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Shutdown waste, transportation gridlock, ‘corporate Trojan horse’…

Thursday, October 17, 2013




House-GOP-w-WA► In today’s NY Times — Republicans back down, ending crisis over shutdown and debt limit — With the Treasury Department warning that it could run out of money to pay national obligations within a day, the Senate voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday evening, 81 to 18, to approve a proposal hammered out by the chamber’s Republican and Democratic leaders after the House on Tuesday was unable to move forward with any resolution. The House followed suit a few hours later, voting 285 to 144 to approve the Senate plan, which would fund the government through Jan. 15 and raise the debt limit through Feb. 7.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Members of Washington’s Congressional delegation from both parties all voted “yes.” But the Republicans, especially “Shutdown Cathy” McMorris Rodgers, need to step up and tell their leadership — publicly — that they will NOT take the government hostage again in January.

► From Modern Health Care — Most healthcare provisions stripped from final deal — Healthcare-related proposals originally included in Senate negotiations, including a repeal or delay of the medical device tax and a repeal or delay of the reinsurance tax, were removed.

► From AP — Federal employees back to work after 16-day shutdown — Barriers went down at federal memorials and National Park Service sites, and thousands of furloughed federal workers returned to work across the country Thursday after 16 days off the job due to the partial government shutdown.

ALSO TODAY at The Stand — AFGE president: ‘This is not a happy day for federal employees’

► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Hanford workers not expected to receive furlough notices

► In today’s News Tribune — State Employment Security workers return Thursday

HouseGOP-huh► At TPM — Shutdown cost U.S. $24 billion, 0.6% GDP in projected growth — “The short turnaround for politicians to negotiate some sort of lasting deal will likely weigh on consumer confidence, especially among government workers that were furloughed. If people are afraid that the government policy brinkmanship will resurface again, and with it the risk of another shutdown or worse, they’ll remain afraid to open up their checkbooks.”

► At TPM — Republican looks to next showdown: ‘We’re going to start this all over again’ — “I’ll vote against it,” Rep. John C. Fleming (R-LA) said. “But that will get us into Round 2. See, we’re going to start this all over again.”

► At TPM — Conservatives learned wrong lesson from shutdown debacle — For a block of House conservatives who drove Speaker John Boehner toward a government shutdown and near-default against his will, the lesson of the last few weeks isn’t that they overreached. What they’re taking away from the 2013 crisis is that they didn’t go far enough.

► In today’s NY Times — The Republican surrender (editorial) — “We fought the good fight. We just didn’t win,” Speaker John Boehner said, utterly failing to grasp the destruction his battle caused. It has hurt federal employees and needy people dependent on government programs, and it threatened to alter Washington’s balance permanently by giving a fringe group outsize power over the executive branch and the normal functions of government.


► In The Onion — Heroic broken sewer pipe floods Congress with human waste — At press time, nobody was trying to fix the pipe.




► In today’s Seattle Times — Boeing issues 200 more layoff notices in Washington — Boeing confirmed Wednesday that it issued more than 300 layoff notices companywide last week, about 200 of them in Washington state. The vast majority of the local workers who got the 60-day notices, about 180 employees, are represented by SPEEA. No production workers represented by the Machinists union were in this latest monthly layoff list.

Grocery workers announce the results of their strike authorization vote on Sept. 26. (Photo courtesy of IAM 751.)

Grocery workers announce the results of their previous strike authorization vote on Sept. 26. (Photo courtesy of IAM 751.)

► In today’s News Tribune — Puget Sound-area unions, grocers still talking; no strike, no contract yet — Some 99 percent of 1,000 union grocery workers in Thurston and Mason counties have approved giving strike authorization to union officials if talks fail to produce a new contract with major grocers. Those talks, now in their sixth month, are aimed at reaching a new contract for workers at Safeway, Albertsons, QFC and Fred Meyer in King, Snohomish, Pierce, Kitsap, Thurston and Mason counties. Wednesday’s negotiations were focused on new approaches to pensions and health care for the grocer workers. Those new ideas had emerged from talks last weekend between the unions, the United Food and Commercial Workers and the Teamsters, and the four supermarket chains.

The unions are preparing to strike, printing picket signs and organizing picket rotations as are the grocers who are advertising for replacement workers. If talks collapse, either side will have to give the other a 72-hour notice before they would be able to strike or bring in replacement workers.

► From KOMO News — Grocery chain Haggen to close 3 more stores in next 3 months — Nearly 150 employees at the TOP stores in Auburn, Kent and Yakima will be forced to find work once the stores close. Haggen says it’s working with local unions to try to place employees at other Haggen stores or local grocery retailers.




► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Gov. Jay Inslee pushes transportation package — Gov. Jay Inslee toured Spokane on Wednesday, urging state lawmakers to craft a new transportation bill that would include money for the North Spokane Corridor.

Tom-Senate-GOP-plus-2► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Transportation package must be passed without gridlock (editorial) — The Senate Majority Coalition did not pass a transportation bill before adjourning. The House did, and it included a gas tax and some increased fees. Senate leaders were concerned about the Columbia River Crossing. Inslee has taken that off the table, which has raised hopes that a deal can be struck. Senators also want reforms in how projects are regulated and financed before signing off on a gas-tax increase. This will be main sticking point at the upcoming meeting. The coalition has some sound ideas for reform, but holding out for too many of them is unrealistic. As the U.S. House Republicans demonstrated during the government shutdown, it isn’t realistic to extract major concessions on controversial issues from a minority position. Until Republicans gain control of the House or governorship, it’s counterproductive to hold up transportation projects until they get their way.




► In today’s (Everett) Herald — General election ballots going out Thursday — More than 412,000 ballots for the Nov. 5 general election will be mailed Thursday to voters in Snohomish County, according to the county’s election division. (Ballots in most other counties are being mailed either Thursday or Friday.)

Sen. Nathan Schlicher gets a rousing ovation from convention delegates.

Sen. Nathan Schlicher gets a rousing ovation in July from WSLC convention delegates at the Vancouver Hilton.

► In today’s Olympian — Record-setting spending in Schlicher-Angel Senate race — Nathan Schlicher, Jan Angel and their allies have spent far more to try to win a Senate seat this year than has been spent in any state legislative race on record. At $1.88 million, spending in the race to replace now-U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer has soared past the previous $1.3 million record.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Sen. Nathan Schlicher has received the Washington State Labor Council’s endorsement to retain his Senate seat.

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — State says grocers’ group broke law in fighting I-522 — A national grocery store association is violating state campaign laws by failing to disclose the source of $7.2 million in contributions to the committee conducting the campaign against a food labeling initiative, state Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Wednesday.

ALSO at The Stand — Here’s why the Washington State Labor Council endorsed I-522 (by Nicole Grant)

► In today’s Olympian — PDC unlikely to decide on Eyman case before election — Public Disclosure Commission investigators have been looking into the origins of Initiative 517 for more than a year, and they won’t finish in time for the state commission’s last regular meeting before voters decide on Tim Eyman’s ballot measure.




booker-cory► At AFL-CIO Now — Cory Booker wins special Senate election in New Jersey — In yesterday’s special U.S. Senate election in New Jersey, Democrat Cory Booker soundly defeated his opponent Steve Lonegan and made history by becoming the state’s first African American U.S. Senator. The New Jersey AFL-CIO reports: “The combined efforts of union members and community partners made the critical difference in this election and ensured that we elected a leader to the U.S. Senate who shares our values.”




► From Democracy Now — ‘A corporate Trojan horse:’ Obama pushes secretive TPP trade pact, would rewrite swath of U.S. laws — While the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership has been largely negotiated behind closed doors and, until June, kept secret from Congress, more than 600 corporate advisers reportedly have access to the measure, including employees of Halliburton and Monsanto. “This is not mainly about trade,” says Lori Wallach, director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. “It is a corporate Trojan horse. The agreement has 29 chapters, and only five of them have to do with trade. The other 24 chapters either handcuff our domestic governments, limiting food safety, environmental standards, financial regulation, energy and climate policy, or establishing new powers for corporations.”


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