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Tax scam’s mad dash | ACA deadline Friday | AT&T deal | Sir Paul at the Cavern

Thursday, December 14, 2017




► In today’s NY Times — Republican tax bill in final sprint across finish line — The day after suffering a political blow in the Alabama special Senate election, Republican Party leaders in the House and Senate agreed in principle to bridge the yawning gaps between their competing versions of the $1.5 trillion tax bill, keeping them on track for final votes next week with the aim of delivering a bill to President Trump’s desk by Christmas. The House and Senate versions of the tax bill started from the same core principles — sharply cutting taxes on businesses, while reducing rates and eliminating some breaks for individuals — but diverged on several crucial details. The bill will still scale back some popular tax breaks, including the state and local tax deduction and the deductibility of mortgage interest.

ALSO at The Stand — It’s not over! Call Representatives to stop this tax scam for the rich — Call 1-844-899-9913 and urge your Representative to vote NO on the tax bill next week.

► MUST-READ in today’s (Everett) Herald — Mad dash to pass a tax bill will have consequences (by David Ignatius) — Political desperation is the mother of this legislation. Despite Republican control of both houses of Congress, the Trump administration has failed in its first year to enact legislation that deals with major problems, such as health care and immigration. So at year end, we have the spectacle of Trump & Co. bellowing a populist message about lower taxes, even as special-interest lobbyists drive the legislation toward a chaotic conference and final passage. The tax bill is a Rubik’s Cube of potential problems, but the difficulties begin with the fact that it has been pushed through Congress in two months without hearings or careful analysis. The provisions were crafted in secret and passed on party-line votes, without a chance for assessment or analysis.

► From The Hill — Pence delays Israel trip over GOP tax bill — The vice president will reportedly land in Israel on Wednesday of next week, rather than on Sunday, so he may partake in a vote on tax reform should Senate Republicans need him to break a tie.

ALSO at The Stand — Ads warn of GOP plan to cut Social Security, Medicare

► From Politico — GOP tax plan could bring big New Year’s surprises — American taxpayers may get a jolt on New Year’s Day when new tax rules — including some sudden tax increases — take effect just days after Republicans hope to pass their overhaul and have it signed into law.

► From HuffPost — When will Paul Ryan step down? — The Wisconsin Republican has made no indication he’s quitting any time soon, but the possibility that Ryan finishes the tax bill and decides he no longer wants to continue in Congress has begun to loom over internal Republican conversations.




► In today’s Washington Post — FCC poised to repeal net neutrality rules in a sweeping act of deregulation — Internet providers would be able to speed up service for some apps and websites — and block or slow down others — in the expected repeal of Obama-era rules for broadband companies such as AT&T and Verizon.

► In today’s Columbian — Sens. Murray, Cantwell ask FCC to delay net neutrality vote — Washington Democratic Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell led 19 other Democrats in sending a letter to Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai on Tuesday.

► In today’s Spokesman-Review — Washington will keep net neutrality in state if FCC won’t for the nation, Inslee says — Washington will enforce its own version of net neutrality if the Federal Communications Commission votes Thursday to change national rules, Gov. Jay Inslee said Wednesday. Standing with a bipartisan group of lawmakers, tech executives and state Attorney General Bob Ferguson, Inslee said internet service providers that restrict access, block content or charge varying rates to different customers could find themselves facing sanctions from the state. “There are some things worth fighting for,” Inslee said. “This is a free-speech issue as well as a business development issue.”




► From KSVR’s We Do the Work — Draper Valley Farms workers win fair contract (audio) — Some 400 mostly migrant workers (UFCW 21) at the Draper Valley Farms chicken processing plant struggled mightily before finally winning a contract that included sick days, paid vacation, and wage increases. Listen to an interview with one of the workers about their experience.

► From KING 5 — Boeing’s vice chairman talks about getting the 777X to be built in Washington — Retiring Boeing executive Ray Conner says that getting the Machinists to give up their defined-benefit pensions “was the most difficult thing I worked on my whole career.”

EDITOR’S NOTE — Difficult on your conscience, hopefully. Unlike the people who design and build the best airplanes on the planet, you will retire to a life of luxury and privilege.

► In the Seattle Times — New residents pour in: Pierce, Snohomish counties see nation’s biggest jump in movers — Of the more than 3,100 counties across the U.S., none saw a bigger net increase than Pierce and Snohomish in movers from other counties. Is this a reflection of people being priced out of King County?

► In today’s News Tribune — Top job growth leaders in Pierce County are warehouses and health care — More people are working for large companies — those with 100 workers or more — compared to last year, an Economic Development Board for Tacoma-Pierce County survey shows.




► From The Hill — ACA expected to suffer enrollment decline as Trump cuts timeframe — Fewer people are expected to sign up for ObamaCare coverage ahead of Friday’s deadline to enroll in the exchanges. The Trump administration’s abbreviated enrollment period has left advocates acknowledging the numbers are almost surely going to be lower than the 9.2 million who signed up on at the end of the last open enrollment season. It’s not clear how much the numbers will drop.

EDITOR’S NOTE — If you need to get coverage for 2018, the deadline is Friday to enroll! Washington residents should visit WashingtonPlanFinder TODAY and sign up.

► From — Citing Trump administration’s health care sabotage, Sen. Patty Murray calls for extended open enrollment period — Says Sen. Murray:

“The Administration’s decision to depart from years of agency policy by ending open enrollment on December 15th is compounded by the many other efforts by this administration to destabilize the insurance market, making it likely that many consumers miss this deadline and forgo insurance next year — all despite clear indications that consumers are highly interested in seeking coverage for 2018. We urge you to immediately extend open enrollment and to engage in concerted outreach and assistance efforts that help potential consumers obtain coverage.”

► From TPM — Moore still won’t concede Alabama Senate race: ‘The battle rages on’




► From Fortune — AT&T reaches tentative labor deal with 21,000 wireless workers — The employees, who had been without a contract since February, will get raises of 10% over the four years once they vote to ratify the deal. AT&T also agreed to guarantee an amount of customer service work for U.S.-based call centers that would almost double the call volume from current levels. And AT&T agreed to find new jobs for workers who lose their spots when a call center or retail store is closed.

EDITOR’S NOTE — Want fair wages, job security, and respect on the job? Join together in a union!

► In the Boston Herald — Labor panel rules against Harvard in student union dispute — A federal panel has ruled against Harvard University in a dispute over a 2016 election to decide if graduate students would form a union.

► From the Morning Call — Pennsylvania House rejects bill targeting unions’ political activity — In a defeat for conservatives and a win for union solidarity, the Republican-controlled Legislature has rejected a bill that would have weakened labor’s political footing.




► A special report in today’s Washington Post — Doubting the intelligence, Trump pursues Putin and leaves a Russian threat unchecked — Nearly a year into his presidency, Trump continues to reject the evidence that Russia waged an unprecedented assault on a pillar of American democracy and supported his run for the White House. Interviews with more than 50 U.S. officials show that the personal insecurities of the president have impaired the government’s response to a national security threat, with Trump resisting or attempting to roll back efforts to hold Moscow to account as he tries to forge a partnership with Russian President Vladimir Putin.




► In this day in 1999, Paul McCartney played his final concert of the 20th Century at the place where it all started for him: The Cavern Club in Liverpool, England. About 300 lucky people got to watch Sir Paul perform with Pink Floyd singer/guitarist David Gilmour and Deep Purple drummer Ian Paice (among others). The last time The Cute One had played there was in 1963. The live webcast and watched by an estimated three million people worldwide, a record at the time. You can watch the full show here, but here’s a highlight…

The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.

CHECK OUT THE UNION DIFFERENCE in Washington: higher wages, affordable health and dental care, job and retirement security.

FIND OUT HOW TO JOIN TOGETHER with your co-workers to negotiate for better wages, benefits, and a voice at work. Or go ahead and contact a union organizer today!