The Stand

GOP+2 takes over, McMoRodg’s chaos, working poor…

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

 


STATE GOVERNMENT

 

AP-Tom-Muhu► In today’s Seattle Times — Power play puts Senate in Republican hands — Democratic Sens. Rodney Tom of Medina and Tim Sheldon of Potlatch crossed party lines to give the GOP a 25-24 majority. Democrats reject Republicans’ claim that the arrangement reflects a new bipartisanship. They contend membership on the budget-writing committee and the rules committee, which controls the flow of legislation on the floor, is heavily stacked against Democrats.

► MORE coverage in today’s Columbian(Everett) Herald, Olympian/News Tribune, Spokesman-Review, AP and PubliCola.

► And here we go… Today at PubliCola — Morning fizz (Item #2) — A bill introduced by Senate Republicans would require state residents to prove they were in the country legally to get a driver’s license or other state-issued ID. Said Sen. Sharon Nelson (D-Seattle): “The bills this majority has introduced would put Washington in a league with deeply conservative states like Alabama.”

► In today’s Seattle Times — 3 Democratic senators take GOP offer of committee chairmanships — Sen. Tracey Eide will co-chair the Transportation Committee with Sen. Curtis King (R-Yakima), Sen. Steve Hobbs (D-Lake Stevens) will chair the Financial Institutions committee and Sen. Brian Hatfield (D-Raymond) will chair Agriculture.

► In today’s News Tribune — Two boards to vote for Kilmer’s successor — Pierce council members and Kitsap commissioners will meet Thursday to pick a successor to former state Sen. Derek Kilmer. Local Democrats selected emergency room doctor Nathaniel Schlicher as their top choice. By law, with Schlicher or one of two runners-up — ILWU’s Todd Iverson or Gerry Baldwin — must be chosen.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Inslee paying some staffers more — Some of Gov.-elect Jay Inslee’s first batch of hires will be paid higher salaries than those working in the same jobs for outgoing Gov. Chris Gregoire. Mary Alice Heuschel, who will be his chief of staff, will be his highest-paid senior staffer at $166,000 a year.

► In today’s Olympian — Lawmakers sorely need ruling on two-thirds majority (editorial) — No one expected the state Supreme Court to rule on the constitutionality of Initiative-1053, which requires a two-thirds supermajority to increase taxes, before last fall’s general election. But the high court should have ruled before Monday’s start of the 2013 legislative session. Its decision will have a profound impact on how the Legislature balances the 2013-2015 biennium budget.

 


BOEING

 

mcnerney► At MSN Money — 10 outrageously lavish CEO perks — The value of CEO perquisites — goodies like personal use of the corporate jet, cars and drivers, gyms and extra retirement contributions — jumped 8.6% in 2011, the most recent full year of data available. For example, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos gets $1.6 million for home and personal security and Boeing CEO James McNerney (who makes $20 million-plus per year) gets almost as much for personal use of a company car as the typical U.S. household makes in an entire year.

► From McClatchy — Dreamliner fires raise safety concerns among experts — While Boeing maintains that a fire in an electronics compartment of a 787 last week and another fire on a test flight in 2010 are not related, the plane’s fire-suppression system does not protect the site where both fires occurred.

► In today’s Seattle Times — American set to firm up orders for 142 Boeing jets — American Airlines said it will finalize orders for 42 Dreamliners and a hundred 737 MAXs, plus add a new order for two 777s, provided the bankruptcy court approves its restructuring plan.

 


LOCAL

 

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Report shows lack of access to care, obesity top local health problems — The Benton Franklin Health Board’s $8.9 million budget for 2013 calls for laying off a health services worker who provides Medicaid outreach for 1,200 people each year and a behavioral health worker in the First Steps program.

► In today’s Columbian — Vancouver won’t push to validate light-rail petition — Citizens pushing for a vote on light rail made their case to the Vancouver City Council on Monday, but ultimately appeared no closer to reviving a petition the county declared invalid this month.

 


PAY YOUR BILLS!

 

mcmorris-cathy► At Politico — Double trouble: House GOP eyes default, government shutdown — The idea of allowing the country to default by refusing to increase the debt limit is getting more widespread and serious traction among House Republicans. “I think it is possible that we would shut down the government to make sure President Obama understands that we’re serious,” House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA). (More coverage in today’s Spokesman-Review.)

► In today’s NY Times — Obama, GOP issue challenges on debt limit showdown — “They will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy,” Obama vowed. “The financial well-being of the American people is not leverage to be used. The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip.”

► In today’s NY Times — Chaos as legislative strategy (by David Firestone) — Republicans have made it clear they are fully prepared to shut down the government, block payments to retirees and soldiers, default on the credit of the United States, and cause a global panic by the end of next month, all of which will result from failing to raise the debt ceiling. “(Boehner) may need a shutdown just to get it out of their system,” one leading GOP adviser said. “We might need to do that for member-management purposes — so they have an endgame and can show their constituents they’re fighting.”

► From AP — Fitch warns on U.S. credit rating as debt ceiling looms — A leading credit ratings agency is warning that the United States could lose its top credit rating if there’s a delay in raising the country’s debt ceiling.

murray-patty► At TPM — GOP ‘prioritization’ scheme exposes scale of debt limit threat — “(The Republican) proposal to prioritize payments to foreign creditors over those to seniors, families, and veterans is the wrong way to go and it’s an absolute nonstarter in the Senate,” said Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-WA). “Anyone concerned about the devastating impact hitting the debt ceiling would have on our economy and our credit rating should work with Democrats to do the responsible thing and raise the debt limit so the government can pay the bills we’ve already accrued.”

► In today’s Washington Post — AFL-CIO’s dream debt deal — As in the last round of the debate, the labor giant opposes any benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. The AFL-CIO wants any deficit reduction to come out of new tax revenue from “clos[ing] loopholes for Wall Street and the richest 2% of Americans” — that is, from changing both the corporate and individual sides of the tax code.

 


NATIONAL

 

► At Huffington Post — Union launches ad campaign against silent filibuster — The Communications Workers of America, a lead group in the Fix the Senate Now coalition, is launching an advertising aimed at shaping the final stages of the filibuster reform debate.

ALSO at The Stand — Momentum grows to ‘Fix the Senate Now!’

► From Reuters — USPS told to speed cost-cutting measures, could run out of money by October — The USPS Board of Governors has directed the cash-strapped agency to speed up cost-cutting and revenue-boosting measures, as legislation to restructure the mail carrier remains stalled. The Postal Service didn’t specify what measures it intends to pursue.

► At AFL-CIO Now — Flight attendants push for equal benefits for domestic partners — Flight attendants who work for Spirit Airlines filed a lawsuit against the airline after it forces employees who want health care coverage for their domestic partners into a lower-quality health care plan than the plan covering other employees.

► In today’s Washington Post — 401(k) breaches undermining retirement security for millions — A large and growing share of American workers are tapping their retirement savings accounts for non-retirement needs, raising broad questions about the effectiveness of one of the most important savings vehicles for old age.

 


WORKING POOR

 

► In today’s Washington Post — Ranks of the working poor increasing — Nearly a third of the nation’s working families earn salaries so low that they struggle to pay for their necessities, according to a new report. With the nation’s economy in recovery, the report said, more than 70% of low-income families and half of all poor families were working by 2011, the report said. The problem is they did not earn enough to cover their basic living expenses.

► This oughta fix it…. from AP — Walmart pledges to hire 100,000-plus veterans — The world’s largest retailer and the nation’s largest private employer, is making a pledge to hire every veteran who wants a job.

 


The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 9 a.m.

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