Category Archives: Maria Cantwell

Kilmer, Murray on Syria

With Syria within sharp focus, Kitsap’s representatives in Congress remain undecided on whether they should vote to support U.S. military action in Syria.

In an email U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer sent out on Friday he tells constituents that he has not yet decided which way he would vote, what he is against and what questions he wants answered before he decides. The entire letter follows, but the main bullet points are that:

  • Kilmer does not support sending in troops;
    He does not support starting something that will create a larger regional fight;
    He does not support empowering extremists;
    Kilmer wants to know what success looks like;
    He wants to know what the effect will be in the short, medium and long terms;
    He wants to know what the price of inaction is.
  • Kilmer asked for your feedback and receives email at or you may call any of his offices.

    Sen. Patty Murray’s statement, in which she also says she is undecided, follows Kilmer’s and her contact page is at

    I don’t see an official statement from Cantwell, but news reports show her as undecided.

    The full statements follow.
    Continue reading

    Dicks & Cantwell introduce bill to give Quileute tsunami protection

    Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair, and Sen. Maria Cantwell have introduced companion bills “to provide the Quileute Indian Tribe tsunami and flood protection and for other purposes” (H.R. 1162 and S. 636).

    Dick tweeted today, “Great video on need for Quileute tsunami protection legislation, recently introduced by Norm and Sen. Cantwell:”

    From the bill under findings:
    (C) for many decades, the Tribe and the Park (National Park Service/ Olympic National Park) have had a dispute over the Reservation boundaries along the Quillayute River;

    (D) in recent years, this dispute has intensified as the Tribe has faced an urgent need for additional lands for housing, schools, and other Tribe purposes outside the tsunami and Quillayute River flood zones; and

    (E) the lack of a settlement of this dispute threatens to adversely impact the public’s existing and future recreational use of several attractions in the Park that are accessed by the public’s use of Reservation lands.

    Federal spending will not go down

    The State of the Union speech to be delivered this (Tuesday) evening by President Obama is likely to call for a couple of things aimed at the budget.

    First, he’ll join Republicans in calling for an end to earmarks.

    Second, he’ll call for a five-year spending freeze on non-security discretionary spending.

    On the second point, “The problem there is you’re talking about 13 percent of the federal budget,” said George Behan, spokesman for U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair.

    Dicks’ position of leadership even though he is again in the minority party is spelled out pretty well in a (Tacoma) News Tribune story by McClatchy Washington Bureau reporter Rob Hotakainen.

    The story also references the call for no earmarks and the problems locally (think Port Orchard) that presents.

    “I (Dicks) may have done it,” he said in an interview in his office on Capitol Hill last week. “I’ve been here 34 years. I may have done the best I can.”

    Behan said Dicks takes issue with the president’s apparent willingness to leave defense out of the spending cut picture. Dicks gave a speech on the House floor Tuesday (The video appears below.) referencing $78 billion in defense cuts recommended by Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

    Behan said that in times like these, Dicks believes cuts need to be made everywhere. “He’s as strong as anybody on defense but he doesn’t believe you should exempt the Pentagon,” Behan said.

    Incidentally, Dicks still doesn’t have a copy of the president’s speech, late by Washington standards. An excerpt of the Republican response to the speech has been posted on Facebook.

    Non-discretionary spending is far and away the big chunk of the federal budget, items in defense, Medicare and Social Security. An overall freeze of spending would cap all spending at whatever it is this year, but the federal government would have a tough time doing that, because spending on defense, Medicare and Social Security go up every year just by maintaining the same level of service. That’s why a freeze is essentially a cut. Cutting non-discretionary spending is harder to do, Behan said.

    Also part of the president’s speech tonight is . U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Bainbridge Island, spoke to that this morning on the floor of the House.

    “As we’re coming out of this very deep recession, many of us believe that one of the brightest spots on our economic horizon is our ability to develop hundreds of thousands of new jobs in this country, so that America can fulfill its detiny of leading the world in clean energy development.”

    The entire speech follows, as does the one from Dicks.

    Continue reading

    By the Way, There Will Be an In-Person Town Hall

    I admit it. Sen. Patty Murray’s press secretary Alex Glass is right. Members of Congress have been coming to the community and talking about health care and not getting much attention until now. “I honestly think it was because there wasn’t this frenzy, and people like to watch the frenzy,” Glass said.

    Murray, herself, was in Bremerton in July for a health care workforce event at Harrison Medical Center. As for town halls, that’s not a forum she prefers, said Glass. The interaction is better at smaller, round-table events. She probably won’t be in Kitsap during this recess, Glass said, but will be traveling the state discussing health care. And she has had the telephone town-hall meetings.

    I’ve called the office of U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair, but have yet to hear back on his plans over the break.

    U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell has had nine forums on health care this year. She doesn’t have any planned over the break, but will have three events during the break that are open to the public. I know of one, so far. It’s next Friday in Pend Oreille County where she’ll address multiple issues, including health care.

    U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Bainbridge Island, said he will have two town halls, probably within the first couple weeks of September. One of those will be on this side of the water. They’re still working on dates, times and location.

    Even if you blanche at the sight of the name “Paul Krugman” or “New York Times,” I think you might find his take on the town halls today interesting. He believes the people shouting at these events are not just shills trucked in from elsewhere, even if he thinks some of their anger is misguided.

    ” . . . while the organizers are as crass as they come, I haven’t seen any evidence that the people disrupting those town halls are Florida-style rent-a-mobs. For the most part, the protesters appear to be genuinely angry. The question is, what are they angry about?”

    I won’t spoil the ending for you, or the beginning for that matter. Seriously, go read it.

    Health Care Cost Conversation

    At the end of this post is a copy of the letter sent by 15 U.S. senators, including Washington Democrat Maria Cantwell, to President-elect Barack Obama in regards to health care reform.

    The letter is signed by seven Republicans, seven Democrats, and one, Joe Lieberman, whose party depends on where we are in the political cycle.

    Here at the Kitsap Sun we are just finishing signing up for medical benefits for next year. I’m making an assumption that this is the time of year a lot of companies have their employees signing up for benefits. In our case the company pays a set percentage of the premium. If I pick the same plan we had this year, the amount more I’ll be paying will be two-to-three times the pay increase I’ll receive. So next year my paycheck will be smaller. The upside is I still have a job.

    I’m curious to know what kind of health care expectations you have for yourself in the coming year. Will your costs be increasing, or have you found a way to make it cheaper?

    To read the letter, please continue.
    Continue reading

    Green News

    On Tuesday the Port of Bremerton is scheduled to vote on whether to accept the $2.58 million grant it has been offered by the U.S. Dept. of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration. Should the port decide to move ahead with Kitsap SEED, it will have to match the federal grant funds. Last time the commissioners delayed the vote so everyone could read the consultant’s report.

    The Columbian has a story about U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., visiting the area and talking about green energy, specifically the bailout bill’s ornaments for green technology. Included in the story was a discussion about the power grid.

    Now political leaders need to fix the nation’s electric grid, said Chris Crowley, president of Columbia Wind. “Our infrastructure is held together with chewing gum and bailing wire.”

    Because of the grid’s age and limits in its design, wind power generated in rural areas cannot always be moved along transmission lines to the high-population areas where electricity users live.

    When U.S. Rep. Jay Inslee, D-Bainbridge Island, was here, I mentioned infrastructure projects as part of his video’d Q&A. This was before the second vote in which the bailout bill passed. I brought up transportation projects, he specifically called out the power grid.


    Politico asked senators about their mortgages in light of two Democratic senators getting special deals on their Countrywide mortgages. The e-mail I received from a blog reader showed that U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash. was the only one at that time who had not responded. Her office later reported that her original loan had been sold to Countrywide, then to another lender.

    . . .

    In the 35th District Randy Neatherlin declared he was from the “No Gas Tax (G.O.P.)” party. Governor candidate Dino Rossi also used the tag, “G.O.P.” and said Democrats were insulting voters by insinuating they wouldn’t know what the abbreviation stood for (Grand Old Party).

    David Postman at the Times, though, posts that an Elway Poll shows one in four don’t know what it means.

    And in an earlier national story on Fox News Curtis Fackler, chairman of the Spokane Republican Party and candidate for state insurance commissioner, said, “There’s 30 percent of people in the state that would not vote for a Republican no matter what, and we want to go around that. We want them to read our statements and see where we’re coming from.” Fackler listed no party preference when he filed to run.

    . . .

    McClatchy, owner of just about every daily newspaper in the state except ours it seems (not really), has an extensive series on how many prisoners at Guantanamo have little or no connection to terrorism, hardly the “worst of the worst” described by the president. The series is described this way:

    An eight-month McClatchy investigation of the detention system created after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks has found that the U.S. imprisoned innocent men, subjected them to abuse, stripped them of their legal rights and allowed Islamic militants to turn the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba into a school for jihad.

    . . .

    Finally, NASCAR fans are feeling the pinch from high gas prices. Most are still going, by and large, because they bought their tickets before the costs went up. They may not be spending as much on other things and the question becomes whether the economy will have an impact on the sport’s attendance two or three years from now.

    On Earmarks

    This weekend the News Tribune ran a set of stories on congressional earmarks. The package as a whole creates a fair discussion about something that tends to be dominated by the obvious bad offenders. There’s a database of Washington earmarks included, and U.S. Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair, figures prominently in the stories.

    “It robs the public of a fully transparent debate,” Jason Mercier, director of the Center for Government Reform at the Washington Policy Center, a nonprofit group that lobbies for more transparent government, said of the earmarks process. “People just kind of slip these things in there.”


    Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Belfair, noted that the U.S. Constitution gives Congress, not the White House, the “power of the purse.” And that’s as it should be, he said. “They know better what’s needed in their districts than some OMB bureaucrat,” Dicks said, referring to the Office of Management and Budget.