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Scott Applewhite / AP Photo

With the government reopened and a budget deal reached, members of Congress are heading into a new round of budget negotiations. Front and center is Sen. Patty Murray, who chairs the Senate Budget Committee. On Thursday morning, Murray stood next to House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and told reporters that the two sides will work together to avoid another impasse.

Andy Slabaugh

Relief. That was the main reaction from government workers heading back to their jobs at the federal building in downtown Seattle after a couple weeks of forced time off due to the partial government shutdown. A steady stream of people headed through the revolving doors even before sunrise.

Bringing to an end an episode that once again exposed Washington gridlock at its worst, the House approved a Senate deal that will end a 16-day federal government shutdown and avert the first government default in U.S. history.

The 285-144 vote came at the eleventh hour, after weeks of partisan bickering and a very public airing of deep divisions within the Republican party. President Obama signed the bill into law after midnight Thursday.

Tom Paulson / Humanosphere

Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson is suing Washington, D.C.-based Grocery Manufacturers Association for allegedly violating campaign finance laws with the $7 million used to fight Initiative 522, which would require new labels identifying genetically-modified foods.

Ferguson says the association shielded the identities of the contributors, depriving voters of important information.

In the food business, everything comes down to that moment when a shopper studies a label and decides whether to buy or move on. That’s why food producers have a big interest in Washington’s Initiative 522 on the ballot next month.

If you hit the drive-through, chances are that the cashier who rings you up or the cook who prepared your food relies on public assistance to make ends meet.

A new analysis finds that 52 percent of fast-food workers are enrolled in, or have their families enrolled in, one or more public assistance programs such as SNAP (food stamps) Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Democratic leader Harry Reid says Senate leaders have reached a bipartisan deal to avoid default and end the government shutdown, now in its 16th day.

Reid made the announcement at the start of the Senate session on Wednesday.

The deal would reopen the government through Jan. 15 and increase the nation's borrowing authority through Feb. 7.

Reid thanked Republican leader Mitch McConnell for working out an agreement.

Update at 10:18 p.m.: House Approves Bill:

The crisis is over. With about two hours before the country reached the debt ceiling, the House has approved the bill and it is now it's way to the White House. We've posted separately on that development and we are putting this live blog to bed.

Our Original Post Continues:

As it stands now, it's not against the law to answer nature's call in public in the unincorporated areas of King County.

King County Council member Kathy Lambert wants to change that with a proposed ordinance.

What if Seattle gets stuck with cost overruns on the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement project?

That question sparked a lively exchange on KING-TV between the two candidates for mayor of Seattle during their first televised debate.

During the hour long debate sponsored by KING-TV, KIRO-FM and The Seattle Times, Mayor Mike McGinn and Sen. Ed Murray traded jabs on everything from leadership style to police reform.

But their discussion of the tunnel project raised one of the most interesting questions.

Rogelio V. Soli / AP Photo

At least 82 King County workers have received advance layoff notices as a result of the partial federal government shutdown. The workers administer food assistance to women, infants, and children through the program known as WIC. That food aid is in jeopardy as the shutdown continues.

Associated Press

What do you want to ask Seattle’s mayoral candidates?

As part of our coverage leading up to the November elections, we are focusing on three issues: street safety, housing prices, and transportation challenges. 

Share with us your questions about these topics—or another issue that means a great deal to you—by commenting below.

Tom Banse

The effects of the partial federal government shutdown are rippling across the Northwest. About 1,000 federally-funded Oregon National Guard members received furlough notices Tuesday, as did 850 Washington National Guardsmen and another 850 from Idaho.

Meanwhile, guests at hotels and campgrounds inside national parks have been told to leave by Thursday.

Susan Walsh / AP Photo

Six members of Washington state's 12-member congressional delegation have promised to give up their pay during the federal government shutdown that began Tuesday.

Elaine Thompson / AP Photo

Even as Congress squabbles over the fate of health care reform, Washington’s insurance marketplace opens its virtual doors Tuesday morning.

As Gov. Jay Inslee put it, "Despite the shenanigans in D.C., we're ready to [launch our health care exchange].”

Officials running the exchange said their federal grants have already been appropriated and they expect to be fully funded through next year.

iStockphoto.com

On Tuesday, if all goes according to plan, the federal health law's marketplaces for individual health insurance are scheduled to open for business.

Nearly all Americans will be required to have health insurance starting Jan. 1, 2014, or else they'll be liable for a tax penalty.

<<Jonny Boy>> / Flickr

Washington Senate Democrats say the misuse of campaign funds last year may have cost them a key race, and consequently, control of the state Senate. The acknowledgement on Wednesday came as prosecutors filed theft charges against a former top campaign committee staffer.

<<Jonny Boy>> / Flickr

The staff at Washington’s Public Disclosure Commission has recommended changes to how lobbyists report their meals out with lawmakers. The move follows our investigation last spring with the Associated Press into lobbyist-paid entertainment.

AP

Washington’s senior senator says she won’t let Republicans sacrifice the new health care law in order to pass a budget. The Republican-controlled House is pushing a plan that would do just that.

Sen. Patty Murray took to the Senate floor Wednesday to tell them, “It’s not gonna happen.”

Jeff Chiu / Associated Press

Click here or scroll down for full comparison chart >>>

It used to be if you wanted to get around town or to the airport and didn’t have a car, you’d take public transit or call a cab. But in the last six months, new options have popped up—rideshare services.

I decided to take these services for a test drive, with the help of KPLU news intern Simone Alicea.

<<Jonny Boy>> / Flickr

Since taking office in January, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee has raised the salaries for several cabinet level positions. In total, those raises add up to nearly $100,000 over the course of a year. The boost in salaries comes even as the state continues to recover financially.

Rachel La Corte / Associated Press

Gov. Jay Inslee has unveiled an updated program for officials to track data on government performance and efficiency.

Inslee on Tuesday touted the plan, called "Results Washington," that he says will set goals for the state make it easier for state leaders to spot trends and make decisions based on data on issues ranging from education to the environment to the state's business climate.

Members of Congress from Washington state are mostly undecided ahead of an expected vote next week to authorize military force against Syria.

There are nearly 900 registered lobbyists in Washington state. These are the paid professionals who try to influence the outcome of the legislative process.

But this year, a determined dad proved even outsiders can play the legislative game with a bit of help.

seattlepi.com

Fifty years ago today, a quarter-million people gathered in Washington, D.C., to hear Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. But the summer of 1963 marked a critical point in Seattle history as well, as young activists staged the city’s first sit-ins of the civil rights movement.

The issue that galvanized them was housing discrimination. And in a place that likes to think of itself as progressive, segregation was rampant. 

Damian Dovarganes / AP Photo

Washington voters will decide this fall whether foods that contain genetically-engineered ingredients must carry a special label.

Initiative 522 is similar to a California measure that failed last fall. But so far, the race for political contributions is shaping up quite differently. 

Orlin Wagner / AP Photo

Northwest beekeepers are applauding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for requiring certain pesticides to carry a clearer warning label. The idea is to prevent home gardeners and farmers from inadvertently harming beneficial pollinators, like bees.

The EPA directive applies to widely used bug killers, rose and flower treatments, and grub controls. Future labels will have to carry specific warnings under a picture of a bee. 

401(K) 2012

Now that the Seattle mayoral race has been narrowed down, Ed Murray and Mike McGinn will begin their next wave of fundraising, and it’s shaping up to be an interesting money race.

State Sen. Ed Murray won the primary and has so far won the race for campaign dollars. According to the state Public Disclosure Commission, Murray’s raised about $140,000 more than McGinn. And as of the most recent filings, Murray still had five times as much money in his coffers than the mayor.

Editor's note: KPLU has asked all nine candidates in the Seattle mayoral race to tell us about a time when his or her leadership skills were put to the test. One candidate's answer follows.  

As a fourth generation Seattleite with careers in hotels and real estate, as well as his penchant for the arts, Charlie Staadecker has been dubbed “traditional.”  But that doesn’t mean the bow tie-wearing candidate doesn’t enjoy a little bit of campaign fun.

The candidate’s series of YouTube ads parody a Dos Equis commercial.

Paula Wissel

Editor's note: KPLU has asked all nine candidates in the Seattle mayoral race to tell us about a time when his or her leadership skills were put to the test. One candidate's answer follows.  

Of the nine candidates running for mayor of Seattle, only Mike McGinn has first-hand experience. Leading up to next Tuesday’s primary, KPLU has been asking all the candidates to talk about a time when their leadership was tested.

You could say Mayor Mike McGinn’s leadership skills have been put to the test every day for the past 4 years. How he’s dealt with it has a lot to do with a personal change he made shortly after taking office.

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