Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Progressive Breakfast: Who Will Lead the Anti-Trump Resistance?

MORNING MESSAGE

Richard Eskow
Who Will Lead the Anti-Trump Resistance?
As more Americans become disillusioned with Trump, a potentially transformative moment is almost certain to appear. But voters who are dissatisfied with both the status quo and Trump’s phony populism are likely to seek equally transformative politicians, not a return to the political styles and power relationships of earlier eras. Failing that, they’re likely to become alienated from the political process altogether.

CONGRESS BEGINS LAME DUCK SESSION

Some Senate Republicans push back against plans for short-term spending bill. The Hill: “Congress is expected to pass a short-term bill to keep the government funded through the end of March, but Senate Republicans have misgivings over the strategy … ‘Why start off the new administration fighting a battle of the previous year?’ said [a] Senate Republican committee chairman … [But] deferring action until next year would give President-elect Trump an ‘imprint’ on the spending talks.”
Politico expects short-term bill to pass: “The government needs to be funded by Dec. 9 … Some in the Senate … are worried about getting bogged down with a slew of Trump administration appointments that have to be cleared in the first quarter of 2017. But we don’t expect any hiccups with government funding, no stumbling into a shutdown.”
Dems wants transportation infrastructure money in short-term spending bill. The Hill: “Under the so-called FAST Act, spending on transportation by the Highway Trust Fund was supposed to increase by $2.4 billion in fiscal 2017. But the CR that passed in September continued funding at the fiscal 2016 spending levels … President-elect Donald Trump has long talked about the need to repair the nation’s crumbling roads and bridges … leading transportation Democrats argued that the country’s ailing infrastructure shouldn’t have to wait, when Congress already guaranteed a funding bump.”
Bloomberg edit board urges GOP to help coal miners keep health and pension benefits: “… when Patriot Coal Corp. went bankrupt [it] set aside money to temporarily cover its health-care obligations to retirees. (That fund now also includes workers who retired from Peabody Energy Corp. and Arch Coal Inc., both of which filed for bankruptcy this year.) … On Jan. 1, 2017, it’s set to run out. If it does, 12,500 retired coal workers will lose their health benefits … Congressional leaders want to narrow [an aid] bill … by extending miners’ health benefits only and leaving pensions to be resolved later. That would be foolish…”
Sen. Warren opposes GOP prescription drug bill. The Hill:Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Monday slammed a bipartisan medical innovation bill as a handout to ‘Big Pharma,’ … Consumer groups have also been warning that the bill’s changes to the Food and Drug Administration’s approval process could lower safety standards. Warren said the research funding that is in the bill, as well as $1 billion over two years to fight opioid addiction, is nothing but ‘political cover for huge giveaways to giant drug companies.'”
“House Dems brace for Wednesday’s secret ballot” reports The Hill: “Democrats will decide on their new leader in a secret ballot vote that highlights the caucus’s restlessness and resurrects internal tensions … Sensing that unrest, Pelosi last week proposed to carve out several new leadership posts and make some of them eligible only to newer members … [One] the former lawmaker warned that whip-count claims from both candidates are dubious.”

OBAMACARE ENEMY TO LEAD HHS

Trump taps Rep. Tom Price for HHS. NYT: “While some Republicans have attacked the Affordable Care Act without proposing an alternative, Mr. Price has introduced bills offering a detailed, comprehensive replacement plan in every Congress … Mr. Price’s intimate knowledge of Medicare could serve him well. The secretary of health and human services sets Medicare payment policies for doctors, updates the physician fee schedule each year and issues rules that can have a huge influence on the practice of medicine … On the other hand, as secretary, Mr. Price would need a broader perspective. He would have to consider not only the interests of doctors, but also the needs of Medicare beneficiaries, Medicaid patients and taxpayers who finance those programs.”
GOP prioritizes Obamacare repeal, but still lacks replacement plan. Bloomberg: “The Republican plan would take advantage of reconciliation, a budget-related mechanism to circumvent the 60-vote threshold in the Senate and prevent Democrats from being able to block legislation on their own … The quick-strike bill … would likely set what amounts to an expiration date for the law’s financial underpinnings, leaving Congress to act at a later date on any replacement plan. That’s because more than six years after the law’s passage, Republicans still don’t have a consensus on how to replace Obamacare.”
Jeff Sessions may face rough grilling. Politico: “[Judiciary Committee Democrats] are pushing for extensive confirmation hearings, giving senators ample time to thoroughly question Sessions, his views and how he’ll run the Justice Department … when then-Sen. John Ashcroft was nominated as attorney general under the George W. Bush administration, he went through four days of confirmation hearings, which brought in testimony from four lawmakers and 19 outside witnesses, Democrats noted.”

AUTHORITIES TRY TO PRESSURE STANDING ROCK PROTESTERS

ND Gov. orders Standing Rock evacuation. Reuters: “The ’emergency evacuation’ order from Governor Jack Dalrymple came days after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which manages the site, set a Dec. 5 deadline for the demonstrators to vacate their encampment … The Army Corps has insisted, however, that it has no plans to forcibly remove protesters … The governor did not specify how he intended to enforce his order other than by directing state and local agencies to refuse emergency assistance and other services to anyone who remained at the site.”
Sen. Harry Reid pushes for rerouting Dakota Access Pipeline. The Hill quotes: “I encourage the new administration and the Army Corps of Engineers to continue finding alternative routes. There is one out there. It should not be hard. There is no reason that this situation cannot be remedied in a manner that’s fair to all.”
Progressive protest killed TPP, notes Evan Greer, Tom Morello and Evangeline Lilly in The Guardian: “…no single politician killed this deal. If not for the constant pressure from activists and civil society groups, the TPP would have become law long before the recent US election. But thanks to intense, creative and strategic organizing from the day the text was finalized in 2015, there was never a majority of support for the pact in Congress. That’s why it was never implemented.”

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