November 25, 2013 at 1:12 PM
WASHINGTON — U.S Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers on Sunday gave birth to her third child — all born during the Spokane Republican’s time in Congress.
McMorris Rodgers released an Instagram photo of her daughter, Brynn Catherine Rodgers, who was born at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md..
The congresswoman and her husband, retired Navy commander Brian Rodgers, also are parents to son Cole, 6, and Grace, who turns 3 next month.
Both Brynn Catherine and her mother are doing well. Her big brother, Cole, was born with Down syndrome, and McMorris Rodgers has been a big proponent for research and disability support.
McMorris Rodgers, 44, chairs the House Republican Conference, making her the No. 4 House GOP leader.
“Nothing compares to the miracle of bringing a new life into the world,” McMorris Rodgers said in her Instagram posting. “She’s beautiful and seems to be taking it all in stride. Our hearts are full.”
November 15, 2013 at 12:13 PM
Updated at 1:35 p.m. with DelBene’s comments:
WASHINGTON — Washington state’s U.S. House delegation voted along party lines — with one exception — on a bill that would allow insurers to keep selling canceled health plans that ran afoul of coverage requirements under the Affordable Care Act.
The House voted 261-157 for the GOP-sponsored Keep Your Health Plan Act, which would allow insurers to maintain millions of policies that were canceled in advance of the Jan. 1 start of coverage under Obamacare.
All four Republicans from Washington voted in favor; five of six Democrats voted no. Rep. Suzan DelBene of Medina was the sole Democratic yes vote.
In all, four Republicans and 39 Democrats defected from their caucuses on the bill.
Republicans said the bill would prevent Americans from being forced to buy higher-priced policies that don’t fit their coverage needs. Democrats assailed it as the GOP’s latest attempt to derail President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, just six weeks before coverage is set to start Jan. 1.
Each year, millions of Americans with individual policies don’t renew their coverage, often because insurers raise premiums or decrease benefits. But Obamacare not only requires Americans to have health insurance, they’re required to have adequate coverage. Insurers can no longer sell skimpy policies or plans that do not cover maternity care, mental-health services and other mandated benefits.
On the House floor, Democrats repeatedly accused the GOP of a “mission of destruction” against Obamacare under the guise of protecting consumers. Allowing people to pick and choose among bare-bone plans, they argued, would expose them to financial ruin in case of a medical catastrophe as well as undermine the risk pool that helps keep premiums lower for everyone.
Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Seattle, said Gov. Jay Inslee and Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler were right to buck even President Obama’s decision Thursday to allow a one-year reprieve for the canceled policies.
Alluding to fretting over consumers’ anger by some Democrats facing tough re-elections, McDermott said, “I haven’t seen so much panic on this floor since 9/11.”
DelBene said she went against the votes of many of her Democratic colleagues to protect consumers from the Obama administration’s “broken promises.”
“While imperfect,” she said, “the bill before the House today allows many Americans in the individual market to keep their current plans for an additional year. This is why I voted ‘YES.’
“I understand that it’s ultimately up to state insurance commissioners and private insurance companies to determine whether to allow the extension of existing health plans. I respect the decision made yesterday by Washington’s Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler not to allow plans that lack ACA benefits to be renewed.”
But Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Auburn, said through a spokeswoman that he co-sponsored the bill and voted for it because people are upset.
“Many of my constituents don’t think their current coverage is inadequate, it’s exactly the coverage they like and want to keep,” he said.
Rep. Rick Larsen, D-Everett, said in a statement he took the opposite vote for the same reason as Reichert’s: to protect consumers. Extending the old policies, he said, would allow insurers to again impose annual caps on coverage, charge women higher premiums than for men and keep out people with preexisting conditions.
November 13, 2013 at 11:54 AM
A 16-year-old immigration activist from Redmond High School was one of two girls who confronted House Speaker John Boehner over the issue of immigration reform as he tried to get breakfast on Capitol Hill Wednesday morning.
Jennifer Martinez, who is a U.S. citizen, is active in the OneAmerica Youth Program, which engages high school students across the Puget Sound region on immigration issues.
She and her companion, Carmen Lima, 13, of California, told Boehner that as a father he might understand what it’s like to be separated from his children, the way many undocumented immigrant parents are.
Boehner responded: “Well, I’m trying to find some way to get this thing done. It’s, uh, you know, not easy — not gonna be an easy path forward. But I’ve made it clear since the day after the election that it’s time to get this done.”
The video made its way quickly to national TV and the Internet.
Within hours of his conversation with the girls, Boehner told reporters at a Capitol Hill news conference: “I’ll make clear we have no intention of ever going to conference on the Senate bill,” referring to a sweeping immigration measure that was passed by the Senate this summer.
Immigrant advocates, religious and labor groups and employers have been trying to pressure Boehner to take up an immigration bill pending in the House and have been calling House Republicans, urging them to support it.
That bill, which would provide a path to citizenship for the more than 11 million unauthorized immigrants in this country, is similar to the one passed in the Senate.
U.S. Catholics across the country, and here in Washington state, are being encouraged to call their lawmakers Wednesday to ask for their support.
About 13 people were risking arrest outside the Spokane offices of Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, in an act of civil disobedience similar to one that led to last week’s arrest of 33 women who refused to leave the Bellevue offices of the Washington State Republican Party.
October 31, 2013 at 5:43 AM
WASHINGTON — The cable channel TVW will air Friday’s public memorial service in Spokane for former Speaker Tom Foley.
The event, set to begin at 11 a.m. will be held at St. Aloysius Church near Gonzaga University. TVW will carry it live on television and stream it on the web. Gov. Jay Inslee, and Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell are expected to attend.
Foley, a Democrat who served 30 years in Congress, died at 84 on Oct. 18. He was honored at an invitation-only service Tuesday at the Capitol. President Obama, former Pres. Bill Clinton and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich were among those attending.
TVW is on Comcast ch. 25 in Spokane and Comcast ch. 23 in most of Western Washington. Other channel locations can be found here.
The Foley service will be re-broadcast next week, including at 7 p.m. Monday.
October 29, 2013 at 4:26 PM
WASHINGTON – Pausing for a rare detente, President Obama and members of Congress gathered Tuesday for a memorial service for former House Speaker Tom Foley, praising the Spokane Democrat as an ideal embodiment of a public servant whose type of bipartisanship many said was lamentably lacking today.
The invitation-only event at Statuary Hall inside the Capitol was attended by 300 family, friends and former colleagues.
Newt Gingrich, the man who took Foley’s job as speaker after the Democrat’s ignominious defeat in the 1994 elections, sat in the front row. Former President Clinton lauded Foley as a tough-minded politico who understood difficult votes came with heavy price, and paid them anyway.
And Robert H. Michel, who served as Foley’s Republican foil for 14 years as House minority leader, said the two men shared a trust and the belief that their beloved House of Representatives was “one of the great creations of a free people.”
Foley died at 84 on Oct. 18 from complications from strokes. He had been in home hospice for months in Washington, D.C.
The service was organized by the office of Speaker John Boehner. Foley’s widow, Heather, was escorted into the room by Obama and Boehner.
October 29, 2013 at 9:22 AM
WASHINGTON — All U.S. flags are flying at half-staff Tuesday as the Capitol prepares for a memorial service for former House Speaker Tom Foley.
President Obama ordered the flags lowered Monday in honor of the Spokane Democrat, who died Oct. 18 at 84 from complications from strokes.
Obama is scheduled to headline a list of dignitaries who will attend the 3 p.m. service at the Capitol’s Statuary Hall. Former President Clinton will speak.
Others expected to speak include Foley’s close friends, former U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks of Bremerton and Rep. Jim McDermott, D-Seattle. Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell plan to attend as well.
Also on the program for the invitation-only service are Speaker John Boehner, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
October 25, 2013 at 12:08 PM
WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) — President Barack Obama will take part in a memorial service for former House Speaker Tom Foley next Tuesday at the Capitol building.
Foley was a 30-year veteran of the House who died last Friday at the age of 84.
Obama praised him as a “legend of the United States Congress” whose straightforward approach helped find common ground with both Republicans and his fellow Democrats.
The Washington state lawmaker served as speaker from 1989 to 1995. He was ambassador to Japan under President Bill Clinton.
October 15, 2013 at 8:08 PM
Breaking from some more hard-line conservatives, Republican U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler says it’s time to end the government shutdown and back away from the threat of defaulting on the national debt.
In a statement released Tuesday, Herrera Beutler said she’s avoided public comment before now because she wanted to give Republican leaders leeway to craft a deal.
But she said the time has come for Republicans “to face reality” and made it clear she will not vote for “poison pills” seeking to end the Affordable Care Act, which have no chance of passing the Senate or being signed into law.
October 2, 2013 at 2:40 PM
WASHINGTON — U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene rolled out a new immigration bill Wednesday, attempting to restart a move toward comprehensive reform that has stalled in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
The bill, called the Border Security, Economic Opportunity and Immigration Modernization Act, largely mirrors a measure passed by the Senate earlier this year. It would, among other things, allow citizenship for people living in the United States illegally 13 years after they apply and would admit more highly-skilled immigrants.
The annual cap on employment-based visas would remain at 140,000. But that ceiling would not apply to foreigners with master’s degree or higher in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields from American universities or people with “extraordinary ability,” among others.
In effect, that means STEM graduates with advanced degrees with American job offers would get green cards for permanent residency.
Significantly, the bill strips out a provision inserted in the Senate version by Republicans, called the Corker-Hoeven amendment, that imposes tough border-security conditions that must be met before any green cards can be issued.
DelBene, D-Medina, co-sponsored the bill with four Democratic lawmakers: Reps. Judy Chu of California, Jared Polis of Colorado, Steven Horsford of Nevada and Joe Garcia of Florida, the lead sponsor. DelBene, Chu and Garcia serve on the House Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over immigration issues.
The chairman of that committee, Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, has not put any immigration bills on the House floor. He has favored a piecemeal approach to immigration reform. None of the bills passed by the House Judiciary Committee include a pathway for citizenship for undocumented residents.
Look for full story in Thursday’s paper from my colleague, Lornet Turnbull.
September 19, 2013 at 7:00 AM
Washington’s 1st Congressional District is supposed to be swing-voter territory, but so far it looks as though Democratic Rep. Suzan DelBene has little reason to fear a major Republican challenge in 2014.
While Republicans are well on their way to targeting vulnerable Democratic incumbents in other parts of the country, the GOP has no obvious prospects in the 1st District. A few names tossed around by local GOP leaders have not panned out. And national political analysts are starting to write the race off.
The influential “Sabato’s Crystal Ball” at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics plans to list DelBene’s seat as “safe Democratic” in its new rankings of 2014 House contests to be released Thursday. It had previously listed the race as “leans Democratic.”
“The bottom line is that Republicans have many more attractive targets across the country,” Kyle Kondik, managing editor of the Crystal Ball, said in an email, noting that DelBene is an “intimidating” target for the GOP because of the former Microsoft executive’s vast personal wealth.
The district, which stretches from Redmond and Kirkland north across more rural territory to the Canadian border, showed mixed loyalties in 2012. It went for Rob McKenna with 52 percent support in the governor’s race but backed President Obama with 54 percent of the vote.
Susan Hutchison, newly elected chairman of the state Republican Party, said “we think it’s a Republican district” and vowed the GOP will find a viable candidate.
“We’re going to mount a serious challenge, I can tell you that,” she said. “There are some exciting people who are talking about it.”
But Hutchison declined to name any of the party’s prospects and those mentioned by other GOP leaders as possible candidates have not stepped forward.
GOP officials have met with Pedro Celis, a retired Microsoft engineer who co-chaired the Mitt Romney campaign’s steering committee in the state in 2008. But in an interview, Celis said he’s not inclined to run. State Sen. Andy Hill has also been mentioned, but officials said they don’t believe he’s ready to make the leap yet. (Hill didn’t return phone calls.)
Snohomish County Councilman John Koster, who lost to DelBene last year, said he’s not planning another try. After his 2012 loss, Koster blamed national Republican leaders for essentially ceding the district to Democrats by failing to back him with campaign cash. (State and national Republican leaders disagreed, blaming the Koster campaign.) Koster said he’s worried the GOP is going to skip the district again.
“I still believe it is very much a swing district,” Koster said. But if a challenge is going to emerge, “you’ve got to do it soon.”
Former U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton, who helped draw the new 1st District boundaries during redistricting in 2011, said 2014 is shaping up to be a good year for Republicans generally. But he acknowledged the difficulty in finding a viable candidate to challenge DelBene.
“That person will either have to have money of his or her own, or there will have to be an extraordinary fundraising effort and third-party intervention,” Gorton said, referring to outside GOP allied groups that pour money into competitive congressional races nationally.
Kondik said there is still time for Republicans to field a candidate. “However, many of the competitive House races across the country have already begun to take shape. If no one emerges in the next couple months in WA-1, it could end up being a pretty sleepy race.”
About this blog
Trending with readers