Everything tagged

Latest from The Spokesman-Review

Today’s fun video: Colbert jabs McMorris Rodgers over ‘Bette in Spokane’

 

The Colbert Report
Get More: Colbert Report Full Episodes,Video Archive

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers made the national "fake news" last night for her use of Bette in Spokane as an example of Obamacare problems.

Stephen Colbert referred to her as "Republican den mother" and aired a snippet of her response to Obama's State of the Union address in which she decries Bette's plight… followed by the explanation from The Spokesman-Review that Bette wouldn't use "that Obamacare website."

"There's another flaw with Obamacare," Colbert reported in mock seriousness. "You have to go on it to use it. That's how they get you."

It's a pretty funny bit… and we're not just saying that because he mentioned the newspaper's coverage. On the other hand, it didn't hurt.

For more on Bette, check out here , here and here.

 

Pakootas hopes McMorris Rodgers’ rank works against her

As a member of Congress gains stature in Washington, D.C., opponents often have more trouble defeating them in elections back home. Eastern Washington Democrats are hoping the reverse is true this year as Joe Pakootas prepares to run against Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

He’s counting on a boost from the public’s general low opinion of Congress, its partisan wrangling and its short time in session will work against the 10-year incumbent who is part of Republican leadership. . .

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

Insurgent Past Dogs Labrador

During the weekend, the story about an alleged ethics violation became less about the accused - Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash. - and more about her accuser. That would be Todd Winer, who according to sources cited by the Spokesman-Review filed a complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics. The OCE has forwarded the file on to the House Ethics Committee, which may hold hearings. Winer used to be McMorris Rodgers' press secretary. But that isn't the juiciest part.After departing the Washington Republican's office, he took up a similar post with Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho. In fact, he'd been working for Labrador for about a month when OCE got the complaint/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Thoughts?

Sunday Spin: Representation v. judgment

OLYMPIA – For about 30 minutes last week, the Senate rang with debate on an issue at the very heart of our democratic republic.

The resolution at hand was a constitutional amendment requiring the Legislature to come up with a two-thirds supermajority to enact tax increases. But the underlying issue, and much of the argument, involved something more basic:

When we elect someone to Congress, the Legislature or the City Council, do we send them there to represent us or do we send them to exercise their best judgment? . . . 

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

.

McMorris Rodgers a VP contender (and other speech analysis)

Here's what's being said about Eastern Washington's Congresswoman, Cathy McMorris Rodgers after (and a little before) her speech responding to President Barack Obama's State of the Union:

The Washington Post says she's a vice presidential contender in 2016:

"Talk of a possible veep slot in 2016 is in the air, as is the possibility that McMorris Rodgers will rise through the House Republican ranks, should Boehner decided to step down in the coming years. Even though she has been part of the brass for a while, it’s as if Republicans are suddenly waking up to the focus-group charm of CMR."

The Daily Kos calls baloney on McMorris Rodgers claims about "Bette in Spokane":

Sorry, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, your story doesn't pass the smell test, and certainly doesn't withstand any level of detailed analysis.

McClatchy puts the honor of giving the opposition speech in perspective:

On Tuesday, she’ll become the 12th woman to give the opposition speech and only the second chosen from the House Republican ranks, joining the late Rep. Jennifer Dunn, also of Washington state, who got the nod in 1999. Two Washington state Democrats took the assignment, too: Sen. Henry “Scoop” Jackson in 1970 and then-Gov. Gary Locke in 2003.


Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2014/01/27/4780351/republicans-pitch-washington-state.html#storylink=cpy

McMorris Rodgers rebuttal set

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers will rush from the House Floor to a nearby studio to give the rebuttal to tonight's State of the Union address by President Obama. 

But she won't have to listen carefully to his speech, take notes and write something new on the fly. Like Obama's speech, McMorris Rodgers is already prepared. House Republicans already released excerpts, which kind of makes it a "prebuttal." 

Congressional Democrats, by the way, have their rebuttal to McMorris Rodgers' rebuttal set, too, and have already e-mailed it out. Bottom line to their message: she might be a fresh face for the GOP, but she represents all the same old policies.

The released excerpts are inside the blog.

 

Wash. Post briefs readers on McMorris Rodgers

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers' gig as the GOP responder to the State of the Union garnered a bit of attention from a Washington Post blog, which listed five things its readers probably didn't know about her.

Most Spokesman-Review readers, many of whom are her constituents, probably knew all or most of them. (Spin Control admits it didn't know, or maybe had forgotten, No. 5.)

Here's a couple other factoids connected to the response, gleaned from The American Presidency Project.

The first member of Congress from Washington to give a response was Sen. Henry "Scoop" Jackson in 1970. Back then, the opposition party picked a group of folks to speak, and he was one of seven.

The first member of Congress from Eastern Washington's 5th District was Tom Foley, when he was speaker, gave the Democratic response to President George H.W. Bush in 1990 and 1992.

The first woman from Washington to give a response was Rep. Jennifer Dunn of Bellevue, who gave the Republican response to President Bill Clinton in 1999.

The last person from Washington to give a response was Gov. Gary Locke, who gave the Democratic response to President George W. Bush in 2003.

The tradition of giving a televised opposition response dates to 1966, when Sen. Everett Dirksen and then-Rep. Gerald Ford gave the GOP response to President Lyndon Johnson. They did it for two years, but in 1968, Republicans put 16 people in front of the camera, including Rep. Charlotte Reid of Illinois, the first woman to take part in the nearly annual ritual, and an up and coming congressman from Texas, George H.W. Bush.

Nearly annual because some years, there's was no response as one party's president delivered the message before leaving office and the other party's president was inaugurated shortly after. In 1981, President Carter delivered a written message in January as he was leaving office and Democrats didn't offer a formal to a speech President Reagan made in February.

Sometimes it's a single person, other times it's a big lineup, although the 16 Republicans in 1968 was the largest response team.

Sometimes it's the opposition party's ranking member in one or both chambers of Congress. Other times it's up and coming politicians who later run for president. The first governor to be part of the response, in 1985, was a guy from Arkansas named Clinton.

McMorris Rodgers' selection surprised a few political "experts." Earlier this week, the Politico website had a list of 10 possible Republican responders, with the pros and cons of each of these "usual suspects" following Obama. The Eastern Washington Republican was not on it. 

Spokane Valley City Council takes Tuesday off

Now there's no excuse to miss the State of the Union address, nor the potentially Eastern Washington-centric GOP response.

The Spokane Valley City Council has cancelled its Tuesday evening (Jan. 28) meeting, which otherwise would have been getting under way about the same time President Barack Obama is set to begin addressing the nation.

Following the State of the Union address, the nationally televised Republican response will be given by U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Spokane.

Both addresses are set to be carried by all major TV networks. The State of the Union is set to begin at 6 p.m. Pacific Time.

The Spokane Valley City Council is scheduled to next meet on Feb. 4.

Midterm grades for Inland Northwest lawmakers

We're halfway through the 113th Congress, and legislative watchdog GovTrack.us has handed down its marks for lawmakers based on multiple indicators of legislative success.

Inland Northwest legislators had their fingers in several pieces of sweeping, high-profile federal legislation enacted in 2013, including an update to the Violence Against Women Act cosponsored by Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, and a bipartisan budget resolution with Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., as its Democratic steward. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers also earned the rare distinction of a unanimous House of Representatives vote in favor of her bill easing licensing restrictions for dams with limited power capacities.

GovTrack, an independent bill-tracking service launched in 2004, ranked lawmakers across several categories, including number of roll call votes missed, number of bills sponsored and how many of the 20 bills the service identified as enhancing government transparency the lawmaker voted for. The rankings are comprehensive, but here are some highlights for those representing the Inland Northwest:

  • McMorris Rodgers and Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Pasco, are the only two Inland Northwest lawmakers who introduced bills that became law. In addition to McMorris Rodgers' dam bill, Hastings introduced legislation establishing a national helium fund for proceeds of the gas' production on federal lands. The bill passed both chambers by wide margins.
  • McMorris Rodgers, who gave birth to a baby girl in November, has missed the greatest percentage of votes in the 113th Congress among Inland Northwest delegates, failing to record a preference in 7.5% of votes tallied so far. In the Senate, which votes far less frequently, Cantwell has missed 0.3% of roll calls, the lowest share among area lawmakers.
  • Among those lawmakers tracked by GovTrack, Cantwell has the highest share of bills she's cosponsored joined by members of the competing party. More than half - or 53.3% - of Cantwell's bills have been joined by a GOP cosponsor. Cantwell's colleague in the Senate, Patty Murray, was joined by a GOP lawmaker as a cosponsor on 29% of her bills, slightly lower than the percentage of bills proposed by McMorris Rodgers (29.4%) and Hastings (35%) joined by Democrats. Unlisted in the figures provided by GovTrack were Crapo, Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Eagle).
      

Congress is mulling a number of major legislative initiatives in the coming months as lawmakers prep for another election cycle. On tap are major bills addressing unemployment benefits, immigration reform and an extension of agriculture legislation.

In praise of compromise and civility

President Obama speaks at the memorial service for Tom Foley.

WASHINGTON – In a service that contrasted the state of today’s Congress with the House Tom Foley left nearly two decades ago, past and current leaders extolled the former Spokane speaker’s ability to see another person’s point of view, compromise and get things done.

Republicans as well as Democrats praised the late congressman and ambassador, repeating stories he shared or advice he gave about honoring public service. And one leader who acknowledged he didn’t know Foley personally but admired his reputation said it was time to emulate him.

“Now, more than ever, America needs public servants who are willing to place problem-solving ahead of politics,” President Barack Obama said.

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

Ending the shutdown: How they voted

Washington state has one distinction in yesterday's vote to end the partial government shutdown and extend the federal debt limit: It is the largest state in which the entire delegation voted yes.

Across the border in Idaho, the delegation was split, 3-1, on the no side.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Eastern Washington was one of the point-persons for the House Republican leadership in defending its tactics on the shutdown, appearing at press conferences and on 24-hour cable news programs. Like many other GOP leaders, she voted to end it Wednesday night, contending "House Republicans have done everything possible to protect the American people from the arbitrary regulations and unnecessary costs of the President's health care law… We did not accomplish everything we hoped. But in the end, the Senate agreed to come to the table and start to talk."

She said House Republicans are united and will work on fixing "an out-of-control government."

As a breakdown of the vote in the Washington Post shows, however, they were pretty sharply divided on the vote to end the shutdown. Americans for Limited Government, a group opposed to the Affordable Care Act, is also blasting House Republicans who voted to end the shutdown, saying they "now own Obamacare just as much as if they voted to adopt it in the first place."

McMorris Rodgers digs at Obamacare, strikes hopeful tone following shutdown vote

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, joined 86 of her GOP colleagues in the House of Representatives on Wednesday night voting to end a partial government shutdown that lasted 16 days.

In a statement following the vote, the congresswoman and chair of the House Republican Conference continued attacks on the Affordable Care Act, the nation's health care overhaul that launched its online marketplaces the same day the federal government shuttered most of its doors.

"House Republicans have done everything possible to protect the American people from the arbitrary regulations and unnecessary costs of the President’s health care law," McMorris Rodgers said in her prepared remarks.

In the early days of the shutdown, House Republicans were calling for a year delay of the requirement for individuals to sign up for the exchanges after President Barack Obama said employers would be granted such a reprieve while the kinks were worked out in the marketplaces. That demand was one of many that Republicans - facing growing opposition among the American people, according to polls cited in a Slate report - were forced to drop as the shutdown dragged on.

"We did not accomplish everything we hoped," McMorris Rodgers said in her statement. She continued, however, with a tone of hope that some of the concessions sought by Republicans on spending might yet be attained. 

"In the end, the Senate agreed to come to the table and start to talk," McMorris Rodgers said.

Those talks will take the form of a budget conference - requested multiple times throughout the summer by Senate Budget Committee chairwoman Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash. - that must reconcile by Dec. 13 massive differences between budget resolutions passed by each chamber earlier this year. That timeframe was included in the bill passed Wednesday night.

To read McMorris Rodgers' entire statement, click here to go inside the blog.

McMorris Rodgers part of negotiating team on shutdown

Time Magazine is reporting Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, has been selected by House Speaker John Boehner to negotiate Thursday with President Barack Obama on the partial federal government shutdown.

Obama originally invited all members of the House of Representatives to 1600 W. Pennsylvania Ave. to discuss funding the federal government. Boehner elected to send 18 representatives, including members of House leadership and committee chairs, instead.

A spokeswoman for McMorris Rodgers confirmed on Wednesday afternoon her planned attendance at the meeting.

The full Time listing of attendees:

Boehner (Ohio)
Rep. Eric Cantor (Virginia) 
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (California)
McMorris Rodgers (Washington)
Rep. Greg Walden (Oregon)
Rep. James Lankford (Oklahoma)
Rep. Lynn Jenkins (Kansas)
Rep. Virginia Foxx (North Carolina)
Rep. Steve Southerland (Florida)
Rep. Ann Wagner (Missouri)
Rep. Peter Roskam (Illinois)
Rep. Pete Sessions (Texas)
Rep. Paul Ryan (Wisconsin)
Rep. Dave Camp (Michigan)
Rep. Fred Upton (Michigan)
Rep. Hal Rogers (Kentucky)
Rep. Jeb Hensarling (Texas)
Rep. Buck McKeon (California)

House Democrats are meeting with Obama today. Boehner said Tuesday a phone call with the president yielded "a crack" in the frigid impasse that has kept portions of the federal government on shutdown since Oct. 1, but it wasn't enough to stoke his optimism.

A bloc against Obamacare

One reason the shutdown remains so intractable is a core of House Republicans who signalled in August they wanted to eliminate the federal health care reforms.

In a letter to Speaker John Boehner, 80 House Republicans said they supported using the "power of the purse" to end the law. It didn't get much attention at the time, but in the last week, as the shutdown loomed and then occured, national political commentators have pointed to the letter, and its author Rep. Mark Meadows of North Carolina, as a key to they deadlock.

Several readers have asked if Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers or  any of Washington's GOP House members signed onto the letter.They did not. But Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho did.

For a map of the districts of those who signed on to the letter, click here.

McMorris Rodgers: Obamacare ‘making life harder’ in E. Washington

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers hears lots of angst about Obamacare in Eastern Washington.

At least, that's what she says in a USA Today guest column defending the House Republicans in their move to link continued funding of the federal government to some changes in the Affordable Care Act.

"No matter where I go when I'm home in Eastern Washington — the grocery store, the local coffee shop, the county fair — the concern is the same: Obamacare is making life harder for everyday Americans. At the doctor's office, the dinner table and in the job market. " " she wrote in a counterpoint to the newspaper, which criticized House Republicans.

A skeptic would probably point out that McMorris Rodgers most recent visit to the home district was pretty much designed so she would mostly hear criticisms of the new law. A playbook for House Republicans returning home for the August recess (they prefer "work period") advised members to hold an Obamacare Media Tour "to emphasize the need to repeal Obamacare to protect employees, small businesses and jobs." Such events were to be peopled with like-minded folks, so the opportunity to hear something other than a discouraging word about the new law at those gatherings was pretty limited.

The forward to this "Planning Kit" was written by McMorris Rodgers herself, so it's a good bet she followed it closely.

The congresswoman did hold a "y'all come" town hall meeting in Spokane during that recess, but by most accounts the reaction to the Affodable Care Act was mixed, with some people unhappy with it, and others unhappy with McMorris Rodgers and her fellow Republicans for repeatedly trying to repeal it.

Yesterday she sent out a tweet noting problems on the opening day for Washington state's health care exchange, where people without insurance can sign up for plans, "#ObamaCare exchanges open today and #WA State's website isn't even working. Precursor to the complications to come," she wrote.

 

The tweet was time stamped at 7 a.m., which was before state officials said the website was supposed to open. The exchange did have problems later in the day, but for reasons that somewhat undercut her statement about people being so concerned about the program. The system was slow or crashed at times because so many people were trying to go online to sign up.

Figures released Wednesday from the Washington Health Benefit Exchange showed that the web site had 170,487 page views and the call center fielded 6,199 calls. It established 6,385 accounts.

The system is still having problems — it's being taken down from 10 p.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Thursday for maintenance — and it would be a fair criticism that one might've expected better from the nearly $55 million contract Deloitte received to build it. But it seems fair to say that at least some people think the new law is going to make their lives easier.

Spokane Congressional offices become sounding board for shutdown ire

Spokane activists upset about the federal government shutdown that began Tuesday are taking a page from Martin Luther.

Fliers from the left-leaning organization MoveOn.org were plastered on the walls outside the Congressional offices of Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., earlier this week, seen in images posted on Twitter by a user who gave her name as "Erica." The sign on Murray's office, offering congratulations for a job well done, remained posted on her office door Wednesday morning, near a sign indicating the office would be closed for the duration of the shutdown.

The signs blame the right-wing tea party group for causing the first federal government shutdown since the mid-1990s, threatening services from unemployment check processing to low-income nutritional assistance as well as shutting down thousands of National Park sites throughout the country. House Republicans pushed a measure Tuesday evening that would reopen the parks and ensure veterans receive benefits during the shutdown, but the measure - sponsored by Idaho Republican Rep. Mike Simpson - failed to receive the 2/3 majority needed for passage.

 

Murray took to the Senate floor Tuesday night to condemn House Republicans for "holding our economy hostage" by refusing to pass a funding resolution without concessions to delay the Affordable Care Act.

 

"To be clear, this shutdown would be over immediately if Speaker Boehner would simply allow both Democrats and Republicans in the House to vote on the bill the Senate has passed multiple times to continue funding the government. But to this point, Republican leaders have chosen shutdown over sanity and politics over the many people who will be impacted by shuttering the government," Murray said in a statement.

But House Republican leadership, including McMorris Rodgers, have accused the Senate of refusing to come to conference on their funding bill. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Obama have stated they have no intention of entertaining any proposals that affect health care in any way.

Two speaker prospects from Inland NW?

Roll Call thinks so, anyway.

In one of its "what if" pieces- - - as in What if John Boehner was no longer speaker, who would get the job? —  the Washington, D.C., newspaper for Congress and those who watch it closely lists Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Raul Labrador as two of its 10 possible replacements.

They'd have to be called long-shots, considering that the majority leader usually ascends to the speakership unless one party loses control of the House. So Eric Cantor is at the top of the list. . .

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

Cantor coming to Spokane for McMorris Rodgers fundraiser

Cantor: Spokane-bound. AP photo

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is scheduled to be the special guest at a campaign fundraiser for Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers next month.

He'll be making an appearance at the annual Pink Flamingo Barbecue on Aug. 8 Tickets for the barbecue, a relatively modest $40 per person.

Tickets for a chance to have a photo taken with Cantor are $250 each

Tickets for the 30 minute "Host Committee Reception" before the photo shoot are $1,000 per couple.

Tickets for the 30 minute "Roundtable Discussion" before the reception are $2,600 per couple. For the extra $1,600, you'd probably want to be able to talk fast.

House GOP recess plan: Fight ObamaCare & Washington DC

House Republicans seem to be leaving little to chance as their members prepare to spend the August recess among their voters. A “planning kit” explains how to maximize exposure and minimize contrary opinions on issues like health care reform.

In the kit’s introductory letter to her fellow Republicans, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers says they should tell the folks back home the GOP is fighting for them against Washington and the bureaucracy. “There is no better message than one that puts the American people before an out-of-control government,” she wrote.

As chairwoman of the House Republican Conference, the Eastern Washington congresswoman is in charge of this year’s kit, a 30-page booklet of helpful hints to members on how to make the most of their time back in the district. Riva Litman, a conference spokeswoman, said something similar goes out before each August recess. It’s a “a playbook of best practices” gleaned from many members’ experiences.

The kit offers suggestions for events on energy, health care and jobs; at power plants, on Main Street and on farms; highlighting red tape and government waste. It suggests events aimed at “millennials” – the young adults who voted strongly for Democrats in the 2012 election

It also suggests an ObamaCare Media Tour, “to emphasize the need to repeal ObamaCare to protect employees, small businesses and jobs.” House Republicans have voted 37 times to repeal the law, also known as the federal Affordable Care Act, but it remains on the books.

In planning such an event, the kit advises members and their staff to “make sure all participants will be 100 percent on message. They do not have to be Republicans. They need to be able to discuss the negative effects of ObamaCare on their employees" . . .

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

To see the "Fighting Washington For All Americans" click on the document below.


Documents:

No. 3 for McMorris Rodgers will be a first

U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and her husband Brian Rodgers are expecting their third baby in December.

A reader called to ask if that will make the Eastern Washington Republican the first member of Congress to have a third child while in office. We suspected so, because she was the first member of Congress to have a second child while in office in 2010.

But you never know about members of Congress, so we checked with her staff just to make sure. They say she will be the first to have a third child while in Congress.

McMorris Rodgers, Spokane Tribe casino statements

As reported in this morning's paper, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers formally came out against a proposed West Plains casino as "encroachment" on Fairchild Air Force Base and the Spokane Tribe, which is planning the development, reiterated that it is no such thing.

Want to read more about it?

McMorris Rodgers' letter to the Bureau of Indian Affairs is below.

The statement of Spokane Tribal Chairman Rudy Peone can be found inside the blog.


Documents:

Two forms of ID, please

WASHINGTON — A change in Pentagon security procedures almost derailed Spokane's most recent formal pitch for new refueling tankers to land at Fairchild Air Force Base.

A group of city business and political leaders were in Washington, D.C. last week to meet with lawmakers and bureaucratic bigwigs to lobby for several pet projects. Chief among those was ensuring the new KC-46A tanker aircraft, rolling off Boeing production lines in Everett, would wind up in Fairchild's hangars.

But several members of the group, including Mayor David Condon and Greater Spokane Incorporated CEO Rich Hadley, found themselves on the curb looking in when Pentagon security required two forms of identification to enter the building…  

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

Saturday’s highlights

Michelle Schimmels, special education teacher at McDonald Elementary School, works with first-grade student Cooper Brummett during recess March 29. SR photo/Dan Pelle

Good Monday morning everyone. Let's start off the week by taking a look at some highlights from Saturday's Valley Voice. Reporter Lisa Leinberger has a story in McDonald Elementary School special education teacher Michelle Schimmels, who recently received a Meritorious Service Award from the Central Valley School District after seven different people nominated her. She works with high needs children and was lauded for having a way of understanding what the children need.

Community gardens are booming in Liberty Lake. The city recently finished adding 12 raised garden beds to its garden at the arboretum. There are also 11 raised beds at Rocky Hill Park and demand has been high. The city provides everything except the seeds.

The Spokane Valley City Council had a special meeting last week with Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers. They used their time to lobby for help in getting the final bit of funding to replace the west Sullivan Bridge and to ask about moving the Bridging the Valley railroad overpass projects back to the forefront.

McMorris Rodgers invitee denied visa

WASHINGTON — An Indian leader invited to the United States by U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and other lawmakers has previously been denied entry.

A U.S. Congressional delegation including McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, invited Indian government executive Narenda Modi to talk about economic development last week, The Washington Post reports. The three lawmakers visted Modi in India last week.

But Modi, chief minister of the Indian state of Gujarat, has been denied a visa because of a religious clashes in 2002 that killed more than 1,000 Muslims and Hindus on his watch.

The visit to India by McMorris Rodgers, Reps. Aaron Shock, R-Ill., and Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., and several American businesspeople took place over 10 days and included accommodations in lavish hotels, according to records obtained by Hi India, a Chicago weekly newspaper covering South Asian politics abroad. McMorris Rodgers' office told the Post via email that the congresswoman only spent two days on the trip, which was funded by a Chicago-based political action committee.

Spokane and others make pitch for STEM money

WASHINGTON — A group of education and industry professionals from Washington state offered U.S. lawmakers their suggestions to promote science, technology, education and math instruction Tuesday on Capitol Hill.

The meeting, co-hosted by Washington STEM, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Sen. Patty Murray, focused on the skills gap that exists in the four disciplines between graduates and industries. The panel included representatives from Microsoft, Highline School District south of Seattle and Greater Spokane Incorporated President Rich Hadley.

Washington state ranks first in the nation in STEM jobs per capita. However, it ranks 46th in advanced degrees earned by students in those fields.

Hadley stressed the need to align class offerings in early and secondary education with the demands of the modern workforce. He said health care training was key in the Spokane area.

“The life science industry in Spokane is probably the largest benefactor of increased STEM training,” Hadley said. He pointed to several biomedical programs at Spokane Public Schools as successes of STEM-targeted instruction in eastern Washington.

Sen. Maria Cantwell addressed the panel, calling for compulsory computer science education in secondary curricula and expressing her interest in an immigration proposal that would channel fees from skilled worker visa applications to domestic STEM education funding.

McMorris Rodgers on Bloomberg TV

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers gets time on "Political Capital with Al Hunt" tonight to defend House Republicans' approach to the nation's budget problems and lay the blame on Senate Democrats and President Obama.

The show airs first at 6 p.m. Pacific tonight on Bloomberg TV, and repeats several times through the weekend. Here's a Bloomberg News print  version of her comments. 

Tribe: McMorris Rodgers ‘misinformed’ about casino process

U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers seems “misinformed” in her recent request to delay a government recommendation on the proposed Spokane tribal casino on the West Plains, the tribal chairman told a federal agency this week.

But the tribe won’t object to the requested 45-day delay, if the department doesn’t allow future attempts to delay the process “for reasons beyond meaningful justification.”

In a letter to a top Interior Department official, Tribal Council Chairman Rudy Peone said the reasons McMorris Rodgers listed in last week’s request for a delay don’t match the facts of the long process of studying the project . . .

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

McMorris Rodgers asks more time on casino study

The federal government should delay its decision on a proposed tribal casino on the West Plains an extra 45 days to allow Spokane County to voice its objections, U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers said Thursday.

In a dw-ah letter to a high-ranking Interior Department official, McMorris Rodgers asked the Bureau of Indian Affairs to extend the comment period for the Final Environmental Impact Statement on the Spokane Tribe’s proposed casino and retail development on land just outside Airway Heights. The congresswoman said Spokane County commissioners, who until recently were barred by a legal agreement from saying anything about the proposal, should be given an adequate opportunity to comment.

The current county commissioners oppose the project.

The bureau, in an impact statement released Feb. 1, said a plan to build a casino, hotel and shopping mall is the “preferred alternative” of four options it considered for the 145 acres purchased by the tribe away from its Eastern Washington reservation.

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

Murray backs Obama’s plan not to negotiate

The new leader of the U.S. Senate’s Budget Committee said Tuesday that Republican threats to shutdown the government are irresponsible.

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., said there will be opportunities to negotiate budget cuts without crafting a deal around increasing the county’s borrowing limit.

 

“The budget ceiling debate just puts our country in a very precarious position where we’re defaulting on our loans,” said Murray, who held a forum about job programs in Spokane on Tuesday. “That puts every business and person in our country in jeopardy. And it’s not a good place to be debating.”

 

To read more of this item, or to comment, click here to go inside the blog.

McMorris Rodgers not backing away from shutdown threat

WASHINGTON — More tough talk from Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers today.

The House Republican Conference chairwoman disputed any suggestion the GOP was engaging in irresponsible threats by acknowledging its willingness to shut down the government over federal spending policies. Instead, she said it’s President Barack Obama’s position that should be seen as troubling.

“He said it would be irresponsible and absurd to shut down,” McMorris Rodgers said in a phone interview. “I would say that it’s irresponsible and absurd for the president to want another blank check.”

McMorris Rodgers hinted over the weekend a shutdown might be needed to force Obama to consider cuts to federal programs. She said Tuesday no one in Washington wants to see that happen, but “we need to get serious about cutting spending, and the president says we don't have a spending problem.”

The congresswoman said she hadn't seen the president's news conference Monday, in which he said he would not permit House Republicans to charge a “ransom” in refusing to raise debt ceiling in an attempt to address spending cuts.

But McMorris Rodgers, who represents Spokane and much of Eastern Washington, said the time has come to address America's mounting debt.

“What got us to this point is too much spending by both parties,” McMorris Rodgers said. “But especially in recent years we've seen record deficits, and we need to be rolling back Obama's spending increases.”

The Treasury Department reported a federal deficit of $1.1 trillion in fiscal 2012, the fourth straight year with a deficit higher than $1 trillion. However, the deficit shrunk $207 billion, or roughly 16 percent, from the year prior, thanks in part to higher corporate tax receipts and decreased spending as a share of GDP.