Delaware National

Congressional Vote Report – 1/19/2017

Here are our Congressional Delegation’s recent votes over the past week.  As we all know, the most controversial and disappointing vote came from Big Pharm’s two most beloved Senators, Tom Carper and Chris Coons. They both voted no on Amy Klobuchar and Bernie Sander’s Amendment allowing the importation of cheap drugs from Canada.    Based on that vote alone, Carper and Coons should suffer primaries.

They also voted yes on allowing the waiver for General Jim Mattis to become Defense Secretary.   This is not a confirmation vote on his nomination, but rather a specific waiver of the law banning any retired General/Admiral/military from serving as Secretary of Defense for seven years after their retirement.   Personally, I don’t have a problem with the waiver.  Yes, it is good that we have the seven year waiting period law, but I also think it can be waived on a case by case basis.  And Mattis is probably the best SecDef that Trump could come up with.   In fact, with Trump as President, I do prefer having a former military officer leading the Pentagon.  The Military is not as gung ho about wars as such stellar civilian leaders like Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz.

In the House, however, Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester votes no on the Mattis waiver.   In that chamber, it was a more party-line affair than in the Senate.   Most of Mrs. Rochester’s votes also were party line votes, which is good.   One vote, regarding the bill on Private Market Investors, I need more information on.  I am not sure what the issue is there.  Rochester voted yes, and so did a lot of other Democrats and Republicans.    But is this a good bill?   With Republicans leading the chamber I am always suspicious.

 

Recent Senate Votes
Fiscal 2017 Budget Resolution-Klobuchar Amendment Concerning Drug Importation – Vote Rejected (46-52, 2 Not Voting)

The amendment would establish a deficit-neutral reserve fund relating to lower prescription drug prices for Americans by importing drugs from Canada.

Sen. Thomas Carper voted NO
Sen. Chris Coons voted NO
 


Fiscal 2017 Budget Resolution – Vote Agreed to (51-48, 1 Not Voting)

The concurrent resolution would trigger the budget reconciliation process and enable the subsequent consideration of reconciliation legislation to repeal major portions of the 2010 health law. The measure would provide instructions to two Senate and two House committees to cut a minimum of $1 billion each during the next 10 years as part of budget reconciliation.

Sen. Thomas Carper voted NO
Sen. Chris Coons voted NO

 


Gen. James Mattis Secretary of Defense Waiver – Vote Passed (81-17, 2 Not Voting)

The bill would provide for an exception to a limitation against appointment of persons as secretary of Defense within seven years of relief from active duty as a regular commissioned officer of the Armed Forces.

Sen. Thomas Carper voted YES
Sen. Chris Coons voted YES

 


Recent House Votes
Private Market Investors – Vote Passed (344-73, 17 Not Voting)

The bill would expand the circumstances under which events where businesses offer unregistered securities in the private market would not be considered “general solicitations” that otherwise require the issuer to verify that the individuals attending the events are accredited investors.

Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester voted YES
 


Regulatory Accountability – Vote Passed (238-183, 13 Not Voting)

The bill would modify the federal rule-making process with a focus on reducing the possible economic costs of federal regulations, allowing more legal challenges to rules and increasing transparency. Among its provisions, it would require agencies to estimate the cost of proposed regulations and consider lower-cost alternatives, creating additional steps that agencies must follow when proposing “major” or “high impact” rules, including an opportunity for the public to challenge agency justifications and findings. It also automatically would postpone the implementation of new federal rules costing $1 billion or more until all legal challenges are resolved, and it effectively would overturn two Supreme Court decisions that require courts to give substantial deference to an agency’s interpretation of a rule or underlying law.

Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester voted NO

 


SEC Cost-Benefit Analyses – Vote Passed (243-184, 7 Not Voting)

The bill would require the Securities and Exchange Commission to conduct cost-benefit analyses of new regulatory proposals and existing rules, and to modify or rescind those found to have a negative impact.

Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester voted NO

 


CFTC Reauthorization – Vote Passed (239-182, 13 Not Voting)

The bill would reauthorize operations of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission through fiscal 2021 and amend the 2010 financial regulatory overhaul law to modify and clarify how the CFTC is to regulate derivatives and swaps. Among its provisions, it would ease certain regulatory requirements to ensure that some “end users” of derivatives are not regulated as swaps dealers, require the CFTC to conduct cost-benefit analyses of its proposed rules and allow for the development of rules regarding the interaction of U.S. swaps rules to international requirements.

Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester voted NO

 


Fiscal 2017 Budget Resolution – Vote Passed (227-198, 10 Not Voting)

The concurrent resolution would trigger the budget reconciliation process and enable the subsequent consideration of reconciliation legislation to repeal major portions of the 2010 health law. The measure would provide instructions to two Senate and two House committees to cut a minimum of $1 billion each during the next 10 years as part of budget reconciliation.

Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester voted NO

 


Gen. James Mattis Secretary of Defense Waiver – Vote Passed (268-151, 1 Present, 14 Not Voting)

The bill that would provide for an exception to a limitation against appointment of persons as secretary of Defense within seven years of relief from active duty as a regular commissioned officer of the Armed Forces.

Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester voted NO

9 comments on “Congressional Vote Report – 1/19/2017

  1. Sure I was disgusted, but not surprised, by Coons and Carper voting against the drug importation amendment. The big disappoint was Cory Booker as I was hoping for more from him. Also the cover story of “safety” made me want to hurl, same drugs from the same companies and we can’t trust them? As usual the only threat came from decreased profits for the drug racket we call Big Pharma.

  2. Big thank you for this vote update… With the incoming administration, scorecards like this are something I will be scrutinizing even more closely. Here’s hoping both Carper & Coons don’t screw the pooch and vote to confirm DeVos.

  3. I’m confused here. So you are cautious on a house vote because Republicans are voting on a piece of legislation that Dems are also voting for. (OK, fair) But not the same caution for the non-binding resolution amendment in which Dems and Republicans who have been against drugs from Canada since before birthers existed voted together in favor…

    On Booker, he voted for a similar amendment prior to voting against Klobuchar’s (PS thanks for getting that detail correct!) which addressed his safety concerns and had less strings attached (According to reports, I haven’t located the aforementioned amendment)

    But this was one vote on a non-binding amendment on a non-binding resolution, and sure we can be disappointed (can we though?) that two Senators with AstraZeneca in their state didn’t vote for it (and yeah, I’m not sure I buy the safety cop out answer either…) but I question the handful of R’s that suddenly jumped on an amendment when they’d been against it for so long. And if you reserve caution the House vote, why not the Senate vote, that we do actually have more information on?

    This one vote, which procedurally means nothing, overshadowed the fact the Booker went against protocol and decades (centuries?) of tradition and testified against his colleague Sen. Session. He took a stand for all of America, I don’t see anyone else doing that.

    So if we’re going to sit here and pick apart every vote, can we at least flame our Elected officials and potential POTUS candidates for votes that would have made a difference, or at least hold the same standards for all three elected officials? I do feel this is a little like a purity/litmus test and wasn’t there just a post today that essentially said that does us no good?

    These Elected officials are human no one will have a perfect voting record and where it makes sense we absolutely need to hold them accountable (Hey Sens. Carper & Coons there was another Amendment that addressed your safety concerns did you vote for it? No. Why? and so on and so on.)

    I don’t know that’s probably the longest rant I’ll ever write on a blog comment section…but no promises

    • Well, there are some things that are more important. Yes, the Amendment was non binding. Yes, it was just one vote. Yes, there were other Democrats voting No. Yes, there were Republicans voting yes. Yes, Coons and Carper have a plausible excuse for it, but we are letting them know that it is not good enough. Here is hoping they learn that the corporatist ways of the past are no longer sufficient.

    • cassandram

      No one is going to have a perfect voting record, but one of the reasons for pointing out the local votes against the Klobuchar Amendment is to give people a heads up that they may want to engage on this issue. It was a non-binding vote, but it did signal that neither of these gentlemen get the real cost pressures of the price of pharmaceuticals on regular people. In the long run, it is going to be important to signal to the both of them that if they are asking for our votes, they have to do something to recognize that we are who they should be representing.

      • I totally get pointing it out, but that’s not what’s been done. (And maybe I’m clouding this post by Blue Delaware, with every other post by ‘Progressives’ that have skewered them, and I’m lumping this in with them, and that’s not fair of me…) Bob Casey voted against the amendment too, but the three people that got crucified by local and national progressives alike were Carper (who has never been particularly progressive anyway–not that this should excuse him BTW), Coons and Booker… Those three were named with Booker taking the brunt (and no one seemed to care about the further explanation, beyond safety, that he gave)

        I don’t know maybe I’m a bad a Democrat (I’m not) for not thinking this isn’t the worst vote in the world. I do get the disappointment, but my disappointment rests in the reasoning they gave. I don’t know if I buy the safety thing (I do know, Sen. Carper has always had these concerns, this is nothing new for him) and I would rather they just be honest, but I think the honesty would also fall on deaf ears, quite frankly. But to be so incredibly incendiary for one vote, when there are going to be others that we’re going to need them to listen to us on… I just don’t know (now that I’ve said that three times…)

        • I hear ya. Going so hard after Booker (and I agree this sort of talk is really harsh in other places) is unfair. I have no idea why his progressive card was pulled over this – especially when other politicians get a complete pass on their votes. It infuriates me that people focus on this while basically ignoring his historic and unprecedented testimony against Sessions.

          I wrote on another thread:

          “Where I see a problem is the way some of us are freaking out over every thing – like writing off Lisa Blunt Rochester for attending the inauguration today. Yes, I wish she would boycott it, but I’m more concerned on how she votes on issues. We need to target our fight, stay on point, and not always throw the baby out with the bath water.

          And yes, there are some politicians who will will never change and they deserve our scorn, but there are some who could turn out to be allies, and we need to cultivate them. We can be disappointed in Lisa Blunt Rochester’s decision to attend the inauguration, but it isn’t a window into her soul or how she will vote.

          We also need to hold every politician to the same standard. If voting the wrong way on an issue makes them the enemy, not progressive, etc. then that standard must be applied across the board. It’s frustrating to see certain progressive politicians get away with votes that other progressive politicians get excoriated for. And the only difference I see for this behavior is that we like the politician we give a pass to. If how a politician votes count, then they count equally. Consistency will matter in this fight.”

          To me, it’s fine to be disappointed, but the “end of days” reactions are over the top and unhelpful.

          • “To me, it’s fine to be disappointed, but the “end of days” reactions are over the top and unhelpful.”

            That’s all I’m trying to say (but far less succinctly)

            Also, I too was disappointed she was attending, but the thing that got me over that in hurry? She honestly and openly explained why. Maybe I didn’t like the first two reasons, but her third, that Congress has oversight, and she’ll be there from day 1, well, that just made sense. (And even if I didn’t buy all three reasons… she was still open and honest, and that’s all I ask of our elected officials…I can still be disappointed, but I don’t need to put them on blast if they’re open and honest about a decision.)

        • cassandram

          I get this. I saw much of the same over the top reaction. Cory Booker was savaged on Twitter and he posted a better (but not great) explanation on FB. He at least acknowledges that the cost of medicines for Americans is Too Damn High. The safety argument is something of a red herring and I think that all of these guys are fast coming to grips with the fact that their constituents are not going to let them get away with platitudes — certainly not when those platitudes have little to do with resolving the problem. As you noted, Booker stepped up and actually testified against Sessions — reminding everyone that this was someone whose entire career was pointedly engineered to not support civil rights for all. Frankly, I thought that gave a bunch of other Senators some cover to discuss voting against him. That was brave on his part and that shouldn’t be thrown away on this pharma thing. Because my sense is that we can push Booker to better behavior.

          The local pushback on Coons and Carper was more about neither of them not having a single thing to lose by voting for this thing. AND I think that there is some bubbling discontent with both of them. All of these guys need to be pushed to represent us.

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