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WASHINGTON — Here’s how our state’s members of Congress voted on major issues in the week ending May 23.


Fiscal 2015 military budget

By a vote of 325-98, the House on Thursday authorized a $600.7 billion military budget (HR 4435) for fiscal 2015, including $74 billion for U.S. engagements in Afghanistan; $5 billion for other overseas actions; nearly $60 billion for active-duty and retiree health care; $17.9 billion for nuclear-weapons programs run by the Department of Energy and $8.3 billion for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. The bill funds a 1.8 percent military pay raise, bars higher co-payments or enrollment fees in the military health-care system known as Tricare, keeps prosecution of sexual-assault cases in the chain of command and authorizes a force of 1,308,920 active-duty personnel and 827,800 reservists.

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Additionally, the bill suspends military cooperation with Russia; bars closure of the Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, military prison; maintains a fleet of 11 aircraft carriers; prohibits base closings; funds 10 Apache helicopters for Egypt; bolsters the U.S. Africa and Cyber commands; expands U.S. European Command support of countries bordering Russia; upgrades mental-health and suicide-prevention programs and bars the retirement of Air Force U-2 spy planes and Navy cruisers.

Voting yes: Suzan DelBene, D-Medina; Rick Larsen, D-Lake Stevens; Jaime Herrera, R-Camas; Doc Hastings, R-Pasco; Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane; Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor; Dave Reichert, R-Auburn; Adam Smith, D-Bellevue; Denny Heck, D-Olympia

Voting no: Jim McDermott, D-Seattle

Minimum wage, equal pay

By a vote of 194-227, the House on Thursday defeated a motion by Democrats to prohibit the awarding of contracts under HR 4435 (above) to companies that fail to pay a minimum wage of $10.10 per hour or provide pay equity between male and female employees, among other provisions.

Voting yes: DelBene, Larsen, Kilmer, McDermott, Smith, Heck

Voting no: Herrera Beutler, Hastings, McMorris Rodgers, Reichert

Ban on climate-change spending

By a vote of 231-92, the House on Thursday adopted an amendment to HR 4435 (above) that would prohibit the Department of Defense from spending funds in its fiscal 2015 budget on programs that address climate change.

Voting yes: Herrera Beutler, Hastings, McMorris Rodgers, Reichert

Voting no: DelBene, Larsen, Kilmer, McDermott, Smith, Heck

Repeal of 9/11 war resolution

The House on Thursday refused, by 191-233, to repeal the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), which, along with the Iraq war resolution approved in 2002, has been the legal basis of U.S. military actions since 9/11. The amendment was offered to HR 4435 (above). Backers said that after repeal, presidents would still have constitutional authority to act quickly to protect national security, but opponents said repeal would increase U.S. exposure to terrorist attacks.

Voting yes: DelBene, Larsen, Kilmer, McDermott, Heck

Voting no: Herrera Beutler, Hastings, McMorris Rodgers, Reichert, Smith

Indefinite military detention in the U.S.

By a vote of 191-230, the House on Thursday defeated an amendment to HR 4435 (above) that would repeal the authority presidents were granted after 9/11 to indefinitely detain suspected members of terrorist organizations in U.S. military custody without charges rather than assign them to America’s civilian criminal-justice system.

Voting yes: DelBene, Larsen, Kilmer, McDermott, Smith, Heck

Voting no: Herrera Beutler, Hastings, McMorris Rodgers, Reichert

Guantánamo Bay closure

By a vote of 177-247, the House on Thursday defeated an amendment to HR 4435 (above) to shut down the U.S. military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, by the end of 2016. Under one closure scenario, about half of Guantánamo’s 154 detainees would be transferred to supermax prisons in the U.S. and the remainder those regarded as nonthreatening to the U.S. would be sent to other countries. Most Guantánamo inmates have not been charged for lack of evidence.

Voting yes: DelBene, Larsen, Kilmer, McDermott, Smith, Heck

Voting no: Herrera Beutler, Hastings, McMorris Rodgers, Reichert

Curbs on NSA surveillance

By a vote of 303-121, the House on Thursday passed a bill (HR 3361) that would scale back the National Security Agency’s authority to collect bulk data on Americans’ phone calls and other telecommunications under federal statutes such as section 215 of the USA Patriot Act. Under the bill, when the NSA requests authority from a foreign intelligence surveillance court judge to search telecommunications involving U.S. citizens, it must provide a degree of specific information short of probable cause — to identify its target in the context of a terrorism investigation. But critics said the bill defines the term “specific selection” so vaguely that mass NSA collections of data on innocent americans’ communications could still occur.

Voting yes: Larsen, Herrera Beutler, Hastings, McMorris Rodgers, Kilmer, McDermott, Reichert, Heck

Voting no: DelBene, Smith

Quick firing of civil servants

By a vote of 390-33, the House on Wednesday sent the Senate a bill (HR 4031) waiving certain civil-service job protections to enable the quick firing of senior federal executives found to be responsible for a recently disclosed rash of apparently preventable patient deaths in the Veterans Health Administration. The bill would waive due-process requirements such as 30 days’ advance notice in writing of planned dismissals, the allowance of ample time for targeted employees to respond and the right of employees to appeal firing decisions to the merit systems protection board and possibly receive a hearing. The bill is directed at any culpable senior executive service (SES) employee of the department of veterans affairs. The SES is a leadership level sandwiched between rank-and-file civil servants and presidential appointees throughout the executive branch.

Voting yes: DelBene, Larsen, Herrera Beutler, Hastings, McMorris Rodgers, Kilmer, Reichert, Smith, Heck

Voting no: McDermott

Corps of Engineers water projects

By a vote of 412-4, the House on Tuesday approved the conference report on a bill (HR 3080) to guide the development of more than 700 of Army Corps of Engineers projects budgeted at $60 billion over many fiscal years for purposes such as flood control, shoreline protection, river navigation, harbor dredging, lock and dam maintenance and environmental restoration. The bill authorizes $12.3 billion over 10 years for 34 new projects, cancels at least $12 billion worth of inactive projects, bars earmarks and fast-tracks environmental reviews under laws such as the National Environmental Policy Act.

Voting yes: DelBene, Larsen, Herrera Beutler, Hastings, McMorris Rodgers, Kilmer, McDermott, Reichert, Smith, Heck


Federal Reserve confirmation

By a vote of 68-27, the Senate on Wednesday confirmed Stanley Fischer as vice chairman of the Federal Reserve System. He assumes a term that will expire on Feb. 1, 2020, and which became vacant when Janet Yellen was confirmed in January as Federal Reserve chair. Fischer, 70, who holds dual U.S.-Israeli citizenship, has been chief economist at the World Bank, a governor of the Bank of Israel and professor of economics at schools such as MIT and the University of Chicago.

Voting yes: Maria Cantwell, D; Patty Murray, D

Federal Judge David Barron

By a vote of 53-45, the Senate on Thursday confirmed David J. Barron, 46, a Harvard law professor, as a judge on the 1st Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, which is based in Boston. As a top Justice Department official in the Obama administration, Barron authored two classified memos providing a legal basis for a U.S. drone strike in Yemen in 2011 that killed Anwar al-Awaiki, an American citizen and terrorist suspect. Senate opposition to his confirmation was based mainly on that chapter of his legal career.

Voting yes: Cantwell, Murray

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