WASHINGTON — Here’s how the state’s members of Congress voted during the legislative week ending March 1.


Gun Background Checks: Voting 240-190, the House on Feb. 27 expanded FBI background checks of prospective gun buyers by extending the requirement to transactions on the internet and between private parties at venues including gun shows and parking lots. Now, only licensed dealers must run buyers’ personal information through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System. The NICS was established in 1993 by the so-called Brady bill, which outlaws the sale of firearms to felons, drug addicts, abusive partners, fugitives, persons with serious mental illness and undocumented immigrants. This bill would exempt sales between family members and would waive background checks for transfers for hunting and when a purchaser faces imminent threat of great bodily harm. A yes vote was to send the bill 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-8, Adam Smith, D-Bellevue, Denny Heck, D-Olympia

Voting no: Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, Dan Newhouse, R-Sunnyside, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane

Checks on Undocumented Immigrants: Voting 220-209, the House on Feb. 27 adopted a GOP-sponsored measure under which undocumented immigrants who fail FBI-conducted gun background checks must be reported to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). A yes vote was to add the requirement to HR 8 (above)

Voting yes: Herrera Beutler, Newhouse, Rodgers

Voting no: DelBene, Larsen, Kilmer, Jayapal, Schrier, Smith, Heck

Not voting: None

More Time for Background Checks: Voting 228-198, the House on Feb. 28 passed a bill that would increase from three business days to 20 business days the maximum time firearms sales can be deferred in cases where background checks have not yet been completed. The bill would apply to the estimated 10 percent of prospective sales not promptly cleared or denied by the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). If the check remains open after 10 business days, purchasers could file a petition asserting their eligibility to acquire a firearm. If the matter remains unresolved for another 10 business days bringing the total deferral to 20 business days — the sale would automatically take effect. A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate.

Voting yes: DelBene, Larsen, Kilmer, Jayapal, Schrier, Smith, Heck

Voting no: Herrera Beutler, Newhouse, Rodgers

Domestic Violence Exemption: The House on Feb. 28 defeated, 194-232, a GOP-sponsored motion that sought to exempt victims of domestic violence from the delays of up to 20 business days that HR 1112 (above) would require for prospective gun purchases awaiting the outcome of FBI background checks. The measure would allow these individuals to acquire a firearm after three business days even when the FBI has not yet approved or denied the prospective sale. A yes vote was to adopt the motion.

Voting yes: Herrera Beutler, Newhouse, Rodgers

Voting no: DelBene, Larsen, Kilmer, Jayapal, Schrier, Smith, Heck

Nullification of Border Emergency: The House on Feb. 26 voted, 245-182, to nullify a national emergency President Trump declared in an effort to secure funding for a wall on the southwest border. Trump invoked the emergency after Congress denied his request for at least $5.7 billion in fiscal 2019 for wall construction on the U.S.-Mexico border. He asserted authority under the 1976 National Emergencies Act to reallocate military appropriations to the project, while critics said there is no border emergency. A yes vote was to send the measure to the Senate for a vote to occur within 18 days.

Voting yes: DelBene, Larsen, Herrera Beutler, Rodgers, Kilmer, Jayapal, Schrier, Smith, Heck

Voting no: Newhouse


Infants Born in Failed Abortions: The Senate on Feb. 25 failed, 53-44, to reach 60 votes for advancing a bill (S 311) that would set criminal penalties for health care providers including doctors who fail to meet specified levels of medical care for infants who survive failed late-term abortions. Healthcare providers including doctors could face up to five years in prison if they failed to immediately ensure the hospitalization of an infant showing signs of life after an abortion attempt. The infant would have to receive the same level of care provided to “any other child born alive at the same gestational age.” The bill also would require medical practitioners or employees of hospitals, clinics or physician’s offices to report to law enforcement agencies any violation they witnessed.

Voting no: Maria Cantwell, D, Patty Murray, D

Andrew Wheeler, EPA Chief: The Senate on Feb. 28 confirmed, 52-47, Andrew Wheeler as administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency. A former coal lobbyist, Wheeler had served as acting administrator after replacing former EPA head Scott Pruitt last July. He joined the EPA three months earlier from a law firm that represents Murray Energy Corp., the country’s largest owner of underground coal mines. He worked previously at the EPA under President George H.W. Bush and was a staff aide to Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla.

Voting no: Cantwell, Murray

KEY VOTES AHEAD: The Senate will vote on judicial nominations in the week of March 4, while the House’s legislative schedule was to be announced.