Friday, July 28, 2017
► In today’s NY Times — Senate rejects slimmed-down Obamacare repeal as McCain votes ‘no’ — The Senate rejected a new, scaled-down Republican plan to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act, derailing the Republicans’ seven-year campaign to dismantle President Obama’s signature health care law and dealing a huge political setback to President Trump. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who just this week returned to the Senate after receiving a diagnosis of brain cancer, cast the decisive vote to defeat the proposal, joining two other Republicans, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, in opposing it. The 49-to-51 vote was also a humiliating setback for the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Also, check out BuzzFeed’s awesome dissection of the dramatic vote.
► In today’s Washington Post — Trump’s hardball tactics backfire as ‘skinny repeal’ goes down — A lot of the media coverage in the wake of the vote will focus on McCain, because he’s the most famous, and Collins was always going to vote “no.” But Murkowski’s opposition was equally decisive and perhaps most illustrative of the problems ahead for Trump. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke called Murkowski and the state’s other Republican senator to threaten that the Trump administration may change its position on several issues that affect the state to punish Murkowski, such as blocking energy exploration and plans to allow the construction of new roads. Nevertheless, Murkowski persisted. In fact, she took it one step further and demonstrated that she has more leverage over Zinke than he has over her.
► In today’s Washington Post — The night John McCain killed the GOP’s health-care fight — The bold move by the nation’s most famous senator stunned his colleagues and possibly put the Senate on the verge of protracted bipartisan talks that McCain is unlikely to witness as he begins treatment for an aggressive form of brain cancer.
► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Enjoy summer, but remember to vote (editorial)
► MUST-READ interactive special report in the NY Times — Down the mighty Columbia River, where a power struggle looms — The Trump administration has proposed a plan to sell the transmission network of wires and substations owned by the Bonneville Power Administration, a federal agency that distributes most of the Columbia basin’s output, to private buyers… Debates about government and its role in land and environmental policy are always highly charged. But perhaps nowhere could the proposed changes have a more significant impact than along the great river of the West. Privatization would transform a government service that requires equal standards across a vast territory — from large cities to tiny hamlets — into a private operation seeking maximum returns to investors. Wringing profits from a system that has provided electricity at cost would inevitably raise prices, critics of the idea said, while supporters envision a streamlined grid open to innovations that government managers cannot imagine.
► In today’s Yakima H-R — Local immigration case could have national impact — A local case questioning whether Yakima County jail authorities are violating due process by enforcing federal immigration holds could affect jails nationwide, a Yakima attorney said Wednesday.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Lawmakers to court: We’ve complied with school-funding order — A bipartisan group of lawmakers approved a report Thursday telling the state Supreme Court how the state will assure it is providing ample funding to public schools by a 2018 deadline.
► From KNKX — Seattle schools official says state’s education funding plan still falls short — The Seattle school board has adopted a budget for the coming school year. They managed to plug holes to fill a deficit once projected to be $74 million, but a district official said that she’s concerned that in the long term, the state’s new education funding plan doesn’t go far enough.
► In today’s Seattle Times — State labor board rules for hearing on union’s complaint against King County sheriff — The unfair-labor-practices complaint contends Sheriff John Urquhart and his associates tried to intimidate a high-ranking deputy challenging him in the November election and threatened to “destroy” any commander who publicly supported her.
► In today’s NY Times — House approves spending package, border wall and all — The House approved on Thursday a bundle of spending bills, including $1.57 billion that President Trump requested to build a wall along the Mexican border, which could serve as the opening salvo in a new congressional battle to keep the government funded.
EDITOR’S NOTE — This is what Mexico-paying-for-it looks like.
► ICYMI in the New Yorker — Anthony Scaramucci called me to unload about White House leakers, Reince Priebus, and Steve Bannon (by Ryan Lizza) — He started by threatening to fire the entire White House communications staff. It escalated from there.
EDITOR’S NOTE — A few of our favorite quotes by the new Communications Director of the White House: (Sorry about the language, kids.)
“Reince is a fucking paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac. [Channeling Priebus] ‘Oh, Bill Shine is coming in. Let me leak the fucking thing and see if I can cock-block these people the way I cock-blocked Scaramucci for six months.’ ”
“I’m not Steve Bannon, I’m not trying to suck my own cock. I’m not trying to build my own brand off the fucking strength of the President. I’m here to serve the country.”
“What I want to do is I want to fucking kill all the leakers and I want to get the President’s agenda on track so we can succeed for the American people.”
“Yeah, let me go, though, because I’ve gotta start tweeting some shit to make [Reince Priebus] crazy.”
► From Rolling Stone — The Anthony Scaramucci era will be freakish, embarrassing and all too short (by Matt Taibbi) — Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci is like Trump himself: ridiculous, ham-brained, unapologetic, disdainful of Washington pieties, and bursting with reasonless confidence.
► In today’s NY Times — Wisconsin’s lavish lure for Foxconn: $3 billion in tax subsidies — Foxconn’s plan for a $10 billion factory in Wisconsin is certainly good news for President Trump and Republican politicians Gov. Scott Walker and Speaker Paul D. Ryan, whose district the plant would call home. But the deal with Foxconn, the Taiwanese electronics supplier, comes with a heavy price tag for Wisconsin taxpayers: $3 billion in state tax credits that dwarf the typical incentive package companies receive from local governments. Over all, the subsidies for the Foxconn plant equal $15,000 to $19,000 per job annually.
► In today’s NY Times — With state finances shaky, Kansas governor prepares to step down — For more than six years, Gov. Sam Brownback has steered Kansas on a hard right turn on one issue after another: taxes, guns, abortion rights, Medicaid and welfare benefits. He will leave as an unpopular leader of a state in uncertain fiscal health, with more robust conservative policies and governed by a Legislature in which many in his own Republican Party have defied him. Polished, persistent and self-assured, Brownback has been seen as a model for the opportunities and perils of governing without compromise from the right on both social and fiscal issues.
► This one goes out not only to GOP Sens. Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and John McCain, but also to every single Democratic United States Senator — including our own Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell — who voted against the latest cynical attempt by Donald Trump and Republicans to take away the health care of millions of Americans.
The Entire Staff of The Stand urges you to pump up the volume on this one.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.