Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Which 8 Democrats Just Voted to Effectively Repeal the EPA's Clean Power Plan? by Liberty Equality Fraternity and Trees Follow

House Republicans, along with a handful of Democratic friends, have been busy this week attacking the Affordable Care Act. But they managed to take time off from that this week to focus on another pastime: attacking the EPA.

Yesterday, the House passed the "Ratepayer Protection Act of 2015." Is this bill about "protecting ratepayers"? Of course not. It's an assault on the EPA designed to effectively repeal the Clean Power Plan:
This bill would delay the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) implementation of the Clean Power Plan, rules proposed in 2014 to reduce emissions at existing electric power plants that are expected to be finalized later this summer.  The Clean Power Plan would require states, territories and Indian tribes to develop and meet individual goals for reducing carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity sector. H.R. 2042 would delay implementation of the forthcoming EPA carbon emissions reduction rules until any legal challenges are complete and no longer subject to further appeal or judicial review. Additionally, the bill would allow states to opt out of developing an emissions reduction plan if their governor certifies that creating one would cause a "significant adverse effect" on electricity ratepayers in their state or on the reliability of the state's electricity system.

This delay, which could last years and burden the agency with exorbitant legal costs on its already limited budget, is effectively a repeal of the EPA’s rules.  It effectively denies climate change and reverses decades of Clean Air Act precedent and practice, while allowing unchecked carbon pollution by existing power plants – the largest source of uncontrolled carbon pollution in the United States.  By preventing the Clean Power Plan from even starting, thus preventing its efforts to cut carbon pollution by 30% in 2030, this bill puts both the environmental and public health of our nation at risk.
The bill passed 247 to 180
 
239 Republicans and 8 Democrats voted for it. 176 Democrats and 4 Republicans voted against it.

Here are the 8 Democrats:
Nick Ashford (NE-02)
Sanford Bishop (GA-02)
Andre Carson (IN-07)
Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-09)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)
Terri Sewell (AL-07)
Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09)
Here are the 4 Republicans:
Carlos Curbelo (FL-26)
Bob Dold (IL-10)
Chris Gibson (NY-19)
Frank LoBiondo (NJ-02)

There were roll call votes on three amendments.

Frank Pallone (NJ-06) offered an amendment to require a governor wishing to opt out of the Clean Power Plan to include a certification that electric generating units are sources of carbon pollution that contribute to human-induced climate change; and the state or federal plan to reduce carbon emissions from electric generating units would promote national security, economic growth and public health by addressing human induced climate change through the increased use of clean energy, energy efficiency and reductions in carbon pollution.

It failed 181 to 245.

179 Democrats and 2 Republicans voted for it. 241 Republicans and 4 Democrats voted against it.
The two Republicans were Bob Dold (IL-10) and Chris Gibson (NY-19).

Here are the 4 Democrats:

Sanford Bishop (GA-02)
Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)
Terri Sewell (AL-07)

Bobby Rush (IL-01) offered an amendment to require a governor's determination and shall also include certification that the inapplicability of a state or federal plan will not have a significant adverse effect on costs associated with a State's plan to respond to extreme weather events associated with human-caused climate change, including flooding, intense storms, frequent wildfires, and increased drought.

It failed 182 to 243.

Five members of each party voted with the other side.

Here are the 5 Republicans who voted for it:

Bob Dold (IL-10)
Chris Gibson (NY-19)
Morgan Griffith (VA-09)
Pete King (NY-02)
Frank LoBiondo (NJ-02)

Here are the 5 Democrats who voted against it:

Pete Aguilar (CA-31)
Sanford Bishop (GA-02)
Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)
Terri Sewell (AL-07)

Jerry McNerney (CA-09) offered an amendment to require a state public utility commission/public service commission and the Electric Reliability Organization to conduct an analysis of any state or federal plan.

It failed 177 to 250.

7 Democrats joined Republicans in voting against it:

Nick Ashford (NE-02)
Sanford Bishop (GA-02)
Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
Eliot Engel (NY-16)
Raul Grijalva (AZ-03)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)
Terri Sewell (AL-07)

Which 11 Democrats Joined the GOP in Their Latest Assault on the Affordable Care Act?

On Tuesday, the House passed the deceptively named Protecting Seniors’ Access to Medicare Act of 2015. Given that the bill was coming from the party that wants to slash and voucherize Medicare, it's clear that it's not about Medicare rights. So what is it about?
This bill would repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), which was established under the ACA in response to high rates of growth in Medicare expenditures and charged with developing proposals to "reduce the per capita rate of growth in Medicare spending." However, due in part to the success of the Affordable Care Act in slowing Medicare’s growth rate, CBO projects that the IPAB will not be triggered until 2024. By repealing IPAB before it has a chance to work, the bill would eliminate an important safeguard that will help reduce the rate of Medicare cost growth responsibly while protecting Medicare beneficiaries. The bill is simply another in a long line of House Republican efforts to undermine both the Medicare guarantee and the Affordable Care Act.
Further, because the CBO has estimated that the cost of repealing IPAB would be $7.1 billion over 10 years, Republicans have chosen to pay for the cost of repeal with cuts to the ACA’s Prevention and Public Health Fund. This fund is used to make national investments in prevention and public health, to improve health outcomes, and to enhance health care quality. It has been used to increase awareness of and access to preventive health services and reduce tobacco use - concentrating on the causes of chronic disease to help more Americans stay healthy.
Eliminating these funds in the name of damaging the sustainability of Medicare is a two-pronged attack on our nation’s public health.
In other words, it's just the latest in the never-ending series of GOP attacks on the Affordable Care Act. And it's a waste of time because Obama will veto it.

The bill passed 244 to 154.

11 Democrats voted with Republicans. Here they are:

Nick Ashford (NE-02)
Mike Capuano (MA-07)
Bill Foster (IL-11)
Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02)
Gwen Graham (FL-02)
Sean Maloney (NY-18)
Richard Neal (MA-01)
Beto O’Rourke (TX-16)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)
David Scott (GA-13)
Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09)

Friday, June 19, 2015

These 12 Democrats Want Credit for Opposing the NDAA, But They Helped It Get to a Vote

On Tuesday, I wrote about how the Senate Democrats had threatened to filibuster the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) because the GOP was allowing the Pentagon to evade sequestration caps---and then only 13 actually followed through.

Yesterday, the Senate took its vote on the final passage of the FY 2016 NDAA, and the final vote was 71 to 25.

The 2 Republicans who voted against cloture--Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rand Paul (R-KY)--also voted against final passage. (Although, Rand voted for a second cloture motion yesterday.)

Of the 23 members of the Democratic caucus, 12 are stalwarts who voted against both of the previous cloture votes for the NDAA:

Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Al Franken (D-MN)
Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Pat Leahy (D-VT)
Joe Manchin (D-WV)
Ed Markey (D-MA)
Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Harry Reid (D-NV)
Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Ron Wyden (D-OR)

Bob Casey (D-PA) voted against both cloture motions, but voted for the final bill.
And then 12 Democrats who had voted for cloture (twice in all cases but Mikulski's since she was absent for the first vote) voted against final passage:

Bob Casey (D-PA)
Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
Ben Cardin (D-MD)
Dick Durbin (D-IL)
Mazie Hirono (D-HI)
Bob Menendez (D-NJ)
Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)
Bill Nelson (D-FL)
Jack Reed (D-RI)
Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

In other words, they want credit for having opposed the bill, even though they helped make sure it passed. This reminds me of the CRomnibus last year, where many Democrats voted for cloture before voting against the final bill--helping it pass but keeping their hands "clean."

Which 46 Democrats Just Voted to Hobble the Affordable Care Act?

Yesterday, House Republicans returned to one of their favorite pastimes: trying to hobble the Affordable Care Act.

That took the form of a bill to repeal the medical device tax, one of the funding mechanisms for the ACA. The "Protect Medical Innovation Act" would reduce revenue for the ACA by $24.4 billion over the next years.

Many Democrats expressed concern that repealing the medical device tax would have a slippery slope effect:
"If people vote for this industry to essentially go back on its commitment to participate, other providers are going to ask for the same treatment. And so in that respect, what the Republicans are aiming to do is to unravel — to unravel — ACA," Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.) said.
The bill passed 280 to 140, with 46 Democrats joining Republicans. 
 
Here are those 46 Democrats:

Pete Aguilar (CA-31)
Brad Ashford (NE-02)
Ami Bera (CA-07)
Sanford Bishop (GA-02)
Brendan Boyle (PA-13)
Julia Brownley (CA-26)
Cheri Bustos (IL-17)
Tony Cardenas (CA-29)
Katherine Clark (MA-05)
Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
Susan Davis (CA-53)
Suzan DelBene (WA-01)
Tammy Duckworth (IL-08)
Chaka Fattah (PA-02)
Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02)
Gwen Graham (FL-02)
Gene Green (TX-29)
Brian Higgins (NY-26)
Bill Keating (MA-09)
Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-01)
Annie Kuster (NH-02)
Ted Lieu (CA-33)
Dan Lipinski (IL-03)
David Loebsack (IA-02)
Stephen Lynch (MA-08)
Sean Maloney (NY-18)
Jerry McNerney (CA-09)
Seth Moulton (MA-06)
Patrick Murphy (FL-18)
Rick Nolan (MN-08)
Donald Norcross (NJ-01)
Scott Peters (CA-52)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)
Raul Ruiz (CA-36)
Loretta Sanchez (CA-46)
David Scott (GA-13)
Terri Sewell (AL-07)
Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09)
Jackie Speier (CA-14)
Eric Swalwell (CA-15)
Dina Titus (NV-01)
Paul Tonko (NY-20)
Norma Torres (CA-35)
Adam Smith (WA-09)
Juan Vargas (CA-51)
Tim Walz (MN-01)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Which 66 Democrats Voted for Unaccountable Warfare?

Yesterday, the House voted on a resolution introduced by Jim McGovern (MA-02), Walter Jones (NC-03), and Barbara Lee (CA-13) directing the President to remove US troops (except for those needed to protect diplomatic facilities and personnel) from Iraq and Syria within 30 days or no later than the end of this year, December 31, 2015. Congress has so far refused to debate or vote on an Authorization of the Use of Military Force (AUMF) for the military campaign against ISIS, and this resolution would reassert congressional powers and force Congress into action.

The resolution failed 139 to 288, with one representative (Justin Amash of MI's 3rd District) voting present.

120 Democrats and 19 Republicans voted for it. 222 Republicans and 66 Democrats voted against it.

Here are those 66 Democrats:

Pete Aguilar (CA-31)
Brad Ashford (NE-02)
Joyce Beatty (OH-03)
Ami Bera (CA-07)
Sanford Bishop (GA-02)
Brendan Boyle (PA-13)
Corrine Brown (FL-05)
Julia Brownley (CA-26)
Cheri Bustos (IL-17)
G. K. Butterfield (NC-01)
John Carney (DE-AL)
Andre Carson (IN-07)
Matt Cartwright (PA-17)
Kathy Castor (FL-14)
Joaquin Castro (TX-20)
Lacy Clay (MO-01)
Emanuel Cleaver (MO-05)
Gerry Connolly (VA-11)
Jim Cooper (TN-05)
Jim Costa (CA-16)
Joe Courtney (CT-02)
Joe Crowley (NY-14)
Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
Susan Davis (CA-53)
John Delaney (MD-06)
Ted Deutch (FL-21)
Lloyd Doggett (TX-35)
Tammy Duckworth (IL-08)
Eliot Engel (NY-16)
Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02)
Gwen Graham (FL-02)
Al Green (TX-09)
Gene Green (TX-29)
Steny Hoyer (MD-05)
Steve Israel (NY-03)
Derek Kilmer (WA-06)
Ron Kind (WI-03)
Jim Langevin (RI-02)
Sandy Levin (MI-09)
Dan Lipinski (IL-03)
David Loebsack (IA-02)
Nita Lowey (NY-17)
Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01)
Gregory Meeks (NY-05)
Grace Meng (NY-06)
Seth Moulton (MA-06)
Donald Norcross (NJ-01)
Ed Perlmutter (CO-07)
Scott Peters (CA-52)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)
David Price (NC-04)
Kathleen Rice (NY-04)
Cedric Richmond (LA-02)
Raul Ruiz (CA-36)
Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-02)
David Scott (GA-13)
Terri Sewell (AL-07)
Brad Sherman (CA-30)
Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09)
Adam Smith (WA-09)
Juan Vargas (CA-51)
Marc Veasey (TX-33)
Filemon Vela (TX-34)
Tim Walz (MN-01)
Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23)
Pete Welch (VT-AL)

Here are the 19 Republicans:

Dan Benishek (MI-01)
Rod Blum (IA-01)
Michael Burgess (TX-26)
Curt Clawson (FL-19)
Jimmy Duncan (TN-02)
Scott Garrett (NJ-05)
Morgan Griffith (VA-09)
Robert Hurt (VA-05)
Walter Jones (NC-03)
Raul Labrador (ID-01)
Tom Massie (KY-04)
Mick Mulvaney (SC-05)
Richard Nugent (FL-11)
Bill Posey (FL-08)
Tom Rice (SC-07)
Mark Sanford (SC-01)
Jim Sensenbrenner (WI-05)
Rob Woodall (GA-07)
Ted Yoho (FL-03)

Which 31 Democrats Voted Yet Again to Cut Social Spending to Fund War?

Tuesday, the House voted on the Intelligence Authorization Act for FY 2016.

This is the appropriations bill for 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, including the CIA, the National Security Agency, and the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Much of what these agencies do in the first place is bad, so there are grounds enough to oppose the funding bill. However, Republicans did manage to put in some provisions to make them worse. The bill restricts the president's ability to transfer detainees held in Guantanamo Bay Prison, and it also hobbles the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.

It also continues with the GOP's plan to eliminate budget caps on military programs by putting money into a slush fund:
Also similar to the NDAA, the bill inappropriately misuses the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) designation, authorizing approximately 43% more OCO funds than requested by the President – a dangerous gimmick intended to go around the sequester level defense spending cap from the Budget Control Act, while leaving the non-defense sequester level cap in place. This gambit will destabilize long-term national security planning, and allow domestic priorities to wither on the vine.  By removing pressure to replace the sequester level defense caps, it makes a new budget agreement less likely, with drastic negative consequences for our nation’s schools, roads and bridges, law enforcement, scientific research, and other domestic priorities critical to all hardworking Americans. If Republicans want to lift spending above the Budget Control Act's caps, then they should work with Democrats to replace the dangerous and irrational sequester for both defense and non-defense spending with a balanced solution.  
The bill passed 247 to 178
 
216 Republicans and 31 Democrats vote for it. 153 Democrats and 25 Republicans voted against it.

Here are the 31 Democrats:

Pete Aguilar (CA-31)
Brad Ashford (NE-02)
Ami Bera (CA-07)
Sanford Bishop (GA-02)
Julia Brownley (CA-26)
Cheri Bustos (IL-17)
Lacy Clay (MO-01)
Jim Cooper (TN-05)
Jim Costa (CA-16)
Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
John Delaney (MD-06)
Tammy Duckworth (IL-08)
Gwen Graham (FL-02)
Denny Heck (WA-10)
Bill Keating (MA-09)
Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-01)
Annie Kuster (NH-02)
Jim Langevin (RI-02)
Dan Lipinski (IL-03)
Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01)
Sean Maloney (NY-18)
Patrick Murphy (FL-18)
Donald Norcross (NJ-01)
Scott Peters (CA-52)
Collin Peterson (MN-07)
Kathleen Rice (NY-04)
Raul Ruiz (CA-36)
Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-02)
Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09)
Marc Veasey (TX-33)
Tim Walz (MN-01)

The House took a roll call vote on one amendment, introduced by Adam Schiff (CA-28), to strike four sections of the bill which add new restrictions to prevent the Administration from closing the Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp.

It failed 176 to 246.

171 Democrats and 5 Republicans voted for it. 235 Republicans and 11 Democrats voted against it.

Here are those 11 Democrats:

Pete Aguilar (CA-31)
Julia Brownley (CA-26)
Henry Cuellar (TX-28)
Gwen Graham (FL-02)
Gene Green (TX-29)
Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-01)
Dan Lipinski (IL-03)
Sean Maloney (NY-18)
Raul Ruiz (CA-36)
Dutch Ruppersberger (MD-02)
Kyrsten Sinema (AZ-09)

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Senate Dems Threatened to Block the NDAA. Guess How Many Actually Followed Through.

As I've written before, Congressional Republicans have decided to evade sequestration caps for the military budget by moving $38 billion into the Overseas Contingency Operations fund, the Pentagon's slush fund.

For the past couple of weeks, Senate Democrats have been threatening to "filibuster" (vote against cloture for) the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) if Republicans keep up with this gimmick.

Here's an article in POLITICO from June 3rd about the Senate Democrats' NDAA strategy:
On Tuesday, the party did not force a procedural vote to start work on the National Defense Authorization Act, but Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) warned that Democrats still may filibuster the defense bill if their demands aren’t met.
“We have grave concerns about this bill,” Reid said. “Unless it’s changed, I repeat, the president will veto it, and I hope there is some significant changes in the bill while it’s here on the floor so that we can help vote to get it off the floor.”
Several Democrats responded that they have to take a stand against what they consider a GOP budgeting gimmick.

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), who voted against the NDAA during committee markup, told POLITICO Tuesday he is pushing his colleagues to block the bill on the floor “because of the budgetary fakery.” And Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) said it’d be “very hard for me to vote for an NDAA that takes money out of the OCO fund without some guarantee that we’re going to address sequestration in other parts of the budget.”
That cloture vote was today. And guess how many members of the Democratic caucus actually voted against it?

13.

The vote was 83 to 15. Two Republicans--Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rand Paul (R-KY)--were the only Republicans to vote against cloture.

Here are the 13 members of the Democratic caucus who should be thanked for having a spine:

Tammy Baldwin (D-WI)
Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
Bob Casey (D-PA)
Al Franken (D-MN)
Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)
Pat Leahy (D-VT)
Joe Manchin (D-WV)
Ed Markey (D-MA)
Jeff Merkley (D-OR)
Harry Reid (D-NV)
Bernie Sanders (I-VT)
Elizabeth Warren (D-MA)
Ron Wyden (D-OR)

Earlier today, the Senate voted down an amendment by Joni Ernst (R-IA) to provide direct military aid to the Kurds in Iraq. The White House opposed the amendment, arguing that directly funding a militia group would undermine the already lacking legitimacy of the Iraqi government.

The vote was 54 to 45, falling six votes short of the 60-vote threshold.

8 Democrats joined 46 Republicans in voting for it. Here are those 8:

Cory Booker (D-NJ)
Barbara Boxer (D-CA)
Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
Joe Manchin (D-WV)
Gary Peters (D-MI)
Brian Schatz (D-HI)
Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Ron Wyden (D-OR)