WASHINGTON — Here’s how state members of Congress voted on major issues during the legislative week that ended Friday.


Protecting labor’s right to organize: By a vote of 225 for and 206 against, the House on Tuesday passed a bill, HR 842, that would protect and expand employee rights to collectively bargain for better pay, benefits and working conditions. The bill would establish the right to organize as a civil right enforceable in federal court, prohibit the permanent replacement of striking workers, and enable employees to file class action lawsuits over working conditions. The bill also would negate state right-to-work laws allowing nonunion employees to benefit from negotiated contracts without paying union dues. In addition, the bill would:

• Make it difficult for employers to classify “gig economy” workers as independent contractors to prevent them from joining unions.

• Authorize stiff National Labor Relations Board fines for employers that unlawfully disrupt organizing campaigns.

• Impose personal liability on corporate directors who knowingly sanction their company’s union-busting tactics.

• Allow immediate reinstatement in court, through injunctive relief, of workers fired for union activity.


• Allow mediation and arbitration to resolve disputes between newly certified unions and companies in drafting their first contract.

• Permit unions to conduct secondary boycotts.

• Allow union elections to be conducted at neutral sites and prohibit employers’ “captive audience” meetings to persuade workers.

• Permit workers with multiple employers to negotiate directly with the one exercising the most control over their employment.

• Prevent employers from using a worker’s immigration status to determine his or her terms of employment.

Voting yes: Suzan DelBene, D-Medina; Rick Larsen, D-Lake Stevens; Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor; Pramila Jayapal, D-Seattle; Kim Schrier, D-Issaquah; Adam Smith, D-Bellevue; Marilyn Strickland, D-Olympia

Voting no: Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas; Dan Newhouse, R-Sunnyside; Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane


Expanding checks on gun sales: The House on Thursday voted, 227 for and 203 against, to expand federal gun background checks to cover sales conducted at gun shows, over the internet or through classified ads, with an exception for sales between family members. The bill, HR 8, would plug loopholes that allow millions of U.S. firearms sales to skirt the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System, which is structured to deny guns to the mentally ill, individuals with criminal records and domestic abusers.

Voting yes: DelBene, Larsen, Kilmer, Jayapal, Schrier, Smith, Strickland

Voting no: Herrera Beutler, Newhouse, Rodgers

Checks on undocumented immigrants: By a vote of 207 for and 217 against, the House on Thursday defeated a Republican motion to HR 8 requiring undocumented immigrants to be reported to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement when federal background checks detect they are attempting to buy a firearm.

Voting yes: Herrera Beutler, Newhouse, Rodgers

Voting no: DelBene, Larsen, Kilmer, Jayapal, Schrier, Smith, Strickland

Extending gun background checks: By a vote of 219 for and 210 against, the House on Thursday passed a bill, HR 1446, that would allow more time for the FBI’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System to complete reviews of impending gun sales. Now, sales automatically go through if the check is not finished within three business or weekend days. The bill would extend the window to as many as 20 business days.

Voting yes: DelBene, Larsen, Kilmer, Jayapal, Schrier, Smith, Strickland

Voting no: Herrera Beutler, Newhouse, Rodgers

Final OK to coronavirus relief: By a vote of 220 for and 211 against, the House on Wednesday gave final congressional approval to a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, HR 1319, that would add $300 a week to unemployment checks through Sept. 6; deliver payments of $1,400 a person to 150 million Americans; increase the Child Tax Credit in a way designed to cut child poverty nearly in half; deliver $350 billion to state, county, city, tribal and territorial governments; provide $25 billion in grants to the restaurant industry; increase Affordable Care Act premium subsidies; fund the reopening of K-12 schools; provide $25 billion in rental aid to avert evictions and $10 billion to help landlords meet their expenses; and fund programs to vaccinate against COVID-19 and slow the spread of the virus.

Voting yes: DelBene, Larsen, Kilmer, Jayapal, Schrier, Smith, Strickland

Voting no: Herrera Beutler, Newhouse, Rodgers


Confirming attorney general: By a vote of 70 for and 30 against, the Senate on Wednesday confirmed federal Appeals Judge Merrick Garland, 68, as attorney general. Garland held Department of Justice positions under former Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. In 2016, his nomination to the Supreme Court was blocked in the GOP-controlled Senate for 10 months and then withdrawn.

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

Confirming housing and urban development secretary: By a vote of 66 for and 34 against, the Senate on Wednesday confirmed Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, as secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Fudge, 68, was a mayor in suburban Cleveland before entering Congress in 2009, and she once chaired the Congressional Black Caucus.

Voting yes: Cantwell, Murray

Confirming EPA boss: By a vote of 66 for and 34 against, the Senate on Wednesday confirmed Michael Regan, 44, as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the first Black person to lead the agency in its 50-year history. A specialist in reducing air pollution, Regan served at the EPA under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush and was secretary of the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.

Voting yes: Cantwell, Murray