Pennsylvania Member of Congress Tracking Report – 10.03.21

58 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

This week we scored the House vote on the debt limit.

LawmakerScoreChange from last score
🔵 Senator Bob Casey100.0%No change
🔴 Senator Pat Toomey29.4%No change
🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick43.1%-2.1%
🔵 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 Meuser3.2%-0.1%
🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry0.0%0.0%
🔴 PA-11’s Rep. Lloyd Smucker7.7%-0.4%
🔴 PA-12’s Rep. Fred Keller3.1%-0.1%
🔴 PA-13’s Rep. John Joyce3.1%-0.1%
🔴 PA-14’s Rep. Guy Reschenthaler3.1%-0.1%
🔴 PA-15’s Rep. Glenn W. Thompson7.9%-0.4%
🔴 PA-16’s Rep. Mike Kelly3.1%-0.1%
🔵 PA-17’s Rep. Conor Lamb100.0%0.0%
🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle100.0%0.0%

Votes of Interest

Democrats in Congress avert a Government Shutdown 

Senate Vote on H.R. 5305: Extending Government Funding and Delivering Emergency Assistance Act

House Vote on the same bill

Last week we covered the first House vote (along party lines) on this bill. Since that time, the contents were changed by the Senate to remove the debt limit portion and leave it as a continuing resolution that keeps the government open until December 3, 2021 and reauthorizes several other programs. Please find below the Library of Congress summary of the bill:

This bill provides continuing FY2022 appropriations for federal agencies, suspends the debt limit, provides supplemental appropriations, and extends several expiring programs and authorities.

Specifically, the bill provides continuing FY2022 appropriations to federal agencies through the earlier of December 3, 2021, or the enactment of the applicable appropriations act.

It is known as a continuing resolution (CR) and prevents a government shutdown that would otherwise occur if the FY2022 appropriations bills have not been enacted when FY2022 begins on October 1, 2021. The CR funds most programs and activities at the FY2021 levels with several exceptions that provide funding flexibility and additional appropriations for various programs.

In addition, the bill provides supplemental appropriations to several federal agencies for activities related to natural disasters and the evacuees from Afghanistan.

The bill suspends the public debt limit through December 16, 2022. On December 17, 2022, the limit will be increased to accommodate obligations issued during the suspension period.

The bill also extends several expiring programs and authorities, including the National Flood Insurance Program, the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity, the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, the temporary scheduling order issued by the Drug Enforcement Administration to place fentanyl-related substances in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, and the authority for the Department of Agriculture to waive certain requirements for the school meal programs.

Senate Vote date: Thursday, September 30, 2021 Senate Vote Tally: 65-35

2nd House Vote date: Thursday, September 30, 2021 2nd House Vote Tally: 254-175

Party Breakdown: In the Senate, all Democrats and Independents voted YES, along with 15 Republicans.  The other 35 Republicans voted NO. In the House, all Democrats voted YES, along with 34 Republicans.  The other 175 Republicans voted NO.  Another way to put this is that 35 Senate Republicans and 175 House Republicans voted for a government shutdown.

Bob Casey voted YES.

Pat Toomey voted NO.


Additional Reading:

Debt Limit Action 

House Vote on S. 1301: Temporary Extension of Public Debt Limit

Senate Vote on Motion to Proceed on S. 1301: Temporary Extension of Public Debt Limit

This is a situation that is still in progress and is constantly evolving. According to the Treasury, the United States will exceed the debt limit on or around October 18, 2021.  To do so would be catastrophic, as the Library of Congress describes, we would “run out of money to pay back existing debts, government salaries, and other pre-existing obligations.” This, in turn, will likely cause our credit to be downgraded, and a stock market crash.

Democrats support eliminating the debt limit altogether.  Republicans don’t seem to be willing to lift their hands to do anything about the coming crisis, but the legislative action is moving ahead for debate in the coming weeks, thus the “motion to proceed vote linked above.  We seem to be at an impasse that only the elimination of the filibuster can solve…

House Vote date: Wednesday, September 29, 2021 House Vote Tally: 219-212

Senate Vote date: Thursday, September 30, 2021 Senate Vote Tally: 50-43

Party Breakdown: In the House this was nearly a vote on party lines.  All but two democrats voted YES, and they were joined by Illinois Republican Adam Kinzinger. All Republicans but Kinzinger voted NO, and they were joined by Democrats Jared Golden of Maine and Kurt Schrader of Oregon.  In the Senate, this was a pure, party line vote – All Democrats and Independents voted YES and all Republicans voted no on this motion to proceed.

Bob Casey voted YES.

Pat Toomey voted NO.


Additional Reading:

Bureaucratic Confirmations

Editor’s note: now that we are almost a year into the Biden Administration, almost all of the major bureaucratic positions have been filled – certainly there are no more cabinet level seats and few deputy and major agency leadership positions open.  Many of the positions filled are getting down well past the deputy level, MoCTrack is going to provide slightly less information about these confirmations. Any hgh level replacement confirmations will still get full coverage, as will judicial confirmations, but these lower level bureaucrats are not often covered in traditional media, so we are left with only press releases and less reliable sources for information. MoCTrack would prefer to provide less but firmly reliable information than repeat unverifiable or unreliable outlets, so we are using White House biographical information wherever possible.

Bureaucratic Confirmation – State Department 1

Senate Confirmation Vote on Mary Catherine Phee to be an Assistant Secretary of State (African Affairs)

From the White House announcement of the nomination: “Mary Catherine Phee, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister Counselor, currently serves as Principal Deputy Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation at the State Department.  She was U.S. Ambassador to South Sudan from 2015 to 2017.  Previously, she served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and as Chief of Staff in the Office of the Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan.  She also was the Acting Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs and Deputy Security Council Coordinator at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, handling UN engagement in Africa for both portfolios.  Earlier in her career, Phee served as Director for Iraq at the National Security Council and as Senior Civilian Representative of the Coalition Provisional Authority to Maysan Province, Iraq.  She began her career in Amman, Jordan and also worked at U.S. Embassies in Cairo, Egypt and Kuwait City, Kuwait.  She received the Robert C. Frasure Memorial Award for conflict resolution and peacemaking, the James A. Baker, III-C. Howard Wilkins, Jr. Award for Outstanding Deputy Chief of Mission, the Secretary of Defense Meritorious Civilian Service Award, the Order of the British Empire Award, and a Presidential Rank Award.  She speaks Arabic.  A native of Chicago, she is a graduate of Indiana University and holds a Master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University.”

Vote date: Tuesday, September 28, 2021 Vote Tally: 67-31

Party Breakdown: All Democrats and Independents voted YES, along with 18 Republicans. The other 31 Republicans voted NO.

Bob Casey voted YES.

Pat Toomey voted NO.

Bureaucratic Confirmation – State Department 2  

Senate Confirmation Vote on Todd D. Robinson to be an Assistant Secretary of State (International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs)

From the White House announcement of the nomination: “Todd Robinson, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Career Minister, currently serves as Director of the International Student Management Office, National Defense University.  He was a Senior Advisor for Central America in the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs in Washington. D.C.  Robinson also served as Chargé d’Affaires a.i. in Caracas, Venezuela.  Previously, Robinson was U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Guatemala from 2014 to 2017.  Prior to that, he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.  Robinson also served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala; as Consul General and Principal Officer at the U.S. Consulate in Barcelona, Spain; and as Chief of the Political and Economic Section in the U.S. Embassy in Tirana, Albania.  Other overseas postings include the Dominican Republic, Bolivia, Vatican City, Italy, El Salvador, and Colombia.  Earlier in his career, Robinson served in the Department’s Operations Center and as a Special Assistant to former Secretary of State Albright.  He is the recipient of a Presidential Rank Award.  A native of New Jersey, he is a graduate of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and speaks Spanish, Italian, and Albanian.”

Vote date: Tuesday, September 28, 2021 Vote Tally: 53-41

Party Breakdown: All Democrats and Independents voted YES, along with 7 Republicans. The other 41 Republicans voted NO.

Bob Casey voted YES.

Pat Toomey voted NO.

Bureaucratic Confirmation – State Department 3

Senate Confirmation Vote on Monica P. Medina to be Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs

From the White House announcement of the nomination: “Monica P. Medina is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and a Senior Associate on the Stephenson Ocean Security Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.  She is the CEO and Co-Founder of Our Daily Planet, an e-newsletter on conservation and the environment.  A former Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere, she also served as General Counsel of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense.  Earlier in her career, Medina served as the Senior Counsel to former Senator Max Baucus on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, as the Senior Director for Ocean Policy at the National Geographic Society, and in senior roles in other environmental organizations.  She is a member of the Board of Directors of the nonprofits SkyTruth and the Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.  She received the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service and the Army Meritorious Service Medal.  She attended college on an Army R.O.T.C. scholarship, and began her career on active duty in the Army General Counsel’s Office, after being selected for its Honors Program.  Medina has a Bachelor’s degree from Georgetown University and a J.D. from Columbia Law School.”

Vote date: Tuesday, September 28, 2021 Vote Tally: 61-36

Party Breakdown: All Democrats and Independents voted YES, along with 13 Republicans. The other 36 Republicans voted NO.

Bob Casey voted YES.

Pat Toomey voted NO.

Bureaucratic Confirmation – State Department 4

Senate Confirmation Vote on Karen Erika Donfried to be an Assistant Secretary of State (European Affairs and Eurasian Affairs)

From the White House announcement of the nomination: “Dr. Karen Donfried currently serves as President of the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF).  Before assuming this position in April 2014, Donfried was the Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council.  Prior to that, she served as the National Intelligence Officer for Europe on the National Intelligence Council.  She first joined GMF in 2001 after having served for ten years as a European specialist at the Congressional Research Service.  When she was at GMF from 2005 to 2010, she first served as senior director of policy programs and then as executive vice president.  From 2003-2005, she worked in the Policy Planning office at the U.S. Department of State, handling the Europe portfolio.  Donfried has written and spoken extensively on German foreign policy, European integration, and transatlantic relations.  She is a Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s Center for European Studies.  The King of the Belgians awarded the Commander of the Order of the Crown to her in 2020 and she became an Officer of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic in 2018.  Additionally, she received the Cross of the Order of Merit from the German Government in 2011 and a Superior Service Medal from the National Intelligence Community in 2014.  She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Council on Germany.  Donfried has a Ph.D. and MALD from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, a Magister from the University of Munich, Germany and holds a B.A. from Wesleyan University.  She is fluent in German.”

Vote date: Tuesday, September 28, 2021 Vote Tally: 73-26

Party Breakdown: All Democrats and Independents voted YES, along with 24 Republicans. The other 26 Republicans voted NO.

Bob Casey voted YES.

Pat Toomey voted YES.

Bureaucratic Confirmation – State Department 5

Senate Confirmation Vote on Jessica Lewis, of Ohio, to be an Assistant Secretary of State (Political-Military Affairs)

From the White House announcement of the nomination: “Jessica Lewis currently serves as Democratic Staff Director of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Previously, from 2007 – 2014, she was the National Security Advisor and Foreign Policy Advisor, and then Senior National Security Advisor, to Senate Majority/Minority Leader Harry Reid. Earlier, Lewis was the Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to Senator Robert Menendez and, before that the Democratic Staff Director for the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee of the House International Relations Committee, Ranking Member Robert Menendez. She also worked as Manager, New Initiative Development, and as Manager, Net Corps America, at the Organization of American States. Lewis received an MPA degree from Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government, an MA degree from Johns Hopkins University, and a BA degree from Haverford College.”

Vote date: Wednesday, September 29, 2021 Vote Tally: 70-27

Party Breakdown: All Democrats and Independents voted YES, along with 20 Republicans. The other 27 Republicans voted NO.

Bob Casey voted YES.

Pat Toomey voted NO.

Bureaucratic Confirmation – Interior

Senate Confirmation Vote on Robert T. Anderson to be Solicitor of the Department of the Interior

From the White House announcement of the nomination: “Robert Anderson is currently the Principal Deputy Solicitor for the U.S. Department of the Interior.  For 20 years he was a law professor at the University of Washington and directed its Native American Law Center. He has been the Oneida Indian Nation Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School for the past twelve years.  He is a co-author and editor of the leading federal Indian Law treatise, Cohen’s Handbook of Federal Indian Law, and is a co-author of a leading textbook on American Indian Law. He has extensive expertise and has published many articles in the fields of natural resources law, water law, and American Indian law.  He grew up in the small town of Ely in northeastern Minnesota and is an enrolled member of the Bois Forte Band of the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe.  Anderson attended local public schools and received his law degree from the University of Minnesota.  He served as the Associate Solicitor for Indian Affairs and Counselor to the Secretary under Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt. He began his career as a staff attorney for the Native American Rights Fund, where he practiced law for twelve years.  Anderson also served on the transition agency review teams for President-elect Obama and President-elect Biden.”

Vote date: Wednesday, September 29, 2021 Vote Tally: 53-44

Party Breakdown: All Democrats and Independents voted YES, along with 3 Republicans – Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Susan Collins of Maine and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. The other 31 Republicans voted NO.

Bob Casey voted YES.

Pat Toomey voted NO.

Bureaucratic Confirmation – Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Senate Confirmation Vote on Rohit Chopra to be Director, Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection for a term of five years

From the White House announcement of the nomination: “Rohit Chopra is a Commissioner on the Federal Trade Commission. He has actively advocated to promote fair, competitive markets that protect families and honest businesses from abuses. Commissioner Chopra was unanimously confirmed by the Senate in 2018, and he has pushed for aggressive remedies against lawbreaking companies, especially repeat offenders. Together with state and international law enforcement partners, he has worked to increase scrutiny of dominant technology firms that pose risks to privacy, national security, and fair competition. Chopra previously served as Assistant Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, where he led the agency’s efforts on student loans. In 2011, the Secretary of the Treasury appointed him to serve as the CFPB’s Student Loan Ombudsman, a new position established in the financial reform law. He also served as a Special Advisor at the U.S. Department of Education.”

Our own 🔴 Senator Pat Toomey voices his strident opposition to this nominee, according to this reporting in Roll Call, and he declared that the newly confirmed Director would return to “the lawless, overreaching, highly politicized agency it was during the Obama administration… At his nomination hearing, Commissioner Chopra defended the CFPB’s unaccountable structure. This raises concerns about how he would wield power at the CFPB. At the CFPB, he would not be accountable to Congress through the appropriations process. And since the CFPB is a single-director agency, there would be no other commissioners to restrain him.”

Vote date: Thursday, September 30, 2021 Vote Tally: 50-48

Party Breakdown: This was a party line vote, with all Democrats and Independents voting YES and all Republicans voting NO.

Bob Casey voted YES.

Pat Toomey voted NO.

Bureaucratic Confirmation – Bureau of Land Management

Senate Confirmation Vote on Tracy Stone-Manning to be Director of the Bureau of Land Management

From the White House announcement of the new BLM Director’s nomination: “Tracy Stone-Manning was most recently senior advisor for conservation policy at the National Wildlife Federation. Before joining the Federation, she served as Montana Governor Bullock’s chief of staff, where she oversaw day-to-day operations of his cabinet and the state’s 11,000 employees. She stepped into that post after serving as the Director of the state’s Department of Environmental Quality and as a regional director and senior advisor to Senator Jon Tester. Tracy lives in Missoula, Montana and holds a master’s in Environmental Studies from the University of Montana and a bachelor’s from the University of Maryland.”

Vote date: Thursday, September 30, 2021 Vote Tally: 50-45

Party Breakdown: This was a party line vote, with all Democrats and Independents voting YES and all Republicans voting NO.

Bob Casey voted YES.

Pat Toomey voted NO.

Votes under Suspension of the Rules 

Some bills are so uncontroversial that the leadership of both parties coordinate to bring the bills up under a suspension of the rules – that means that debate and amendments are limited, but the bill needs a ⅔ supermajority to pass.  These 12 bills were brought up under a suspension of the rules this week. Only the first bill failed, all the others passed.

🗳️ House Vote on H.R. 1204: District of Columbia Chief Financial Officer Salary Home Rule Act

From the Library of Congress recap: “This bill revises the pay of the Chief Financial Officer of the District of Columbia to establish it at the greater of (1) the current rate; or (2) a rate established by the District, except that any rate established by this bill shall not be reduced during the officer’s tenure.”

Vote date: Wednesday, September 29, 2021 Vote Tally: 259-170 (failed)

Pennsylvania breakdown: Our delegation voted 11-7, with all but two Republicans voting NO – 

🔴 PA-09’s Rep. Dan Meuser, 🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry, 🔴 PA-11’s Rep. Lloyd Smucker, 

🔴 PA-12’s Rep. Fred Keller, 🔴 PA-13’s Rep. John Joyce, 🔴 PA-14’s Rep. Guy Reschenthaler,  and 🔴 PA-16’s Rep. Mike Kelly

🗳️ House Vote on H.R. 1693: EQUAL (Eliminating a Quantifiably Unjust Application of the Law) Act of 2021

From the Library of Congress recap: “This bill eliminates the federal sentencing disparity between drug offenses involving crack cocaine and powder cocaine… This bill eliminates the lower quantity thresholds for crack cocaine offenses. Under the bill, the same threshold quantities of crack cocaine and powder cocaine trigger the same statutory criminal penalties.” 

Vote date: Tuesday, September 28, 2021 Vote Tally: 361-66

Pennsylvania breakdown: Our delegation voted 16-2, with 🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry and 🔴 PA-13’s Rep. John Joyce voting NO.

🗳️ House Vote on H.R. 4981: To amend the Fentanyl Sanctions Act, to modify certain deadlines relating to the Commission on Combating Synthetic Opioid Trafficking

The bill adjusts a deadline in the text of the original law to extend a deadline from 270 days to 390 days.

Vote date: Tuesday, September 28, 2021 Vote Tally: 410-14

Pennsylvania breakdown: Our delegation supported this bill unanimously.

🗳️ House Vote on H.R. 4250: War Crimes Rewards Expansion Act

From the Library of Congress recap: “This bill expands the Department of State’s rewards program to authorize rewards for providing information leading to the arrest, conviction, or transfer of a foreign national accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity, or genocide as such crimes are defined under the law of an international criminal tribunal, the applicable country, or the United States. Currently, rewards are authorized for information leading to the arrest, conviction, or transfer of a foreign national accused of such crimes only as defined under the statutes of the relevant tribunal.”

Vote date: Tuesday, September 28, 2021 Vote Tally: 412-9

Pennsylvania breakdown: Our delegation supported this bill unanimously.

🗳️ House Vote on H.R. 1228: Libya Stabilization Act

From the Library of Congress recap: “This bill provides for sanctions and aid related to the conflict in Libya. The bill provides statutory authority for an April 19, 2016, executive order imposing property- and visa-blocking sanctions on persons contributing to the violence in Libya. The President must impose property- and visa-blocking sanctions… The bill urges the U.S. Agency for International Development to provide humanitarian assistance to individuals and communities in Libya, including health assistance, food, shelter, and support for an effective COVID-19 (i.e., coronavirus disease 2019) response.”

Vote date: Tuesday, September 28, 2021 Vote Tally: 386-35

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

🗳️ House Vote on H.R. 4686: Cambodia Democracy Act of 2021

From the Library of Congress recap: “This bill directs the President to impose sanctions on individuals responsible for acts to undermine democracy in Cambodia, including acts that constituted serious human rights violations. The sanctions shall be directed at senior Cambodian government, military, or security forces officials responsible for such actions, as well as entities controlled or owned by such individuals. The sanctions shall include blocking assets and restricting the entry of sanctioned individuals into the United States, and shall not apply to the importation of goods.”

Vote date: Tuesday, September 28, 2021 Vote Tally: 403-17

Pennsylvania breakdown: Our delegation supported this bill unanimously.

🗳️ House Vote on S. 848: Consider Teachers Act of 2021

From the Library of Congress recap: “This bill revises the service obligation verification process for the Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education (TEACH) grant program. For example, the bill provides a process for the Department of Education to reconsider and reverse the conversion of a TEACH grant to a loan. The bill also establishes certain program flexibilities with respect to the service obligations of teachers affected by the COVID-19 (i.e., coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic.”

Vote date: Tuesday, September 28, 2021 Vote Tally: 406-16

Pennsylvania breakdown: Our delegation voted 17-0-1, with 🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry not voting.

🗳️ House Vote on H.R. 1154: Great Dismal Swamp National Heritage Area Act

From the Library of Congress recap: “This bill directs the Department of the Interior to assess the suitability and feasibility of designating a study area comprised of cities and counties in Virginia and counties in North Carolina as a National Heritage Area to be known as the Great Dismal Swamp National Heritage Area. The study shall include analysis, documentation, and determinations on whether the study area (1) has an assemblage of natural, historic, and cultural resources that represent distinctive aspects of the people and culture of the United States; and (2) are worthy of recognition, conservation, interpretation, and continuing use.”

Vote date: Tuesday, September 28, 2021 Vote Tally: 391-36

Pennsylvania breakdown: Our delegation voted 16-1-1, with 🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry voting NO and 🔵 PA-06’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan not voting.

🗳️ House Vote on H.R. 2617: Performance Enhancement Reform Act

From the Library of Congress recap: “This bill revises provisions regarding agency reporting of performance goals. Specifically, the description of how the performance goals are to be achieved shall include (1) the human capital, training, data and evidence, information technology, and skill sets required to meet such goals; and (2) the technology modernization investments, system upgrades, staff technology skills and expertise, stakeholder input and feedback, and other resources and strategies required to meet such goals.”

Vote date: Tuesday, September 28, 2021 Vote Tally: 414-10

Pennsylvania breakdown: Our delegation voted 16-0-2, with all lawmakers present voting YES, but 

🔵 PA-06’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan and 🔴 PA-14’s Rep. Guy Reschenthaler did not vote on this bill.

🗳️ House Vote on H.R. 3599: Federal Rotational Cyber Workforce Program Act of 2021

From the Library of Congress recap: “This bill establishes a rotational cyber workforce program under which certain federal employees may be detailed among rotational cyber workforce positions at other agencies. This bill authorizes an agency to determine whether a workforce position involving information technology, cybersecurity, or other cyber-related functions in that agency is eligible for the program. Additionally, the bill requires the Office of Personnel Management to issue a Federal Rotational Cyber Workforce Program operation plan providing policies, processes, and procedures for detailing employees among rotational cyber workforce positions at agencies. The Government Accountability Office must assess the operation and effectiveness of the rotational cyber workforce program by addressing the extent to which agencies have participated in the program and the experiences of employees serving in the program.”

Vote date: Wednesday, September 29, 2021 Vote Tally: 410-15

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

🗳️ House Vote on H.R. 3533: To establish occupational series for Federal positions in software development, software engineering, data science, and data management

From the Library of Congress recap: “This bill requires the Office of Personnel Management to establish one or more occupational series for positions in the federal government in the fields of software development, software engineering, data science, and data management.”

Vote date: Thursday, September 30, 2021 Vote Tally: 416-9

Pennsylvania breakdown: Our delegation supported this bill unanimously.

🗳️ House Vote on H.R. 5434: To provide an extension of Federal-aid highway, highway safety, and transit programs

There is no Library of Congress summary of this bill, but Rep. Peter DeFazio, Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee offered a floor speech that explains the purpose of this bill. This except was taken from the Congressional Record for October 1, 2021:

I wish that we were not at this point, calling up a short-term extension of Federal highway transit, highway safety, motor carrier, research, and transportation financing programs. Yet, here we are.

The House did its work. We passed the INVEST in America Act on July 4, H.R. 3684, a 5-year transformative reauthorization of surface transportation for the Nation dealing with climate change, resilience, creating jobs, social equity, a host of other things, and rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure.

The Senate did something different, but they did pass the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the Senate amendment to H.R. 3684, which also included a 5-year authorization of surface transportation programs.

We have not yet found a path forward for both Chambers to pass the same version of this bill. But we do need to act immediately to restore the ability of Federal surface transportation programs to function and to prevent putting thousands of U.S. Department of Transportation employees out of work for additional time…

…The Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2021 will allow the Department of Transportation to restart operations of programs funded by the highway trust fund through October 31, 2021, and bring employees back to work. It will also authorize DOT to provide backpay for employees who had to miss a day of work through no fault of their own and for those who worked without pay. The bill also includes provisions to adjust program levels should Congress enact a long-term surface transportation or infrastructure bill…

Vote date: Friday, October 1, 2021 Vote Tally: 365-51

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

Unanimously passed legislation

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

  • H.R.4094 – One-Stop Pilot Program Act of 2021
  • H.R.4363 – DHS Contract Reporting Act
  • H.R.4426 – Homeland Security for Children Act
  • H.R.4682 – UAS (Unmanned Aerial Security) Act
  • S.1917 – K-12 Cybersecurity Act of 2021
  • S.558 – FLOODS (Flood Level Observation, Operations, and Decision Support) Act
  • S.1037 – Manufacturing.gov Act
  • S.2923 – Fishery Resource Disasters Improvement Act

Quotes of Interest

Our MoCs discuss government funding, the debt limit and infrastructure

🔵 Senator Bob Casey, @SenBobCasey, 09/29/21:

“Here’s what the debt ceiling is: It’s about our nation meeting existing obligations, including to Social Security. 97% of the debt under this limit was racked up prior to @POTUS taking office. It isn’t about spending new money. It’s about the Nation’s creditworthiness.

Defaulting on our Nation’s debt would be catastrophic for the economy.

By refusing to raise the debt limit, Senate Republicans are playing politics with our economy and hundreds of millions of people. It’s time for them to start acting responsibly or get out of the way.”

🔴 Senator Pat Toomey, @SenToomey, 09/30/21:

“Which party controls the White House, the Senate, and the House? The Democrats.

We’ve told them from the beginning: If you want to go on this unprecedented spending spree, you will have to raise the debt ceiling that will contribute to paying for it.”

🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, @RepBrianFitz, 09/27/21:

“I stopped by @AmericaNewsroom with my @ProbSolveCaucus co-chair @RepJoshG to discuss the stand-alone bipartisan infrastructure bill that is up for a vote in the House this week.

It’s time to push this critical legislation across the finish line. It must not be linked to any other legislation.”

🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle, @CongBoyle, 09/29/21:

“Today I introduced legislation that would eliminate the debt limit. The Debt Ceiling Reform Act is legislation that would eliminate the debt limit as we now know it and transfer that authority to the Treasury Department. 

For the third Congress in a row, I have introduced measures to reform the mechanisms surrounding this arbitrary and reckless debt limit. Now, with the Treasury on the verge of running out of money within the next month, we once again find ourselves barreling toward financial calamity. It’s quite clear that this measure, which was first introduced in 1917, has outlived its effectiveness. Simply put, the debt ceiling is incapable of accomplishing what it sets out to do—to control how much the government borrows—as the bills Congress passes are legally binding and cannot be inhibited by such a limit.

FULL PRESS RELEASE

🔵 PA-03’s Rep. Dwight Evans, @RepDwightEvans, 10/01/21:

“This week, @HouseDemocrats again passed legislation to avert the devastation of a debt default.

@SenateGOP filibustered the House-passed legislation they admit is needed to suspend the debt limit. We can’t afford a #McConnellCrash that would kill 6 MILLION American jobs!”

🔵 PA-04’s Rep. Madeleine Dean, @RepDean, 10/01/21:

“It’s been a long week, yet I remain confident and optimistic that we will pass both the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the #BuildBackBetter plan. 

Proud of our caucus and @SpeakerPelosi’s leadership — @HouseDemocrats will deliver for the people.”

🔵 PA-05’s Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, @RepMGS, 10/02/21:

“The continuing resolution passed this week to keep the government open also included $28.6 billion to help Americans recover from natural disasters. 

In our district, that means much-needed relief for those impacted by floods in both 2020 and 2021.”

🔵 PA-06’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, @RepHoulahan, 10/01/21:

“This is not the first time, and certainly won’t be the last, that we find ourselves in the throes of an intentionally deliberative legislative process. 

But we are making progress.

The diversity in our ranks is a strength, not a weakness – both bills will be better for it.”

🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild, @RepSusanWild, 09/30/21:

“I need to make this clear: I’m in full support of the bipartisan infrastructure bill, and I am proud to cast my vote for it today.

From the start, this was an effort from both sides of the aisle to deliver a once-in-a-generation investment for the American people.

I want to remind everyone of what this bill would mean for our country.

*The largest federal investment in public transit. Ever.

*The largest federal investment in passenger rail since the creation of Amtrak.

*The largest investment in clean drinking water in American history.

*The largest bridge investment since the creation of the interstate highway system.

*Ensures most Americans have access to high-speed internet. 

The bipartisan infrastructure bill is historic. It’s the investment our country needs to win in the 21st century.

I’m ready to get this done for the American people.”

🔵 PA-08’s Rep. Matt Cartwright, @RepCartwright, 09/28/21:

“The infrastructure bill we’re taking up in the House this week will be a big shot in the arm for PA. 

It’ll create thousands of good paying jobs across our commonwealth, and the money for roads & bridges alone will grow our economy by $3.5 billion/year. Let’s get this done.”

🔴 PA-09’s Rep. Dan Meuser, @RepMeuser, 09/30/21:

“Our country’s credit cards are maxed out. Instead of the Democrats looking to pay the bill, they are searching for higher spending limits.”

🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry, @RepScottPerry, is no longer using Twitter with any regularity, but he did share this on Facebook on 10/03/21:

“’FISCAL INSANITY’ —  The $3.5 TRILLION “ignores the everyday reality that America’s families continue to pay an unavoidable inflation tax.” — Democratic Sen. Manchin. Yes, yes it does. Nothing is “free.”#InflationIsTaxation #inflation #BIDENSAMERICA.”

🔴 PA-11’s Rep. Lloyd Smucker, @RepSmucker, 09/30/21:

“Sen. Manchin is showing his true colors now: trading in a booming economy created by TCJA for a bigger bloated federal government. $3.5T or $1.5T, it’s all wasting YOUR tax dollars. 

TCJA led to low unemployment, the lowest recorded poverty rate, and a $5,000 increase in median household income until the pandemic took hold. We MUST protect taxpayers and TCJA, not the Dems and their delusion. “

🔴 PA-12’s Rep. Fred Keller, @RepFredKeller, 10/01/21:

“House Democrats say that their $5 trillion tax-and-spend scheme is paid for, but in reality it constitutes the largest tax increase and the largest spending increase in America’s history. 

This bill includes socialist provisions like taxpayer funded abortions, the Green New Deal, IRS surveillance of bank transactions, and amnesty for eight million illegal aliens. 

And here’s the kicker… Speaker Pelosi and President Biden expect America’s future generations to write them a blank check for it. That’s a future for our children and grandchildren that I refuse to let happen.”

🔴 PA-13’s Rep. John Joyce, @RepJohnJoyce, 09/30/21:

“Democrats are preparing to spend more than a trillion dollars to pay for their Green New Deal pet projects. This bill will not fund the critical highway infrastructure Pennsylvania needs.”

🔴 PA-14’s Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, @GReschenthaler, 10/01/21:

“Dems in disarray?

Dems in disarray.”

🔴 PA-15’s Rep. Glenn W. Thompson, @CongressmanGT, 09/21/21:

“Tonight I voted against raising our debt ceiling. 

See my full statement on tonight’s short-term funding bill:”

Editor’s note – this is the most recent time Rep. Thompson shared an infrastructure/debt limit tweet.

🔴 PA-16’s Rep. Mike Kelly, @MikeKellyPA, 10/01/21:

“The US govt spends $50 billion a day.

We’re $28.8 trillion in debt & almost at the debt limit.

Medicare will be broke by 2026.

Social Security will be broke by 2034.

Yet, Dems want to spend another $3.5 trillion of taxpayer money.

Who’s the irresponsible one?”

🔵 PA-17’s Rep. Conor Lamb, @ConorLambPA, 09/29/21:

“Getting lots of questions about what’s happening in DC.

I don’t control the order of votes. But here’s what I tell my colleagues internally about why I support BOTH bills & why we need to build enough trust to pass both without making one the victim of the other.

First, re: means-testing vs. universal programs: 

I’ve talked to thousands of conservative-leaning people in western PA about Social Security & Medicare, & those programs enjoy near-universal support. Precisely *because* they are universal.

Go to any senior center in western PA & say you are letting Medicare negotiate for lower drug prices & adding vision, dental & hearing (that’s glasses, dentures & hearing aids).

Even if there isn’t a Biden vote in the house, they’ll applaud & invite you back to play cards.

These same people will appreciate having a caregiver who earns enough to stick with them, & keeps them in their home. They will also be happy to see their grandchildren supported simply for being children, not because of a means test.

Finally, most people think it’s unfair that Amazon — whose profits depend on using our roads & bridges — pays NO federal taxes to support those roads & bridges.

Both our bills fix that. Together.

GOP would continue to give Amazon a free ride. (And the bridges will fall down).”

🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle, @USRepMikeDoyle, 09/30/21:

“I voted in favor of a temporary funding agreement to avoid a #governmentshutdown. This bill will fund critical programs & provide hurricane disaster relief. Now Congress must #RaiseTheDebtCeiling & pass the #infrastructure packages.”

BONUS TRANSCRIPT! PA-01 Brian Fitzpatrick’s MSNBC interview

This content comes to us courtesy of rock star volunteer contributor CC, who transcribed the Brian Fitzpatrick portions of thisSeptember 27, 2021  interview from MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle.  New Jersey Democrat Josh Gottheimer, a fellow co-chair of the Problem Solvers Caucus, also participated in the conversation, but his portions were omitted. Minute markers are included along with the quotes, so you can watch yourself, if you wish.

03:50 Question from Stephanie Ruhle: “If the two bills get tied together, do you and other moderate Republicans end up voting No on both?”

Brian Fitzpatrick answer: “That’s the question, Stephanie. The linkage-delinkage thing has been outcome-determined around so many votes on the GOP side. I gotta tell you it’s very frustrating, I’m gonna be honest with you. Every day that’s passed, since  the Senate passed this, we’re losing GOP support because we don’t understand on what planet it’s OK to take a bill that both Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer support, that the AFL-CIO and the Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable support, and has overwhelming bipartisan support, the public supports it and yet we can’t get a vote on it because it’s being held hostage for the second package, and I think it’s a very dishonest way of legislating when you have to hold a popular bill that the American people want hostage for another bill.“

04:40 Continued content from Brian Fitzpatrick: “If this second reconciliation is worth its merits, I think it should survive an up or down vote on its own merits; it shouldn’t need to be… use another bill as ransom, and so it’s very frustrating to us. As far as the GOP support, Stephanie, it’s largely gonna depend on the linkage-delinkage issue—it’s very important for a lot of my Republican colleagues because we support the infrastructure bill, and at least what we hear about this second package is not something that we’re in favor of.”

05:00 Stephanie Ruhle asked about “[blocking] a bill that would fund the government…. Lawmaker’s jobs are to make American people’s lives better — government shutdown absolutely makes our lives worse”

Brian Fitzpatrick answer: “Couldn’t agree more, Stephanie. And that’s why, you know, we, in the House, we will support any CR, any raising of the debt limit that doesn’t bring things in like defunding the Iron Dome for Israel and extreme things like that. If it’s a clean CR, clean debt limit increase, it will have my support completely, and many of my Republican colleagues, and it will pass the house. I can’t speak to the other chamber. ‘

This report is brought to you by the Pennsylvania  MoCTrack team… 

CC Linda Houk

Gary Garb Kierstyn Piotrowski Zolfo Have you seen an interesting or revealing recent quote from a member of Pennsylvania’s Congressional delegation that was not featured in MoCTrack? We are looking for folks who can help us cover what gets into traditional media, especially in the western parts of the state! Please email KierstynPZ@gmail.com and put “MoC Quote” in the subject, and please be sure to include a link to the article, the article title, and the full quote (in case your editor gets paywalled). Thanks!


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