WASHINGTON — Here’s how area members of Congress voted on major issues during the legislative week ending Sept. 18.
Condemning racism against Asian Americans: By a vote of 243 for and 164 against, the House on Sept. 17 adopted a nonbinding Democratic-sponsored measure (H Res 908) to condemn expressions of racism, discrimination or religious intolerance against Asian Americans related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the use of such terms as “Chinese virus,” “Wuhan virus ” and “kung flu.”
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
Filing private lawsuits against school bias: By a vote of 232 for and 188 against, the House on Sept. 16 passed a bill (HR 2574) that would authorize private individuals to file “disparate impact” lawsuits under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This legal doctrine comes into play when government policies that appear neutral on the surface have the effect of discriminating against protected groups. Seemingly neutral policies affecting public schools are often alleged to have an unlawful disparate impact on minorities. This bill would override the 2001 Supreme Court ruling in Alexander v. Sandoval that denies private citizens the right to bring disparate impact claims against federally funded programs.
Voting yes: DelBene, Larsen, Kilmer, Jayapal, Schrier, Smith, Heck
Voting no: Herrera Beutler, Newhouse, Rodgers
Addressing anti-Semitism under Title VI: By a vote of 255 for and 164 against, the House on Sept. 16 broadened the duties of officials empowered by HR 2574 (above) to monitor compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Under the GOP-sponsored motion, these overseers would have to treat anti-Semitism as prohibited discrimination under Title VI, even though the Department of Education and Department of Justice started doing that as early as 2010, according to the Anti-Defamation League. Title VII is the part of the Civil Rights Act focused on religious discrimination. Title VI prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin in programs receiving federal assistance.
Voting yes: Herrera Beutler, Newhouse, Rodgers
Voting no: DelBene, Larsen, Kilmer, Jayapal, Schrier, Smith, Heck
Confirming Judge Valderrama: By a vote of 68 for and 26 against, the Senate on Sept. 17 confirmed Franklin U. Valderrama, a Circuit Court judge in Cook County, Illinois, as a U.S. District Judge for the Northern District of Illinois. Valderrama was an attorney in private practice before joining the Cook County bench in 2007, and he has taught pretrial civil litigation at the University of Illinois-Chicago John Marshall Law School.
Voting yes: Maria Cantwell, D, Patty Murray, D