Miguel Vieira / Flickr

If you enjoy hiking in the pristine Alpine Lakes Wilderness in Washington's Cascade mountains, then a package of bills moving through Congress applies to you.

They'll make sure you can continue visiting for years and years to come. The Alpine Lakes area is actually one of dozens across the country affected by this package of bills. Senator Patty Murray says these lands are crucial.

"Designating these will make sure that they are managed and protected into the future and can't be sold of or used in ways that don't allow the public to use them," Murray said.

U.S. Congress

All nine incumbent members of Congress in Washington state were easily re-elected last night.

That includes freshman Democrat Suzan DelBene in the state's only swing district.

Office of the Governor of Washington State / Clint Didier campaign

You don’t have to study the 4th district congressional race for very long before hearing a familiar theme. “Meet Conservative Dan Newhouse, a Central Washington farmer,” begins one campaign ad. “Clint Didier’s not a career politician! He’s a farmer, and a businessman,” says another.

Washington’s top-two primary system has given voters the choice between two Republican farmers. Clint Didier raises alfalfa on the plains near Pasco; Dan Newhouse grows hops and tree fruit in the Yakima Valley.

Office of the Governor of Washington State - Clint Didier campaign

Washington States Fourth Congressional District race is, for the first time, between two Republicans, Dan Newhouse and Clint Didier.  They are vying to take the seat of retiring congressman Doc Hastings.  Northwest Public Radio’s Rowan Moore Gerety spoke with Here and Now’s Jeremy Hobson about the race.



This is TELL ME MORE from NPR News. I'm Michel Martin. If you follow politics at all, then you probably know that Congressman James Clyburn is one of the most powerful people on Capitol Hill. The South Carolina native first elected in 1992 is now the third-ranking Democrat serving in the House, known both for his Southern charm and for his willingness to fight hard when he thinks the occasion warrants.

Martin Luther King may not have had a vote in Congress, but he and the movement he helped lead were integral to getting the civil rights bill introduced. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of that bill, now known as the Civil Rights Act.

Among other things, the act outlawed discrimination in public accommodations — including restaurants, hotels and motels — ending the era of legal segregation in those places.

This week, Congress has been pondering yet another deal with a deadline. Congressional leaders have agreed to a bipartisan budget that would set spending levels for the next two years, and if it passes, as expected, it would mark the first bipartisan budget deal since 2011. News of the deal comes again at the last minute, just as Congress begins packing its bags to adjourn for the holidays.

Syria’s not the only issue on the agenda in Congress this week. So is marijuana. The Senate Judiciary committee will hold a hearing Tuesday on the conflict between federal law and pot legalization in Washington and Colorado.

US House of Representatives / Wikimedia Commons

Members of Congress are hearing arguments today on whether military action should be taken against Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad .