Monday, January 30, 2017

Progressive Breakfast: Will the Senate's "Good Republicans" Reject a Dishonest Nominee?

MORNING MESSAGE

RIchard Eskow
Will the Senate’s “Good Republicans” Reject a Dishonest Nominee?
Mnuchin received a written question from Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) about the practice of ‘robo-signing’ at OneWest, the mortgage firm he ran as CEO ... Mnuchin replied, “OneWest Bank did not ‘robo-sign’ documents …” ... But an investigation by the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch found that OneWest “frequently used robo-signers.” David Dayen noted that a 2011 consent order from the Office of Thrift Supervision included extensive evidence of OneWest’s robo-signing activity, and that an employee of OneWest admitted to robo-signing documents in a 2009 deposition ... Mnuchin’s nomination comes up for a vote by the Senate Finance Committee on Monday...

RESISTANCE RISES

Protests against Trump refugee order sweep country. NYT: “Protesters amassed in public spaces and at airports to oppose the order, which they assailed as un-American … protesters gathered by the thousands outside the front lawn of the White House …
Congressional Dems to rally at Supreme Court today. Roll Call:House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer will be joined by their colleagues and immigrants and refugees to reverse what they called a ‘hateful, anti-refugee and anti-immigrant’ order … Democrats on both sides of the Capitol are also introducing legislation to rescind the ban.”
Some Republicans distance from Trump order. Time: “By Sunday evening, more than a dozen GOP members of Congress had spoken out against Trump’s executive order on immigration. Among them were an array of the party’s most influential figures. The top Republican in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, said the United States should not implement a religious test … ‘We cannot be partisan. We can’t say, “OK, this is our party, right or wrong,”‘ Charles Koch said Sunday … conservatives are [also] building blockades on Trump-style fiscal policy. ‘I really don’t like it,’ Sen. Mike Lee of Utah said of Trump’s border tax plan…”
W. Post debunks Trump claim that order resembles Obama’s 2011 policy on Iraq visas: “…Obama responded to an actual threat — the discovery that two Iraqi refugees had been implicated in bomb-making in Iraq that had targeted U.S. troops … the Obama administration never said it was their policy to halt all applications … Obama’s policy did not prevent all citizens of that country, including green-card holders, from traveling to the United States.”
Uphill legal fight against executive order. Politico: “…lawyers pressing the cases acknowledged that their courtroom wins so far may directly benefit no more than a couple of hundred people essentially caught in limbo … [They] do not appear to have disturbed the central thrust of Trump’s order … One Muslim-rights group, the Council on American Islamic Relations, said it planned a new federal lawsuit Monday charging that Trump’s order is unconstitutional because it amounts to thinly veiled discrimination against Muslims. That suit could face an uphill battle because courts have rarely accorded constitutional rights to foreigners outside the U.S….”
Trump tries to shift blame. Bloomberg: “President Donald Trump defended the immigration clampdown that sparked a global backlash over the weekend by blaming the confusion at airports on protesters and on a computer outage at Delta Air Lines Inc. that caused flight cancellations … The computer interruption at Delta didn’t begin until about 6:30 p.m. New York time on Sunday, more than 48 hours after Trump signed the executive order…”
Trump to target work visas next. Bloomberg: “His administration has drafted an executive order aimed at overhauling the work-visa programs technology companies depend on to hire tens of thousands of employees each year. If implemented, the reforms could force wholesale changes … Companies would have to try to hire American first and if they recruit foreign workers, priority would be given to the most highly paid.”

HERE COMES THE DISTRACTION

Republicans ready battle plan for SCOTUS fight. Politico: “…Senate GOP leadership and the outside groups that have spent months researching the records of Trump’s potential picks and are now prepared to unload at least $10 million in ads backing the nominee—much of it directed at Senate Democrats up for election in 2018 in states Trump carried …”

WHAT NEXT FOR THE LEFT?

Energy on the left goes in multiple directions. AP: “[Volunteers] debuted swingleft.org, which lets people find their nearest House swing district … there are already plans in the works for scientists to march in protest of Trump [and] for nationwide protests on April 15 demanding the president release his tax returns … ‘There’s a battle raging on multiple fronts and you have the feeling of being surrounded,” said Chris Newman, legal director of the National Day Laborers Organizing Network. “The most important thing is to focus on whatever hill you have and hold your hill.'”
Elected Democrats try to catch up. NYT: “The swelling anger over Mr. Trump’s week-old administration is fueling a surge of spontaneous activism that some Democrats say they have not seen since the Vietnam War. The growing and seemingly organic energy offers Democrats a prime opportunity to ride a backlash to electoral success this year and next … But the fury is also spurring liberal voters to demand uncompromising confrontation … They are already expressing rage at some senators for confirming the president’s cabinet appointees, and for their willingness to allow a vote on his pick for a vacant Supreme Court seat.”
The American Prospect’s Justin Miller asks “Can Labor Fight Back?”: “Unions are already considering the likelihood that Congress will pass national right-to-work legislation … Unions are also on the lookout for attempts to repeal or weaken such venerable labor laws as the Davis-Bacon Act … if the Supreme Court, augmented by a Trump appointee, goes after public-sector unions—and if national right-to-work passes—SEIU’s membership numbers are likely to decline along with its budget. Its ability to fund a massive operation like the Fight for 15 without a clear path for new members could become a luxury SEIU could not afford.”

BREAKFAST SIDES

House to begin regulatory rollback. The Hill: “…the House would move two Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolutions … to block two late rules issued by Obama … First on the GOP’s list is the Stream Protection Rule, a regulation designed to protect small waterways from pollution associated with coal mining … Lawmakers are also taking aim at an Interior rule to limit methane emissions from oil and natural gas wells on federal land.”
Trump, Dems far apart on infrastructure. Politico: “Senate Democrats want to build on existing government programs and consider adding to the deficit, while Trump has emphasized tax credits that his advisers argue would pay for themselves … Trump’s advisers have backed the idea of paying for an infrastructure plan with a one-time tax break for corporations bringing overseas profits into the U.S., an idea Democrats also support despite some wariness among Republicans. But Schumer told reporters this week that a repatriation holiday, as it’s known, is ‘not going to be close to enough to funding what we need, even if it were included.'”
Tax plan faces resistance. NYT: “Any rewrite of the tax code — especially if it seeks to raise roughly the same amount of revenue that the current code brings in — will leave winners and losers. And the losers tend to make far more noise than the winners. If the president is spooked by those howls, a major tax measure that both the president and Congress have promised may never happen.”
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