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WASHINGTON – With just under a month left in 2011, the federal budget and tax breaks top Inland Northwest lawmakers’ year-end to-do lists. Three of 12 appropriations bills are on President Barack Obama’s desk and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., remains optimistic the other nine will join them by year’s end.
U.S. senators from Washington and Idaho all say they support a plan to extend payments to counties and school districts that have significant amounts of federal land inside their boundaries. Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington and Raul Labrador of Idaho, however, are looking at plans to increase timber sales and other money-making activities on those lands, and set it aside for the those timber counties and school districts.
Northwest Republicans criticized President Obama’s proposed jobs bill as too much that’s been tried before and not enough that will bring long-term changes. Washington Democrats, meanwhile, said the request to put politics aside was overdue.
Turns out that Spokane politics mirror the rancor in the other Washington. More than 600 people jammed the Lincoln Center on Wednesday night to boo or cheer Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, whose role in the Republican leadership of the U.S. House of Representative has put her under closer scrutiny as the nation’s economy sputters and its politics sour.
Local leaders are worried that a federal program that pays for roads, roofs, sidewalks, youth programs and a broad array of other services could face substantial cuts as Congress works to slash debt. Earlier this month, the Spokane City Council voted unanimously to ask House and Senate leaders for “full funding” for the Community Development Block Grant program.