Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Progressive Breakfast: Reaffirm Our National Community By Forgiving Student Debt

MORNING MESSAGE

Mary Green Swig, Steven L. Swig & Richard Eskow
Reaffirm Our National Community By Forgiving Student Debt
Today more than 43 million Americans collectively owe more than $1.4 trillion in student debt ... It is preventing young people from forming households, from buying cars, from having children, from starting businesses, and from realizing their dreams in a million different ways we can’t imagine. This debt is also holding our economy and society back. It is robbing us of the creative contributions these Americans can make, and it is depriving our economy of the stimulus effect their spending and their behavior could provide. This debt must be forgiven – and not just some of it, but all of it.

Ryan Short On Votes

Votes elusive for ACA repeal. The Hill: “In a closed-door meeting with House Republicans, Trump warned that failure to pass the legislation might trigger a backlash for the GOP in the 2018 midterm elections … But Trump’s dire warning didn’t appear to immediately change many minds … According to The Hill’s Whip List at press time, 22 House Republicans were firm ‘no’ votes, with six more leaning no or likely no … 22 defections would kill the legislation …”
Bill “DOA in the Senate” reports Politico: “As currently constructed, conservative and moderate opposition would tank the bill in the Senate, where the GOP can afford to lose only two votes … ‘Maybe the best outcome is for this to fail in the House so we can move on to tax reform. Which is what we should have done anyway,’ said one Republican senator.”

Gorsuch Coasts

Gorsuch stays on script. The Hill: “Democrats repeatedly sought to get under Gorsuch’s skin, but President Trump’s nominee rarely appeared ruffled during his first day of questioning, and even seemed to charm senior Democrats at times … Gorsuch’s sharpest retorts were prompted by Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse(D-R.I.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.), who showed impatience with his repeated refusals to speak to his personal views.”
Hearing continues today. NYT: “The rounds of questions on Wednesday will drop from 30 to 20 minutes, and the tighter sessions will make it even harder to nail down Judge Gorsuch’s legal positions … [but] a weary judge may be more likely to make a misstep.”
Gorsuch is another John Roberts, says The Nation’s Ari Berman: “… after two days of hearings it’s clear he’s closer to John Roberts [than Antonin Scalia] —another handsome face with an ugly ideology … Gorsuch could be the decisive vote shifting the Supreme Court to the right for a generation on issues ranging from civil rights to corporate power to women’s rights.”

Trump Prepares Climate Order

Trump executive order on climate expected “as soon as Thursday or as late as next month,” reports NYT: “While the White House is not expected to explicitly say the United States is withdrawing from the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change, and people familiar with the White House deliberations say Mr. Trump has not decided whether to do so, the policy reversals would make it virtually impossible to meet the emissions reduction goals set by the Obama administration under the international agreement … Mr. Trump will order Mr. Pruitt to withdraw and rewrite a set of Obama-era regulations known as the Clean Power Plan … The draft also lays out options for legally blocking or weakening about a half-dozen additional Obama-era executive orders and policies on climate change … While Mr. Trump may announce with great fanfare his intent to roll back the regulations, the legal steps required to fulfill that announcement are lengthy and the outcome uncertain.”
Carbon tax, Paris pact debated in Trump White House. Politico: “When former Secretary of State James Baker and his allies came to the White House last month to pitch a carbon tax, they received a warm reception from Gary Cohn, one of the president’s top economic advisers. Six weeks later, the friendly meeting with advocates of the highly controversial policy proposal is still reverberating in the White House, underscoring the increasingly tense relationship between Cohn and Steve Bannon … One of the most heated debates in the West Wing has proved to be the Paris climate change agreement. People inside and outside the White House say it’s unclear where Trump will come down on the agreement, but that it will be a test of Bannon’s and Cohn’s influence.”

Breakfast Sides

GOP governors chafe at Trump budget. NYT: “They have complained to the White House about reductions they see as harmful or arbitrary, and they plan to pressure members of Congress from their states to oppose them. Of acute concern to Republicans are a handful of low-profile programs aimed at job training and economic revitalization, including regional development agencies like the Appalachian commission and the Delta Regional Authority, which serves eight Southern and Midwestern states, seven of them with Republican governors. They are also protective of grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development and a $3.4 billion job-training program funded through the Labor Department.”
Homeland Security pressures sanctuary cities. The Hill: “On Monday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released its first report listing jurisdictions that refuse cooperation with federal immigration authorities … The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) on Tuesday questioned the constitutionality of ICE detainers and the truthfulness of the DHS report.”
Congressional Black Caucus to meet with Trump today. Mother Jones:“White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said that the entire 49-person caucus was invited. But a spokeswoman for the caucus says that just six members, all officers on the CBC’s leadership team, will meet with the president. Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), the chair of the caucus, says that the small group size is a strategic move that differentiates this discussion from some of the larger listening sessions that have occurred at the White House in recent weeks. ‘This will be a serious meeting, not a photo opportunity,’ Richmond said in a statement on Tuesday.”

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