Thursday, January 5, 2017

Progressive Breakfast: My Friend Pramila Jayapal Goes to Congress and Makes History & The Carolina Coup and the Fight for Public Education


LeeAnn Hall
My Friend Pramila Jayapal Goes to Congress and Makes History
This week I had the honor of joining my friend Pramila Jayapal as she made history ... She is the first Indian-American woman to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. She is also the kind of progressive champion we need in the Congress in this challenging time. Her victory is a reminder that the majority of Americans didn’t vote for Trump or sanction his bigotry ... her political savvy will ensure that progressives will have a leader who knows how to build broad coalitions at a time when we all need to link arms and resist the Trump agenda.


Republicans increasingly queasy about Obamacare repeal. Politico: “There’s definitely fear on the Hill. Congress has only been in for a few days, but the conversation on Obamacare has definitely shifted. It’s no longer a ‘let’s-burn-the-joint-down’ type affair. Republicans are now realizing how hard it will be to replace the law, and many of them have plainly settled on the fact that they will never be able to craft a plan to insure as many people as Obamacare does. Several high-ranking members of Congress in both chambers told us they are extremely aware that this is a political minefield, and they’re not quite sure how they’re going to navigate it.”
Drew Altman, of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, explains what Trump voters want from health care, in NYT oped: “The Kaiser Foundation organized six focus groups in the Rust Belt areas … asked about policies found in several Republican plans … several of these Trump voters recoiled, calling such proposals ‘not insurance at all.’ … They were also worried about what they called ‘chaos’ if there was a gap between repealing and replacing Obamacare. But most did not think that, as one participant put it, ‘a smart businessman like Trump would let that happen.'”
Sen. Rand Paul opposes budget bill that would begin Obamacare repeal process. WSJ: “‘I’m a no,’ he said in a brief interview. ‘It adds $9.7 trillion in debt over 10 years.'”


Trump picks Wall Street lawyer to run SEC. The Atlantic: “[Jay] Clayton is currently a partner at the law firm Sullivan & Cromwell … Clayton represented large banks, including Goldman Sachs and Barclays Capital, during the financial crisis. He’s also represented large financial institutions looking to settle mortgage-related claims with authorities … Still, it’s largely unclear what Clayton’s stance on rolling back regulation would be.”
“The Confirmation Process Is an Opportunity to Expose Trump’s Big Lie” counsels The Nation edit board: “…probing the priorities and presumptions of these nominees … will help expose Trump’s big lie—that instead of advancing new populist policies for working people, he’s bringing in billionaires and ideologues committed to the failed policies of the Republican right.”
Trump meets with labor leaders. Politico: “Trump was not accompanied by any staff as he sat in his office chatting with Peter Ward, president of the New York Hotel Trades Council, and Jennifer Cunningham, a Democratic strategist and former member of Hillary Clinton’s New York leadership council. (Also in the meeting were Vincent Pitta, a New York labor lawyer, and Jim Callahan, general president of the International Union of Operating Engineers.) … some Democratic labor leaders in New York City were gripped with fear that the meeting only helped to normalize the president-elect at a critical juncture…”


Schumer and McConnell trade words over SCOTUS. Politico: “The Senate majority leader latched onto Schumer’s remarks from Tuesday night that Democrats were ‘absolutely’ prepared to keep the current Supreme Court vacancy open. McConnell, who spent most of last year engineering his own blockade of Merrick Garland, was quick to criticize his new counterpart’s pledge. ‘Apparently, there’s yet a new standard which is to not confirm a Supreme Court nominee at all,’ McConnell [said.] ‘I think that’s something the American people simply will not tolerate.’ … Schumer responded … ‘if they’re out of the mainstream, we’ll oppose them tooth and nail.'”
Ford Motor Co. investment in US plant likely for robots. Bloomberg’s Mark Gilbert: “The U.S. automaker says abandoning its Mexico plan and instead spending $700 million to expand its domestic operations in Michigan will create just 700 jobs. Even I can work out that’s $1 million per new employee hired … that feels like a chillingly low number of new hires for an investment of that scale.”
Republicans forget about shifting power to localities. The Hill: “Republican state legislatures are planning so-called preemption laws, which prevent cities and counties from passing new measures governing everything from taxes to environmental regulations and social issues.”

Progressive Breakfast is a daily morning email highlighting news stories of interest to activists. Progressive Breakfast and are projects of People's Action. more »
Jeff Bryant
The Carolina Coup and the Fight for Public Education
The naked power grab by North Carolina Republicans has shocked the nation. But few people really understand that a struggle over public education is at the center of the fight against an authoritarian government in the era of Donald Trump ... The attack on the incoming governor’s power over education appointments is especially radical, as it transfers power from the state board to the new state superintendent of public instruction, Republican Mark Johnson, who defeated the Democratic incumbent, June Atkinson, in November. Why go after education offices? In North Carolina, public education has always been an issue inextricably intertwined with voting rights and democracy...


Senate Minority Leader articulates oppositional vision. Yahoo! News: “Schumer mentioned infrastructure investments and tax and trade reform as areas of possible cooperation, while vowing to fight ‘tooth and nail’ on other issues, including a repeal of health care reform … By signaling a limited willingness to work with Trump, Schumer may be setting a trap for the Republicans. If Congress makes tax cuts for the wealthy a priority but fails to pass a job-creating infrastructure bill, Democrats can argue that Trump and his party betrayed his base of working class voters.”
“Schumer Prepared to Hold Supreme Court Seat Open” reports Roll Call: “‘It’s hard for me to imagine a nominee that Donald Trump would choose that would get Republican support that we could support,’ the New York Democrat told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Tuesday night. Asked if he would do his best to hold the seat open, Schumer responded, ‘Absolutely.’ … Schumer said Republicans may be faced with a choice to change Senate rules to eliminate the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees. But he said it would be ‘very hard’ for Republicans to do so given that some GOP senators do not want to alter the chamber’s rules.”
“Three steps for progressive resistance” from Katrina vanden Heuvel in The Nation: “…progressives must recognize that the most significant resistance to Trump won’t take place in Washington. It’s going to happen in the streets led by grass-roots activists … there will be 87 state legislative chambers and 36 gubernatorial seats up for grabs in 2018. Progressives would be wise to adopt a laserlike focus on winning these races … [And] it will be critical for progressive leaders in Washington to amplify local progress to drive a national message.”


Republicans begin Obamacare repeal process. NYT: “Budget language released on Tuesday gives House and Senate committees only until Jan. 27 to produce legislation that would eliminate major parts of the health care law. Under arcane budget procedures, that legislation would be protected from a Democratic filibuster and could pass the Senate with a simple majority. And debate will begin on Wednesday, before senators have even moved into their new offices.”
Democrats begin grassroots mobilization to save Obamacare. Politico: “They’re holding rallies in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, featuring the stories of some of the red-state Americans who have benefited from the law. They’re urging followers to bombard lawmakers’ district offices and phone lines with calls against repeal. And they’re targeting moderate Republicans in Alaska, Arizona, Maine, Nevada and Tennessee who are up for reelection in 2018 — or who could be influential in the repeal vote — with a seven-figure television and print ad campaign.”


Trump stands to make billions from his tax reform. Politico: “The Republican tax code overhaul is expected to include across-the-board tax cuts, including one to the top business tax rate that would allow Trump’s companies to keep a greater share of their profits. Beyond the rate reduction, Trump could also benefit from several other provisions likely to be part of the GOP tax reform package, such as a proposed exemption on foreign income generated from overseas sales, from certain business interest deductions on debt-financed projects that are widely favored by real estate developers and from provisions allowing small business owners to tap into a lower 15 percent rate while filing through their individual returns. And Trump’s family stands to significantly benefit — an estimated savings of $4 billion or more … from a repeal of the estate tax…”
Trump may restrict immigration of nonwhites, argues The Nation’s Julianne Hing: “… this past August [he said he would ‘keep immigration levels measured by population share within historical norms.’ … What Trump’s hint meant was a return to an explicitly racist immigration system put in place in the 1920s [when] Congress created a system designed to curb immigration from Southern and Eastern Europe …”


Trump may violate NAFTA. Bloomberg: “…Donald Trump won’t be able to punish General Motors Co. for building cars in Mexico without violating NAFTA. That may not stop him … Targeting a single company with a tariff as Trump threatened to do with GM in a tweet Tuesday is unheard of and barred under the North American Free Trade Agreement…”
Trump may not be able to stop car companies from moving to Mexico. Bloomberg: “Cheaper labor is only one reason Mexico has seen a surge in new-car production. While the country’s low wages have been the big attraction, one of its key advantages is that it has trade agreements with 44 countries, giving automakers access to half the global car market tariff-free. The U.S. has similar trade deals with just 20 countries, which make up 9 percent of global car sales…”


Senate Republicans may renew push for sentencing reform. Politico: “Senate Judiciary Committee Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) plans to take up a bill to revamp U.S. sentencing laws and reform prisons soon after his panel clears the high-profile nominations from Donald Trump. A similar measure passed his committee overwhelmingly last year before stalling out in the face of opposition from law-and-order conservatives.”
“Treasury Nominee Steve Mnuchin’s Bank Accused of ‘Widespread Misconduct’ in Leaked Memo” scoops The Intercept’s David Dayen: “Donald Trump’s nominee for treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, ran from 2009 to 2015, repeatedly broke California’s foreclosure laws during that period, according to a previously undisclosed 2013 memo from top prosecutors in the state attorney general’s office.”

Progressive Breakfast is a daily morning email highlighting news stories of interest to activists. Progressive Breakfast and are projects of People's Action. more »