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Hanford furloughs, GOP embraces tax, another Schlicher nod, we’re No. 6…

Tuesday, October 15, 2013




end-the-shutdown► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Hanford workers could get furlough notices this week — Depending on how long the shutdown drags on, about 9,000 Hanford and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory workers could be put on temporary leave or laid off, TRIDEC estimates.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Unlike most Americans, Hanford-area Rep. Doc Hastings (R-Pasco) blames Democrats for the shutdown.

► In The Hill — Senate leaders near deal to raise debt limit, end shutdown — An emerging deal to reopen the government and raise the nation’s debt ceiling until February gathered political momentum Monday evening after Senate Republicans signaled they would likely support it. It would also establish a Senate-House budget committee to craft a replacement for the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration, which would have to report its work product to Congress by Dec. 13.

► In The Hill — Unions poised to win delay of Obamacare tax in budget deal — The bargain under negotiation would make small adjustments to the healthcare law, including delaying the law’s reinsurance fee for one year. The tax applies to all group health plans, but unions argue it will raise their healthcare costs while providing them no benefit. (Also at Think Progress — The one thing the emerging Senate deal would change about Obamacare.)

► From AP — House unveils own plan to counter Senate — One difference between the House and Senate involves a Democratic move to repeal a $63 fee that companies must pay for each person they cover under the big health care overhaul beginning in 2014. Unions oppose the fee and Senate Democrats are pressing to repeal it, but House Republicans are positioning to block them.

EDITOR’S NOTE — With this new House plan — literally born on the back of a napkin in the basement of a Capitol Hill restaurant — Tea Party Republicans in the House have finally found a federal tax they can embrace! The one that specifically targets unions.

murray-patty► In today’s NY Times — Senate women lead in effort to find accord — In a Senate still dominated by men, women on both sides of the partisan divide proved to be the driving forces that shaped a negotiated settlement. Together, five senators (GOP Sens. Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Kelly Ayotte, and Democratic Sens. Barbara Mikulski and Patty Murray) starkly showed off the increasing power of women — even those who are not on the relevant committees — as their numbers grow in the upper chamber.

► At Huffington Post — Poll: Republican handling of shutdown gets low marks from 3 of 4 voters — Disapproval of the GOP, which has risen steadily since just before the government shutdown began, is now at 74 percent, up 11 points from late September.

► At Yahoo! News — ‘Prayer pressure:’ Senate chaplain’s crusade to bring Congress to its knees — “Deliver us from the hypocrisy of attempting to sound reasonable while being unreasonable,” Chaplain Barry Black appealed in one of his recent morning prayers that have been doled out like daily scoldings to the deadlocked Congress.

onion-tea-party-jefferson► In The Onion — Tea Party congressman listens to constituent who wears Thomas Jefferson costume everywhere — “You make a great point, sir, and I am here to fight for people like you,” Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-SC) said to the man in a powdered wig who was carrying a giant Declaration of Independence poster board and who wears his Thomas Jefferson costume not just to political meetings, but every time he leaves his home.




► In today’s News Tribune — Nathan Schlicher for the 26th District (editorial endorsement) — Schlicher is already one of the smartest and most capable lawmakers in Olympia. Now only 30, his potential is enormous, and he would well serve the 26th. Plus, he has a rare command of health care policy, for good reason: He’s an emergency room physician.

EDITOR’S NOTE — The Seattle Times also endorsed Sen. Nathan Schlicher.

► At Slog — Koch brothers, ALEC target SeaTac $15/hour initiative — Two of our nation’s most powerful right-wing political forces are joining together to fight and kill the $15 an hour minimum wage movement in tiny SeaTac before it has an opportunity to take root. In a transparent effort to slander Prop. 1 supporters, the Koch-funded conservative faux-think tank Freedom Foundation released a report accusing the unions backing the initiative of refusing to pay their own employees minimum wage while compensating their local presidents lavishly. It’s a damning accusation. Except it’s total bullshit.




► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Washington ranked 6th for business tax climate — The non-partisan, non-profit Tax Foundation has released its annual states ranking based on business climate. For all the hand-wringing about the tax burden on Washington businesses, the Tax Foundation says our state is ranked sixth. Only Wyoming, South Dakota, Nevada, Alaska and Florida are less burdensome for businesses, the foundation says. Washington has maintained that rank for three years running. The worst states are New York, New Jersey and California.

EDITOR’S NOTE — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce agrees that Washington is a great state for business. But the in-state business lobbying groups and conservative state legislators whose bread-and-butter relies on criticizing Washington’s business climate vehemently disagree, and are no doubt working on their “we suck” op-ed rebuttals as you read this.

If you really care about improving the state’s business climate…

► In today’s Seattle Times — Lawmakers at packed hearing told to pass transit plan — Read their lips: Pass new taxes. A spectrum of transit riders, construction workers, business owners, pedestrians, bicyclists, freight carriers and government officials on Monday night urged state lawmakers to pass a multibillion-dollar transportation package. John Theisen, president of Orion Industries in Federal Way, implored the 11 lawmakers onstage to deal with traffic congestion: “We are one of the top aerospace suppliers. We will ship 1¼ million parts. … Delivery schedules that once could be accomplished in four days now take five. The Everett-to-Auburn route that used to take a half-day now takes a full day.”

► In today’s Seattle Times — Healthplanfinder enrollment nearly triples in second week — About 25,000 Washington residents have enrolled in health plans through the state’s online insurance exchange marketplace during its first two weeks. That figure is nearly triple the 9,500 residents who completed their enrollment during the first week that the exchange, called Washington Healthplanfinder, was open for enrollment.

► In today’s Olympian — Final hearing on Longview coal export dock Thursday in Tacoma — A controversial proposal to ship coal to Asian markets through a Longview export dock will get an airing this week in Tacoma, the last stop on a statewide tour.

► At Think Progress — Republican governor offers support for in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants — New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (R) says he will try to pass the New Jersey Tuition Equality Act.

wizard-of-oz-tomEDITOR’S NOTE — Christie would have New Jersey become the 13th state the pass the Dream Act, including GOP Gov. Rick Perry’s Texas. But here in Washington state, Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom (D-Medina) sided with conservative Republicans and killed the bill by blocking the Dream Act from getting a vote.




► In today’s News Tribune — Intel selling DuPont facility; 380 employees leaving South Sound — Intel Corp. told employees at its DuPont site Monday it plans to sell the company facility there, laying off 32 employees and transferring 350 others to other Intel facilities, most of them in Oregon. An Intel spokesman said the company is moving workers from the underutilized DuPont location to sites where they can work more closely with others doing similar work.


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