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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

Topic: Congress

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August 8, 2014 at 7:10 AM

Congress: Support is so low for incumbents, challengers could do better

The Times recently recapped its congressional endorsements ["Seattle Times editorial board recommendations for 2014 primary," Opinion Northwest, July 16]. In every one of the eight races, the endorsement was for the incumbent. Fairness dictates that the record of the current 113th Congress be included: as the lowest level of legislative accomplishment in the last 40 years, far…

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Comments | More in Election | Topics: Congress, election, endorsements

July 18, 2014 at 5:34 PM

Primary election: U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert is not a moderate

In The Times’ editorial endorsing U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert for re-election, some of the statements lacked support [“Re-elect Reichert, but with a message, Opinion, July 16]. While Reichert has been hailed as a moderate who represents a purple district, he has joined extremist factions in his party on multiple crucial votes. He has supported…

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Comments | More in Congress | Topics: 2014 primary, Congress, Olivia Engle

April 21, 2014 at 2:01 PM

Salmon recovery has ripple effects for state’s economy, other ecosystems

A Chinook salmon passes through the Ballard Locks in Seattle. (DEAN RUTZ / THE SEATTLE TIMES).

Those who think that the U.S. Congress spends too much money saving salmon or should spread it to other animals don’t understand salmon recovery in Washington state [“U.S. is overspending to save salmon,” Opinion, March 18].

Salmon have been decimated across 75 percent of the state. But today, we spend less than one-third of what is needed for recovery. Funding for endangered animals nationwide is

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Comments | More in Environment | Topics: Congress, David Troutt, Kaleen Cottingham

April 2, 2014 at 7:04 AM

Government assistance: have a heart; important role for the wealthy

What has happened to our heart?

It is my hope that every legislator, on the state and national levels, will read “Are we a nation of takers?” by Nicholas Kristof [Opinion, March 29].

Congress wouldn’t need to worry about balancing the budget if all the corporate subsidies for private planes, yachts, hedge funds, etc., were eliminated. Congress, where “the majority of members are millionaires,” only talks about cutting food stamps while ignoring the billions of tax subsidies for corporate meals and entertainment. This happens when, according to a Gallup poll, that almost one-fifth of American families struggle to buy enough food to avoid hunger.

What has happened to the “heart” of our great country?

Anne Corley, Mercer Island

Wealthy need to buy things to grow economy

I am astounded by Nicholas Kristof’s incomplete reporting in his Sunday column.

There was a reason for the tax breaks for those who can afford to purchase

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Comments | More in Public assistance | Topics: Anne Corley, Congress, Nicholas Kristof

March 4, 2014 at 4:36 PM

Readers share stories of losing federal unemployment benefits

Thanh Tan recently asked for readers’ thoughts in the Opinion Northwest blog on Congress not extending federal unemployment insurance. The Feb. 21 blog post followed this editorial calling on lawmakers to help struggling but active job-seekers.

Within days, the post received more than 300 responses from across the country — the map at the top of this post shows locations of responses we received. Many people explained how the temporary assistance had helped them to keep their families housed and their Internet connections available so that they could post their resumes online. A few disagreed with the extension, saying it discourages the long-term unemployed from trying harder to find work. Older workers offered heart-wrenching stories about the difficulty of getting an interview and holding on to a position in today’s economy. During the process of verifying a few different writers’ identities, a few phone numbers were disconnected.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. Senate is plotting again to pass an extension measure with the help of some Republicans. The Congressional Budget Office outlined the benefits of a short-term fix in this Dec. 3 analysis. “Recipients of the additional benefits would increase their spending on consumer goods and services. That increase in aggregate demand would encourage businesses to boost production and hire more workers than they otherwise would, particularly given the expected slack in the capital and labor markets,” the report concludes.

Here in Washington state, the Employment Security Department reports about 28,000 people exhausted their federal benefits on Dec. 28 after Congress failed to act. Since then, the agency estimates thousands more drop out of the system every week.

What happens to them now?

Scroll down to read some of their stories. If you have a story to share, please add it to this form or at the bottom of this post.

Support a federal extension of unemployment insurance:

I support the extension due to the fact that I lost my job of 29 years in June. My benefits ran out in January. No one will hire me due to my age. I’m 64 years old. Having 26 weeks is not long enough to find a job at my age. It is devastating to our budget with first the loss of a long-term job, and then no unemployment to help with expenses. My job loss was due to my position being eliminated. I would have loved to continue working until I was old enough to retire, but my employer had other plans. We have now had to put our home up for sale, we sold our second vehicle and have cut out anything possible to cut back. I’ve gone from a job that paid over $3,000 a month, to unemployment at less than half of that amount, and now down to zero for my income — it is hard to live on just my husband’s Social Security. I need to work, and have worked since I was a teenager. I need the extra weeks of unemployment to carry me until I can find a job. It is not right to not extend the benefits to those of us who are struggling to find a job. Something needs to be done to help all us who are out of work.

— Sharon Washburn, Yakima

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Comments | More in Unemployment | Topics: Congress, Federal unemployment benefits, jobless benefits

January 22, 2014 at 6:02 AM

Immigration reform: Everyone is connected in the struggle for citizenship

At a time when we desperately require pragmatic and steady courage within our Congress, extremism often finds a way to blot out any movement toward bipartisanship [“Immigration reform: More than an issue of illegal immigration,” Northwest Voices, Jan. 16]. Despite this fact, I believe we are fortunate to have a moral and social issue…

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Comments | More in Immigration | Topics: Congress, illegal immigration, Noah Dorson

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