Tuesday, February 28, 2017

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Progressive Breakfast: The Trump Infrastructure Plan Won't Bridge the Nation's Job Gap


Isaiah J. Poole
The Trump Infrastructure Plan Won’t Bridge the Nation’s Job Gap
President Trump on Tuesday night is expected to make what he told a meeting of governors on Monday would be “a big statement” on infrastructure spending ... But a report just released by the People’s Action Institute warns that if the goals are good jobs, boosting communities left behind by the anemic economic growth of the last seven years and slowing climate change, Democrats need to be wary of the fine print of any infrastructure plan coming out of the Trump administration. As in virtually every other policy area, what Trump and the Republican party is offering on infrastructure calls for resistance, not accommodation.

Trump Faces Rudderless Congress Tonight

Republicans want clarity from Trump’s congressional address tonight, may not get it. Politico: “Trump’s often ambiguous policy views may have been an effective campaign tactic, but these days they are a major source of confusion to members of his own party … Several aides briefed on Trump’s speech said they expect it to be ‘high level’ — in other words, without many specific details that would highlight the GOP’s splits. And some Republicans doubt they will get the guidance they need from Trump on divisive issues like how to handle Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion and a potential new tax on imports.”
“Trump budget faces GOP resistance” reports Politico: “It’s not that Republicans don’t want to boost the Pentagon, but if they’re going to pay for it, they’d rather not do it all on the backs of domestic agencies that have already seen their budgets gutted in recent years. They also are itching to do entitlement reform…”
Retail lobby launches “BAT Tax” campaign to kill border adjustment tax: “House Republicans … want you to believe that it will bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States by punishing American companies that import goods … [But g]oods imported into the United States – gas, medicine, fruits, vegetables, clothing – will be more expensive for everyone.The National Retail Federation estimates price increases of at least 15 percent, costing the average family as much as $1,700 a year.”

GOP Cracks Widen Over ACA

“Top Conservatives Oppose GOP Health Care Plan” reports Roll Call: “The top two House conservatives on Monday said they cannot vote for their conference’s health care repeal and partial replacement plan in its current form … both cited concerns over the plan’s refundable tax credits, saying it amounts to the creation of a new entitlement program …”
House GOP healthcare plan may hurt rural voters. The Atlantic’s Vann Newkirk: “…pegging Medicaid spending to a base year would reduce states’ ability to ramp up health-care spending because of disasters or emerging health problems, and these problems already exert the most pressures on states and areas with infrastructure that is ill-equipped to combat them. Rural residents already rely much more heavily on public insurance than do city-dwellers, so any reductions of funding and funding flexibility will have a larger effect on the health issues they face.”
“The Fight for Obamacare Has Turned” declares NYT’s David Leonhardt: “. Privately, [Trump] and his aides have begun to realize the mess they have made by promising the impossible. On Monday, Trump himself lamented that health care was ‘complicated.’ The clearest sign of anxiety came in a Washington Post report: Four top advisers — Stephen Bannon, Gary Cohn, Jared Kushner and Stephen Miller — ‘have emphasized the potential political costs to moving aggressively.'”
Sens. Booker and Sanders team up on prescription drug costs. USA Today: “Pilloried by his party’s left wing for voting in January against a nonbinding measure with a similar goal, Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., is joining Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., on Tuesday to unveil a bill to allow the importation of pharmaceuticals from Canada and other countries … Booker had said he would support drug importation if it included safeguards for consumers that the Sanders-Klobuchar amendment lacked. Details of the protections in the new bill are to be released at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.”

Tweets Don’t Save Rexnord Jobs

Rexnord jobs head to Mexico. USA Today: “… Rexnord Corp. [is] a ball bearings manufacturer that’s about to move work done for generations on Indianapolis’ west side to a new plant in Monterrey, Mexico … 350-plus co-workers have been boxing up machinery and shipping it to Mexico … When Trump stepped in to save 750 Carrier jobs that had been bound for Mexico, John Feltner allowed himself to hope Trump might save jobs at Rexnord as well. But that hope is all but gone…”
Mexico draws firm line on tariffs. Bloomberg: “‘The moment that they say, “We’re going to put a 20 percent tariff on cars,” I get up from the table,’ Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo said in an interview. ‘Bye-bye.’ … Mexican officials have said they expect official talks to start in June. And if they fail? ‘It wouldn’t be an absolute crisis,’ said Guajardo … Without Nafta, trade between Mexico and the U.S. would be ruled by World Trade Organization strictures limiting tariffs either country can impose on the other, with the average for Mexico at around 3 percent … That ‘would take away some of our margin of competitiveness,’ the minister said, but would be manageable.”

Breakfast Sides

Trump moves to pollute waterways. NYT: “President Trump is expected to sign an executive order on Tuesday aimed at rolling back one of former President Barack Obama’s major environmental regulations, a clean water rule known as Waters of the United States. But on its own, Mr. Trump’s order will have almost no legal effect … The order will essentially give Mr. Trump a megaphone to direct his new Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Scott Pruitt, to begin the lengthy and complicated legal process required to rewrite the rule — a process that could take longer than Mr. Trump’s first term, legal experts said.”
Republicans try to clamp down on protests. The Atlantic: “A Washington Post analysis found at least 18 states where Republican legislators have either proposed legislation that targets certain protest tactics, sought to increase penalties for illegal protests under existing law, or publicly discussed pursuing such measures … Some of the protest-related legislation has stalled in its early stages after public scrutiny. But other proposals, especially those in Republican-dominated state governments, could face an easier road to passage.”
Education Secretary DeVos engages in historical revisionism about black colleges. ABC: “[Her] statement called historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) ‘real pioneers when it comes to school choice,’ and came shortly after President Donald Trump held a meeting with several HBCU leaders on Monday. Some social media users said DeVos ignored the history of how black Americans were denied access to higher education. Meanwhile, others said the statement applauded the segregated Jim Crow education system for giving black students ‘more options.'”
“Trump’s Justice Department Is No Longer Opposing Texas’s Discriminatory Voter-ID Law” reports The Nation’s Ari Berman: “Ahead of a crucial hearing in federal district court tomorrow, the Trump administration is reversing the Obama administration’s opposition to Texas’s strict voter-ID law … Here’s why the hearing tomorrow matters: If Texas’s law is declared intentionally discriminatory (again), the entire statute will be invalidated and Texas could be forced to clear its voting changes with federal government for a period of time … The case will still proceed with civil rights groups arguing against the voter-ID law, but they will no longer have the federal government on their side.”

Progressive Breakfast is a daily morning email highlighting news stories of interest to activists. Progressive Breakfast and OurFuture.org are projects of People's Action. more »

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