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Spin Control

Posts tagged: House of Representatives

McMorris Rodgers digs at Obamacare, strikes hopeful tone following shutdown vote

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, joined 86 of her GOP colleagues in the House of Representatives on Wednesday night voting to end a partial government shutdown that lasted 16 days.

In a statement following the vote, the congresswoman and chair of the House Republican Conference continued attacks on the Affordable Care Act, the nation's health care overhaul that launched its online marketplaces the same day the federal government shuttered most of its doors.

“House Republicans have done everything possible to protect the American people from the arbitrary regulations and unnecessary costs of the President’s health care law,” McMorris Rodgers said in her prepared remarks.

In the early days of the shutdown, House Republicans were calling for a year delay of the requirement for individuals to sign up for the exchanges after President Barack Obama said employers would be granted such a reprieve while the kinks were worked out in the marketplaces. That demand was one of many that Republicans - facing growing opposition among the American people, according to polls cited in a Slate report - were forced to drop as the shutdown dragged on.

“We did not accomplish everything we hoped,” McMorris Rodgers said in her statement. She continued, however, with a tone of hope that some of the concessions sought by Republicans on spending might yet be attained. 

“In the end, the Senate agreed to come to the table and start to talk,” McMorris Rodgers said.

Those talks will take the form of a budget conference - requested multiple times throughout the summer by Senate Budget Committee chairwoman Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. - that must reconcile by Dec. 13 massive differences between budget resolutions passed by each chamber earlier this year. That timeframe was included in the bill passed Wednesday night.

To read McMorris Rodgers' entire statement, click here to go inside the blog.

Is Doc Hastings eying House Oversight chair?

Politico's Rachel Bade reports this morning U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Pasco, may be considering a slot as chairman of the House of Representative Oversight Committee, to be vacated by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., at the end of next year.

“Call this Boehner ally and personal friend the wild card,” Bade writes, introducing the nine-term House Republican who was the last to defeat current Washington Gov. Jay Inslee in a Congressional race when he wrangled the District 4 seat from Inslee, the incumbent, in 1994.

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

WA Spec Session: They’re back. Sort of

OLYMPIA — The special session of the Legislature began officially at 9 a.m. with a flurry of inactivity. The House passed a few resolutions and adjourned until Tuesday morning. The Senate went at ease until the afternoon, when Senate Republican Leader Mark Schoesler said enough members would be present to do opening day business like passing the resolutions to get things moving.

Update: At 1 p.m. they managed a quorum, a prayer, and the resolutions from the House that essentially keep all the bills that were introduced in the regular session but not passed in the chamber where they started, at the highest level they reached before sine die.

Total time elapsed: 6 minutes before they adjourned until Wednesday.

So no action on the floor this morning, but there was a floor show  of sort in the Rotunda, where the North Klackamas (Oregon) Christian School choir was performing acapella. The accoustics are quite good under the dome, and lots of musical groups stop by to sing or play instruments.

Some of the hymns they sang only confirmed the deeply held beliefs of the press corps that we are all in limbo — we can hear the music of heaven but aren't allowed to get there. Also appropriate was their rendition of “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”.

Wimoweh, wimoweh. The lege, it sleeps right now.   

A close look at the House reader board in the above photo might cause some people to worry where it says “the first special session” — as though the Legislature is preparing for multiple special sessions, rolling on as far as the eye can see. 

Not necessarily. That's just how they officially describe things.

WA Lege Day 19: House rules

OLYMPIA — The House of Representatives has a bit of housekeeping to take care of this morning, specifically some rules for how they do business.

Minority Republicans have proposed four rule changes, including one that would require a two-thirds majority vote on tax measures should the state Supreme Court rule that the super-majority required by initiative is unconstitutional. At a press conference earlier this week, GOP leaders from both chambers said they were preparing for that possibility.

Another rule change would give every member at least one hearing on one bill, thus allowing minority members a chance to get a public airing of at least one of their ideas.

Elsewhere around the Capitol campus, hearings started early this morning because some legislators will be getting the heck outta Dodge early this afternoon for the weekend. The Senate Law and Justice Committee aired out a proposal that Spokane County officials are watching, which would open up information from medical examiner investigations into officer-involved shootings.

The state's county officials association has some problems with the wording, but suggested a fix that would keep it's members happy. We'll have more on that topic later today.

For a complete list of today's hearings, go inside the blog.

House adopts rules over GOP objections

OLYMPIA — The House of Representatives will have to wait at least 24 hours between the time a budget bill is written and a final vote  is taken under rules adopted today on a party-line vote.

Republicans objected, saying there should be a 72-hour delay, and when they lost that vote, tried unsuccessfully for a 48-hour one.

In a debate that veered from the public's demand for transparency to a quick recipe for tuna casserole, Republicans said complicated budget bills are sometimes changed just before a vote, leaving them to make a decision without knowing everything that's in them. A three-day waiting period would help solve that, they said.

Rep. Zack Hudgins, D-Tukwila, countered that the final vote comes after two readings and at least one committee hearing, so the public does have a chance to see what's in them and offer input. The proposed rules were already being changed to add a one-day wait, but under the GOP proposal the bill couldn't be changed even if they or the public found something objectionable.

“You can't change it even if you get input. It's 72-hours of doing nothing,” Hudgins argued. The first reading is like assembling a tuna casserole in a dish and the second reading is like pulling it out after some baking time to add cheese. The third reading is like taking it out and setting it on the table but waiting three days to eat it.

After the GOP amendment for a 72-hour wait failed 42-55, House Minority Leader Richard DeBolt, R-Chehalis, said “You don't l ike 72, we're gong to try 48.” If the bill is as fully cooked as that casserole, he added, why are Democrats willing to wait 24?

A rule like this would have made the one-day budget session in December, that both parties have said was a success, impossible Rep. Pat Sullivan, D-Covington, said. The Legislature already holds more budget hearings than ever but “there comes a time when we have to move forward.”

That amendment failed, too, 42-55.

The House later approved the complete rules package, that included the 24-hour wait, on a 56-41 vote, but not before Rep. Matt Shea, R-Spokane Valley, warned that Democrats will still be able to essentially rewrite budget bills wholesale with what's known as a striking amendment. That creates a budget that's “not cooked. It's brand new,” he argued.

With these rules, he said, “the sun will have set on bipartisanship, the doors of transparency will have been closed.”

Congress must be very busy

A previous post may have seemed snide for noting the Washington Legislature is considering naming the Olympic marmot as the state mammal. And a certain amount of snideness was intended.

But the Legislature seems to be a piker on wasting time compared to its governmental “big brother” in Washington, D.C. The House of Representatives really knows how to get down to business.

On Tuesday it passed a resolution “expressing support for the designation of … School Social Work Week.” On a 416-0 vote, no less.

This is not to say that Schools aren’t important or Social Work isn’t important, or that School Social Work as a combined concept doesn’t deserve it’s own week of support, or at least recognition.

But School Social Work Week was March 1-8. The House took the vote on March 24. So when you come right down to it, how much support does that really express? Really?

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

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