Bill to help active service members get home loans passes the Senate

Bill to help active service members get home loans passes the Senate

TDN.com

June 14, 2019

The U.S. Senate Wednesday night passed the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act of 2019, which included Southwest Washington Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler’s bill to make home mortgages more affordable for active duty service members wounded in combat.

The measure now moves to President Trump’s desk for a signature to become law.

The legislation waives the funding fee for active-duty Purple Heart recipients for loans guaranteed under the home-loan program of the Department of Veterans Affairs, according to a press release.

Currently, the home loan fee is only waived for veterans, or their surviving spouse, who are receiving VA compensation for a service-connected disability, according to Herrera Beutler’s office. Under the new legislation about 8,000 men and women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces who have been awarded a Purple Heart could now be eligible for the home loan funding fee waiver.

“It’s an honor to assist our military service members on the home front as they fight for our freedom on the front lines. Helping Purple Heart recipients and their families achieve the dream of home ownership is one thing we can do to repay them for their service,” Herrera Beutler said in a prepared statement. “I’m thrilled Congress passed this legislation to honor the tremendous sacrifice of those who continue to serve our country, even after being wounded in combat, and I look forward to the president signing it into law in the coming days.”

The Purple Heart is awarded to U.S. military personnel wounded or killed while serving on or after April 5, 1917.

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Sea lion bill signed into law by President Trump

TDN.com

December 27, 2018

WASHINGTON D.C. — Legislation that allows the lethal taking of sea lions that prey on at-risk fish populations on the Columbia River and select tributaries in Washington, Oregon and Idaho has been signed into law by President Donald Trump.

The bipartisan bill, co-sponsored by Sen. James Risch, R-Idaho, and Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., makes slight changes to the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, which lays out prohibitions for killing marine mammals, and institutes a permit process for the lethal taking of sea lions. Permit holders are legally allowed to kill sea lions that are part of a population and/or stock that is not classified as being depleted or at risk.

The signing of the bill by President Trump was the culmination of years of hard work and advocacy to bring attention to the issue. Moses Lake resident Rick Graser, who spent 31 years as a fishing guide, was at the forefront of the fight for a fix to come about and says he is relieved to see it come. But at the same time, he says, it could have come sooner.

“It was a lot of hard work and I’m just thrilled that this thing has gone through. I still make the stance that we are not to the point of killing all of the sea lions, but their numbers need to get back under control.”

The permits are good for up to five years, can be renewed and set the total number of seal lions to be killed annually under all issued permits at no great than 10 percent of the annual potential biological removal of the animals. The legislation requires the taking of the sea lions be humane and the “primary euthanasia be limited to chemical methods.”

In order for a sea lion to be eligible for lethal removal the animal must have been previously captured and branded by a fishery, have been observed for at least five days on the river and must have been subjected to hazing techniques and been observed eating a salmon or steelhead.

“The way the fish runs have gone down and the damage these sea lions have done it is going to take years to repair the runs to where they were before the sea lions showed up,” Graser said.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has been keep statistics on sea lion predation on salmon/steelhead directly below Bonneville Dam in Washington from January through May each year since 2002. California sea lions have been migrating north from California since the mid-1980s and their numbers have varied over the years, but during the 16-year time span almost 4,000 fish have been consumed by the animals each year below the dam. Estimates put the total number of wild salmon populations in the Upper Columbia River and Snake Rivers that are at risk of predation by sea lions below the dam at 32.

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Herrera Beutler, state Republicans want ‘alternatives to light rail’ in bridge planning

Herrera Beutler, state Republicans want ‘alternatives to light rail’ in bridge planning

Lawmakers wrote letter to Inslee citing advisory votes in Clark County

The Columbian

December 19, 2018

U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler and seven Southwest Washington state lawmakers have written to Gov. Jay Inslee asking him to “keep mass transit alternatives to light rail on the table” as part of negotiations to replace the Interstate 5 Bridge across the Columbia River.

The letter was prompted by news last week that Inslee included $17.5 million in his proposed budget for a project office to replace the I-5 Bridge. The budget item included language that light rail would be part of the project.

He also made remarks to The Columbian that including the means of transit on the bridge would signal to Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, who has insisted on light rail on a replacement crossing, that Washington would be a partner on the project. Inslee also said that the budget item would convey to the federal government that an actual project is in the works.

Washington has been seeking to restart talks with Oregon to replace the century-old I-5 Bridge since the collapse of the Columbia River Crossing five years ago. The letter states that while the lawmakers were encouraged that the governor’s budget contained funding for a bridge replacement, they were “dismayed to find that the proposal also contains a statement that any new bridge will include light rail, with no consideration of alternative transit options.”

“We all agree on the pressing need to address the congestion and safety issues at the current I-5 Bridge, and it’s imperative that we all work together on a long-term solution that both sides of the river can support,” reads the letter that was also signed by Sen. Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver; Sen. Ann Rivers, R- La Center; John Braun, R-Centralia; Rep. Paul Harris, R-Vancouver; Rep. Brandon Vick, R-Felida; Rep. Richard DeBolt, R-Chehalis; Rep. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama.

The letter cites three advisory votes, most recently in 2013, where a majority of Clark County voters expressed opposition to extending light rail to the county.

Last week, a bistate committee formed to look into replacing the bridge met for the first time with Oregon lawmakers. Wilson, Rivers and Orcutt are serving as members of the committee.

“It’s not just faithful representation that demands we remain open-minded to transit alternatives, it’s also practical politics for those of us who actually want to solve the problems on the I-5 corridor,” reads the letter.

The letter states that the Columbia River Crossing failed “in large part due to the insistence of politicians and bureaucrats” that the project extend light rail to Clark County.

“Those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it,” reads the letter.

Since Washington lawmakers began seeking to restart talks with Oregon about replacing the I-5 Bridge, most of Clark County’s legislative delegation has expected that mass transit will be included on the new crossing. There’s also broad support among the county’s delegation that bus rapid transit would be an acceptable option.

The letter states that the lawmakers were encouraged by Inslee’s remarks to The Columbian that he was “not foreclosing on other alternatives” and asked him to “further elaborate on your position to clarify that you are open-minded on the topic.”

Tara Lee, spokeswoman for Inslee responded with a statement:

“Gov. Inslee and Gov. Brown have worked to align our states for a restart of the project, and it’s good to see that elected, tribal, business, labor, and environmental leaders in both Washington and Oregon have expressed interest in coming back to the table. We encourage the lawmakers who signed the letter to focus on what’s practical and join us in advancing this reinvigorated bistate effort that moves this critical project forward.”

 

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Herrera Beutler advocates for bipartisanship

As fifth term nears, she says Republicans, Democrats need to work together

The Columbian

December 17, 2018

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, said it’s certainly more fun to be in the majority, but as she prepares to enter her fifth term in Congress as a member of the new minority party, she isn’t worried about her effectiveness.

“I think you have to have a little bit more direct path on certain things,” Herrera Beutler said in a telephone interview last week. “I do think it’s probably going to take some people by surprise that they’re no longer just a brute force in the majority. But the way my team and I have operated, I expect us to continue to be able to get results.”

She cites December as proof. Four of Herrera Beutler’s bills passed the House or were signed by the president last week. All relied on bipartisanship.

A bill to allow fisheries managers and Native American tribes to kill problematic sea lions on the Columbia River, for example, took 12 years to pass. Herrera Beutler said when it finally moved out of the House, she and co-sponsor Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., exchanged hugs.

“We made it look like that was something there was a total consensus on,” she said. “Right up until the last minute, I was working with the Democratic Senate to get that bill.”

A willingness to cross the aisle is how all members of Congress should approach their jobs, Herrera Beutler said.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re in the majority or minority, you don’t have to agree on everything,” she said. “What I have learned in my time in both the majority and minority is if your approach and your tenor and your tone is respectful, you can disagree agreeably and you can get a lot done.”

A specific plan of action is yet to be determined. Many of the bills that moved forward at the end of the session represented the remaining issues outlined in prior work sessions. Herrera Beutler said she plans to formulate a new plan in 2019, but expects to continue working on similar issues.

Maternal care, for example.

“I think the maternity care caucus will continue to have a good chunk of our attention just because we had success,” she said. “There’s a lot of low-hanging fruit.”

Making it easier to travel on airplanes with breast milk, for example, was a relatively easy fix that made parents’ lives easier.

I-5 bridge

Facilitating a replacement Interstate 5 bridge is also on Herrera Beutler’s mind.

“We have to fix this,” she said. “Moving forward, I don’t think anybody disagrees with that.”

She plans to continue encouraging relationships across state lines, especially at the local level.

“But I was saddened when I saw (Oregon Gov.) Kate Brown comment ‘my way or the highway’ with light rail,” she said.

Bus rapid transit, however, is a viable option for Herrera Beutler.

“It still allows us to access mass transit money from the federal pot. We could hook that into the Portland system,” she said. “This is a tough pill to swallow for some of our Republican lawmakers across the river, but I think we can move forward. We need to move forward.”

And when it comes to Oregon’s plan to toll parts of Interstates 5 and 205, Herrera Beutler said Southwest Washington residents need to benefit if they end up paying tolls.

“I won’t yield on this,” she added.

A woman of color

Going into the 2019 Congress, Herrera Beutler will be the only Republican congresswoman of color.

Although the fact was a little surprising, Herrera Beutler noted she’s also the first Hispanic Washington representative to serve in the U.S. House.

But she doesn’t feel that she’s been elected in the 3rd Congressional District because of her ethnicity.

“I don’t think I’ve ever had somebody say this needs to be part of your message in D.C.,” Herrera Beutler said. “In other districts maybe it’s different, maybe this is more part of what the voters there ask of their member (of Congress.)”

Honoring Bush

Although there’s plenty to consider heading into a new Congress, leaders recently paused to honor former President George H.W. Bush. Bush died Nov. 30, and on Dec. 3, his coffin arrived at the Capitol, giving lawmakers a chance to pay their respects.

Herrera Beutler said she almost didn’t make it to the ceremony but in the end is grateful she did.

“I just felt strongly, the whole country felt it,” she said. “This is something I need to be a part of.”

As she recalled watching the living former presidents enter the Capitol Rotunda, Herrera Beutler said she couldn’t help but reflect on Bush’s integrity.

“I know a lot of people disagree with the Bushes on a number of different issues, but the one thing you couldn’t find anywhere was someone who took issue with (his) character and leadership,” she said. “I almost felt like we’re ending that era.”

The acrimony and hostility between the parties needs to change, Herrera Beutler said.

“I don’t want this generation to only know that acrimony and personal attacks,” she added. “That’s the legacy I felt was leaving that day. My hope is we can change it.”

 

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Herrera Beutler touts policy wins as legislative year winds down

Herrera Beutler touts policy wins as legislative year winds down

Trump signed one last week, another headed to his desk

The Reflector

December 17, 2018

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, is seeing momentum on several of her legislative priorities as Congress wraps its term.

On Tuesday, Dec. 11, President Trump signed into law Herrera Beutler’s bill to repeal the ban on distilleries on tribal land. That bill was prompted after the Chehalis Tribe sought to build a distillery, before learning that an antiquated law blocked them from moving forward.

“This is a good day for tribal members who can now expand economically in the distillery business and bring new skills training and jobs to our region,” Herrera Beutler said in a statement.

The bill garnered wide bipartisan support in the House and Senate, passing by voice vote in both chambers.

Another long-term priority of Herrera Beutler’s, a bill to prevent maternal deaths, passed the House on Dec. 11 by voice vote. That bill will establish state committees to review pregnancy-related deaths, with the goal of learning and preventing the causes of maternal death.

“Today marks an important day in addressing our country’s maternal mortality crisis, as this is the strongest step Congress has taken to date to reverse it,” Herrera Beutler said in a statement. “By providing states with resources to investigate every maternal death, we can begin to tackle this troubling trend and take appropriate steps to prevent such tragedies in the future.”

A companion bill to the one that passed the House has been filed in the Senate, but it’s unclear if it will be brought up for a vote before Congress goes home for the year.

Another bill pushed by Herrera Beutler won approval in the Senate on the 11th, allowing for the killing of some sea lions that have devastated salmon runs. The bill, which passed the House in June, changes the Marine Mammal Protection Act to allow tribal members and fish managers to obtain permits to kill sea lions, not exceeding 10 percent of the annual potential biological removal level for the animals.

Herrera Beutler has talked repeatedly about how sea lions on the Columbia River have taken a toll on the runs of endangered salmon and steelhead, and she called the bill “a personal victory for each of us who treasure our Northwest salmon runs and want to see them preserved for generations to come.”

Due to some differences in the House and Senate versions of the bill, the chambers will have to reconcile the legislation before it heads to the President’s desk.

Joining Herrera Beutler’s flurry of victorious press releases last week was the announcement that the ACE Kids Act she co-sponsored had passed the House. The bill, which was rolled into a larger Medicaid improvement measure, creates networks to coordinate care for children on Medicaid with medically complex conditions, easing options for their families and allowing them to seek treatment across state lines.

“I can put too many faces and names to the reality that little kiddos often can’t get the care they need,” she said in a statement. “With passage of this bill, we are doing right by our kids — regardless of their zip codes, they’ll be able to get specialized medical treatment that can often be life-saving.”

 

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Three Herrera Beutler Bills Advance, One Signed into Law

Three Herrera Beutler Bills Advance, One Signed into Law

The Columbian

December 12, 2018

 

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, has reintroduced a bill to reinstate oil train safety regulations. The rules, implemented by the Obama administration in 2015, were rolled back last year.

The regulations required trains carrying oil or other flammable materials to update air-controlled braking systems with electronic brakes. But the U.S. Department of Transportation previously determined the cost to outfit trains with new braking systems outweighed the safety benefit.

Herrera Beutler first introduced the bill, known as the Oil and Flammable Material Rail Transportation Safety Act, to bring back the safety requirements in October.

“With trains carrying hazardous materials through Southwest Washington, it is paramount we increase safety for the nearby communities,” Herrera Beutler said in a press release. “I’m committed to reversing the decision by the U.S. Department of Transportation to ease this critical safety regulation, and reinstating the braking upgrade requirement for trains carrying flammable liquids.”

The Washington State Department of Ecology classifies Southwest Washington as a major oil train corridor, with hundreds of millions of gallons of crude oil moving through the region each year.

“As a community that has oil trains regularly running through our commercial areas, neighborhoods and downtown, Vancouver is very supportive and appreciative of Congresswoman Herrera Beutler’s efforts to reinstate the requirement that oil trains transition to the much more effective electronic pneumatic brakes,” Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle said in a press release.

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Jaime Herrera Beutler Leads Long by Seven in Independent Poll

New York Times poll, the only independent survey in WA-03 congressional race, shows Jaime with comfortable lead
VANCOUVER – In a poll conducted by the New York Times in Southwest Washington’s third congressional district, Congresswoman Jaime Herrera Beutler is leading Carolyn Long 48-41%.
The survey of 497 voters is the only independent public poll to date in this race. It was conducted via phone from October 14-19.  Detailed results are available here.
“In spite of piles of out of state liberal money flowing into Carolyn Long’s campaign and ads from Nancy Pelosi-aligned super PACs attacking Jaime, the only independent poll in this race shows what we’ve said all along – Jaime is winning,” said Parker Truax, campaign manager for Jaime for Congress. “The credit for Jaime’s comfortable lead goes to her strong record of fighting for solutions and getting results for the residents of Southwest Washington.”
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Carolyn Long will cost Southwest Washington residents on taxes, health care and tolling

Long has repeatedly called for a single-payer government healthcare takeover (aka “Medicare for All”) which could require doubling all federal income taxes.

  • The Daily News: “Long said she would vote for a so-called “Medicare for All” bill if Democrats win back control of the House, but she said that the chances of such a bill passing Congress would be nil.” (The Daily News 6/19/2018)

 

  • Long plans to eventually support Medicare for All:
    Question: “With your incremental approach, do you ever see yourself supporting a Medicare for All type healthcare program?”
    Long: “Absolutely. Absolutely.” (Washington State Indivisible Podcast 4/4/2018, 19:32)

 

  • Long on government run insurance: “Then I think people would get comfortable with a government run insurance. I think one of the great barriers is that people don’t understand it because of its complexity. But they are also fearful of a government plan, which is what happened with the ACA, because they thought government was going to control who they could see. A public option would get us a little bit closer to expanded care. Then at some point we have to start talking about single payer.” (Wahkiakum Eagle 4/5/2018)
    And this single-payer scheme would cost $32 trillion: “A doubling of all currently projected federal individual and corporate income tax collections would be insufficient to finance the added federal costs of the plan.” (Mercatus Center 7/30/2018)

 

Carolyn Long has repeatedly called for the complete repeal of the tax cuts passed last year, including the tax cuts that save Southwest Washington middle income families more than $2,300 per year.

 

  • On repealing Tax Cuts and Job Act: “I would not have voted for that bill, and if I could repeal that bill, I would.” (Columbian 8/24/2018)
    The average Southwest Washington family is saving $2,385 from these tax cuts. (Ways and Means Committee)

 

Carolyn Long believes efforts to stop Oregon from tolling I-5 and I-205 are “unnecessary.”

  • Long says legislation to stop tolling is unnecessary: “My understanding is that was unnecessary for that to be actual pieces of legislation, that that wouldn’t have happened to begin with.” (Columbian Editorial Board 7/18/2018)

 

  • Long inexplicably thinks the tolls were already stopped by an Oregon-led advisory board: “I do think that the policy committee is responsible for stopping it [Oregon’s plan to toll]. The bill that my opponent speaks of would put the decision to toll – it would have to be an agreement between the two governors, and it’s absolutely unnecessary because it makes it more of a partisan issue. This is something that should be handled by our transportation committees because they’re the professionals, and they’re the ones who I think are better suited to making a non-political decision.” (CVTV Debate 9/18/18, 16:45)

 

Setting the Record Straight: Carolyn Long Supports $32 trillion “Medicare for All”, Repealing Southwest Washington Tax Cuts

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

VANCOUVER – Jaime Herrera Beutler’s campaign today confirmed that congressional candidate Carolyn Long has repeatedly pledged to vote for the government takeover of the U.S. health care system known as “Medicare for All” and overturn the entire tax cut bill benefitting 90% of Southwest Washington residents.

“Carolyn Long has praised and pledged to vote for a $32 trillion ‘Medicare for all’ plan not once, but repeatedly.  She has also pledged to overturn the entire federal tax cut bill that is saving Southwest Washington families $2,300 per year – repeatedly,” said Jaime for Congress campaign manager Parker Truax. “Despite her attempts to waffle on these positions at today’s debate in Woodland, her prior statements speak for themselves: Carolyn Long would vote to raise taxes on Southwest Washington families and wreck our health care system while bankrupting Medicare’s finances and ending that vital program as we know it.”

Long opposes the tax cuts and would repeal the whole bill:

  • January 24 on KXRW Unfiltered Radio, when asked about the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, aka the tax cut bill:

Long: “So, I hate the entire bill, I’d like to throw it all out.”

Long: “I would not have voted for that bill, and if I could repeal that bill, I would.”

Question: “The tax cuts have put more money into peoples’ paychecks for people around the country. We’re seeing the GDP at, what, 4% or over 4%. Knowing that now, would you have voted for or against that tax bill if you would’ve been in Congress?”

Long: “Oh, I would have voted against it.”

Long supports “Medicare for All” once Democrats control the U.S. House:

“Long said she would vote for a so-called “Medicare for All” bill if Democrats win back control of the House…”

Question: “With your incremental approach, do you ever see yourself supporting a Medicare for All type healthcare program?”

Long: “Absolutely. Absolutely.”

Long: “Then I think people would get comfortable with a government run insurance. I think one of the great barriers is that people don’t understand it because of its complexity. But they are also fearful of a government plan, which is what happened with the ACA, because they thought government was going to control who they could see. A public option would get us a little bit closer to expanded care. Then at some point we have to start talking about single payer.”

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Jaime Herrera Beutler Secures Key Backing from Law Enforcement

Washington State Fraternal Order of Police endorse Jaime for “always supporting the men and women that put their lives on the line every day”

 

Vancouver, WA – Jaime Herrera Beutler today announced that her campaign has earned the endorsement of the Washington State Fraternal Order of Police (WAFOP) – the state chapter of the nation’s largest law enforcement organization representing 2,600 police officials in Washington alone.

In its letter, WAFOP cited Jaime’s backing of legislation that would create federal penalties for attacks that seriously injure or kill police officers, and other solutions during her tenure in office that have provided consistent support for law enforcement. “Your dedication for public safety has shown our members that you will continue to support and advocate for law enforcement, not only in the state of Washington, but throughout this nation,” WAFOP wrote in its endorsement letter.  “Thank you for always supporting the men and women that put their lives on the line every day to protect and serve within the communities they live in.”

“I’m honored that Washington’s chapter of the nation’s largest organization of law enforcement officers recognizes that I’m the best person to keep working for them in Congress. I can’t imagine Southwest Washington communities without these brave men and women who daily put themselves in harm’s way to keep us safe,” said Jaime.  “Every single day, I fight so that Southwest Washington residents can live securely and pursue opportunity, and it’s our law enforcement officers who make sure those rights are protected.”