WASHINGTON — Here’s how state members of Congress voted on major issues during the legislative week that ended Friday.
Expanding tax credits for child care: By a vote of 250 for and 161 against, the House on Wednesday passed a bill, HR 7327, that would make the child and dependent care tax credit fully refundable; create a tax credit to help child care providers pay rent, mortgage and utility costs; guarantee $10 billion a year over five years in infrastructure grants to help child care centers address health hazards such as mold, lead paint and inadequate ventilation; designate child care personnel as “essential workers” eligible for benefits, including pay bumps because they perform a hazardous public service during the pandemic, and reimburse these essential workers for their own child care costs.
At present, households filing federal tax returns can claim a child and dependent care credit of up to $3,000 for a child 12 years or younger or $6,000 for two or more children in the same age range. In addition, they can claim a $3,000 or $6,000 credit to offset the cost of caring for spouses or dependents older than 12 who are mentally or physically incapable of self care. By making these credits fully refundable, the bill enables low-income working families to receive Treasury checks of $3,000 per qualified individual (or $6,000 for multiple individuals) even if they have no tax liability.
Voting yes: Suzan DelBene, D-Medina; Rick Larsen, D-Lake Stevens; Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas; Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor; Pramila Jayapal, D-Seattle; Kim Schrier, D-Issaquah; Adam Smith, D-Bellevue; Denny Heck, D-Olympia
Voting no: Dan Newhouse, R-Sunnyside; Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane
Providing $50 billion for child care: By a vote of 249 for and 163 against, the House on Wednesday passed a bill, HR 7027, that would appropriate $50 billion in fiscal 2020 to help child care providers stay in business during the pandemic so that parents can return to work. The funding would be used to subsidize in-home services and licensed child care operations of all sizes, and it could be used to prop up functioning centers or reopen those forced to close because of the pandemic.
Voting yes: DelBene, Larsen, Herrera Beutler, Kilmer, Jayapal, Schrier, Smith, Heck
Voting no: Newhouse, McMorris Rodgers
Defeating GOP child care alternative: By a vote of 195 for and 212 against, the House on Wednesday defeated a package of proposed Republican changes to HR 7027 that sought, in part, to qualify unlicensed child care sites run by churches and public camps to receive grants under the bill and require grant recipients to demonstrate competence in recognizing and addressing child abuse.
Voting yes: Herrera Beutler, Newhouse, McMorris Rodgers
Voting no: DelBene, Larsen, Kilmer, Jayapal, Schrier, Smith, Heck
Defunding Affordable Care Act litigation: The House on Thursday voted, 234 for and 181 against, to deny funding of the Department of Justice’s participation in a lawsuit brought by Republican governors and attorneys general to overturn the Affordable Care Act. The suit is pending before the Supreme Court, and the Trump administration has filed a brief there calling for the law to be struck down. The defunding language was added to a bill, HR 7617, later passed, that would appropriate $33.2 billion for the department along with more than $1 trillion to fund the budgets of numerous other Cabinet departments and agencies in fiscal 2021.
Voting yes: DelBene, Larsen, Kilmer, Jayapal, Schrier, Smith, Heck
Voting no: Herrera Beutler, Newhouse, McMorris Rodgers
Confirming Trump budget official: By a vote of 71 for and 21 against, the Senate on Thursday confirmed Derek Tai-Ching Kan as deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, putting him second in charge of an agency that directs budget and regulatory policies for the White House. Kan joined the administration in 2017 to serve as a Department of Transportation undersecretary, and before that he was an Amtrak board member and executive with the Lyft transportation company.
Voting no: Maria Cantwell, D, Patty Murray, D