CAREENING TOWARD A DIFFERENT CLIFF
► UPDATE from AP — Debt-limit bill passes Senate, heads to Obama’s desk
► In today’s NY Times — Long battle on debt ending as Senate set for final vote — The Senate prepared on Tuesday to take up the budget agreement that passed the House after months of partisan impasse, in hopes that President Obama could sign it into law before the government’s borrowing authority was set to run out at midnight. Enactment of the landmark legislation would signal a pronounced shift in fiscal policy, from the heavy spending on economic stimulus and warfare of the past few years to a regime of steep spending cuts aimed at reducing the deficits — so far, without new revenues sought by the White House. The House passed it 269-161. (YES: Inslee, Larsen, Herrera Beutler, Hastings, McMorris Rodgers, Dicks and Reichert. NO: McDermott and Smith.)
► In today’s NY Times — The Tea Party’s War on America (column) — These last few months, much of the country has watched in horror as the Tea Party Republicans have waged jihad on the American people. Their intransigent demands for deep spending cuts, coupled with their almost gleeful willingness to destroy one of America’s most invaluable assets, its full faith and credit, were incredibly irresponsible. But they didn’t care. Their goal, they believed, was worth blowing up the country for, if that’s what it took. America’s real crisis is not a debt crisis. It’s an unemployment crisis. Yet this agreement not only doesn’t address unemployment, it’s guaranteed to make it worse.
► In today’s Olympian — Washington state gives bill 7 “yes” votes — Members of the Washington state delegation said the bill wasn’t perfect, but they largely fell in line Monday and joined a rare show of bipartisanship. The House voted to pass a historic plan to cut federal deficits by $2.1 trillion over the next decade and raise the debt ceiling. In the end, seven of nine House members from the state – four Republicans and three Democrats – backed the legislation, which averted a federal default. Democratic Reps. Adam Smith of Tacoma and Jim McDermott of Seattle opposed the bill. When the action moves to the Senate today, both of the state’s Democratic senators intend to vote yes.
► In today’s Olympian — Gregoire supports debt deal but unsure how it will affect state — The governor: “While I am not aware of all the details of the compromise, maintaining funding to support state programs including Medicaid and our state’s Pell Grants is critical to our state and its future.”
► In The Onion — Democrats, Republicans celebrate pitiful excuse for common ground — Following Sunday’s pathetic excuse for an agreement on raising the government’s borrowing limit, Democrats and Republicans took time to celebrate the meager, ineffective deal, calling it “a testament to the not-so-great things that can happen in Washington when both parties barely come together and agree to not really accomplish anything.”
…AND THE DIRECT RESULT
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — 850 HAMTC jobs included as part of layoffs — The Hanford Atomic Trades Council is facing a loss of about 850 jobs in two months, Dave Molnaa, HAMTC president, said Monday. Those include jobs that are part of the layoffs planned by CH2M Hill Plateau Remediation Co. and its subcontractors, plus additional Hanford jobs. “We have not seen a layoff of this magnitude since the mid-90s,” Molnaa said. HAMTC is a labor organization representing 15 unions working at Hanford. CH2M Hill earlier announced that it would be cutting up to 1,200 jobs under the central plateau contract at the end of September as most of the $1.3 million in federal economic stimulus money it received is spent. The money was used both to save jobs scheduled for layoffs and hire more people.
► From AP — Cost of FAA shutdown could exceed $1 billion — The congressional standoff that has partially shut down the FAA has some curious math. Lawmakers risk losing more than $1 billion in revenue from uncollected airline ticket taxes in a quarrel between Senate Democrats and House Republicans who are demanding a $16.5 million cut in rural air service subsidies.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Of course, the answer is that the standoff really has nothing to do with rural airport subsidies, as Republicans would have you believe. It is all about preventing workers from having access to a union. You see, for our teabagging fiscal conservative friends in the Republican Party, no cost to taxpayers is too high when you’re talking about an opportunity to bust unions. And now, House Republicans have adjourned for a six-week vacation with thousands of FAA employees furloughed and 90,000 desperately needed airport construction jobs on hold. All because they hate unions. Lovely.
PAPER INDUSTRY CONTRACT
► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — Wauna mill paper makers reach deal on pay, benefits — Union paper makers at the Wauna mill have avoided major cuts to their health care benefits in a new agreement with the mill’s owner, Georgia-Pacific, United Steelworkers Union officials said Monday. “We won’t see an erosion in benefits, unlike what some folks are experiencing across the U.S.,” said Gaylan Prescott, staff representative for the steelworkers’ Local 109, which represents about 900 members at the Wauna mill.
► At AFL-CIO Now — Steelworkers ratify paper industry master agreement — Members of the United Steelworkers employed at 13 paper mill sites in 10 states ratified a new four-year master economic agreement with Georgia-Pacific. The agreement establishes the basic economic terms for upcoming bargaining with other paper companies.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — 3,200 exemptions thawed state’s attempt at spending freeze — Nearly 3,200 requests for exemptions were granted, and a couple of hundred turned down, during the freeze that ended June 30, according to information posted online and collected from agencies.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Steve Hobbs plans run for Congress — State Sen. Steve Hobbs, D-Lake Stevens, who’s crafted a reputation as a party moderate, announced Monday he is running for Congress in 2012. Hobbs is a founder of the centrist coalition of Democrats known as the “Roadkill Caucus,” which teamed with Republicans in the Legislature on several government reform measures in the past two years.
► At TPM — Unintended consequences: How the debt deal could affect Wisconsin recalls — Even as Democrats in Washington struggle with what many progressives see as one of the biggest losses their side has suffered in years, liberals in the Midwest are preparing to hand the left one of the biggest wins it has had in ages. But the perceived progressive failure in DC over the debt ceiling deal could snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in the wild and crazy Wisconsin recalls, leading to the kind of political domino effect left-leaning critics of the debt deal fear most.
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.