Tuesday, March 21, 2017
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Boeing plans to lay off 170 workers in region; offers buyouts — Boeing announced more layoffs and a new round of buyouts late last week for workers around Puget Sound. The company continues to trim its workforce [in Washington] as it cuts costs to make good on promises to boost profits and payouts for shareholders. At least 170 people received layoff notices Friday — 111 IAM members and 62 SPEEA members. It is not clear how many non-union workers were laid off.
ALSO at The Stand — Hold Boeing accountable for state tax breaks — Since receiving a multi-billion dollar extension of its special tax breaks in 2013, instead of increasing employment in the state as our Legislature intended and the public expected, Boeing has cut 12,259 jobs in Washington — almost 7,400 in the past year alone — with more cuts planned later this year. And yet the company continues to receive its full tax incentive.
► In the (Everett) Herald — Future of Boeing’s 787 seems secure, but maybe not in Everett — Weak orders for the Boeing Co.’s sleek 787 Dreamliner have some analysts considering a day when the advanced jetliner is put together only in South Carolina. For now, several thousand workers in Everett and North Charleston, S.C., assemble 12 of the twin-aisle airplane each month. Boeing executives say they want to make more, not fewer, Dreamliners.
► From AP — Senate Republicans set to release state budget plan — Senate Republicans in Washington state are set to release their two-year state budget proposal this morning at 10 a.m. and it will receive a public hearing in the afternoon. House Democrats will release their proposal next week.
► In today’s Kitsap Sun — Navy yard, bases not greatly affected by hiring freeze — President Trump’s federal hiring freeze has not burdened the Kitsap Navy. Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, after a pause, went right back to hiring, and hasn’t caught up to other programs.
► In today’s Olympian — GOP health plan means bigger financial hit for older low-income enrollees in South Sound — Under the plan, older enrollees in the lowest income bracket in the South Sound and Washington state will pay more money out of pocket for coverage, according to a nationwide analysis by the Associated Press. The analysis counted enrollees ages 55-64, as well as 65 and older, as “older enrollees.” Washington has 225,594 total ACA enrollees in 2017, with 69,206 older enrollees — about 30.7 percent. A spokesperson from the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation told the AP that “a lot of people just won’t be able to afford to pay it. A lot of people are going to drop out of the market altogether.”
EDITOR’S NOTE — The New York Times published a whip count today that lists Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler as “has concerns/opposed” to Trumpcare, although her constituents are still waiting for her to say how she plans to vote. All other Republicans from our state — Dave Reichert, Dan Newhouse, and Cathy McMorris Rodgers — are listed as supporting Trumpcare. A floor vote is expected late Thursday or early Friday morning.
► In the Columbian — Groups in Clark County rally for affordable health care — Across Clark County on Sunday, people protested with the hopes of sending a message to Washington, D.C.: Don’t repeal the Affordable Care Act.
► In today’s Wenatchee World — Reichert should keep promise to meet with voters (letter) — Rep. Reichert’s decisions, his votes, are affecting not only us and our children and grandchildren. In the most powerful country in the world, his votes have consequences for millions of people worldwide. I wonder where his faith in an informed citizenry has retreated?
► MUST-READ perspective in the Seattle Times — GOP solution on ‘repeal, replace’ Obamacare (by Jon Talton) — It’s no wonder Republicans are in trouble with their plan to destroy Obamacare. They have nothing that addresses the market failure of the private-sector-based system of American health care that prevents millions from getting coverage while costs keep rising.
► From Politico — Trump to Republicans: Vote for Trumpcare or lose your seat — President Donald Trump arrived on Capitol Hill Tuesday morning with a clear message for Republicans who have been wobbly about dismantling Obamacare: Give me your vote or you may lose your seat in 2018.
► In today’s Washington Post — House Republicans unveil health-care-bill changes to corral votes — Changes unveiled late Monday addressed numerous GOP concerns about the legislation, ranging from the flexibility it would give states to administer their Medicaid programs to the amount of aid it would offer older Americans to buy insurance.
► From Huffington Post — While nobody’s watching, Paul Ryan is taking a sledgehammer to Medicaid’s promise to seniors — As currently structured, Medicaid guarantees a set of benefits to everybody who qualifies. Most people associate Medicaid with the poor and working class, but historically the program has spent as much or more money on elderly and disabled people who qualify, and use it to pay for things like nursing-home care that Medicare doesn’t cover. The new version of the program would upend this arrangement. It would devolve Medicaid to the states and reimburse them using a predetermined formula that, as the Congressional Budget Office and other experts have concluded, would not actually keep up with the cost of care. As the federal contribution toward Medicaid eroded over time, states could make up the difference on their own or ― more likely ― they could make cuts in who or what the program covers. The federal guarantee would be over, and with it, the Medicaid program as we know it.
► In today’s NY Times — FBI is investigating Trump’s Russia ties, Comey confirms — FBI Director James B. Comey took the extraordinary step on Monday of announcing that the agency is investigating whether members of President Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to influence the 2016 election.
► In today’s NY Times — Trump’s weary defenders face fresh worries — President Trump began Monday as he has started so many other presidential mornings — by unleashing a blistering Twitter attack on critics who suggested his 2016 campaign colluded with the Russians. By the afternoon the director of the F.B.I., James B. Comey, had systematically demolished his arguments in a remarkable public takedown of a sitting president. Even a close ally of Trump, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and the House Intelligence Committee chairman, conceded that “a gray cloud” of suspicion now hung over the White House by the end of the day’s hearings.
► In today’s NY Times — GOP responds by changing subject — As Comey acknowledged an investigation, Republicans instead focused on leaks to news organizations.
► In today’s Washington Post — Senators to question Supreme Court nominee directly during Day Two of confirmation hearings — Democrats, still angry over the circumstances of Neil Gorsuch’s nomination, plan to aggressively question the appeals judge. But Democrats are outnumbered 52-48 in the Senate, and it is unclear how hard they want to fight.
ALSO at The Stand — AFL-CIO ‘deeply troubled’ by Gorsuch’s record
► From Huffington Post — Neil Gorsuch allegedly said women abuse maternity leave. That’s a big problem. (by Emily Peck) — Gorsuch may have a sneaking sympathy for companies that discriminate against women in the workplace.
► In today’s NY Times — Neil Gorsuch faces the Senate (editorial) — Here’s a good question for Judge Gorsuch: Why are you here? There’s only one honest answer: “I shouldn’t be.”
► From The Hill — Trump jumps into air traffic control fight — A proposal to separate air traffic control from the federal government has found its most powerful ally in President Trump. But the contentious plan still faces a bumpy road in Congress, where some key Republicans remain opposed to the idea.
► In today’s Washington Post — Trump wants to defund PBS. ‘Sesame Street’ brutally parodied him for decades. — There are only three known episodes in which “Donald Grump” or “Ronald Grump” appears, each time playing the villain in a moral allegory.
► From AP — Home health aides: Minimum-wage hikes could deepen shortage — It’s a national problem advocates say could get worse in New York because of a phased-in, $15-an-hour minimum wage that will be statewide by 2021, pushing notoriously poorly paid health aides into other jobs, in retail or fast food, that don’t involve hours of training and the pressure of keeping someone else alive.
► From Think Progress — The TPP model failed, let’s not resurrect it (by Sam Cosser-Gilbert) — The Trans Pacific Partnership, which faced popular opposition over several years, suffered a knockout blow after the United States recently withdrew from the deal. Yet this bad deal still hovers around like zombie with key elements and provisions threatening to infiltrate other trade agreements across the world.
► READ THE WHOLE THING in the NY Times — No sympathy for the hillbilly (by Frank Rich) — While many, if not most, of those in #TheResistance of the Democratic base remain furious at Trump voters, the party’s political class and the liberal media Establishment are making a concerted effort to convert that rage into empathy… For those of us who want to bring down the curtain on the Trump era as quickly as possible, this pandering to his voters raises a more immediate and practical concern: Is it a worthwhile political tactic that will actually help reverse Republican rule? Or is it another counterproductive detour into liberal guilt, self-flagellation, and political correctness of the sort that helped blind Democrats to the gravity of the Trump threat in the first place? While the right is expert at channeling darker emotions like anger into ruthless political action, the Democrats’ default inclination is still to feel everyone’s pain, hang their hats on hope, and enter the fray in a softened state of unilateral disarmament.
There’s no way liberals can counter Trump voters’ blind faith in a huckster who’s sold them this snake oil. The notion that they can be won over by some sort of new New Deal is wishful thinking. These voters are so adamantly opposed to government programs that in some cases they refuse to accept the fact that aid they already receive comes from Washington, D.C. … So hold the empathy and hold on to the anger. If Trump delivers on his promises to the “poorly educated” despite all indications to the contrary, then good for them. Once again, all the Trump naysayers will be proved wrong. But if his administration crashes into an iceberg, leaving his base trapped in America’s steerage with no lifeboats, those who survive may at last be ready to burst out of their own bubble and listen to an alternative. Or not: Maybe they’ll keep voting against their own interests until the industrial poisons left unregulated by their favored politicians finish them off altogether. Either way, the best course for Democrats may be to respect their right to choose.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.