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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Outlook for Washington's delegation if power shifts Democrats' way

Washington could gain congressional clout if Democrats win control of the U.S. House or Senate in the Nov. 7 election and the state’s incumbents are returned to office. Six of the nine House members and both U.S. senators are Democrats. Also, the state’s Democrats as a whole have more seniority than the Republicans. These are the top issues the Democrats say they’d push if their party comes to power, and the current committee assignments for the Republicans.

COMPILED BY ALICIA MUNDY / Seattle Times Washington, D.C., bureau


The incumbent Democrats
     
 

Sen. Maria Cantwell

Elected to Congress: 2000

Top issues:

End special tax and royalty breaks for oil companies, cut prescription-drug costs by monitoring profits from drug companies’ ownership of pharmaceutical benefits managers

Sen. Patty Murray

Elected to Congress: 1992

Top issues:

Wild Sky Wilderness Act to preserve 106,000 acres in Snohomish County, use her seat on Appropriations Committee to review the Veterans Administration’s budgets and its care of disabled Iraq vets

 

   

Rep. Brian Baird, Vancouver, 3rd District

Elected to Congress: 1998

Top issues:

Mandate that all legislation be completed and available for review for last-minute earmarks and deletions at least three days before the vote; permanent state sales-tax deduction on federal taxes

 

Rep. Norm Dicks, Bremerton, 6th District

Elected to Congress: 1976

Top issues:

Money for parks and forests, track abuse of EPA rules, and protect specialized programs for American Indians; use seat on Defense Appropriations subcommittee for oversight hearings on money spent in Iraq by U.S. companies and Iraqi leaders, as well as the costs of the war

 

Rep. Jay Inslee, Bainbridge Island, 1st District

Elected to Congress: 1998

Top issues:

The New Apollo Energy Act to reduce reliance on foreign oil and lower greenhouse gases; promote bills to protect consumers against ID theft, hacking and spamming


   

Rep. Rick Larsen, Lake Stevens, 2nd District

Elected to Congress: 2000

Top issues:

Wild Sky Wilderness Act to preserve 106,000 acres in Snohomish County; Northern Border Prosecution Initiative to require the federal government to pay the cost of jailing foreign criminal suspects while they await trial or appeal

 

Rep. Jim McDermott, Seattle, 7th District

Elected to Congress: 1988

Top issues:

Health coverage for the uninsured and America’s middle-aged middle class; use senior role on Ways and Means taxation committee to create energy policy and end foreign-oil dependence

 

Rep. Adam Smith, Tacoma, 9th District

Elected to Congress: 1996

Top issues:

Expand Trade Adjustment Improvement Act, which helps American manufacturing workers displaced by globalization, to include high-tech workers and aerospace employees in defense programs

 
The incumbent Republicans
   

Rep. Doc Hastings, Pasco, 4th District

Elected to Congress: 1994

Current assignment:

Chairman of the ethics committee, third-ranking member of the Rules Committee (controls the flow and content of legislation), assistant majority whip

 

Rep. Cathy McMorris, Spokane, 5th District

Elected to Congress: 2004

Current assignment:

Member of the Armed Services, Resources and Education committees

 

Rep. Dave Reichert, Auburn, 8th District

Elected to Congress: 2004

Current assignment:

Member of Homeland Security, Transportation and Science committees; chairman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Science and Technology

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