WASHINGTON — Here’s how state members of Congress voted on major issues in the legislative week that ended Friday.
Expanding federally funded apprenticeships: By a vote of 246 for and 140 against, the House on Friday passed a bill, HR 8294, that would authorize $3.5 billion over five years to expand federally funded apprenticeship programs. While the bill would prepare workers for jobs in traditional industries such as manufacturing, transportation and construction, it also would fund instruction and on-the-job training for specialized fields such as early childhood education, advanced health care and green energy. In addition, the bill would promote work opportunities for persons with diverse backgrounds and criminal records traditionally left out of apprenticeship programs. The bill drew Republican opposition, in part because it quashed the Trump administration’s Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Programs, which receive federal funding but operate with few regulations and are not welcoming to unions.
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; Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane
Not voting: Dan Newhouse, R-Sunnyside
Defeating GOP alternative: By a vote of 142 for and 243 against, the House on Friday defeated a Republican alternative to HR 8294. The amendment sought to shift the focus of federally funded apprenticeships from Department of Labor-registered programs, which issue nationally recognized work credentials and allow extensive union involvement, toward regional business-run Industry Recognized Apprenticeship Programs, which receive taxpayer funding but operate with few federal rules and diminished or nonexistent union participation. The GOP measure also would slash funding levels in the underlying bill and end coordination between the departments of labor and education in structuring apprenticeships.
Voting yes: Herrera Beutler; McMorris Rodgers
Voting no: DelBene; Larsen; Kilmer; Jayapal; Schrier; Smith; Heck
Not voting: Newhouse
Blocking Judy Shelton as Fed governor: By a vote of 47 for and 50 against, the Senate on Tuesday failed to advance the nomination of libertarian economist Judy Shelton, 66, to the Federal Reserve System Board of Governors. Republicans left open the possibility of a revote this year on her appointment to the seven-member board that sets U.S. monetary policy. Shelton served under President Donald Trump as U.S. envoy to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. She has been affiliated with conservative organizations, including the Hoover Institution and the Atlas Network, and numerous “sound money” and free-market causes.
Although Shelton presented herself to the Senate as an orthodox economist, she has endorsed a return to the gold standard; called for abolishing the Fed; questioned whether the Fed should remain independent; doubted the accuracy of government statistics; advocated a single North American currency; urged the elimination of federal deposit insurance; and both supported and opposed the central bank’s use of low interest rates and bond purchases to fight recessions. She has walked back some of her most provocative comments on economic policy.
Voting no: Maria Cantwell, D; Patty Murray, D
Confirming U.S. trade judge: By a vote of 49 for and 43 against, the Senate on Wednesday confirmed Stephen Vaden, 38, the Department of Agriculture general counsel, for a lifetime appointment to the United States Court of International Trade. A specialized unit of the federal judiciary, the nine-judge panel adjudicates trade and customs-law disputes involving federal agencies, corporations, labor unions, private citizens, foreign governments and other litigants.
Voting no: Cantwell, Murray
Not voting: None