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1. Here's another reason for Democrats to be upset about the GOP coup on Friday night; not only did the Republicans pass their own budget, but by losing control of the senate floor for the last few hours of cut-off day (the day when bills from the house had to pass the senate) there was a harsh side effect: 20 Democratic bills from the House died.

They included: two bills to strengthen unemployment insurance for workers; a bill to give consumers more clout in foreclosure settlements, Rep. Tina Orwall's (D-33, Des Moines) follow-up bill to her 2011 foreclosure protection bill; and two bills to put more money into pollution controls.[pullquote] There was a harsh side effect for Democrats.[/pullquote]

2. Friday night's GOP coup was made possible by three conservative Democrats—Sens. Jim Kastama (D-25, Puyallup), Rodney Tom (D-48, Bellevue), and Tim Sheldon (D-35, Potlatch)—who gave the Republicans the necessary 25-24 vote advantage.

Kastama, who's running for secretary of state against two liberal Democrats—Rep. Zack Hudgins (D-11, S. Seattle) and former Seattle mayor Greg Nickels—issued the following statement on Saturday:
It was a difficult but impassioned decision to join with Democratic and Republican colleagues in support of a bipartisan, balanced and sustainable budget.

I think what we have, in this bipartisan budget, is a starting point for further negotiation with the House that is based on sustainable funding for public services.

It is important to emphasize that this budget is far from finished. I heard reasonable and heartfelt objections to cuts made in this budget from my Democratic colleagues. On many points, I agree with them and will continue to work with them to make the best choices of how to spend our limited state funds. However, a plan that only accounts for the current year is no plan at all. We cannot leave Olympia with a budget that will leave us with upwards of $2 billion in additional cuts to make next January. The cuts under that scenario would be disastrous.

It is my belief that the Senate bipartisan budget is the superior proposed operating budget. While it makes larger cuts this year than other proposals, over time it will provide more stability. Even though it will deliver less in services, it will not cripple our ability to responsibly address our core responsibilities.

I have repeatedly urged my colleagues to get serious about systemic budget reforms. In past years I have sponsored legislation to provide accountability, transparency and fiscal sustainability in agreement for my vote on the budget, only to see these efforts vetoed or poorly implemented in many cases.

There is a time for campaigning for what you want, and a time for governing with what you have. I have come to the conclusion that true reform is just to govern.

I strongly believe that we will not find support for expanded public service funding until we change the public perception that we don’t manage the taxpayers’ money responsibly. I believe the Senate bipartisan budget comes closest to this.

What we have done early this morning is open the door to a necessary conversation about moving our state into a sustainable future. With five days left in the session, it is important we begin negotiations immediately and move the budget to the governor for approval.

3. Speaking of statements in the fallout from Friday night's budget coup, Molly Firth, public policy director for the Community Health Network of Washington, had this to say about the GOP budget, which—as we noted in our side-by-side comparison of the Democratic and Republican proposals—makes $57 million more in cuts to health care, including a devastating $40 million cut to the Disability Lifeline:
By eliminating Disability Lifeline, the Senate budget abandons 20,000 of our state’s most vulnerable people. This decision is inhumane and fiscally irresponsible, cutting a program that has created millions of dollars in savings and produced lower rates of arrests, homelessness, hospital admissions, and inpatient psychiatric costs among enrollees. Disability Lifeline is exactly the type of reformed program that our state should protect, with proven success in helping people with disabilities manage chronic conditions, maintain stability and get back on their feet. Without it, lives are at risk.

4. Here are the final numbers from Saturday's GOP caucus:

Mitt Romney: 37.65
Ron Paul: 24.81
Rick Santorum: 23.81
Newt Gingrich: 10.38
Other: 3.44

More than 50,000 Republican voters participated, adding to Romney's momentum as the GOP heads into Super Tuesday tomorrow.
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