Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Progressive Breakfast: Girding For The Education Fight Ahead

MORNING MESSAGE

Jeff Bryant
Girding For The Education Fight Ahead
If you want to get an idea of what kind of education policies to expect from a Donald Trump administration, Wall St. has a clue for you. A report from BuzzFeed explains, online charter schools are “gearing up for a boom during the Trump administration, judging by where investors are placing their bets.” ... Online charter schools operated by K12 have a particularly poor track record for academic achievement ... A recent article in the Washington Post reports on a study that finds these schools are so bad that students enrolled in them “lost an average of about 72 days of learning in reading and 180 days of learning in math during the course of a 180-day school year."

HOUSE GUTS ETHICS OFFICE

“With No Warning, House Republicans Vote to Gut Independent Ethics Office” reports NYT: “House Republicans, overriding their top leaders, voted on Monday to significantly curtail the power of an independent ethics office … The move to effectively kill the Office of Congressional Ethics was not made public until late Monday … There was no advance notice or debate …”
HuffPost adds: “The new group would no longer be able to release information to the public, employ anyone ‘for a position involving communications with the public,’ or directly contact law enforcement without approval. It would also be prohibited from investigating anonymous complaints.”

OBAMACARE REPEAL ON TAP AS NEW CONGRESS BEGINS TODAY

GOP to move quickly on Obamacare repeal. WSJ: “The Senate’s opening move … will be to initiate a controversial process to repeal parts of [Obamacare] … [But some Republicans] are worried a repeal would yank the rug out from under people’s coverage before a replacement is in effect … The first step would be to introduce and start debate on a budget resolution for the 2017 fiscal year, setting up passage by next week …”
But budget rules could trip up GOP. W. Post: “Once the committees approve their versions of repeal — something aides expect may happen in February or March — the House would vote on the entire repeal package before sending it to the Senate … The parliamentarian has the authority to throw out any elements that violate budget rules before the bill comes up for another vote in the Senate. If the parliamentarian rules against Republicans, it is at this point that Democrats would probably have their best chance to defeat the measure or otherwise alter it.”
Much of Obamacare already embedded into the health care system. NYT: “Changes in the delivery system already affect far more people than the law’s higher-profile coverage gains … leaders have started moving away from fee-for-service medicine … The emphasis now is on preventive care … Collaboration between doctors is becoming a necessity … unlike Mr. Obama’s insurance coverage expansions, these changes are not in jeopardy…”

GOP PREPARES TO ROLL BACK REGS

GOP readies regulatory rollback. WSJ: “…the House this week plans a vote on a bill … which would empower Congress to approve major new regulations written by federal agencies. The House also plans to vote on a measure to allow Congress to repeal a block of regulations at one time. Neither measure is expected to pass Congress given procedural hurdles in the Senate. Congress also could use its power under the 1996 Congressional Review Act to repeal newer regulations on a simple majority vote … One possible target is an Interior Department rule issued in November to cut methane emissions from oil and natural-gas operations on federal lands … Another top target could be a regulation that expanded the number of workers subject to overtime-pay rules.”
GOP divided on tax reform. WSJ: “House and Senate Republicans say they are aiming for a plan that doesn’t add to the deficit, after counting revenue from faster economic growth. Mr. Trump, however, has proposed a tax cut that even his campaign’s optimistic projections say doesn’t pay for itself … the House plan relies on imposing the U.S. corporate tax on imports and exempting exports … Senate Republicans haven’t warmed to that plan and Mr. Trump hasn’t embraced it either.”
Sen. Chuck Schumer steps into Senate Democratic leadership role. Politico: “…Schumer, a seasoned D.C. dealmaker, has made clear he’s not interested in blanket obstruction and signaled he will play ball with Trump when it can help the working class … Ten Democratic incumbents from states Trump won, in some cases resoundingly, will be on the [2018] ballot and Schumer needs to look out for them …
Trump planning SCOTUS picks. Politico: “Trump’s team wants to make filling the seat held by the late Justice Antonin Scalia one of the earliest acts of his presidency … in hopes of scoring an energizing and unifying victory for the conservative movement … Trump, who relies heavily on instinct and his in-person impressions, has still yet to meet with the finalists..”

TRUMP THREATENS GM

Trump threatens GM with “border tax.” Politico: “‘General Motors is sending Mexican made model of Chevy Cruze to U.S. car dealers-tax free across border. Make in U.S.A. or pay big border tax!’ Trump wrote on Twitter Tuesday morning. The president-elect promised throughout the campaign to punish American companies that move jobs abroad by slapping them with a 35 percent tax on imported goods.”
Trump tariff plan unconstitutional, says Prof. Rebecca M. Kysar in NYT oped: “… the path to imposing tariffs — along with taxes and other revenue-generating measures — clearly begins with Congress, and in particular the House, through the Origination Clause.”
USTR pick Robert Lighthizer longtime China critic. Bloomberg: “Lighthizer has previously accused China of unfair trade practices, in line with views held by Peter Navarro, a China critic who Trump last month named to head a newly formed White House National Trade Council.”
Trump’s Commerce Secretary nominee used to defend China on trade. Politico: “[Wilbur] Ross has become a devoted Sinophile. In addition to assembling a formidable collection of Chinese art … he has partnered in shipping and energy ventures with Chinese state-owned firms … ‘I think the China-bashing is wildly overdone in this country,’ said Ross in [2012] … ‘The reality is that if something were to happen that cost China jobs, like if they upwardly revalued the currency a lot, those jobs aren’t going to come back to the U.S., they would go to Vietnam, they would go to Thailand, they would go to whatever country was the lowest cost, so it’s a fiction on both sides that those jobs will come back.'”

BREAKFAST SIDES

The Hill gauges the race for DNC chair: “…Democratic sources familiar with the race believe [Rep. Keith Ellison] has close to 70 voting DNC members in his corner, putting him more than a quarter of the way to the 224 votes he’ll need … [Tom Perez] got a boost last week with endorsements from four of the nation’s 18 Democratic governors …”
Solar power cheaper than coal in some places. Bloomberg: “…countries from Chile to the United Arab Emirates broke records with deals to generate electricity from sunshine for less than 3 cents a kilowatt-hour, half the average global cost of coal power. Now, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Mexico are planning auctions and tenders for this year, aiming to drop prices even further.”

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