MORNING MESSAGEDid You Vote For Unfair Pay and Unsafe Workplaces?
President Trump just signed a bill, passed by the Republicans in the House and Senate, that repealed President Obama’s Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order ... The rule stated that our government should contract with companies that have “a satisfactory record of integrity and business ethics.” ... This rule was a big deal, because companies that get federal contracts employ one in five American workers.
GOP Prepares to Nuke
McConnell readies nuclear option for Gorsuch. Politico: “Mitch McConnell told his leadership team in private [that] Neil Gorsuch probably won’t get 60 votes to avoid a filibuster [and] Republicans should have no compunction about pulling the trigger on the ‘nuclear option’ … ‘Feel no guilt,’ McConnell said … GOP leaders can generally lose two Republicans on a simple majority vote, but their margin may be even narrower on the nuclear option with the absence of Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), who is recovering from back surgery.”
Sen. Bill Nelson opposed Gorsuch after progressive push. Politico: ” … he’s an institutional centrist with a history of allowing Supreme Court picks to get a full vote … Faced with the prospect of a primary challenge in the event he didn’t filibuster and the likelihood of a tough general election campaign against GOP Gov. Rick Scott either way, Nelson chose to lock down his left flank.”
Grand Bargain for Infrastructure?
“Optimism rising for infrastructure deal” says The Hill: “The rebuilding package was expected to sit on the sidelines until the fall, but lawmakers on Capitol Hill think that timeline could be accelerated with more room on the legislative agenda and an administration eager to score a victory … Some lawmakers warn that Trump’s infrastructure agenda could actually be complicated by the failure to repeal ObamaCare … Tax reform legislation could include ‘repatriation,’ … This would provide new revenue for the government, but with healthcare off the table might be used to pay for tax reform instead of infrastructure.”
“Grand bargain” won’t work, says Salon’s Heather “Digby” Parton: “Republicans are not going to go along with big increases in government spending. Any plan they would even be willing to contemplate would have to be a corporate boondoggle of epic proportions, and Democrats are not going to sign on to that.”
House and Senate GOP divided over health care strategy. ABC: “House GOP leaders expressed confidence Tuesday morning that the party would be able to repeal and replace Obamacare after a conference meeting with members — a total reversal just four days after pulling the plug on their first effort — while their Senate counterparts seemed eager to abandon the issue entirely.”
Trump Signs Climate Order
Trump executive order doesn’t kill Clean Power Plan, yet. ABC: “The first hurdle for the Trump administration will be moving Obama’s rule out of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit where it currently stands in legal limbo. The rewriting of the Clean Power Plan could take over a year … for every rule the EPA plans to rewrite, the administration will have to justify why the rule is being rolled back. Then, comments will be made on each of the new rules that the administration must respond to. This complex re-writing period will likely face hefty litigation from environmental advocacy groups opposed to the executive order.”
Dem AGs pledge to fight climate order. The Hill: “A coalition of 17 Democratic attorneys general and city attorneys from six cities said they would consider what legal actions could be taken to block Trump’s order … [California Gov.] Jerry Brown and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) reaffirmed their states’ commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the coming years to well below previous highs…”
Coal jobs still not coming back. NYT: “Some of the fiercest coal country critics of the Obama administration have acknowledged as much. Robert E. Murray, an outspoken mining executive, recently suggested tempered expectations for a coal rebound. The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, cautioned in November that the potential impact of a regulatory rollback would be ‘hard to tell.'”
Politico reporter Matthew Nussbaum observes: “There are ~50,000 coal miners in US. There are ~520,000 fast food cooks. Coal miners seem to loom a lot larger in our politics. Wonder why.”
Republicans eye SNAP cuts. USA Today: “Democratic members of the House subcommittee on nutrition said they’re anxious about Republican leaders’ talk of separating the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program from the 2018 Farm Bill, like they tried in 2013, or creating unrealistic work requirements for eligibility …”
Republicans signal removal of controversial measures to keep government open. The Hill: “Senate Republican leaders signaled Tuesday they would set aside President Trump’s controversial request for a military supplemental bill that would include funding to begin construction of a wall along the southern border … Speaker Paul Ryan [said] language defunding Planned Parenthood should be kept out of the spending legislation that needs to pass by April 28 [but addressed later] through a special budgetary process that requires only 51 votes to pass the Senate.”
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