Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Progressive Breakfast: Five Reasons Moderate Democrats Should Oppose Neil Gorsuch


Richard Eskow
Five Reasons Moderate Democrats Should Oppose Neil Gorsuch
...Trump does not have a mandate to transform the country the way the Supreme Court would with Gorsuch on the bench ... On issue after issue, Gorsuch has proved himself to be a reliable ideologue for the right-wing – and anything but moderate in his rulings ... A vote against Gorsuch is a vote for working Americans – those who are already in the Democratic coalition, and those who are not.

Gorsuch Faces Grilling Today

Gorsuch hearing expected to heat up. The Hill: “…every member of the Senate Judiciary Committee will get 30 minutes to grill Gorsuch … Democrats on Monday focused their attacks on Gorsuch’s skeptical view of the wide latitude courts usually give federal agencies to interpret laws.”
Politico adds: “…Democrats are planning a sprawling offensive targeting everything from Gorsuch’s rulings during his decade as a judge on the Denver-based 10th Circuit to his involvement in George W. Bush-era anti-terror tactics as a top Justice Department lawyer, as well as perhaps Gorsuch’s biggest vulnerability: Trump himself…”
Gorsuch praised voter suppression figure, scoops The Nation’s Ari Berman: “…Hans von Spakovsky [has] been instrumental in spreading the myth of widespread voter fraud and backing new restrictions to make it harder to vote … When President Bush nominated von Spakovksy to the Federal Election Commission in late 2005, Gorsuch wrote, ‘Good for Hans!’ … when von Spakovksy said he was participating in a ‘Ballot Access and Voter Integrity Conference’ at the Justice Department, Gorsuch wrote, ‘Sounds interesting. Glad to see you’re doing this…’ … Though the e-mails sound mundane, they’re much more important when you consider what was happening at the Justice Department during the time Gorsuch overlapped with von Spakovksy…”
Dem Sen. Michael Bennet appears to support Gorsuch. The Hill: “The Democrat helped fellow Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner (R) introduce the nominee [to the Judiciary Committee] … The Colorado senator praised Gorsuch’s ties to his home state and warned Democrats about rejecting Trump’s nominee out of hand … Referring to lingering Democratic anger over Garland, Bennet added that ‘two wrongs never make a right’ … [But] Bennet wouldn’t be the first senator who helped introduce a Supreme Court nominee …. only to vote against them once the nomination reaches the floor…”

ACA Repeal Bill Made Worse

Speaker Ryan unveils modified health care bill. Bloomberg: “Republican leaders … made changes to limit Medicaid enrollment and phase out some taxes earlier, but the head of a House conservative group said there still aren’t enough votes to pass the measure … The changes include an option to allow states to require people covered by Medicaid to work and a provision prohibiting extra funding to states that newly expand Medicaid … leaders agreed to add a special provision to hold $2.3 billion a year in Medicaid funding from New York unless the state’s governor and state legislature agree to stop forcing counties to help pay for Medicaid … Some moderate Republicans also wanted to increase tax credits for older, poorer people … part of the amendment leaves room for the Senate to increase the tax credits for that group.”
Several health groups oppose GOP billl. The Hill: “The American Hospital Association is running TV ads against the American Health Care Act, warning that millions of people would lose coverage if it becomes law. The AARP says it will be alerting its 38 million members to how their representatives voted on the legislation. And the American Medical Association is calling on Republicans to go ‘back to the drawing board.’ … America’s Health Insurance Plans, the main lobbying organization for insurers, has not taken a firm position…”
Trump tries hard sell. The Hill: “On Tuesday morning, the president will head to Capitol Hill in an attempt to seal up House Republican support … The Hill’s Whip List shows that 17 House Republicans currently plan to vote no on the healthcare legislation, suggesting the final vote tally will be a nail-biter. Ryan and his team can only afford 21 GOP defections…”
Trump message: eat your vegetables. Politico: “Donald Trump is increasingly talking about health care like the vegetables of his agenda — the thing he must begrudgingly finish in order to get to what he really wants: tax cuts, trade deals and infrastructure … ‘So we gotta get this done before we can do the other … we have to know what this is before we can do the big tax cuts.'”
Senate divides into multiple camps. Bloomberg: “A trio of Senate conservatives has attacked the bill vociferously and said they will not vote for it without changes … Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah … Two Senate Republicans, Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, oppose the House bill’s provision defunding Planned Parenthood … A broader group has expressed concerns about the House’s plans to phase out Medicaid expansion money for their states, including Murkowski, Rob Portman of Ohio, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Cory Gardner of Colorado … Bill Cassidy of Louisiana says he wants to radically reshape the House bill so that it covers more people …”

Dakota Pipeline Backlash

“Oil could flow through Dakota Access ‘sometime this week,’” reports The Hill: “The two-page filing with the D.C. Circuit Court — a weekly update on the project’s status ordered by a judge in February The two-page filing with the D.C. Circuit Court — a weekly update on the project’s status ordered by a judge in February — [said] ‘oil may flow sometime this week.’ … One of the tribes, the Cheyenne River Sioux, on Monday said it would crowdsource funds from supporters to keep its legal fight up and running.”
Activists push cities to divest from banks that fund pipeline. The Nation: “The [Seattle] City Council, in a unanimous vote [last month], committed to severing Seattle’s relationship with Wells Fargo … inspired by the Seattle model, campaigners in cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Bellingham, Raleigh, Albuquerque, and even Berlin, are bringing DAPL divestment to their communities.”

Breakfast Sides

Senate Republicans may block House attempt to scrap Obama methane rule. The Hill: “Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told The Hill that a CRA resolution, which prevents the government from writing any future rule that is ‘substantially the same’ as the one overturned, is too blunt an instrument in this case. ‘I think we can replace it with a better reg, rather than a CRA,’ Graham said. Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said she is ‘leaning against’ the resolution … Spokesmen for Sens. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) said they’re undecided … Democratic Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.) are also undecided.”
Sen. Warren prepares for Wed. hearing on Labor Sec nomination. The Hill: “Warren is asking Alex Acosta … in a 23-page letter to weigh in on a myriad of policies including if he believes the president should ‘fully divest’ from the Trump Organization and if he would defend an Obama-era overtime rule.”
“White House prepares sweeping review of trade deals” reports Politico: “Trump is expected to sign an executive order on reviewing all trade deals … ‘NAFTA is going to be at the top of the list,’ one senior administration official said … Inside the administration, officials have been split on trade, [between] some officials like Steve Bannon, the president’s chief strategist, and other officials like Gary Cohn, one of the president’s top economic advisers.”
Resistance to school choice in Iowa. NYT: “Despite Republican control of the governor’s mansion and both houses of the State Legislature, proposals to significantly expand school choice programs in Iowa are stalled, at least for now. The pushback has come from groups traditionally opposed to the idea — Democrats, school districts, teachers’ unions and parents committed to public schools — but also from some conservatives concerned about the cost to the state.”

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