Google+

Tags: Washington

Faith-Based Discussion of the State Exchanges



Text  



Since October, the defensive cry of the beleaguered Obamacare defender has been, “but the states are doing a much better job!”

Some are. But plenty aren’t. The post below spotlights the grand scale of failure in Oregon. Beyond their troubles . . . 

In Washington, the exchange has been down for parts of the past five days.

In Hawaii, just 574 have signed up for insurance through the state exchange so far. This is after the federal government provided the state with $200 million to set it up; the state plan requires 100,000 people to purchase insurance through the exchange to become financially stable.

Maryland:

Just over 3,700 people have signed up for private plans on the exchange and more than 97,000 are expected to be added to the Medicaid rolls through the exchange by Jan. 1, according to the latest figures. About 800,000 residents are uninsured in the state, and they are supposed to be able to buy coverage on the exchange. But the exchange crashed on Oct. 1, the day it launched, and has not provided consistent help for users since.

Vermont:

State officials were hoping that the exchange would be fully operational at the beginning of December but the online payment program still hasn’t been put into place. Some individuals and small businesses are concerned that time is running out for them to purchase policies through the exchange in order to have coverage beginning in January.

Finally, exchanges in Minnesota, Hawaii, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, New York, Maryland, and the District of Columbia are vulnerable to a type of Wi-Fi attack that can allow hackers to intercept usernames and passwords.

Tags: Obamacare , Vermont , Washington , Hawaii , Maryland

A Giant, Bipartisan Tax Deal to Help One Big Corporation



Text  



Low taxes are a good thing. A special tax break for one powerful company is a bad thing. Washington’s state government did a bad, bad thing.

The Boeing Co. was the beneficiary of a deal to end all deals this past weekend, when the Washington Legislature voted to extend $8.7 billion in tax breaks to the aircraft manufacturer stretching out 27 years until 2040. Gov. Jay Inslee signed the tax breaks into law Monday at the Museum of Flight.

“This is the biggest tax subsidy in U.S. history,” said Greg LeRoy, executive director of Good Jobs First, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit which tracks so called “Megadeals” in which states offer sweeteners to major corporations.

“Nothing is near this deal: The fact it took place in days is breathtaking,” LeRoy added. “This deal happens in the state that already has the most regressive tax code in the nation.”

Blame Governor Jay Inslee, a Democrat; blame almost every state lawmaker of both parties, in fact. The giant tax giveaway passed the state senate by a vote of 42–2 on Saturday; the state house passed the measure by a vote of 75–11.

This is one of the reasons “bipartisanship” is vastly overrated.

Tags: Washington

Patty Murray and the Revolving Door



Text  



The Seattle Times has a lengthy — and rather damning — exposé detailing Democratic Sen. Patty Murray’s intimate relationship with the lobbying industry. Throughout the campaign, Murray and Washington state Democrats have relentlessly sought to portray Republican challenger Dino Rossi as unethical for his “sleazy” relationship with lobbyists.

As it turns out, at least 17 former members of Murray’s staff have found new homes in the lobbying sector, but have certainly kept Murray’s office on speed-dial, judging from the array of lucrative favors and earmarks awarded to their clients (emphasis added):

When Sen. Patty Murray announced earlier this month that she had inserted $57 million in earmarks in the 2011 defense appropriations bill, she touted the two dozen projects as critical jobs-creation spending.

It was another election-season reminder of the 18-year Democratic incumbent’s ability to steer federal dollars back home as a member of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee.

What Murray didn’t mention is that at least nine of her defense-bill earmarks — worth $19.5 million — were awarded to clients of her former aides who now work as lobbyists.

Murray’s former chief of staff — Rick Desimone — secured a $1 million earmark in the defense bill for Canadian medical company. Shay Hancock, Murray’s former lead defense staffer, lobbied on behalf of three firms that eventually won $7.5 million in earmarks.

Not surprising, then, that lobbying firms — including the ones that that employ her former staffers — are among the largest contributors to Murray’s campaign:

In Murray’s case, the staffers-turned-lobbyists and their clients who got earmarks in the 2011 defense bill have given $80,000 since 2006 to the senator’s campaign and to M-PAC, her political-action committee, according to contribution data maintained by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Murray’s campaign has denied any favoritism in awarding of the earmarks, saying “[Sen. Murray's] only concerns are creating jobs and supporting our troops.”

Additional instances of Murray’s cozy relationship with ex-staffers turned lobbyists include:

• Hancock, whose lobbying biography says he was “the primary architect of the SAFE Port Act,” a 2006 law aimed at improving port security, when he was Murray’s lead defense staffer. Hancock twice went through the “revolving door” from Murray’s office to the private sector, most recently leaving in 2006 for Denny Miller Associates, founded by the former chief of staff of the late Sen. Henry “Scoop” Jackson.

• Dale Learn, who lists his six-year stint with Murray on a biography that declares his experience and contacts “provide unmatched access and unparalleled advice regarding federal governmental issues.” Learn, a lawyer, manages the D.C. office of the Tacoma law firm Gordon Thomas Honeywell.

• Chad See, a former Murray aide now lobbying with K&L Gates, who helped two Eastern Washington clients get defense-bill earmarks from Murray worth $4.5 million.

• Christy Gullion, Murray’s former state director, who is now the chief federal lobbyist for the University of Washington, which won a $1.5 million Murray earmark for research on restoration of eyesight for wounded soldiers. Her husband, Jeff Bjornstad, is Murray’s current chief of staff and is on leave managing her re-election campaign.

Since 2006, Learn has donated $18,000 to Murray and her PAC; Hancock has donated $9,000.

Murray’s position on the Senate Appropriations Committee has allowed her to steer hundreds of millions in federal dollars to organizations of her choosing. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Murray supported 190 earmark projects worth $220 million, the ninth most of any member of Congress. Citizens Against Government Waste gave her an annual rating of three percent, with a lifetime rating of 11 percent, or “Hostile.”

Earlier this month, in an interview with The Seattle Times, Washington state Democratic Party Chairman Dwight Pelz accused Rossi of having a “sleazy track record” with lobbyists, but argued the Murray’s own ties were “beyond reproach.”

Murray’s contributions from lobbyists were different, Pelz said, because “she does not allow her donations to affect her voting record.”

In light of these revelations, that will be a difficult case to make.

Tags: Washington

Patty Murray’s Bailout Bonanza



Text  



With the latest polling showing the Washington Senate race in a dead heat, Dino Rossi’s campaign has a new web video out, giving a nice rundown of Sen. Murray’s clear preference for a “when in doubt, bail out” style of governance:

Tags: Washington

Patty Murray: The Stupidest American?



Text  


Rasmussen: Rossi, Murray Tied



Text  



The latest Rasmussen poll of the Washington Senate race shows Dino Rossi neck and neck with incumbent Patty Murray.

The survey of 750 likely voters shows Rossi with 48 percent, Murray with 47 percent, echoing the results of a Fox News poll earlier this week that prompted RealClearPolitics to move the race back into the “Toss Up” column.

The results indicate a considerable tightening of the race compared to a Rasmussen poll from two weeks ago that had Murray leading 51 percent to 46 percent.

A member of the Rossi campaign told Battle ‘10 the Republican looks to be in very good shape heading into the final month:

“The single most dangerous time for challenger candidates is September.  Voters have started paying attention and incumbents can use their financial advantage to open up a big gap by defining their opponent, the race, etc.  [Murray] didn’t do that.  The race fundamentals have remained where they were – voters are frustrated with the direction of the country, with Congress, with the issue set.  We are where we need to be entering October.”

Tags: Washington

The Great Boeing War



Text  



Sen. Patty Murray has been on the warpath against Dino Rossi of late. Her latest ad accuses Dino Rossi of “not caring” about Boeing’s workers in Washington state:

Announcer: Illegal foreign subsidies are threatening Boeing jobs, putting the Air Force tanker contract in jeopardy. When Dino Rossi was asked if he thought Boeing workers should have a level playing field, he said…

Dino Rossi: No, not as far as I’m concerned.

Announcer: Dino doesn’t get it… He doesn’t care enough about our jobs going overseas. Dino Rossi – just not on our side.

Sen. Murray: I ’m Patty Murray and I sponsored this ad because the men and women who defend our country should be flying planes built in America.

As Seattle Times columnist Bruce Ramsey writes, the statement from Rossi that is reproduced in the ad — made during an editorial board meeting at the Tacoma News Tribune — has been dramatically misconstrued. Here’s the full context of Rossi’s remarks:

QUESTION: On the issue of trade, I wanted to ask Mr. Rossi about WTO rulings that have come out both against the EU and the US – and I realize we’re still sorting out the U.S. and how bad that may be. But if it does come out as it appears, at least from the US side, that Airbus got harder than Boeing did, do you believe that should have a factor – be a factor in the awarding of the tanker contract?

ROSSI: We need to fight for the tanker contract no matter what. The ruling, how it ever comes out – the reality is that the Boeing company since 1977 has lost 30,000 jobs in our state and we have to make sure we fight hard for that. You know, I’ve had a family member working continuously for the Boeing company since World War II and I – talk about a Boeing family, you want to talk about a Boeing family. And unfortunately there – this is, I think, where we – where I divert from Senator Murray on a number of different things. The Boeing company, they don’t want things like – that Senator Murray’s sponsoring such as card check, which is eliminating the secret ballot for unions. They don’t want the $150 million tax increase that they calculate as going to be coming from the health care bill. These are the sorts of things that are going to hurt the Boeing company.

I will be there. I will fight the, obviously fight for jobs. The reality is that we have to make sure that we have the right playing field to do that. And I will be, you know – strong on those issues.

QUESTION: When you say “fight for it,” and “you want a level playing field” – I’m not still understanding if you’re saying that that WTO ruling should have a factor in the tanker bid?

ROSSI: No, not as far as I’m concerned, no.

Rossi’s campaign has insisted he was not referring to a WTO ruling in June that Airbus received billions in illegal government subsidies from the European Union, but rather to a still-pending ruling as to whether or not Boeing had benefited from improper subsidies, and to what extent.

His campaign released a number of clarifying statements in response:
“I absolutely believe the illegal subsidies received by Airbus should be taken into account when the Air Force makes its decision on the tanker contract.”
And:
“We don’t need a WTO ruling to know that Boeing makes the best planes at the best price and, absent unfair foreign subsidies, would win the tanker contract hands down.”
He has also continued to point out that a number of the measures Murray supports, like Obamacare, cap-and-trade, and “card check” legislation are extremely harmful to companies like Boeing.
 
But Murray’s camp has not let up since, launching wave after wave of critical statements, such as:

“Instead of standing up for Washington state Boeing workers as Senator Patty Murray has always done, constant candidate Dino Rossi today said that illegal, job-killing WTO subsidies given to Airbus should NOT be taken into account in awarding the next Air Force tanker contract.”

Ramsay says Murray’s claims are “nonsense:”

Dino Rossi did not express an uncaring sentiment; he was for Boeing “no matter what.” And further: as a senator from Washington he would have to be. No senator from Washington, Democrat or Republican, would put the interests of France, Spain and the U.K. ahead of the Boeing Company.

The senator’s ad is dishonest. It is preposterous.

Here’s Murray’s ad:

And here’s a biting response ad from Rossi, which highlights a soon-to-be-completed 787 Dreamliner Final Assembly building… in South Carolina.

Tags: Washington

Senate Race Tightens in WA



Text  



Just when it looked like Sen. Patty Murray was opening a significant lead against GOP challenger Dino Rossi, a new Fox News poll has the two in a statistical tie. Among likely voters, 48 percent said they would vote for Murray if the election were held today, and 47 percent said they would vote for Rossi.

Among the poll’s other findings that bode well for Rossi:

  • 49 percent disapprove of President Obama’s job performance (44 percent approve)
  • 55 percent said they would rather have smaller government with fewer services
  • 47 percent favor repealing the health-care law to prevent it from going into effect (46 percent oppose)

Today, RealClearPolitics moved the race back to its “Toss Up” column.

Tags: Washington

Dino Rossi’s New Ad



Text  



Is a pretty straightforward anti-incumbent jab at Democrat Patty Murray:

Murray was a co-recipient of ReasonTV’s “Porker of the Month” honors for September, along with Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D., Ark.).

Tags: Washington

New Poll: Rossi Trails By Two



Text  



A new SurveyUSA poll has Republican Dino Rossi trailing incumbent Patty Murray by two points, 48 percent to 50 percent. This is a stronger showing from Rossi than is being reflected in other recent polls, but compared to an identical SurveyUSA poll from one month ago, Murray is up 5 points and Rossi is down 4, echoing the latest forecasts suggesting Murray is pulling away:

Murray has cut into Rossi’s leads among men, voters under age 50, and independents, and has increased existing leads among women and older voters. In Metro Seattle, which includes Snohomish, Pierce and King counties, the 2 candidates were tied 1 month ago; today, Murray leads by 7 points. In the rest of Western Washington, Rossi had led, now doesn’t. In Eastern Washington, Rossi had led big, now leads small.

Rossi still leads among independents — 54 percent to 41 percent — but conservatives in Washington state have thus far not managed to achieve the enthusiasm gap being seen in most parts of the country.

Tags: Washington

WA-09: Adam Smith At Risk?



Text  



A new SurveyUSA poll shows Democratic Rep. Adam Smith barely leading GOP challenger Dick Muri, 49 percent to 46 percent among likely voters, within the margin of error.

Swing State Project is moving the race from “Safe Democrat” to “Likely Democrat.” Smith is a seven-term incumbent who won more than 65 percent of the vote in his previous two bids for reelection, if his seat is up for grabs in a state like Washington, that’s a terrible sign for Democrats.

Tags: Washington

Rossi Goes on the Offensive



Text  



Dino Rossi’s campaign released a new ad calling opponent Patty Murray “part of the problem” (see below). Recent polling shows Rossi trailing Murray by several points.

Tags: Washington

Murray, Reid, At Odds Over Yucca Mountain



Text  



The Washington Times examines the conflicting campaign perogatives of two Democrats the GOP is gunning to unseat in November – Patty Murray and Harry Reid – regarding the nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s re-election hinges in part on his efforts to stop the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository from being built. But a fellow Democrat, Sen. Patty Murray, could hurt her re-election chances if she can’t show that she’s trying hard enough to get the project restarted.

Murray, the No. 4 Democrat in the Senate, is at odds with the rest of her party over Yucca Mountain, but the political climate in her home state has forced her hand:

Mrs. Murray and her Republican opponent, Dino Rossi, are pushing to get the Yucca site up and running so it can take waste from the Hanford Site, a partially decommissioned nuclear plant on the Columbia River in central Washington.

Hanford has been called the nation’s most toxic radioactive site, but it wasn’t until this year that the issue became a political liability for Mrs. Murray. Mr. Rossi began to argue that the incumbent senator hadn’t done enough to promote the Yucca alternative.

Rossi’s campaign is looking to exploit the the division:

[Murray] said she has voted “consistently” in favor of pursuing Yucca Mountain, “despite my own party leadership and despite the current president.”

Just before senators adjourned for their summer recess, Mrs. Murray introduced an amendment in committee to a spending bill that would have restarted funding for the Yucca repository.

Her fellow Democrats defeated her amendment, leaving Mr. Rossi to argue she’s too beholden to her own party and Mr. Reid to look out for her state’s interests. He said that explains why she didn’t object to allowing the confirmations of the three Nuclear Regulatory Commission members.

“She votes with her leadership, she is in leadership,” Mr. Rossi said.

Tags: Nevada , Washington

Murray v. Reid



Text  



The Washington Times examines the conflicting campaign perogatives of two Democrats the GOP is gunning to unseat in November – Patty Murray and Harry Reid – regarding the nuclear waste repository at Yucca Mountain:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s re-election hinges in part on his efforts to stop the Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository from being built. But a fellow Democrat, Sen. Patty Murray, could hurt her re-election chances if she can’t show that she’s trying hard enough to get the project restarted.

Murray, the No. 4 Democrat in the Senate, is at odds with the rest of her party over the Yucca Mountain issue, but the political climate in her home state has forced her hand:

Mrs. Murray and her Republican opponent, Dino Rossi, are pushing to get the Yucca site up and running so it can take waste from the Hanford Site, a partially decommissioned nuclear plant on the Columbia River in central Washington.

Hanford has been called the nation’s most toxic radioactive site, but it wasn’t until this year that the issue became a political liability for Mrs. Murray. Mr. Rossi began to argue that the incumbent senator hadn’t done enough to promote the Yucca alternative.

Rossi’s campaign is looking to exploit the the division:

[Murray] said she has voted “consistently” in favor of pursuing Yucca Mountain, “despite my own party leadership and despite the current president.”

Just before senators adjourned for their summer recess, Mrs. Murray introduced an amendment in committee to a spending bill that would have restarted funding for the Yucca repository.

Her fellow Democrats defeated her amendment, leaving Mr. Rossi to argue she’s too beholden to her own party and Mr. Reid to look out for her state’s interests. He said that explains why she didn’t object to allowing the confirmations of the three Nuclear Regulatory Commission members.

“She votes with her leadership, she is in leadership,” Mr. Rossi said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: Nevada , Washington

Rossi Slams Stimulus in New Web Video



Text  



What was that about a “Recovery Summer?” Dino Rossi’s campaign issues a withering attack on opponent Patty Murray and other Democrats’ claims that the stimulus package was a success.

Tags: Washington

Sign up for free NRO e-mails today:

Subscribe to National Review