Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Progressive Breakfast: Welcome to Swamp Trump. Please Don't Feed the Gators.

MORNING MESSAGE

It’s already a Washington truism that Donald Trump, who promised to “drain the swamp” of lobbyists and others who exploit government for personal gain, has turned to it instead for his key appointments. It’s true. The reptiles are taking over. Let’s take a tour of the place while we still can. Welcome to Trump Swamp. Join us on the glass-bottom boat as we gaze on the denizens below. Keep your hands inside the railings – and please don’t feed the gators.

DNC RACE IS ON

Rep. Keith Ellison formally enters race for DNC chair. The Hill: “The Minnesota Democrat begins his pursuit of the chairmanship with the support of liberal icon Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and progressive grassroots groups, as well as Senate Democratic leaders Harry Reid (Nev.) and Charles Schumer (N.Y.) … Some Democrats warn that the rush to anoint a successor is exactly what got the party into trouble during the 2016 cycle … There is also a strong desire to see a Hispanic DNC chairperson.”
SC party chair Jamie Harrison enters race. Charleston Post and Courier: “Harrison has an impressive resume and compelling personal narrative. He likens his story to the ‘American dream,’ which took him from poverty and food stamps to college and law degrees from Yale and Georgetown … Harrison also joined the Podesta Group, a lobbying and consulting firm founded by Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta. It could be an attack point by rivals …”
Can the Obama coalition ever be reassembled? Politico: “…the issue of whether to re-engage the young voters and minorities who elected President Obama to two terms but didn’t turn out for Clinton, or reach out to the disaffected white working class voters who swung to Trump, is too pressing to be avoided … Some are convinced that a tighter focus on a simple economic message will be an important start … Other top Democrats have zeroed in on the party’s narrow-casting approach to voters, and an over-reliance on modeled targeting of potential supporters … Already, such divisions are on display in the race for the DNC chairmanship — a proxy for the fight over the party’s general direction — with each candidate prescribing a different potential antidote to the party’s ills.”
“Liberal groups steel themselves to battle Trump,” reports Politico: “Top Democratic operatives are huddling this week in a series of meetings to strategize about which groups will run point on everything from safeguarding women’s access to health care to fighting any increase in deportations to preventing attacks on Muslim Americans. Fundraisers have also been pitching top liberal donors who are gathering in Washington this week for a meeting of the Democracy Alliance, a secretive club of wealthy progressives, to commit tens of millions of dollars for a 2018 field campaign to stave off potentially massive losses in the midterm elections. There is also discussion of forming a liberal equivalent to the right’s Judicial Watch, which spent much of the past eight years as a thorn in the Obama administration’s side filing legal petitions under the Freedom of Information Act — and tormented Hillary Clinton with aggressive investigations into her email habits.”

SCHUMER, PELOSI FEEL HEAT

“Schumer under pressure to add Sanders to leadership team” reports The Hill: “Pressure is growing on Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) to back Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) as chairman of the Democratic Policy and Communications Center, a powerful position with influence over the party’s messaging and floor strategy … Liberal Democratic activists say Sanders and Warren have become the de facto leaders of the party and should be given official positions that reflect their status, if that’s what they want … ‘Warren and Sanders have very big platforms. They will be the dominant voice of the Democratic Party,’ said Robert Borosage, co-director of Campaign for America’s Future, a liberal advocacy group. ‘The Wall Street wing will be very sheepish and subdued.'”
Protesters storm Schumer’s office, demanding he relinquish leadership role. Roll Call: “‘People here are either going to meet with Schumer or get arrested,’ said Waleed Shahid, a leader of the group All of Us 2016 … The group said they hoped this would be the start of many protests against ‘Wall Street Democrats … who don’t do everything they can to filibuster Trump’s legislation that promotes his hatred or his greed.’”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi may face challenge. The Hill: “Rep. Tim Ryan on Monday confirmed he’s weighing a challenge … Tuesday’s elections have exacerbated frustrations about Democrats’ minority status, leading to some calls for a changing of the guard … Democrats are scheduled to hold their leadership elections on Thursday. But more than two dozen in the party are urging a delay until after the Thanksgiving break.”

TRUMP TRANSITION IN "DISARRAY"

“Trump Staff Shake-Up Slows Transition to Near Halt” reports NYT: “President-elect Donald J. Trump’s transition operation plunged into disarray on Tuesday with the abrupt resignation of Mike Rogers, who had handled national security matters, the second shake-up in a week … Pence has yet to sign legally required paperwork to allow his team to begin collaborating with President Obama’s aides on the handover … Eliot A. Cohen, a former State Department official, said on Twitter that after having spoken to Mr. Trump’s team, he had ‘changed my recommendation: stay away. They’re angry, arrogant, screaming “you LOST!” Will be ugly.'”
What does Bannon want? The Hill: “Bannon admires right-wing nationalists and hard-line illegal immigration opponents in Europe and elsewhere. He wants to work more closely with them and sees them as part of a worldwide movement to overthrow the ‘globalists,’… Bannon viewed [Speaker Paul] Ryan as part of a globalist elite that he believes is conspiring to undermine American sovereignty by supporting open immigration and free trade.”

DEFICIT POLITICS TAKE BACKSEAT

Trump’s GOP to forget about deficit reduction. Politico: “For eight years, Republicans hammered President Barack Obama for exploding the national debt. But now a GOP-led spending spree is coming, with Donald Trump riding to the White House on trillion-dollar promises and a Republican Congress that looks likely to do his bidding … Trump’s plans call for $1 trillion to be spent over a decade, in part through public-private partnerships and private investments. Trump has also vowed to ‘rebuild’ the U.S. military and eliminate the stiff caps on Pentagon spending that Congress enacted in the 2011 Budget Control Act.”
Trump needs to persuade GOP on infrastructure. The Atlantic: “‘That’s not in the “Better Way” agenda,’ the [House] speaker replied [in September.] … the hurdle in recent years has been finding a way to pay for it … Details of what Trump has in mind are scarce … [FreedomWorks’ Adam] Brandon said he was open to an idea both Democrats and Republicans have discussed in recent years known as repatriation: encouraging corporations to bring back cash they have parked overseas by offering a one-time lower tax rate … [Rep. Dave Brat] said he could support an infrastructure bill if the decisions about which projects to fund were made outside of D.C.”

BANKERS EMBRACE TRUMP 

“Wall Street Is Suddenly in Love with Trump” says WIlliam D. Cohan in Politico oped: “…Trump has just named Steve Bannon, a former Goldman Sachs banker, as his chief strategist, and is said to be considering another Goldman alumnus, Steve Mnuchin, as Treasury Secretary. Rebekah Mercer, the daughter of billionaire hedge-funder Robert Mercer, is on Trump’s 16-member transition team executive committee, as is Anthony Scaramucci, another hedge-fund manager and a former Goldman Sachs banker … Most of Trump’s proposals are Wall Street-friendly. Cutting corporate and personal income taxes? Check. … Reducing burdensome regulations? Check. Rewriting the tax code? Check. Potentially repealing the 2010 Dodd-Frank law and the burdensome Volcker Rule embedded in it? Check, check and triple-check.”
Wall Street may be careful about what it asks for. NYT: “While you would think much of the finance industry would salivate at the chance to rid itself of [Dodd-Frank], its view is more nuanced. Most companies have made large investments and changes in their business practices to comply with the law … ‘That omelet has been made; that toothpaste is out of the tube,’ Lloyd C. Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs … ‘I wouldn’t want regulation to be repealed in toto,’ he added. ‘If you want to be good for bankers, you have to have policies that would be good for economic growth.’ … [Capital Alpha Partners research analyst Ian] Katz predicted that the Trump administration would be able to push through a switch that critics of the [CFPB] have long lobbied for: a shift in control of the consumer bureau from a single director to a bipartisan commission … As for the return of Glass-Steagall — something Mr. Trump has talked about — don’t bet on it.”
Trump will get to name new SEC chair. CNN: “Mary Jo White announced plans on Monday to step down as chair … White’s term at the helm of the SEC hadn’t been scheduled to expire until June 2019 … It’s not clear who Trump would nominate to replace White, but her departure could allow the president-elect to tap someone more in line with his deregulatory tilt. White’s exit would also mean that Wall Street’s top cop will become even more shorthanded, with just two of the SEC’s five commissioner seats filled. Gridlock in Washington has prevented the Senate from confirming Obama’s two nominees.”
Anti-worker agenda in the offing. American Prospect: “…Republicans and their business lobbyist colleagues hope to roll back every single one of President Obama’s labor initiatives … At the top of the list is the new overtime rule … Other rulemakings like the fiduciary rule that … now requires retirement advisors to act in their clients’ best interest, and the extension of labor law protections to long-exploited home health-care workers, are in peril as well. Obama’s executive orders that hike up wages and mandate paid sick leave for federal contract workers and require that their employers disclose past labor law violations can disappear with the stroke of Trump’s presidential pen … the new joint-employer standard that would drastically increase corporate responsibilities for their contractors and franchisees, as well as rulings that opposed mandatory class-action waivers for workers and [the] rules change that sped up union elections [are] also on the chopping block.”
Obama urges Trump to keep NAFTA and TPP. The Hill: “Once in the White House it becomes ‘increasingly apparent’ how important agreements are with major trading partners like Mexico, the president said. ‘So it’s not as simple as it might have seemed,’ Obama told reporters about leaving trade deals … the president acknowledged that he would not finish the TPP … Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) on Monday urged Trump to follow through on his promise to renegotiate NAFTA.”
Dakota Access Pipeline likely to be decided by Trump. Bloomberg: “The Obama administration has yet again delayed a decision on the controversial Dakota Access crude pipeline, even as President-elect Donald Trump vows to speed up reviews of such projects ... While the Army Corps decision prevents the pipeline’s completion for now, analysts have said Energy Transfer will probably receive approval to finish the project under Trump’s administration.”

HEALTH INSURERS CAUTION TRUMP

Insurers warn Trump about Obamacare changes. The Hill: “President-elect Donald Trump says he wants to repeal ObamaCare but keep the protections for people with pre-existing conditions … Insurance companies warn that requiring them to cover anyone, regardless of their health status, could have disastrous consequences if not paired with the right policies … Yet Republicans appear determined to repeal ObamaCare’s coverage mandate … The possibility that Republicans could repeal much of ObamaCare on a delayed timetable, giving themselves a year or two to come up with a replacement before repeal takes full effect, is adding even more uncertainty.”
Obamacare policy consultant Jonathan Gruber explains further in NYT oped: “Suppose a breast-cancer survivor applied for insurance in Mr. Trump’s post-Obamacare world. It’s true that the insurer could not offer her coverage that didn’t include breast-cancer treatments. But the insurer could simply not sell her coverage at all. Alternatively, the insurer could offer coverage, but say that any breast-cancer survivor had to pay, say, five times more than everyone else.”

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