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Topic: maria cantwell

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December 17, 2014 at 12:05 PM

Thanks for the sales tax deduction, but what about fixing the tax code?

In another example of Congress kicking the can down the road, lawmakers approved a one-year extension of a sales-tax deduction on federal income-tax returns. The extension gives some relief to about 28 percent of Washington taxpayers who itemize their tax return and claim an average deduction of $600, according to The Pew Charitable Trusts. The certainty is…


Comments | Topics: maria cantwell, sales tax deduction, taxes

December 4, 2013 at 6:30 AM

Climate change and cannibalism on the famed Northwest Passage

The Northwest Passage has captured my imagination since my Pacific Northwest childhood as a final frontier for marine expedition, ambition and, well, cannibalism. That last part loomed large in my recollection of school lessons, so as the famed passage across the north coast of North America began opening in the past two centuries, I’ve been jarred back to images of the ultimate adventure gone wrong.

More news today: the National Academies of Science has a new report about the potential effects of climate change, including projections about the mid-century prospects for more routine sailing of the Northwest Passage. Overall, it’s a sobering report on the “tipping points” for abrupt impacts on societies, as The New York Times’ Andrew Revkin reports.

Green indicates new maritime access by mid-century. / THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES OF SCIENCE

Green indicates new maritime access by mid-century. / THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES OF SCIENCE

The 900-mile Northwest Passage, which skitters among the Canadian archipelago and above the Arctic circle, is one of the winners in the global lottery of climate change. The report suggests that the 900-mile passage will be navigable in midsummer by “moderately ice-strengthened ships” by around 2050, opening up a much shorter shipping route. Here is an excerpt:

The shipping distance between Shanghai and Rotterdam, for example, is approximately ~19,600 and ~25,600 km, respectively via the Suez or Panama canals, but only ~15,800 over the northern coast of Russia (the Northern Sea route) or ~17,600 km through the Canadian archipelago (the Northwest Passage).


Comments | Topics: climate change, maria cantwell

October 29, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Congress must compromise on farm bill

Farmers Market in San Francisco, Ca. (Justin Sullivan, Getty Images)

Farmers Market in San Francisco, Ca.
(Justin Sullivan, Getty Images)

Will the umpteenth time be a charm for the House and Senate as lawmakers begin ironing out differences on a half-trillion dollar farm bill? I hope so. While both sides are in agreement on some parts of the five-year program – for example, eliminating $5 billion subsidy paid to farmers and landowners whether they grow crops or not – ugly battles over steep cuts to the food stamps program stalled past talks.

Not to mention the government shutdown. With that madness over, cooler heads ought to prevail on a compromise that sets smart, economical farm and nutrition policy for the next five years.  Failure could mean higher milk prices and other food-related consequences outlined in this Seattle Times story. Also at stake is Washington state’s $40 billion agriculture industry, the third largest exporter in the nation and the source of 160,000 local jobs.

Conversations west of the Cascades have centered on the school nutrition program. That’s certainly a big deal to large and urban school districts, but jobs supported by the farm bill should resonate in the Seattle area as well.  Nearly 40 percent of Washington jobs are dependent on trade. Agriculture products make up nearly 50 percent of the Port of Seattle’s total exports (totaling $4.3 billion) and support 22,000 port workers, according to a joint press release from Democratic U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell and U.S. Rep. Suzan DelBene.


Comments | Topics: congress, farm bill, food policy

October 1, 2013 at 3:56 PM

Have you experienced the government shutdown?

The federal government shutdown could affect up to 50,000 federal employees in Washington state. National forests and monuments, including Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens, closed Tuesday. And U.S. Sens. Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray shuttered their district offices statewide. Unless Congress strikes a deal, thousands of civilian workers considered nonessential to the federal courts and…


Comments | More in Polls | Topics: government shutdown, maria cantwell, Mount Rainier

June 26, 2013 at 6:00 AM

Maria Cantwell right to put FCC chair nominee in hot seat over media consolidation

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., continues to demonstrate strong leadership on the issue of curbing media consolidation.

As the Federal Communications Commission undergoes an important review of media ownership guidelines, Cantwell and her colleagues on the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee are getting to know Thomas Wheeler, President Barack Obama’s nominee to become the next chair of the FCC.

In his first initial meeting before the panel last week, Cantwell told Wheeler the newspaper industry’s efforts to purchase more broadcasting stations should be scrutinized, especially after Gannett’s announcement it plans to purchase broadcasting giant Belo’s 23 television stations — including KING 5 in Seattle. Five of those broadcasters are in other cities where Gannett already owns a newspaper. Current rules prohibit media companies from owning multiple properties in the same market.

“And while the purchase is subject to the approval of both the FCC and DOJ, I think Gannett is trying to basically use these ownership rules, use the whole shared service agreement, as a way to get around those rules. So I’m very concerned about that whole issue,” she said.

Wheeler responded, “Senator, I understand the seriousness of this issue. And I have long been an advocate of diversity of voices. On the specific issue that you just raised, I also note that the chairman has asked the [Government Accountability Office] to opine on this issue. And I think that’s appropriate and called for. And I look forward to their opining, their opinion. But I think you said the key thing: that when the commission looks at these issues – competition, localism and diversity – are the issues that should be the touchstones. Not business plans.”

Watch the full June 18 Q&A between the senator and Wheeler in the video below, courtesy of Cantwell’s YouTube channel:


Comments | Topics: fcc, maria cantwell, media consolidation

March 8, 2013 at 6:00 AM

What the Violence Against Women Act means for Washington

I love it when stories come full circle.

President Barack Obama signed a bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act Thursday following a year-long political battle in Congress. In a series of editorials since December, The Seattle Times editorial board also urged Congress to take bipartisan action on an issue that affects tens of  thousands of victims.

Here’s a link to C-SPAN’s live coverage of the bill signing.

Several women from Washington attended the ceremony in Washington, D.C. Below is a photo of U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., the chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and Theresa M. Pouley, chief judge of the Tulalip Tribal Court, and Deborah Parker, vice chairwoman of the Tulalip Tribes.

Here’s Cantwell’s statement:

“This day was a long time coming, but it will mean a major step forward to better protect all victims of domestic violence. Perpetrators of domestic violence on Tribal reservations can no longer hide behind legal gaps and loopholes to escape justice. I appreciate the bipartisan leadership on this bill and know millions of women across America will now get the enhanced protection they deserve.”

Photo provided by Sen. Maria Cantwell's staff

Photo provided by Sen. Maria Cantwell’s staff/Maria Pavel

Parker stood on stage beside the president as he signed S. 47 into law. Her harrowing story of child abuse on the reservation prompted U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., to take on the cause of preserving VAWA and expanding it to include extra protections for Native women, who are more likely than other groups to be abused and raped.


Comments | Topics: abuse, congress, maria cantwell