Here’s how area members of Congress voted on major issues in the week ending Sept. 8.
WASHINGTON — Here’s how area members of Congress voted on major issues in the week ending Sept. 8.
Hurricane aid, debt limit: By a vote of 316 for and 90 against, the House on Sept. 8 gave final congressional approval to a bill (HR 601) that would appropriate $15.3 billion in disaster aid for recovery from hurricanes Harvey and Irma while raising the national debt limit through Dec. 8 and funding the government on a stopgap basis for the same period. Because this is emergency spending not offset elsewhere in the budget, it would be added to federal deficits. The bill locked in a deal between President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats that set a far shorter debt-limit extension than the 18 months sought by Republican leaders. All negative votes were cast by Republicans.
The bill would provide $350 million for Small Business Administration loans and grants, $7.45 billion for Federal Emergency Management Agency aid to storm victims and $7 billion-plus to fund community-development block grants for the immediate rebuilding of towns and cities.
Voting yes: Suzan DelBene, D-Medina, Rick Larsen, D-Lake Stevens, Dan Newhouse, R-Sunnyside, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, Pramila Jayapal, D-Seattle, Dave Reichert, R-Auburn, Adam Smith, D-Bellevue, Denny Heck, D-Olympia
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Voting no: Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas
Original plan for disaster aid: By a vote of 419 for and three against, the House on Sept. 6 passed an earlier version of HR 601 (above) that sought to appropriate $7.85 billion in Hurricane Harvey disaster relief, including $7.45 billion for the Federal Emergency Management Agency and $450 million in Small Business Administration aid for rebuilding areas of Texas and Louisiana devastated by the storm. The entire outlay was to have been deficit spending.
Voting yes: DelBene, Larsen, Herrera Beutler, Newhouse, McMorris Rodgers, Kilmer, Jayapal, Reichert, Smith, Heck
Retention of subsidized air travel: By a vote of 140 for and 280 against, the House on Sept. 6 refused to kill the Essential Air Service program by removing its $150 million budget from a fiscal 2018 appropriations bill (HR 3354) that remained in debate. Under the EAS program, airlines receive taxpayer subsidies to provide two-to-four round trips daily between about 160 participating communities and hub airports. The program is funded by user fees as well as public funds.
Voting yes: Herrera Beutler, Newhouse, McMorris Rodgers
Voting no: DelBene, Larsen, Kilmer, Jayapal, Reichert, Smith, Heck
Retention of Amtrak subsidy: By a vote of 128 for and 193 against, the House on Sept. 6 refused to strip a pending appropriations bill (HR 3354, above) of its $1.1 billion subsidy for Amtrak, thus killing the nation’s rail passenger agency by shutting down all 15 of its long-distance routes and all 28 of its state- supported routes. Overall, Amtrak reaches more than 500 communities in 46 states. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., said: “I would submit that there is zero evidence that Amtrak passengers cannot absorb higher fares to pay their own way.”
Voting no: DelBene, Larsen, Herrera Beutler, Newhouse, McMorris Rodgers, Kilmer, Jayapal, Reichert, Smith, Heck.
Hurricane aid, debt limit: By a vote of 80 for and 17 against, the Senate on Sept. 7 approved a bill (HR 601, above) that would appropriate $15.3 billion in disaster aid for recovery from hurricanes Harvey and Irma while raising the national debt limit through Dec. 8 and funding the government on a stopgap basis for the same period. The spending would be added to annual deficits rather than offset elsewhere in the budget.
Voting yes: Maria Cantwell, D, Patty Murray, D
Pay as you go hurricane aid: By a vote of 87 for and 10 against, the Senate on Sept. 7 tabled an amendment to HR 601 (above) that sought to keep the bill’s $15.3 billion expenditure deficit-neutral by cutting the same amount from foreign assistance accounts.
Voting yes: Cantwell, Murray
Key votes ahead: In the week of Sept. 11, the House will take up a bill that would privatize much of the Federal Aviation Administration workforce, while the Senate will debate the 2018 military budget.