Pennsylvania Member of Congress Tracking Report – 05.16.21

65 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.  Thank you to the Demcast and Pennsylvania Indivisible organizations who host our report and help us share it with Commonwealth residents!

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

One vote was scored this week – H.R. 1065: Pregnant Workers Fairness Act.

LawmakerScoreChange from last score
🔵 Senator Bob Casey100.0%0.0%
🔴 Senator Pat Toomey55.6%0.0%
🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick50.0%+2.8%
🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle100.0%0.0%
🔵 PA-03’s Rep. Dwight Evans100.0%0.0%
🔵 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 Meuser0.0%0.0%
🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry0.0%0.0%
🔴 PA-11’s Rep. Lloyd Smucker7.9%-0.4%
🔴 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. Thompson8.3%0.0%
🔴 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 Votes to End Discrimination Against Pregnant Workers

House Vote on H.R. 1065: Pregnant Workers Fairness Act

The Pregnant Workers Fairness Act is a bill that outlaws discrimination again pregnant workers who may need small accomodations but can fulfill the essential tasks of their job throughout their pregnancy.  Motherly magazine clarifies the types of accommodations this bill would cover, observing, “they could come in the form of water and bathroom breaks, stools, or a reduction in lifting requirements.” The bill would make it illegal to fire or deny employment to a pregnant worker who needs such accommodations, and also illegal to refuse to make such accommodations.

This same bill, to prohibit employer disrrimination against pregnant people in the workplace, has been introduced in each of the last 6 Congresses. It never moved past the introductory stages in 2012-2018. It passed the House for the first time in 2020, but died in Mitch McConnell’s legislative graveyard. We can hope that a Democratic controlled Senate, the first one since this bill was introduced nearly a decade ago, can get this passed… but it might require ending the filibuster to do so.

Upon the passage of the bill, Senator Casey said this on Twitter: “I applaud the House for passing the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act today. No worker should have to choose between a healthy pregnancy and their job – that’s why this bill has overwhelming bipartisan support.  Let’s get this passed in the Senate and sent to @POTUS.”

Vote date: Friday, May 14, 2021 Vote Tally: 315-101

Party Breakdown: All 216 Democrats voted YES on this bill, alongside 99 Republicans. All 101 votes against this bill came from Republicans.

Additional Reading:

Consumer Protections Expanded in House Vote Limiting Debt Collector Actions 

House Vote on H.R. 2547: Comprehensive Debt Collection Improvement Act

This bill, introduced by House Financial Services Chairperson Maxine Waters, was introduced to address the unfair and predatory practices used by the debt collection industry.  Rep. Waters made the following speech on the House floor, and it explains the purpose and contents of the bill better than anyone else could:

I rise in strong support of my legislation, H.R. 2547, the Comprehensive Debt Collection Improvement Act. H.R. 2547 is a package of bills designed to bring new protections, fairness, accuracy and transparency to the debt collection industry.

Individuals and families across the country have long struggled with debt — including medical debt, student loan debt, and other debts — and they often face difficult decisions regarding how to pay off their debts. 

During the pandemic crisis, which has harmed all of our communities, debt collectors have earned record profits. Their tactics are often abusive and predatory. Many debt collectors harass consumers with frequent phone calls, make threats, and provide misleading information to consumers. The debt collection industry is also plagued by poor record-keeping, resulting in many consumers being harassed for debts that they do not owe. Debt collection is among the top issues that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau receives the most complaints about from consumers, and those complaints have risen since 2019.

This bill, H.R. 2547, brings new accountability to the debt collection industry and stronger protections for consumers from harassment and abuse, including by banning abusive confessions of judgment that have hurt small businesses, prohibiting debt collectors from harassing and threatening servicemembers, barring the collection of medical debt for two years after the debt is incurred, prohibiting debt collectors from contacting consumers by email or text message without a consumer’s affirmative consent, limiting egregious debt collection fees that have disproportionately hurt low-income and minority borrowers, and protecting consumers during a non-judicial foreclosure proceeding. Taken together, these protections will help the most vulnerable consumers, including servicemembers, student borrowers, people of color, and those struggling under the weight of medical debt during this unprecedented pandemic.

None of this is to say that people who owe lawful debts shouldn’t pay them. But all Americans deserve to be free from harassment, undue pressure tactics, bullying, false information, threats, coercion, and the other bad practices that debt collectors have used with relative impunity. The last time Congress made major updates to federal laws on debt collection was in 1978, over 40 years ago. It’s long overdue for Congress to act to provide stronger protections from abusive debt collectors for consumers. 

This comprehensive package includes a number of bills authored by several hardworking Members of the Financial Services Committee, specifically bills sponsored by Representatives Velázquez, Dean, Tlaib, Pressley, Cleaver, Meeks, and Auchincloss. I would like to thank all of them for their work on those bills, their contributions to this legislative package and their leadership on these important reforms that will provide desperately-needed relief and protections to consumers. So, I would urge all of my colleagues to support this legislation, and with that I reserve the balance of my time.

In her speech, Chairperson Waters noted that her bill included content from 🔵 PA-04’s Rep. Madeleine Dean.  She is referring to H.R. 2498, the Private Loan Disability Discharge Act, a bill introduced by Rep. Dean on April 14, 2021. This bill, the text of which has been included in this bill that passed the House, would require the discharge of private student loans in the case of permanent disability of the borrower.

Vote date: Thursday, May 13, 2021 Vote Tally: 215-207
Party Breakdown: This was very nearly a party line action.  All 206 Republicans present voted NO, as did one Democrat – Kurt Schrader of Oregon.  The remaining 2016 Democrats present voted YES.

Additional Reading:

Another Bad Trump-era regulation falls prey to the Congressional Review Act

Senate Vote on S.J.Res. 15: A joint resolution providing for congressional disapproval under chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, of the rule submitted by the Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC) relating to “National Banks and Federal Savings Associations as Lenders”

The Congressional Review Act (CRA) is a mechanism that can be used to overturn the rules of bureaucratic agencies.  Vox explains that the CRA, which was introduced in the 1990s, “gives Congress extensive power to invalidate rules established by federal agencies and, in doing so, making it more difficult for any future administrations to resurrect the policies that lawmakers have struck down.” 

The CRA was used frequently by the GOP-controlled House and Senate in the 115th Congress to overturn Obama era regulations – remember the talk of overturning restrictions on slaughtering hibernating bears in Alaska, and stopping the CFPB from looking at discriminatory car loan practices?  That was how the GOP used the CRA when given the chance. However, now that the Democrats have control of both legislative houses, they can use that same CRA to overturn the worst of the Trump era’s awful rules.  In this case, the bureaucratic rule in question is known as the “true lender” rule, and it is one that went into effect just as Trump was leaving office.

This excerpt from an article in The Hill about a lawsuit against this Trump-era regulation explains the problems created by the “true lender” rule:

…a Trump appointee finalized a rule in October [2020] meant to clarify who is the “true lender” of a loan issued to a customer through a partnership between a nationally chartered bank and a third party, typically a non-bank lender.

Such partnerships can allow a financial company to offer a customer a loan with a higher interest rate than permitted under their state’s laws by teaming up with a federally chartered bank headquartered in a state with a higher interest rate cap. 

Senator Sherod Brown of Ohio, the Chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, laid out the stakes of this CRA action in a hearing about this rule, declaring that “You can stand on the side of online payday lenders that brag about their creativity in avoiding the law and finding new ways to prey on workers and their families or we can stand up for families and small businesses, and the state attorneys general and state legislatures who have said ‘enough.’”

And House Financial Services Chair Maxine Waters, whose committee has introduced the companion bill to the Senate CRA action, agreed with Sen. Brown. She stated:

Trump’s appointees to the OCC abused their authority to expose consumers to triple digit interest rates and force people already struggling financially into worse circumstances, including bankruptcy. Instead of working with banks to help consumers during the pandemic, the OCC chose to help predatory lenders while also undermining the Community Reinvestment Act.

I’m pleased that the Senate has passed this resolution of disapproval in a bipartisan way to uphold sensible protections for consumers at a time when they need them the most. Now it is time for the House to act. I will call on House leadership to bring this resolution to the floor for a vote as soon as possible.

Since the Senate is the higher hurdle for any CRA action, with the passage there this week, we can expect this to move quickly through the House.

In 2020, MoCTrack offered a more in-depth explainer about the Congressional Review Act.  If you’d like to learn more about the CRA, you can find it HERE.

Vote date: Tuesday, May 11, 2021 Vote Tally: 61-37

Party Breakdown: On the Republican side, 47 senators voted NO. All of the Democrats and Independents were joined by 3 Republicans in voting YES – Marco Rubio of Florida, Susan Collins of Maine and Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming.
Senator Bob Casey voted YES

Senator Pat Toomey voted NO

Additional Reading:

A Third Motion to Discharge a Stalled Biden Nomination

Senate Vote on the Motion to Discharge Chiquita Brooks-LaSure to be Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service

This is the third Biden Administration confirmation process where a Motion to Discharge was needed to get a nomination out of committee and onto the Senate Floor for a full vote.  Previous discharge motions from this year were were used for Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Colin Kahl and Associate Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice Vinita Gupta. This vote will enable the full Senate to vote on the confirmation next week.

If you would like to learn more about how a Motion to Discharge works, please see our April 18th MoCTrack Explainer segment, “A Motion to Discharge and the nomination of Vinita Gupta.”

Vote date: Wednesday, May 12, 2021 Vote Tally: 51-48

Party Breakdown: The YES votes came from all of the Democrats and Independents, plus two Republicans – Jerry Moran of Kansas and Susan Collins of Maine.  The remaining 48 Republicans voted NO.

Senator Bob Casey voted YES

Senator Pat Toomey voted NO

Additional Reading:

Biden Bureaucratic Confirmation #1 – Health and Human Services

Senate Confirmation Vote on Andrea Joan Palm to be Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Services

Andrea Palm is a former Obama Administration official who has just been confirmed to serve as the second in command at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  Her new responsibilities include overseeing the day-to-day operations of HHS as its Chief Operating Officer.

In the Obama Administration, Palm worked at HHS for the full eight years in a variety of roles, including Acting Assistant Secretary for Legislation, Counselor, Chief of Staff and Senior Counselor to the Secretary. After President Trump was elected, Palm went to work in Wisconsin as a member of Governor Evers’ cabinet. As Secretary-designee of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, she oversaw the state’s food stamps (SNAP) program as well as their Medicaid system.

Vote date: Tuesday, May 11, 2021 Vote Tally: 61-37

Party Breakdown: All of the Democrats, Independents and 13 Republicans voted YES.  The remaining 37 Republicans voted NO.

Senator Bob Casey voted YES

Senator Pat Toomey voted NO

Additional Reading:

Biden Bureaucratic Confirmation #2 – Education

Senate Confirmation Vote on Cynthia Minette Marten to be Deputy Secretary of Education

Cynthia Marten has just been confirmed to the number 2 position at the US Department of Education. She has spent 32 years of her career in public education, and her CV includes positions as “a teacher, literacy specialist, vice principal, and principal,” culminating in 8 years as the superintendent of the San Diego, California Unified School District.

Marten’s new boss, Education Secretary Migual Cardona, made the following statement upon her confirmation:

I am grateful for today’s confirmation of Cindy Marten as Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education. As superintendent of the second largest school district in California and one of the longest serving urban school leaders in America, Cindy remained committed to San Diego when the pandemic hit, finding ways to provide technology to thousands of students and provide more than 20 million free meals to students in need. Cindy also partnered with the local public university to stand up testing at all San Diego Unified School District campuses to curb the spread of the disease and protect students, staff, and the community. Our top priority at the Department of Education is to reopen America’s schools for in-person learning, support students’ social, emotional, and academic needs, and address inequities that have been exacerbated by the pandemic. I am thrilled that Cindy has accepted this challenge and I look forward to working with her as she continues to serve our nation’s students as Deputy Secretary.

Vote date: Tuesday, May 11, 2021 Vote Tally: 61-37

Party Breakdown: All of the Democrats, Independents and 6 Republicans voted YES.  The other 44 Republicans voted NO.

Senator Bob Casey voted YES

Senator Pat Toomey voted NO

Additional Reading:

Biden Bureaucratic Confirmation #3 – U.S. Postal Service

Senate Confirmation Vote on Ronald Stroman to be a Governor of the United States Postal Service for a term expiring December 8, 2021

Ronald Stroman is an attorney and a longtime employee of our federal government. He has extensive experience in United States Postal Service operations, having spent nine years as the Deputy Postmaster General of the USPS.

Before concentrating on the USPS, he served as a staffer in the House and in several cabinet departments, having worked in:

  • the Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • the Department of Transportation
  • the House Judiciary committee (as counsel)
  • the House Committee on Oversight and Reform (as minority staff director)

Vote date: Wednesday, May 12, 2021 Vote Tally: 69-30

Party Breakdown: All of the Democrats, Independents and 20 Republicans voted YES. The other 30 Republicans voted NO.
Senator Bob Casey voted YES

Senator Pat Toomey voted YES

Biden Bureaucratic Confirmation #3.5 – U.S. Postal Service 

Senate Confirmation Vote on Ronald Stroman to be a Governor of the United States Postal Service for a term expiring December 8, 2028

No, this isn’t a duplicate entry! First the Senate voted to confirm Ronald Stroman to a position that ended in December of this year, and then later the same day they took this vote to extend his tenure as a Governor of the United States Postal Service through 2028.

Vote date: Wednesday, May 12, 2021 Vote Tally: 66-32

Party Breakdown: All of the Democrats, Independents and 18 Republicans voted YES. The remaining 32 Republicans voted NO.

Senator Bob Casey voted YES

Senator Pat Toomey voted YES

Additional Reading:

Biden Bureaucratic Confirmation #4 – U.S. Postal Service 

Senate Confirmation Vote on Amber Faye McReynolds to be a Governor of the United States Postal Service for a term expiring December 8, 2026

If you watch The Rachel Maddow Show, you had the privilege of meeting new Governor of the United States Postal Service Amber McReynolds in a segment on the May 14th show. McReynolds is an expert in the field of mail-in ballots from her time as the chief executive officer of the nonprofit National Vote at Home Institute. She also worked in the Denver, Colorado office of the Clerk and Recorder for over a dozen years, as their Director of Elections for 7 years of that tenure.

McReynolds has used her experience in creating a mail-in voting system in Colorado to assist other states in doing the same.  As an Independent, she worked with administrations of both parties, in states as disparate as Democratic-controlled California and Republican-controlled Georgia (not in their current efforts at voter suppression, it must be noted).  The choice of McReynolds for a seat as a Governor of the United States Postal Service shows the Biden Administration’s commitment to making Vote-by-Mail work in federal elections.

Vote date: Thursday, May 13, 2021 Vote Tally: 59-38

Party Breakdown: All of the Democrats, Independents and 12 Republicans voted YES. the other 38 Republicans voted NO.
Senator Bob Casey voted YES

Senator Pat Toomey voted NO

Additional Reading:

Biden Bureaucratic Confirmation #5 – Commerce 

Senate Confirmation Vote on Donet Dominic Graves to be Deputy Secretary of Commerce

Don Graves is a former Obama Administration staffer who has extensive experience in both the public and private sectors. During the Obama Administration he served as Deputy Assistant to the President before becoming Counselor and Domestic and Economic Policy Director for then-Vice President Biden. He has also served as Executive Director of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, and was Deputy Assistant Secretary for Small Business, Community Development, and Housing Policy at the US Department of the Treasury.  In the private sector, Graves was the Executive Vice President and Head of Corporate Responsibility and Community Relations at KeyBank.

Upon his confirmation, Don Graves released the following statement:

“It is an incredible honor to join the Department of Commerce and its dedicated public servants – and to once again get to work for President Biden to make sure all communities are able to build back from the pandemic. Through my own experiences, I have seen how people across this country, from Tribal communities in North Dakota to folks in small towns on the Mississippi Delta, are pursuing their own dreams for themselves and their families. I am eager to hit the ground running with Secretary Raimondo to ensure everyone, no matter where they live, is given a fair shot.”

Vote date: Thursday, May 13, 2021 Vote Tally: 89-7

Party Breakdown: The seven NO votes all came from Republicans – Richard Shelby and Tommy Tuberville of Alabama, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Rick Scott of Florida, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Ted Cruz of Texas, and John Barrasso of Wyoming.

Senator Bob Casey voted YES

Senator Pat Toomey voted YES

Additional Reading:

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. 

On Wednesday, May 12, 2021, the House used an “en bloc” technique to pass a large number of these bills.  So you will see the same date, the same vote tally, the same link to a roll call vote and the same Pennsylvania lawmaker who voted NO (🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry, who voted NO on a number of really great bills and worthy initiatives) for all but one of the bills listed below. It’s no mistake, it’s just a time saving action that Congress used to pass uncontroversial legislation.

Any quotes in the bill descriptions below come from the LIbrary of Congress summaries of these bills, as produced on Congress’s website.

🗳️ House Vote on H.R.297 – To require the Secretary of Agriculture to conduct a study on the establishment of, and the potential land that could be included in, a unit of the National Forest System in the State of Hawaii

This bill directs the Forest Service to conduct a study with the goal of establishing a new national forest preserve that would include lands on the islands of Hawaii, Kauai, Lanai, Maui, Molokai, Lanai, and Oahu.

Vote date: Wednesday, May 12, 2021 Vote Tally: 349-74

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

🗳️ House Vote on H.R.433 – Family Support Services for Addiction Act

This measure creates a grant program to support the creation of programs, run by qualified professionals to “provide a support network, education, and evidence-informed tools for families and loved ones of individuals struggling with substance use disorders.”

Vote date: Wednesday, May 12, 2021 Vote Tally: 349-74

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

🗳️ House Vote on H.R.478 – Blackwater Trading Post Land Transfer Act

This bill transfers 55 acres of federally owned lands and puts it into a trust for the Gila River Indian Community, to be added to their reservation.

Vote date: Wednesday, May 12, 2021 Vote Tally: 349-74

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

🗳️ House Vote on H.R.586 – STANDUP (Suicide Training and Awareness Nationally Delivered for Universal Prevention) Act of 2021

This bill expands the requirements of the  Project AWARE State Education Agency Grant Program to now include requirements related to evidence-based suicide awareness and prevention training policies, and it directs the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to provide best-practices to those grant recipients to create the newly required suicide prevention programs.

Vote date: Wednesday, May 12, 2021 Vote Tally: 349-74

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

🗳️ House Vote on H.R.721 – Mental Health Services for Students Act 

This bill moves the authority over an existing program that supports school-based mental health services, including screening, treatment, and outreach programs and moves it under the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Vote date: Wednesday, May 12, 2021 Vote Tally: 349-74

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

🗳️ House Vote on H.R.768 – Block, Report, And Suspend Suspicious Shipments Act

There are already requirements for drug manufacturers and distributors to report suspicious orders of controlled substances.  This bill creates new obligations or those businesses, including NOT filling the suspicious order, and letting the DEA know what flagged it as suspicious.

Vote date: Wednesday, May 12, 2021 Vote Tally: 349-74

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

🗳️ House Vote on H.R.810 – To amend the National Trails System Act to direct the Secretary of the Interior to conduct a study on the feasibility of designating the Chief Standing Bear National Historic Trail

This directs the Department of the Interior to determine if it is feasible to create a 550 mile trail from Niobrara, Nebraska, to Ponca City, Oklahoma – that is the path taken by Chief Standing Bear and the Ponca people during their removal from their lands by the federal government.

Vote date: Wednesday, May 12, 2021 Vote Tally: 349-74

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

🗳️ House Vote on H.R.1205 – Improving Mental Health Access from the Emergency Dept. Act 

This bill provides grant funding for emergency services departments to increase their psychiatric staffing to help people who need immediate help for acute mental health issues.

Vote date: Wednesday, May 12, 2021 Vote Tally: 349-74

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

🗳️ House Vote on H.R.1260 – Bipartisan Solution to Cyclical Violence Act 

This bill creates a Department of Health and Human Services grant program to expand intervention or prevention programs targeting violent trauma.

Vote date: Wednesday, May 12, 2021 Vote Tally: 349-74

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

🗳️ House Vote on H.R.1324 – Effective Suicide Screening and Assessment in the Emergency Department Act

This bill creates another Department of Health and Human Services grant program, for “hospitals to improve their capacity to identify patients in emergency departments who are at risk of suicide and connect those patients with mental health treatments and services.”

Vote date: Wednesday, May 12, 2021 Vote Tally: 349-74

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

🗳️ House Vote on H.R.1448 – PAWS (Puppies Assisting Wounded Servicemembers) for Veterans Therapy Act

This bill requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to create and implement a 5 year pilot program to have veterans assist in the training of service dogs for other veterans with disabilities.

Vote date: Wednesday, May 12, 2021 Vote Tally: 349-74

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

🗳️ House Vote on H.R.1475 – Pursuing Equity in Mental Health Act

This bill establishes a program to conduct a study with respect to mental health disparities in racial and ethnic minority groups and to provide outreach to those same groups.

Vote date: Wednesday, May 12, 2021 Vote Tally: 349-74

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

🗳️ House Vote on H.R.1480 – HERO (Helping Emergency Responders Overcome) Act

This bill directs the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health and Human Services to collect data on the suicide incidence among public safety officers and create rpgrams to address that problem.

Vote date: Wednesday, May 12, 2021 Vote Tally: 349-74

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

🗳️ House Vote on H.R.2862 – Campaign to Prevent Suicide Act

This bill creates a new program to “expand and intensify surveillance of self-harm in partnership with State and local public health departments” and to help hospital emergency programs create services to prevent self-harm and suicide.

Vote date: Wednesday, May 12, 2021 Vote Tally: 349-74

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

🗳️ House Vote on H.R.2955 – Suicide Prevention Act

This bill expands and improves the services provided by the current Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

Vote date: Wednesday, May 12, 2021 Vote Tally: 349-74

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

🗳️ House Vote on H.R. 2877: Behavioral Intervention Guidelines Act

This bill makes changes to the current Public Health Service Act “to direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to develop best practices for the establishment and use of behavioral intervention teams at schools.”

Vote date: Thursday, May 13, 2021 Vote Tally: 323-93

Pennsylvania breakdown: Our delegation voted 13-5, with 🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle, 🔵 PA-03’s Rep. Dwight Evans, 🔵 PA-05’s Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, 🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild and 

🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry placing the NO votes.

Unanimously passed legislation

The following bills were passed through unanimous consent or voice vote (which presumes unanimity, as any member can object to the voice vote and ask for a roll call). This list excludes bills related to post offices, stamps, memorials, awareness weeks and other ceremonial activities.

  • S.Res.203 – A resolution condemning the horrific attack in Indianapolis, Indiana, on April 15, 2021, and expressing support and prayers for all of those impacted by that tragedy
  • H.R.49 – To designate the National Pulse Memorial in Orlando, Florida
  • S.1585 – Improving Mental Health Access for Students Act
  • S.Res.120 – A resolution recognizing the Ninth Summit of the Americas and reaffirming the commitment of the United States to a more prosperous, secure, and democratic Western Hemisphere
  • H.R.2208 – Ysleta del Sur Pueblo and Alabama-Coushatta Tribes of Texas Equal and Fair Opportunity Act
  • H.R.1688 – Native American Child Protection Act
  • H.R.958 – Protecting Moms Who Served Act
  • S.593 – Alaska Tourism Restoration Act

Quotes of Interest

Senate Tweets

🔵 Senator Bob Casey, @SenBobCasey, 05/12/21:

“I’m proud to introduce the CARE for Kids Act. It would expand free school meal eligibility for the many children displaced due to crises like the opioid epidemic and the COVID-19 pandemic, who live with grandparents or other caregivers.”  LINK to statement.

🔴 Senator Pat Toomey, @SenToomey, 05/13/21:

“Parents, not zip codes, should determine where children go to school. For 30 years, charter schools have allowed students to escape failing schools and be better positioned for success. Proud to once again join @SenatorTimScott in recognizing this as #CharterSchoolsWeek.”

House Tweets

🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, @RepBrianFitz, 05/15/21:

“The COVID-19 pandemic has crippled the fitness industry across our nation.

The bipartisan GYMS Act would create a $30 billion recovery fund for affected businesses in the health and fitness industry with the resources they need to survive this crisis.”

🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle, @CongBoyle, 05/13/21:

“The American Rescue Plan’s #ChildTaxCredit payments will set children up for success & put money in hardworking parents’ pockets for childcare or gas so they can go to work & fuel our economy. Secure your payment by filing your taxes for free today:

🔵 PA-03’s Rep. Dwight Evans, @RepDwightEvans, 05/14/21:

“I voted for the #DreamandPromise Act with my @HouseDemocrats colleagues in March! It’s time for the Senate to pass #DACA! #HomeIsHere”

🔵 PA-04’s Rep. Madeleine Dean, @RepDean, 05/11/21:

“My GOP colleagues just voted against allowing new treatments for opioid use disorder because they weren’t named leaders on the bill.

They voted against certifying a fair election after an insurrection because their guy didn’t win.

What are they voting for? Their ego?”

🔵 PA-05’s Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, @RepMGS, 05/13/21:

“Food, diapers, shoes for the teen who outgrows them every six weeks — monthly #ChildTaxCredit payments can help hardworking families across the country with these expenses and more. Secure your monthly payment ASAP by filing your taxes for free before 5/17.”

🔵 PA-06’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, @RepHoulahan, 05/13/21:

“Public service is at its best when it’s rooted in – you guessed it – the public. In March, I sat down with  

@PANationalGuard servicewomen to discuss their needs. Their experiences inspired my bipartisan #MilitaryMomsMatterAct, which supports our brave military families.”

🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild, @RepSusanWild, 05/13/21:

“We can’t recover from this pandemic without addressing the child care crisis in our country. 

That’s why I’m proud to cosponsor the bipartisan Small Business Child Care Investment Act — a bill that allows non-profit child care providers to participate in all SBA loan programs.”

🔵 PA-08’s Rep. Matt Cartwright, @RepCartwright, 05/14/21:

“Just a few of the ways the $350M+ on its way to NEPA can be invested in our communities:

✅ Small business recovery

✅ Affordable housing

✅ Flood mitigation infrastructure

✅ Getting colleges and their students back on track

The #AmericanRescuePlan at work!”

🔴 PA-09’s Rep. Dan Meuser, @RepMeuser, 05/13/21:

“We must stand with our ally Israel. In recent days, Israel has faced increasingly violent attacks at the hands of Hamas, a terrorist organization funded by Iran. Since Monday, Hamas has launched over 1000 rockets into Israel, killing innocent civilians. 

I unequivocally condemn these attacks by Hamas. Israel has every right to defend itself and its citizens from these acts of terrorism. One of our nation’s closest allies is under attack. The US must immediately act to provide continued support and security assistance to Israel.”

🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry, @RepScottPerry, 05/12/21:

“If the Palestinians put down their arms today, peace would ensue. If Israel put down their arms today, there would be no more Israel. We must be unequivocal: the US will always support our brothers and sisters in Israel. #StandWithIsrael”

🔴 PA-11’s Rep. Lloyd Smucker, @RepSmucker, 05/14/21:

“Masks still required on the House Floor!? What kind of alternate universe is @SpeakerPelosi

 living in?”

🔴 PA-12’s Rep. Fred Keller, @RepFredKeller, 05/12/21:

“The enormous disruption that this energy shortage is causing for American families and businesses is a very real glimpse into what a Green New Deal America would look like if Joe Biden and Washington Democrats got their way.”

🔴 PA-13’s Rep. John Joyce, @RepJohnJoyce, 05/14/21:

“Congrats to @RepStefanik as she leads @HouseGOP.  Together we will defeat the Dems’ socialist agenda & advance pro-growth, pro-America priorities. President Biden & Speaker Pelosi’s radical policies are out of touch with Americans. House Republicans will lead our nation forward.”

🔴 PA-14’s Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, @GReschenthaler, 05/14/21:

“Now that Biden is president, Democrats and Bureaucrats (same thing) want to make covid as easy as possible for Americans. 

They want to trick people into thinking Biden solved the covid crisis.”

🔴 PA-15’s Rep. Glenn W. Thompson, @CongressmanGT, 05/13/21:

“On Floor to recognize #NationalNursesWeek to celebrate America’s hard-working & professional caregivers, our nurses.  Our country faced unprecedented challenges in the wake of COVID-19 & nurses across the country selflessly stood ready to assist their communities.”

🔴 PA-16’s Rep. Mike Kelly, @MikeKellyPA, 05/13/21:

“Glad to see the @CDCgov finally announced vaccinated people don’t need #masks, not that Americans should ever have needed permission from Washington bureaucrats to live their lives without them.”

🔵 PA-17’s Rep. Conor Lamb, @RepConorLamb, 05/12/21:

“Today I joined the Task Force on Aging & Families to discuss the #AmericanJobsPlan’s $400 billion investment in caregiving services for our seniors to strengthen our economy & create good-paying jobs w/ protections for workers. #PA17”

🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle, @USRepMikeDoyle, 05/12/21:

“I applaud this move by @HHSGov to restore protections passed under the Affordable Care Act that prevent sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination in health care. Everyone has the right to quality, affordable health care – no matter who they are or whom they love.”

NEW SECTION: MoC Weekly Round-ups!

The following lawmakers offer short video round-ups of their week’s activities. Take this content with a grain of salt, as they are produced as self-marketing materials. But they do give us insight into what actions our MoCs feel are the most important to their constituents, and definitely make for worthwhile watching! I would not be surprised if we see more lawmakers join this trend.

🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick – Twitter Link with video

🔵 PA-06’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan – Twitter Link with video

🔴 PA-09’s Rep. Dan Meuser – Twitter link with video

🔴 PA-14’s Rep. Guy Reschenthaler – Podcast Link to audio

Casey Quote of the Week 

Courtesy of contributor Linda Houk

On reducing the jobs that police must fill

“Our current response system places a burden on law enforcement officers that, frankly, they shouldn’t have to bear… Policing was never meant to solve all these problems, so we have to stop talking about this problem and do something.”

—from an article in WITF, titled “Sen. Bob Casey introduces police reform measures to redirect some 911 calls to social services

Toomey Quote of the Week 

Courtesy of contributor Linda Houk

On steel and an antique view of infrastructure

“Steel prices are at a record high, demand is strong, the economy is growing, infrastructure is all anybody is talking about, and we’ve got this great facility that has already made a big investment that is going to lead to some of the cleanest steel in the world… What happened? That’s the question.”

“I’ll be asking them to explain what happened here, why did this look like a good project two years ago, and then two years later it’s all over?”

“It’s roads and bridges and highways and airports and all of the things that we understand are infrastructure, and there is bipartisan support for that.”.

—from an article in the TribLive, titled “Editorial: For U.S. Steel, reckoning with Toomey’s questions is a start

Fitzpatrick in the News 

Research courtesy of contributor CC

Rep. Fitzpatrick refuses to share whether or not he supported the ouster of Rep. Liz Cheney from GOP House leadership.  His spokesperson shared this uninformative and evasive tidbit information when inquiries were made by reporters from the Bucks County Courier Times:

“At a time when police departments and our men and women in blue around the country are being threatened by certain politicians and movements to defund or abolish the police, steps must be taken to ensure that state and local governments do not legitimize or bow to the will of the dangerously misguided ‘Defund the Police’ movement. Our support for the men and women of law enforcement, who put their lives on the line on a daily basis for our communities, must be clear. This legislation would prevent jurisdictions that defund the police from receiving certain federal grants, preventing specific federal taxpayer dollars from bankrolling jurisdictions who intentionally make their communities less safe.” 

— from a Newtown Patch  article titled ”‘Defund Cities That Defund The Police,’ Rep. Fitzpatrick Says” 

“As a member of the bipartisan Congressional Animal Protection Caucus, I am committed to ensuring our government is doing its part to promote animal welfare. For too long, primates have been mistreated, exploited, and abused while also carrying deadly diseases that can be passed along to humans. Our bipartisan and bicameral Captive Primate Safety Act would prohibit the unlicensed, private possession of apes, monkeys, and other primates, and put animal welfare and safety first.” 

— from an Animal Welfare Institute press release titled “Legislation Reintroduced to End the Dangerous Primate Pet Trade

“We are at a crossroads with regard to infrastructure and climate change. This Congress has the unique opportunity to come together to forge bipartisan consensus on both of these critical issues. Legislative action taken — or not taken — by this Congress on these issues will be felt for generations.

With the American public overwhelmingly seeking fixes to our crumbling roads and bridges while searching for solutions to mitigate the dangerous effects of climate change, our bipartisan bill is a dynamic solution that seeks to tackle both problems and provides a practical way to pay for infrastructure investment. It doesn’t have to be a tough choice.”

— from a Ripon Advance blog post titled “Fitzpatrick’s bipartisan bill improves infrastructure, fights climate change” 

“The extraordinary demand for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund shows that Congress must do more to help. We need to work swiftly in a bipartisan way to replenish this critical fund so that all local restaurants can access the relief required for a full recovery.” 

— from a joint statement made by Rep. Fitzpatrick and Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., as reported in the Roll Call  article “Bipartisan group pushing for more restaurant aid

Featured Sections

Learning about Legislation – H.R.3233: National Commission to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol Complex Act 

In the aftermath of the insurrectionist attack on the US Capitol on January 6th, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made an announcement that she wanted Congress to pass legislation to create a 9/11-style commission to investigate the attack and propose a path forward.  The proposal, which seemed like a no-brainer, got mired down in partisan bickering, as Republican lawmakers demanded that any investigation centered on the Capitol attack should widen its scope to include Antifa and Black Lives Matter actions from the summer of 2020.

This week there was a breakthrough, as House Homeland Security Chairman Bennie Thompson and Ranking Member John Katko announced they had reached an agreement and were jointly introducing H.R.3233 – The National Commission to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol Complex Act.

This new bill outlines four purposes for this commission (the numbered items below are quotes directly from Section 3 of the bill text):

  1. To investigate and report upon the facts and causes relating to the January 6, 2021, domestic terrorist attack upon the United States Capitol Complex
  2. To examine and evaluate evidence developed by relevant Federal, State, and local governmental agencies
  3. To build upon the investigations of other entities and avoid unnecessary duplication by reviewing the findings, conclusions, and recommendations of other executive branch, congressional, or independent bipartisan or non-partisan commission investigations
  4. To investigate and report to the President and Congress on its findings, conclusions, and recommendations for corrective measures that may include changes in law, policy, procedures, rules, or regulations that could be taken to prevent future acts of targeted violence and domestic terrorism, including to prevent domestic terrorist attacks against American democratic institutions, improve the security posture of the United States Capitol Complex while preserving accessibility of the Capitol Complex for all Americans, and strengthen the security and resilience of the Nation and American democratic institutions against domestic terrorism.

The Commission would be made of ten people who are not currently a part of any government entity, and how have expertise/experience in at least two of these nine fields – governmental service; law enforcement; civil rights, civil liberties and privacy; the armed forces; intelligence; counterterrorism; cybersecurity; technology; and the law. Each party will get to choose five commission members, but Democrats get to choose the Chairperson and Republicans choose the Vice-chair.

This Commission will have subpoena power.  A subpoena may be issued by agreement of the Chair and Vice-chair or by a majority vote of the 10 members. The Commission may hold hearings and demand the appearance of witnesses. Funds for staffing and administration of the commission will be authorized.

We cannot move forward as a nation until there is accountability and a path forward from January 6th.  This bipartisan solution is limited in scope to the attack of the Capitol (and does not include unrelated GOP talking points and targets) and appears to have been given all the power it needs to have a productive, successful investigation.

Additional Reading:

Call to Action – Support H.R. 3233 and Accountability for January 6th!

H.R.3233: National Commission to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol Complex Act

The January 6th attack on the Capitol cannot be allowed to fall down the memory hole. 

This newly introduced bill is the product of a bipartisan agreement between the Chairperson and Ranking Member of the House Homeland Security Committee. It will create a 10 member bipartisan Commission with subpoena and hearing powers.  This is separate from the ongoing legal actions against insurrectionists at the Department of Justice.

Please contact your MoC in the House of Representatives (contact info with phone numbers, website contact forms and social media account links for all 18 PA MoCs available HERE) to ask them to support this bill to create a January 6th Commission!

Sample Script:

I was shocked and appalled by the domestic terrorist attack on the Capitol on January 6th. The US Capitol Complex is the home of our nation’s democratic principles, and the violence that we all witnessed on that day was an affront to the core American principle of an election as a peaceful transfer of power.

I believe the only way we can move forward is to have a full investigation of the causes of the attack followed by a report with findings, conclusions, and recommendations for corrective measures.  That’s why I support H.R.3233: The National Commission to Investigate the January 6 Attack on the United States Capitol Complex Act.  I would like Representative <INSERT YOUR MoC’s NAME> to co-sponsor this legislation and support its aims.

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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