ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here

Spin Control

Posts tagged: Boeing

Bipartisan Ex-Im Bank bill introduced in Senate

Washington's two senators helped sponsor a bipartisan bill Thursday that would keep a major export program vital to the state from going out of business.

But Congress, which starts a five-week recess this weekend, will have to use parliamentary shortcuts to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank for five years before its current charter runs out on Sept. 30. . . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

Union leaders worry about new fish consumption standards

OLYMPIA – Washington state is rushing toward water quality standards that will be too strict and cost jobs without being backed up by good science, leaders of unions with workers in aerospace, timber and paper industries claimed Monday.

But a spokesman for Gov. Jay Inslee said the union leaders are jumping the gun because no decision has been made. What many call the fish consumption standards are still under review, he said. . . 

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

 

Right-to-work special session ‘not going to happen’

In the wake of the Boeing machinists’ rejection of a contract extension the company said would assure the 777X would be built in Washington, a Spokane legislator said the state needs to take a bold step to become more attractive to manufacturing.

Make Washington a “right-to-work” state, which would make union membership and its dues optional.

That would be part of making the state “a welcoming overall environment” with a lower possibility of strikes, Republican Sen. Mike Baumgartner said. He wants Gov. Jay Inslee to call a special session to consider and pass such legislation.

“That’s not going to happen,” a spokesman for Inslee said. Boeing never mentioned right-to-work legislation as something it was seeking to guarantee the plane would be built in Washington, David Postman said. . .

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

 

Fractured metaphor

OLYMPIA — There's an axiom in politics that anything worth saying is worth repeating, sometimes ad infinitum.

Based on the late great special session, it would seem that even things not worth saying are worth repeating. That would be the only explanation for something Sen. Janea Holmquist Newbry, R-Moses Lake, said repeatedly as she tried to amend legislation designed to help Boeing and the aerospace industry in such a way that all businesses in the state would get similar help.

“What's good for Goliath is good for David,” Holmquist Newbry said during floor speeches, and repeated in her post-session press release.

That's a very strange reading of the Bible, because 1Samuel seems to make very clear that what was good for David was something very much different than what was good for Goliath. Recall that Goliath wasn't just some big-assed dude, but he was decked out in full armor, like everyone else on the battlefield where David shows up with food for his bros.

David hasn't got an armor or a sword, and turns down King Saul's offer to wear his battle gear into the fight. He downs Goliath with a sling (which the G-man scoffed at), then whacks off the big guy's head with Goliath's sword. So it would seem that nothing that was good for Goliath was good for David, or vice versa.

Holmquist Newbry's amendments failed, but probably not because the state Senate is full of Scriptural purists.

Inslee signing Boeing legislation today

OLYMPIA — Gov. Jay Inslee travels to the Museum of Flight this morning to sign legislation passed over the weekend in the hurry-up special session.

Probably an appropriate backdrop, considering the session was all about luring a new Boeing assembly line and wing manufacturing plant for the 777X, and the Museum of Flight is at Boeing Field, just down from Boeing facilities, and there are lots and lots of Boeing planes inside and out.

On Saturday, after the Legislature wrapped and the many fathers of the legislative victory assembled with Inslee for a victory press conference, the governor was asked when the “dog and pony show” of bill signing would take place. Normally these occur in the governor's conference room.

Time and date to be determined, Inslee said, but added: “Just dogs. It's a Lean Management things. We don't use ponies.”

Apparently Lean Management does, however, allow the use of planes.

 

Inslee: Boeing contract is ‘jobs for decades’

Gov. Jay Inslee says union members should consider contract in 'cool light of day.”

OLYMPIA — With Boeing machinists reportedly unhappy with a proposed union contract, Gov. Jay Inslee tried today to keep the momentum going for a legislative package tied to securing a new jetliner.

Inslee wouldn't go as far as asking union members to ratify the contract. But at a press conference in the halls of the Capitol building, he urged them to “look at it in the cool light of day” and consider that it represented “assurance of jobs for you, and your family and your community for decades.”

The Seattle Times reported this morning that rank-and-file union machinists at a meeting Thursday night were vocally unhappy with the contract, which freezes pensions at their current level and replaces a defined benefit plan with contributions to worker's retirement savings accounts. One of their leaders, Tom Wroblewski, who earlier this week stood with Inslee when the governor called for a special session, tore it up in front of his members and called it “a piece of crap”, the Times reported.

Inslee called legislators back to Olympia to pass legislation that would accompany the contract and ensure that the 777X would be built in Washington state. Union members aren't scheduled to vote on the contract until Wednesday; the Legislature could vote on a package of tax breaks worth some $8.9 billion through 2040, as well as expanded training programs for aerospace workers, as early as tomorrow.

If the machinists don't ratify a contract and the Legislature does not approve the tax breaks and training programs, Boeing will have offers to build the 777X elsewhere.

“People want to poach these  jobs…if in fact the deal doesn't go through this week,” Inslee said.

Some question if state getting enough for Boeing tax breaks

OLYMPIA – The Legislature opened its third special session, which some have dubbed the Boeing session, with a look back 10 years, trying to make sure the aerospace giant keeps jobs in Washington in return for some $8.4 billion in proposed tax breaks.

Gov. Jay Inslee and most other witnesses at a House Finance Committee hearing on the tax break package extolled the economic and civic virtues of the state's largest manufacturer. It employs tens of thousands in its factories, has hundreds of suppliers around the state, keeps ports busy, stimulates the Puget Sound economy and even provides work for more than 100 visually impaired machinists through Lighthouses for the Blind in Seattle and Spokane.

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, click here to continue inside the blog.

Special Session 3: They’re baaaack. . .

Sen. Joe Fain, R-Auburn, leads a lightly populated Senate through the pro forma opening for this year's Third Special Session.

OLYMPIA — The Legislature convened — or should we say reconvened — this morning, although if you overslept or lingered over that second cup of coffee, you might've missed the action. Such as it was.

As expected, these were starting sessions were pro forma — which is Latin for nothing much worth seeing — with a handful of legislators on hand to take care of the necessities like getting the formal notice from the governor and bringing all of the legislation that has been laying dormant since they were last gathered together in June out of mothballs.

The House Finance Committee has a hearing this afternoon, which will be a starting point for HB 2089,  tax preferences Gov. Jay Inslee is proposing  to accommodate Boeing and its 777X plant. Tomorrow the House Appropriations Committee it will have a hearing on HB 2088, which is the package for aerospace training programs. 

Not yet scheduled: the $10 billion transportation package which Inslee says also is needed. That would likely go through Transportation Committees, which currently aren't scheduled to meet until Nov. 21, and haven't had their agendas updated to reflect any new proposals.

Special session starts Thursday

OLYMPIA – The Washington Legislature will meet in a special session starting Thursday to consider a $10 billion transportation package and other legislation Gov. Jay Inslee said is key to landing the manufacturing plant for a new Boeing jetliner.

Standing with legislative leaders, Boeing executives and union officials, Inslee said a combination of transportation improvements, extended tax breaks, faster permits for building and aerospace education programs would guarantee the company will build the new jetliner and a new carbon fiber wing in Washington state.

The current 777 facility supports 56,000 jobs, and the new plane will create thousands more, Inslee  said: “These jobs are ours if we act now.”. .

 

To read the rest of this post, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

Sunday Spin: The Boeing blame game

OLYMPIA – These are the dog days of the summer around the state capital.

It’s not as uniformly sunny as Eastern Washington. But morning fog and low clouds – a pattern Seattle’s television weather heads describe with the more elegant-sounding title of “marine layer” – give way to bright warm afternoons during which it is difficult to work up much fervor over anything.

So it seemed last week as Republicans made a half-hearted stab at playing the latest round of “who’s losing Boeing?” after the aerospace giant said it will move some 375 engineering jobs to California. When Boeing moved its corporate headquarters to Chicago in 2001 and a built a 787 production line to South Carolina in 2009 there were major political earthquakes. . .

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, continue inside the blog.

Obama to visit Boeing on Friday

President Obama has added a stop at the Boeing factory in Everett as part of his Wasington state visit on Friday.

Word from the Obama re-election campaign says it's part of the campaign theme of “an economy built to last based on American manufacturing and the importance of promoting American exports.”

But may also be an effort to answer the criticism that Obama tends to use Washington state as an ATM, stopping in for expensive fund-raisers with high rollers, jetting in and out on Air Force One and not seeing any ordinary folks as he's whisked up and down I-5. AF1 is landing at Paine Field in Everett, so Seattle to Everett commuters on Friday be warned.

He still has two big-ticket fund-raisers after the Boeing speech: a $17,900 per ticket brunch at the Medina home of a co-founder of Costco, and a $1,000 per ticket lunch at a Bellevue hotel (which also has a $5,000 option for a photo reception for those who want a pic with the prez.)

You read that right, brunch is almost 18 times more expensive than lunch. We're thinking brunch must be the all-you-can eat buffet spread, like they used to put on at the old Patsy Clark's restaurant on Sundays. Lunch must be more modest fare.

Of course in these instances, it's not so much about the bread you break, but with whom you break it.

Gregoire signs budget; tougher decisions ahead

Rep. Ross Hunter checks his hands for tan after Gov. Chris Gregoire says legislators need to show up “tan, rested and ready” in January to cut more than the budget she signed Tuesday.

OLYMPIA – With advice to the Legislature to show up “tan, rested and ready” in January to finish fixing the state’s budget problems, Gov. Chris Gregoire signed the $480 million “downpayment” supplemental budget.

It is, Rep. Ross Hunter, chairman of the House budget committee, said, merely the first supplemental budget of the two-year fiscal cycle.

“Count on it,” Gregoire replied, adding the votes needed to find another $1.5 billion in savings will present legislators with “the worst votes they’re ever going to take in their lives.”

The budget signed Tuesday had bipartisan support in both chambers, but involves a number of fund transfers and accounting maneuvers to accomplish some of the savings…

To read the rest of this post, click here to go inside the blog.

Murray in Common Cause sights for defense $

Super committee co-chairwoman Patty Murray gets more money from defense contractors than any other member of the panel assembled to find ways to cut the budget deficit.

So says Common Cause, a public watchdog organization and longtime critic of the campaign financing system, in a new report.

Murray, D-Wash., has received more than a quarter million dollars from the defense industry since 2004, $247,000 to her re-election campaign and $29,000 to her “leadership PAC” a separate campaign fund that funnels money to other candidates.

Of course, one could argue that's not surprising, considering one of the nation's biggest defense contractors is also one of Washington state's biggest employers, Boeing.

Common Cause looks at it another way: That military spending doubled in the last decade and contracts to defense suppliers went up even faster. And 20 percent of all those contracts went to just five companies, one of which was Boeing.

“These companies are pooling their resources – working through vehicles such as their trade group, the Aerospace Industries Association – in an attempt to keep Pentagon spending as high as possible in the face of pressures to reduce the federal deficit,” the report contends. “Their most immediate goal is to keep defense spending out of the super committee’s deficit reduction proposal.”

High rivers a blow to wind farms

When the wind is blowing and the Columbia River is flowing, wind turbine operators in Washington have a problem they are looking to France and Germany for help.

Gov. Chris Gregoire, who is in Europe for a 10-day trade mission, said she met Thursday with the chief executive officer of AREVA, a French firm that operates wind farms around the Tri-Cities. The problem of wind power and hydropower peaking at the same time has been particularly bad this year, she said.

“There are concerns about BPA shutting down wind power because of excess hydropower,” she said.

To read the rest of this item, or to comment, go inside the blog.

Gov at Paris Air Show: Part Deux

Seattle will be the site of a  “summit” on aerospace suppliers next March and a Bellingham company will expand to reconfigure planes for an Austrian airline, Gov. Chris Gregoire said Tuesday.

Deals for both were struck during the second day of the Paris Air Show, which Gregoire is attending to boost the chances of selling more Boeing planes and the products of some 650 aerospace manufacturers and suppliers in Washington.

The summit, to be hosted by Boeing and the state Commerce Department, is expected to draw about 600 businesses and be the first of its kind in North America, Gregoire said in a telephone press conference.

“All in all, it was a pretty good day for us,” she said.

The governor also defended the 10-day trip out of the state — she stopped in Spain before Paris to talk with the company that will dig the tunnel for the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement in Seattle, and will travel to Hamburg to talk with BMW and other companies making carbon-fiber parts at a new Moses Lake facility — as worth the $40,000 price tag for herself, two staff members and three representatives of the Commerce Department.

“I'm here promoting our state,” she said. “We are not going to come out of this recession with me sitting in my office.”

She didn't attend the last Paris Air Show in 2009, “and I took criticism for not going.”

She met with top executives from Boeing, lobbying for Washington to be the site for any expansion of the company's 737 jetliner production. She also met with the American chief executive officer of Boeing's aviation industry rival Airbus, which also buys parts from aviation suppliers in Washington. “I made clear to them I fully appreciate we're the Number Two state in the nation with (companies) supplying to Airbus.”

Asked if that meeting was awkward, considering she helped lead the lobbying for Boeing to beat out Airbus for a U.S. Air Force contract to build a new refueling tanker to replace the KC-135, Gregoire said she made clear she was rooting for “my home team.” 

“We didn't talk very much about the tanker at all,” she said.

Bonjour. Je m’appelle Chris. Je suis la gouverneur de Washington.

Gov. Chris Gregoire is in Paris this week, talking up Boeing at the biennial air show and talking up Washington as a place for the aerospace giant’s next assembly line.
In a telephone press conference after the first day of the Paris Air Show, where she helped open the state’s pavilion, Gregoire said she’s trying to boost all 650 of the state’s aerospace manufacturers and suppliers, not just its biggest one.. .

To read the rest of this post, or to comment, go inside the blog.

Tanker contract fuels Senate campaign

The nation’s nine-year debate on how to replace Air Force tankers became a talking point in two places Tuesday: the floor of the U.S. Senate and the Senate campaign in Washington state.

An amendment to next year’s Defense Authorization bill would have banned Airbus from getting a $35 billion contract to build the first round of replacements for the aging KC-135s, a move that would essentially seal the deal for Boeing. That amendment, co-sponsored by Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, crashed and burned along with some other high-profile amendments like an end to the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy when threat of a filibuster blocked the authorization bill.

Back in the airplane giant’s native state, Murray is clashing with Republican campaign rival Dino Rossi over whether a World Trade Organization ruling against Airbus should be considered when the Air Force decides which plane is best. In a joint appearance in Tacoma Monday, Rossi was asked about the WTO rulings should be a factor in awarding the contract, particularly if Airbus got hit harder than Boeing did.

His short answer was “No.”

That prompted the Murray campaign to hit Mach One in record time, saying that Rossi essentially didn’t care if the next generation of tanker was built by the French instead of good old American workers in the Puget Sound. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Bremerton, chairman of the House Defense Appropriations subcommittee and a longtime Murray ally, pronounced himself stunned with the answer and contended Rossi “clearly doesn’t understand the issue.”

“Does Rossi want to make Bastille Day a national holiday, too?”  Sadie Weiner of the state Democrats asked sarcastically.

By late morning, however, the Rossi campaign said he intepreted the question differently than others are. He thought the TNT was asking if about Boeing sanctions, not Airbus sanctions, when saying they shouldn’t be considered.

Just Rossi trying to cover his tracks because he doesn’t understand the issue, the Murray camp responded. Just Murray trying to distract attention from her record, the Rossi campaign countered.

Beyond the political back and forth, there was a question as to whether Rossi would have supported the Defense Authorization amendment to require the Pentagon to take unfair advantages into account.

Jennifer Morris, his campaign spokeswoman, said yes: “The Brownback amendment? He would have supported it.”

(Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, is another cosponsor of the amendment.)

So after about 24 hours of back and forth, Murray and Rossi are essentially in the same position on whether Airbus should have a chance to bid on the new tankers if it got unfair subsidies.

How did all this start? A look at the tape shows Rossi was asked two questions about the sanctions, the first of which was prefaced with a statement about how sboth sides are getting adverse WTO rulings and assumed the Airbus sanctions would be worse, and a follow-up when the questioner apparently felt he hadn’t answered the question. It was to the second question that he answered “No. Not a factor as far as I’m concerned. No.”

Murray quickly responded that she believed the sanctions should be a factor and , was introducing the amendment today to make the Pentagon take them into account. The editorial board then moved on to another topic, so Rossi didn’t follow up to clarify.

You can read the transcript of the questions, the Dicks’ and Rossi press release inside the blog, and decide for yourself who’s right (or at least who’s more right):

Murray on new tanker bid: Enough of ‘Endless delays’

Sen. Patty Murray’s staff has apparently peeled her off the ceiling enough to get a comment on reports the Pentagon will delay awarding the bid for a new Air Force aerial tanker yet still again. To wit:

“These endless delays come at the expense of our men and women in uniform, American workers, and our economy. I want to hear directly from the Pentagon on why we are again delaying this contract for a company that has had ample time to bid and compete. I also want to know why we continue to bend over backwards to accommodate an illegally subsidized foreign company.
“Concession after concession has been made to keep Airbus at the table. Yet we have seen no bid and no sign that they are willing to play by the rules. In fact, all we have seen are delay tactics and repeated efforts to gain U.S. market share and undercut American workers.
“Boeing’s workers have the know-how and product to build these tankers.  They are ready to compete.  It’s time to stop playing the waiting game and to move forward with getting these tankers into the hands of our men and women in uniform.”

Pentagon will wait for Airbus tanker bid

So this is  how much clout the Washington congressional delegation has: A day after five House members join in a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates to keep the schedule on track for building a new tanker to replace the KC-135, the Pentagon announces…

It will extend the deadline by 60 days so Airbus can submit a bid.

To be fair, the Pentagon gets so much mail that it’s possible Gates hadn’t even gotten around to reading the letter from Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Doc Hastings, Jay Inslee, Rick Larsen and others from around the country. Maybe if they’d have sent a singing telegram or something to stand out from the crowd and catch his attention. Maybe if they’d camped out in his office. Who knows.

IIt’s also possible that after nearly nine years and two high-profile failures in trying to find a suitable replacement for some of the KC-135 fleet, someone at the Pentagon decided “What’s another 60 days to see if we can finally get this right?”

In any event, the Air Force will wait an extra two months before closing off bids. Right now The Boeing Co. is the only one bidding on the contract, which could be worth as much as $40 billion. Airbus, which apparently  has lost its U.S. partner Northrop Grumman, says with the extra time it can come up with a proposal to use a version of its A-330.

The Pentagon’s decision really torqued U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, who said the World Trade Organization just confirmed Airbus gets illegal subsidies to build its planes. For the full text of her press release, go inside the blog.

WA congresspersons to Pentagon: Keep tanker timeline

Five members of Washington’s congressional delegation joined an effort to keep the Pentagon from delaying its selection the builder of the next air refueling tanker by asking Defense Secretary Robert Gates not to extend the timeline for making that choice.
Without mentioning either company by name, they are supporting the Boeing Co., and trying to close out rival Airbus.
Republican Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Doc Hastings, and Democrats Jay Inslee, Adam Smith and Rick Larsen are among 16 members of the House urging Gates not to vary from the 75-day selection deadline announced in February. Their stated reasons include eight years of delay already in replacing the KC-135s, and the additional costs to taxpayers.

The KC-135, which was designed by Boeing in the 1950s and built through the early 1960s, is the backbone of the U.S. Air Force tanker fleet and the plane flown by the 92nd Air Refueling Wing and the Washington Air National Guard’s 141st Air Refueling Wing, both based at Fairchild Air Force Base.
Finding a replacement for part of the KC-135 fleet started some nine years ago, and has been marked by fraud, collusion, political bickering and pandering, mistakes and missteps. Meanwhile, the 135s keep flying in two war zones and for a variety of other military missions around the globe.
The process to select a new tanker is a subject of intense interest, the members of Congress wrote, but “the need for new tankers is long overdue.”
A consortium that included Northrop Grumman and EADS, the manufacturer of Airbus, beat out Boeing for an estimated $40 billion contract in early 2008. That award was thrown out a few months later after Boeing protested and the Government Accountability Office found problems with the selection process. New specifications were announced in February and Boeing notified the Air Force eight days later it would enter a new bid, again using a version of its 767 jetliner.
Four days later, Northrop Grumman said it wasn’t entering the competition. In late March, however, EADS said it would submit a proposal if the deadline was extended and “there is a fair chance to win.”

Get blog updates by email

About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.


Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Nick Deshais covers Spokane City Hall for The Spokesman-Review.

Latest comments »

Read all the posts from recent conversations on Spin Control.

Search this blog
Subscribe to this blog
ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here