Here’s how the state’s members of Congress voted on major issues in the week ending Oct. 18.
Government funding, debt limit
By a vote of 285 for and 144 against, the House on Oct. 16 sent President Obama a bill (HR 2775) to fund all federal agencies on a stopgap basis, raise the $16.7 trillion national debt limit and end a fiscal and political impasse that had crippled the U.S. government since Oct. 1, the start of the new fiscal year.
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The bill funds the entire government through Jan. 15 at a sequester-level rate of $986 billion annually and authorizes Treasury borrowing through Feb. 7 to meet U.S. financial obligations. The bill also requires a House-Senate conference committee to produce by Dec. 13 a long-term budget blueprint that sets discretionary spending limits and revenue targets and recommends fiscal policies.
Additionally, the bill requires the administration to take further steps to verify the incomes of individuals and households applying for subsidies to buy health insurance in Affordable Care Act exchanges.
Voting yes: Suzan DelBene, D-Medina; Rick Larsen, D-Lake Stevens; Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas; Doc Hastings, R-Pasco; Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane; Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor; Jim McDermott, D-Seattle; Dave Reichert, R-Auburn; Adam Smith, D-Bellevue; Denny Heck, D-Olympia
Funding Indian services
By a vote of 233 for and 160 against, the House on Oct. 14 passed a Republican measure (HJ Res 80) to fully fund and thus reopen the Indian Health Services, Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Indian Education during the partial government shutdown then in its 14th day. This stopgap appropriation sought to fund these agencies for Native Americans at sequestration levels through Dec. 15.
This was the 14th and final bill passed by House Republicans since Oct. 1 to fund specific agencies or programs while leaving the remainder of the government closed. The Democratic-led Senate shelved all of these piecemeal measures on grounds that the entire government deserved to be reopened.
Voting yes: DelBene, Hastings, McMorris Rodgers, Reichert
Voting no: Larsen, Kilmer, McDermott, Smith, Heck
Not voting: Herrera Beutler
By a vote of 81 for and 18 against, the Senate on Oct. 16 sent the House a bill (HR 2775, above) to end a 16-day partial closure of federal agencies and avert a U.S. debt default the next day or soon thereafter. In addition to provisions noted above, the bill authorizes $350 million for rebuilding roads and bridges in flooded areas of Colorado, retroactively pays the salaries of an estimated 800,000 civil servants furloughed during the shutdown and approves a $174,000 death benefit for the wife of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J.
The bill also provides $3.1 million for the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board, a panel established in 2004 to protect citizens’ rights against intrusions by post-9/11 laws such as the USA Patriot Act. Additionally, the bill authorizes $2.2 billion to advance the Olmsted Locks and Dam navigation project on the lower Ohio River between Kentucky and Illinois.
Voting yes: Maria Cantwell, D; Patty Murray, D