In The News

10.01.20

Heavy Hitters In House Urge Return of Spending Bill Earmarks

by Jennifer Shutt

Two of the most influential House Democrats said Thursday that the chamber should bring back earmarks next year, saying a de facto prohibition on "congressionally directed spending" gives too much power to the executive branch. Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 House Democrat, and James E. Clyburn of South Carolina, the party whip and third-ranking Democrat, told the Rules Committee that earmarks should be restored with "safeguards" Democrats instituted in 2007 and expanded … Continue Reading


09.30.20

Bremerton Navy Hero To Be Honored

by Deborah Horne

Chief Gunner's Mate John Henry Turpin's service in the Navy began in the last years of the 19th Century at a time of virulent racism. Yet he risked his life to save others in one of the Navy's worst peacetime disasters. He fought for a country that never fully recognized him, until now. By any measure, John Henry Turpin cut an extraordinary figure. A Jamaican by birth, but born, it seems, to be a United States Navy man. Kitsap County historian Karen Vargas began the work to honor Turpin's gr… Continue Reading


09.28.20

House Modernization Committee Issues Last Round of Recommendations

by Jory Heckman

The House Select Committee on Modernization of Congress has passed its final round of recommendations before its term expires at the end of this session of Congress. Those recommendations include standing up a Congressional Data Task Force and identifying continuity of operations best practices the House made during the coronavirus pandemic. Members of the committee have recommended creating a Congressional Digital Services Task Force that would overhaul the House's internal and public-facing … Continue Reading


09.27.20

Is Congress Reasserting Itself?

In tracing the trajectory of presidents, from Bill Clinton to Barack Obama to Donald Trump, I detected a common thread of hope: from "a place called hope," to "hope and change," to "sure hope we can survive this." But this past week, I discovered a fourth thread of hope that traces from the Congress, and that is signs of hope that the First Branch will reclaim its rightful role in our tripartite system of government. I am neither a cock-eyed optimist nor a far-sighted optimist. But I am near-s… Continue Reading


09.26.20

Centrist Democrats Got Their COVID Bill, Now They Want a Vote

by Mike Lillis and Scott Wong

"We're putting airlines in," said Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.), chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. With the number of U.S. coronavirus deaths topping 200,000 - and unemployment filings still at record highs - rank-and-file Democrats cheered the arrival of the new proposal in hopes that it might pressure Republicans to endorse an agreement that can become law. "The key thing is that people keep negotiating," said Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), former head of the New De… Continue Reading


09.24.20

‘Fix Congress Committee’ Launches Framework For Earmark Revival

by Katherine Tully-McManus

An 18-month effort to make Congress work smarter has yielded 97 official recommendations from the House Modernization of Congress Committee and aims to stem the brain drain among staffers, boost congressional capacity, and overhaul the budget and appropriations process. "It's not 100, but 97 is still an A," said Washington Democrat Derek Kilmer, the panel's chairman. Committee members advanced their final slate of 40 proposals Thursday in the last meeting of the select committee, which was ori… Continue Reading


09.24.20

Fixing the House Means More Staff Pay and Member Budget Sway, Panel Concludes

by David Hawkings

Its nickname has been the Fix Congress Committee, an unusually bipartisan effort by House members to make their workplace a bit more functional. On Thursday it wrapped up work by endorsing 40 more ideas - including on such politically dicey topics as Capitol Hill's spending on itself and lawmakers steering federal spending toward home. The panel has been something of a pet project for good-government groups inside the Beltway, who engineered its creation two years ago, pelted it with ideas and … Continue Reading


09.22.20

Tacoma's First Black Mayor, Harold Moss, Dies at Age 90

Harold Moss, the first Black mayor of Tacoma who was known as a trailblazer and "champion for civil rights," has died at the age of 90. Moss, who also became Tacoma's first Black City Council member in 1970, was appointed as the city's first Black mayor in 1994 after the death of the previous mayor. He also was elected as the first Black Pierce County Council member in 1996. Moss' death was confirmed by the current Tacoma mayor, Victoria Woodards. U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, who represents the Ta… Continue Reading


09.21.20

Officials Respond to Death of Ginsburg

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was described as a hero, a trial-blazer and an American patriot by state and federal officials after her death at the age of 87 on Friday. Ginsburg died of of complications from pancreatic cancer after she had battled cancer successfully three times. After leading the legal fight for women's rights in the 1970s, Ginsburg subsequently served 27 years on the U.S. Supreme Court, where she was the court's leading liberal voice. "Ruth Bader Ginsburg gave her all to us, … Continue Reading


09.21.20

Kilmer Bill Renames Bremerton Post Office For Black Naval Sailor

by Bob Smith

The House of Representatives has unanimously passed U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer's legislation to rename the Bremerton Post Office in honor of John Henry Turpin, a distinguished Navy sailor. Turpin is believed to be the first Black American to qualify as a master diver in a civilian capacity and was one of the first to achieve the rank of chief petty officer in the U.S. Navy. His 30-year career in the Navy included service during the Spanish-American War, the Boxer Rebellion and World War I. "John H… Continue Reading


09.17.20

Members of Congress are Specializing Less Often. That makes Them Less Effective.

by Craig Volden and Alan E. Wiseman

Members of Congress can be foxes or hedgehogs Our work explores how legislators' specialization in particular issues affects their ability to advance their agendas. To study this, we looked at each bill proposed in each two-year Congress from 1973-2016, classifying into one of 19 different issue areas from agriculture to education to international trade. We then examined how many issues each member of the House and the Senate tried to tackle in their proposals, as well as how much attention the… Continue Reading


09.17.20

No, the Democrats Haven’t Gone Over the Edge

by David Brooks

You've probably heard of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, but you may not have heard of Derek Kilmer. Kilmer grew up in a timber region in Washington State that had seen many of its logging jobs disappear. First at Princeton, then getting a Ph.D. at Oxford, he studied how towns recover from deindustrialization. He went back home to help his community recover economically and now represents that community in Congress. Kilmer is the chairman of the largest ideological group among House Democrats, the Ne… Continue Reading


09.16.20

Frustrated House Democrats Push for Action on New Economic Relief Bill

by Erica Werner

Multiple House Democrats expressed anxiety and frustration Tuesday about the prospect of adjourning for the election without a new coronavirus relief bill, with one vulnerable House Democrat saying on a private call with leadership that she wanted to do her "goddamn job" and deliver a deal for her constituents. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced on a conference call with House Democrats on Tuesday morning that the House would remain in session until a new agreement is struck, sayin… Continue Reading


09.03.20

Federal Funding Sought For MV Coho

by Paul Gottlieb

PORT ANGELES - Don't be fooled by hearing the blast of the MV Coho's horn or seeing the 1,000-passenger vessel untethered from the Port Angeles ferry terminal. It isn't going anywhere anytime soon. After floating empty at the dock since March 29 due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, the Black Ball Ferry Line ship, which had plied the Strait of Juan de Fuca between Port Angeles and Victoria for more than 60 years, is sail-ready but otherwise quietly moored at least until April 2021 - and possibl… Continue Reading


08.28.20

Toolkit For Engaging Millennials With the National Debt Debate

by Stuart M. Butler, Timothy Higashi, Layla Zaidane, and Joe Greaney

Millennials and younger Americans differ sharply from older generations in the urgency they place on addressing climate change and the national debt. While the two issues are not equivalent, they are both major long-term concerns that need attention now. But while the younger generations are very worried about climate change and demand urgent action, they are far more relaxed about the escalating national debt. What lessons should stakeholders take from the successful public engagement of younge… Continue Reading


08.28.20

Kilmer: Bipartisan Support Exists For PILT

by Rob Ollikainen

PORT ANGELES - U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer will "keep pushing" for Payment In Lieu of Taxes (PILT) for rural counties like Clallam and Jefferson that have large swaths of non-taxable federal lands, he said. Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, told Clallam County commissioners during a virtual meeting Monday that there was bipartisan support to continue the program, which "flies under the radar unless your county's really impacted by it." Kilmer represents the 6th Congressional District, which includes the North … Continue Reading


08.26.20

Kilmer Votes to Support U.S. Postal Service

August 22, U.S. Representative Derek Kilmer voted in support of the Delivering for America Act, legislation he co-sponsored to prohibit the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) from implementing or approving any changes to the operations or service levels that would impede prompt, reliable, and efficient service. The bill also includes $25 billion, as requested by the USPS Board of Governors, to address the financial crisis resulting from the coronavirus pandemic and the related economic downturn. "Durin… Continue Reading


08.18.20

$600 Checks Would Return Under Proposal Pushed By Small Group Of Democrats

by Daniel Cassady

Three House Democrats are pushing leadership to schedule a vote that would bring back the $600 federal unemployment payments while the House of Representatives is called back into session this week. The Letter, addressed to Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D. Calif.) and House Majority leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), and signed by Representatives Scott Peters (D-Calif.), Don Beyer (D-Va.) and Derek Kilmer (D-Wash.), asks the leadership to consider taking up legislation like "The Worker Relief and Security A… Continue Reading


08.18.20

Democrats Press Leadership to Vote Saturday on $600 Unemployment Insurance

by Mike Lillis

Rank-and-file Democrats are pushing party leaders to vote this week on an extension of federal unemployment benefits that expired at the end of July. Democratic leaders have already made the remarkable decision to cut the summer recess short, calling the House back to Washington on Saturday to vote on legislation providing billions of dollars to the Postal Service. Now, dozens of Democratic lawmakers want to expand the weekend itinerary, pressing leadership to stage another vote reinstating th… Continue Reading


08.18.20

Some House Democrats Urge Pelosi to Pass Smaller Bill Focusing on Expanded Unemployment Benefits

by Jacob Pramuk

More than 100 House Democrats are pushing Speaker Nancy Pelosi to vote on a bill to extend extra unemployment benefits when the chamber convenes this weekend.clTop of Form The House, which left Washington for its August recess before Congress could pass a pandemic aid package, will return on Saturday to vote on a bill that would fund the U.S. Postal Service and reverse changes Democrats worry will make it harder for Americans to vote by mail in November. "We owe it to people waiting to get ba… Continue Reading

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