ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here

Spin Control

Posts tagged: Mike Crapo

Midterm grades for Inland Northwest lawmakers

We're halfway through the 113th Congress, and legislative watchdog GovTrack.us has handed down its marks for lawmakers based on multiple indicators of legislative success.

Inland Northwest legislators had their fingers in several pieces of sweeping, high-profile federal legislation enacted in 2013, including an update to the Violence Against Women Act cosponsored by Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and a bipartisan budget resolution with Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., as its Democratic steward. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers also earned the rare distinction of a unanimous House of Representatives vote in favor of her bill easing licensing restrictions for dams with limited power capacities.

GovTrack, an independent bill-tracking service launched in 2004, ranked lawmakers across several categories, including number of roll call votes missed, number of bills sponsored and how many of the 20 bills the service identified as enhancing government transparency the lawmaker voted for. The rankings are comprehensive, but here are some highlights for those representing the Inland Northwest:

  • McMorris Rodgers and Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Pasco, are the only two Inland Northwest lawmakers who introduced bills that became law. In addition to McMorris Rodgers' dam bill, Hastings introduced legislation establishing a national helium fund for proceeds of the gas' production on federal lands. The bill passed both chambers by wide margins.
  • McMorris Rodgers, who gave birth to a baby girl in November, has missed the greatest percentage of votes in the 113th Congress among Inland Northwest delegates, failing to record a preference in 7.5% of votes tallied so far. In the Senate, which votes far less frequently, Cantwell has missed 0.3% of roll calls, the lowest share among area lawmakers.
  • Among those lawmakers tracked by GovTrack, Cantwell has the highest share of bills she's cosponsored joined by members of the competing party. More than half - or 53.3% - of Cantwell's bills have been joined by a GOP cosponsor. Cantwell's colleague in the Senate, Patty Murray, was joined by a GOP lawmaker as a cosponsor on 29% of her bills, slightly lower than the percentage of bills proposed by McMorris Rodgers (29.4%) and Hastings (35%) joined by Democrats. Unlisted in the figures provided by GovTrack were Crapo, Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Eagle).
      

Congress is mulling a number of major legislative initiatives in the coming months as lawmakers prep for another election cycle. On tap are major bills addressing unemployment benefits, immigration reform and an extension of agriculture legislation.

More congressional reax on Syria speech

After President Obama gave his speech on Syria last night, there was a scramble to get reaction from the region's congressional delegation, and fit  it into the tight space in this morning's Spokesman-Review. We wound up with a shortened version of the reaction. For a fuller version of their comments, go inside the blog. 

 

Felts tower to stay open

Remember how Congress moved almost like greased lightning to keep stop the slowdown in commercial flights that the sequester was going to cause?

And remember how the jaded among you said that was just because they were getting to leave on recess, and didn't want to face delays as they flew home for the break?

Well, turns out there's some dough left from the money the FAA moved around to keep air traffic controllers off furlough, and it's going to help the little airports like Felts Field. And gee, they almost never fly into the little airports…at least not outside of campaign season.

Read more inside the blog.

Murray announces Senate budget hearings

WASHINGTON — The first official steps toward passing a Senate budget will be taken next week, Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray said today.

The Democratic senior senator from Washington announced two sessions scheduled for Feb. 12 and 13. Murray has vowed, amid rebukes from House Republicans about the four-year absence of a Senate spending plan, to pass a budget resolution this spring. The legal deadline to bring a resolution to the Senate floor for approval is April 1.

The 22-member committee, which also includes Idaho Republican Sen. Mike Crapo, will first hear from Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf. Elmendorf will answer questions about the nonpartisan group’s Budget and Economic Outlook report released Tuesday.

That report projected a shrinking deficit in 2013, falling to around $845 billion from more than $1 trillion in 2012. That would make 2013’s deficit near 5 percent of GDP, its lowest level since President Barack Obama entered office. However, the report predicts rising deficits over the next decade due to “the pressures of an aging population, rising health care costs, an expansion of federal subsidies for health insurance, and growing interest payments on federal debt.”

In response to the report’s findings, Murray reaffirmed her commitment to protect certain spending programs and explore revenue-increasing measures.

“We need to continue working to cut spending responsibly, protect and strengthen programs like Medicare, and raise revenue by closing tax loopholes that the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations take advantage of,” Murray said in a statement.

On Feb. 13, the committee is expected to hear from representatives of the public testifying on how federal budget decisions affect them. Murray has stressed her commitment to involving public input in the resolution drafting process, which has included soliciting their suggestions on the committee’s website through a program called “MyBudget.”

Senate Democrats are in Annapolis, Md., for a legislative retreat that is expected to last through Wednesday. Budget issues will likely be on the table among a number of fiscal policy issues, including deep spending cuts to defense and discretionary programs set to kick in next month.

Murray announced the hearings via Twitter with the comment, “Looking fwd to getting to work!”

Murray, Crapo, McMorris Rodgers on list of “Best”

Take all 535 members of Congress, and select out 30 for special recognition via a “Best of Congress” award.

In that group of 30, place Washington Sen. Patty Murray and Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Dave Reichert and Adam Smith, and Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo.

That kind of list was just announced. Who gave them the award, and for what?

Answer inside the blog.

High court may be done with health care act, governor’s race is not

OLYMPIA – When a divided Supreme Court settled the question of whether federal health care reform is constitutional Thursday, it turned up the spotlight on the issue for Washington’s hotly contested governor’s race.
Now the question is, how long before that light dims?
Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna, one of the original plaintiffs in the failed multi-state challenge, said he was surprised at the ruling but insisted he was relieved, not disappointed.
Former U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, Inslee’s likely Democratic opponent for governor this November, was happy: “I always believed this was constitutional. I had no qualms in voting for this bill.”
Gov. Chris Gregoire, who disagreed so strongly with McKenna’s decision to draw Washington into the court battle that she filed as a “friend of the court” on the other side, was both celebratory and caustic.
  

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click here to go inside the blog.

Crapo: GOP said all along it was a tax

The Republicans said all along that the individual mandate was a tax, Sen. Mike Crapo said this morning after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act on that point. Democrats had insisted it wasn't.

“It's an incredibly big irony,” the Idaho Republican said.

President Obama rejected the GOP arguments that the penalties contained in the law amounted to a tax, and promised the American public he wouldn't raise taxes, Crapo said.. During the Senate debate on the Affordable Care Act, Crapo said he offered an amendment that would have stripped the bill of anything that violated Obama's pledge. It was rejected.

“Now, we're back into that argument,” he said. Although the law is constitutional, “this is still the bad law we said it was.” 

Obama speech reax: Bipartisan support for now

A generation after serving in Vietnam, Rep. Walt Minnick sat in the auditorium at West Point Tuesday surrounded by men and women in cadet gray uniforms being told by a president their lives could be sacrificed in another Asian country.


“It was an honor to be here, a generation later,” said Minnick, an Army veteran who was one of seven members of Congress asked to attend President Barack Obama’s speech on raising troop levels in Afghanistan. “There was rapt attention in that room. Their futures are on the line.”
 

For more reaction, or to leave a comment, go inside the blog.

Obama reax from WA & ID delegations

When a president talks, congresspersons listen…and then they talk, too.

Such was the case Wednesday night when Barack Obama talked about health care reform, and members of Congress talked about Obama’s talk.

Go inside the blog to see what the honorables who represent the Inland Northwest had to say.

Word.

For the record, Patty Murray’s favorite word is “help.” Maria Cantwell’s is “oil”. Cathy McMorris Rodgers’ is “students.”

In the Idaho congressional delegation, Mike Crapo’s fave is”energy”. Jim Risch’s is “guard”. Walt Minnick’s is “Idaho”.

That’s the conclusion of Capitol Words,  a new Web site that combs through the Congressional Record for speeches and comments by members of Congress, then counts how many times they use words other than a or the or and or…well, you get the picture. 

The record for some of the region’s honorables is much longer, because they’ve been around for years. For Minnick and Risch, who just arrived in January, it’s sparse, but the site also tracks their predecessors Larry Craig and Bill Sali.

Go inside to see the top 5 for each.

Left wing, right wing, middle of the bird?

The National Journal has developed a great resource for figuring out where your congressional delegation stands on on the political spectrum, an interactive graphic that combines the scores of several rating groups, then ranks the honorables with their photos.

Rating systems aren’t new, of course, but this one is just more fun. It’s available by clicking here.

In it, we learn that the National Journal’s calculations place Patty Murray as the Senate’s most liberal member, based on last year’s votes. That puts her 17 slots ahead of Maria Cantwell, her fellow Washington Democrat, 76 ahead of Larry Craig, who was Idaho’s senior senator until he retired last year, and  79 ahead of Mike Crapo, also R-Idaho. Four Republicans — all westerners — tied for the ranking of most conservative in the Senate.

What about the House? Washington, of course, is a mixed bag. Idaho, not so much. . .

Get blog updates by email

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.

Latest comments »

Read all the posts from recent conversations on Spin Control.

Search this blog
Subscribe to this blog
ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here