Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Progressive Breakfast: Trump Declares TPP Still Dead. So Now What?

MORNING MESSAGE

Dave Johnson
Trump Declares TPP Still Dead. So Now What?
President Trump formally withdrew the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). Though TPP was killed by a long progressive fight that resulted in it not having the votes to pass Congress, of course, he took credit for killing it himself ... This rigged trade process and its results brought us Trump, and here we are. So now that that’s over, how should our country trade with the world?

Trump TO Start Wall (BUT CAN HE FINISH?)

Executive orders expected today. Politico: “One of the [executive] actions expected to be taken will be an executive order to direct federal funds toward the construction of the border wall … will specify a temporary ban on most refugees and a suspension of visas for people from Syria and six other Middle East countries … It’s not clear how such a wall will be financed, and Trump at times has seemed opened to having parts being a fence and his allies at times have spoken of a ‘virtual wall.'”
Right-wing mad Trump flinching on DACA. Politico: “…NumbersUSA urged its 2 million-plus members, as well as 6 million followers on Facebook, to tweet at Trump urging him to rescind DACA, and even the Trump-friendly news outlet Breitbart ripped the administration for its DACA inaction … Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) warned Tuesday that Trump ‘absolutely’ faces a backlash from his political base if he backtracks from his pledge to rescind DACA…”

TAX CUTS ... AND SOCIAL SECURITY CUTS?

Trump considers tax cut without offsets. Politico: “A number of Trump advisers in recent weeks have privately questioned whether tax reform needs to be ‘revenue neutral,’ … But top Hill sources close to the high-stakes tax negotiations say such a proposal will go nowhere for several reasons: For one, it would pose huge practical complications, since any plan that increases the deficit would need significant Democratic support to clear the Senate, a heavy lift for Republicans.”
At Senate hearing, OMB nom supports Medicare, Social Security cuts. The Atlantic: “…his nominee for budget director, Representative Mick Mulvaney … stood firmly behind his long-held views supporting an increase in the retirement age and trimming Medicare benefits for wealthier recipients currently under age 55 … Mulvaney has backed Speaker Paul Ryan’s drive to partially privatize Medicare…”

SCOTUS PICK NEXT THURSDAY

SCOTUS pick coming next Thursday. USA Today: “Trump tweeted Wednesday morning that he will make the pick next Thursday … Trump appears to be looking most seriously at these three federal appeals court judges … [Neil] Gorsuch is the most natural replacement among them for the late Justice Antonin Scalia. He is a strict adherent of originalism … [William] Pryor … once criticized [Roe] as ‘the worst abomination of constitutional law in our history.’ And he even has taken flack from conservatives concerned about a ruling he joined in favor of transgender rights … [Thomas] Hardiman’s career as a judge is marked by law and order…”
Dems prepare. NYT: “Democrats and their allies remain furious that Senate Republicans refused to even consider Judge Garland … That deep resentment is certain to color their handling of Mr. Trump’s choice … they say they will insist on what they consider to be a mainstream candidate capable of securing at least the 60 votes needed to thwart any filibuster. Otherwise, they promise to do whatever they can to block the nominee.”

OPAQUE ON OBAMACARE

HHS nom Tom Price says little about Obamacare replacement. Yahoo! News: “‘President Trump said that he’s working with you on a replacement plan for the ACA, which is nearly finished and will be revealed after your confirmation. Is that true?’ asked Sen. Sherrod Brown … ‘It’s true that he said that, yes,’ Price replied, to laughter in the hearing room … he was evasive when asked if no one would lose coverage after Obamacare is repealed, and he refused to flesh out the president’s plan for the senators.”
Conservative wonks worried about Obamacare repeal. Daily Beast’s Matt Lewis: “The more I talk to conservative-leaning health care policy experts … the more convinced I am that this could all go horribly wrong … Every conceivable scheme or solution creates new problems … ‘It feels like Bush’s Social Security all over again,’ one senior industry official told me…”

CLIMATE WHITEWASH

EPA to dump climate change page from website. Reuters: “The employees were notified by EPA officials on Tuesday that the administration had instructed EPA’s communications team to remove the website’s climate change page, which contains links to scientific global warming research, as well as detailed data on emissions. The page could go down as early as Wednesday, the sources said. ‘If the website goes dark, years of work we have done on climate change will disappear,’ one of the EPA staffers told Reuters…”
“Federal Workers Told To Halt External Communication In First Week Under Trump” reports HuffPost: “Multiple federal agencies have told their employees to cease communications with members of Congress and the press … it could abruptly upend current operations and stifle work and discussions that routinely take place between branches of government … It’s unclear how wide the freeze goes…”

GOP REJECTS INFRASTRUCTURE PLAN

Republicans snub Dem infrastructure proposal. The Hill: “‘…we don’t want to go down the path of another $1 trillion stimulus,’ [said Sen. John Thune.] … Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (N.Y.) told reporters Tuesday that the new president ‘seems open to a bill this large.’ But Trump infrastructure adviser Richard LeFrak said the price tag may end up being closer to $550 billion, predicting a ‘tug-of-war’ with conservatives over the spending issue.”
Trump has unrealistic expectations for automakers, says Bloomberg: “Car sales have gained for seven-straight years after the U.S. auto bailouts and the financial crisis, a streak that’s close to running out of gas … New assembly plants cost General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co. or Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV about $1 billion — the sort of investment companies look to avoid making as a market peaks … ‘This is the nightmare scenario for auto companies, which are being asked to make huge capital investments right before a slowdown in sales,’ said Dan Luria, an analyst who has advised the United Auto Workers union.”
The US should invest in robots, argues NYT’s Farhad Manjoo: “…Trump can browbeat manufacturers into staying in America [but] he can’t force them to hire many people. Instead, companies will most likely invest in lots and lots of robots … The robots won’t be made in America. They might be made in China … There’s a way to address this problem, but it’s politically perilous: The United States should invest in robots … huge government funding can help…”
Flint still can’t drink the water. NYT: “The drinking water in Flint, Mich., is now in compliance with federal regulations on lead and copper content, officials said on Tuesday. But they cautioned that it could be a year or more before it is safe for residents to drink from their faucets, because lead-tainted pipes need to be replaced.”

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