Pennsylvania Member of Congress Tracking Report – 04.18.21

54 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!

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 paycheck fairness vote in the House.

LawmakerScoreChange from last score
🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick100.0%0.0%
🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle42.8%0.0%
🔵 PA-03’s Rep. Dwight Evans53.6%+3.6%
🔵 PA-04’s Rep. Madeleine Dean100.0%0.0%
🔵 PA-05’s Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon100.0%0.0%
🔵 PA-06’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan100.0%0.0%
🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild100.0%0.0%
🔵 PA-08’s Rep. Matt Cartwright100.0%0.0%
🔴 PA-09’s Rep. Dan Meuser100.0%0.0%
🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry100.0%0.0%
🔴 PA-11’s Rep. Lloyd Smucker10.7%-0.8%
🔴 PA-12’s Rep. Fred Keller0.0%0.0%
🔴 PA-13’s Rep. John Joyce0.0%0.0%
🔴 PA-14’s Rep. Guy Reschenthaler0.0%0.0%
🔴 PA-15’s Rep. Glenn W. Thompson10.7%-0.8%
🔴 PA-16’s Rep. Mike Kelly0.0%0.0%
🔵 PA-17’s Rep. Conor Lamb100.0%0.0%
🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle100.0%0.0%

Votes of Interest

The House Passes Paycheck Fairness legislation

House Vote on H.R. 7: Paycheck Fairness Act

The ACLU compiled this excellent explanation of the reason for and content of the Paycheck Fairness Act:

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2013, women who worked full time earned, on average, only 78 cents for every dollar men earned. The figures are even worse for women of color. African American women earned only approximately 64 cents and Latinas only 56 cents for each dollar earned by a white male.

The Paycheck Fairness Act will help secure equal pay for equal work for all Americans. The bill would update the Equal Pay Act of 1963, a law that has not been able to achieve its promise of closing the wage gap because of limited enforcement tools and inadequate remedies. The Paycheck Fairness Act would make critical changes to the law, including:

  • requiring employers to demonstrate that wage differentials are based on factors other than sex;
  • prohibiting retaliation against workers who inquire about their employers’ wage practices or disclose their own wages;
  • permitting reasonable comparisons between employees within clearly defined geographical areas to determine fair wages;
  • strengthening penalties for equal pay violations;
  • directing the Department of Labor to assist employers and collect wage-related data; and
  • authorizing additional training for Equal Employment Opportunity Commission staff to better identify and handle wage disputes.

Vote date: Thursday, April 15, 2021 Vote Tally: 217-210

Party Breakdown: Only one lawmaker in the country crossed party lines – 🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick. All other Republicans voted NO and all Democrats voted YES.

Additional Reading:

Protections for Healthcare Workers Pass the House 

House Vote on H.R. 1195: Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act

The Hill set the stakes for this legislation with some details about workplace violence statistics:

Studies show that workers such as nurses, physicians, social workers and emergency responders face a higher risk of on-the-job violence. The Bureau of Labor Statistics found in 2018 that the health care and social services industries are five times as likely to suffer workplace violence injuries. Health care workers specifically made up 73 percent of all nonfatal workplace injuries and illness due to violence that year.

This new legislation calls for three major actions:

  1. Creation and implementation of interim employee protection rules this year
  2. Employer reporting requirements for workplace violence
  3. Creation of comprehensive violence prevention plans from the Labor Department, and implementation within 3 years

Upon the bill’s passage, it’s original sponsor, rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) issued the following statement:

Health care and social workers have been waiting for years, long before COVID, to have their safety taken seriously while they’re working hard to ensure everyone else’s. These workers are facing a disturbing level of violence, it’s happening in every Congressional District across the country, and they shouldn’t have to fear for their own lives while they’re at work trying to save ours. Our supporting partners of this bill are the same people you see on the frontlines of the pandemic, the same ones you see when you go to the hospital seeking care for a loved one—they’re nurses, emergency room doctors, EMTs, and social workers. I’ve been grateful to advance this effort alongside them, and alongside groups like the Connecticut Nurses Association, National Nurses United, AFT Connecticut, and many more. They know all too well the severity, frequency, and devastating impact of workplace violence, and they’ve been the driving energy behind this effort from the very start. H.R. 1195 was written and introduced because of them, and it’s thanks to them that we are once again marking a bipartisan House victory.

Vote date: Friday, April 16, 2021 Vote Tally: 254-166

Party Breakdown: All Democrats voted YES on this measure, along with 38 Republicans. All 166 NO votes came from Republicans.

Additional Reading:

Bureaucratic Confirmation #1 – Transportation 

Senate Confirmation Vote on Polly Trottenberg to be Deputy Secretary of Transportation

Polly Trottenberg is a former assistant secretary for transportation policy and under secretary for policy from the Obama Administration. She also served as leader of the largest municipal transportation system in our country as commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation.

Vote date: Tuesday, April 13, 2021 Vote Tally: 82-15

Party Breakdown: All Democrats and Independents as well as 34 Republicans voted to confirm this nominee. All 15 NO votes were from Republicans.

Additional Reading:

Senator Casey voted YES and Senator Toomey voted YES.

Bureaucratic Confirmation #2 – State Department 

Senate Confirmation Vote on Wendy Ruth Sherman to be Deputy Secretary of State

Wendy Sherman has deep experience at the State Department, having worked there as a North Korea expert during the Clinton Administration and then again under the Obama Administration.  She was the lead negotiator for the United States in the 2015 Iran Nuclear deal, an issue that featured prominently in her confirmation hearings. 

Vote date: Tuesday, April 13, 2021 Vote Tally: 56-42

Party Breakdown: Six Republicans joined with a unanimous Democrat/Independent bloc in voting YES on this nominee.  All 42 NO votes were from the remaining Republicans.

Additional Reading:

Senator Casey voted YES and Senator Toomey voted NO.

Bureaucratic Confirmation #3 – Securities and Exchange Commission 

Senate Confirmation Vote on Gary Gensler to be a Member of the Securities and Exchange Commission for the remainder of the term expiring June 5, 2021

Gary Gensler has extensive experience in the financial sector, having worked in academia, for corporations and in the public sector. Gensler served in the Obama Administration as chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC).  He was professor at MIT Sloan School of Management and he also worked as a banker at Goldman Sachs. 

Vote date: Wednesday, April 14, 2021 Vote Tally: 53-45

Party Breakdown: All of the Democrats and Independents voted YES and they were joined by three Republicans – Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Susan Collins of Maine and Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming. All 45 other Republicans voted NO.

Additional Reading:

Senator Casey voted YES and Senator Toomey voted NO.

Bureaucratic Confirmation #4 – Environment

Senate Confirmation Vote on Brenda Mallory to be a Member of the Council on Environmental Quality

Brenda Mallory has a long history of environmental policy work.  She spent over a decade at the Environmental Protection Agency before working as the lead attorney at the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) under the Obama Administration. She will now serve as the first Black leader of that CEQ.

Vote date: Wednesday, April 14, 2021 Vote Tally: 53-45

Party Breakdown: All of the Democrats and Independents voted YES and they were joined by three Republicans – Susan Collins of Maine Rob Portman of Ohio and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. The other 45 Republicans voted NO.

Additional Reading:

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 needs a ⅔ supermajority to pass.  These 14 bills were brought up under a suspension of the rules this week.

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

This bill passed the House in March, and it passed the Senate with minor changes less than a week later, but needed to return to the House before it could be enacted.  It protects Medicare from sequestration.

Vote date: Tuesday, April 13, 2021 Vote Tally: 384-38

Pennsylvania breakdown: Our delegation voted 17-1, with 🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry placing the only NO vote.

🗳️ House Vote on H.R. 172: United States Anti-Doping Agency Reauthorization Act

This bill authorizes appropriations for the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency through 2030.

Vote date: Wednesday, April 14, 2021 Vote Tally: 381-37

Pennsylvania breakdown: Our MoCs were unanimous in support of this bill.

🗳️ House Vote on S. 578: FASTER (Food Allergy Safety, Treatment, Education and Research) Act 

This bill makes modifications to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to expand research and education on food allergies.

Vote date: Wednesday, April 14, 2021 Vote Tally: 415-11

Pennsylvania breakdown: The vote for PA MoCs was 17-0-1, with 🔴 PA-14’s Rep. Guy Reschenthaler not voting.

🗳️ House Vote on S. 164: Advancing Education on Biosimilars Act

This technical explanation comes from the Library of Congress summary. “A biosimilar is a biological product that is highly similar to an FDA-approved reference biological product and has no clinically meaningful differences from that reference product… This bill requires the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to advance education and awareness among health care providers about biological products as appropriate, including by developing or improving continuing education programs that address the prescribing of biological products and biosimilars.”

Vote date: Wednesday, April 14, 2021 Vote Tally: 412-8

Pennsylvania breakdown: Our MoCs were unanimous in support of this bill.

🗳️ House Vote on H.R. 1215: Fraud and Scam Reduction Act

This legislation creates a Senior Scams Prevention Advisory Group that will work with retailers, financial-services companies, and wire-transfer companies to educate them on how to prevent scams that target older people.

Vote date: Thursday, April 15, 2021 Vote Tally: 396-13

Pennsylvania breakdown: The vote for PA MoCs was 17-0-1, with 🔴 PA-09’s Rep. Dan Meuser not voting.

🗳️ House Vote on H.R. 446: Protecting Seniors from Emergency Scams Act

This bill requires the Federal Trade Commission to report on scams targeting older adults and provide recommendations to prevent those scams.

Vote date: Thursday, April 15, 2021 Vote Tally: 413-8

Pennsylvania breakdown: The vote for PA MoCs was 17-0-1, with 🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle not voting.

🗳️ House Vote on H.R. 1762: Protecting Indian Tribes from Scams Act

This is similar to the previous bill, but instead of focusing on scams targeting older folks, it mandates that the FTC work with tribal authorities to develop reporting on unfair or deceptive practices that target tribes or tribal members.

Vote date: Thursday, April 15, 2021 Vote Tally: 408-10

Pennsylvania breakdown: The vote for PA MoCs was 17-0-1, with 🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle not voting.

🗳️ House Vote on H.R. 1460: Nicholas and Zachary Burt Memorial Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act

This bill creates grants for states and tribal organizations through the Consumer Product Safety Commission to pay for the installation of carbon monoxide alarms in the homes of low-income families and facilities that primarily serve children and older adults.

Vote date: Thursday, April 15, 2021 Vote Tally: 362-49

Pennsylvania breakdown: Our delegation voted 17-1, with 🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry placing the only NO vote.

🗳️ House Vote on H.R. 941: TRANSPLANT (Timely ReAuthorization of Necessary Stem-cell Programs Lends Access Needed Therapies) to Act

This bill reauthorizes the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act of 2005 and it focuses on the review of the latest science and therapies related to stem cells and the funding of regenerative medicine.

Vote date: Thursday, April 15, 2021 Vote Tally: 415-2

Pennsylvania breakdown: The vote from PA MoCs was 17-0-1, with 🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle not voting.

🗳️ House Vote on H.R. 1002: DEBAR (Debarment Enforcement of Bad Actor Registrants) Act 

This bill authorizes the Drug Enforcement Administration to temporarily bar or permanently revoke the registration of a pharmaceutical company that is, per the Library of Congress bill summary, “unfit to manufacture, distribute, or dispense a controlled substance.”

Vote date: Thursday, April 15, 2021 Vote Tally: 411-5

Pennsylvania breakdown: The vote from PA MoCs was 17-0-1, with 🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle not voting.

🗳️ House Vote on H.R. 1899: Ensuring Compliance Against Drug Diversion Act

This bill also deals with the registration of companies who produce controlled substances.  Per the Library of Congress summary, it “terminates the registration of individuals and entities when they die, cease legal existence, discontinue business, or surrender such registration.”

Vote date: Thursday, April 15, 2021 Vote Tally: 412-5

Pennsylvania breakdown: The vote from PA MoCs was 17-0-1, with 🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle not voting.

🗳️ House Vote on H.R. 1502: Microloan Improvement Act

This bill modifies a Small Business Administration program to increase the line of credit available for microloans, as well as setting aside 15% of the program funding for “designated underutilized states.” 

Vote date: Thursday, April 15, 2021 Vote Tally: 397-16

Pennsylvania breakdown: The vote from PA MoCs was 16-0-2, with 🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry and 🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle not voting.

🗳️ House Vote on H.R. 1487: Microloan Transparency and Accountability Act

This legislation modifies the same Small Business Administration microloan program and will require reporting on the location of the loan recipient, whether they are in a rural area, and the average size, rate of interest, and amount of fees charged to the recipient.

Vote date: Thursday, April 15, 2021 Vote Tally: 409-4

Pennsylvania breakdown: The vote from PA MoCs was 17-0-1, with 🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle not voting.

🗳️ House Vote on H.R. 1490: 504 Modernization and Small Manufacturer Enhancement Act

This bill modifies a different Small Business Administration program, the “504 Loan Program.” It adds policy goals related to reducing costs by using energy efficient products and renewable energy. The bill also sets new maximum loan amounts and increases job retention requirements.

Vote date: Thursday, April 15, 2021 Vote Tally: 400-16

Pennsylvania breakdown: The vote from PA MoCs was 17-0-1, with 🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle not voting.

🗳️ House Vote on H.R. 1482: 504 Credit Risk Management Improvement Act of 2021

This bill puts the Office of Credit Risk Management into an oversight role for the 504 Loan Program of the Small Business Administration (SBA).

Vote date: Friday, April 16, 2021 Vote Tally: 411-8

Pennsylvania breakdown: The vote from PA MoCs was 17-0-1, with 🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle not voting.

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.189 – John Lewis NIMHD Research Endowment Revitalization Act of 2021
  • H.R.1766 – FTC Collaboration Act of 2021
  • S.400 – William T. Coleman, Jr., Department of Transportation Headquarters Act
  • S.415 – A bill to amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act with respect to the scope of new chemical exclusivity
  • S.422 – Senate Shared Employee Act

Quotes of Interest

Senator Casey and his first Indivisible event

🔵 Senator Bob Casey had his first ever event with his Indivisible constituents on April 6, 2021.  The meeting featured about 20 minutes of content from the Senator about the benefits of the recently passed American Rescue Plan (he delighted in telling folks from different counties about the amount of help coming to each county). Then the leader of Indivisible Philadelphia and our event host, Vicki Miller,, presented a handful of questions from event attendees, all centered on democracy-strengthening measures, like DC Statehood, the John Lewis Voting Rights Act, the For the People Act, and ending the filibuster. That segment lasted about a half hour.

For some context, in past years Senator Casey had not been friendly about modifications to the filibuster.  But earlier this year, in an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, Casey shared that “I’m certainly open to that in ways that I would not have said I was two years ago, The Senate doesn’t function like it used to and I think as much as I’d like to think that we can go back to those days when consensus and bipartisanship was the rule rather than the exception, now it’s the opposite.”  In his event with Indivisible, though, the Senator went even further, and declared that he wanted to see the end of “the 60 vote rule” – which he explained was how he liked to talk about the filibuster, to underline the true meaning of the wonky word.

One of the requests that indivisible made of our senator was that he be more bold about his support for ending the filibuster… and it was not long before the Senator showed all of Pennsylvania his new assertiveness on the topic! This is the statement that the Senator made on the first Filibuster Friday after his Indivisible event:

The right to vote is under a kind of assault we haven’t seen since the Jim Crow era… and it’s going to get worse unless the Senate acts. This isn’t about Democrats vs. Republicans – it’s about the soul of America.

Our democracy is at stake here. I’m ready to work with my Republican colleagues, but should the 60-vote rule (filibuster) continue to be abused against widely popular policies, then we must eliminate – or at the very least reform – the filibuster.

The filibuster was not a part of the Founder’s original design. I was elected to serve the people, not an arcane Senate procedure. If the choice comes down to the filibuster or democracy, I know which side I’m on.

And Senator Casey has persevered with his advocacy on behalf of ending the “60 vote rule.”  In his response to the horrifying Indiana Fed Ex facility shooting last week, Senator Casey included in his response this sentiment, “Enough is enough. The Senate can no longer hide behind arcane procedure as families & communities suffer.  If we have to amend or abolish the 60-vote rule to do it, then that’s what we must do. America deserves action. Now.”

Another topic that was discussed at length was voter suppression. Senator Casey got right to the heart of the issue and declared, “underneath voter suppression is white supremacy.” He is a cosponsor of both the John Lewis Voting Rights Act and the For the People Act, both of which will address voter suppression, if passed.

In addition to our requests of the Senator, he had one for us as well.  He is very excited about the inclusion of 14 billion dollars in funding in the recently passed American Rescue Plan for home and community based services for disabled and elderly people. The Biden Administration’s recently released American Jobs Plan infrastructure bill would increase that funding to $400 billion, and Senator Casey would like to ensure that this gets passed. So now would be a great time to educate ourselves about what home and community based services entail.  This NPR article, “What’s In Biden’s $400 Billion Plan To Support Families’ Long-Term Health Needs,” is a great place to start!

Pennsylvania Indivisible hopes to schedule future events with Senator Casey, and he and his staff were open to such invitations. We here at MoCTrack will keep you posted!

The video of the full Casey/Indivisible event is available as a recording on the Pennsylvania Indivisible Facebook page.

Senate Tweets

🔵 Senator Bob Casey, @SenBobCasey, 04/15/21:

”This is a relief plan.  It’s not just saving families from a burning house – it’s a once-in-a-generation opportunity to help rebuild the house. Strong infrastructure is the foundation for equal opportunity & participation in our country.

We have to do this. #AmericanJobsPlan”

Editor’s Note – the video that accompanies this tweet from Senator Casey was taken from the Zoom meeting the Senator held with the Indivisibles of Pennsylvania!

🔴 Senator Pat Toomey, @SenToomey, 04/14/21:

“Earmarks send federal money to projects not based upon merit, but politics. One of the few positive actions Congress has taken to combat wasteful spending in the past decade is to swear off earmarks.

I have no intention of participating in any earmark process and will continue to urge my Senate Republican colleagues to do the same.”

House Tweets

🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, @RepBrianFitz, 04/15/21:

“This legislative effort to pack the Supreme Court is a purely partisan power grab that would undermine the bedrock legitimacy of our Nation’s highest court. Every responsible legislator should openly oppose this legislation.”

🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle, @CongBoyle, 04/15/21:

“Today, I will vote to pass H.R. 7, the #PayCheckFairnessAct , which will help close the gender wage gap by strengthening equal pay protections for women. It’s shameful that employers get away with paying women less than men for doing the same job.

This doesn’t just harm women in the workplace; it impacts their families, too.  The Paycheck Fairness Act modernizes and strengthens equal pay protections — so that we can unleash the full power of women in the workforce.”

🔵 PA-03’s Rep. Dwight Evans, @RepDwightEvans, 04/16/21:

“I am proud to have voted today for the Workplace Violence Prevention Act to strengthen protections for our health care and social service workers!”

🔵 PA-04’s Rep. Madeleine Dean, @RepDean, 04/15/21:

“Late night Paw-licy Committee Meeting with @RepMGS and our new staffers. 

They have so much pooch-tential!

In all seriousness, these dogs are here to provide support and comfort to our Capitol Police Officers as they grieve another loss and continue to support and protect this capitol and everyone in it.”

🔵 PA-05’s Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, @RepMGS, 04/16/21:

“During the 100 days since the attack on the Capitol, many of us have struggled to process the personal and national trauma of that experience. Thank you, @FrankThorp, for beautifully capturing the reflections of my colleagues. January 6 can’t be forgotten.” Shared with a link to the NBC News photo collection, “After the Riot.”

🔵 PA-06’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, @RepHoulahan, 04/16/21:

“Adam Toledo was 13 yrs-old. 13.  As a mother, I keep coming back to this. No parent should experience the excruciating pain of losing their child, let alone having to relive that trauma alongside millions of Americans watching that horrifying video of their son killed by police.

The Black community is so, so tired of mourning. I can’t even begin to fathom that exhaustion.

As our representative, I’ve been entrusted w/ the responsibility to make hard decisions. But let me be clear: acknowledging that we need police reform is not hard or controversial. We all must fight for a country in which children aren’t killed, a country in which we as leaders haven’t failed them at such a young age. That is possible, if only we have the courage to take meaningful steps. 

We all must fight for a country in which children aren’t killed, a country in which we as leaders haven’t failed them at such a young age. That is possible, if only we have the courage to take meaningful steps.” 

🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild, @RepSusanWild, 04/16/21:

“Today is 100 days since the Capitol insurrection. 

@RepJasonCrow & I visited the gallery for the first time since that day. Together, we’re leading the Capitol Remembrance Act to ensure history isn’t forgotten.

Please take care of yourself & one another. We’re in this together.”

🔵 PA-08’s Rep. Matt Cartwright, @RepCartwright, 04/16/21:

“Our work on the #AmericanJobsPlan comes as we need to plan for increasingly extreme weather brought on by climate change. On @AppropsDems, we will invest in the tools we’ll need to build 21st century, resilient infrastructure.”

🔴 PA-09’s Rep. Dan Meuser, @RepMeuser, 04/15/21:

“All Americans, men and women, should be treated equally and receive equal pay for equal work. Instead of working on a bipartisan initiative to ensure this occurs in the workplace, Democrats introduced H.R.7, which benefits trial lawyers at the expense of small businesses.”

🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry, @RepScottPerry, 04/10/21:

“As long as we’re on the topic of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of dangerous people, maybe we should be looking at taking away President Biden’s pen. #2A #SecondAmendment #ExecutiveOrders”

🔴 PA-11’s Rep. Lloyd Smucker, @RepSmucker, 04/15/21:

“In Pres. Biden’s recent “budget” there are 146 mentions of “climate” and just 3 mentions of “border security.” When are Pres. Biden and VP Harris going to take this border crisis seriously?”

🔴 PA-12’s Rep. Fred Keller, @RepFredKeller, 04/16/21:

“President Biden could end this crisis tomorrow by sending a clear message that illegal immigration will not be tolerated.”

Read my latest Op-Ed from @thehill detailing my trip to the US-Mexico border earlier this week.”

Link to Op-Ed

🔴 PA-13’s Rep. John Joyce, @RepJohnJoyce, 04/14/21:

“Protecting babies born alive should transcend any political divide.

Proud to once again sign a discharge petition to force a vote on the lifesaving Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Act, which would #EndInfanticide & ensure care for innocent children born alive.”

🔴 PA-14’s Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, @GReschenthaler, 04/16/21:

“To Dems, infrastructure means anything under the sun.

To Republicans, it means repairing our roads, bridges, airports, waterways, and rural broadband.

We have an opportunity for bipartisanship, but Dems changing the meaning of infrastructure is killing a great opportunity.”

🔴 PA-15’s Rep. Glenn W. Thompson, @CongressmanGT, 04/16/21:

“The climate debate is no longer about whether or not climate change is real— the debate is how to best address the issue. I believe whole heartedly using innovation and technology are the right approach over burdensome regulation.”

🔴 PA-16’s Rep. Mike Kelly, @MikeKellyPA, 04/15/21:

“No institution is safe from Democrats. The left wants Joe Biden to appoint four new liberal judges to the Supreme Court who will support their war on our Constitutional rights.”

🔵 PA-17’s Rep. Conor Lamb, @RepConorLamb, 04/15/21:

“Today I joined @SenBobCasey to introduce legislation to improve the lives of all working Pennsylvanians as our economy recovers from the pandemic. The Tax Fairness for Workers Act ensures that our tax code treats workers & union members fairly. #PA17”

🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle, @USRepMikeDoyle, 04/16/21:

“I couldn’t agree more, @RepAdams. Black maternal mortality is a huge problem in #PGH, and I’ve been working hard to address the problem locally and nationally – including as a member of the Black Maternal Health Caucus and a cosponsor of the Black Maternal Health #Momnibus bill.”

Casey Quote of the Week 

Courtesy of contributor Linda Houk

“I’m going to do everything I can to help middle-class families.”

“What I’m trying to do is add dollars to Medicaid to serve more people. We got a foot in the door in the rescue bill with $12.7 billion, but obviously we’re going to need a lot more.”

“There are certain issues related to long-term care that predate the pandemic and will be a challenge even after the pandemic. [But the coronavirus] forces us to confront problems we’ve ignored too long in our long-term care system, and also to invest more in long-term care generally.”

— from an article in WVEC 13 News Now, titled “Biden’s ambitious expansion of long-term care sparks debate

Toomey Quote of the Week 

Courtesy of contributor Linda Houk

“I’m concerned he will cause the SEC to use its regulatory powers to advance a liberal social agenda focused on issues such as global warming, political spending disclosures, and racial inequality and diversity.”

“Nothing Mr. Gensler said at his hearing—or since—has alleviated my concerns.”

— from an article in CNBC, titled “Gary Gensler confirmed by Senate to lead the SEC, Wall Street’s top regulator

Fitzpatrick in the News 

Research courtesy of contributor CC

“We’re seeing the suffering and the insecurity on our border that we’re seeing right now. We have the capability to fix it. We are very resolved.” 

— from an article in a CBS News affiliate titled “Those who see border crisis up close hoping for good policy with no politics” 

“I’ve given the money back,” Fitzpatrick told CNN when asked if Gaetz should resign. “I’m a career FBI agent. Let the process play out.”

— from an article in The Mercury News titled “Amid investigation, GOP mostly steering clear of Rep. Gaetz

“Our new caucus will help advance bipartisan coordination on the marquee conservation programs throughout the Delaware River watershed.” 

— the Congressman describes the new the bipartisan Congressional Delaware River Watershed Caucus in a NJ Spotlight article titled “Congressional push on to restore funds for Delaware River Basin regulator”  

“I have long advocated for more federal funding for the Delaware River Watershed to improve the lives of our communities and our natural habitats. The onus is on us to invest in conservation, and American innovation is our best chance to improve environmental policies, encourage stewardship, and grow the economy here in our basin, I’m honored to co-chair this bipartisan caucus with Congressman Delgado and look forward to diligently working to advance bipartisan coordination on marquee conservation programs throughout the Delaware River Watershed.”

— from a River Reporter article titled “‘What government ought to look like’

“This isn’t a partisan issue, it’s an American issue—we must come together to resolve this humanitarian and border security crisis.” 

— from a Patch article titled “Fitzpatrick Elected Co-Chair Of House Problem Solvers Caucus

“We have worked with the USDA on a bipartisan basis for the past two years to address the negative impacts of the SLF on our farmers and agricultural workers. Additional resources are still needed to rid our regions of this pest, and as you finalize your Fiscal Year 2022 budget request, we urge you to request an increase in support to research and control the SLF.

 While there has been some progress, it is critically important we continue to secure more funding for research to combat and eradicate this invasive species once and for all. I am proud to join Rep. Houlahan as we step up and fight for our communities’ farmers and the vital role they play in our local economy.”

— from a Ripon Advance blog post titled “Fitzpatrick, PA colleagues seek increased funding to fight invasive spotted lanternfly

“We’re not gonna be show horses. We’re going to be work horses. We’re gonna go behind the scenes. We’re going to roll up our sleeves and do the work in bipartisan fashion, respecting each other’s opinion and learning from each other, learning from each other to figure out how we can best serve to figure out how we can best solve the situation.”

— from a KITV News article titled “Bipartisan group of lawmakers call themselves ‘The Problem Solvers’ as they visit the immigration crisis at the border” 

“It is an honor to have been elected co-chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus. I look forward to working alongside my friend, fellow Co-Chair Rep. Josh Gottheimer, and PSC colleagues, as we continue our joint mission of building bridges, engaging in productive, bipartisan conversations and debates, and working to find common ground on every key issue facing our nation. Now, more than ever, it is imperative we continue our efforts of bringing people together in the spirit of bipartisanship to best serve our constituents and country. Together, we are most successful, and together, we can deliver real results to communities across the country.” 

— the Congressman’s press release, as quoted in the Levittown Now article titled “Congressman Gets Co-Chair Seat In Problem Solvers Caucus

Featured Sections

Learning About Legislation –
A Motion to Discharge and the nomination of Vinita Gupta

The Senate took an unusual step this week to move forward the stalled nomination of Vinita Gupta, President Biden’s pick for the Associate Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice, the third ranking official for that department. Republicans were holding her nomination hostage in committee, so the full Senate was called upon to vote to remove the nomination from the committee via a motion to discharge.

The Congressional Research Service white paper titled “Senate Consideration of Presidential Nominations: Committee and Floor Procedure” is the source for this excerpt on discharge motions:

It is unusual for Senators to attempt to discharge a committee by motion or resolution, instead of by unanimous consent, and only a few attempts have ever been successful. Senate Rule XVII does permit any Senator to submit a motion or resolution that a committee be discharged from the consideration of a subject referred to it. The discharge process, however, does not allow a simple majority to quickly initiate consideration of a nomination still in committee. It requires several steps and, most notably, a motion or resolution to discharge is debatable. 

Elizabeth Rybicki, a specialist on Congress and the legislative process, concurs in her Congressional Research Service essay, “Discharging a Senate Committee from Consideration of a Nomination.” She observed that “while it is common for committees to be discharged by unanimous consent, doing so by motion or resolution is rare.” Her writing goes on to explain in detail the complicated calendaring procedure needed, involving moving the chamber into executive session or potentially leaving the motion on the calendar, to succeed in discharging the nomination from the committee by vote instead of by consent.

In the case of Ms. Gupta, the Senate voted to discharge her nomination from the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, April 15, 2021.  The final vote was 49-34, with 17 lawmakers not voting. All of the Democrats and Independents present voted YES, with John Tester of Motnana not voting.  On the Republican side, 34 Senators voted NO, and 16 opted to not vote.  Senator Toomey was one of those who did not vote. 

In the aftermath of the vote on the discharge motion, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL took to the pages of Roll Call to urge his colleagues to vote for her when her nomination comes before the full Senate for her confirmation next week.  The Senator wrote, in part:

One would think, given Gupta’s extraordinary credentials and consensus building approach, that she would enjoy broad, bipartisan support in the Senate. Unfortunately, her nomination has been met with extreme and vitriolic opposition from Senate Republicans, much of it in the form of falsehoods. Sadly, we saw this from Senate Judiciary Republicans when her nomination was up for a vote in committee on March 25.

I will not give any more airtime to these unfounded attacks. Instead, I would urge my fellow senators and the public at large to take a look at Gupta’s actual record.

In doing so, they will see a nominee who has committed her entire life to making this nation more just. A nominee who is guided by a belief that we can and must do better in protecting voting rights, combating hate crimes, protecting the rights of religious minorities and building a more equitable criminal justice system. A nominee who truly believes in the principle of equal justice under law.

And a nominee who deserves to be confirmed. 

Call to Action – Earth Day is a Time to THRIVE

In honor of Earth Day, please contact Senator Casey and your Member of Congress and ask them to co-sponsor the THRIVE Agenda (H. Res 104 in the House and S. Res. 43 in the Senate).  Currently, only two Pennsylvania lawmakers are co-sponsors🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle and 🔵 PA-03’s Rep. Dwight Evans.  Here is a sample script you can use when calling your MoC:

Today is Earth Day, an annual event on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection. 

With the climate crisis continuing to worsen, the economy entering a deep recession, and the need for racial justice and healing being felt as acutely as ever, the case for Green New Deal-style policymaking is stronger than ever before. We need a bold new vision to create millions of good jobs, repair and revive our economy, and address the overlapping crises of mass unemployment, racial injustice, public health, and climate change. The THRIVE Resolution demands that the recovery fight be grounded in eight pillars — from creating millions of union jobs while averting climate catastrophe to investing in Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities — THRIVE’s top priorities are the families and communities who share the dream of a good life: free from worry about meeting basic needs, with reliable and fulfilling work, and a dignified and healthy standard of living. 

Will Representative/Senator XXX agree to co-sponsor the Thrive Resolution? 

The Pennsylvania Indivisible Facebook page and Twitter presence will be sharing THRIVE Agenda related content all week to educate our allies about how the THRIVE Agenda needs to be the core set of principles to power the coming recovery packages.  If you can help amplify that content on either (or both) platforms, it would be appreciated!

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 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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