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Stop the shutdown FIRST ● Ferries needed ● Why drugs cost so much

Tuesday, January 8, 2019




► From the AFL-CIO — AFL-CIO: Senate’s only priority should be reopening government — AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka: “Ending the government shutdown and putting people back to work must be the highest and only priority of the U.S. Senate. The AFL-CIO calls on all senators to reject consideration of any bills or business unrelated to opening the government. Every day this senseless and manufactured crisis drags on, real families with very real bills are harmed and millions are denied the vital services we deserve. Politicians need to do their job and allow us to do ours.”

From Common Dreams — ‘Time to play hardball:’ Progressives pressure Senate Democrats to stonewall all bills that don’t end Trump shutdown — As of this writing, at least 10 senators have publicly vowed to stand with the progressive grassroots and block legislation unrelated to reopening the government. Those senators are: Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), and Mark Warner (D-Va.).

► From The Hill — Pelosi cranks up shutdown pressure on Trump, GOP — Democrats this week will repackage a handful of uncontroversial bills funding a number of shuttered agencies — excluding Homeland Security, which covers the proposed wall — and send them off to the Senate one by one, forcing GOP leaders to explain their promised inaction on measures they supported just weeks ago.

► From HuffPost — Government shutdown leaves federal workers struggling to pay for food, medication — Maxing out credit cards. Borrowing money from relatives. Searching for interest-free loans. Federal workers and their families are doing whatever they can to save a few dollars and eke by as the partial government shutdown continues with no imminent end in sight.

► In today’s NY Times — As government shutdown persists, Americans feel the bite — The impact of a partial government shutdown began to ripple across the economy as it stretched into Day 17, with mortgage applications delayed, public companies unable to get approval to raise capital and thousands of Secret Service agents expected to show up for work without pay.

► In today’s Seattle Times — Rep. Adam Smith: Trump’s $5.6B border wall obsession rooted in ‘xenophobia and racism’ — “He wants to scare people about the hordes coming from south of our border. It’s rooted in xenophobia and racism and an anti-immigrant bias — it is not rooted in fact … He is trying to demagogue the immigration issue, and that is why the government is shut down,” Smith said.

► In today’s NY Times — Trump will take his case for border wall to public in national address — The White House announced that Trump would make a prime-time address Tuesday night and then travel to the southern border this week.

► AP Fact Check — Do ex-presidents back Trump wall? They say no.

► In today’s Washington Post — Free airtime for Trump? Not so fast. (by Carter Eskew) — Trump has the expectation that the broadcast television networks will break into their regular programming to air it. But those networks have no legal obligation to give him free airtime to speak about his border wall. Indeed, they have a journalistic responsibility not to do so.

In today’s Washington Post — Pence calls on Democrats in Congress to accede to wall-funding demand, end shutdown — “What I expect the president will do tonight is explain to the American people that we have a humanitarian and security crisis at our southern border,” Pence said.

► In today’s NY Times — Borderline insanity (editorial) — Trump rained cruelties on immigrants and asylum seekers and now wants hundreds of millions of dollars to address the humanitarian crisis he caused.

► From the AP — Air travelers start to feel effects of government shutdown

► From The Hill — Shutdown’s effects close in on U.S. Supreme Court

► From Politico — Food stamps for millions become pawn in shutdown fight

► From KUOW — Despite 70,000 furloughed IRS workers, Trump vows tax refunds will be issued — Don’t expect many answers from the IRS to questions you might have about the new tax law.

► From CrossCut — Shutdown: a ‘potential catastrophe’ for Seattle’s low-income renters — Neither landlords nor tenants are panicking. Yet.

► From The Hill — Shutdown makes it difficult for NASA to attract young talent, says tech labor leader — IFPTE President Paul Shearon said the ongoing partial government shutdown makes the prospect of working at a federal agency such as NASA less appealing for young workers.




► From KNKX — Washington State Ferries plans to replace half its vessels, expand fleet by 2040 — The agency estimates most of that operating cost would be covered by existing taxes and fares. But lawmakers will have to make decisions in the near future when it comes to funding the capital costs.

► In today’s Yakima H-R — Legislative session will tackle education funding, taxes, mental health funding — “My No. 1 goal next session is to stop the Democrats from raising taxes,” said Rep. Jeremie Dufault (R-Selah).

► In today’s (Everett) Herald — Judge: Attorney general can resume lawsuit against Tim Eyman — Bankruptcy won’t protect Tim Eyman from the state’s legal pursuit much longer. And it may not shield the names of those paying his legal bills either. A federal bankruptcy judge on Friday cleared the way for the resumption of a civil lawsuit against Eyman for alleged violations of Washington’s election laws stemming from his involvement with two initiatives in 2012.




► In today’s Columbian — Vancouver Public Schools faces $11.4 million budget deficit — Vancouver Public Schools projects an $11.4 million budget deficit in the coming school year, and it says salary deals with teachers and educational support staff are partly to blame.

► From Slog — Rod Dembowski is the new King County Council Chair




► From Bloomberg — Restaurants are scrambling for cheap labor in 2019 — Many franchisees, who do most fast-food hiring, are loath to raise wages, which must be offset by higher menu prices. They count on ample pools of workers willing to accept modest pay. So the falloff in employment among postmillennials, those less than 22 years old, is particularly troublesome for restaurants that have depended on young workers since the days of soda jerks and carhops. Just 19 percent of 15- to 17-year-olds had jobs in 2018, compared with almost half in 1968, according to a Pew Research Center studypublished in November. It wasn’t much better for 18- to 21-year-olds: In 2018, 58 percent had been employed in the previous year, down from 80 percent in 1968, Pew says.

► From The Onion — Convict sentenced to generating $80,000 to $100,000 in profits for private prison — “The defendant is hereby ordered to create a minimum of $80,000 in net profits at a medium security prison owned and operated by the CoreCivic corporation,” said Judge Gary Mueller.




► From KUOW — Prescription drug costs driven by manufacturer price hikes, not innovation — The skyrocketing cost of many prescription drugs in the U.S. can be blamed primarily on price increases, not expensive new therapies or improvements in existing medications as drug companies frequently claim, a new study shows. The report, published Monday in the journal Health Affairs, found that the cost of brand-name oral prescription drugs rose more than 9 percent a year from 2008 and 2016, while the annual cost of injectable drugs rose more than 15 percent.

“The main takeaway of our study should be that increases in prices of brand-name drugs were largely driven by year-over-year price increases of drugs that were already in the market,” says Immaculata Hernandez, an assistant professor of pharmacy at the University of Pittsburgh, and the lead author of the study.


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