WASHINGTON — Here’s how area members of Congress voted on major issues during the legislative week ending April 12. Congress is in Easter-Passover recess until the week of April 29.
“Net neutrality” rules: By a vote of 232 for and 190 against, the House on April 10 passed a bill (HR 1644) that would reinstate and write into law Federal Communications Commission “net neutrality” rules implemented in 2016 during the Obama administration. The FCC had repealed the Obama-era rules in 2017 during the Trump administration. The rules require the internet to be made equally accessible to all users. They prohibit service providers such as Verizon and Comcast from offering faster content delivery to customers in return for higher fees while leaving other customers in a slower lane. The bill gives the FCC permanent authority to prevent internet gatekeepers from blocking or throttling customer access, and it retains FCC programs that expand broadband access in rural areas and make the internet more accessible to low-income persons. A yes vote was to send HR 1644 to the Senate.
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, Dan Newhouse, R-Sunnyside, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane
Internet tax freedom: The House on April 10 defeated, 204-216, a Republican motion that sought to prevent HR 1644 (above) from overriding the internet Tax Freedom Act, a 1998 law barring state and local taxation of internet service providers. A yes vote was to adopt the motion over Democratic assertions that the bill already disallows such taxation.
Voting yes: Herrera Beutler, Newhouse, Rodgers
Voting no: DelBene, Larsen, Kilmer, Jayapal, Schrier, Smith, Heck
David Bernhardt, secretary of the interior: The Senate on April 11 confirmed, 56-41, David Bernhardt as secretary of the interior. A onetime oil and gas attorney in private practice, he had been the department’s deputy and then acting secretary. A yes vote backed the nominee over Democratic objections to his embrace of fossil fuels and offshore drilling and refusal to fully recuse himself from decisions benefiting clients he represented as an oil lobbyist.
Voting no: Maria Cantwell, D, Patty Murray, D
John Abizaid, ambassador to Saudi Arabia: Voting 92-7, the Senate on April 10 confirmed John P. Abizaid as U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia. A retired United States Army four-star general, he was commander of the U.S. Central Command before leaving the military in 2007. A yes vote was to confirm the nominee.
Voting yes: Cantwell, Murray
Cheryl Marie Stanton, wage and hour administrator: The Senate on April 10 confirmed, 53-45, Cheryl Marie Stanton to lead the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division, where she will oversee enforcement of overtime rules, the minimum wage, child-labor laws and the Family and Medical Leave Act. A yes vote was to confirm the nominee.
Voting no: Cantwell, Murray