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Category: Congress

July
2nd

Alliance for Retired holds demonstration at state Capitol grounds to protect Social Security COLAs

About 40 retirees belonging to the Washington State Alliance for Retired Americans held a demonstration Tuesday against federal proposals to use a less aggressive inflation factor for calculating yearly cost of living increases for Social Security recipients. One man wrapped his shoulders in large-link chain and others waved placards at passing motorists along Capitol Way to specifically target the “chained” Consumer Price Index, which President Obama signaled willingness to consider in his 2014 budget.

As outlined in a column in Governing magazine, the chained CPI assumes smaller increases in the cost of living by assuming consumers

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June
12th

U.S. Rep. Heck wins passage for first bill; it allows quick reform of reverse mortgage rules

First-year Congressman Denny Heck of Olympia pushed his first piece of legislation through the U.S. House on Wednesday, passing a reverse-mortgage reform bill on a voice vote. The measure, H.R. 2167, now goes to the U.S. Senate for consideration.

Heck, a Democrat representing Washington’s new 10th Congressional District, sponsored the Reverse Mortgage Stabilization Act at the behest of the Federal Housing Administration, which reports a higher rate of underwater mortgages in its reverse-mortgage portfolio than its holdings overall.

Heck said the Reverse Mortgage Stabilization Act lets FHA make rule changes quickly by letter to mortgagees and

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April
18th

Stan Flemming plans Friday-night fundraiser to pay off debt from last year’s failed 10th CD campaign and potentially to run again

After Republican Stan Flemming of University Place lost in the 2012 primary race for Washington’s new 10th Congressional District, he still owed money on  loans he took out to finance his campaign. Fast forward 8 1/2  months  later: Flemming is holding a campaign fundraiser Friday evening at the Tacoma Country and Golf Club to retire that debt and build up money for another run in 2014.

Federal Election Commission filings show that Flemming’s 2012 campaign is still owing at least $50,700 to a private Beverly Hills lender, Spanky LLC. An email announcing Flemming’s 6 p.m. buffet-dinner event says the goal is to pay off

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March
27th

Heck favors federal law changes to let I-502 work, including help to allow banker lending to marijuana enterprises

U.S. Rep. Denny Heck says he ended up voting for Washington’s marijuana legalization initiative last fall and thinks the federal government now needs to take steps to let the state put Initiative 502 into effect. Among the changes: Shed the federal Drug Enforcement Agency’s Schedule 1 listing marijuana of marijuana as a “most dangerous” drug with no accepted medical use, which he called “the height of silliness.”

“My position is that the federal government’s regulations ought to enable states to implement voter approved laws or legislatively approved laws in this regard. I actually think that having

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March
23rd

U.S. Senate’s ‘symbolic’ vote on online taxes keeps cash-hopes alive in the Washington Legislature

The U.S. Senate voted 75-to-24 Friday to approve a budget amendment that doesn’t yet usher in a new era of taxing online retail sales in all states. But it did show that the so-called Marketplace Fairness Act has enough support to avoid a filibuster.

The National Conference of State Legislatures hailed the vote Friday night as a step toward states and local governments being able to collect some $23 billion in lost taxation. The state Department of Revenue estimated last year that Washington’s state and local governments could see a two-year windfall of up to $483

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March
22nd

Update – U.S. Reps. Heck, Kilmer respond to news of airport tower closures pending in Tumwater and Tacoma

This has been updated to include Rep. Kilmer’s statement and other changes.

U.S. Rep. Denny Heck pledged again Friday to look for ways to avoid the sequestration budget cuts. The freshman Democrat from Olympia put out a statement following news reports Friday that 149 airport traffic control towers across the country would lose staffing as a result of the across-the-board cuts.

Two towers are either in or near his 10th Congressional District – including at Olympia Regional Airport and at Tacoma Narrows Airport.

Heck’s statement:

Washington, D.C. – The Federal Aviation Administration informed my office this afternoon that the

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March
6th

Sequester cuts starting to land in Washington, but impact on such sensitive programs as Head Start for kids won’t be felt right away

UPDATE: Our print story that expands on this post from Wednesday is here.

Budget gurus for the state of Washington are still calculating the actual effects of the much federal spending cuts being triggered by a 2011 budget vote in Congress known as the “sequestration.’’

But the cuts began taking effect Friday to the tune of almost $83 million in state-administered programs over the next seven months, and the timing and effects vary by program in state government and agencies it funds.

What is known is that vulnerable populations such as the disabled, seniors, kids in Head Start and

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Feb.
20th

Top members of state’s congressional delegation drop in at Legislature to explain ‘sequestration’ situation

Washington state legislators got a friendly visit Wednesday from two top members of their congressional delegation – U.S. Sen. Patty Murray and U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

Murray met with Democrats in the House and Senate, while McMorris Rodgers met with her kindred Republicans in the two chambers. Neither sounded alarms that the spending-cuts situation – dubbed “sequestration” – is dire. At least not yet.

“I’m telling them that next week I have legislation that will be on the Senate floor to replace sequestration in a smart way – that moves

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