EYE ON CONGRESS: Both chambers may take up COVID-19 relief package

WASHINGTON — The Senate this week will debate stopgap government funding for fiscal 2021, which starts Oct. 1, and both chambers may take up a COVID-19 relief package.

Contact legislators

“Eye on Congress” is published in the Peninsula Daily News every Monday when Congress is in session about activities, roll call votes and legislation in the House and Senate.

The North Olympic Peninsula’s legislators in Washington, D.C., are Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Mountlake Terrace), Sen. Patty Murray (D-Seattle) and Rep. Derek Kilmer (D-Gig Harbor).

Contact information — The address for Cantwell and Murray is U.S. Senate, Washington, D.C. 20510; Kilmer, U.S. House, Washington, D.C. 20515.

Phone Cantwell at 202-224-3441 (fax, 202-228-0514); Murray, 202-224-2621 (fax, 202-224-0238); Kilmer, 202-225-5916.

Email via their websites: cantwell.senate.gov; murray.senate.gov; kilmer.house.gov. Kilmer’s North Olympic Peninsula office is located at 332 E. Fifth St. in Port Angeles.

Hours are from 9 a.m. to noon Tuesdays and Thursdays and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays.

It is staffed by Mary Jane Robins, who can be contacted at maryjane.robins@mail.house.gov or 360-797-3623.

State legislators

Jefferson and Clallam counties are represented in the part-time state Legislature by Rep. Mike Chapman, D-Port Angeles; Rep. Steve Tharinger, D-Port Townsend; and Sen. Kevin Van De Wege, D-Sequim.

Write Chapman and Tharinger at P.O. Box 40600 (Van De Wege at P.O. Box 40424), Olympia, WA 98504. Email them at Chapman.mike@leg.wa.gov; tharinger.steve@leg.wa.gov; vandewege.kevin@leg.wa.gov.

Or you can call the Legislative Hotline, 800-562-6000, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays (closed on holidays and from noon to 1 p.m.) and leave a detailed message, which will be emailed to Chapman, Tharinger, Van De Wege or to all three.

Links to other state officials: tinyurl.com/pdn-links officials.

Learn more

Websites following our state and national legislators:

• Followthemoney.org — Campaign donors by industry, ZIP code and more.

• Votesmart.org — How special interest groups rate legislators on the issues.

Voterama in Congress

DEVELOPING CLEAN ENERGY TO ADDRESS CLIMATE CRISIS: Voting 220-185, the House on Wednesday approved a $135 billion, five-year package (HR 4447) of clean-energy measures designed to create jobs while reducing the impact of climate change on the U.S. and global economies.

In part, the bill would increase the number of electric vehicles on American roads; advance wind, marine, solar and other clean energies; fund “blue collar to green collar” job-training programs; build infrastructure for transmitting clean energy to consumers; fund research into the health effects of wildfire smoke; raise energy-efficiency standards for homes, factories, schools and other buildings; fund “environmental justice” programs to reduce pollution in poor communities and phase out the use of hydrofluorocarbons, the coolants used in air conditioning and refrigeration.

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate.

Kilmer voted yes.

DENYING BENEFITS TO CHINESE STATE-OWNED COMPANIES: Voting 193-214, the House on Thursday defeated a proposed Republican requirement that any recipient of funds under HR 4447 (above) must certify in advance to the administration that no intellectual property resulting from its work would benefit state-owned enterprises in China or other countries.

Supporters said the requirement would safeguard national security, while critics said it would enable the White House to choose the U.S. recipients of clean-energy spending.

A yes vote was to adopt the motion.

Kilmer voted no.

APPROVING STOPGAP FEDERAL BUDGET: Voting 359-57, the House on Tuesday passed a bill (HR 8337) that would fund the government on a stopgap basis for the first 10 weeks of fiscal 2021, which begins Thursday.

The continuing resolution became necessary when Congress failed to pass regular appropriations bills for the new budget year. The measure will fund agencies at 2020 spending levels through Dec. 11.

A yes vote was to send the bill to the Senate.

Kilmer voted yes.

CONFIRMING COMMISSIONER SONDERLING: Voting 52-41, the Senate on Tuesday confirmed Keith E. Sonderling as one of the five members of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the agency charged with administering and enforcing federal laws against discrimination in the workplace.

Sonderling had been a top official at the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor, and he practiced employment law at a Florida law firm before joining the Trump administration in 2017.

A yes vote was to confirm the nominee.

Cantwell and Murray voted no.

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