In the news:
Here’s how Washington state members of Congress voted on major issues in the week that ended Friday, Feb. 14.
Voterama in Congress
WASHINGTON — Here’s how state members of Congress voted on major issues in the week that ended Friday.
Suspension of debt limit
The House on Tuesday voted 221 for and 201 against to suspend the current $17.2 trillion national-debt limit until March 16, 2015, enabling the Treasury to borrow to pay bills already incurred by Congress and the executive branch. The bill, S 540, was supported by 99 percent of Democrats who voted and opposed by 88 percent of Republicans who voted. Unlike other debt-limit increases in recent years, this is a “clean” measure free of conditions such as policy changes and spending cuts.
Voting yes: Suzan DelBene, D-Medina; Rick Larsen, D-Lake Stevens; Doc Hastings, R-Pasco; Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor; Jim McDermott, D-Seattle; Dave Reichert, R-Auburn; Adam Smith, D-Bellevue; Denny Heck, D-Olympia.
Voting no: Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas; Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane.
Military retirement payments
Voting 326-90, the House on Tuesday repealed a cut in cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for military retirees younger than 62 that was enacted in December as part of a two-year budget deal. This sent the bill, S 25, to the Senate. Set to take effect next year, the cut would result in working-age military retirees receiving annual COLAs 1 percentage point below inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index. At age 62, they would once again receive COLAs that keep pace with inflation. The cut would raise about $6 billion over 10 years to be used to soften the impact of sequestration on military and nonmilitary discretionary budgets. To offset that revenue loss, the bill would curb Medicare reimbursements to doctors.
Voting yes: DelBene, Herrera Beutler, Hastings, McMorris Rodgers, Kilmer, Reichert, Heck.
Voting no: Larsen, McDermott, Smith.
To end debt filibuster
The Senate on Wednesday voted 67-31 to advance S 540, which would suspend the national-debt ceiling until March 16, 2015, allowing the Treasury to pay bills already incurred and keep the U.S. from defaulting. This was the decisive vote on the bill. Twelve Republicans joined 53 Democrats and two independents to push the bill over a 60-vote threshold, end a tea-party-led filibuster and move toward final passage.
Voting yes: Maria Cantwell, D; Patty Murray, D.
To suspend debt limit
Voting 55-43, the Senate on Wednesday sent President Obama the bill, S 540 (see above), to suspend the statutory debt limit.
Voting yes: Cantwell, Murray.
Military retirement payments
By a vote of 95-3, the Senate on Wednesday joined the House in passing S 25, which would repeal a 1 percentage-point cut in cost-of-living adjustments for military retirees younger than 62.
Voting yes: Cantwell, Murray