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Spin Control

Posts tagged: Washington governor's race

High court may be done with health care act, governor’s race is not

OLYMPIA – When a divided Supreme Court settled the question of whether federal health care reform is constitutional Thursday, it turned up the spotlight on the issue for Washington’s hotly contested governor’s race.
Now the question is, how long before that light dims?
Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna, one of the original plaintiffs in the failed multi-state challenge, said he was surprised at the ruling but insisted he was relieved, not disappointed.
Former U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, Inslee’s likely Democratic opponent for governor this November, was happy: “I always believed this was constitutional. I had no qualms in voting for this bill.”
Gov. Chris Gregoire, who disagreed so strongly with McKenna’s decision to draw Washington into the court battle that she filed as a “friend of the court” on the other side, was both celebratory and caustic.
  

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Gregoire: McKenna budget possible ‘monkey wrench’

How close are they to reaching a budget deal? About this close, Gov. Chris Gregoire said today.

OLYMPIA — Legislative negotiators are closer to a comprehensive agreement on the state's General Fund budget, but some of the  hardest decisions remain, Gov. Chris Gregoire said today.

Gregoire said they need to reach agreement by next Tuesday to have any chance of the Legislature working out the details, writing the budget in the proper legal language and passing it by Good Friday. Plans for Rob McKenna, the Republican attorney general running for governor, to announce his own budget proposal on Monday are not helpful, she said.

“I don't need something external…to throw a monkey wrench into it,” she said of budget talks.

The McKenna campaign announced the likely GOP gubernatorial nominee will release a “budget policy paper” Monday afternoon in Olympia.

“The failure of the Legislature to complete its most basic task of passing a budget proves that Olympia is broken and highlights the need for a new direction,” McKenna said in a prepared statement accompanying the announcement of the press conference. “My budget policy paper provides some specific ideas on how a McKenna administration will approach creating a sustainable budget.”

Sustainability has been one of the main watchwords of legislative Republicans as they pushed for changes in the spending plans of majority Democrats. But both sides argue that the other has proposed things that are one-time budget gimmicks and therefore not sustainable. Republicans criticize Democratic plans to delay a payment to the school districts by a day, shifting those costs into the next biennium. Democrats criticize Republican plans to skip a payment to the state's pension systems.

Gregoire has said both ideas are “off the table” as negotiators look for a comprehensive budget solution.

The governor said she hadn't heard of McKenna's plans but contended that a specific spending plan at this stage would not be helpful. “I don't need a sixth budget proposal. Why weren't these ideas brought up to us two months ago or one month ago?”

Budget negotiators are looking at a package of ideas that touches all aspects of the budget along with ideas for reform and added revenue. “There's something in that package for all of them not to like,” she said. Once there's an agreement among leaders, they'll have to put it to their members and see if they have the votes to pass it.

Inslee switches course. Spokane gov debate on for June 12

The likely Republican and Democratic candidates for governor will debate this June in Spokane. An on-again, off-again match up of state Attorney General Rob McKenna and former U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee in front of a major state business group appears on again, for good.

The Association of Washington Business announced, and the campaigns confirmed, Inslee and McKenna will debate at The Bing Crosby Theater on June 12 as part of the group's quarterly meeting, in an event co-sponsored by Greater Spokane, Inc. As recently as Monday, the Inslee campaign was refusing to debate at that particular time and place, accusing the AWB of bad faith in announcing the event before all details were worked out…
  

WA gov race goes nuclear

OLYMPIA — The likely leaders in Washington's 2012 governor's race “went nuclear” today, although on slightly different aspects of the nuke waste issue.

Washington Attorney General Rob McKenna, the likely Republican nominee for the job, announced in Seattle that he was filing new court action over the federal government's decision to step away from the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository. He filed a writ of mandamus with the federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., arguing that the Department of Energy is improperly “withholding action” on finishing off the repository.

“It’s the federal government’s responsibility to clean up Hanford,” McKenna said in a prepared statement. “This lawsuit seeks to compel the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to immediately resume consideration of the application to build and operate a repository at Yucca Mountain.”

U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, the leading Democrat for the nomination, meanwhile laid into a special commission set up to figure out what to do about nuclear waste. The Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future (yes, blue ribbon is part of the official name) released its draft report on nuclear waste with some really terrific recommendations — find a repository site through a “consent-based approach” build a permanent repository promptly, build at least one interim repository promptly, do some innovative stuff in nuclear energy. 

Thanks for the hard work, Inslee said, but the report is “deeply flawed” and will lead to the United States wasting billions of dollars more.

“The Commission declares that a lack of community support killed Yucca and that a new ‘consent-based approach’ for future facilities is required,” he said in his prepared statement.  “The Commission admits that a consolidated geologic disposal facility is the solution, but seems unable to admit that a solid, scientifically assessed site already exists which could mean billions more in cost for ratepayers.”

So it would seem McKenna and Inslee agree on at least one thing: Washington should get to ship the nuclear waste at Hanford to Nevada, and keep it there for centuries.

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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.

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