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October 9, 2013 at 6:00 AM
A European perspective on the shutdown
On Tuesday, our editorial board met with Joao Vale de Almeida, the first European Union Ambassador to the United States. On tour to promote U.S.-European relations, he expressed surprise House Republican leaders are holding a vote on a federal budget hostage unless Obamacare is repealed.
“People in Europe sometimes have trouble understanding your health care debate particularly after legislation was passed,” de Almeida says. “(President Barack Obama) was reelected and the Supreme Court ruled. In Europe, healthcare is much less controversial and ideological, so it’s unlikely to risk the functioning of the government.”
He acknowledges the recession has forced European countries to adjust their welfare programs, but “I still realize America spends more on health care than we do with less results.” (Sad, but true. Check out The Huffington Post’s visual charts based on 2013 OECD health data.)
As this map by The Atlantic shows, those nations that offer universal coverage accept a basic notion: the health care gap can only be narrowed when more people are covered.
Washingtonians embrace Obamacare
The Associated Press reports more than 9,400 people signed up for health coverage following the Washington Health Plan Finder‘s launch on Oct. 1. The Washington Post added to the news story by praising the site’s usability:
There are an additional 10,497 people who have submitted applications for health coverage through the marketplace but are not actually enrolled, meaning they have yet to pay their first month’s premium. All told, that’s about 20,000 people who have taken a step toward signing up for coverage in Washington. That’s a drop in the bucket compared to the 960,000 people there without insurance — but we are only seven days into a six-month open enrollment period.
This is a great start. Now, can we count on Washington’s Republican House delegates to accept reality (Obamacare is here to stay) and convince their caucus to pass a funding bill to reopen the federal government?
Lamentably, U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, continues to deliver old, tired talking points to the press. Here’s a short clip posted Tuesday on the House Republican Conference chairwoman’s Facebook page:
“We’re elected to govern. We’re elected to make the tough decisions, and yet the president and the Senate Democrats want to take the easy way out,” she said Tuesday. “That’s not acceptable to us. That’s not acceptable to the American people.”
Tell us, Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers, how is it acceptable to repeal or delay a law thousands of Washingtonians clearly want? Is placing their health and the nation’s financial credibility at risk really worth it?
September 19, 2013 at 11:34 AM
Watch the one-minute video below released by House Republicans this week and tell me what’s missing:
Notice there’s zero mention of immigration reform? Offering lip service to Latinos for their contributions to America, then refusing to address one of this fast-growing voting bloc’s chief issues makes House Republicans look out of touch.
In the Times editorial board’s Thursday editorial, we argue for three of four Washington Republican congressional members — U.S. Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Spokane, Doc Hastings of Pasco and Jaime Herrera Beutler of Camas — to rally behind a comprehensive immigration reform package that includes a path to citizenship. (more…)
March 1, 2013 at 6:05 AM
All but one member of Washington’s congressional delegation voted Thursday to pass the U.S. Senate’s version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
Bravo! We just witnessed a rare and welcome display of bipartisanship on an issue that has divided the political parties for months.
House GOP leadership’s amended version of VAWA failed before lawmakers passed S. 47, a more inclusive version of the re-authorization bill that previously received overwhelming bipartisan support in the Senate. (Check out this news story by Seattle Times reporter Kyung Song.)
Who voted for VAWA: U.S. Reps. Suzan DelBene, D-Medina, Rick Larsen, D-Lake Stevens, Jaime Herrera-Beutler, R-Vancouver, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor, Jim McDermott, D-Seattle, Dave Reichert, R-Auburn, Adam Smith, D-Bellevue, Denny Heck, D-Olympia
Who voted against VAWA: U.S. Rep. Richard “Doc” Hastings, R-Pasco “To be blunt, the bill that passed today is simply unconstitutional. It violates Constitutional rights of individuals and would, for the first time ever, proclaim Indian tribes’ ‘inherent’ authority to exercise criminal jurisdiction over non-Indian citizens. The Supreme Court has ruled multiple times that tribes do not have this authority.” (Read his full statement.)
Bonus points for tenacity go to U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who worked tirelessly over the last year to keep VAWA alive. See her staff’s timeline below.
U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell also praised the final vote, which will now extend VAWA protections to LGBT victims and Native American women within the state’s 29 federally-recognized tribes.
“Today Congress is sending the President a bill to better protect all victims of domestic violence in America. We are sending a clear message to domestic violence victims that you are not alone — no matter who you are, where you’re from or where you live. I’m also pleased that this bill takes substantial steps forward to assist victims of human trafficking, with the reauthorization of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.
“This bill will help us confront the epidemic of abuse that occurs on Tribal reservations, with Native women facing assault at 2.5 times the national average. By closing gaps in the legal system for prosecuting domestic violence on Tribal reservations, we are making it clear that no matter where crimes against women take place, perpetrators will not escape accountability. Because of our bipartisan effort, nearly 500,000 women in Indian Country will get the better protection they deserve.”
DelBene, one of the successful bill’s co-sponsors, spoke on the floor Thursday morning.
McMorris Rodgers was assigned to take the lead on the House’s amended legislation. The fourth highest-ranking GOP member voted for the Senate’s measure, anyway. She made the right choice.