He went on to serve as state attorney general, a three-term U.S. senator and member of the 9/11 Commission.
Gorton was known for his aggressive consumer-protection battles as attorney general; his defeat in 1980 of the state’s legendary Democratic Sen. Warren Magnuson at the height of his power; and his work on the GOP inner team in the U.S. Senate.
Democratic Sen. Patty Murray, who overlapped with Gorton in the Senate, said they didn’t always agree, but still worked together to strengthen clean-up efforts at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state, toughen pipeline safety standards and expand health care for children.
Murray praised how Gorton “anchored his leadership in honesty and honor,” such as when he bucked his party to support the National Endowment for the Arts, voted to acquit President Bill Clinton of one of the charges against him during Clinton’s impeachment trial, and supported the impeachment of President Trump.
“Throughout his career in both Washingtons, Slade defied convenient labels and stood on principle — we need more leaders in our country like Slade,” Murray said in an emailed statement.
Former Republican Gov. Dan Evans called Gorton an intellectual giant who was always the smartest person in the room and a strategic thinker who helped define the GOP in Washington state during a time when the party could still prevail in major, state-wide contests.
Gorton, runner-thin to the point of gaunt, struggled with an image of an icy, aloof Ivy Leaguer. He was sometimes compared to the frozen fish sticks his grandfather once sold, and he squired under the nickname “Slippery Slade.” At the 2000 state Republican convention, he acknowledged that he wasn’t warm and fuzzy, a tough move for a politician in an era that valued personality and charm.
“I’ve always been different — I’m not a good politician like Bill Clinton,” Gorton said. “I’m not very good at feeling your pain. …
“I’m more comfortable reading a book than working a room … and my idea of fun is going to a Mariners game with my grandkids, keeping score and staying to myself.”
Gorton chalked it up to Yankee reserve, not disdain for people.
Once, when he was attempting a Senate comeback after suffering the first defeat of his long career, Gorton’s closest allies said if he didn’t knock off his know-it-all, aloof behavior, they were through campaigning for him.
A chastened Gorton made a point to listen better, set up sounding boards across the state and boned up on his people skills, said former top aide Tony Williams.
Thomas Slade Gorton III was born and grew up in the Chicago area, graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Dartmouth, got a law degree from Columbia and served in the Army and Air Force. He picked Seattle so he could enjoy sailing and skiing nearby — and break into law and Republican politics easier than in clubby, Democratic Boston.
He quickly landed a top law job, married former Seattle Times reporter Sally Clark, and within two years won a seat in the state House.
Seattle, now overwhelmingly Democratic, was then a two-party town. Gorton became friends with a liberal Republican set that included Evans, later the three-term governor and senator.
“Right from the beginning, it was clear he had brains to spare,” recalled Evans, two years his senior.
The young Republicans later took over the state House with help from a few Democrats. Gorton became majority leader.
Evans was elected governor in 1964, and Gorton began his own climb in 1968. First came three terms as attorney general, during which he broke with fellow Republicans in publicly calling for President Nixon’s resignation. In 1980, he won a coveted U.S. Senate seat by knocking off the legendary “Maggie” — Warren G. Magnuson, appropriations committee chairman and Senate president.
Gorton was a youthful 52. Magnuson was mentally and politically agile but shuffled, mumbled and looked older than his 75 years — a difference that Gorton played up.
Aided by President Ronald Reagan’s landslide, Gorton pulled off his upset. Within three years, he was writing the federal budget, working on Social Security and budget reforms, and winning a reputation as one the best of the new crop.
But a funny thing happened on his way to fame and glory: He lost the next election. Brock Adams, former congressman and Jimmy Carter’s transportation secretary, edged him by 26,000 votes.
Gorton retreated home, assuming he was washed up in politics. But within a year, Evans decided to vacate the other Senate seat, and Gorton launched his comeback, narrowly defeating liberal Democratic Rep. Mike Lowry in 1988.
Gorton easily won a third term in 1994. He rose in Senate seniority and was appointed to the leadership circle by then-Majority Leader Trent Lott, who praised Gorton’s “wise counsel.”
By 2000, Gorton was 72 and looking over his shoulder at a challenger 30 years his junior.
Democrat Maria Cantwell borrowed a page from Gorton’s playbook. She said, “It’s not about age,” but what she called “a 19th-century view of where we need to be.”
Cantwell, a dot-com millionaire, plowed $10 million into her campaign. It was a Democratic year, and Gorton, who had been in public life since 1958, the year Cantwell was born, lost.
He later served on the 9/11 Commission and on the National Commission on Federal Election Reform, as well as numerous civic boards and campaigns.
He was also a self-described baseball nut who twice went to bat to successfully keep the Mariners in Seattle.
Gorton and his wife had a son, Tod, and daughters Sara and Becky and their children.
India’s Ranjitsinh Disale wins 2020 Global Teacher Prize and splits it with runners-up
Ranjitsinh Disale, a teacher at Zilla Parishad Primary School, in the village of Paritewadi in the western Indian state of Maharashtra, was chosen as winner from more than 12,000 nominations and applications, from over 140 countries around the world.
The award recognized his efforts to promote girls’ education at the school, whose pupils are mostly from tribal communities.
The Global Teacher Prize said he learned the local language of the village in order to translate class textbooks into his pupils’ mother tongue.
He also created unique QR codes on the textbooks to give students access to audio poems, video lectures, stories and assignments, greatly improving school attendance. His QR technology is now being rolled out more widely across India.
Rather than keeping all his winnings, Disale told Fry in an interview that he would share the prize with the other nine finalists, giving them $55,000 each — the first time anyone has done so in the award’s six-year history.
He told Fry: “I believe that if I share this prize money with nine teachers it means I can scale up their work. Their incredible work is still worthy… If I share the prize money with the rest of the teachers they will get a chance to continue their work… and we can reach out and lighten the lives of as many students as we can.”
“Educating young children, especially from poor and needy backgrounds is perhaps the best way to help them as individuals, and actively contributes to creating a better world,” he said.
The award’s nine runners-up are teachers working in the United States, Britain, Vietnam, Nigeria, South Africa, Italy, South Korea, Malaysia and Brazil.
Pelosi eyes combining Covid aid with mammoth spending deal
Pelosi said the $908 billion proposal released this week by a centrist group of Senate and House members helped restart the stimulus talks, which fell apart just before the election after months of dragging on with little real movement.
“There is momentum — there is momentum with the action that the senators and House members in a bipartisan way have taken,” Pelosi said Friday, in the latest sign that negotiators are closing in on a deal. “The tone of our conversations is one that is indicative of the decision to get the job done.”
President-elect Joe Biden on Friday said he’s “encouraged” by the $908 billion proposal, framing it as the type of bipartisan work that he hopes to foster as president. He cautioned that “any package passed in the lame duck session is not going to be enough overall.”
But hurdles remain. Government funding runs out in just one week, and there are still a sizable number of issues impeding an agreement on a massive spending package that would increase agency budgets for the rest of the fiscal year.
The sheer number of outstanding items at such a late stage makes it increasingly likely that congressional negotiators will require a brief stopgap spending bill to complete their work before leaving for the holidays. Such a decision could be made early next week if lawmakers fail to make significant progress over the weekend.
Pelosi demurred when asked about the possibility of a short-term stopgap to buy more time for talks, and dismissed the need for a longer term continuing resolution that would extend current government funding into early next year.
“We will take the time that we need,” Pelosi said, while acknowledging that a number of issues remain, including some outside of appropriators’ jurisdiction.
“Don’t worry about a date,” she added.
While appropriators in both chambers remain optimistic that they’ll finish their work before the holidays, Republicans and Democrats are still swapping offers and arguing over details, kicking some of the most difficult items up to congressional leaders.
For example, a House Democratic aide close to the talks said Republicans want to scrub any mentions of Covid-19 from the omnibus package entirely. Earlier this year, House Democrats added coronavirus relief to their slate of fiscal 2021 appropriations bills, while Senate Republicans have insisted that pandemic aid remain totally separate from annual appropriations measures.
Republicans are also objecting to funding for research on reducing racial and ethnic inequalities in the justice system, in addition to language that would require the Capitol Police to report on policies and procedures on eliminating unconscious bias and racial profiling during training, the Democratic aide said.
Republicans, meanwhile, are accusing Democrats of holding up omnibus talks by insisting on the removal of two Interior-Environment policy riders that have been included in annual spending bills for years. The provisions involve protections for the greater sage-grouse, in addition to a provision related to the carbon neutrality of forest biomass.
“Dredging these up right now is beyond counterproductive,” a GOP aide familiar with the talks said Thursday night.
Funding for President Donald Trump’s border wall also remains a perennial sticking point — Senate Republicans have proposed $2 billion for fiscal 2021, which began on Oct. 1. House Democrats have proposed no extra cash.
Lawmakers have also disagreed on detention beds for detained migrants in recent days, although Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) — the top Senate Democrat who oversees funding for the Department of Homeland Security — said Thursday that issue may get solved without the help of leadership.
Also in question is whether the White House will ultimately support a package that classifies billions of dollars in veterans’ health care spending as “emergency” spending outside of strict budget limits. Both House Appropriations Chair Nita Lowey and Senate Appropriations Chair Richard Shelby are moving forward with their negotiations assuming that’s the case, since the White House has previously signed off on such an arrangement.
Pelosi on Friday also said that whatever coronavirus relief they include in the government funding bill will not be the last time Congress addresses the ongoing pandemic, which continues to devastate the U.S., killing more than 275,000 Americans and causing a sharp downturn in the economy. The U.S. saw the deadliest day ever on Thursday, with Covid-19 fatalities exceeding 2,700.
“President-elect Biden has said that this package would be, just at best, just a start. And that’s how we see it as well,” Pelosi said.
The speaker also defended her decision to hold out for months, demanding a larger deal in the ballpark of $2 trillion or more, only to agree to negotiate this smaller package now. McConnell, similarly, refused to come off his much smaller baseline over the summer — pushing a $500 billion package — resulting in a standoff between congressional leaders.
“That was not a mistake, it was a decision,” Pelosi told reporters, saying the dynamics have significantly shifted since the election of Biden and the quicker than expected vaccine development. “That is a total game changer — a new president and a vaccine.”
With cautious optimism about the prospect of passing some fiscal stimulus to buoy the American economy during a bleak pandemic winter, lawmakers remain hopeful that Congress will pull it together before leaving Washington, despite lingering omnibus headaches.
“You know this place — turns on a dime,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), who was elected by the Democratic caucus on Thursday as the next Appropriations chair.
Sarah Ferris contributed to this story.
Gavin Williamson Claims The UK Approved A Coronavirus Vaccine First Because It Is A “Much Better Country”
2 min read
Gavin Williamson has claimed the UK’s speedy approval of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine was due to it being a “much better country” than France, Belgium and the US.
The UK become the first country in the world to approve a clinical vaccine for coronavirus on Wednesday after the medicines regulator, the MHRA, gave the green light for the jab to be rolled out from next week.
The Education Secretary said this is because the UK has the “best medical regulators”, dodging questions about the impact of Brexit on the approval process of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
Speaking after the approval announcement on Wednesday, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said that “because of Brexit” the UK regulator had been able to approve the vaccine without having to wait for the European Medicines Agency to do so.
But his claims were later contradicted by both No10 and senior figures within the regulator, with a spokesperson for Boris Johnson insisting the approval was “thanks to the hard work of the MHRA”.
Meanwhile, Dr June Raine, head of the regulatory agency said the green light to roll out the vaccine from next week was made “using provisions under European law which exist until January 1”.
But pressed on the impact of Brexit on the approval process, Mr Williamson instead suggested the approval was down to the UK having “much better” medical regulators than France, Belgium and America.
“Well I just reckon we’ve got the very best people in this country and we’ve obviously got the best medical regulators,” he told LBC
“Much better than the French have, much better than the Belgians have, much better than the Americans have.
“That doesn’t surprise me at all because we’re a much better country that every single one of them, aren’t we.”
He added: “Just being able to get on with things, deliver it and with brilliant people in our medical regulator making it happen means that people in this country are going to be the first ones in the world to get that Pfizer vaccine.”
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