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Sunday, September 11, 2011 - Page updated at 10:00 p.m.
How your U.S. Lawmaker voted
By Voterama in Congress
WASHINGTON — Here's how the state's members of Congress voted on major issues in the week ending Friday.
2012 Intelligence budget
By a vote of 384-14, the House on Friday passed a fiscal 2012 budget (HR 1892) of about $55 billion for the 17 U.S. intelligence agencies, up 4 percent from 2011. When outlays for strictly military-intelligence operations are counted, the total U.S. intelligence budget for 2012 is expected to top $85 billion. While most provisions of the bill are classified, lawmakers disclosed it establishes burial benefits for CIA employees killed in the line of duty and clarifies rules for the receipt of gifts by injured and killed CIA employees.
Voting yes: Jay Inslee, D-Bainbridge Island; Rick Larsen, D-Lake Stevens; Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas; Doc Hastings, R-Pasco; Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane; Norm Dicks, D-Bremerton; Dave Reichert, R-Auburn; Adam Smith, D-Tacoma
Voting no: Jim McDermott, D-Seattle
Charter schools, American jobs
By a vote of 226-176, the House on Thursday blocked a Democratic bid to add "made in America" language to a bill (HR 2218) funding the thousands of charter schools in U.S. public education. The bill, which remained in debate, would provide tens of millions of dollars in grants that charter schools could use to leverage private loans for financing building and improving academic facilities. Under the amendment, the Department of Education would give priority to grant applications stipulating the use of American-made products such as air-conditioning systems and building materials. Republican leaders had denied consideration of the amendment and this vote was a procedural attempt to reverse their decision. Had Democrats prevailed on this vote, they would have gained standing to offer the amendment to the bill.
Voting yes: Herrera Beutler, Hastings, McMorris Rodgers, Reichert
Voting no: Inslee, Larsen, Dicks, McDermott, Smith
By a vote of 89-9, the Senate on Thursday sent President Obama a bill (HR 1249) to help the United States Patent and Trademark Office reduce its backlog of 700,000 applications and shorten the 34-months' average time for processing applications. The first overhaul of U.S. patent law since 1952, the bill switches from a "first to invent" to "first to file" rule for ranking competing applications. The bill ends a requirement that judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which hears patent appeals, live within 50 miles of court headquarters in Washington, D.C., broadening the pool of judicial talent for handling complicated cases. Additionally, the bill authorizes the patent office to set its own fee schedule, seeks to deter Congress from diverting patent fees to other federal programs and bars future but not existing patents on tax-avoidance strategies.
Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said: "The America Invents Act is fundamentally a jobs bill. Innovation and intellectual property has always been and always will be at the heart of the American economy. By rewarding innovators for inventing newer and better products, we keep America's creative and therefore economic core healthy."
Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., objected to the bill's allowing patent fees to be diverted to general appropriations, which she said will result in "taking the economic engine away from the patent office and spreading it out across government," thus undercutting the bill's reforms.
Voting yes: Patty Murray, D
Voting no: Maria Cantwell, D
By a vote of 50-48, the Senate on Thursday tabled (killed) an amendment that sought to remove revenue from patent fees from the appropriations process so that it could not be spent on other government programs. The amendment to HR 1249 (above) sought to delete House-approved language in the bill that would dedicate patent fees to patent operations but not flatly outlaw diversions to other uses. The office historically has been self-supporting with its surpluses diverted to general appropriations.
Voting yes: Murray
Voting no: Cantwell
Copyright 2011, Thomas Voting Reports
Copyright © The Seattle Times Company
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