WASHINGTON — Here’s how Washington state’s members of Congress voted on major issues in the week ending March 4.
Air pollution from brick manufacturing
With a 238-163 vote, the House on March 3 passed a GOP-drafted bill (HR 4557) that would indefinitely block a new Clean Air Act rule to curb hazardous emissions from the manufacture of bricks, structural clay products and clay ceramics. More than 16 years in the making, the rule targets emissions of hydrogen fluoride, hydrogen chloride and hazardous metals that the Environmental Protection Agency says are linked to illnesses such as cancer and asthma.
Voting yes: Dan Newhouse, R-Sunnyside; 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; Denny Heck, D-Olympia
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Not voting: Jaime Herrera, R-Camas; Adam Smith, D-Bellevue
Maya Angelou Post Office
The House, voting 371 to 9 on March 1 passed a bill (HR 3735) that would name a post office in Winston-Salem, N.C., the “Maya Angelou Memorial Post Office.” Angelou, a prominent literary figure and civil-rights activist, was a professor at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem for more than 30 years. She died in 2014 at age 86.
Voting yes: DelBene, Larsen, Newhouse, McMorris Rodgers, Kilmer, McDermott, Reichert, Heck
Not voting: Herrera Beutler, Smith
Painkiller and heroin addiction
Voting 48 to 47, the Senate on March 2 refused to approve $600 million in emergency spending this fiscal year for grants to help communities deal with prescription painkiller and heroin addiction. This amendment, which needed 60 votes to advance, drew opposition because it lacked offsetting budget cuts or revenue measures. It was offered to a bill (S 524) that would authorize $400 million over five years for state and local efforts to control a nationwide epidemic in which dependence on pain medicine (opioids) such as Percocet and OxyContin often leads to heroin addiction and death by overdose.
Voting yes: Maria Cantwell, D; Patty Murray, D
Medicare Part D drug addicts
The Senate, voting 46 to 50 on March 2, refused to expand S 524 (above) to include demonstration programs for seniors who become addicted to pain medicines they receive through the Medicare Part D prescription-drug plan. This amendment directed the secretary of Health and Human Services to establish teams of at least one doctor, one pharmacist and one behavioral specialist that would counsel and treat addicted seniors in a limited number of the 34 Medicare Part D regions.
Voting yes: Cantwell, Murray