline was extended by acts of Congress, the last deadline was blown in 1982 with the amendment 3 states short of being added to the Constitution.
The amendment has picked up a new head of steam in recent years, and the last state needed to achieve the necessary ¾ was Virginia, who ratified the amendment in 2020 after their state legislature changed hands with a Democratic majority. This bill was introduced to remove any deadline from the ratification process for the ERA.
Republicans are framing this vote as at attempt to criminalize laws against abortion. The Hill reports, “Conservatives have warned that ratification of the ERA would lead to more abortions, arguing that because abortions are exclusive to women, any restrictions on the procedure could be deemed unconstitutional under the ERA.”
Vote date: Wednesday, March 17, 2021 Vote Tally: 222-204
Party Breakdown: All 218 Democrats present voted YES, and they were joined by 4 Republicans, including 🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick. All 204 NO votes were from Republicans.
- “House votes to nix deadline for Equal Rights Amendment ratification,” from Roll Call
- “House passes joint resolution to remove ERA deadline,” from CNN Politics
- “‘No expiration date on equality’: House passes bill to remove women’s rights ERA deadline,” from NBC News
The GOP’s failed effort to expel Rep. Eric Swalwell from the House Intel Committee
Earlier this week Rep. Jimmy Gomez (D-CA) introduced a resolution to expel Qanon advocate Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from the House of Representatives. Because House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is scarcely capable of expressing himself at a level beyond tit-for-tat, he quickly whipped up a resolution to expel a Democratic House member. But since none of the Democrats have done anything expulsion-worthy, he instead found a pretext to demand the expulsion of Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) from the House Intelligence Committee.
In the text of his resolution, McCarthy claims that Rep. Swalwell “has not denied public reporting that a suspected Chinese intelligence operative helped raise money for Representative Swalwell’s political campaigns.” Reporting from The Hill and other outlets show that from 2011-2015 a suspected Chinese agent did indeed try to “curry influence” with several California lawmakers, but that “she is not believed to have obtained any classified information.” And Swalwell’s office has noted that the Member of Congress “long ago provided information about this person — whom he met more than eight years ago, and whom he hasn’t seen in nearly six years — to the FBI.”
The vote fell on party lines, but notably, a trio of Republicans who have served on the House Intelligence Committee with the Califormnia lawmaker declined to place any vote at all on this Republican effort to smear their colleague. 🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick is the only Pennsylvania MoC on the House Intelligence Committee, and he chose to vote with the rest of the GOP, against Swalwell.
And as a postscript to this whole fiasco, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has said that it is not a Democratic Leadership position to support expulsion of Rep. Taylor Greene, inferring that she does not plan to bring it up for a vote.
Vote date: Thursday, March 18, 2021 Vote Tally: 218-200
Party Breakdown: This was a pure party-line vote. But as a “Motion to Table,” a NO vote means one supports the resolution (and does NOT want to table, or dismiss it) and a YES vote means one wants to end discussion and get rid of the resolution. All Republicans voted NO to keep the resolution alive, and all Democrats voted YES, to table the resolution.
- “House shoots down GOP leader’s effort to eject Eric Swalwell from intelligence panel,” from The Washington Post
- “House Defeats Kevin McCarthy’s Effort To Remove Swalwell From Intel Panel,” from Forbes
- “House kills GOP bid to kick Swalwell off intel committee over past ties to suspected Chinese spy,” from Fox News
The House Protects Select Programs from Sequester
Congress authorizes funds and budgets based on a 2010 bill called “the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act,” often shortened to PAYGO. The Tax Policy Center explains that PAYGO “is a budget rule requiring that tax cuts and mandatory spending increases must be offset (i.e., “paid for”) by tax increases or cuts in mandatory spending.” Additionally, “If legislation does not pay for increases in mandatory spending or cuts in tax revenues…the president is then supposed to sequester (i.e., withhold) enough funding from mandatory programs to offset that deficit increase.”
This bill would exempt both the American Rescue Plan and Medicare from sequestration for all of 2021.
Vote date: Friday, March 19, 2021 Vote Tally: 246-175
Party Breakdown: All 217 Democrats present voted YES, along with 29 Republicans. The remaining 175 Republicans voted NO.
- “Hoyer Statement on Legislation to Protect Against Cuts to Medicare,” from EIN Presswire
- “House passes bill to stave off millions in Medicare sequester cuts,” from Healthcare Finance
- “New Bill Seeks to Extend Medicare Sequester Moratorium,” from Revcycle Intelligence
Biden Cabinet Nominee #15 – Interior
Senate Confirmation Vote on Debra Anne Haaland to be Secretary of the Interior
In lieu of providing a MoCTrack recap of this confirmation, we turn to Native News Online, an outlet run by indigineous communities, to report this news from their article History! Senate Confirms Deb Haaland As First Native American Cabinet Secretary:
On March 15, 2021, more than 200 years after George Washington assembled his first Cabinet, New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland of the Laguna Pueblo was confirmed by the Senate to serve as the first Native American Cabinet secretary, heading the Interior Department.
In a 51-40 vote, four Republican Senators broke party lines to join Democrats in confirming Madam Secretary Haaland, including Sens. Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham, Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan.
The road to the vote was embattled, with a two-day Senate committee hearing and significant pushback from congressional members from resource-reliant states fretting over how their districts could be impacted by the Biden administration’s green energy policies. Some Republican senators made attempts to characterize Haaland as a “left-wing radical,” citing her support for the Green New Deal and opposition to fracking.
On a live Facebook viewing party Monday evening hosted by Indigenous group NDN Collective, Haaland addressed more than 450 viewers across the country. She said she rushed out of the house before her security detail heard of her confirmation to get more tomatoes for the dinner salad her sisters were preparing.
The 60-year-old lawmaker said she realized that was the moment everything is about to change — and not just for her, but for Native people everywhere.
“Though it should not have taken more than 200 years for a Native person to take the helm at Interior, or even be a Cabinet Secretary for that matter, President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and the entire administration are going to use this moment to build back better for every single one of us,” Haaland said.
The article continues with Haaland’s compelling biography and information about her congressional campaigns. And it closes with words from tribal leaders as well as this sentiment from our new Secretary of the Interior – “This moment is a culmination of so many of the sacrifices that my ancestors made to leave behind a future for me.”
Vote date: Monday, March 15, 2021 Vote Tally: 50-41
Party Breakdown: All 45 Democrats and 2 Independents present voted YES and they were joined by 4 Republicans – Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. The remaining 40 Republicans present voted NO.
- “History! Senate Confirms Deb Haaland As First Native American Cabinet Secretary,” from Native News Online
- “What Deb Haaland’s historic confirmation means to Native Americans,” from CBS News
- “Deb Haaland Confirmed As 1st Native American Interior Secretary,” from NPR
Senator Casey voted YES and Senator Toomey did not vote
Biden Cabinet Nominee #16 – Small Business Administration
Senate Confirmation Vote on Isabella Casillas Guzman to be Administrator of the Small Business Administration
Isabella Guzman has all the experience needed to jump right into her responsibilities at the Small Business Administration (SBA), as she was the former deputy chief of staff at the SBA during the Obama administration. More recently, she servedices as California’s Small Business Advocate.
The following is an excerpt of the testimony she gave before the Senate Committee on Small Business &
Now more than ever, I am deeply committed to helping support our nation’s small
businesses and entrepreneurs and would be proud to lead the SBA and help small
businesses start, operate, grow, and be resilient…
If confirmed, I pledge to serve as their voice and represent the enormous diversity
across our small businesses – from independent contractors and sole proprietors to
startups and innovative technology and science-based firms to main street and
manufacturing – of all sizes and all stages of development…
Throughout my career I have started businesses and helped entrepreneurs launch
and grow their firms, and I appreciate and understand the challenges they face
every day. We all know a small business owner who works so hard – wearing
multiple hats to tenaciously pursue their dreams…
If confirmed, I would leverage my prior experience serving in leadership at the
SBA and commit to working diligently to be a good steward of its programs. I am
committed to ensuring the agency has the right systems, technology and operating
processes in place to advance its mission and reach all our small businesses. Most
importantly, I will work to ensure funds get into the hands of the small businesses
who have been hurt the most by the pandemic and economic crisis through no fault
of their own.
Vote date: Tuesday, March 16, 2021 Vote Tally: 81-17
Party Breakdown: Thirty-two Republicans joined all of the Independents and Democrats present in voting YES. The NO votes were from 17 Republicans.
- “Senate Confirms New SBA Boss Isabel Guzman,” from Inc.
- “Senate confirms Isabel Guzman to lead Small Business Administration,” from CNN Politics
- “Senate confirms Isabel Guzman as Small Business Administration chief, who will help steer Covid recovery,” from CNBC
Senator Casey voted YES and Senator Toomey voted YES
Biden Cabinet Nominee #17 – Trade Representative
Senate Confirmation Vote on Katherine C. Tai to be United States Trade Representative, with the rank of Ambassador
Katherine Tai is an attorney who served as the former lead trade lawyer for the House Ways and Means Committee. CNBC notes that “in several instances between 2007 and 2014, she successfully argued the U.S. case against China’s trade practices before the World Trade Organization.” She was also integral to getting several pro-worker and pro-environment pieces of trade policy in the “USMCA” or re-negotiated NAFTA that the 116th Congress passed with Mexico and Canada.
The unanimity of support for Tai can likely be pinned to her assertive position on China. During her confirmation hearing, Tai noted, “I know firsthand how critically important it is that we have a strategic and coherent plan for holding China accountable to its promises and effectively competing with its model of state-directed economics.”
Vote date: Wednesday, March 17, 2021 Vote Tally: 98-0
Party Breakdown: Unanimity is lovely, isn’t it?
- “Senate confirms Tai as U.S. trade representative,” from Politico
- “Senate confirms Katherine Tai as Biden’s top trade envoy,” from The Associated Press
- “China critic Katherine Tai confirmed by Senate as Biden’s U.S. Trade Representative,” from CNBC
Senator Casey voted YES and Senator Toomey voted YES
Biden Cabinet Nominee #18 – Health and Human Services
Senate Confirmation Vote on Xavier Becerra to be Secretary of Health and Human Services
Our nation’s new Secretary of Health and Human Services is familiar to many on Capitol Hill, as he served in Congress for 24 years (1993-2017) before becoming the Attorney General of California. For his final four years in Congress, Becerra was Chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, and for a portion of his tenure he served in the Ways and Means Committee, in the subcommittee on Health.
During his confirmation hearing, Becerra made it clear that he is more than aware of the scope of the challenge he and his department would be facing:
The COVID pandemic has killed 500,000 Americans, many of them alone without their families. Millions more have lost their jobs and health care. That is not the America my parents would believe possible.
To meet this moment, we need strong federal leadership. That’s what President Biden is demonstrating. If I’m fortunate to be confirmed, I look forward to joining the President in this critical mission.
I understand the enormous challenges before us and our solemn responsibility to be faithful stewards of an agency that touches almost every aspect of our lives. I’m humbled by the task. And, I’m ready for it. The mission of HHS – to enhance the health and wellbeing of all Americans – is core to who I am.
Vote date: Thursday, March 18, 2021 Vote Tally: 50-49
Party Breakdown: This was very nearly a party line vote. All Democrats and Independents present voted YES and all but one Republicans voted NO. Maine senator Susan Collins was the only lawmaker to cross party lines
- “Senate Confirms Xavier Becerra To Head Health And Human Services,” from NPR
- “Senate narrowly confirms Becerra as health secretary,” from Politico
- “Senate confirms Xavier Becerra as first Latino Secretary of Health and Human Services,” from USA Today
Senator Casey voted YES and Senator Toomey voted NO
Votes under Suspension of the Rules
Some bills are so uncontroversial that the leadership of both parties coordinate to bring the bills up under a suspension of the rules – that means that debate and amendments are limited, but the bill would need a ⅔ supermajority to pass. These five bills and one resolution were brought up under a suspension of the rules this week.
This bill extends the Payment Protection Program for COVID relief to small business owners from March 31, 2021 out to June 30, 2021.
Vote date: Tuesday, March 16, 2021 Vote Tally: 415-3
Pennsylvania breakdown: Our delegation was unanimous in their support of this bill. 18-0-0.
This bill funds and reauthorizes the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act and the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment and Adoption Reform Act of 1978 through 2027.
Vote date: Tuesday, March 16, 2021 Vote Tally: 345-73
Pennsylvania breakdown: The Pennsylvania MoCs voted 17-1 for this measure. The only NO vote came from 🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry.
This bill authorizes the awarding of congressional medals to honor the service of three law enforcement offices on January 6th. The bill text states, “The sacrifice of heroes including Capitol Police Officers Brian Sicknick and Howard Liebengood, Metropolitan Police Department Officer Jeffrey Smith, and those who sustained injuries, and the courage of Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman, exemplify the patriotism and the commitment of Capitol Police officers, and those of other law enforcement agencies, to risk their lives in service of our country.”
Vote date: Wednesday, March 17, 2021 Vote Tally: 413-12
Pennsylvania breakdown: Our delegation was unanimous in their support of this bill. 18-0-0.
This bill extends an existing COVID-related bankruptcy program from one year to two years.
Vote date: Wednesday, March 17, 2021 Vote Tally: 399-14
Pennsylvania breakdown: Our 18 MoCs voted 15-0-3; no one voted NO, but 3 lawmakers did not vote – 🔵 PA-04’s Rep. Madeleine Dean, 🔴 PA-11’s Rep. Lloyd Smucker and 🔴 PA-13’s Rep. John Joyce.
This bill contains technical fixes to an existing program to insert a national emergency waiver and change matching requirements.
Vote date: Wednesday, March 17, 2021 Vote Tally: 384-38
Pennsylvania breakdown: The PA group of MoCs voted 16-1-1; 🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry was the NO vote, while 🔴 PA-12’s Rep. Fred Keller was not present for the vote.
This is a fairly standard condemnation style resolution issued in cases of human rights abuses or assaults against democracy. It concludes with the statement that “direct[s] the United States Permanent Representative to the United Nations to use the voice, vote, and influence of the United States to bring about greater international cooperation to pursue justice and accountability in Burma.”
Vote date: Friday, March 19, 2021 Vote Tally: 398-14
Pennsylvania breakdown: The PA delegation went 16-1-1; 🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry was the NO vote, while 🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle was not present for the vote.
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.1276 – SAVE LIVES (Strengthening and Amplifying Vaccination Efforts to Locally Immunize All Veterans and Every Spouse) Act
- H.Res.257 – Requiring each Member, officer, and employee of the House of Representatives to complete a program of training in workplace rights and responsibilities each session of each Congress
- Nomination PN78-18: Katherine C. Tai, of the District of Columbia, to be United States Trade Representative, with the rank of Ambassador (recapped further above)
Quotes of Interest
🔵 Senator Bob Casey, @SenBobCasey, 03/18/21:
“One year into the COVID-19 pandemic, the virus has claimed the lives of more than 536,000 Americans. Today, @SenateAging will examine how older Americans, people with disabilities and communities of color are faring and what more can be done to help these communities.
@SenateAgingGOP, @SenatorTimScott and I look forward to holding the first hearing of the Aging Committee this Congress and hearing from key voices in the aging and disability communities.”
🔴 Senator Pat Toomey, @SenToomey, 03/16/21:
The Senator retweeted front from his own committee’s account, @BankingGOP, that quoted himself.
“@SenToomey: We need to scale back the role of government and leverage the power of free enterprise to promote housing for all Americans.”
🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, @RepBrianFitz, 03/16/21:
“The disorder at the border has been caused by executive order. This isn’t complicated. When you abolish the Remain in Mexico policy and replace it with a Catch and Release policy, this is the consequence. The Administration must change course now.”
🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle, @CongBoyle, 03/17/21:
“Unfortunately due to House votes in Washington this evening, I was unable to attend tonight’s vigil in #Chinatown to honor the memory of those killed in last night’s Atlanta-area spa shootings, and to speak out against the expanding trend of hate crimes against Asian Americans.
My District Chief of Staff did speak to those gathered to let them know that I stand united in spirit and message with the Asian American & Pacific Islander community in Philadelphia this evening in speaking against hatred and racial violence.”
🔵 PA-03’s Rep. Dwight Evans, @DwightEvansPA, 03/17/21:
“The pandemic, racial inequity, and the effects of climate change combined to create one of the greatest health crisis in American history. That’s why the THRIVE Act doesn’t tackle just one of these issues — but all of them. LINK”
🔵 PA-04’s Rep. Madeleine Dean, @RepDean, 03/16/21:
“Sarah was murdered — despite taking precautions —because “doing everything right” does not stop violence against women.
Nearly every woman across the world has a story that starts similarly to Sarah’s. Some are not here to tell their stories today.
Reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act is one step forward to rid our society of the dangerous culture that fails to protect women.
Women should not live in fear.”
🔵 PA-05’s Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, @RepMGS, 03/17/21:
“Today I joined @HouseDemWomen and @HouseDemocrats to celebrate passage of HJ Res 17, removing the deadline for the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. #ERANOW”
🔵 PA-06’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, @RepHoulahan, 03/20/21:
“This (a change to the military’s postpartum policy) is welcome news & addresses a concern I’ve heard about directly from servicewomen.
Having a child shouldn’t end one’s career, military or otherwise. Until now, soldiers only had 180 days to meet PT standards post pregnancy, at times against the advice of their doctors.
Recently, I met w/ a group of @PANationalGuard servicewomen to discuss issues that impact them specifically. Within minutes, a LT told me how a young mother in her unit was struggling to meet the PT standards after having a C-section. I promised them I would look into this.
But there is momentum for this change across the armed forces. Just last month, the @USMC also updated their decades old PT policy for new moms. As a member of the @HASCDemocrats, I know this will improve our readiness and retention.
To be the best fighting force in the world, we need to continue adapting ahead of our adversaries. I’m glad to see @16thSMA implementing these common sense changes, and will continue working as the Chair of the Servicewomen and Women Veterans Caucus to modernize our military.”
🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild, @RepSusanWild, 03/19/21:
“Helping renters and landlords is a key part of our state recovery — we can’t afford to repeat the mistakes made last year.
That’s why I am leading our delegation in asking Governor Wolf for clear, common sense rules & directions for this round of rental assistance.”
🔵 PA-08’s Rep. Matt Cartwright, @RepCartwright, 03/17/21:
“For 25 years, the Violence Against Women Act promoted justice and safety for survivors of gender-based violence.
When we tried to renew it 2 years ago, Mitch McConnell blocked it.
In a new Congress with a new Senate, I voted in the House to renew #VAWA. Let’s get this done.”
🔴 PA-09’s Rep. Dan Meuser, @RepMeuser, 03/18/21:
“Tonight, I voted against H.R.6, legislation from Democrat Leadership which only exacerbates the problematic Biden policies at the border by creating the incentive of amnesty, with no discussion of border security. This is disastrous policy and it is in full view.”
🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry, @RepScottPerry, has not tweeted since 03/11/21.
🔴 PA-11’s Rep. Lloyd Smucker, @RepSmucker, 03/18/21:
“Dr. Levine is getting rewarded by Pres. Biden for her negligent behavior, while Pennsylvanians still do not have answers. This week I joined a letter with @WaysandMeansGOP colleagues asking Dr. Levine to answer for her mistakes.”
🔴 PA-12’s Rep. Fred Keller, @RepFredKeller, 03/17/21:
“Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi created the crisis at our southern border. Now they’re using this manufactured crisis as justification to advance amnesty for illegal immigrants. Straight out of the Democrat playbook!”
🔴 PA-13’s Rep. John Joyce, @RepJohnJoyce, 03/17/21:
“It is shameful that the Democrats have politicized the long-bipartisan Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Instead of the Democrats’ legislation that devalues human life, I support @RepStefanik’s clean reauthorization of VAWA to protect women in PA and across the country.”
🔴 PA-14’s Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, @GReschenthaler, 03/19/21:
“Amazon’s staggering market share of book sales gives them the ability to censor and silence certain voices.
While they sell books from Mao and Hitler, apparently conservative books are just too offensive.”
🔴 PA-15’s Rep. Glenn W. Thompson, @CongressmanGT, 03/17/21:
“We must do everything in our power to ensure child abuse and neglect do not go unreported. I’m pleased to join my colleague @RepSusanWild to better protect children from harm. This will bring us one step closer to protecting our country’s kids.”
🔴 PA-16’s Rep. Mike Kelly, @MikeKellyPA, 03/17/21:
“Democrats rammed through a $1.9 trillion bill that barely addressed COVID relief.
They cheered as their policies destroyed jobs in the energy industry.
They signaled to the world that America’s borders are open.
Now they want to raise taxes!”
🔵 PA-17’s Rep. Conor Lamb, @RepConorLamb, 03/17/21:
“Today I voted to extend the Equal Rights Amendment deadline & reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. As we celebrate #WomensHistoryMonth we need to continue the fight for equality & legal protections for all women. #PA17”
🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle, @USRepMikeDoyle, 03/20/21:
“After a 4-year lapse in American #climate leadership under Donald Trump, @EPA has relaunched its climate change website – an important step as we #ActOnClimate. Learn more of the facts about #SolvingTheClimateCrisis” LINK
Casey Quotes of the Week
Courtesy of contributor Linda Houk
On the upcoming infrastructure bill
“The American people have confidence in President Biden’s leadership… this president doesn’t spend his mornings ‘tweeting’ and insulting people — he talks about problems and he seeks solutions…
We have to get all sides together on infrastructure — roads, bridges, broadband high speed internet. I intend to support his efforts to talk about all kinds of infrastructure…
And I want to see part of those discussions devoted to lifting up our workers in nursing homes who take care of our most vulnerable. That too is a part of our infrastructure… Those workers are every bit as important as a bridge. This has been a bipartisan failure for far too long. It’s not enough to honk your horn or pat them on the back. This should be a priority.
With or without bipartisan support, we should get this done… There are so many projects in communities that we could pay people to do.”
— from an article in Lancaster Online, titled “Casey says infrastructure bill next challenge facing Biden and Congress”
On how COVID Relief funding will be spent by municipalities
“There’s been support over time but I think there was too long of a gap between injections of funding and that’s one of the reasons that we had to make the provisions in this bill so robust… The school district dollars obviously are critical because you shouldn’t have politicians preaching about opening schools but not voting for the money.”
— from an article on Local 21 News, titled “Concerns grow as American Rescue Plan projections surface”
Toomey Quotes of the Week
Courtesy of contributor Linda Houk
On enabling the garnishment of COVID relief checks
“[People] owe money that they haven’t paid to someone else and that someone else has gone to court and it’s been adjudicated… These payments have already gone out the door. The garnishment happens automatically. It’s already happened!”
— from an article in Business Insider, titled “A single GOP senator blocked a bill that would stop private debt collectors from seizing stimulus checks”
On why he thinks the American Rescue Plan was unnecessary
“This is being printed and borrowed from overseas lenders, we hope, it’s terribly irresponsible.
This is a wild amount of money and it’s going wildly in excess of anything that can be justified. Consider a few facts, if you look at state and local governments and you look at the aggregate; you know what happened to their revenue in 2020? They set a record.
My concern is that we have been lulled into a false sense of complacency because we have ultra low interest rates … We have a massive mountain of debt which we already have and it’s getting worse daily. If interest rates are pretty much zero it doesn’t hurt that much to pay interest on that mountain of debt, but if it goes back to anything like normal? It becomes completely unaffordable and that’s where I’m afraid we are headed.”
— from an article on Local 21 News, titled “Concerns grow as American Rescue Plan projections surface”
Fitzpatrick in the News
Research courtesy of contributor CC
“The mental health and opioid epidemic sweeping across our nation has only been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, more than ever, we must ensure that all Americans have the access they need to seek out effective mental health and addiction treatment.”
It is unacceptable when some bad actor insurance companies are able to get away with not following parity laws, whether it be through denying treatment or making access to treatment difficult. Our bipartisan Parity Enforcement Act will empower the U.S. Department of Labor to discourage these unlawful actions and ensure that employer-sponsored insurance plans are compliant with parity rules.”
— from a blog post in the Ripon Advance titled “Insurance companies must make mental, physical health benefits equal under Fitzpatrick bill”
“We’re here to honor Ike. Everybody in the hospital absolutely loves him. So many of our health care workers have been honored but a lot of them have not been honored enough … People that do the work behind the scenes, that sometimes doesn’t go as noticed.”
— from an article in the Doylestown Intelligencer titled “While docs treat COVID, he helps keep Lower Bucks Hospital safe. Ike Irby is a ‘hidden’ hero of the pandemic”
“We just wanted to merge together to expand our reach to increase our influence, to broaden our voice, so that we can actually get, from a legislative side, things across the finish line and, from an appropriation side, a stronger push to get additional resources to state and local governments with regard to this.”
— from an article in Roll Call titled “House reshapes approach to mental health and addiction”
“Congress has historically reauthorized VAWA with broad, bipartisan agreement, and I look forward to working alongside my colleagues to ensure that VAWA continues to protect victims and survivors across the nation… When you hear about the impacts of COVID, people don’t talk too much about the domestic violence front. It’s a huge problem and it’s really increased the urgency that everybody in Congress should have to pass this.”
— from an article in the Detroit Free Press titled “Democrats want to renew the expired Violence Against Women Act, again. Here’s what you need to know”
“Our LGBTQ+ citizens are an integral part of our society. Our community and our country are only made better and stronger by our diversity. Without question, all Americans should be free to exercise their rights.’
I will always work to advance the conversation and move forward legislation that protects Americans from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. It is also my hope that we can work together on a bipartisan basis to address any improvements to the Equality Act that may be needed. I have always and will continue to support the rights of all Americans and condemn discrimination. We all deserve to be treated fairly and equally under the law.”
— from a Bucks County Courier Times article titled “LGBTQ+ groups hopeful, but concerned about future of Equality Act”
“Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in women, killing more women each year than breast cancer, uterine cancer, and ovarian cancer combined. This alarming statistic is further compounded by the fact that this disease is more prevalent in women and communities of color, and yet, it is the least funded of the major cancers. More research and resources must be directed to better understand, treat, and prevent this disease, especially among non-smokers. I am proud to join my colleagues in this bipartisan, bicameral legislation to promote enhanced prevention and treatment and stand with the many victims, survivors, family, and friends that have been affected by this devastating disease.”
— from a Florida Daily article titled “Marco Rubio Brings Back Women and Lung Cancer Research and Preventative Services Act”
“Kayden’s Law is included in this bill and takes steps to improve our response to the failures of state courts to protect our children in custody proceedings… For years, VAWA has been instrumental in safeguarding women and children from abuse, anguish, violence and has resulted in the saving of millions of lives.”
— from a Bucks County Courier Times article titled “House includes Kayden’s Law provisions in Violence Against Women Act reauthorization”
Call to Action – Support DC Statehood!
This week will mark the first hearing in the 117th Congress to consider the admission of Washington, DC as the 51st state in our union. In honor of that hearing, we ask that you contact all three of your MoCs to let them know that you support granting the full rights of statehood to the hundreds of thousands of residents of the District of Columbia.
From the Indivisible National team:
D.C. statehood would enfranchise more than 700k residents, a plurality of whom are Black, giving equal representation to these residents and overturning hundreds of years of voter suppression and racism.
This bill would also rectify the unique oppression that D.C. residents face as a result of their territory status. Most recently, the right-wing, white supremacist coup at the Capitol Building left the mayor of D.C. unable to respond to the violence in her city. The federal government (meaning Trump at the time) controls D.C. National Guard, which Trump took full advantage of by declining support for hours. Contrast this with Trump’s militarized, violent response to D.C.’s peaceful Black Lives Matter protests over the summer, and you see how a lack of statehood can be weaponized against the residents of D.C.
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.
Indivisible has a useful online tool to connect you to your lawmakers. Alternately, you can use this Pennsylvania Indivisible website directory to find contact information for your Representative and Senators. Please do take the time to make those three calls this week!
This report is brought to you by the Pennsylvania MoCTrack team…
CC Linda Houk
Gary Garb Kierstyn Piotrowski Zolfo
Have you seen an interesting or revealing recent quote from a member of Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation that was not featured in MoCTrack? We are looking for folks who can help us cover what gets into traditional media, especially in the western parts of the state! Please email KierstynPZ@gmail.com and put “MoC Quote” in the subject, and please be sure to include a link to the article, the article title, and the full quote (in case your editor gets paywalled). Thanks!
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