Monday, February 27, 2017

Progressive Breakfast: CPAC and the DNC: A Party Is Not a Movement


Richard Eskow
CPAC and the DNC: A Party Is Not a Movement
Perez isn’t the problem; power is. The Democratic party won’t change until it’s confronted with a strong movement determined to change it. That’s why it’s encouraging to see activists move to take control at the state and local level. That, along with a concerted program of independent activism, could revolutionize politics. The Democratic Party can’t be saved by one leader. But there’s a chance it can be saved by millions of them.

Trump Sharpens Budget Ax

Trump to gut government in budget. NYT: “President Trump will instruct federal agencies on Monday to assemble a budget for the coming fiscal year that includes sharp increases in Defense Department … Trump will demand a budget with tens of billions of dollars in reductions to the Environmental Protection Agency and State Department … Social safety net programs, aside from the big entitlement programs for retirees, would also be hit hard …”
But lay off Social Security and Medicare. IBT: “In an interview on Fox News, [Treasury Secretary] Mnuchin said the administration is ‘not touching those now’ despite hopes in the Republican Congress to make radical changes …”
Trump to set agenda in Tuesday congressional address. The Hill: “During his speech, lawmakers will also be listening for cues on the wall Trump has promised to build on the Mexican border, and an infrastructure plan reportedly as large as $1 trillion. Those two proposals make conservatives worried about budget deficits nervous.”
Republicans want understaffed Trump to give guidance on taxes. Politico: “The most immediate, and difficult, question facing Trump is whether to throw his weight behind Ryan’s border adjustment plan, which would essentially tax imports but not exports. It would be hugely embarrassing if his proposal were discarded at virtually the outset of lawmakers’ tax-reform debate … Trump’s own advisers have been deeply divided over the proposal … Business leaders are likewise pulling Trump in both directions … Neither Mnuchin nor economic adviser Gary Cohn are considered tax experts, and many key tax positions at Treasury — including assistant secretary for tax policy and deputy assistant secretary for international tax affairs – remain unfilled.”
Republicans may charge sick more in ACA replacement. Politico: “…the Republican proposals would be different than Obamacare in a key respect: They would allow insurers to charge more to sick people who had been uninsured right before trying to enroll in a new plan … A bill by Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), as well as a plan from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), would deny protections to people who have gone uninsured longer than 63 days … Gary Claxton, an insurance expert at the Kaiser Family Foundation, says the GOP policy could end up placing some consumers in an insurance ‘purgatory’ if they face sudden hardship and can’t afford to keep paying premiums.”
NYT edit board asks, where’s the infrastructure plan?: “…Mr. Trump’s indolence and Congress’s palpable lack of initiative sit in sharp contrast to the speed with which President Obama and congressional Democrats were able to engineer a nearly $1 trillion economic stimulus bill in 2009, a task completed in less than six weeks. At the current pace, Mr. Trump’s American greatness project may never get off the ground, remaining no more than a slogan on red hats, a testament to the emptiness of his populist promises to help the forgotten workers.”

Progressives Push DNC After Chair Election

Progressive activists want changes in congressional leadership after Rep. Keith Ellison settles for Deputy DNC Chair. Politico: “Quietly — and pointedly refusing to attach their names to the musings — they talk about starting to look past the all over-70-years-old leadership team of Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, and Jim Clyburn in the House of Representatives. Some hope, wistfully, the three will step aside before the 2018 midterms to help send a message and generate new ideas.”
New DNC Chair Tom Perez has work to do, says The Nation’s John Nichols: “In the Trump era, the DNC must be more than a traditional opposition party. It must, as Ellison proposed, align itself with the burgeoning grassroots resistance to the new administration and its allies in Congress. Perez has to come out fighting. But to fight right, Perez must ally with Sanders, Ellison and grassroots activists who are more concerned with principles than partisanship.”

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