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USPS’s SOS, GOP vs. NLRB, FAA 911, and Grover (not that one)…



► In today’s Yakima H-R — Hundreds protest USPS proposal to move mail-sorting operations to Pasco — It was standing room only Thursday night as around 300 community members turned out for a contentious meeting with U.S. Postal Service managers about a proposal to move Yakima’s mail-processing operations to Pasco. Katherine Nash, district manager for the Postal Service’s Seattle district, attempts to soothe the crowd: “No one will lose their jobs. There are jobs in this state; there are jobs in this area. It takes some time; you find them; they’re there.”

► In yesterday’s Washington Post — USPS considering closing thousands of post offices — The U.S. Postal Service is launching a major review of up to 3,600 post offices across the country for possible closure as it shrinks its network in light of declining mail volume.

► In today’s NY Times — Many seek to revamp Post Office — The Postal Service has been imploring Congress to act for years. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle agree that the Postal Service needs revamping. Five overhaul bills have been introduced — two by Republicans and three by Democrats — with proposals addressing issues like  the actuarial assumptions for employees’ retirement benefits and the viability of Saturday deliveries.




► In today’s Columbian — Initiative to restrict tolls draws opposition — An initiative that would restrict the use of tolling to pay for state transportation projects appears headed for the November ballot, and a coalition of business, labor, environmental and community groups has formed to fight it, saying the measure threatens vital transportation projects and economic growth across the state.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Washington farmers short of seasonal workers — Most of the farmers rely on seasonal workers, and more than half of seasonal workers in Washington are illegal immigrants. Some farmers say their once-loyal workers are staying in Mexico because of the dangers of crossing the border with the stronger enforcement of border laws. Others say the immigrants who now live in the state permanently are leaving seasonal work to find year-round jobs.

► In The Hill — Pentagon, Boeing say $3.9 billion never was price target for tankers — The first phase of the Air Force’s aerial tanker program is likely to cost around $4.9 billion, the Pentagon and Boeing said Thursday. And if Boeing and Air Force program managers are able to complete the engineering- and design-focused initial phase of the KC-46 program under that amount, Pentagon officials will tell Congress the program is under budget.




► From AFL-CIO Now — House Republicans put Boeing over workers’ rights in bill to cripple NLRB — Without a hearing, House Republicans on the Education and Workforce Committee on Thursday rammed through a bill that would cripple the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) ability to protect workers from management retaliation for exercising their rights.

► In The Hill — House Republicans advance bill to curb authority of labor relations board — The Republican legislation, prompted by the complaint against Boeing and advanced on a party-line 23-16 vote from the House Committee on Education and the Workforce,  takes aim at the NLRB’s authority and would prohibit it from ordering a company to transfer or relocate its existing or planned employment.

EDITOR’S NOTE — No members of Washington’s congressional delegation serve on this committee. How will they vote when it comes to the floor? Will Washington’s Republicans side with intervening in the NLRB case against Boeing rather than letting the legal process proceed?

► At TPM — Referendum officially triggered in Ohio to ax Kasich’s anti-union bill — In the swing state of Ohio, where Republicans gained control of state government in the 2010 wave and then enacted a new law to limit collective bargaining for public employee unions, voters will now head back to the polls in November 2011 to potentially repeal that same law before it could ever take effect.




► In The Hill — LaHood scrambles to avert partial FAA shutdown, furloughs 4,000 workers — Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is working furiously to convince lawmakers to pass a funding measure for the FAA before the agency is forced to partially shut down at midnight on Friday. The long-term FAA bill has been held up by provisions inserted by the House that would make it harder for aviation and railroad workers to unionize. (This shutdown would cost $200 million a week.)

► In today’s Washington Post — As Obama, Boehner rush to strike deal, Democrats left fuming — President Obama and House Speaker John A. Boehner rushed Thursday to strike agreement on a far-reaching plan to reduce the national debt but faced a revolt from Democrats furious that the accord appeared to include no immediate provision to raise taxes.

► In today’s LA Times — Democrats erupt over latest plan on debt ceiling — Obama has ignited a furor among congressional Democrats on Thursday by appearing to retreat from his insistence that spending cuts and revenue increases be included in the same package.

► At Huffington Post — GOP senator: Obama will back down on budget veto threat — Says Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.): “I will bet you a porterhouse steak that, if it lands on his desk, he’ll sign that puppy.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — Apparently, Sen. Country Colloqualist, you’ll also bet America’s airline safety, its ability to pay its debts, the collapse of Wall Street, the devaluation of the dollar, and the halting of every Social Security check in the nation (among other things).

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Protecting the wealthy (letter) — I am appalled that conservative congressional leaders are willing to sacrifice the fragile American economy in order to protect their wealthy friends and donors. The party of the rich would rather see the nation’s full faith and credit go down the toilet, caring not about the added pain this will cause hard-working (and unemployed) Americans, than deprive the wealthy of the generous tax loopholes they enjoy. Warren Buffett has even said that it seems wrong to him that he is paying a lower tax rate than the waiter serving him his dinner.

EDITOR’S NOTE — What he said.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Debt limit showdown could dent our retirement savings — The retirement savings of ordinary Americans are at risk if Congress misses the debt-limit deadline. If it does, the government won’t be able to fully cover its debts, which would cause the first default in U.S. history, risk panicking financial markets, send interest rates soaring and kick the economy into renewed recession.




► In today’s NY Times — Read my lips: No new taxes (Grover Norquist column) — My position, and the implications of the Taxpayer Protection Pledge regarding (the Bush) “temporary” tax cuts, is clear. If there were no vote in Congress and taxes rose automatically, then no politicians would have voted for higher taxes and no elected official would have broken his or her pledge.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Then, let’s NOT vote on it! Problem solved. Let them expire Dec. 31, 2012, as scheduled and voila… massive deficit reduction! In fact, as the GAO points out, if Congress does nothing, federal deficits will disappear by the end of Obama’s second term. But, wait a second, who IS this unelected Norquist guy?! And why are Republicans in Congress — including our own Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler, Dave Reichert, “Doc” Hastings and Cathy McMorris Rodgers, all of whom signed his pledge — so beholden to him? Read on.

P.S. Among Washington’s state legislators, 13 House and 3 Senate Republicans have signed Norquist’s rigid no-new-taxes-under-any-circumstances pledge, including Sen. Joe Zarelli (R-Vancouver), the guy would write the Senate budget if Republicans were in charge. (Oh, wait. They are and he did.)

► In today’s Washington Post — Grover Norquist, the anti-tax enforcer behind the scenes — The 54-year-old president of Americans for Tax Reform has become one of Washington’s most visible and idiosyncratic characters: a zealous, self-promoting tax scourge who presides over a weekly meeting of conservative power brokers and dabbles in stand-up comedy.

► At Politico — T. Boone Pickens-Koch brothers feud tests Republican principles — An increasingly bitter personal rift between billionaires T. Boone Pickens and Charles and David Koch has morphed into an expensive political battle that is testing the commitment of House Republicans to the tea party principles many of them have publicly embraced.




► From Forbes — NFL owners approve tentative labor deal — NFL owners voted overwhelmingly in favor of a tentative 10-year agreement to end the lockout, pending player approval. Players still had to sign off on the deal — and they must re-establish their union quickly for the agreement to stand, the NFL said.


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 9 a.m. Make this electronic “clip service” your first stop each morning! These links are functional on the date of posting, but sometimes expire.


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