Wednesday, March 13, 2019
► In today’s Washington Post — FAA doubles down on decision not to ground the Boeing 737 Max, as counterparts around the world have done — U.S. aviation safety officials found themselves virtually alone Tuesday, after their counterparts in Europe and around the world ordered hundreds of Boeing aircraft grounded while investigators work to find the cause of an Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 this week. The Trump administration resisted bipartisan calls to temporarily suspend use of the Boeing 737 Max 8, even as Trump consulted by phone with the besieged company’s CEO Dennis Muilenburg.
► BREAKING from Washington Post — Canada to bar Boeing 737 Max from its airspace, leaving U.S. among last countries flying the plane
► From Politico — Pilots complained at least 5 times about Boeing 737 MAX problems, records show — Pilots in the U.S. complained at least 5 times in recent months about problems controlling their Boeing 737 MAX 8 jets during critical moments of flight, federal records show, adding to questions raised by deadly crashes involving that model of jetliner in Ethiopia and Indonesia.
► From the AP — Pilots reported issues with new 737s, but are they relevant? — According to anonymous safety reports, nose-down problems were corrected by turning off the autopilot.
► From CNBC — Flight attendants urge carriers to ground Boeing 737 Max planes after crash — American Airlines and Southwest Airlines flight attendants and ground crews urged the companies to take their Boeing 737 Max airplanes out of service.
► In the News Tribune — Washington’s taxes make it the worst state to be poor. See how it compares to others. – Poor people in Washington have the worst tax burden in America, according to a new online survey. Washington ranked dead last for low-income earners, falling behind all 49 other states plus the nation’s capital. Medium-income households didn’t fare much better. The Evergreen State ranks No. 48 in that category.
ALSO TODAY at The Stand — At Town Halls, urge fix for broken tax system
► In today’s Columbian — Bill may pave way to help with rising cost of living — An extra $200 or $300 would go a long way in Claudia Ruth Franson’s household. Since her husband tore a tendon last year, he’s been placed on light duty at his warehouse job while they continue to fight with their insurance company over paying for surgery. “To us, it’s a big deal,” said Franson. She added that any extra money she gets would just go back into the community. “Right now, I have to go shopping,” she added. Lawmakers are currently considering legislation meant to put some extra cash in the pockets of families like Franson’s. HB 1527 and its companion, SB 5810, would create the Working Families Tax Credit, which supporters say would make Washington’s tax code less regressive while helping households with the rising cost of living.
► From KNKX — Measure to lower threshold for approval of school bonds fails in the state Senate — Democratic state senators had pushed to amend the Washington constitution to allow school bonds to pass with a simple majority, but they failed to win votes from two-thirds of members as required. In a split primarily along party lines, 28 senators voted in favor of the constitutional amendment while 21 Republicans voted against it.
► From The Stranger — Bill requiring presidential candidates to release tax returns passes Washington Senate — On Tuesday evening a bill requiring all presidential and vice presidential candidates to disclose the last 5 years of their tax returns in order to appear on Washington state ballots passed the Senate floor. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Patty Kuderer (D-Bellevue), passed 28-21 along party lines, because of course it did.
► In today’s Columbian — Clark College faculty union emphasizes unity — In a series of forums this week, Clark College’s faculty union emphasized a need to show a united force as negotiations continue with the Vancouver community college. The Clark College Association of Higher Education hosted public forums Monday and Tuesday, and plans to pack the school’s board of trustees meeting Wednesday afternoon. It’s the latest rallying effort in light of ongoing bargaining for an improved salary schedule for college faculty. Union members have also rallied on campus and intend to host additional demonstrations in the coming weeks.
► In the Daily News — Resignations, retirements may help Kelso schools avoid layoffs — A flurry of resignations and retirements will help Kelso School District fill a $4 million budget gap next year without sharply boosting class sizes.
► From Vox — Obama expanded overtime pay to 4 million workers. Now Trump is scaling that back. — A four-year fight to expand overtime pay to millions of workers may soon be over. About 1.2 million workers will win and 2.8 million will lose… AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka called the new rule “disgraceful.” “[This] is part of a growing list of policies from the Trump administration aimed at undermining the economic stability of America’s working people,” he tweeted on Friday… In the 1970s, federal overtime benefits covered about 65 percent of salaried workers, according to the National Employment Law Project. Today, fewer than 7 percent can earn overtime.
ALSO at The Stand — Trump administration’s federal overtime proposal ‘way too weak’ — The Trump administration’s proposal increases the urgency for the Washington state government to update its rules to restore overtime rights and help bring working families’ live back into balance.
► In today’s Tri-City Herald — Feds fail to keep a close eye on billions spent at Hanford and other sites, says report — The Department of Energy needs better financial oversight of the subcontractors hired at sites like Hanford, concluded a GAO report released Tuesday.
► From Politico — Liberal wing of Democrats comes out against NAFTA replacement — The Congressional Progressive Caucus wants Trump to reopen the new North American trade agreement to address the caucus’ concerns — though the group has not officially opposed the deal. Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Wisc.) said that he and caucus co-chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) believe the deal “should be reopened, so that we can deliver a progressive trade deal in line with our principles.”
► From Politico — Trump’s trade chief meets skepticism as he sells new NAFTA to Democrats — Trump’s trade chief Robert Lighthizer will be on Capitol Hill on Wednesday to entice House Democrats into supporting the new North American trade pact, but already it’s becoming clear that outreach alone won’t get the votes needed.
► From Vox — Trump’s budget request slashes retirement benefits for 2 million federal workers — Trump’s grand vision for America in 2020 can be summarized this way: spend billions more dollars on the U.S. military and immigration enforcement; cut billions of dollars from the social safety net. And do nothing to close the $1 trillion deficit Republicans created with their 2017 corporate tax cuts. The president’s 2020 budget proposal managed to anger everyone from retirees to childhood cancer researchers. It also angered millions of federal employees and retired government workers, who would see their pensions cut under the president’s budget request.
► In today’s Seattle Times — Hey liberals, you can still impeach Trump. You’re just going to have to do it at the polls. (by Danny Westneat) — The most important thing about impeachment — it’s a solely political exercise, no different, really, than an election. Republicans were hellbent to impeach Bill Clinton in part because it was his last term, and so impeachment was the only way left to hold him accountable. Even then it failed because the public, through opinion polls, effectively “voted” to keep Clinton around. Which brings us back to Trump. He’s up for re-election, and the campaign has already started. Barring some major revelation that somehow wakes the broader GOP from its corrupted slumber, the next accountability moment likely won’t be impeachment. It’ll be the 2020 election.
► In today’s NY Times — College admissions scandal: Actresses, business leaders and other wealthy parents charged — Authorities say the parents of some of the nation’s wealthiest and most privileged students sought to buy spots for their children at top universities, not only cheating the system, but potentially cheating other hard-working students out of a chance at a college education.
► In today’s NY Times — Bribes to get into Yale and Stanford? What else is new? (by Frank Bruni) — Anyone who knows anything about the cutthroat competition for precious spots at top-tier schools realizes how ugly and unfair it can be: how many corners are cut, how many schemes are hatched, how big a role money plays, how many advantages privilege can buy… It may be legal to pledge $2.5 million to Harvard just as your son is applying — which is what Jared Kushner’s father did for him — and illegal to bribe a coach to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars,but how much of a difference is there, really? Both elevate money over accomplishment. Both are ways of cutting in line.
The Stand posts links to Washington state and national news of interest every weekday morning by 10 a.m.