Monday, September 18, 2017
► From Politico — Senate GOP tries one last time to repeal Obamacare — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and his leadership team are seriously considering voting on a bill that would scale back the federal government’s role in the health care system and instead provide block grants to states, congressional and Trump administration sources said. It would be a last-ditch attempt to repeal Obamacare before the GOP’s power to pass health care legislation through a party-line vote in the Senate expires on Sept. 30.
ALSO at The Stand — Call TODAY to stop the latest health care attack
► In today’s NY Times — Complacency could kill heath care (by Paul Krugman) — The sponsors of the Graham-Cassidy bill now working its way toward a Senate vote claim to be offering a moderate approach that preserves the good things about Obamacare. In other words, they are maintaining the G.O.P. norm of lying both about the content of Obamacare and about what would replace it. In reality, Graham-Cassidy is the opposite of moderate. It contains, in exaggerated and almost caricature form, all the elements that made previous Republican proposals so cruel and destructive. It would eliminate the individual mandate, undermine if not effectively eliminate protection for people with pre-existing conditions, and slash funding for subsidies and Medicaid.
► In today’s Washington Post — Before tackling single-payer, save Obamacare (by Robert Samuelson) — All who care about the expansion of health-care coverage need to focus their energies on defeating this latest attack on Obamacare. However we eventually arrive at universal coverage, which we must, it will be far easier to get there by building on the ACA.
► In today’s Washington Post — After single payer failed, Vermont embarks on a big health care experiment — The underlying premise is simple: Reward doctors and hospitals financially when patients are healthy, not just when they come in sick. It’s an idea that has been percolating through the health-care system in recent years, supported by the Affordable Care Act and changes to how Medicare pays for certain kinds of care, such as hip and knee replacements. But Vermont is setting an ambitious goal of taking its alternative payment model statewide and applying it to 70 percent of insured state residents by 2022 which — if it works — could eventually lead to fundamental changes in how Americans pay for health care.
► In today’s News Tribune — Tribes might push their own carbon tax initiative in 2018. “We are running out of time” — Tribal leaders might forge ahead with their own plan to tax carbon emissions in Washington state, breaking away from another group that’s working on a statewide carbon-tax initiative for the November 2018 ballot. A top tribal leader said the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy didn’t seek feedback from Native American tribes when it began developing the carbon-tax plan it hopes to send to voters next fall. The Alliance said no piece of its proposal is finalized, and there’s still time for the tribes and other groups to come together behind one ballot measure.
ALSO at The Stand — Momentum builds for Alliance’s climate change campaign
► In today’s Columbian — Washougal teachers to vote on one-year contract — After association members voted against ratifying a new contract on Sept. 6, union and district leaders have a new tentative agreement in place after a four-hour bargaining session Thursday night. To ratify the new labor contract, 60 percent of the nearly 200 members of the Washougal Association of Educators will have to approve it.
► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Eyman needs to end his ‘B.S.’ protests over voters guide (editorial) — With a deadline approaching in less than a month for the auditor’s office to get its voters guides to the printer — there are five regional editions — it’s time for Eyman to give up his B.S. campaign.
► From The Stranger — More unions endorse Jenny Durkan, including the Teamsters fighting for Uber unionization — Former U.S. attorney Jenny Durkan has announced endorsements from the Aerospace Machinists Union District Lodge 751, Teamsters Local 117, the Pacific Northwest Regional Council of Carpenters, Port of Seattle Fire Fighters Local 125, and Sailors’ Union of the Pacific. Those groups join more than a dozen other unions that have endorsed Durkan.
► In the South Seattle Emerald — Why Jenny Durkan is the right choice for Mayor of Seattle (by Gary Locke, Ron Sims and Norm Rice) — Seattle needs someone who has been on the front lines of social justice and civil rights, someone with a strong vision for positive progressive change, who can pull us together rather than splinter us apart, who can make real progress. We believe that person is Jenny Durkan.
► From AP — Bruce Harrell declines to remain Seattle’s temporary mayor — Seattle’s temporary mayor, appointed after Ed Murray resigned amid sex abuse allegations, spent just 48 hours on the job before announcing Friday he didn’t want to keep it. But Bruce Harrell made the most of his brief tenure, signing four executive orders — including one that seeks to land Amazon’s planned second headquarters back in its hometown.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Ed Murray’s exit from public life leaves Seattle feeling pain, relief — Ed Murray was a leader for gay rights, forged a reputation as a sharp Olympia dealmaker and went on to become an effective, if temperamental, Seattle mayor. But his legacy will be defined largely by the sex-abuse allegations that ultimately drove him from office.
► In today’s (Vancouver) Columbian — Deportation tears apart family of 9 — Ramon Flores — who has lived in the U.S. for about 20 years — was detained by ICE agents while working in Everett on Valentine’s Day. He was stopped a few blocks away from the Motel 6 where he had been staying. His family was expecting him home that evening for dinner. Enedis Flores says her husband is a good man. He has no criminal history, operated his own merchandise distribution business — selling Mexican goods — provided for his family and paid his taxes. The family doesn’t know why ICE agents targeted Ramon Flores but suspect a competing business may have reported him. However, at least two Motel 6 locations in Arizona reportedly were giving ICE information that led to guests being detained and deported. And a Mesa, Ariz., immigration attorney, Juan Rocha, said that an employee at a Motel 6 in Washington state told him of the same practice here.
► From The Hill — ‘Amnesty’ fight threatens pursuit of immigration deal — Democrats view Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program participants as “Americans in every way except on paper” and consider a pathway to citizenship non-negotiable. But many conservative critics of DACA deem any citizenship benefits for immigrants in the country illegally to be “amnesty” for those who broke the law when they entered the country.
► From The Hill — Dreamers sue Trump for ending DACA — The plaintiffs are alleging that the Trump administration didn’t follow proper administrative procedures when deciding to end the program and that officials violated due process by revoking an enforcement promise.
► From Politico — How Trump’s immigration crackdown threatens to choke Idaho’s dairy industry — Dairy farmers lean heavily Republican in this deeply red state of only 1.7 million people, where 88 percent of the voting-age population are non-Hispanic whites. But in the age of Donald Trump—who won Idaho handily —even the farmers who supported the new president fear their businesses are about to run headlong into a harsh political reality. They’re frightened that Trump’s aggressive deportation policies will soon start to pick off or push away the mostly Hispanic immigrants who do the gritty work that Americans aren’t interested in doing. Many of these workers are probably undocumented, farmers acknowledge, yet they’re the sturdy backbone of a surging industry. Here in the Magic Valley, the farmers’ perspective is starkly different from the president’s claim that undocumented workers “compete directly against vulnerable American workers.”
► In the Washington Post — Here’s how the first Indian American congresswoman responded to a C-SPAN caller’s rant about ‘these illegal aliens’ — A Washington state U.S. congresswoman listened as a man named John from Sebring, Ind., went on a screed about “illegal aliens” reaping government benefits and stealing American jobs. At first she shook her head slightly in disagreement, but then she sat expressionless as he went on. For Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), the caller’s rant wasn’t about just a policy issue she’s passionate about — though she is, deeply. It’s also personal.
► In today’s News Tribune — Mysterious influx of patients hits state’s already strained mental hospitals — The escalating number of patients referred to Washington psychiatric hospitals has made the court-ordered task of lowering wait times for treatment more difficult. One lawmaker said the influx of patients is “incredibly troubling.”
► In the News Tribune — Of course businesses want free stuff. But how much is too much? — The results (of the Amazon HQ2 bidding) will be studied intently, by economic-development officials wondering what the next big project is going to cost them, and by sponsors of those projects compiling their lists and musing, “If they asked for that, and got it, just maybe I could ask for …”
► From The Onion’s archives — States now offering millions in tax breaks to any person who says ‘high-tech jobs’
► In the NY Times — Bump in U.S. income doesn’t erase 50 years of pain — The disconnect between positive statistics and people’s day-to-day lives is one of the great economic and social puzzles of recent years. It helped fuel President Trump’s political rise and underpins the frustrations that played out in calls to build a Mexican border wall, reopen trade agreements, and bring back well-paid work in coal mines and factories. The latest Census Bureau findings suggest that the “American dream” — in which each generation is richer and better positioned than the previous one — is back on track. For many Americans, though, the recent progress is still dwarfed by profound changes that have been building for nearly a half-century: rising inequality and rusted-stuck incomes. The potential culprits behind the long-term trends are many — global competition, technological advances, trade imbalances, a mismatch of skills, the tax system, housing prices, factory shutdowns, excessive regulation, Wall Street pressure, the erosion of labor unions and more. Most of the suspects, if not all, are likely to have played some role.
► In the WV Metro News — State Supreme Court knocks down injunction over WV right-to-work law — The state Supreme Court has overruled a lower court injunction that blocked West Virginia’s right-to-work law. The state AFL-CIO issued a statement noting that the Supreme Court ruling applied specifically to the injunction, saying unions will continue to fight during a broader hearing in circuit court and anticipating an eventual appeal of the full issue to the Supreme Court.
► In the Wisconsin Gazette — Wisconsin judge strikes down Walker’s anti-union law — A Wisconsin judge has struck down nearly all of the state law championed by Gov. Scott Walker that effectively ended collective bargaining rights for most public workers. Walker’s administration immediately vowed to appeal the Sept. 14 ruling, while unions, which have vigorously fought the law, declared victory. But what the ruling meant for existing public contracts was murky: Unions claimed the ruling meant they could negotiate again, but Walker could seek to keep the law in effect while the legal drama plays out.
► From McClatchy — McMillan elected new president of North Carolina AFL-CIO — Delegates to the state AFL-CIO convention elected MaryBe McMillan unanimously Friday as president. James Andrews chose not to seek re-election after more than 40 years in the labor movement. McMillan has been secretary-treasurer since 2005.
► From In These Times — The right wing has a vast, secret plot to destroy unions for good. Here’s how to fight back. (by AFT’s Shaun Richman) — The vast right-wing network of Koch brother-funded “think tanks” is now plotting to finish off the public sector labor movement once and for all. In a series of fundraising documents, the CEO of a cartel of 66 well-funded arch-conservative state capitol lobbying outfits promises funders a “once-in-a-lifetime chance to reverse the failed policies of the American left.” … In preparation for the post-Janus attacks, public sector unions should confound the State Policy Network’s moldy old assumptions about the source of union power. To do this, we need to greatly increase members’ democratic involvement in their unions.
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