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.”