Wednesday, October 9, 2013
► Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) calls out the Republican anarchists who’ve taken our government hostage to repeal a law they don’t have the votes or public support to repeal:
You can do your best to make government look like it doesn’t work when YOU stop it from working. You can do your best to make government look paralyzed when YOU paralyze it. You can do your best to make government look incompetent through YOUR incompetence and ineffective through YOUR ineffectiveness. But sooner or later, the government will reopen because this is a democracy, and this democracy has already rejected your views.
G.O.P. SHUTDOWN: DAY 9
► In today’s Seattle Times — Dave Reichert backs clean bill to end shutdown — or does he? — CNN and The Washington Post both counted the Auburn Republican as supporting a “clean” spending bill to fund government — without delaying Obamacare and other conditions that have provoked a stalemate with Democrats. House Speaker John Boehner has refused to hold a vote on such bill. But Reichert has repeatedly declined to confirm it. And his public statements have been ambiguous at best.
EDITOR’S NOTE — C’mon, Congressman. Man up and show some independence as you have done in the past. The government has been shut down for nine days and your party leaders are threatening to plunge the nation into another recession by not paying their own bills. The absolute least that your constituents deserve to know is where you stand on the issue. In this case, silence equals assent.
► In today’s Washington Post — Why John Boehner might have no choice but ‘unconditional surrender’ — The Republican House Speaker has closed the door on the idea of voting for a clean continuing resolution to reopen the government and a clean bill to raise the debt limit. But a short-term version of both might be least painful way out of what’s proven to be a very tough situation for him.
► In today’s Washington Post — Lawmakers trying to reopen government piece by piece — If House Republicans could get their way, the National Institutes of Health would be open right now. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Transportation Safety Board would still be mostly shut down. There would be funding for Head Start. But no money to produce federal unemployment reports. The national parks would be open. But the national forests would not. This is the odd, gap-toothed version of the U.S. government that the House GOP has sketched out over the past eight days in a series of spending bills that would reopen departments and agencies one piece at a time.
► At Politico — Shutdown worst-case scenario realized: Salmonella outbreak — A multi-state Salmonella outbreak is exactly the scenario food safety advocates and lawmakers warned about when the federal government was forced to shutdown last week. Now that nightmare has come true, though the federal agencies charged with arresting foodborne illnesses are scrambling to make due.
► In today’s Washington Post — The GOP rewrites its ransom note (by Ezra Klein) — The GOP has dropped its original demands. But it’s keeping the hostage.
► At Politico — Liberals talk ‘nuclear option’ on debt hike — Senate Republicans began to warn Tuesday they would filibuster Democrats’ plan to raise the U.S. debt limit later this week. Liberal senators’ response? Gut the filibuster.
► In The Hill — No break for GOP in shutdown polling — Sixty-two percent of respondents in a new AP poll said Republicans in Congress bear “almost all responsibility” for the shutdown. It’s the latest in a string of polls to show the public is blaming Republicans for dysfunction in Washington more than Democrats.
► In The Onion — Congressional aides withholding sex until budget stalemate ends — In the absence of gratification from their subordinates, sources confirmed that the sex boycott has forced all 535 U.S. senators and House representatives to avail themselves of D.C.’s various escort services and brothels, at an estimated cost to the American taxpayer of $6.2 million.
AFFORDABLE CARE ACT
► In today’s Seattle Times — Obamacare is here, GOP, ready or not (by Danny Westneat) — Here in this Washington, within a week or two the number of enrollees is going to make it untenable for our Republicans to continue to try to repeal this law. People here are signing up at a rate of 3,000 or 4,000 per day. By the end of the week the state will be at 40,000 total and partial enrollees. By next week it will be 60,000 or more. Republicans will no longer be fighting a specter. They’ll be arguing to strip insurance away from tens of thousands of their own constituents — many of whom just got it for the first time.
ALSO TODAY at The Stand — Republicans should embrace health reform, as consumers have (by John Burbank) — These members of Congress have all the benefits of the Affordable Care Act themselves — they just don’t want their constituents, the American citizens who vote for (and against) them, to have the right to those benefits.
► From Reuters — Uninsured find more success in health exchanges run by states — While many people have been frustrated in their efforts to obtain coverage through the federal exchange, which is used by more than 30 states, consumers have had more success signing up for health insurance through many of the state-run exchanges, federal and state officials and outside experts say.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Sign up at Washington’s state-run exchange at wahealthplanfinder.org.
WHERE ARE THEY NOW?
► In the Christian Science Monitor — Government shutdown? Here’s an example of working together at the state level (by former state Sen. Jim Kastama) — Last year I broke ranks with majority Democrats to work with Republicans on the Washington state budget. I got angry emails and the cold shoulder, but I helped produce a historic bipartisan budget. To find common ground, you first have to find the courage to step onto it.
EDITOR’S NOTE — In this revisionist profile in self-aggrandizement, Jim Kastama fails to mention that he parlayed his newfound notoriety into a run for Secretary of State, and he finished a distant 4th, getting just 13.9% of the vote. He’s “retired” because voters retired him.
Kastama says his decision to abandon his party planted the seeds for this year’s “bipartisan” (GOP+2) Senate Majority Coalition Caucus. But he fails to mention that caucus did exactly what John Boehner’s House Republicans are doing today, hold the budget hostage and threaten to shut down the government if they don’t get their way on ideological policy bills. The Senate caucus Kastama is trying to portray as the new model for “common ground” came within hours of shutting down Washington’s state government (furlough notices had already been sent to tens of thousands of state employees) before they finally backed down.
► In today’s Olympian — Shutdown forces state to furlough 418 staff at ESD, puts another 415 on part time — The federal government shutdown has prompted big cutbacks at the state Employment Security Department, which on Tuesday put half of its 1,669 staffers on furlough or reduced hours. Dale Peinecke, the commissioner who runs the agency, is among those on reduced hours.
ALSO at WFSE.org — FAQ on Employment Security furloughs
► In today’s Seattle Times — Ferries are ‘staffing up’ after 82 cancelled runs — Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson said she will move quickly to add 45 deckhands to the staff of Washington State Ferries, to reduce the number of canceled runs. “They [WSF] were told there was a shortage. They put their heads in the sand until this summer,” said Dennis Conklin of the Inlandboatmen’s Union. Meanwhile, another shortage — this one of marine engineers and technicians — looms in two or three years, says Dave Nashif of the Maritime Engineers Beneficial Association.
► In today’s Olympian — State employees’ wellness program should be studied (editorial) — It’s natural to support programs that encourage healthy living. But the state must look beyond mere participation rates in education programs for weight control or nutrition. It must track hard-core data about the number of employees who, for example, quit smoking or reduce their cholesterol. Absenteeism rates have to be monitored and compared, along with use of emergency rooms and hospital care.
► In the PS Business Journal — Federal shutdown halts 787 deliveries from South Carolina — but not Washington state — The shutdown is halting 787 deliveries from Boeing’s North Charleston, S.C., plant because no one at that facility has received “delegated authority” from the FAA. Boeing plants in Washington state continue to make deliveries because they have delegated authority.
► In today’s Columbian — Dockworkers’ union, grain group set talks — A softening of the standoff between union dockworkers and grain terminal owners in Vancouver and Portland emerged Tuesday as the parties confirmed they’ll return to the bargaining table in hopes of settling the dispute over workplace hiring and other rules. Meanwhile, the Port of Vancouver said it’s willing to hire a local mediator and pay that person’s costs to help the parties resolve their quarrel. Officials with the ILWU and the Pacific Northwest Grain Handlers Association both said they’ll renew contract negotiations during meetings to be held soon. ILWU Local 4 President Cager Clabaugh said talks are set to reopen Oct. 21 and 22.
► In today’s (Longview) Daily News — St. John’s SEIU members cast votes on possible strike — Members of St. John Medical Center’s largest union on Tuesday cast ballots for a strike authorization vote as negotiations remain at a deadlock for members’ health care benefits. Results will be announced Wednesday. SEIU members are against switching to new health care plans that would require employees to pay between $500 and $4,000 in annual deductibles.
► In today’s Olympian — Kris Johnson to succeed Don Brunell as leader of AWB — Johnson joined the organization in 2009 after leading the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce in Minnesota.
► At AFL-CIO Now — Huge rally tells Congress ‘time is now’ for immigration reform vote; labor leaders take arrests — On a bright, sunny fall day on the National Mall, thousands of immigrants — including many families with young children — union members and community and faith activists delivered a message to the lawmakers inside the U.S. Capitol, just blocks up the street: “The time is now” for a vote on comprehensive immigration reform with a road map to citizenship.
► In today’s NY Times — 8 lawmakers arrested at immigration protest — The representatives arrested were Joseph Crowley and Charles Rangel of New York, Keith Ellison of Minnesota, Al Green of Texas, Luis V. Gutierrez and Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, Raul Grijalva of Arizona and John Lewis of Georgia. More than 150 other protesters, many from labor unions and immigrant organizations, were also arrested after they sat down and linked arms in the same street.
► In The Hill — Obama to nominate Yellen as Fed chief — Liberals had pressed for Obama to pick Janice Yellen, who has been a Fed vice chairman since October 2010, and had revolted against the White House as reports suggested Obama was leaning toward picking Larry Summers.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.