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
This week we scored votes on the Build Back Better Act and the Gosar censure.
|Lawmaker||Score||Change from last score|
|🔵 Senator Bob Casey||100.0%||0.0%|
|🔴 Senator Pat Toomey||21.7%||0.0%|
|🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick||40.6%||-2.5%|
|🔵 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||3.0%||-0.2%|
|🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry||0.0%||0.0%|
|🔴 PA-11’s Rep. Lloyd Smucker||7.2%||-0.5%|
|🔴 PA-12’s Rep. Fred Keller||2.9%||-0.2%|
|🔴 PA-13’s Rep. John Joyce||2.9%||-0.2%|
|🔴 PA-14’s Rep. Guy Reschenthaler||2.9%||-0.2%|
|🔴 PA-15’s Rep. Glenn W. Thompson||7.5%||-0.4%|
|🔴 PA-16’s Rep. Mike Kelly||2.9%||-0.2%|
|🔵 PA-17’s Rep. Conor Lamb||100.0%||0.0%|
|🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle||100.0%||0.0%|
Votes of Interest
!!!BUILD BACK BETTER PASSES THE HOUSE!!!
We’re going to turn to the Indivisible National team, who outlined some of the highlights from the Build Back Better Act that passed the House after months of negotiations. This legislation, based upon the framework that President Biden and Vice President Harris campaigned upon, does the following:
- Extends the improved Child Tax Credit to help parents and children
- $550 billion in climate action, clean energy jobs and environmental justice
- Historic investments in affordable housing
- Truly universal pre-K and dramatically improved access to affordable child care
- Guarantees 4 weeks of paid family and medical leave for all workers
- Strengthens labor rights for workers through meaningful penalties for abusive employers
- Expands access to home & community-based care services for older Americans & people with disabilities, strengthening the caregiving workforce
- Extends deportation protections & work permits for ~7 million undocumented immigrants for 5 years, with possible renewal for 5 more
- Takes positive steps towards lowering some prescription drug prices
- Expands Medicare benefits to include hearing services starting in 2024
- Extends enhanced ACA healthcare marketplace subsidies thru 2025
- Closes Medicaid coverage gap in non-expansion states thru 2025
- Expands eligibility and coverage under Medicaid and CHIP
The bill now moves on to the Senate, where a vote is expected after Thanksgiving. Our own senator Bob Casey says that he expects the bill will have Senator Joe Manchin’s support (see our quote of the week section further down in the report for his exact wording).
Vote date: Friday, November 19, 2021 Vote Tally: 220-213
Party Breakdown: This was nearly a party line vote. All Republicans voted NO, and they were joined by one Democrat – Jared Golden of Maine. All other Democrats voted YES.
- “House Democrats pass sweeping social spending, climate policy bill,” from ABC News
- “The House passed Biden’s massive social safety net and climate bill. Here’s what happens next,” from CNBC
- “Applause breaks out after House passes Biden spending bill,” from CNN Politics
GOP Rep. Gosar Censured by the House
This is one of those resolutions that are worth reading in full, so you know exactly what all those Republicans voted NO on. Below please find the full text of the resolution.
Whereas, on November 7, 2021, Representative Paul Gosar posted a manipulated video on his social media accounts depicting himself killing Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and attacking President Joseph Biden;
Whereas the video was posted on Representative Gosar’s official Instagram account and used the resources of the House of Representatives to further violence against elected officials;
Whereas Representative Gosar issued a statement on November 9, 2021, defending the video as a symbolic cartoon and spreading hateful and false rhetoric about immigrants;
Whereas the leadership of the Republican Party has failed to condemn Representative Gosar’s threats of violence against the President of the United States and a fellow Member of Congress;
Whereas the Speaker of the House made clear that threats of violence against Members of Congress and the President of the United States should not be tolerated and called on the Committee on Ethics of the House and law enforcement to investigate the video;
Whereas depictions of violence can foment actual violence and jeopardize the safety of elected officials, as witnessed in this chamber on January 6, 2021;
Whereas violence against women in politics is a global phenomenon meant to silence women and discourage them from seeking positions of authority and participating in public life, with women of color disproportionately impacted;
Whereas a 2016 survey by the Inter-Parliamentary Union found that 82 percent of women parliamentarians have experienced psychological violence and 44 percent received threats of death, sexual violence, beatings, or abduction during their term; and
Whereas the participation of women in politics makes our government more representative and just: Now, therefore, be it that—
- Representative Paul Gosar of Arizona be censured;
- Representative Paul Gosar forthwith present himself in the well of the House of Representatives for the pronouncement of censure;
- Representative Paul Gosar be censured with the public reading of this resolution by the Speaker; and
- Representative Paul Gosar be, and is hereby, removed from the Committee on Natural Resources and the Committee on Oversight and Reform.
Vote date: Wednesday, November 17, 2021 Vote Tally: 223-207
Party Breakdown: All of the Democrats voted YES, along with two Republicans – Adam Kinzinger of Illinois and Liz Cheney of Wyoming. The remaining 207 Republicans present voted NO.
- “House votes to censure Congressman Paul Gosar for violent video in rare formal rebuke,” from CBS News
- “CNN breaks down Gosar’s history of controversies prior to his censuring,” from CNN Politics
- “Why Rep. Paul Gosar’s censure matters,” from VOX
- “Paul Gosar retweets same video aimed at AOC after House censures him,” from The Guardian
- “Trump endorses Gosar one day after House censure,” from The Associated Press, via Yahoo News
A December 2021 Legislative Preview
Congress is on a recess week for Thanksgiving, but when they get back to Washington on November 29th, they face a jam-packed schedule. Here are some of the issues that they MUST handle before the close of 2021:
- The Treasury Department has determined that the US will exceed the debt limit around December 15th. Politico reports that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell are in negotiations for how to handle it.
- The National Defense Authorization for the fiscal year 2022 still needs to be passed. All this past week has been taken up with party wrangling over which amendments would be included. They will pick up debate over that when they get back to DC on November 29th, and once cloture is achieved, that starts 30 hours of debate on the actual bill and amendments.
- After this week’s triumph in the House, the Build Back Better Act needs to get its day on the Senate floor.
- Let’s not forget the funding of the entire government! In the early autumn Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR – or kicking the can down the road), but that runs out on December 3rd. So they either need to pass another short term CR while they work out the details, or face a holiday shutdown like the one we endured under Trump in 2018/2019.
That’s a pretty weighty TO-DO list, right? And it doesn’t even include ending the filibuster or protecting our voting rights. It’s going to be a wild and busy December in Washington DC!
Editor’s note: now that we are almost a year into the Biden Administration, almost all of the major bureaucratic positions have been filled. Many of the positions filled are getting down well past the deputy level, MoCTrack is going to provide slightly less information about these confirmations. 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. Where possible, we will use the Whie House or departmental releases for biographical information about these new administration team members.
Senate Confirmation Vote on Graham Scott Steele to be an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Financial Institutions
From the White House press release issued upon the nomination of Graham Steele:
“Graham Steele is an expert on financial regulation and financial institutions, with more than a decade of experience working at the highest levels of law and policy in Washington, D.C. Steele is currently the director of the Corporations and Society Initiative at Stanford Graduate School of Business, a research initiative that examines issues at the intersection of markets, business, and government to promote more accountable capitalism and governance.
Prior to joining Stanford GSB, Steele was a member of the staff of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. From 2015 to 2017, Graham was the Minority Chief Counsel for the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs. From 2010 to 2015 he was a Legislative Assistant for United States Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH), handling the Senator’s work as a member of the Senate Banking Committee. During that time, he also spent four years as the staff director of the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions & Consumer Protection. Prior to joining Senator Brown’s staff, Steele was a policy counsel at Public Citizen’s Congress Watch in Washington, D.C.
Steele received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Rochester and his law degree from The George Washington University Law School. He is originally from Brookline, Massachusetts, and is a member of the Massachusetts State Bar.”
Vote date: Tuesday, November 16, 2021 Vote Tally: 53-42
Party Breakdown: All of the Democrats and Independents present voted YES, alongside seven Republicans. The other 42 Republicans who were present voted NO.
Bob Casey voted YES
Pat Toomey voted NO
Senate Confirmation Vote on Robert Farrell Bonnie to be Under Secretary of Agriculture for Farm Production and Conservation
From the White House press release issued upon the nomination of Robert Bonnie:
“Robert Bonnie is the Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Climate Advisor at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Prior to joining USDA, Bonnie was at Duke University, first as a Rubenstein Fellow and later as an Executive in Residence at the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions working on conservation and environmental issues in rural America. In 2020, Bonnie also worked with the Bipartisan Policy Center on its Farm and Forest Carbon Solutions Initiative. Prior to joining Duke, during the second term of the Obama Administration, Bonnie was the Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment at USDA. In this role, he oversaw the U.S. Forest Service and the Natural Resources Conservation Service on a variety of natural resource issues, including management of the 193 million-acre National Forest and Grassland System, implementation of Farm Bill conservation programs on America’s farms, ranches and forests, and climate change.
During President Obama’s first term, Bonnie served as Senior Advisor to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack for environment and climate change. Prior to joining USDA, Bonnie was vice president for land conservation for the Environmental Defense Fund where he focused on developing incentives to reward farmers, ranchers and forest owners for stewardship activities on private lands. At EDF, Bonnie helped develop the Safe Harbor program and other incentive-based approaches to endangered species conservation. Bonnie has master degrees in forestry and environmental management from Duke University. He grew up on a farm in Kentucky and now lives in Virginia.”
Vote date: Tuesday, November 16, 2021 Vote Tally: 76-19
Party Breakdown: Thirty Republicans joined all of the Democrats and Independents present in voting YES. The remaining 19 Republicans voted NO.
Bob Casey voted YES
Pat Toomey voted YES
Senate Confirmation Vote on Jonathan Kanter, of Maryland, to be an Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Division
From the White House press release issued upon the nomination of Jonathan Kanter:
“Jonathan Kanter is a distinguished antitrust lawyer with over 20 years of experience. Throughout his career, Kanter has also been a leading advocate and expert in the effort to promote strong and meaningful antitrust enforcement and competition policy. He is currently a partner at The Kanter Law Group LLP, which is a boutique antitrust law firm that advocates in favor of federal and state antitrust law enforcement.
Prior to founding The Kanter Law Group, Kanter was Co-Chair of the antitrust practice at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton, and Garrison LLP. Jonathan also served as an attorney for the U.S. Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition. Kanter earned his J.D. from Washington University in St. Louis and his B.A. from State University of New York at Albany.”
Vote date: Tuesday, November 16, 2021 Vote Tally: 68-29
Party Breakdown: All of the Democrats and Independents present voted YES, alongside twenty Republicans. The other 29 Republicans who were present voted 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 14 bills were brought up under a suspension of the rules this week.
From the Library of Congress bill summary: “This bill requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to disapprove courses of education provided by public institutions of higher learning if such institutions charge a higher rate for tuition and fees than in-state tuition for individuals who are entitled to educational assistance under the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance program.”
Vote date: Monday, November 15, 2021 Vote Tally: 424-0
Pennsylvania breakdown: Our delegation supported this unanimously.
From the Library of Congress bill summary: “This bill requires the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to implement the maternity care coordination program. The VA must provide community maternity care providers (i.e., non-VA maternity care providers) with training and support with respect to the unique needs of pregnant and postpartum veterans, particularly regarding mental and behavioral health conditions in relation to the service of the veterans in the Armed Forces. Additionally, the Government Accountability Office must report on maternal mortality and severe maternal morbidity among pregnant and postpartum veterans, with a focus on racial and ethnic disparities in maternal health outcomes for veterans.”
Vote date: Tuesday, November 16, 2021 Vote Tally: 414-9
Pennsylvania breakdown: Our delegation voted 17-0-1, with 🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry not voting.
From the Library of Congress bill summary: “This bill requires the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to furnish counseling, including counseling through a Vet Center, to veterans or members of the Armed Forces who are pursuing a course of education using specified Department of Defense or VA educational assistance benefits.”
Vote date: Tuesday, November 16, 2021 Vote Tally: 420-4
Pennsylvania breakdown: Our delegation voted 17-0-1, with 🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry not voting.
From the Library of Congress bill summary: “This bill requires the Department of Labor, in the implementation of the Transition Assistance Program, to provide information concerning apprenticeship programs to members of the Armed Forces who are separating from active duty. The bill expands an existing monthly housing stipend under the Post-9/11 GI Bill by authorizing the stipend to be used for other purposes. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), in coordination with Labor, must establish a publicly accessible and user-friendly website on which veterans can find specified information about apprenticeship programs that are approved under VA education benefit provisions.”
Vote date: Tuesday, November 16, 2021 Vote Tally: 427-0
Pennsylvania breakdown: Our delegation supported this unanimously.
🗳️ House Vote on H.R. 3730: To amend title 38, United States Code, to establish in the Department of Veterans Affairs an Advisory Committee on United States Outlying Areas and Freely Associated States
From the Library of Congress bill summary: “This bill requires the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to establish the Advisory Committee on United States Outlying Areas and Freely Associated States to provide advice and guidance to the VA on matters relating to veterans residing in American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau. Among other duties, the committee must advise the VA on how to improve its programs and services to better serve veterans living in the listed areas.”
Vote date: Thursday, November 18, 2021 Vote Tally: 420-4
Pennsylvania breakdown: Our delegation voted 17-0-1, with 🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry not voting.
From the Library of Congress bill summary: “This bill directs the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to develop a plan to ensure that TSA material disseminated in major airports is better understood by people accessing such airports, including by foreign language speakers and people with vision or hearing impairments.”
Vote date: Thursday, November 18, 2021 Vote Tally: 369-49
Pennsylvania breakdown: Our delegation voted 17-0-1, with 🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry not voting.
Unanimously passed legislation
The following bills were passed through unanimous consent or voice vote (which presumes unanimity, as any member can object to the voice vote and ask for a roll call). This list excludes bills related to post offices, stamps, memorials, awareness weeks and other ceremonial activities.
- H.R.5671 – To authorize the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to furnish seasonal influenza vaccines to certain individuals
- S.894 – Hire Veteran Health Heroes Act of 2021
- S.1031 – A bill to require the Comptroller General of the United States to conduct a study on disparities associated with race and ethnicity with respect to certain benefits administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs
- H.R.2433 – Burn Pit Registry Enhancement Act
- H.R.2915 – HOPR (Homeland Procurement Reform) Act
- H.R.4626 – VA AIM (VA Assessment by Independent Measures) Act
- H.R.5516 – VITAL (Veterans Integration to Academic Leadership) Assessment Act
- H.R.5603 – Protections for Student Veterans Act
- H.R.5652 – DHS Acquisition Review Board Act of 2021
Quotes of Interest
Our MoCs respond to the House passage of the Build Back Better Act
🔵 Senator Bob Casey, via his official website, 11/19/21:
‘“Today, the House passed legislation to invest in American children, seniors, families and workers. The Build Back Better Act would lower costs for Americans, create jobs and strengthen our Nation’s economy. I applaud my colleagues in the House for passing this important legislation. Now the Senate has an obligation to deliver results for the American people. Working families are depending on us to keep fighting for a better future.”
🔴 Senator Pat Toomey, CNBC appearance transcript, via his official website, 11/19/21:
“This is radical stuff. Let’s be honest. This is transformative by design. It’s intended to be. And, that is just wildly out of step with the Democrats’ majority. They didn’t get a mandate to transform America. Joe Biden’s mandate was to return to normal, [and] to be a reasonable person and to bring both sides together. But, then, he has governed from the very far radical left, and this bill is part of it.”
“The Wharton School says this is $4.6 trillion of spending, and . . . it’s mostly about expanding the welfare state to the middle class. [Democrats have] got all kinds of new programs—some don’t even have any income limitation and those that do it is extremely high. This kind of total transformation of the relationship between middle income Americans and the federal government is not what people were voting on in last election.”
“The American people are not on board on this, so we are continue to drive the message about how damaging this would be, how much this would cost, how much it would add to inflation, to our deficits, the tax increase. And, this is part of the political process: Have this debate.”
🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, via his official website, 11/19/21:
“The bipartisan physical infrastructure bill that was recently signed into law illustrated our ability to come together in a bipartisan manner, engage in meaningful, deliberative negotiation, and achieve meaningful results for our constituents by investing in our roads, bridges, and transportation systems.
Regrettably, instead of coming to the table to negotiate on the social spending reconciliation package, House Democratic leadership decided to take the completely opposite approach when they hastily forced Build Back Better through the House on a totally partisan vote. We need two-party solutions to our nation’s most pressing problems. At a time when our sights should be set on tackling skyrocketing inflation, workforce shortages, supply chain disruptions, and economic competitiveness with adversaries like Communist China, this untargeted spending plan will add hundreds of billions of dollars to our national debt, pass along the cost of this deficit spending on working families through the hidden tax of inflation, while providing tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans, and hurting American competitiveness abroad.”
🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle, via his official website, 11/19/21:
“For far too long, Pennsylvania families have been held back by costly expenses – from childcare to health care to education and so much more. To unleash the full potential of every worker and family in our state, we are seizing this once-in-a-century moment to Build Back Better not only for our economy, but also so we can finally make the investments needed to combat the climate crisis. The Build Back Better Act will deliver for Pennsylvanians by creating millions of good-paying jobs, making historic middle class tax cuts, and lowering costs so families can thrive and succeed.”
“In the wake of the pandemic, skyrocketing costs of childcare, health care, home- and community-based care, early and higher education, housing, and more are hurting working families across Pennsylvania and around the nation. The Build Back Better Act delivers transformative investments that will address these needs and finally unlock the full potential of Pennsylvania families, while also ensuring that the wealthiest and corporations pay their fair share.”
🔵 PA-03’s Rep. Dwight Evans, via his official website, 11/19/21:
“I’m proud to vote for this bill! It truly would keep the promise to build back BETTER after the Covid-19 pandemic. This is a once-in-a-generation bill that would change America for the better – with help that so many families need for child care, elder care or both – and a massive investment in affordable housing. It also includes major new funding to fight climate change, something Philadelphia experienced firsthand in the Hurricane Ida flooding that hit Manayunk and other neighborhoods in early September.”
“We’re passing a strong version of the Build Back Better Act out of the House, and I urge the Senate to join us soon in delivering for the people with this bill.”
“There is more than a year left in this Congress and there will be additional opportunities to come back for more. What we are passing is historic in its size and amounts to major progress that would make a real difference in so many people’s lives in Philadelphia and across the country. This would be massive change, and we can also build on it in the future.”
🔵 PA-04’s Rep. Madeleine Dean, via her official website, 11/19/21:
“This paid-for legislation will reduce the deficit, ease inflation, and transform the lives of millions of Pennsylvanians — in the last two weeks, we’ve ensured that our roads and bridges will meet the demands of this century. Now, we’re supporting our families through child care and universal pre-K, paid family leave, cheaper prescription drug costs including insulin, and so much more — these investments coupled with bold action to combat climate change will be felt for generations.”
🔵 PA-05’s Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, via her official website, 11/19/21:
“For too long, America’s economic policy has revolved around support for the rich and powerful rather than working people. With the Build Back Better Act, that finally changes.
“The Build Back Better Act takes action to lower the everyday costs that burden working families — costs like child care, health care, prescription drugs, and housing. From Day One of the Biden administration, Democrats have worked to put more money in Americans’ pockets and give the middle class more breathing room as they weather the economic shocks that we’ve experienced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing recovery. The Build Back Better Act is the next step in our agenda to support American families by growing the economy from the bottom up and middle out.
“Until we address the gaps in America’s ‘human infrastructure,’ a majority of Americans — particularly women and people of color — will be unable to participate in our country’s social, educational, and economic life. That’s why we need universal pre-K, better access to affordable child care, a dependable system of care for our seniors, and investments in higher education and workforce training.
“This bill is going to help working people in Pennsylvania’s 5th Congressional District and across the country. In addition to investing in the American people, it also gives them a tax cut by extending the expanded Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit.
“Importantly, the Build Back Better Act makes the largest investment to combat the climate crisis in history. It will cut pollution, reduce energy costs, and create good-paying jobs through a transformational investment in clean energy.
“Together, the investments included in the Build Back Better Act will grow America’s economy, advance equity in our communities, and position the nation to compete globally. All of this is paid for by making big corporations and the wealthiest pay their fair share.
“We have the chance to set a new path forward that creates real, sustained economic growth and benefits everyone — not just a lucky few at the top. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to act swiftly and pass this essential legislation to prove that government can work for working people again.”
🔵 PA-06’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, via her official website, 11/19/21:
“At a time when so many Pennsylvanians are feeling the economic pressures of global inflation and rising prices, this bill helps to lower the costs of a household’s biggest expenditures: health care, housing, child care and more. The Build Back Better Act is fiscally disciplined while also addressing the most pressing issues of our time.
For too long, too many hardworking families in Chester and Berks counties have been struggling to stay afloat – and the pandemic further exposed the systemic issues that are shrinking the middle class. But today, we took action to make our economy work for everyone.
Any one of the provisions in this bill would be a remarkable achievement, and today we advanced dozens: lowering the cost of prescription drugs, capping insulin prices at $35 a month, guaranteeing universal preschool, expanding access to homeownership for first-generation home buyers, cutting child care expenses in half for most families, combating climate change with good-paying union jobs, extending the already proven Child Tax Credit and more. Without a doubt, this bill is the largest investment in the middle class in a generation. I was proud to support it and I look forward to getting out into my community and continuing to share all the ways it will benefit Pennsylvania families.
Traveling around our community, I hear from businesses that are growing and eager to hire. This bill will reinvigorate our workforce by dismantling the societal barriers keeping working families from returning to work. Without these investments, our economy would continue to feel the long tale effects of the pandemic. Today, we voted to get America back to work.
Since coming to Congress, I’ve watched this body, including the Senate, vote in favor of expanding paid leave for our federal workers and our service members. I would know – I helped lead those efforts. It’s why I find it hard to believe that some of my colleagues are drawing a line in the sand when it comes to expanding this basic decency to all Americans. I am extremely proud of the tireless work to secure 4 weeks of universal paid family and medical leave in the Build Back Better Act, but our fight is not over. I will not rest until this program is signed into law.”
🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild, via her official website, 11/19/21:
“I am extremely proud to have cast my vote today to pass the Build Back Better Act and move forward on an agenda to lower the cost of living, rebuild our economy, and strengthen the middle class. By lowering the cost of some prescription drugs, expanding access to affordable child care and home care for seniors and disabled people, extending the Child Tax Credit, and making universal pre-k available to families across the country, this legislation includes historic investments in a 21st century economy that works for everyone.”
I am also thrilled that with this vote, we are reestablishing America’s climate leadership and investing in the fight against climate change, which will help reduce energy costs and create a clean energy economy at the same time. My community is already facing the disastrous results of extreme storms, and we know there is no time to waste in tackling this urgent threat.”
Finally, tackling the soaring cost of prescription drugs has been one of my top my priorities since I came to Congress. I hear almost every day from constituents who face financial ruin over the cost of their medicines and worry about their children’s future as the cost of prescriptions continues to skyrocket. So I am very proud to have fought for the inclusion of the prescription drug pricing reform in this bill, including a cap on the cost of insulin and allowing for the first time Medicare to negotiate the price of some prescription drugs. Additionally, I am pleased that Build Back Better adopts language of my bill, the Fair Drug Prices for Kids Act, to ensure that state Children’s Health Insurance Programs get the best price on prescription drugs and can help prevent kids from going without the medicine they need.
The people of the Lehigh Valley have a lot to celebrate with the passing of this historic bill, and I couldn’t be prouder to have fought for the strongest possible version of this legislation and helped get it one step closer to the president’s desk.”
🔵 PA-08’s Rep. Matt Cartwright, via his official website, 11/19/21:
“The Build Back Better Act invests in workforce development, begins to tackle allowing Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices, boosts access to affordable child care and cuts taxes for working families. Most of this is paid for by asking the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations to pay their fair share. Together with the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, this legislation will give all working people and families a better shot at a good middle-class life, and a fair chance to share in the success of a growing economy.”
🔴 PA-09’s Rep. Dan Meuser, via his official website, 11/19/21:
“Since Biden has come into office, the D.C. Swamp that needs to be drained has gotten $6.6 trillion deeper. The Build Back Broke bill is the latest iteration of Democrats’ upside-down economic agenda, ignoring today’s problems and doubling down on failed policies. What’s in this partisan reconciliation bill says more about Democrats’ big government agenda than the actual needs of the American people and it will exacerbate challenges currently facing working families and small businesses.
The Congressional Budget Office’s score reaffirmed what we have known all along that this bill is not paid for, will increase the debt, decrease GDP, reduce wage growth, and drive inflation. The American people want a strong economy, greater opportunity, and independence. This bill does the opposite – it stifles growth, crushes opportunity, and grows dependence on government. We should be working to make our country better not make government bigger.”
🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry, via his Facebook page, 11/18/21:
“Biden & Pelosi: BBB costs ZERO
CBO today: No, it adds $367 BILLION to the deficit
House Dems: Let’s vote tonight!”
🔴 PA-11’s Rep. Lloyd Smucker, via his official website, 11/19/21:
“President Biden and Speaker Pelosi’s massive multi-trillion-dollar tax-and-spend legislation builds back bankrupt. It is a disaster for the American people. It raises taxes on small businesses so Biden and Pelosi can dole out nearly $300 billion in tax breaks to the wealthiest coastal elites. This legislation makes American companies less competitive in a global economy. The IRS will be weaponized to target small businesses and ordinary Americans. Worse yet, it removes Hyde Amendment protections, paving the way for taxpayer dollars to be used to fund abortions. Contrary to the Biden administration’s claim, this bill will add hundreds of billions more in debt on the backs of future generations. I voted no and will continue to oppose this massive increase in the size and scope of the federal government.”
🔴 PA-12’s Rep. Fred Keller, via his official website, 11/19/21:
“President Biden and Washington Democrats claim that their reckless spending is paid for, but here’s the bottom line: it’s not. This bill would add $367 billion to our deficit over the next 10 years. That means that every American family will be paying for it in the form of higher taxes, skyrocketing energy costs, and inflated prices for everything from groceries to healthcare. Long after we’re gone, our children and grandchildren will still be paying for this outrageous spending. This bill is shameful, and it will do far more harm than good.”
🔴 PA-13’s Rep. John Joyce, via his official website, 11/19/21:
“House Democrats again ignored the realities facing Pennsylvania families by jamming through a socialist spending spree that does nothing to address the skyrocketing prices my constituents are facing at the grocery store and at the gas pump. I voted no on this misguided, tone-deaf, socialist wish list that would ignore our worsening drug crisis on the southern border, expand Obamacare subsidies, and grant mass amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants.”
🔴 PA-14’s Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, via his official website, 11/19/21:
“The American people are experiencing the highest inflation in over 30 years, and it is a direct result of President Biden and Congressional Democrats’ reckless socialist spending spree. Biden and Democrats’ willingness to add an additional $800 billion to the national debt over the next five years is irresponsible. This is money we do not have, for policies Americans do not want.
“Democrats should focus on addressing the real economic crises facing American families and workers like record-high energy prices, supply chain shortages, and deteriorating consumer confidence. Instead, they are extending tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, significantly increasing the cost of heating our homes this winter, and rewarding illegal immigrants with amnesty and over $45,000 taxpayer-funded benefits. If Biden and Democrats get their way, average Americans will be stuck paying significantly more in taxes and inflation while blue state millionaires and billionaires receive tax cuts and subsidies for electric vehicles.”
🔴 PA-15’s Rep. Glenn W. Thompson, via his official website, 11/19/21:
“House Democrats unabashedly just put America and our future generations on the hook for trillions of dollars in new spending. The country is facing skyrocketing inflation and shortages of goods and services. The last thing families need are more challenges this holiday season, yet this tax-and-spend monstrosity adds to the national debt while raising taxes on middle class families and small businesses. This demonstrates just how out of touch Speaker Pelosi and her members are with everyday Americans.”
🔴 PA-16’s Rep. Mike Kelly, via his official website, 11/19/21:
“From day one, Republicans were pushed away from the negotiating table. Democrats decided to go it alone and did not include our constituents’ voices into these talks. This bloated bill does not serve the American people. Instead, it wastes nearly $2 trillion at a time when our national debt is nearing $29 trillion. I cannot support such spending.”
🔵 PA-17’s Rep. Conor Lamb, via his Facebook page, 11/19/21:
“Today the House kept our promise & passed the #BuildBackBetter Act. This historic legislation will:
✅Lower Rx prices
✅Extend the #ChildTaxCredit
✅Invest in clean energy
✅Create good jobs
This is a huge win for #PA17 & all of Pennsylvania!”
🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle, @USRepMikeDoyle, 11/19/21:
“The #BuildBackBetter Act passed by House Dems this morning will #CreateJobs, curb the #ClimateCrisis, make our country more competitive, and rebuild the American #MiddleClass with more affordable #HealthInsurance, less expensive #PrescriptionDrugs, and more affordable #ChildCare.”
🔵 Senator Bob Casey, @SenBobCasey, 11/20/21:
“On #TransDayOfRemembrance we remember the lives of transgender and gender non-conforming people lost to transphobic violence. Bigotry has no place in this country and we all have a responsibility to challenge hate wherever we find it.”
🔴 Senator Pat Toomey, @SenToomey, 11/13/21:
“The Tax Cuts & Jobs Act’s most pro-growth feature was allowing businesses to immediately write off purchases of capital expenditures (full expensing), like investments in new equipment.
This led to:
>More productive workers
In fact, for manufacturing—a capital intensive sector—2018, the first year that the TCJA was in effect, was the best year for employment growth in more than 20 years.
And, wages for production and non-supervisory employees increased to the highest level in a decade
Now, Dems want to penalize companies that do this in order to partially pay for their reckless tax & spending spree through a corporate minimum tax.
This corporate minimum tax would require business income to be calculated under a different set of rules, which wouldn’t allow for full expensing.
Normally, Congress sets the rules for how a company calculates taxable income, but here, an unelected body would.
If Democrats get their way & impose a 15% corporate minimum tax, there will be:
X Less investment
X Less productivity
X Slower wage growth”
🔴 PA-01’s Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick, @RepBrianFitz, 11/18/21:
“Taiwan and the United States share a commitment to freedom, democratic values, and sound economic principles. It was a pleasure to meet with Taiwan Ambassador @bikhim today to discuss our common goals. I look forward to working together to strengthen US-Taiwan relations.”
🔵 PA-02’s Rep. Brendan Boyle, @CongBoyle, 11/18/21:
“Kevin McCarthy is a coward. He will do whatever it takes to be Speaker. It’s almost pathetic.”
🔵 PA-03’s Rep. Dwight Evans, @RepDwightEvans, 11/19/21:
“The #ReconnectingCommunitiesAct I co-led will provide $1 BILLION to help revitalize neighborhoods around the country like Chinatown, Nicetown & the Delaware River waterfront in #Philly!”
🔵 PA-04’s Rep. Madeleine Dean, @RepDean, 11/18/21:
“The battles of the last few months will be long forgotten.
What will be remembered?
- Child Care & Universal Pre-K
- Paid Family Leave
- Lower Prescription Drug Cost
- Action on Climate Change”
🔵 PA-05’s Rep. Mary Gay Scanlon, @RepMGS, 11/19/21:
“Today’s outcome is disappointing but not surprising given America’s obsession with gun culture and the Right’s embrace of vigilante justice. Rittenhouse should never have had access to a weapon of war — let alone felt empowered to use it against fellow Americans during a protest.”
🔵 PA-06’s Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, @RepHoulahan, 11/18/21:
“As a former educator, I love meeting with students. Speaking with the bright young people at @WCUofPA about the climate crisis was a fitting way to return from #COP26.
Our discussion reaffirmed my belief that #ClimateActionCantWait. The next generation is counting on us.”
🔵 PA-07’s Rep. Susan Wild, @RepSusanWild, 11/19/21:
“Before the vote, I took a walk outside the Capitol and ran into some young people eagerly awaiting passage of the Build Back Better Act.
Wherever they are now, I sure hope they’re celebrating hard because we couldn’t have done this without them!
🔵 PA-08’s Rep. Matt Cartwright, @RepCartwright, 11/16/21:
“As the weather cools down in Northeastern Pennsylvania, no family should have to worry about how they’re going to stay warm through the winter months. Assistance is available to help Pennsylvanians with energy costs through LIHEAP. Read more:” LINK
🔴 PA-09’s Rep. Dan Meuser, @RepMeuser, 11/18/21:
“I joined my fellow Problem Solvers to call for fully funding the CHIPS Act to boost U.S. semiconductor production. Chips power today’s tech and the future’s – this future must be Made in America. The CHIPS Act creates jobs, powers our economy, and strengthens national security.”
🔴 PA-10’s Rep. Scott Perry does not use Twitter often these days, but he did post this on his Facebook presence on 11/17/21:
“BREAKING — HUGE WIN! OSHA has suspended their enforcement of Biden’s unconstitutional vaccine mandate on private businesses. Convince, don’t coerce. #mandate”
🔴 PA-11’s Rep. Lloyd Smucker, @RepSmucker, 11/20/21:
“Hidden away in Biden & Pelosi’s monstrosity of a bill – allowing taxpayer dollars to be spent on abortions, doing away with the Hyde Amendment. They won’t talk about it because they know it’s wrong. Congress cannot allow this to stand. It is unconscionable.”
🔴 PA-12’s Rep. Fred Keller, @RepFredKeller, 11/17/21:
“Today, I am joined by all 50 Republican Senators led by @SenatorBraun and more than 160 House members in introducing the Congressional Review Act resolution to nullify President Biden’s vaccine mandate for businesses.
This mandate is illegal and it must be stopped.”
🔴 PA-13’s Rep. John Joyce, @RepJohnJoyce, 11/16/21:
“The cost of basic necessities like eggs, beef, and vegetables are continuing to rise.
These price hikes, which were directly created by President Biden’s failed spending policies, hurt working-class families most of all.”
🔴 PA-14’s Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, @GReschenthaler, 11/19/21:
“The Biden Admin congratulated itself for issuing new testing and vaccination requirements for foreign visitors.
Meanwhile, illegal immigrants don’t face the same requirements at our border.
That’s why I joined @Rep_Clyde’s letter asking when this will change.”
🔴 PA-15’s Rep. Glenn W. Thompson, @CongressmanGT, 11/17/21:
“President Biden’s vaccine mandate is a prime example of government overreach. It will hurt our struggling small businesses and adds further strain on our struggling economy. I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing legislation to repeal the vaccine mandate for businesses.”
🔴 PA-16’s Rep. Mike Kelly, @MikeKellyPA, 11/18/21:
“Academic success is a result of students who want to learn, teachers who want to educate them, and parents who support both. We need public participation in our local school boards and government.
My full opinion piece is in today’s @TribLIVE.” LINK
🔵 PA-17’s Rep. Conor Lamb, @RepConorLamb, 11/15/21:
“I’m at the White House today where the President just signed the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill into law. Here’s what this historic investment means for Pennsylvania & #PA17”
🔵 PA-18’s Rep. Mike Doyle, @USRepMikeDoyle, 11/18/21:
“Today is the start of #WorldAntimicrobialAwarenessWeek – where we try to #SpreadAwarenessStopResistance. My bill, the PASTEUR Act, is critical to ensure we have effective antibiotics in the future by fixing the R&D pipeline. Read more about my efforts at ” LINK
Casey Quote of the Week
Courtesy of contributor Linda Houk
On Joe Manchin and the future of the BBB
“In my many conversations with Joe Manchin, he understands the need to invest in quality affordable child care. We’ve talked about that a lot. We’ve talked about early learning. I’ve talked to him specifically about home and community-based services for seniors and people with disabilities in the workforce that West Virginia is going to need and Pennsylvania is going to need to provide that kind of help.”
— from the Pittsburgh CBS News affiliate, in an article titled “Sen. Bob Casey Predicts Neighboring Sen. Joe Manchin Will Be On Board To Pass Build Back Better Plan”
Toomey Quote of the Week
Courtesy of contributor Linda Houk
On socialism fearmongering
“Taken in totality, her ideas do amount to a socialist manifesto for American financial services,”
— from an article in the Guardian, titled “‘Professor or comrade?’ Republicans go full red scare on Soviet-born Biden pick“
Fitzpatrick in the News
Research courtesy of contributor CC
“About $17.8 billion in funding is going to Pennsylvania; $11.3 billion in federal aid for highway improvements, $1.6 billion for bridge replacement and repairs, $2.8 billion for improving public transportation options, which will benefit SEPTA in our region, as well as AMTRAK. An additional $350 million will go towards airports; Philadelphia International Airport is going to get a significant upgrade.”
— from a Bucks County Courier times article titled “Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick on infrastructure vote: ‘Turning point for our country’”
“You should vote up or down on a bill based on the text. It shouldn’t matter who benefits politically… “We have the most, we have the largest, and it’s the most structurally deficient[ infrastructure.] Hard infrastructure typically is — and should be — something that everybody gets behind because it’s an investment in the nuts and bolts of our country.”
— from a Philadelphia Inquirer article titled “Pa.’s Brian Fitzpatrick explains why he supported Biden’s infrastructure bill. Now he’s facing backlash from some fellow Republicans.”
“Allowing foreign contributions to ballot initiatives and referenda poses a direct threat to our nation’s democratic process. Our bipartisan legislation will put a stop to this illicit practice and ensure that state and local elections are free from foreign influence and decided solely by American voters.”
— from a Ripon Advance post titled “Fitzpatrick, Herrera Beutler introduce bill to halt foreign contributions in elections”
“Veterans are one of the most highly skilled workforces in America’s history – the product of rigorous training, an ironclad commitment to teamwork, and the remarkable ability to succeed where others might fail. I am proud to join my bipartisan colleagues to recognize the tremendous contributions and accomplishments of veteran-owned small businesses throughout the country.”
— from a Ripon Advance Post titled “Fitzpatrick, Kim show support for veteran-owned small businesses”
Brian Fitzpatrick alao co-authored an opinion piece in the Courier Times titled “A once-in-a-generation chance to clean up Bucks County’s most contaminated toxic waste sites.” We did not copy it here in full as it is LONG. But you can find it HERE. This is a key excerpt:
“…in 1995 Congress allowed the polluter-pays fees to expire. From that point forward, the financial burden for cleaning up these sites increasingly shifted to America’s taxpayers. At the same time, Congress reduced the amount of money directed to the Superfund program each year, meaning that there hasn’t been enough funds to cover the much-needed cost of cleanups. Over the past two decades, the pace of cleanups across the country and here in Pennsylvania has slowed to a trickle.”
Do note that the Congress that ended those “polluter pay fees” that Fitzpatricks references was Newt Gingritch’s GOP-led House, something that Fitzpatrick was happy to omit.. The piece, co-authored with Emma Horst-Martz, an advocate with PennPIRG, goes on to explain how the recently passed bipartisan infrastructure bill (not to be confused with the Build Back Better Act, that Fitzpatrick voted against) will fund clean-up of these sites, and reimposes polluter-pays fees.
What MoCTrack is Thankful For
In our November 7th report, we had a call to action regarding voting rights, and we are deeply thankful to the groups around the Commonwealth and the country who told the Senate that it was TIME TO ACT to protect ballot access against GOP state-level voter suppression efforts.
But more than that, it is doubly hard to live in a DEEP RED area, and have the fortitude to take actions to the streets. So we are especially grateful to the wonderful volunteers of Clarion County’s Indivisible We Rise group, who not only held a motorcade in support of the Freedom to Vote Act, but also managed to get their local paper to cover their action! Thank you, Indivisible We Rise! Way to DO THE WORK!!
🍂🦃MoCTrack will be off next week for Thanksgiving, as will Congress. But we’ll be back to cover a very busy December of legislating and voting on 12/05/21. See you then!🦃🍂
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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