Friday, May 26, 2017
► From the Public News Service — State workers get notice of potential layoffs as budget talks continue — On Friday, the state budget office formally notified AFSCME, the union that represents Washington state employees, that workers could be temporarily laid off if a compromise isn’t reached by July 1. Some employees received notice of potential layoffs earlier in the week.
ALSO TODAY at The Stand — Tell legislators: Stop this political nonsense
► From KIRO — As budget talks drag on state workers feel shutdown anxiety — “For us, we are supervising people out in the community and it involves community safety,” said Judy Kushel, a community corrections specialist in Vancouver. “If you are worried about paying your bills if you are worried about whether you are going to be working, you are not focused on the work at hand.”
► In today’s News Tribune — Western State patient throws nurse across room, prosecutors say — A Western State Hospital patient went on a psychotic rampage and assaulted four people Tuesday before being subdued, according to prosecutors.
► In today’s News Tribune — Why are flags at half-staff today? — Flags in Washington are at half-staff across Washington state for former Gov. Mike Lowry. He died May 1 at age 78. Lowry’s memorial service will be held Tuesday in Renton.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Trump’s budget proposal zeros out $1.1 billion for Lynnwood light-rail line — The president’s budget, and a proposed Federal Transit Administration funding list this week, would phase out half the money for the Northgate-Lynnwood light-rail line.
EDITOR’S NOTE — For a price, Saudi Arabia will pick up our federal government’s slack…
► In today’s NY Times — Big payoff after Blackstone courted a Saudi prince — A year ago, private equity titan Stephen A. Schwarzman and his company, The Blackstone Group, had a bold new idea: Court Saudi money to invest in projects like tunnels, bridges, airports and other sorely needed infrastructure improvements, predominantly in the United States. It was a prescient notion. Thirteen months and one election upset later, Schwarzman, who leads an elite committee of business executives advising President Trump, has announced a $20 billion cornerstone investment by the Saudi entity in a soon-to-be-created Blackstone infrastructure fund.
ALSO at The Stand — America for sale — cheap! (Needs work.)
EDITOR’S NOTE –Trump’s plan is for American taxpayers to “incentivize” this privatization of our national infrastructure by offering tax benefits and subsidies. As Robert Reich points out, “Rather than taxing the wealthy and then using the money to fix our dangerously outdated infrastructure, the states and the federal government increasingly are giving rich investors tax credits to encourage them to do it.”
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — CBO score on ‘Trumpcare’ should be warning to Senate GOP, Murray says — A new report that estimates 23 million people would lose health insurance under the House Republicans’ plan to repeal Obamacare should prompt their Senate colleagues to rethink efforts to write their own plan, Sen. Patty Murray said Wednesday. But Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who voted for the American Health Care Act earlier this month, said the report reinforces the GOP’s “rescue mission” on health care.
ALSO at The Stand — Unions to McMorris Rodgers: Shame on you
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Inslee addresses rural health care, GOP proposed health care plan in Ellensburg visit — “Five thousand people in Kittitas County would lose health insurance as a result of what Congress did,” Inslee said as he repeated his pledge to fight against the health bill’s passage in the Senate. “Anything that’s close to cutting off 23 million people from health insurance in this nation is not acceptable.”
► In the Seattle Times — Trumpcare uncertainty creates sickening mess (editorial) — Trump’s prediction of a “death spiral” in the Affordable Care Act may be a self-fulfilling prophesy, as his administration adds uncertainty about the future of health-care subsidies at a critical moment.
► From The Hill — Republicans go to battle over pre-existing conditions — Senate Republicans are talking about including some of the same controversial waivers from a House bill repealing ObamaCare that critics say could hurt people with pre-existing conditions. A highly anticipated Congressional Budget Office report released Wednesday found the state waivers in the House bill could lead to skyrocketing premium costs for people with pre-existing conditions. It also determined that many people with pre-existing conditions would be unable to afford coverage if they live in states that use the waivers.
► In today’s NY Times — McConnell may have been right: It may be too hard to replace Obamacare — The many meetings Republicans held to discuss a Senate health care bill have exposed deep fissures within the party that are almost as large as the differences between Republicans and Democrats.
► In today’s NY Times — It’s all about Trump’s contempt (by Paul Krugman) — There is a unifying theme to Trump’s budget and health care plan. And that theme is contempt — Donald Trump’s contempt for the voters who put him in office… The bigger question is whether someone who ran as a populist, who promised not to cut Social Security or Medicaid, who assured voters that everyone would have health insurance, can keep his working-class support while pursuing an agenda so anti-populist it takes your breath away.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Trump budget offers harmful cuts, magical thinking (editorial) — President Trump’s budget proposal to Congress is such a cluster bomb of ideological cuts to programs, unnecessary tax benefits for the rich and magical thinking, it’s difficult to know where to start.
► From KUOW — Patty Murray, Bernie Sanders bring fight for $15 to national stage — A proposal for a federal $15 minimum wage was rolled out in Congress Thursday. Washington U.S. Senator Patty Murray and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders introduced the bill. She said it will help women in particular, since 62 percent of minimum wage workers in the U.S. are women. Said Murray: “Women, especially women of color, are disproportionately affected by the minimum wage, that is their salary. Under our bill 23 million women would get a raise.”
► From AP — Trump travel ban showdown headed for Supreme Court — Donald Trump’s administration is pledging a Supreme Court showdown over his travel ban after a federal appeals ruled that the ban “drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination.” Citing the president’s duty to protect the country from terrorism, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Thursday that the Justice Department will ask the high court to review the case, although he offered no timetable.
► From HuffPost — Montana Republican wins special U.S. House race despite assault charge — Republican Greg Gianforte overcame an election eve assault charge filed against him that sparked national attention, defeating Democrat Rob Quist in the race for Montana’s open U.S. House seat Thursday.
► In today’s Washington Post — In America, attacks on the press are turning literal (by ) — The experience of countries that have seen a serious and rapid decline in press freedom — from Mexico to Ethiopia, Russia and Turkey — shows that the process proceeds in stages, with the media first being delegitimized and undermined. The United States has reached a juncture in which critical questions must be asked: How much do we as a society value freedom of the press? How energetically are we willing to fight for it?
► From TPM — Wisconsin panel OKs Walker plan to drug test Medicaid recipients, others — Wisconsin’s budget committee on Thursday approved Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) proposal to make it the first state in the nation to require a drug test for Medicaid recipients, among other regulations.
► “Kungs” is a 20-year-old French DJ named Valentin Brunel. Cookin’ on 3 Burners are an Australian funk trio from Melbourne. They teamed up to make this an international hit. The Entire Staff of The Stand recommends you turn it up loud. And dance. Outside. Like no one is watching. Enjoy.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.