Friday, March 17, 2017
► From AFL-CIO Now — AFL-CIO analysis of President Trump’s FY 2018 budget — “The $54 billion cut to programs that benefit working families is dangerous and destructive,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “Huge cuts to the departments of Labor, Education and Transportation will make workplaces less safe, put more children at risk and make improving our failing infrastructure much more difficult. The administration can and should do better.”
► In the Washington Post — Labor Dept. cuts target job training programs for seniors, disadvantaged youths — The Trump administration proposed $2.5 billion in cuts for the Labor Department in a plan that would significantly reduce funding for job training programs for seniors and disadvantaged youth. The plan would also shift more funding responsibility to states when it comes to certain training and job placement programs.
ALSO at The Stand — Trump’s Labor Dept. cuts target poor, elderly, laid-off workers
► In today’s Seattle Times — Trump budget would withhold money for 7 transit projects in state — Seven future transit lines in Washington — including the light-rail corridor from Lynnwood to Northgate — would lose their anticipated federal funding under the president’s budget proposal.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Trump budget could mean major changes in Washington, from housing and schools to military — The budget could slash funding for after-school programs, affordable housing, homelessness assistance, medical research and Puget Sound cleanup. The budget includes “incredibly harmful reductions,” said Gov. Jay Inslee, and “undercuts our ability to keep our people safe and healthy.”
► In today’s Washington Post — White House endorses plan to remove 30,000 FAA workers from federal payroll — President Trump’s support for a plan to lop more than 30,000 Federal Aviation Administration workers from the federal payroll and privatize air traffic control gives fresh momentum to an effort that stalled in Congress last year. The proposal is included in Trump’s 2018 budget, which would cut funding for the Transportation Department by 13 percent.
► In today’s NY Times — Trump’s tear-down budget (editorial) — The Trump administration’s first budget is light on detail and substance but heavy on pain, including for people who voted for Trump.
► In today’s Washington Post — Meals on Wheels is ‘not showing any results’ only if you ignore all these results — Mick Mulvaney, President Trump’s budget chief, defended proposed cuts to the Meals on Wheels program, which provides food aid to needy senior citizens, by saying the program is one of many that is “just not showing any results.” There’s been plenty of peer-reviewed research on the efficacy of the program that says just the opposite.
► From The Onion — Curses! shouts fist-shaking Meals on Wheels ringleader as Trump cuts off gravy train — “The jig is up!” shouted James Scheri, ringleader of the Meals on Wheels America program. “Now that those damned feds have gotten wind, what will become of the grand empire I have built? And what of all my many mansions and luxury automobiles? My life of Community Development Block Grant luxury might be at an end!”
► In Yakima H-R — Yakima flood coverage — It’s unclear when the waters will recede. Forecasters are calling for a 70 percent chance of rain this afternoon and overnight on the eastern slopes of the Cascades and the Yakima Valley.
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Senators urge new energy secretary to protect Hanford workers — Washington’s two U.S. senators brought the chemical vapors issue at the Hanford nuclear reservation to the attention of new Energy Secretary Rick Perry, asking him to improve safety and make sure improvements last. Democrat Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray called for annual reviews of practices to protect workers from chemical vapors at Hanford.
► In today’s Columbian — State Supreme Court sides with Port of Vancouver in oil terminal suit — The Port of Vancouver didn’t violate state environmental laws when it leased property for what could be the nation’s largest oil terminal in 2013, the Washington Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision filed Thursday.
► From The Stranger — Starbucks’ new paid family leave policy isn’t as groundbreaking as you may have heard (by Kristen Picciolo) — Starbucks recently made headlines with a new policy that provides up to 12 weeks of fully paid parental leave, and an additional 6 weeks for birth recovery. But when you read past the headlines, it turns out that expecting parents who work in the stores — baristas like me — get much less, or nothing at all. New birth moms get only 6 weeks paid leave — and only when they qualify for a base number of hours. New dads and adoptive parents don’t get even a single day.
► In today’s Oregonian — After raising minimum wage, Oregon Democrats look to add paid family leave — After successes enacting paid sick leave and raising minimum wage during the last two legislative sessions, Oregon Democrats are looking to capitalize on the momentum to expand workers’ protections once more. To that end, they’ve introduced more than a dozen measures this year, from big-issue bills that ensure pay equity to more technical bills aimed at preventing wage theft and protecting on-call workers. A proposal that would require employers to pay workers during family and medical leave is attracting the most attention.
EDITOR’S NOTE — In Washington state, HB 1116 sponsored by Rep. June Robinson, would implement a Family and Medical Leave Insurance program, employer and employee funded, offering up to $1,000/week for up to 26 weeks for the birth or adoption of a child, for a family member’s serious health condition or for leave needed for a military reason. Exempt from cutoff deadlines because it is considered necessary to implement the budget, it is awaiting action in the democrat-controlled House. Call your the Legislative Hotline at 1-800-562-6000 and leave a message for your Representatives to being HB 1116 to a vote now and support paid family and medical leave!
► In today’s Olympian — State senator on Trump transition team making equivalent of $160k a year while drawing state salary — State Sen. Doug Ericksen (R-Ferndale) is working as the EPA transition team’s communications director. His dual role has been criticized by some who say he’s not at the state Capitol enough.
► From AP — Revenue projections for Washington higher than expected — Lawmakers received a revenue forecast that shows they have a little more money to work with as the Senate and House prepare to release their budget proposals in the coming weeks.
ALSO at The Stand — New revenue forecast shows tax reform can’t wait
► In today’s Seattle Times — McCleary roundup: Lawmakers brave town-hall forums as they prepare to release budget plans — While many citizens urged the Legislature to settle McCleary and fully fund public schools, they also stressed that investment cannot come at the cost of other social services, such as mental-health care and affordable housing.
► In today’s News Tribune — Proposed Obamacare repeal wouldn’t blow hole in state budget — yet — State lawmakers are negotiating a solution to court-ordered fixes to public schools, and some fear they would need to decide if they could afford paying to replace federal health care money, too.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Note that Republican members of Congress, all of whom plan to vote for Trumpcare, haven’t braved any town halls. Instead they are issuing statements regurgitating Speaker Paul Ryan’s rhetoric about the “freedom” to go without health insurance.
► From The Hill — Budget panel advances Trumpcare bill with three GOP defections — The House Budget Committee approved the GOP’s ACA repeal and replacement plan 19-17 Thursday morning, with three conservative “Freedom Caucus” Republicans voting no because it’s still too much like ObamaCare.
EDITOR’S NOTE — As we reported yesterday, all four Republicans from Washington state — Reps. Jaime Herrera Beutler, Dan Newhouse, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and Dave Reichert — are poised to vote “yes” on this bill under which 24 million Americans are expected to lose health insurance coverage. It is expected to be voted upon by the House next week, probably next Friday, March 24.
► From Huffington Post — Latest polls show broad opposition to Trumpcare — A Fox News poll published Wednesday night finds that just 34 percent of registered voters support the GOP’s health care plan, with 54 percent in opposition. Other polls show similar margins, and also finds more intense opposition than support.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Washington farmers tell Trump: We need more foreign workers — For years, fewer people have been illegally crossing the Mexico border, leading to a labor shortage in Washington’s orchards and fields. So growers, who have watched some crops go unpicked, want the new president to make it easier to hire workers with H-2A visas.
► From The Hill — Poll: Most support path to legal status for illegal immigrants — Nearly two-thirds of Americans say there should be a path to legal status for undocumented immigrants, according to a new poll, and only 26 percent think stopping border crossings should be the top immigration priority.
► From The Hill — Rep. Steve King: GOP colleagues ‘patting me on the back’ after controversy — Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) says he hasn’t been getting much pushback from fellow House Republicans about his controversial tweet over the weekend saying that “we can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.”
ALSO at The Stand — Rep. Steve King and the racist origins of ‘right-to-work’ laws
► A special report from Huffington Post — The blow-it-up billionaires — When politicians take money from megadonors, there are strings attached. But with the Robert and Rebekah Mercer, who propelled Trump into the White House, there’s a fuse. This reclusive duo are the new Kochs — except far more controlling and extreme.
► Donald Trump’s proposed budget would entirely eliminate federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the publicly funded radio and television entity that includes NPR, PBS and about 1,500 affiliated stations. Without the CPB, we would never have had Sesame Street. Without Sesame Street, we would never have had the Muppets. Without the Muppets, we would never have had this.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.