Monday, March 6, 2017

Progressive Breakfast: Recess Actions Spur Health Care Accountability

MORNING MESSAGE

Sarah Warner & Cynthia Ward Wikstrom
Recess Actions Spur Health Care Accountability
Citizens have refused to take no – or no-shows – as answers when elected officials sidestep questions at town hall meetings about Republican plans to cut health care and repeal the Affordable Care Act ... New York, Nevada, Wisconsin and Maine are among the states where People’s Action affiliates organized over eighty events to publicly challenge officials during the Congressional recess in February. They will do so again when representatives return to their home districts April 10th through 23rd.

Trump Tries Again To Restrict Refugees, Muslim Immigration

New travel ban expected today. ABC: “The new order has been crafted to withstand legal challenges, exempting permanent legal residents and applying only to future visa applicants, not those who already hold valid visas. The new order also narrows the list of counties targeted … Iraq has been removed from the original list … The new order puts a temporary halt on all refugees entering the United States. The first order included a 120-day stoppage on all refugees except Syrians, who would have been banned indefinitely.”
“White House wants it both ways on revised travel ban” reports Politico: “The White House has [promised] the public that the revised version would be substantially the same as the original—while telling courts just the opposite … Attorneys representing several states, the American Civil Liberties Union and other immigrants’ rights groups are poised to return to court as soon as Monday to challenge whatever new order Trump issues … It’s unclear whether courts will be more inclined to give the Trump team credit for taking a more deliberate approach … or whether judges’ skepticism will be fueled even further by indications that public relations concerns played a key role in the timing of an order the administration insists was prompted by urgent national security concerns.”

House ACA Repeal To Be Revealed

House bill to repeal ACA expected to be unveiled this week. Reuters: “…a senior Republican congressional aide … cited progress in meetings and phone calls starting on Friday and lasting through the weekend involving House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, White House budget chief Mick Mulvaney, Trump domestic policy adviser Andrew Bremberg and others … The aide called the expected bill a ‘consensus Republican plan,’ but offered no details.”
Constituents terrified of ACA repeal pressure Republicans. NYT: “‘I met a woman the other day with a terrible illness,’ [Sen. Shelley Moore Capito] said. ‘She is really sick and really scared.’ … Even senators in states with no Medicaid expansion concede that the law is baked into the culture, sometimes in ways their constituents are not fully aware of, and in ways they themselves have fought for … Many states that overwhelmingly supported Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign are some of the biggest beneficiaries of the health care law. … As residents become aware that benefits they have received were part of the health law and may go away, so do their elected representatives.”

Quiet Assault On Dodd-Frank

Republicans hope to prevent filibuster of Dodd-Frank repeal. The Hill:Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), a senior member of the Senate Banking Committee, says the budgetary process known as reconciliation, which can be used to circumvent the filibuster, should be considered as a tool to roll back burdensome Obama-era regulations on the financial sector … The effort has been kept largely quiet … It was not one of the items highlighted on the 200-day agenda that Republicans discussed at their annual retreat in Philadelphia, and President Trump did not mention Wall Street during his address to a joint session of Congress on Tuesday.”
Progressive push against SEC nominee. W. Post: “A coalition of progressive groups plans to announce Monday a campaign to derail President Trump’s nomination of Jay Clayton to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission, targeting Clayton’s close connections to Wall Street. The campaign … will include a six-figure digital advertising buy … Clayton would help police many of the same large banks he has spent decades representing as a lawyer, including Goldman Sachs and Barclays…”

Quiet Retreat On Paris Climate Agreement

Executive order on climate may be issued this week. The Hill: “…President Trump is set to sign an order calling for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to repeal the Clean Power Plan … The order could also lift an Interior Department moratorium on federal coal lease sales … The order itself won’t nix the [CPP], but it will instruct regulators to reconsider it, and, thus, effectively kill it later … One climate issue Trump might not touch next week: the Paris deal. Axios reported Friday that the White House doesn’t expect a decision on the matter…”
Auto emission regs to be junked. NYT: “… the Trump administration is expected to announce its agreement with the major auto companies that future mileage and emissions standards should be overhauled to reflect the growing consumer demand for larger, less fuel-efficient vehicles such as pickup trucks … auto companies will be given an opportunity to argue for less stringent standards during a government review period that could stretch into 2018. Environmental groups are already crying foul that car companies are now opposing the standards many of them agreed to during negotiations with the Obama administration in 2012…”
European auto emission rules remain strong. AFP: “Global carmakers, stung by emissions scandals, are racing to hunt down every gram of harmful CO2 spewed out on the roads as tougher pollution rules kick in … Automakers failing to meet the CO2 targets — capping petrol consumption to 4.1 litres per 100 kilometres and diesel to 3.6 litres — will have to pay 95 euros ($100) for every extra CO2 gram emitted by each car — potentially adding up to tens of millions of euros of fines.”

Progressives Demand Gorsuch Fight

Left presses Senate Dems to fight Gorsuch nomination. Politico: “In a letter to be delivered Monday … 11 progressive groups warn that the 48-member minority ‘must get out in front of this nomination process and refuse to be bullied by President Trump as he stampedes on the rights of Americans … ‘We need you to do better.’ … Senate Republican leaders hope to hold a final confirmation vote soon after Gorsuch’s confirmation hearings conclude, before the chamber recesses for two weeks in early April.”
Independent Sen. Angus King appears to lean in favor of Gorsuch. Politico: “‘Whatever else you can say about him, my sense from his record is, he’s exceedingly independent,’ King … said near the end of his marathon ‘listening session’ on the Supreme Court [at University of Southern Maine.] … ‘He’s a real stickler for limits on executive power.’ … Still, the mustachioed Maine senator left himself plenty of wiggle room. After the town hall, he told reporters he ‘very definitely’ had concerns about the judge’s decision to side with Hobby Lobby…”

Budget Bungles

Silicon Valley CEOs unhappy with Trump’s denial of California rail funds. NYT: “For more than a decade, the managers of the Silicon Valley railway, known as Caltrain, have been planning to upgrade to faster and less polluting electric trains. But those plans are now imperiled by the Trump administration’s decision in February to withhold a $647 million federal grant … Carl Guardino, the president of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group … called the Republican campaign to block funding ‘a misinformed effort.’ ‘The most important asset of the innovation economy are our employees,’ he said. ‘When they are stuck and stalled in traffic they are not productively creating the future.'”
Trump military budget “could make the world more dangerous” says Prof. Caitlin Talmadge in NYT oped: “President Trump’s call for an increase in military spending doesn’t have even the veneer of [strategic] guidance. Instead, the administration has delivered a bundle of simplistic national security slogans rife with contradictions and gaps … Most troubling is the fact that the Trump administration apparently intends to fund increases in the defense budget by slashing components of the federal budget that contribute significantly to national security, including the State Department.”

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