Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Progressive Breakfast: On Policy, It's No Contest. Clinton: 112,735 Words, Trump: 9,000.


...only one candidate is bothering to offer a comprehensive set of policy proposals. As the Associated Press reported, “Trump’s campaign has posted just seven policy proposals on his website, totaling just over 9,000 words. There are 38 on [Democratic candidate Hillary] Clinton’s “issues” page, ranging from efforts to cure Alzheimer’s disease to Wall Street and criminal justice reform, and her campaign boasts that it has now released 65 policy fact sheets, totaling 112,735 words.” The policy fight is a mismatch. You can’t beat something with nothing. And on many fronts, Trump is literally offering nothing.


Clinton and Trump take part in prime-time TV forum tonight 8 PM ET. The Hill: “… Hillary Clinton will go first during Wednesday evening’s Commander in Chief forum, hosted by the IAVA (Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America) and airing on NBC and MSNBC. Clinton will take questions from moderator Matt Lauer and members of the audience — which will largely be comprised of veterans and active service members — for 30 minutes before Donald Trump takes the stage.”
Clinton doesn’t attack GOP Congress. The Hill: “It’s a strategy aimed at wooing ­anti-Trump Republicans, but one that dismays some Democrats who think a more pointed attack from Clinton would help the party win back the Senate majority and pick up a lot of seats in the House.”
Republican donors pump money into Senate races. Politico: “Two top outside groups designed to support Senate Republicans raised $42 million in August, a massive haul … Donors, skeptical of Donald Trump and increasingly convinced he will lose in November, are turning away from the presidential race in an effort to save their legislative firewall on Capitol Hill.”
Several liberal ballot initiatives theoretically could boost turnout. TNR’s David Dayen: “Four states (Arizona, Colorado, Maine and Washington state) will vote on increasing the minimum wage … California will try to lower prescription drug prices … Colorado will attempt to install a single-payer health care system. Maine and Nevada have background checks for gun purchases on the ballot, while a California initiative would ban large-capacity magazines for ammunition … Oregon would increase the corporate tax on big businesses; South Dakota would cap interest rates on short-term loans to 36 percent. By contrast, there are only a couple of conservative ballot measures out there … [But] if 2014 is any guide, that won’t move the [turnout] needle.”
Kochs hope to rebuild Republican Party after Trump. NYT: “Their secret weapon is the Grassroots Leadership Academy … intended to groom the next generation of conservative activists … The network hopes that these activists will learn how to make a compelling, personal pitch to win over new converts to the cause, and that if volunteers are grounded in a strong philosophical understanding of free-market principles, they will be better prepared not only to explain their beliefs but also to ward off candidates, like Mr. Trump, who do not espouse their vision.”


Water bill with Flint aid could clear Senate soon. NYT: “[The] $9 billion measure that would authorize spending on the nation’s water infrastructure … includes $280 million to address the [Flint] crisis … It has wide bipartisan support, and staff members expect it to receive more than 80 votes. However, the prospects for combining the bill with a more modest $5 billion House measure, which contains none of the Flint provisions, remain uncertain.”
House GOP leadership appears to break with right-wing on keeping government open. Roll Call: “The speaker’s comment that individual appropriations bills will be negotiated throughout the fall suggests an interest in wrapping up those negotiations this year, likely with an omnibus spending bill in December … Pushing for a CR through December will nonetheless anger House Freedom Caucus members and other conservatives who do not want to negotiate an omnibus during a lame-duck session.”
Senate Banking Committee chair will change next year no matter what. The Hill: “[Sen. Richard] Shelby is expected to easily win reelection in November but won’t be allowed to keep the Banking gavel in the next Congress due to Republican term limit rules. That’s welcome news for Democrats and financial services lobbyists. They say Shelby has failed to move important legislation and nominations out of committee, ignored several potential bipartisan deals and failed to prioritize policy and oversight issues … The committee would likely be led in the next Congress by Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) if Republicans hold the majority, while the gavel would likely fall to [Sen. Sherrod] Brown (D-Ohio) if Democrats take control.”
Obama stumps for TPP in Asia. LAT: “A failure by Congress to ratify the Trans Pacific Partnership deal would ‘call into question America’s leadership’ just as a new administration transitions into power, Obama warned Tuesday … ‘I will continue to push hard on the U.S. Congress to approve TPP before I leave office because I think it is important for this entire region and it is important for the United States,’ … In addition to reassuring leaders of the other 11 countries involved in the trade talks, Obama is signaling to domestic allies that he’s prepared to fight campaigns to prevent a vote in Congress after the election.”


Feds may prosecute HSBC. Bloomberg: “Prosecutors’ fresh investigation of HSBC brings them closer to a step that has often been threatened but rarely taken — tearing up a deferred-prosecution agreement if a company fails to walk the road of reform laid out by the Justice Department … It admitted in 2012 that it helped Mexican drug cartels launder money and did business with Iran and other sanctioned nations … If the Justice Department determines that the bank broke U.S. law after it entered into the agreement, it could invoke a section of the deal that says HSBC could be held responsible for the conduct it admitted to in 2012.”
College enrollment rate dips, impacting economy. Bloomberg: “Enrollment has declined every year since peaking in 2011 … The reasons include an aging population, rising tuition costs and a healthy rate of hiring … central bankers largely powerless to fix the schooling slump say something must be done to counter it to prevent a new era of weaker growth … Among the most noticeable consequences of weaker college enrollment is lower wages … the direct impact of less-educated people joining the workforce has the potential to reduce productivity by 0.25 percentage point a year …”
Bloomberg explores investigation into ExxonMobil’s campaign to debunk climate science: “…on Nov. 4, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman opened a formal investigation into whether Exxon had misled investors and regulators about climate change … Schneiderman now finds himself under investigation … says Michael Gerrard, a law professor at Columbia … ‘The government would have to show that there were things that only Exxon knew and that were material to investors and that Exxon kept from investors. Such evidence might be there, but we don’t know yet.'”

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