Pennsylvania Member of Congress Tracking Report – 03.28.21

20 mins read
Graphic by Kelly Pollock.

This is a 100% volunteer effort brought to you by a handful of progressive Democrats and Independents who share a vision of an informed electorate.  We want to offer a big thank you to the Demcast and Pennsylvania Indivisible organizations who host our report and help us share it out to the residents of our Commonwealth! It’s a super-short, votes-only report this week. Congress is expected to be away from Washington until the week of April 13th, so this is the last MoCTrack until mid-April.

Indivisible Scorecard

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

This week we scored the historic senate confirmation of HHS Assistant Secretary Levine.

LawmakerScoreChange from last score
🔵 Senator Bob Casey100.0%0
🔴 Senator Pat Toomey42.8%-17.2%
🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick50.0%0
🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle100.0%0
🔵 PA-03’s Rep. Dwight Evans100.0%0
🔵 PA-04’s Rep. Madeleine Dean100.0%0
🔵 PA-05’s Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon100.0%0
🔵 PA-06’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan100.0%0
🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild100.0%0
🔵 PA-08’s Rep. Matt Cartwright100.0%0
🔴 PA-09’s Rep. Dan Meuser0.0%0
🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry0.0%0
🔴 PA-11’s Rep. Lloyd Smucker11.5%0
🔴 PA-12’s Rep. Fred Keller0.0%0
🔴 PA-13’s Rep. John Joyce0.0%0
🔴 PA-14’s Rep. Guy Reschenthaler0.0%0
🔴 PA-15’s Rep. Glenn W. Thompson11.5%0
🔴 PA-16’s Rep. Mike Kelly0.0%0
🔵 PA-17’s Rep. Conor Lamb100.0%0
🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle100.0%0

QUICK LINKS

Votes of Interest

The Senate Agrees to bypass the Sequester for COVID Relief

The Senate swiftly passes a PPP Extension bill

Biden Cabinet Nominee #19 – Labor

Biden Bureaucratic confirmation 1 – Health and Human Services

Biden Bureaucratic confirmation 2 – Surgeon General

Biden Bureaucratic confirmation 3 – Office of Management and Budget

Biden Bureaucratic confirmation 4 – Energy

Unanimously passed legislation

Call to Action – Sign up for the Indivisible/Senator Casey event!

Votes of Interest

The Senate Agrees to bypass the Sequester for COVID Relief and Medicare

Senate Vote on H.R. 1868: To prevent across-the-board direct spending cuts

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. A similar but slightly different version of the bill passed the House on March 19th with the support of all of the Democrats and 29 Republicans.  The support among Republicans was much stronger in the Senate, where the only opposition came from Libertarian Rand Paul and our own Senator Toomey.  Our Senator has no specific comment about his vote on his website or in the scanty media coverage on this bill.  But in the past he has implored his colleagues to “join me in restoring fiscal sanity to the federal funding process,” so this seems to be just one more instance of our junior senator advocating to reduce spending.

This will have to go back to the House for passage of the Senate changes before it goes to President Biden for his signature.  Unfortunately, the deadline for passage before it affects Medicare is on April 1st. Industry periodicals (cited below under additional reading) indicate it is likely that Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will hold Medicare claims between April 1st and the enactment of the legislation so that the effects do not hit medical providers in the gap period. It is expected that the House will vote on this in the week of April 13th, when they return from their Easter break.

Vote date: Thursday, March 25, 2021 Vote Tally: 90-2

Party Breakdown: The only two NO votes were from Republicans, Kentucky’s Rand Paul and our own commonwealth’s  Pat Toomey.

Additional Reading:

Senator Casey voted YES and Senator Toomey voted NO.

The Senate swiftly passes a PPP Extension bill

Senate Vote on H.R. 1799: PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) Extension Act of 2021

The popular Paycheck Protection Program was set to expire on March 31st, but Congress acted just in time to extend that deadline. Two Republicans – John Kennedy of Louisiana and Marco Rubio of Florida – attempted to amend the bill, but both of their efforts were rejected.  The arguments of Senator Benjamin Cardin of Maryland, Chair of the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, convinced enough of his colleagues to reject any amendments.  “Any amendment…will mean that the program will terminate in less than one week and hundreds of thousands of small businesses will not be able to get their PPP loans,” explained Cardin, per Roll Call.

Nearly $700 billion dollars has been dispersed to businesses since the program began last spring. This new extension will keep the program open through May 31, 2021.

Vote date: Thursday, March 25, 2021 Vote Tally: 92-7

Party Breakdown: All seven NO votes were from Republicans.


Additional Reading:

Senator Casey voted YES and Senator Toomey voted YES.

Biden Cabinet Nominee #19 – Labor

Senate Confirmation Vote on Martin Joseph Walsh, to be Secretary of Labor

Marty Walsh is a former mayor of Boston who has a long history of public service and labor representation. He worked in construction and was a member of a local union.  His career also included time on staff at the Metro Boston Building Trades Council, where he advocated on behalf of thousands of construction union members.  He was elected to the Massachusetts state house and served there as a representative for 16 years before his election as mayor of Boston.

The following is an excerpt from the speech that Walsh gave at his confirmation hearing: 

I am committed to making sure that everyone – including veterans, LGBTQ Americans, immigrants, and people with disabilities – gets full access to economic opportunity and fair treatment in the workplace… 

…Right now, this work is critical to the future of our economy, our communities, and our families. We are depending on working men and women all across this country to keep us going – as they always have done. They are depending on us.

I believe we must act with urgency to meet this moment to strengthen and empower our workforce as we rebuild. If confirmed, I pledge to lead this work in partnership with workers and businesses; states, cities, and tribal territories; employees in every agency of the Department of Labor; the Administration and members of Congress from all parties; and all the members of this Committee. 

Vote date: Monday, March 22, 2021 Vote Tally: 68-29

Party Breakdown: All Democrats and Independents were present and voted YES.  The Republicans were split, with 18 voting YES and 29 voting NO. Senator Toomey did not vote.

Additional Reading:

Senator Casey voted YES and Senator Toomey did not vote.

Biden Bureaucratic confirmation 1 – Health and Human Services

Senate Confirmation Vote on Rachel Leland Levine to be an Assistant Secretary of Health and Human Services

Dr. Rachel Levine made history this week as the first transgender person to be confirmed by the Sneate to a high-level post in our government. She is now the #2 at the Department of Health and Human Services.  Dr. Levine has led our Department of Health here in Pennsylvania since 2017, and was the face of our state efforts to respond to the COVID pandemic.

Vote date: Wednesday, March 24, 2021 Vote Tally: 52-48

Party Breakdown: All Democrats and Independents were present and voted YES, along with 2 Republicans – Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine. The remaining 48 Republicans voted NO.

Additional Reading:

Senator Casey voted YES and Senator Toomey voted NO.

Our Senators each issued statements about Assistance Secretary Levine’s nomination/confirmation:

🔵 Senator Bob Casey, via his official website:

“Today, I had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Rachel Levine about her historic nomination to be the Assistant Secretary for Health at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Dr. Levine is exactly the kind of crisis-tested leader our Nation needs at HHS during this difficult time. From her time as a nationally-renowned physician to her work as Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Health, Dr. Levine has established a track record of results that will serve our Nation well in this important role. She is a leader who has worked to save lives during the COVID-19 pandemic and improve the health and wellbeing of Pennsylvanians. I’m grateful for her willingness to continue her public service at such a critical time for our Nation.”

🔴 Senator Pat Toomey, via his official website:

“In Pennsylvania, the pandemic struck seniors in nursing homes disproportionately hard compared to other states. This was due in part to poor decisions and oversight by Dr. Levine and the Wolf administration. Moreover, the commonwealth’s extended economic lockdown that Dr. Levine advocated for was excessive, arbitrary in nature, and has led to a slower recovery. While I appreciate Dr. Levine’s service and responsiveness to my office over the past year, she has not earned a promotion to help lead the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and I cannot support her confirmation.”

Biden Bureaucratic confirmation 2 – Surgeon General

Senate Confirmation Vote on Vivek Hallegere Murthy, to be Surgeon General of the Public Health Service

Dr. Vivek Murthy has been confirmed to the position of Surgeon General, a position he held during the Obama Administration. During his previous tenure, he helped shape the national response to both the Ebola and Zika outbreaks. This past year, Murthy served as part of then-candidate Biden’s public health and COVID advisory committee.

Vote date: Tuesday, March 23, 2021 Vote Tally: 63-37

Party Breakdown: The YES votes came from 13 Republicans, all 48 Democrats and both Independents. The remaining 37 Republicans voted NO.

Additional Reading:

Senator Casey voted YES and Senator Toomey voted NO.

Biden Bureaucratic confirmation 3 – Office of Management and Budget

Senate Confirmation Vote on Shalanda D. Young, of Louisiana, to be Deputy Director of the Office of Management and Budget

Shalanda Young was confirmed to the #2 spot In the Office of Management and Budget after working as a House aide for over 14 years.  She got her start working for the House Appropriations Committee, and was eventually promoted to the role of staff director in 2017.  Roll Call notes that “during her time as the top aide for Democrats on the panel, Young helped lawmakers negotiate dozens of government spending bills and COVID-19 relief packages, all of which cleared Congress with bipartisan approval.”

As an OMB director has yet to be confirmed because of the withdrawal of Neera Tanden’s nomination, Young will have her hands full, as a preliminary budget outline for 2022 is due next week!

Vote date: Tuesday, March 23, 2021 Vote Tally: 57-43

Party Breakdown: Seven Republicans joined all of the Democrats and Independents in voting YES.  The remaining 43 Republicans voted NO.


Additional Reading:

Senator Casey voted YES and Senator Toomey voted NO.

Biden Bureaucratic confirmation 4 – Energy

Senate Confirmation Vote on David Turk, to be Deputy Secretary of Energy

Reuters provided a brief description of the career and focus for the new #2 at the Department of Energy that cannot be improved upon:

Turk is currently deputy executive director of the International Energy Agency, the Paris-based global energy watchdog. He also worked at the Energy Department under former President Barack Obama, coordinating international technology and work on innovation in clean energy. Turk, a registered architect and sustainability expert, also served as deputy special envoy for climate changes at the State Department.

Vote date: Wednesday, March 24, 2021 Vote Tally: 98-2

Party Breakdown: The two NO votes were both from republicans – Ran Paul of Kentucky and Josh Hawley of Missouri.

Additional Reading:

Senator Casey voted YES and Senator Toomey voted YES.

Call to Action – Sign up for the Indivisible/Senator Casey event! 

Please join the Indivisibles of Pennsylvania in a conversation with Senator Bob Casey! We’ll be discussing democracy strengthening reforms like DC statehood, voting rights, the For the People Act (S. 1/H.R. 1), ending the filibuster and MORE…

April 6th
5:30 PM

Register HERE – http://bit.ly/BobCaseyEvent

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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