WASHINGTON — Here’s how the state’s members of Congress voted on major issues in the week ending Sept. 13.
Delay of 2010 health law
By a vote of 235 for and 191 against, the House on Sept. 12 passed a Republican bill (HR 2775) on income-verification that would delay the Oct. 1 opening of the state-based exchanges at the core of the 2010 health law. The bill requires further steps by the administration to verify the incomes of low- and middle-income households receiving subsidies such as tax credits to buy insurance in the exchanges. This would be on top of a verification process already in place, in which the Department of Health and Human Services will check applicants’ income claims against tax returns, Social Security data and current payroll records, among other references. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has found the existing verification process to be satisfactory, but critics say it is so loose it invites fraud.
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The House and Senate have conducted more than 35 votes on GOP measures to repeal or dismantle “Obamacare” since it was enacted March 23, 2010. The law is scheduled to take full effect in January.
Voting yes: Doc Hastings, R-Pasco; Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane; Dave Reichert, R-Auburn
Voting no: Suzan DelBene, D-Medina; Rick Larsen, D-Lake Stevens; Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor; Jim McDermott, D-Seattle; Adam Smith, D-Bellevue; Denny Heck, D-Olympia
Not voting: Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas
Federal Judge Valerie Caproni
By a vote of 73 for and 24 against, the Senate on Sept. 9 confirmed Valerie E. Caproni as a federal judge for the Southern District of New York. Caproni, 58, joins the court from her position as deputy general counsel for Northrop Grumman. Caproni was the FBI’s top lawyer between 2003 and 2011. She drew criticism during Senate debate for her role in the FBI’s issuance of National Security Letters under the USA Patriot Act. In 2007, the Justice Department inspector general faulted the FBI for “widespread and serious misuse” of its National Security Letter authority under Caproni’s watch.
National Security Letters compel recipients such as libraries and telecom firms to yield customer records to federal authorities while prohibiting them from ever discussing the letter or challenging it in court. Issued without court orders, these letters request transactional information deemed relevant to terrorism investigations but not the content of records and communications.
Voting yes: Maria Cantwell, D; Patty Murray, D