Friday, March 3, 2017

Progressive Breakfast: Resign, Jeff Sessions. It's Not About Russia, It's About Justice


Richard Eskow
Resign, Jeff Sessions. It’s Not About Russia, It’s About Justice
There’s compelling evidence that Sessions committed perjury ... In less than a week, Sessions and Trump made three moves that selectively bring the weight of law enforcement down on minorities and the poor. Then, on Thursday, March 2, Sessions declined to resign over his Senate testimony ... Recusal is not enough.

Cruel Arrests Of Immigrants Continue

Another DREAMer detained. The Nation: “On Tuesday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in Jackson, Mississippi, pulled over and detained 22-year-old Daniela Vargas, who had just finished participating in a press conference … Vargas is not the first DREAMer to get picked up in the new Trump era—23-year-old DREAMer Daniel Ramirez Medina was detained in the Seattle area and remains in custody. A San Antonio 19-year-old DREAMer named Josue Romero was also detained last month, but was released on bond. But Vargas’s case is important for other reasons … When Obama was in the White House, the safest place for young undocumented immigrants like Vargas was in the public eye … What Vargas’s detention shows is that those days are over.”
Immigrant father of 4 detained while dropping his kids off at school. LAist: “Romulo Avelica-Gonzalez, an undocumented father of four U.S.-born children, has lived in this country for more than 20 years. On Tuesday, he was dropping his daughters off at school, as he does every morning [when he] was detained by immigration officials … [He] has lived in this country for more than half his life. His four daughters are Americans …”

GOP Hides ACA Bill

House GOP leaders predict quick passage of ACA repeal. Politico: “Their confidence, coming after months of dead ends and false starts, is fueled by the belief that President Donald Trump has their back — even if some conservatives currently don’t … Ryan said he plans for the House to hold a vote on the leadership’s Obamacare alternative in three weeks … Several House Freedom Caucus and Republican Study Committee members have joined Senate firebrands Rand Paul, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee in blasting a draft Ryan plan as ‘Obamacare-lite.'”
Republicans literally hiding the bill. NYT: “…Democrats went from office to office, hunting for a copy. Lawmakers were told that Republican members of the Energy and Commerce Committee could inspect the bill on Thursday in the basement of a House office building. When Democrats arrived, they were directed to a room on the first floor of the Capitol. The House Democratic whip, Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, and Representative Paul Tonko, Democrat of New York, went to that room, but could not find the bill there.”
The Hill adds: “[Democrats] note that there have not been hearings about the plan, something that traditionally happens before legislation is marked up in committee.”

Sen. Brown To Announce Worker Aid Package

Sen. Sherrod Brown to propose worker aid legislation in Ohio speech today. “Among his recommendations: Raise the federal minimum wage to $15 … Raise the white collar overtime salary threshold to $47,476 — double the current level … Require employers to allow employees to earn a minimum of seven paid sick days. Establish a 12-week paid family and medical leave standard, administered through a national paid leave fund. Create stronger penalties for ‘wage theft,’… implement a ‘Corporate Freeloader Fee’ on companies whose low wages result in their workers relying on federal subsidies such as Medicaid and food stamps.”
Senate Dems concerned about integrity of jobs data. Bloomberg: “… eight lawmakers, led by Washington Senator Patty Murray, on Thursday called for a commitment from President Donald Trump’s administration to stand by ‘essential, independent work’ particularly of the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, which publishes the monthly jobs report and other regular economic figures. ‘We find it necessary to seek this commitment because you and representatives of your administration have expressed a clear skepticism and distrust of, among other statistics, the monthly unemployment rate and employment reports,’ according to the letter.”
IRS could face cuts. NYT: “[Trump] wants to significantly cut the tax agency’s funding at a time when it has already been bleeding staff and struggling to keep up with a flood of returns ahead of Tax Day. The plans, revealed this week in documents associated with the White House budget outline, put Mr. Trump at odds with his Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, who has argued that the I.R.S. needs more money and a larger staff.”
No American steel for Keystone pipeline. Politico: “The Keystone XL Pipeline will not be subject to President Donald Trump’s executive order requiring infrastructure projects to be built with American steel … ‘The Keystone XL Pipeline is currently in the process of being constructed, so it does not count as a new, retrofitted, repaired or expanded pipeline,’ the White House spokeswoman said … in his address to Congress earlier this week, Trump spoke of the order in the same sentence as Keystone but carefully described it as directing ‘that new American pipelines be made with American steel.'”

Drama Over Paris Pact

Decision imminent on Paris climate pact. NYT: “On one side of that debate is Mr. Bannon, who as a former chief executive of Breitbart News published countless articles denouncing climate change as a hoax, and who has vowed to push Mr. Trump to transform all his major campaign promises into policy actions … On the other side are [Ivanka] Trump, Mr. Tillerson, and a slew of foreign policy advisers and career diplomats who argue that the fallout of withdrawing from the accord could be severe, undercutting the United States’ credibility on other foreign policy issues and damaging relations with key allies … Mr. Trump wants to make a decision by next week … in order to announce his executive order to undo Mr. Obama’s climate regulations in conjunction with his plans for the Paris deal.”
Trump budget will gut EPA. Reuters: “The 23-page 2018 budget proposal, which aims to slice the environmental regulator’s overall budget by 25 percent to $6.1 billion and staffing by 20 percent to 12,400 as part of a broader effort to fund increased military spending, would cut deeply into programs like climate protection, environmental justice and enforcement … grants to states for lead cleanup would be cut 30 percent to $9.8 million … An EPA climate protection program on cutting emissions of greenhouse gases like methane that contribute to global warming would be cut 70 percent to $29 million.”

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