Friday, March 10, 2017

Progressive Breakfast: We Must Create Good Jobs: Sherrod Brown Shows the Way Forward


Robert Borosage
We Must Create Good Jobs: Sherrod Brown Shows the Way Forward
Democrats are sensibly critical of the Trump agenda, but too many fall back to a defense of Obama’s policies as the alternative. Obama helped save the economy that was in free fall [but] did little to counter the stagnant wages, growing inequality and increasing insecurity of the modern economy ... Now, Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio, who is up for re-election in 2018, has stepped boldly into the breach. Brown has released a 77 page, meticulously documented report –Working Too Hard for Too Little – that delves into how policies and power have undermined workers, and offers the elements of an agenda to rebuild the middle class.

Trump Owns Health Care

Trump goes all in on ACA repeal. NYT: “…Mr. Trump is plunging personally into his first major legislative fight, getting behind a bill that has been denounced by many health care providers and scorned by his base on the right. If it fails, Mr. Trump will find it difficult not to shoulder some of the blame.”
Conservatives divided among themselves. Politico: “On Wednesday night, Rep. [Mark] Walker told reporters that he [wanted] two changes: One that would phase-out the current Medicaid expansion this year or the next instead of on Dec. 31, 2019; and another that would alter the structure of health care tax credits created in the bill. The next morning, the RSC group as a whole asked for another change: the addition of work requirements for non-disabled adults receiving Medicaid … gone was the mention of tax credits … Members of the arch-conservative Freedom Caucus, however, said those changes don’t go far enough to win the group’s backing.”
Additional health care bills coming. Politico: “House Republicans will vote on a second health care bill the week they vote to repeal Obamacare … he said it would likely allow people to purchase insurance through association health plans … [After budget reconciliation] Republicans plan to move additional health care bills under regular order, which require 60 votes in the Senate to pass.”
WH attacks CBO before it scores repeal. NYT: “The C.B.O.’s official judgment on the American Health Care Act … is expected to be released on Monday … It could make or break the bill … Budget rules that Republicans are using to bypass a possible Democratic filibuster in the Senate stipulate that the health care legislation must not add to deficits over the span of a decade. If the C.B.O. predicts that it would, Senate Democrats could block the bill … [But] the Senate Budget Committee could decide to make its own determination about the bill’s economic effects.”
Brookings estimates 15 million will lose coverage: “…we conclude that CBO’s analysis will likely estimate that at least 15 million people will lose coverage under the American Health Care Act (AHCA) by the end of the ten-year scoring window. Estimates could be higher, but it’s is unlikely they will be significantly lower.”
Trump supporters hurt most by repeal. NYT: “…voters who would be eligible for a tax credit that would be at least $1,000 smaller than the subsidy they’re eligible for under Obamacare supported Mr. Trump over Hillary Clinton by a seven-point margin. The voters hit the hardest — eligible for at least $5,000 less in tax credits under the Republican plan — supported Mr. Trump by a margin of 59 percent to 36 percent … The plan would hit older and rural Americans hardest because it wouldn’t provide a larger tax credit to people with more expensive plans.”

Regulatory Assault Coming

Politico maps out the coming assault on regulations: “…the key Republican vehicle to rein in rulemaking will be Ohio Senator Rob Portman’s Regulatory Accountability Act … industry groups have pinned their hopes on this one attracting support from enough moderate Democrats to overcome a Senate filibuster … [The bill would] revamp and insert new bureaucratic hurdles into the federal regulatory process … Environmental Working Group vice president Scott Faber calls regulatory reform ‘the one fight we can’t lose’…”
“Republicans Repealing A Rule To Stop Wage Theft? It’s Who They Are” argues’s Dave Johnson “On March 6, the Senate voted 49 to 46 to repeal, the Fair Play and Safe Workplaces act, with all Democrats voting on the side of protecting workers, and all Republicans voting on the side of protecting corporate wage-stealers … Will Trump, who campaigned on the side of working people, sign this repeal of an act that tries to protect workers from having their pay stolen, having their health and safety put at risk and being subjected to civil rights and labor law violations?”
More coal doesn’t mean more coal jobs. Bloomberg: “… the link between U.S. coal production and jobs started fraying decades ago when companies developed technologies to mine more tons with fewer workers … Total U.S. coal jobs plunged to 53,000 last year … West Virginia had just 12,600 miners last year, the lowest since 1890.”
Proposed budget cuts would hurt farmers. Mother Jones’ Tom Philpott: “…the Weather Service leans heavily on another NOAA program, the National Environmental Satellite, Data and Information Service … that’s exactly the place within NOAA where Trump’s budget ax would fall the hardest, [cutting] 22 percent of its annual budget … In my time farming vegetables in western North Carolina, my co-workers and I relied heavily on weather forecasts to make decisions…”
Secretary Tillerson recuses himself from Keystone matters. Politico: “Tillerson, the former CEO of ExxonMobil, recused himself from State’s review of the pipeline in February, a Department ethics lawyer wrote in a letter to Greenpeace on Thursday … The State Department is supposed to finish its review of the pipeline application in the next few weeks.”

Travel Ban Goes Back To Court

Four states sue over new travel ban. The Hill: “Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson (D) said Thursday his office will file a motion asking Robart to reaffirm that the order applies to the new version of the travel ban, which is scheduled to go into effect next Thursday, March 16 … New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D), Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum (D) and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey (D) will join Washington in challenging the new ban.”
Hawaii sues separately. NYT: “The attorney general of Hawaii, Doug Chin, who is also a Democrat, filed a separate lawsuit earlier this week challenging the constitutionality of Mr. Trump’s adjusted order and asking a different court to prevent it from going into effect.”
Pushback against the wall. Politico: “The White House’s commitment to the wall comes even as Republicans express skepticism over it … ‘Do you believe that Mexico will pay for it?’ POLITICO Playbook’s Jake Sherman asked the Kentucky Republican on Thursday morning. ‘Uh, no,’ he shot back, chuckling.”

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