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Countdown to shutdown, we told you so, prelude to the cave

Wednesday, June 21, 2017




► In today’s (Everett) Herald — With state budget impasse, countdown to shutdown is on — An exchange between the chief House and Senate budget writers Tuesday doesn’t bode well for those counting on lawmakers to strike a deal in time to prevent the first-ever shut down of state government. Rep. Timm Ormsby (D-Spokane) said his caucus had made a “substantial offer” and “it’s fair to say the ball is in the Senate’s court.” Sen. John Braun (R-Centralia) disagreed diplomatically on the location of the budget ball, noting “both sides have made substantive offers.”

ALSO at The Stand — Day of Action TOMORROW against looming state shutdown

► In today’s Seattle Times — Budget stalemate puts state’s financial reputation at risk (by State Treasurer Duane A. Davidson) — If a state shutdown occurs on July 1, our state’s highly regarded reputation for sound fiscal management could be significantly harmed, potentially triggering higher costs for financing roads, bridges, schools and other projects. In short, we would take a big step toward operating like the “other” Washington, which is not an example we wish to emulate.




► From AP — Seattle minimum wage hasn’t cut jobs — Seattle’s $15-an-hour minimum wage law has boosted pay for restaurant workers without costing jobs, a new study shows. The report, from the University of California at Berkeley, is certain to add to the debate as activists around the country push for increases in local, state and federal minimum wages. The report, obtained by The Associated Press before its official release, focused on food service jobs, which some critics said could be disproportionately affected if increased wages forced restaurants to cut workers’ hours. Author Michael Reich says that hasn’t been the case. “Our results show that wages in food services did increase — indicating the policy achieved its goal,” the study said.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Hundreds attend vigil for Charleena Lyles and call for justice in her slaying — The 30-year-old Seattle mother of four was shot and killed by police Sunday. As the investigation continues, others gathered to remember her and grieve.

► In today’s Seattle Times — The fatal police shooting of Charleena Lyles cries out for body cameras. But 7 years on, we still don’t have them. (by Danny Westneat) — Seattle was one of the first cities in the nation to push for body cameras for police. But we’ll be one of the last to get them because approval is hung up in contract bargaining with the police union.

► In today’s NY Times — Charleena Lyles needed health care. Instead, she was killed. (by ) — To be sure, the disproportionate rate of law enforcement violence against African-Americans has a host of contributing factors, including racial bias, both implicit and explicit. There is most likely no single explanation for the tragedy that occurred when Seattle Police Department officers shot and killed Lyles. But in her case and others like it, the failure of public mental health services appears to have been one important ingredient in a mix of forces that ultimately proved deadly.




► From The Hill — GOP hits the gas on ObamaCare repeal — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday formally set an ambitious schedule for his conference to pass Republican health care legislation repealing the Affordable Care Act, promising his members will get draft legislation on Thursday with a floor vote next week.

► From TPM — The Moderates’ Tale, or the Play-Acting Before the Cave (by Josh Marshall) — As we noted a few weeks ago, the Iron Law of Republican Politics is that the GOP moderates always cave. But the cave is never without a stage-managed drama. And that appears to be the part of the story we’re now entering. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R) is expressing concern over Medicaid cuts in the Senate Trumpcare bill. “I don’t look favorably on it, that’s for sure,” Capito told Axios. Please. It’s been clear from the word go that taking an axe to Medicaid was the entire point of this exercise… Again, we are asked to (and almost always do) indulge this fainting couch routine or a furious bout of chin stroking that comes as a prelude to the cave. It is what wingnuts now commonly call “virtue-signaling,” a staged demonstration or interlude put on for effect to soften the blow of signing onto the policy outcomes that are frankly unconscionable.

EDITOR’S NOTE — But as long as we’re indulging…

► In today’s NY Times — The health care of millions depends on a few senators (editorial) — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is doing everything he can to keep the public in the dark about his plan to undo major provisions of the ACA. But a few details have become public, and all are alarming and depressing. As they emerge, and the public unveiling of the bill grows closer — it could come on Thursday — the need for a few wise Republicans to stand with Senate Democrats to say “no” becomes ever more urgent… Whatever their differences, the Senate and House versions have this in common: a callous disregard for the health care of millions of people plus a kind of frantic wish to pass something, no matter how destructive and poorly thought out, that lets President Trump and other Republicans claim that they have repealed Obamacare.

► A related story from Yahoo News — Trump feels ‘very good’ about Senate health care bill, whatever it is, White House says — President Trump feels “very good” about the Senate’s progress in drafting its version, White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters. Asked if the president or members of his team have seen a copy of the bill, however, Spicer said he did not know.

► In today’s Columbian — Sick approach to health care bill (editorial) — This is no way to run a country. Republicans’ secrecy in meddling with one-sixth of the U.S. economy amounts to embarrassing subterfuge that should be decried by all Americans.

► In today’s News Tribune — Obamacare rewrite needs light of day in U.S. Senate (editorial)

► From The Hill — Poll finds growing opposition to GOP healthcare bill — A new poll finds just 35 percent of voters approve of the healthcare bill the House passed earlier this year.

► In today’s NY Times — GOP health plan is really a rollback of MedicaidTucked inside the Republican bill to replace Obamacare is a plan to impose a radical diet on a 52-year-old program that insures nearly one in five Americans. The bill, of course, would modify changes to the health system brought by the Affordable Care Act. But it would also permanently restructure Medicaid, which covers tens of millions of poor or disabled Americans, including millions who are living in nursing homes with conditions like Alzheimer’s or the aftereffects of a stroke. “This is the most consequential change in 50 years for low-income people’s health care,” said Joan Alker, the executive director of the Center for Children and Families at Georgetown University. “This is a massive change that has hardly been discussed.”

► In today’s NY Times — Middle class, not poor, could suffer if Trump ends health payments — Paradoxically, ending the ACA’s federal health subsidies will primarily hurt not poor customers but millions of middle-class people who earn too much to qualify for premium assistance under the law and will bear the full brunt of any rate increase.




► In today’s NY Times — Trump takes steps to undo Obama legacy on labor — President Trump, who came into office courting labor unions and vowing to stand up for American workers, is taking a major step to alter the direction of federal labor policy, positioning the NLRB to overturn a series of high-profile Obama-era decisions. The moves arrive after Trump’s proposed deep cuts to the Labor Department and job-training programs across the federal government.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — The current political zeal for cutting poverty programs will leave millions of vulnerable children and adults hungry (by Shawn Vestal) — Every month, more than 16,000 households in Spokane County receive federal help buying food. Most are single-parent families with children, receiving an average benefit of $1.33 per person for every meal. Almost half have a family member with a disability. And all of them have reason to be concerned about the ideas currently in vogue in Washington, D.C.

► From The Hill — Trump sparks rush of NAFTA lobbying — About 175 companies and groups in the U.S. listed lobbying federal officials on NAFTA from June 2016 through the beginning of this year.

► In today’s NY Times — Democrats seethe after Georgia loss: ‘Our brand is worse than Trump’ — Democrats seethed, second-guessed and sought to regroup on Wednesday after a disappointing special election defeat in Georgia. Lawmakers and strategists fretted about the party’s inchoate message, and some called the race a sign that Democrats should not bet too heavily on converting red-tinged suburbs to win a majority in the House.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Suggesting that it might be just a “branding” problem, ironically, hits the nail on the head. This party has been corporatized.

► Which brings us to… from The Hill — Blue Dog Democrats meet with top Trump aides on tax reform — Blue Dog Democrats huddled with the leading members of President Trump’s economic team on Tuesday in the Capitol, where the lawmakers pressed the administration to seek bipartisan reforms to the nation’s tax code.

► Which brings us to… from Fusion — ‘Bipartisanship’ means ‘I don’t understand what politics is’ (by Hamilton Nolan) — Some things cannot be reconciled. Democratic socialism cannot be reconciled with crony capitalism. A belief that health care is a human right cannot be reconciled with a belief that only those with enough money deserve decent care. A belief that workers deserve the right to organize cannot be reconciled with a belief that unions should be eradicated. A belief that a certain military action is immoral cannot be reconciled with a belief that it is necessary. Bipartisan compromise on such issues is not a virtue; it is a sin. And a pathetic one. It is a sin of not caring about things that you should really care about. It is, ultimately, an admission that you feel that matters that do not hurt you personally do not rise to the level of things that are worth speaking up about.




► In today’s NY Times — Ford chooses China, not Mexico, to build Its new focus — In a move that highlights the shifting landscape of global auto production, Ford Motor said Tuesday that it would build its next-generation small car in China rather than in the United States or Mexico.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Ford’s Focus on the failure of Trumponomics (by Jon Talton) — Trump inserted himself into Carrier’s decision to move jobs from Indiana to Mexico and appeared to make the company back down. The same thing happened with Ford, which scrapped a plan to move production of its Focus compact car from Michigan to Mexico. The reality has proved quite different. With Carrier, Trump’s “victory” was far less than he claimed. As for Ford, canceling the $1.6 billion assembly in Mexico might have been a business decision, but Trump claimed it as a victory. Now… ashes.

► In today’s NY Times — Uber CEO resigns after shareholders stage a revolt — Travis Kalanick, the company’s co-founder, had been under increasing pressure, and several major investors demanded that he resign immediately.




► From Racked — America’s massive retail workforce is tired of being ignored — America’s massive retail workforce accounts for 10 percent of all employment, but retail workers get little attention in major discussions about employment in the U.S. In part, this is because the jobs are widely seen as low-skill, temporary ones done by young people on their way to something more prestigious. Indeed, when retail workers have pushed themselves into public consciousness in recent years it has been because they have been organizing. Retail workers have been at the heart of the Fight for $15, which pushed wages higher in places like Emeryville, Seattle, San Francisco, New York, and a host of other cities as low-wage workers struck and rallied for raises. Retail workers too have organized for paid sick time, passed into law in Emeryville in 2015, and now more and more have begun to demand some control over their schedules. Rather than hope for a Make America Great Again–style renaissance of manufacturing, retail workers are demanding that their existing jobs improve.


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