EYE ON CONGRESS: Congress debating stopgap funding

House also to vote on clean energy bill

WASHINGTON — The House this week will take up a clean energy bill and join the Senate in debating stopgap government funding for the fiscal year starting Oct. 1.

Contact legislators (clip and save)

“Eye on Congress” is published in the Peninsula Daily News every week 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.

Here is the link to other state 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

CONDEMNING RACISM AGAINST ASIAN-AMERICANS: Voting 243-164, the House on Thursday adopted a non-binding Democratic-sponsored measure (H Res 908) to condemn expressions of racism, discrimination or religious intolerance against Asian-Americans related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the use of such terms as “Chinese Virus,” “Wuhan Virus,” and “Kung-flu.”

A yes vote was in support of the resolution.

Kilmer voted yes.

FILING PRIVATE LAWSUITS AGAINST SCHOOL BIAS: Voting 232-188, the House on Wednesday passed a bill (HR 2574) that would authorize private individuals to file “disparate impact” lawsuits under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

This legal doctrine comes into play when government policies that appear neutral on the surface have the effect of discriminating against protected groups in federally funded programs.

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

Kilmer voted yes.

ADDRESSING ANTI-SEMITISM UNDER TITLE VI: Voting 255-164, the House on Wednesday broadened the duties of officials empowered by HR 2574 (above) to monitor compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Under the GOP-sponsored motion, these overseers would have to treat anti-Semitism as prohibited discrimination under Title VI, even though the Department of Education and Department of Justice started doing that as early as 2010, according to the Anti-Defamation League.

Title VII is the part of the Civil Rights Act focused on religious discrimination. Title VI prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin in programs receiving federal assistance.

A yes vote was to adopt the motion.

Kilmer voted no.

ACCOMMODATING PREGNANCY IN THE WORKPLACE: Voting 329-73, the House on Thursday passed a bill (HR 2694) that would require private-sector firms and government agencies with at least 15 employees to provide reasonable accommodations for workers and job applicants who are pregnant or have recently given birth.

The bill would not require employers to make accommodations that impose undue hardship on their operations.

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

Kilmer voted yes.

GRANTING EXEMPTION BASED ON RELIGION: Voting 177-226, the House on Thursday defeated a Republican bid to exempt employers from having to make reasonable accommodations under HR 2694 (above) in cases where to do so would deprive them of religious freedom protected under the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

A yes vote was to adopt the GOP motion.

Kilmer voted no.

PROMOTING INTEGRATION IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS: Voting 248-167, the House on Tuesday established a grant program to promote integration in school districts where opportunity is sharply divided along racial and economic lines.

The bill (HR 2639) would fund pilot programs in a limited number of districts to develop strategies for increasing the diversity of student populations shaped by de facto segregation.

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

Kilmer voted yes.

DEFEATING REPUBLICAN DIVERSITY PLAN: Voting 171-243, the House on Tuesday defeated a Republican alternative to HR 2639 (above) that proposed open-ended funding in the form of block grants rather than narrowly defined categorical grants to increase diversity in K-12 classrooms.

A yes vote was to adopt the amendment.

Kilmer voted no.

CONFIRMING JUDGE VALDERRAMA: Voting 68-26, the Senate on Thursday confirmed Franklin U. Valderrama, a Circuit Court judge in Cook County, Ill., as a United States District Judge for the Northern District of Illinois.

Valderrama was an attorney in private practice before joining the Cook County bench in 2007, and he has taught pre-trial civil litigation at the University of Illinois-Chicago John Marshall Law School.

A yes vote was to confirm the nominee.

Cantwell and Murray voted yes.