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Bryanwatch: Late Sep 2020

Steil supports Forced Sterilization

A relatively calm week in Congress, with only a dozen votes. Probably good considering the level of insanity the rest of American politics saw this week. There were 9 party line votes, and Rep. Steil sided with his Republican colleagues on every one of them.

Perhaps the most interesting vote of the week was on H Res 1154, a resolution condemning the insane theories of the Q-Anon website. Remarkably, 18 members of the House of Representatives voted against condemning Q-Anon (RC 218, Oct 2). The majority were from the south, with Texas especially well represented. Wisconsin’s newest congressman, Tom Tiffany, was among the 18 who sided with some of the Internet’s craziest denizens. To his credit, Rep. Steil voted to condemn Q-Anon and its theories.

In a vote almost as wild, H Res 1153 condemned the forced sterilization of immigrant women at the Irwin County Detention Center and declared that people should not have medical procedures performed on them without their informed consent. Amazingly, the vast majority of Republicans (157 to 7) including Rep. Steil voted against this resolution (RC 217, Oct 2). That’s right, the House Republican caucus went on record endorsing forced sterilization – not sure that fits in with being the “pro-life” party.

On Tuesday, the vast majority of the House of Representatives, including Steil, voted to affirm that they believed in the orderly and peaceful transfer of power called from in the Constitution. (H Res 1155, RC 208, Sep 29). Only five members of Congress voted against: Matt Gaetz (FL), Louie Gohmert (TX), Clay Higgins (LA), Steve King (IA) and Thomas Massie (KY). Gohmert actually gave a speech in which he supported crack-pot conspiracy theories about the 2016 election (Congressional Record, H 5033). Gaetz gave a hyper-partisan speech containing several of the more absurd talking points of the Trump administration. (H5034).

On Wednesday, the House passed HR 6270, the Uyghur Forced Labor Disclosure Act. The bill would require public traded companies to disclose business dealings with the Chinese government related to the Xianjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. The Chinese government has violated the human rights of the Uyghur people, a Muslim minority in the western part of the country. Democrats, led by Jennifer Weston of Virginia, sought to increase corporate transparency in defense of human rights. There were 26 Republicans who opposed this idea; Rep. Steil was not one of them (RC 210, Sep 30)

Steil did support a motion to recommit by Patrick McHenry of North Carolina that would have gutted the intent of the original bill and provided political cover for the Trump administration’s failure to protect the Uyghu people. (RC 209, Sep 30).

Also on Tuesday, Louie Gohmert of Texas brought forth a resolution regarding the history of the Democratic party concerning slavery. Interestingly enough, the resolution was factually accurate, recalling that southern Democrats had a long and disturbing record of supporting slavery before the Civil War, and of restricting the rights of African Americans through Jim Crow laws for the century after the Civil War. Gohmert then urged that all references to the Democratic party be removed from the Capitol Building and House Office Buildings (H Res 1148). Democrats voted to table the resolution (RC 207, Sep 29) with Republicans Trey Hollingsworth (IN) and Adam Kinzinger (IL) supporting them.

On Thursday, the House passed HR 925, the Americas Conservation Enhancement Act, which would continue funding for the North American Wetlands Conservation Act through 2024 (RC 214. Oct 1). Since the legislation had already passed the Senate, the issue was on sending it to President Trump. Republicans unanimously voted against protecting wetlands. Some of the House’s most heavily targeted Democratic freshman also voted against the bill.

Interesting enough, stem cell research, which has a hot button issue in the 1990s, passed this week without a word of dissent. On Wednesday, the House unanimously (414-0) passed HR 4765, the Timely ReAuthorization of Necessary Stem-cell Programs Lends Access to Needed Therapies Act or TRANSPLANT Act. (RC 211, Sep 30)

As usual, Republicans voted against considering Democratic legislation. This week it was HR 925, the bill on wetlands conservation (RC 212 and 213, Sep 30) and two Sense of the Congress measures on unwanted medical procedures (H Res 1153) and Qanon (H Res 1154). (RC 215 and 216, Oct 1)


Total Votes: 12

Party Line: 207, 209, 210, 212, 213, 214, 215, 216, 217

NPL: 208, 211, 218

John Heckenlively
John Heckenlively
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