August 01, 2005

Last Week in the Other Washington

A sampler platter of how the federal legislators representing King County voted last week:

H.R. 5 would limit noneconomic and punitive damages in medical liability lawsuits to a maximum of $250,000, and reduces manufacturer liability for products approved by the Food and Drug Administration, a.k.a. tort 'reform.' It passed the House on a vote of 230-194. Yes: Rep. Reichert (R WA-8). No: Rep. Inslee (D WA-1), Rep. Larsen (D WA-2), Rep. McDermott (D WA-7), Rep. Smith (D WA-9).

H.R. 6 The Energy Policy Act of 2005 provides government subsidies and incentives for the energy industry. The final version passed the Senate on a vote of 74-26, and the House on a vote of 275-156. Yes: Sen. Cantwell (D), Rep. Larsen, Rep. Reichert. No: Sen. Murray (D), Rep. Inslee, Rep. McDermott, Rep Smith.

Senator Cantwell released an explanation of her vote in favor of H.R. 6:

Last week, the Senate approved energy legislation by a vote of 74 to 26. While not ideal, this legislation takes several critically important steps forward for the Northwest. It opens up opportunity for our farmers to get into the biofuel business. It stops Enron from raiding Snohomish ratepayers’ wallets. It does not allow for drilling of the Arctic.

The bill does not include my amendment that sets a goal of reducing America’s overdependence on foreign oil, side-stepping the most important energy challenge before us. Unfortunately, the leadership of this Congress lacks the political will to tackle this important issue at this time.

However, on the whole, this legislation is better than expected. It has some important provisions for the ratepayers of the Pacific Northwest, and some vital tools for the clean energy entrepreneurs and innovators that will help pave the way toward a better energy future. Now that we’ve passed a bill heavy on the nuts and bolts, it’s time to get serious about a more visionary approach to curbing our addiction to oil. The fight to bolster America’s energy security is just beginning.

H.R. 3045 Authorized the Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), which will create a new free trade zone among the member countries. It passed the Senate on a vote of 55-45, and the House on a vote of 217-215. Yes: Sen. Cantwell, Sen. Murray, Rep. Reichert. No: Rep. Inslee, Rep. Larsen, Rep. McDermott, Rep. Smith.

H.R. 3 sets aside funds for federal highway aid, highway safety and transit programs. The final version passed the Senate on a vote of 91-4, and the House on a vote of 412-8. Yes: Sen. Cantwell, Rep. Inslee, Rep. Larsen, Rep. McDermott, Sen. Murray, Rep. Reichert, Rep. Smith.

S. 397 prohibits civil lawsuits being brought against manufacturers or dealers of firearms and ammunition for illegal acts performed using their products. It passed the Senate on a vote of 65-31. No: Sen. Cantwell, Sen. Murray.

Posted by natasha at August 1, 2005 05:46 PM | WA Politics | Technorati links |