Progressive Breakfast for September 12

Morning Message

Hundreds Of Organizations Ask For Change In Trade Policies

Approximately 600 organizations have sent a formal, public letter to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) opposing “fast-track” trade promotion authority and calling for a new system for negotiating and implementing trade agreements. The letter asks for trade pacts that “deliver benefits for most Americans, promote broadly shared prosperity, and safeguard the environment and public health.” ... The letter asks for a new process for reaching trade agreements in which Congress has a role in selecting trade partners and in which Congress sets up a set of negotiating objectives that must be achieved. The new process would include more transparency and a way for Congress to certify that negotiating objectives have been met before trade negotiations are wrapped up.

Health Care for 1.7M Riding on Midterms

MIdterms may mean more Medicaid expansion. The Hill: “Democrats running in five highly competitive governors races this year have vowed to expand Medicaid coverage through ObamaCare if they are elected, something that could result in 1.7 million new people getting covered … If federal Medicaid programs are expanded in the five states — Florida, Maine, Kansas, Wisconsin and Georgia — it would also have a dramatic effect on the federal budget. It could result in $120 billion in new federal funds spent on the coverage over the next decade…”

Gala 2014 banner PB/PMU-EB

Politico claims Dem push on inversions is a “flop”: “Almost no one is talking about the issue on the campaign trail. And there is little chance legislation will advance or even come to a vote on Capitol Hill before the midterm elections. Meanwhile, some influential tax policy analysts suggest any of the administration’s possible unilateral actions could make the problem worse, be deemed illegal, or wouldn’t have much impact at all. At the same time, Republicans seem increasingly comfortable arguing that companies looking to “invert” by moving their official address out of the U.S. highlights the disaster of the American Tax Code and the need for a complete overhaul…”

Syria Complicates Keeping Government Open

Vote to keep government set for next week. The Hill: “Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Thursday that the House is still on track to vote next week on a funding bill to avert a government shutdown, but he didn’t say whether President Obama’s request to authorize training and arming Syrian rebels would be attached to the measure … Boehner said some in his conference were uneasy with the strategy laid out by Obama Wednesday night … But Boehner reiterated his support…”

Ex-Im Bank extension will remain in bill. The Hill: “Asked if the delayed vote would re-open debate on extending the life of the Export-Import Bank, Rogers’s spokeswoman Jennifer Hing said, ‘No.’ ‘There is no other issue but Syria,’ Hing said.”

Republicans kill constitutional amendment that would have scrapped Citizens United ruling. W. Post: “…it needed the support of not only two-thirds of the Senate and House, but would have had to have been ratified by three-quarters of the states. The final vote was 54 to 42 in favor of the measure. But Democrats embraced it as a vehicle to highlight the massive political spending by billionaires that has occurred since Citizens United … supporters gathered more than 3 million signatures in support of the amendment. Republicans fired back by accusing the left of wanting to constrain free speech, calling the bill a political effort to silence critics on the right.”

Breakfast Sides

WH tells Hispanic Caucus Obama will go “as far as he can under the law” on immigration. W. Post: “The gathering appeared designed to quell dissension among Democrats upset about Obama’s decision to delay using his executive authority to change immigration policy … What would happen, the lawmaker asked, if Democrats lose control of the Senate … Will Obama still use his executive authority to change immigration policy? ‘Dennis McDonough said “yes,”‘”

California mandates paid sick days. CNN: “California just became the second state in the nation to give paid sick days to workers. Gov. Jerry Brown has signed into law a measure that requires all employers to grant workers at least 3 days that they can use to call out sick and still get paid. Advocates of the law say it will impact about 6.5 million workers, or 39% of California’s workforce. That would make it the most widespread paid sick day law on the books. Similar policies were approved for Connecticut workers in 2011 and in New York City earlier this year.”

Challenges arise in manufacturing job training push. WSJ: “The Obama administration and governors from Michigan to South Carolina have a solution for some of the U.S. manufacturing sector’s woes: German-style apprenticeship programs. But their success is proving to be unusually one-sided, mostly drawing firms based in Germany and other non-U.S. countries … ‘The apprenticeship has been the best choice of my professional life,’ said Amy Mitchum, a 37-year-old Tennessee resident who left her job … to join an apprenticeship program run by Volkswagen AG … She now earns $22 an hour, about 50% more than the median wage in her state … Most U.S. workers avoid the same path for a number of reasons…”