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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

December 17, 2014 at 7:46 AM

Rajiv Shah resigning as head of USAID after five years

WASHINGTON — After weeks of batting down rumors of his impending resignation, Rajiv Shah announced Wednesday he will step down as head of the U.S. Agency for International Development in February. Shah, a former Gates Foundation official in Seattle, has served as the administrator of the nation’s leading agency for foreign aid and humanitarian…

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Comments | More in Federal government | Topics: Gates Foundation, Rajiv Shah, USAID

December 16, 2014 at 5:31 PM

U.S. Senate extends state’s sales tax deduction for another year

The U.S. Senate Tuesday night passed a last-minute bill extending dozens of temporary tax breaks, including the one that allows Washington state residents to deduct sales taxes on their federal tax returns. The vote was 76-16. The bill would enable millions of businesses and individuals to claim the tax breaks on their 2014 tax returns. Beyond this…

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Comments | More in Congress, U.S. Senate | Topics: federal taxes, sales tax deduction

December 16, 2014 at 12:14 PM

Derek Kilmer tries to strip campaign cash provision from spending bill

WASHINGTON — President Obama hasn’t signed it into law yet. But that didn’t stop U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer Tuesday from trying to strip a controversial provision inserted into the 2015 federal spending bill allowing wealthy donors to give vastly larger sums to national political parties. Kilmer, a freshman Democrat from Gig Harbor, jumped on the widespread outrage over new campaign…

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Comments | More in Congress, U.S. House of Representatives | Topics: campaign contributions, Citizens United, Derek Kilmer

December 13, 2014 at 12:55 PM

Gun-rights demonstrators bring signs, rifles to Olympia rally

Shouldering rifles and handmade signs decrying government overreach, hundreds of demonstrators gathered Saturday at the Capitol campus in Olympia to oppose Initiative 594. I-594, which voters approved in November  by a 19-point margin, expands gun-purchase background checks to private sales and transfers of firearms. “We stand here on this field to exercise our First Amendment right to exercise…

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Comments | More in Gun initiative | Topics: i-594

December 12, 2014 at 3:22 PM

Cliven Bundy’s son to speak at Saturday’s gun-rights rally

One the speakers listed for Saturday’s demonstration in Olympia against the new law expanding gun-purchase background checks is the son of Cliven Bundy. Cliven, you might remember, is the Nevada rancher who pushed back against attempts by the government to take away his cattle and who later suggested black people might be better off as slaves picking cotton. Ammon Bundy is listed…

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Comments | More in 2014 elections, Gun initiative, Politics Northwest, State Legislature | Topics: ammon bundy, i-594, sandy hook promise

December 12, 2014 at 1:43 PM

Inslee: Cap-and-trade climate plan can fund schools and bridges

In advance of his budget roll-out next week, Gov. Jay Inslee is making the case that the sort of cap-and-trade system he favors to cut carbon pollution can also generate cash for schools, bridges and other needs. Speaking at a Seattle conference hosted by the liberal Washington State Budget and Policy Center, Inslee said his…

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Comments | More in Governor, State government, State Legislature | Topics: 2015 Legislature, budget, climate change

December 11, 2014 at 10:11 AM

Congress passes Alpine Lakes Wilderness — sooner or later

WASHINGTON — U.S. Senate voted Thursday to move ahead with the 2015 defense policy bill containing a host of public-lands measures, bringing the expansion of Alpine Lakes Wilderness near Seattle within hours of final passage in Congress. However, retiring Sen. Tom Coburn is vowing to run out the clock with additional 30 hours of debate allowed…

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Comments | More in Politics Northwest | Topics: Alpine Lakes Wilderness, Rep. Dave Reichert, Sen. Patty Murray

December 10, 2014 at 1:30 PM

Seattle mayor to appear on Wednesday’s “CBS Evening News”

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray is due to appear Wednesday on the national TV program “CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley“ to discuss race relations in America. Pelley taped a segment Tuesday with Murray and the mayors of Miami-Dade, Fla., Gary, Ind. and East Orange, N.J., says Jason Kelly, Murray’s press secretary. The segment will air Wednesday at 6:30…

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Comments | More in Local government | Topics: CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley, race relations, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray

December 10, 2014 at 12:22 PM

Senate GOP adds a committee and subtracts some Democrats

Though it still calls itself the Majority Coalition Caucus, Republicans won an outright majority of the state Senate in last month’s election. As such, when the coalition Tuesday evening announced committee chairs for the upcoming legislative session, it did away with the handful of Democrats that had served as committee chairs or co-chairs. The name of one Democrat,…

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Comments | More in State Legislature | Topics: Majority Coalition Caucus, mark miloscia, Tim Sheldon

December 10, 2014 at 11:58 AM

Lawmakers parse $1.1 trillion spending bill for local impact

WASHINGTON — The $1.1 trillion spending bill filed by House appropriators late Tuesday likely will avert a federal government shutdown after Thursday. But lawmakers (or, more accurately, their staff) were combing through the omnibus legislation Wednesday morning to tally how much money will flow to their states. Sean Coit, spokesman for Sen. Patty Murray, said the…

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Comments | More in Congress | Topics: federal budget, patty murray

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