WASHINGTON — Here’s how area members of Congress voted on major issues during the legislative week that ended Friday.
Sending impeachment articles to Senate: By a vote of 228 to 193 against, the House on Wednesday adopted a resolution sending to the Senate the two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump that the House approved Dec. 18. The measure, H Res 798, also appointed seven House Democrats to make the case for impeachment in a Senate trial that opened Thursday. If convicted by a two-thirds vote of senators present, Trump would be removed from office. Trump has denied any wrongdoing, and leaders of the Senate’s Republican majority have predicted acquittal.
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; Denny Heck, D-Olympia
Voting no: Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas; Dan Newhouse, R-Sunnyside; Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane
Relaxing evidence standard for age discrimination: By a vote of 261 to 155, the House on Wednesday passed a bill, HR 1320, that would relax the standard of proof for plaintiffs to win lawsuits filed under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. The law protects job applicants and employees against age-based bias in hiring and firing, promotions, compensation and other conditions of employment. Under a 2009 Supreme Court decision, plaintiffs must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that their age was the sole basis for an adverse employment decision. This bill would restore the law’s original, less-restrictive standard under which plaintiffs must prove age was only a motivating factor — not the sole factor — behind the decision. In addition, the bill specifies that the less demanding standard also applies to lawsuits filed under the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the anti-retaliatory provisions of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Voting yes: DelBene, Larsen, Herrera Beutler, Kilmer, Jayapal, Schrier, Smith, Heck
Voting no: Newhouse, Rodgers
Killing administration rule on student loans: By a vote of 231 to 180, the House on Thursday nullified a new Trump administration rule that would offer potential debt relief to certain students defrauded by their college in obtaining a federal education loan, but quash Obama-era “borrower defense” protections for students enrolled in for-profit colleges. The measure, HJ Res 76, was sponsored by Democrats. The Trump rule would apply to defrauded students at private and public institutions and for-profit colleges but would help far fewer students than the Obama rule because of stricter eligibility standards for obtaining relief.
Voting yes: DelBene, Larsen, Kilmer, Jayapal, Schrier, Smith, Heck
Voting no: Herrera Beutler, Newhouse, Rodgers
Setting new rules for North American trade: By a vote of 89 to 10, the Senate on Thursday passed a bill, HR 5430, giving final congressional approval to the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which would replace the 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as the framework for commerce among the three countries. The agreement requires Mexico to guarantee workers the right to join unions and engage in collective bargaining; authorizes fast-track probes of labor violations in Mexico and factory-specific penalties when transgressions are found; gives U.S. dairy and poultry farmers more access to Canadian markets; raises environmental standards but does not address climate change; sets wage requirements that benefit U.S. and Canadian auto factories over Mexico’s; and protects internet companies against liability for their users’ content.
Voting yes: Maria Cantwell, D; Patty Murray, D
Confirming Peter Gaynor as FEMA chief: By a vote of 81 to 8, the Senate on Tuesday confirmed Peter Gaynor as administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), where he had been deputy administrator and then acting administrator between October 2018 and March 2019. Gaynor, director of the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency from 2015 to 2018, is a 26-year Marine Corps veteran who served in Iraq.
Voting yes: Cantwell, Murray
©2020, Thomas Voting Reports