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!
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
No votes were scored this week.
|Lawmaker||Score||Change from last score|
|🔵 Senator Bob Casey||100.0%||0.0%|
|🔴 Senator Pat Toomey||45.5%||0.0%|
|🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick||55.8%||0.0%|
|🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle||100.0%||0.0%|
|🔵 PA-03’s Rep. Dwight Evans||100.0%||0.0%|
|🔵 PA-04’s Rep. Madeleine Dean||100.0%||0.0%|
|🔵 PA-05’s Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon||100.0%||0.0%|
|🔵 PA-06’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan||100.0%||0.0%|
|🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild||100.0%||0.0%|
|🔵 PA-08’s Rep. Matt Cartwright||100.0%||0.0%|
|🔴 PA-09’s Rep. Dan Meuser||4.9%||0.0%|
|🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry||0.0%||0.0%|
|🔴 PA-11’s Rep. Lloyd Smucker||11.6%||0.0%|
|🔴 PA-12’s Rep. Fred Keller||4.7%||0.0%|
|🔴 PA-13’s Rep. John Joyce||4.7%||0.0%|
|🔴 PA-14’s Rep. Guy Reschenthaler||4.7%||0.0%|
|🔴 PA-15’s Rep. Glenn W. Thompson||12.2%||0.0%|
|🔴 PA-16’s Rep. Mike Kelly||4.7%||0.0%|
|🔵 PA-17’s Rep. Conor Lamb||100.0%||0.0%|
|🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle||100.0%||0.0%|
Votes of Interest
The House Votes to END the 2002 War Authorization
Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) is one of the few lawmakers left in Congress who was present for the 2001 and 2002 votes for authorizations for use of military force (AUMF) in the wake of the September 11th attacks, and who voted against both. In the decades since, Rep. Lee has introduced legislation to terminate the AUMFs, and this is the first time that one of those bills has seen a vote of its own.
At issue is the fact that these AUMFs have led us into decades of war that have ranged far afield from just Afghanistan and Iraq, to countries as far away as the Philippines, Georgia, Yemen, Djibouti, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Somalia. And this has broadened the executive authority of war-making in a way that our nation’s founders never intended.
NPR reports that Rep. Lee said this in the run up to Thursday’s vote on her bill: “It’s been such a long time coming. It’s Congress’ responsibility to authorize the use of force, and that authorization cannot be blank checks that stay as authorizations for any administration to use the way they see fit.”
With its passage, the issue now moves to the Senate. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA) has sponsored identical legislation, and there are five GOP senators who have co-sponsored it – Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski, Iowa’s Chuck Grassley, Indiana’s Todd Young, Kentucky’s Rand Paul and Utah’s Mike Lee. There is a reasonable chance that this effort will get filibuster-proof support. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer supports this measure as well, so it is likely to get on the calendar.
For more on the background of Authorizations for Use of Military Force, please see the educational segment in this week’s report.
Vote date: Thursday, June 17, 2021 Vote Tally: 268-161
Party Breakdown: This bill had an interesting party breakdown. Nearly all Democrats voted YES, with the exception of Virginia’s Elaine Luria, a moderate Democrat with a national security background. The Republicans split with 49 voting YES and 160 voting NO.
The Republicans who voted YES broke down into several broad categories – including Problem Solvers like New York’s Tom Reed and Wisconsin’s Mike Gallagher (though notably none of the Pennsylvania Problem Solvers); Freedom Caucus stalwarts like Andy Biggs of Arizona and Chip Roy of Texas; and Trumpers like Florida man Matt Gaetz and David “Madison” Cawthorne of North Carolina.
- “House votes to repeal 2002 Iraq war powers,” from The Hill
- “House votes to repeal 2002 AUMF in effort to rein in presidential war powers,” from ABC News
- “In Historic, Bipartisan Move, House Votes To Repeal 2002 Iraq War Powers Resolution,” from NPR
21 GOP MoCs snub Capitol Police who protected them from insurrectionists
What should have been an uncontroversial bit of ceremony in the House turned into grounds for more bad behavior from 21 GOP lawmakers when they voted against giving a gold medal to the very people who kept them safe during the insurrection on January 6th.
The text of the resolution states that “It is the sense of the Congress that the United States Mint should expedite production of the gold medals and duplicate medals under this Act, so that the sacrifices of fallen officers and their families, and the contributions of other law enforcement agencies who answered the call of duty on January 6, 2021, can be recognized and honored in a timely manner.” But 21 Republican Members of Congress refused to share that ‘sense.’
Rolling Stone attempted to get the rationale behind their votes from all of those 21 lawmakers. Here’s what they had to share about the man behind the lone NO vote from our Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry:
Vote date: Wednesday, June 16, 2021 Vote Tally: 406-21
Party Breakdown: All 21 NO votes were from GOP lawmakers, including 🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry.
- “House approves Gold Medal for Capitol Police, D.C. police to recognize Jan. 6 riot response,” from Politico
- “21 Republicans vote no on bill to award Congressional Gold Medal for January 6 police officers,” from CNN Politics
- “Here Are the Excuses Republicans Are Giving for Voting Against Honoring Capitol Police Officers,” from Rolling Stone
New Disclosure Rules for Corporations Pass the House
This is a vote that mostly went under the radar with all the other news in politics, but it is a significant improvement and will standardize reporting requirements for businesses who use tax havens to shelter their money from the government. The ESG in the title stands for “environmental, social, and governance matters.” This is how Accounting Today described the package:
The ESG bill would require the Securities and Exchange Commision to create a standard definition of ESG metrics and mandate that the SEC require standardized ESG disclosures. The tax havens bill would provide investors and the public with greater transparency about corporations’ use of tax havens and tax incentives for outsourcing jobs abroad, requiring public companies to disclose their financial reporting on a country-by-country basis about the extent to which they are using tax havens or offshoring jobs.
The overall legislative package would impose greater requirements on companies to disclose their use of offshore tax havens and provide ESG disclosures in a standard way. The legislation comes at a time when various ESG standard-setters have begun working together more closely to align their varying standards, as the SEC and financial regulators in other countries take more of an interest in requiring ESG and climate risk disclosures from companies.
As one might expect, the Republicans in Congress were unified in their opposition to this bill, and any attempt to force their corporate donors to submit their affairs to additional scrutiny.
Vote date: Wednesday, June 16, 2021 Vote Tally: 215-214
Party Breakdown:This was a nail-biter! All the Republicans in the House voted NO and they were joined by four Democrats – Susie Lee of Nevada, Kurt Schrader of Oregon, and Lizzie Fletcher and Henry Cuellar of Texas. All the remaining Democrats present voted YES.
- “US lawmakers pass offshore disclosure and ESG standardisation bills,” from Cayman Compass
- “House passes ESG and tax haven disclosure bill,” from Accounting Today”
- “House Passes ESG Disclosure Simplification Act of 2021,” from Lexology
GOP delay tactics (temporarily) sink two bills they had previously approved
A lot of negotiation goes into calendaring bills for votes on the Floor of either chamber in Congress. In the House, the House Majority Leader (Steny Hoyer) and the House Minority Leader (Kevin McCarthy) have to maintain some level of open communication about which bills have support within their caucuses and which are opposed so that the majority party knows whether to bring bills up via normal order with full debate, voice vote (for unanimous approval) or via Suspension of the Rules, when a ⅔ supermajority is needed to pass a measure.
This week, the GOP gave, and then withdrew, their support for two bills after they had already been scheduled for suspension of the rules votes. This can either be seen as a deliberate move to stall the bills, or as a bit of stupidity on the part of GOP Whip Steve Scalise not knowing how to count votes within his caucus. Here is how Majority Leader Steny Hoyer presented the situation:
The House considered the LGBTQ Business Equal Credit Enforcement and Investment Act and the Equal Access to Contraception for Veterans Act under an expedited process that requires a two-thirds vote because Republicans had indicated they would support both measures. I am deeply disappointed that Republicans withdrew their support at the last minute, causing both bills to fail. Next week, I will bring both of these bills to the Floor under a rule so that they can pass with a simple majority.
Unless someone leaks it, we’ll never know if this was stupidity on the part of the GOP, or simple bad faith. What matters is that both bills WILL pass when brought up for a vote next week.
GOP sinks Veteran Access to Birth Control Bill
House Vote on H.R. 239: Equal Access to Contraception for Veterans Act
This bill would have provided female veterans with access to contraceptives without copays. Right now service members can get contraceptives without a copay, but the Veterans’ Administration does not provide the same benefit. This was an attempt to create a single standard.
Vote date: Tuesday, June 15, 2021 Vote Tally: 240-188 (failed)
Party Breakdown: This was a vote taken under suspension of the rules, so it needed a ⅔ supermajority to pass, so with the number of lawmakers present in the chamber, it needed 285 YES votes. Democrats supported this bill unanimously, and they were joined by 22 Republicans. The remaining 188 Republicans present voted NO.
- “Hoyer Statement on Republicans Voting Against Bipartisan Legislation,” from House Majority Leader Hoyer’s website
- “Brownley Statement on House Vote on Equal Access to Contraception for Veterans Act,” from Rep. Brownley’s website
- “Republicans Successfully Halt Pro-Abortion, LGBT-Related Bills In Congress,” from Christian Daily
LGBTQ+ Loan Equity Program fails
This is a measure that would ensure that banks and credit unions are providing LGBTQ-owned small businesses equal access to credit.
Vote date: Tuesday, June 15, 2021 Vote Tally: 248-177 (failed)
Party Breakdown: This was a vote taken under suspension of the rules, so it needed a ⅔ supermajority to pass, so with the number of lawmakers present in the chamber, it needed 285 YES votes. All Democrats present voted YES alongside 31 Republicans. The other 177 GOP MoCs voting NO was enough to sink this under suspension of the rules.
- “House Republicans block LGBTQ small business credit measure,” from the Los Angeles Blade
- “House Republicans block LGBTQ small business loan data collection bill,” from Gay City News
- “Waters Slams Republican Efforts to Undermine Equal Credit Opportunities to LGBTQ Businesses,” from the House Financial Services website
Biden Judicial Confirmation – Washington, DC Circuit
Senate Confirmation Vote on Ketanji Brown Jackson to be U.S. Circuit Judge for the District of Columbia Circuit
Ketanji Brown Jackson is rumored to be on President Biden’s short list of Supreme Court picks. She has served as a judge in the U.S. District Court in Washington D.C. for the past eight years. This confirmation moves her up into the level of the court system just below the Supreme Court, in the specific circuit court that is often seen as a launching point for Supreme Court nominees.
After graduating from Harvard Law School, Brown Jackson clerked for both a Court of Appeals Judge and Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. She spent several years working at a private firm before taking a position at the U.S. Sentencing Commission as Assistant Special Counsel. Before her previous judicial nomination by then-President Obama, Brown Jackson also worked in the Federal Public Defender’s Office in Washington.
Very few high level judges have ever worked one the defense side of the court system – most get to their position through work as US Attorneys and federal prosecutors. That makes Brown Jackson’s confirmation to the second highest court of the land particularly special, and underlines what a great achievement it would be to see her (eventually) seated on the Supreme Court.
Vote date: Monday, June 14, 2021 Vote Tally: 53-44
Party Breakdown: All of the Democrats and Independents voted YES alongside three Republicans – Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Susan Collins of Maine. The remaining 44 Republicans present voted NO.
Senator Bob Casey voted YES
Senator Pat Toomey voted NO
- “Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson – Nominee to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit,” from The Vetting Room
- “Senate confirms potential Biden SCOTUS short-lister Ketanji Brown Jackson to influential D.C. Circuit,” from MSNBC
- “Senate votes to confirm key Biden judicial nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson,” from CNN Politics
Biden Judicial Confirmation – Maryland
Senate Confirmation Vote on Lydia Kay Griggsby to be U.S. District Judge for the District of Maryland
This confirmation is more of a lateral move for Lydia Griggsby, who has already been serving as a Senate-confirmed judge in the Court of Federal Claims for the last seven years. That was a highly specialized position in a segment of the judiciary that deals with “complex factual and statutory construction issues in tax law,” according to their website. They also handle bid and contract law disputes and “intellectual property, Indian tribe, and various statutory claims against the United States.” So now Griggsby is moving towards a more diversified case load.
Before her previous position on the bench, Griggsby worked as a trial attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice in the 1990s, before taking a position as a federal prosecutor at the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia in 1998. In 2004 she left the Department of Justice to work as a high-ranking Senate staffer, first as Counsel for the Senate Committee on Ethics and later as Counsel to Sen. Patrick Leahy at the Senate Judiciary Committee.
When Griggsby was confirmed to her seat on the Court of Federal Claims, she received unanimous support. The opposition to her current confirmation says a lot more about the state of affairs in today’s senate than it says about this qualified jurist.
Vote date: Wednesday, June 16, 2021 Vote Tally: 59-39
Party Breakdown: All of the Democrats and Independents voted YES alongside 11 Republicans. The remaining 39 Republicans present voted NO.
Senator Bob Casey voted YES
Senator Pat Toomey voted NO
- “Judge Lydia Griggsby – Nominee to the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland,” from The Vetting Room
- “Senate votes 59-39 to confirm Lydia Griggsby, the first woman of color to become a U.S. district judge in Maryland,” from the Baltimore Sun
- “Silver Spring Judge confirmed to U.S. District Court in Maryland,” from Montgomery Community Media
Biden Bureaucratic Confirmation – Environmental Protection
Senate Confirmation Vote on Radhika Fox to be an Assistant Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
Radhika KhanFox was confirmed to lead the Office of Water at the Environmental Protection Agency. The Hill notes that Fox’s nomination was supported by groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the Family Farm Alliance and the U.S. Water Alliance. Prior to her confirmation, Fox worked as CEO of the US Water Alliance, and before that in various roles at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.
GOP opposition to Fox’s confirmation centered on her unwillingness to uphold some of the Trump Administration’s more regressive environmental policies, like the Navigable Waters Protection Rule, a bureaucratic determination that “clarified the scope” of the Clean Water Act (a.k.a. – removed a number of smaller waterways from Clean Water Act jurisdiction).
Vote date: Wednesday, June 16, 2021 Vote Tally: 55-43
Party Breakdown: All of the Democrats and Independents voted YES with 7 Republicans. The other 43 Republicans present voted NO.
Senator Bob Casey voted YES
Senator Pat Toomey voted NO
- “Senate confirms Radhika Fox to lead EPA’s water office,” from The Hill
- “U.S. Senate confirms Radhika Fox to lead EPA Office of Water,” from Water and Wastes Digest
- “Senate confirms Radhika Fox to lead EPA Office of Water,” from WaterWorld
Biden Bureaucratic Confirmation – Federal Trade Commission
Senate Confirmation Vote on Lina M. Khan to be a Federal Trade Commissioner for the unexpired term of seven years through September 2024
Lina Khan is a legal activist and academic, and BBC News asserts that her confirmation to the Federal Trade Commission as its chairperson is “the clearest sign yet that President Biden means business when it comes to clipping the wings of companies like Amazon and Apple.”
The Federal Trade Commission itself provided this recap of Khan’s career:
Lina Khan was sworn in today as Chair of the Federal Trade Commission. Prior to becoming Chair of the FTC, Khan was an Associate Professor of Law at Columbia Law School. She also previously served as counsel to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law, legal adviser to FTC Commissioner Rohit Chopra, and legal director at the Open Markets Institute.
Khan’s scholarship on antitrust and competition policy has been published in the Columbia Law Review, Harvard Law Review, University of Chicago Law Review, and Yale Law Journal. She is a graduate of Williams College and Yale Law School.
Vote date: Tuesday, June 15, 2021 Vote Tally: 69-28
Party Breakdown: All of the Democrats and Independents voted YES with 21 Republicans. The other 28 Republicans present voted NO.
Senator Bob Casey voted YES
Senator Pat Toomey voted NO
- “Joe Biden appoints Lina Khan to head the Federal Trade Commission,” from The Economist
- “Lina Khan: The 32-year-old taking on Big Tech,” from BBC News
- “Lina Khan, Big Tech skeptic, named FTC chair mere hours after confirmation,” from Ars Technica
Biden Bureaucratic Confirmation – Interior
Senate Confirmation Vote on Tommy P. Beaudreau to be Deputy Secretary of the Interior
The Washington Post provided this explanation as to how the new second in command at the Interior Department came to be nominated as a compromise pick:
President Biden announced… that he will nominate Tommy Beaudreau to be deputy secretary of the Interior Department, ending a standoff between the White House and senators from fossil-fuel-rich states who derailed the president’s first choice.
The selection of Beaudreau, an energy lawyer who was an Obama administration official, came after Sens. Joe Manchin III (D-W. V.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) objected to Elizabeth Klein because of her past stance against fossil fuels.
The revised nomination is key as the administration attempts to fulfill Biden’s campaign promise to tackle climate change while dealing with a sharply divided Congress in which Democrats can spare few votes when passing legislation or approving top agency positions.
Beaudreau was the first director of the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, serving the Obama Administration in that capacity from 2011 to 2014. Before that he worked as a senior advisor in the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Regulation and Enforcement. And for the final two years of the Obama administration he served as chief of staff of the United States Department of the Interior. During the years of the Trump Administration, Beaudreau left public services and worked at a law firm.
Vote date: Thursday, June 17, 2021 Vote Tally: 88-9
Party Breakdown: The only nine votes against this confirmation were placed by eight Republicans and Independent Bernie Sanders.
Senator Bob Casey voted YES
Senator Pat Toomey voted YES
- “Biden picks energy lawyer Tommy Beaudreau as Interior Department’s No. 2 official,” from The Washington Post
- “Senate confirms Tommy Beaudreau for deputy secretary,” from E&E News
- “Republicans Praise Biden’s Interior Pick Tommy Beaudreau, an Obama Admin Veteran,” from Newsweek
Biden Bureaucratic Confirmation – Homeland Security
Senate Confirmation Vote on John K. Tien to be Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security
The White House press office provided these details about past career and qualifications of the new second in command at the Department of Homeland Security:
John Tien previously served in the Obama Administration as the National Security Council Senior Director for Afghanistan and Pakistan from 2009-2011. Since 2011, Tien has been a Citigroup managing director. Prior to joining Citi, Tien was a combat arms officer for 24 years in the active duty U.S. Army and retired in 2011 as a Colonel. He is a veteran of three combat tours in Iraq to include being the Task Force 2-37 M1A1 Abrams Tank Battalion Commander in Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2006-2007.
His other military assignments include staff and leadership positions in Germany, California, Kansas, Kentucky, New York, and Texas. He served as a National Security Council Director for Iraq in the Bush Administration, and as a White House Fellow in the Office of the United States Trade Representative during the Clinton Administration. His military awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with one oak leaf cluster, the Combat Action Badge, and the Valorous Unit Award. From 1986-1987, he was the first Asian American to ever serve as West Point’s First Captain and Brigade Commander, the United States Military Academy’s top ranked cadet position
Vote date: Thursday, June 17, 2021 Vote Tally: 60-34
Party Breakdown: All of the Democrats and Independents voted YES alongside 12 Republicans. The other 34 Republicans present voted NO.
Senator Bob Casey voted YES
Senator Pat Toomey voted NO
- “DHS Nominees Pledge to Elevate US Cybersecurity,” from Meritalk
- “Senate Confirms Citigroup Exec As DHS Deputy Secretary,” from Law 360
- “Rick Scott threatens to delay national security nominees until Biden visits border,” from The Hill
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.252 – A resolution unequivocally condemning the recent rise in antisemitic violence and harassment targeting Jewish Americans, and standing in solidarity with those affected by antisemitism
- H.R.290 – To amend title 38, United States Code, to render an individual, who transfers certain educational assistance, to which the individual is entitled because of an agreement by such individual to serve in the Armed Forces, to a dependent of that individual, and who fails to complete such agreement, solely liable for the overpayment of such educational assistance
- H.R.293 – VA Hospitals Establishing Leadership Performance Act
- H.R.468 – Expedited Delivery of Airport Infrastructure Act
- H.R.539 – Preventing Disaster Revictimization Act
- H.R.587 – Ocean Pollution Reduction Act II
- H.R.610 – San Francisco Bay Restoration Act
- H.R.1144 – Promoting United Government Efforts to Save Our Sound Act
- H.R.1257 – Homeless Veterans CREDIT (Credit Repair, Enhancement, and Debt Improvement for Tomorrow) Act
- H.R.1262 – Notice to Airmen Improvement Act
- H.R.1703 – National Children’s Museum Act
- H.R.1921 – To amend the Federal Water Pollution Control Act to reauthorize the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Restoration Program
- H.R.2008 – Local Water Protection Act
- H.R.2016 – Federal Disaster Assistance Coordination Act
- H.R.2093 – Veterans and Family Information Act
- H.R.2332 – Debt Bondage Repair Act
- H.R.2429 – VA Police Improvement and Accountability Act
- H.R.2545 – To amend title 38, United States Code, to clarify the role of doctors of podiatric medicine in the Department of Veterans Affairs
- H.R.2726 – VA FOIA Reform Act
- H.R.3642 – Harlem Hellfighters Congressional Gold Medal Act
- S.Res.269 – A resolution designating June 19, 2021, as “Juneteenth Independence Day” in recognition of June 19, 1865, the date on which news of the end of slavery reached the slaves in the Southwestern States
- S.1340 – A bill to amend title 28, United States Code, to redefine the eastern and middle judicial districts of North Carolina
And you will have no doubt heard that this bill has passed both houses of Congress unanimously, and has now been signed into law by President Biden! Happy (slightly belated) Juneteenth, folks!
- S. 475: Juneteenth National Independence Day Act
Quotes of Interest
🔵 Senator Bob Casey, @SenBobCasey, 06/17/21:
“We’ve seen the horrific statistics of the violence faced by trans women, especially trans women of color, & we know that we’re up against a backlash to the progress that’s been achieved. We need the #EqualityAct. Now.
Not at “some point.”
🔴 Senator Pat Toomey, @SenToomey, 06/16/21:
“Today’s announcement shows the Fed is continuing to prioritize maximum employment over controlling inflation. With more job openings than people looking for work, the economy could quickly move a long way toward full employment if the Biden administration and congressional Democrats did not insist on paying people more in unemployment benefits than they make working.
It is clear the labor market, which cannot be micromanaged by the Fed, is being held back by policymakers. It is not the Fed’s job to attempt to offset flawed unemployment policy at the expense of its price stability mandate. When you subordinate the price stability mandate to try and maximize employment, you run the risk of failing on both fronts because you need stable prices to achieve a strong economy.
I am concerned that if inflation is not transitory, the Fed will be behind the curve and likely unable to respond in time to head off an even bigger problem down the road.”
🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, @RepBrianFitz, 06/17/21:
“Mr. President, ALL cyberattacks MUST be ‘off-limits.’”
🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle, @CongBoyle, 06/17/21:
“Expanded #ChildTaxCredit payments will start hitting bank accounts in just a few weeks. That means more money in American families’ pockets, and a faster recovery. Proud to be part of the team that made this a reality.”
🔵 PA-03’s Rep. Dwight Evans, @RepDwightEvans, 06/19/21:
“Today, we celebrate our 1st #Juneteenth as an official national holiday!
However, this new law must be the start, not the end.
That’s why I’m urging the Senate to act on 2 House-passed bills that would have an enormous impact for racial justice – the George Floyd #JusticeInPolicingAct & the #ForThePeopleAct to protect voting rights.”
🔵 PA-04’s Rep. Madeleine Dean, @RepDean, 06/17/21:
“Today we remember and mourn the loss of the Emmanuel 9.
Their community will forever be shaken by this act of racist violence.
May their memories be a driving force to rid bigotry and the hate fueled violence that accompanies it from our society.”
🔵 PA-05’s Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, @RepMGS, 06/18/21:
“It is crucial that we allow flexibility in our food programs. All of our roundtable guests stressed that a one-size-fits all approach will not work.
Grateful to @repmcgovern for listening to voices from our community as we advance our work to #EndHungerNow.”
🔵 PA-06’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, @RepHoulahan, 06/17/21:
“As a veteran and someone with active duty servicemembers in my family, I take decisions about our national security seriously – we all should.
Repealing the outdated 2002 Iraq AUMF begins to restore the accountability invested in Congress by the Constitution.”
🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild, @RepSusanWild, 06/15/21:
“Millions of Pennsylvania workers still need good-paying jobs while America’s infrastructure is in desperate need of investment – and we see the toll decades of underinvestment have taken in communities like mine.”
🔵 PA-08’s Rep. Matt Cartwright, @RepCartwright, 06/19/21:
“I was so proud to cast my vote this week to make #Juneteenth a federal holiday — the day we finally cast off the shameful pall of slavery in the U.S. I’m also proud that Pennsylvania was a thought center of the American abolitionist movement.
If you visit the Library Company of Philadelphia, you can see and touch the original signed Act that abolished slavery in our Commonwealth, the first place in America to take that step. That was in 1780, even before the end of the Revolutionary War.
In #PA08, we have a particular reason to smile at the Juneteenth holiday, since we actually served as a stop on the Underground Railroad.
Waverly, PA, proudly lays claim to having assisted many fugitive slaves on their way to freedom, several of whom liked our area so much they chose to live out their lives there. Have a look at this short PBS clip about Waverly’s abolitionist history:
So today, I hope you will join me in gratefulness that we will now be celebrating Juneteenth in perpetuity! “
🔴 PA-09’s Rep. Dan Meuser, @RepMeuser, 06/17/21:
“The Biden Administration is persistent in its charade that inflation is not occurring, unemployment benefits don’t deter work, and that their policies won’t significantly disrupt our country’s strength and economic growth.
We must grow opportunity in America, not government.”
🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry has not tweeted since June 8th. He has continued using Facebook often, and this was a gem from him that platform, on 06/16/21:
“RECORD WALLET SHOCK — Shopping for your family soon? It’s going to hurt, so be sure thank President Biden for passing on the pain to American families, consumers, and job creators. #Inflation #BIDENSAMERICA”
🔴 PA-11’s Rep. Lloyd Smucker, @RepSmucker, 06/18/21:
‘“President Biden talks about budgets demonstrating values. Apparently, President Biden doesn’t value securing our southern border to stop the humanitarian and national security crisis of his own making.”
🔴 PA-12’s Rep. Fred Keller, @RepFredKeller, 06/15/21:
“If any American neglected their duties at work like VP Harris has, they’d be fired.
Why should she receive different treatment?”
🔴 PA-13’s Rep. John Joyce, @RepJohnJoyce, 06/17/21:
“As a doctor, I understand firsthand that Obamacare is far from affordable for American patients. In Congress, I will continue to advance solutions to cut health care costs, improve patient choices, protect Americans with pre-existing conditions, and incentivize innovation.”
🔴 PA-14’s Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, @GReschenthaler, 06/17/21:
“The Biden Admin will go to great lengths to circumvent Congress and fund our adversaries through the IMF.
If Biden and Yellen get their way:
Iran → 4.5 billion
China → 41 billion
Russia → 17 billion”
🔴 PA-15’s Rep. Glenn W. Thompson, @CongressmanGT, 06/17/21:
“Inflation is a hidden tax on hardworking Americans and President Biden’s tax and spend policies are directly responsible. One thing is clear- we can NOT afford President Biden’s inflation tax.”
🔴 PA-16’s Rep. Mike Kelly, @MikeKellyPA, 06/17/21:
“Today’s SCOTUS ruling means more children in Philadelphia and across this nation will find loving homes with the help of faith-based adoption and foster care providers who will no longer be required to choose between violating their religious beliefs and closing their doors.
Thank you to the Supreme Court for affirming that no child welfare services provider should ever have to forfeit their First Amendment rights to create a better life for a child.”
🔵 PA-17’s Rep. Conor Lamb, @RepConorLamb, 06/15/21:
“Western PA is home to hundreds of bridges that are critical to our transportation system –far too many are in desperate need of repair. Today I introduced the bipartisan Support for Community Bridges Act to secure funding to fix these bridges. #PA17” tweeted with a link to his official statement
🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle, @USRepMikeDoyle, 06/17/21:
“The #AffordableCareAct has survived the latest @GOP assault w even this conservative #SupremeCourt upholding the law for the 3rd time. Hopefully the @GOP will finally accept this as law & work as hard to give people #healthcare as they did to take it away.”
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 had been doing an update for a few weeks in May, but in the past few weeks he has only shared links to his press appearances. This is the last week he’s got a hold on this spot, if he doesn’t share an update next week, he’s losing it!
🔴 PA-14’s Rep. Guy Reschenthaler – Podcast Link to audio
Casey Quote of the Week
Courtesy of contributor Linda Houk
“With so much uncertainty in all other aspects of their lives, these children should not have to worry about when or where they will receive their next meal… The CARE for Kids Act closes a loophole in order to ensure that these children can access nutritious foods through school meal programs. At the same time, it also eases the financial burden for their caregivers, often grandparents or other relatives.”
—from an article in the Danbury News Times, titled “Rep. Hayes bill would help kids being raised by grandparents with free school lunch“
Toomey Quote of the Week
Courtesy of contributor Linda Houk
“If you can receive unemployment benefits indefinitely that pay more than it pays you to go to work, well, certain number of people are not going to go to, would. I think that’s just common sense.
I think the big picture we shouldn’t lose sight of is our economy is not in a recovery mode, we’re in a full blown expansion. Now we’ve got a really robust expansion. As you know, the fed is projecting 7% real GDP growth this year. Unemployment getting down to 4.5% and with prices rising all around us, it’s still — it’s 2023 before there’s a median agreement that we get off zero and we’re still buying bonds at $120 billion a month.
The thing that I can’t understand is when you have really robust growth, tremendous improvement in the employment market and right now we’ve got about as many job openings as there are people looking for jobs and prices are rising it’s not like the inflation picture is benign and they are still in such an accommodative mode this I think is dangerous.”
—from an article in Real Clear Politics, titled “Sen. Pat Toomey: Labor Market Is Being Held Back By Government Benefits”
Fitzpatrick in the News
Research courtesy of contributor CC
Before we get into the week’s quotes directly from Representative’s Fitzpatrick’s mouth, let’s take a quick peek to see how he’s being discussed in the national media. One quote in particular jumped out. The Intercept did a piece on the ties between billionaire donors from the GOP-money fed group ‘No Labels’ and Senator Joe Manchin. The piece, “Leaked Audio of Sen. Joe Manchin Call With Billionaire Donors Provides Rare Glimpse of Dealmaking on Filibuster and January 6 Commission,” only has a mention of Brian Fitzpatrick… but the vast sums of money this group donated to him is used as an example of how No Labels uses their funds to influence lawmakers. And that’s how dark money PACs work – one group of billionaires funned a half million dollars to just one lawmaker in two weeks. Bought and Sold Brian indeed!
Brian Fitzpatrick was also on June 20, 2021’s State of the Union on CNN. You can watch a clip of him HERE discussing the conspiracy theory that some GOP lawmakers have been spreading, that the FBI was involved in the January 6th attack on the Capitol. This is what Rep. Fitzpatrick had to say about that topic. See if you can spot the whataboutism and the false equivalency:
BRIAN FITZPATRICK: “I will tell you, being a lifelong FBI agent, I will tell you, staring in New York, ending in LA, and serving across the globe, I will tell you, when I got sworn into Congress in 2017, I’ve been very taken back and dismayed at the disrespect that law enforcement is being given, across the board, both on the left and on the right, quite frankly. On the left with local police and on the right with the FBI. In fact, just this week, the FBI got attacked twice, once from my Democrat colleagues on the Intel Committee on which I sit and then later by my colleagues on the right who are trying to come up with this theory that somehow the FBI was behind January 6th, which is incredibly irresponsible. And anybody that understands the criminal code, that understands law enforcement knows that a federal law enforcement agent cannot engage in a conspiracy, it wouldn’t be a conspiracy in that case, if they are acting in the scope of their employment. And if they’re acting outside the scope of their employment, they wouldn’t be an unindicted co-conspirator, they would be an indicted co-conspirator. So the facts don’t even follow. And I think the rhetoric is very dangerous and it’s gotta stop.”
Fitzpatrick Print Media quotes
“The Restaurant Revitalization Fund is a vital, financial lifeline for our independent, local restaurants that were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the overwhelming demand for relief, Congress must work together on a bipartisan basis to replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund as soon as possible.”
— from an Upstate New York article titled “Rep. John Katko wants $60B more for restaurants after voting against relief bill” (aside, Fitzpatrick voted against the relief bill too)
“The time is now for Congress and the administration to reach across the aisle, unite, and boost investments in our surface transportation network that will move our transportation systems into the 21st century. The Problem Solvers Caucus has worked tirelessly to put together this bipartisan framework that is both responsive to local needs and worthy of the public’s trust.”
— from a Ripon Advance blog post titled “Problem Solvers Caucus offers $1.25T bipartisan infrastructure framework”
“Improved stairways, new canopies, and high-quality platform shelters are welcome amenities that will make waiting at and riding from Bristol Station more pleasant and convenient for riders.”
— from a Levittown Now article titled “Bristol Train Station To Be Fixed Up, Possibly Rebuilt”
“We must uphold our foundational principles of free speech and ensure the open exchange of ideas and diversity of viewpoints on our college campuses. As a member of the Congressional Civility and Respect Caucus, I am dedicated to promoting civil discourse and protecting the right of every American to express their viewpoints.”
— from a Bucks Local News article titled “In response to the silencing of conservative voices, Bucks Congressman joins colleagues in introducing Campus Free Speech Act”
“We are at a crossroads with regard to infrastructure. This Congress has the unique opportunity to come together to forge bipartisan consensus on this critical issue. With the American public overwhelmingly supporting physical infrastructure investments, our bipartisan ‘Support for Community Bridges Act’ would provide more targeted funding for Pennsylvania’s bridges to improve both our transportation network and safety.”
— from a Pennsylvania Business Report article titled “Pennsylvania Reps. Lamb, Fitzpatrick introduce bridge legislation”
“As co-chairs of the bipartisan Congressional Ukraine Caucus, we agree with the administration releasing $150 million in U.S. security assistance to Ukraine in advance of President [Joe] Biden’s meeting with Russian dictator Vladimir Putin. We were proud to increase funding for the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative from $250 million in fiscal year 2020 to $275 million in fiscal year 2021.
This security assistance to be used for counter-artillery radar, counter-unmanned aerial systems, secure communications gear, electronic warfare equipment, and training sends a clear message that the U.S. stands by our key ally Ukraine against Russia’s brutal aggression. These funds are critical to deter further Russian incursions on Ukrainian sovereignty and protect Europe’s eastern flank from Kremlin aggression that has already caused the deaths of over 14,000 and the displacement of millions more.
We continue to demand the withdrawal of Russian forces from Ukraine’s territory. We reaffirm support for Ukraine’s accession into NATO and urge Ukraine to strengthen necessary reforms in the defense and economic sectors to realize its Euro-Atlantic aspirations and integration into Western institutions.”
— from a joint statement issued by Representative Fitzpatrick and his colleagues on the House Ukraine Caucus, as quoted in The Ukraine Weekly article titled “Congressional Ukraine Caucus heralds decision to release U.S. security assistance to Ukraine”
Learning about Legislation – Revisiting War Powers and Authorizations for Use of Military Force (AUMFs)
This content was originally shared in a MoCTrack Report from October 2017, when tensions with North Korea were at a critical point. With the passage of a bill this week to rescind the 2002 AUMF, it feels like a good time to take a look at how War Powers went from a congressional prerogative to an executive responsibility.
The Washington Post reported that 4 in 10 Americans thought, incorrectly, that the Constitution grants the power to declare war to the President. A little more than half of respondents got that question right. In light of that situation, it seems appropriate to look at how our nation deals with war powers, and how that power has shifted in the last century.
The Constitution gives the power to declare war to the Congress. Amidst a long list of Congressional responsibilities, Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution says “The Congress shall have power…to declare war.” But it also says, in Article II, Section 2, “the President shall be commander in chief of the Army and Navy of the United States.” This check and balance, which was meant to protect the population by ensuring that any war was well debated and supported by the majority, has lead to several conflicts. If the President is the head of the armed forces, can he deploy troops overseas to a location where the Congress has not declared war? How do we deal with situations where our troops are involved in armed conflict, but the Congress hasn’t declared war?
After the conflict in VietNam, a “police action” where Congress never declared war, Congress decided to take legislative action. In 1973 they passed the War Powers Resolution. This extensive bit of legislation is described as follows by the Library of Congress:
“The first part states the policy behind the law, namely to insure that the collective judgment of both the Congress and the President will apply to the introduction of United States Armed Forces into hostilities, and that the President’s powers as Commander in Chief are exercised only pursuant to a declaration of war, specific statutory authorization from Congress, or a national emergency created by an attack upon the United States…;
the second part requires the President to consult with Congress before introducing U.S. armed forces into hostilities or situations where hostilities are imminent, and to continue such consultations as long as U.S. armed forces remain in such situations…;
the third part sets forth reporting requirements that the President must comply with…;
the fourth part of the law…requires that U.S. forces be withdrawn from hostilities within 60 days of the time a report is submitted unless Congress acts to approve continued military action…;
the fifth part of the law sets forth certain definitions and rules to be used when interpreting the War Powers Resolution.”
When Congress wants to authorize hostilities, they pass legislation called “Authorization for Use of Military Force” or AUMF. After the 9/11 attacks, the Congress passed the ‘Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists’ in 2002. That AUMF has been interpreted as giving the last three presidents the right to take military action not just in the Middle East and Afghanistan, but also in the Philippines, Georgia, Yemen, Djibouti, Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, and Somalia. It is only this week that the House has voted to end this AUMF, and it will take a Senate vote to officially end that authorization.
This situation is made more complex, though, by nuclear weapons. A PBS article describes that situation best, noting “During the Cold War, the U.S. military built an elaborate system to control the thousands of nuclear weapons in this country. There are many checks and balances, no officers who work with intercontinental ballistic missiles, nuclear armed aircraft, or nuclear submarines can launch missiles alone. They always work in twos, or sometimes entire teams. But there is an exception to that. The entire system is designed to respond to the sole decision of the president.” So, while the president could not (Constitutionally) declare war entirely on his own, he can (procedurally) make the decision and have the armed forces drop a nuclear bomb anywhere on his say-so alone.
Hopefully that provides the content needed, so that when you hear our MoCs expressing their positions on AUMFs or limiting the President’s power to initiate hostilities with another country you understand their authority and the Congress’s role in war powers.
Call to Action – PA Recess Actions to Support HR1/S1, For the People Act
Last week we noted that you should start thinking about what YOU are going to do during the upcoming congressional recess (June 28 – July 10) to support the For the People Act (H.R.1/S.1), the democracy strengthening action that will cut off the flood of voter suppression measures in GOP-run states and deal with campaign finance and ethics concerns. This week we have some options for what is going to to support the For the People Act here in our state. The news about the For the People Act is moving quickly, but it is unlikely to have passed by the upcoming recess. So if you support this legislation, you need to TAKE ACTION and join the national conversation!
Here are the events that are currently planned for Pennsylvania, as of this week.Many of these are “honk and wave” gatherings – so if you can event just plan to drive by and honk supportively to the event organizers, it will mean a lot! Click the link in the event header below to RSVP, or to get timing and more specific location info. Check the events map of the Indivisible website for the latest info about newly scheduled events!
⏩June 27th in Cooksburg – Deadline for Democracy Picnic
“Join us as we gather for the Deadline to Democracy, learn about S1 and DC Statehood and write postcards to our Senators about the importance of making DC a state.”
⏩June 30th in Philadelphia, part 1 – Let Freedom Ring: Rally for the For the People Act
“At this rally we’ll demand that the Senate pass the For The People Act to save our democracy. The bill expands voting rights, has automatic voter registration, expands early voting, gets rid of gerrymandering and dark money in politics. And much more. When Republican-controlled states are passing voter suppression laws at a rapid pace, we must have S.1 in place to defeat those anti-democratic laws. The best method we citizens have is to be loud and show our power.”
⏩June 30th in Philadelphia, part 2 – Deadline for Democracy Action
“Come join us outside of Cathedral Village for a honk and wave! We need to prove to everyone that S1 matters to folks all across the country!”
⏩June 30th in Langhorne – Defend Democracy: Rally in Support of HR1/S1
“We need to show Congress that there is overwhelming grassroots support for voting rights, join Indivisible defenders of democracy.”
⏩July 2nd in Mount Lebanon – Pass the For the People Act
“Join us for a honk-and-wave sidewalk rally to show Congress that there is overwhelming grassroots support for voting rights.”
⏩July 2nd in Forest Hills – Stand on Every Corner-Deadline for Democracy
“We need to show our Senators that there is overwhelming grassroots support for voting rights, join us.”
⏩July 2nd in Harrisburg – Honk and Wave for S1 in Harrisburg
“We need to show our support for S1 and ending the filibuster! We will be holding a honk and wave in Harrisburg, our state capital, showing the importance of passing the For the People Act!”
⏩July 10th in Allentown – Deadline for Democracy Lehigh Valley
“We need to show our Senators that there is overwhelming grassroots support for voting rights, join us.”
If you schedule permits, please turn out to add your voice to the chorus of folks advocating on behalf of voting rights and strengthening our democracy. Our own senators may be firmly in their own corners on this, but with the role of social media in our culture,senators outside our state are going to be paying attention to the levels of advocacy behind this legislative push!
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!
DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks. If you appreciate our content, please consider a small monthly donation.