Thursday, February 16, 2017

Progressive Breakfast: A Big Day for Trump's Budget Pick, Social Security - and Millionaires


Richard Eskow
A Big Day for Trump’s Budget Pick, Social Security — and Millionaires
A full Senate vote is expected today on Donald Trump’s pick for White House Budget Director, Rep. Mick Mulvaney. That means that Mulvaney’s nomination could come up for a vote just as a group of lawmakers and experts are speaking on the Hill in support of Social Security — and on the same day that millionaires stop paying their Social Security taxes. The timing is interesting, since Mulvaney has been trying to cut Social Security for years.

Resistance Builds

Progressives to storm congressional town halls next week. CNN: “Target your local lawmakers. Tell them personal stories about how the Affordable Care Act affects you and your family. Take videos … That’s what Organizing for Action — the group that evolved from President Barack Obama’s political campaign structure — is teaching 25,000 liberal activists in a series of six webinars and calls ahead of next week’s congressional recess … has launched a website — — that’s serving as a hub for events …”
Republicans dismissive. Roll Call: “Even as some GOP lawmakers move to hold their constituent forums online or over the phone instead of in-person, they insist they’re not worried … To Republicans, the conservative bent of the districts where some of the most vociferous protesting has occurred is proof that GOP lawmakers have nothing to worry about.”
“Day Without Immigrants” hits Washington today. NYT: “…some of Washington’s best-known restaurants will close their doors on Thursday in solidarity with a national campaign to draw attention to the power and plight of immigrants.”
Tax Day protests to press Trump on tax returns. Politico: “Leaders from January’s women’s marches are joining with a constellation of liberal groups, including, the American Federation of Teachers, and Our Revolution [to march] to the White House … more than 60 other marches [are] planned in cities across the country.”

Puzder Out

Politico tracks “How Puzder Fell” “Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller, two of the most powerful voices in President Donald Trump’s inner circle, were never strongly behind Andy Puzder as labor secretary, believing he was too soft on immigration … allegations that he abused [his wife] in the 1980s moved a critical number of wavering Republican senators … [The Labor Dept.] found violations in nearly 60 percent of its investigations of CKE restaurants … That was enough to rally labor unions in protest against Puzder.”
“Democrats declare victory” reports The Hill: “‘Andrew Puzder’s withdrawal as Labor Secretary is a victory for the American worker,’ Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said … ‘The simple truth is that given his relationship to employees at the companies he runs, he was not fit to lead a department responsible for defending workers’ rights,’ [Sen. Bernie Sanders] said.”
Sen. McCain will oppose OMB nominee. The Hill: “McCain stressed his opposition wasn’t personal but focused on Mulvaney’s previous policy positions, accusing the conservative lawmaker of working to ‘torpedo’ Senate efforts to increase defense spending.”
Sen. Collins will oppose EPA nominee. The Hill: “Collins is the only Senate Republican to come out against Scott Pruitt, the Oklahoma attorney general who sued the EPA 14 times during former President Obama’s administration.”

Immigrant Crackdown

Denver church protects immigrant from deportation. AP: “A Mexican woman trying to avoid deportation took refuge in a Denver church Wednesday after U.S. immigration authorities denied her request to remain in the country … ICE spokesman Shawn Neudauer said [Jeanette] Vizguerra was an ‘enforcement priority’ because she had two misdemeanor convictions … With three of her four children joining her on the altar, the former union organizer and house cleaner said her only crimes were related to working in the country illegally to support her family … not having a driver’s license or current vehicle registration. Officers also discovered that she had a forged identity document…”
“ICE detains alleged domestic violence victim” reports USA Today: “Federal immigration agents went to the El Paso County Courthouse last week and arrested an undocumented woman who had just received a protective order alleging that she was a victim of domestic violence. The agents apparently detained the woman Feb. 9 after receiving a tip, possibly from her alleged abuser … The detention has alarmed [El Paso County Attorney Jo Anne] Bernal and other county officials who fear that the arrest will scare undocumented victims of domestic abuse into staying with their abusers…”
“DACA Immigrant’s Detention Is ‘Terrifying and Chilling,’ Civil Rights Lawyers Say” to Time: “Daniel Ramirez Medina, 23, is currently being detained in Tacoma, Wash. He was arrested Friday by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials who had come to take his father into custody … He has a 3-year-old son and has never been convicted of a crime … The Department of Homeland Security [called] Ramirez a ‘gang member’ … Ramirez’s lawyers refuted their claims…”

Trump Agenda Stuck

Conservative agenda largely stalled in Congress. NYT: “At this point in Barack Obama’s presidency … Congress had passed a stimulus bill totaling nearly $1 trillion to address the financial crisis, approved a measure preventing pay discrimination, expanded a children’s health insurance program, and begun laying the groundwork for major health care and financial regulation bills. President George W. Bush came into office with a congressional blueprint for his signature education act, No Child Left Behind … [Now,] the Senate has done little more than struggle to confirm Mr. Trump’s nominees…”
House border tax plan hits Senate resistance. The Hill: “Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) is raising concerns about a House-proposed border adjustment tax a day after House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) huddled with Senate Republicans … He [said] Senate Republicans ‘most certainly will not keep our powder dry and see working Americans railroaded with a precooked deal that raises their taxes and increase the prices of the stuff they buy every single day.’ … A GOP source familiar with the meeting told The Hill that Ryan urged senators to ‘keep your powder dry’ while House lawmakers work out the details…”
EPA executive orders coming. Reuters: “A senior EPA official who had been briefed by members of the Trump administration mentioned the executive orders at a meeting of staffers in the EPA’s Office of General Counsel on Tuesday, but did not provide details about what the orders would say … Trump and Pruitt’s positions have worried EPA staff, who are concerned the new administration will cut the EPA’s budget, critical programs and scientific research. “
Banks may get windfall from Trump. Bloomberg: “The six largest U.S. banks could see annual profit jump by an average of 14 percent if President Donald Trump delivers on his promise to cut corporate taxes … While investors have focused on Trump’s campaign pledge to relax bank regulations, tax cuts could happen faster and their impact could be greater.”
W. Post’s Robert Samuelson tries to resurrect TPP: “…it seems astounding that anyone would suggest that the TPP may rise from the dead, with a new name and slightly altered provisions. Yet that’s the message of a new study from the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a think tank and unabashed advocate of TPP [which] speculates that Trump will change his mind.”

Breakfast Sides

Education Secretary DeVos “fires back at protesters.” US News: “‘The protesters’ behavior is a reflection of the way some seek to treat our education system – by keeping kids in and new thinking out,’ DeVos said during a keynote address to a policy and training conference for the nonprofit association Magnet Schools of America. ‘Friday’s incident demonstrates just how hostile some people are to change and to new ideas.'”
Boeing organizing effort falls short. NYT: “Organizers with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers failed to persuade a majority of about 3,000 union-eligible Boeing workers in [South Carolina] to vote for the union amid enormous pressure from management … Many analysts say that Boeing decided to put its second Dreamliner aircraft assembly line in the state to reduce the leverage of the machinists’ union … The company implied to workers that a union would drive a wedge between them and management.”

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