Progressive Breakfast for April 24

Morning Message

A ‘Path To Yes’ On Trade, But Paul Ryan Blocks It

The “fast track” trade bill introduced last week by Sens. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) has a number of problems ... Rep. Sander Levin (D-Mich.), ranking member of the House Ways and Means Committee, on Thursday offered an alternative, the Right Track for TPP Act of 2015 ... This bill is a fast track process for doing trade right — or at least for modifying the secretly negotiated TPP so it can be somewhat palatable to more of us than just the 1 percent. Unfortunately, the House Ways and Means Committee’s chairman, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), ruled the substitute measure “out of order,” ...

Upcoming Events Next Week Tackle Inequality

Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s and Rep. Elijah Cummings’ Middle Class Prosperity Project visits Howard University Monday, 2:30 PM: “The forum will focus on the effect of rising college costs on the middle class particularly the debt challenges facing students at HBCUs, community colleges, for-profit colleges and non-traditional students paying for higher education.”

“Color of Wealth Summit” convenes Thursday, 8:30 AM at U.S. Capitol Visitor Center: “For every dollar in wealth held by the typical white family in 2011, the typical Latino and African-American families only owned seven and six cents respectively. Members of Congress and leading economic policy experts will explore the implications of wealth inequality…”

Fast Track Moves Ahead In The House

House Ways & Means approves fast track on mostly party-line vote. The Hill: “…only two Democrats [lent] their support to the divisive bill, highlighting the difficulty President Obama is having courting members of his own party. As expected, Democratic Reps. Ron Kind (Wis.) and Earl Blumenauer (Ore.) backed the measure.”

House GOPers say they have the votes for fast-track. Politico: “‘In fact, we do have the votes to pass the bill,’ House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions [said] … The latest indication of the GOP’s dominance on the issue: Rep. Paul Ryan snubbed Sander Levin’s alternative … Levin bristled in his low-key way when he learned his amendment wouldn’t even get a vote …”

Currency provision may complicate TPP negotiations. NYT: “Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew maneuvered for months to avoid a requirement that future trade accords include measures to prevent countries from artificially depressing their currencies, which make their exports cheaper and United States imports more expensive … Senators in both parties disagreed … The amendment was added to a separate customs enforcement bill … a victory of sorts for the administration … But lawmakers said they would move in coming weeks to merge the customs and trade promotion bills.”

President Obama levels pointed criticisms at anti-TPP progressives, at Organizing for Action summit speech. The Hill quotes: “When people say this trade deal is bad for working families, they don’t know what they’re talking about … I take that personally. My entire presidency has been about helping working families … Someone coming up with a slogan like ‘death panels’ doesn’t mean it’s true … You need to tell me what’s wrong with this trade agreement, not one that was passed 25 years ago.”

Will Clinton Take Warren’s Ideas?

Hillary Clinton still hasn’t embraced any of Sen. Warren’s positions. Mother Jones: “Take the speech [Warren] gave last week at an economics conference in New York … offering a wide-ranging list of ideas about how the government could build on Dodd-Frank … Mother Jones sent a detailed list of these policy proposals to the Clinton campaign for comment, but it declined to weigh in on any specifics…”

Hillary knocks GOPers at “Women In The World” event. W. Post quotes: “There are those who offer themselves as leaders who would deport mothers working to give their children a better life, rather than risk the ire of talk radio … There are those who would offer themselves as leaders who would even play politics with the nomination of our nation’s chief law enforcement officer and victims of human trafficking … It isn’t leadership. It isn’t going to create a single job or strengthen anyone’s wages.”

Will Republicans Get Any New Ideas?

Republican presidential candidates stuck on discredited “zombie” ideas, says NYT’s Paul Krugman: “Start with Mr. Christie, who thought he was being smart and brave by proposing that we raise the age of eligibility for both Social Security and Medicare to 69 … [That] would impose a great deal of hardship [but] save remarkably little money … every prominent Republican talks about Obamacare as if all the predicted disasters have, in fact, come to pass … Tax proposals like Marco Rubio’s would create a giant hole in the budget, then claim that this hole would be filled by a miraculous economic upsurge. Supply-side economics, it’s now clear, is the ultimate zombie: no amount of evidence or logic can kill it.”

Iowa conservatives wary over Scott Walker’s rhetorical shifts. Des Moines Register: “Republican Scott Walker’s last public event in Iowa six weeks ago began a wave of scrutiny about whether he has changed his mind on a series of issues — ethanol mandates, immigration, common core academic standards, same-sex marriage and others. … ‘I wouldn’t say it’s a red flag yet, but it’s a concern right now,’ Sam Clovis, a well-known conservative leader who lives in the Sioux City area … ‘People are confused about where he stands on certain issues.'”

Gov. John Kasich hints at platform for possible bid. USA Today: “He said Social Security needs ‘major surgery’ but did not endorse any specific entitlement cuts or changes. He said he wants to overhaul the tax code — perhaps with a flat tax — but emphasized that he hadn’t endorsed a detailed proposal yet … he met with about 20 Republicans to push his balanced budget amendment.”

Breakfast Sides

Bloomberg Michael Lewis’ argues flash crash arrest argues for regulatory reforms: “The authors of the SEC report either consciously ignored or did not bother to acquire from the CFTC a lot of accessible, and damning, information about what was happening in the U.S. stock markets the day of the flash crash. The world will now want to know why they did this. (And why we should not instantly listen to Paul Volcker and fold these two regulators into one.)”

Boehner slightly pessimistic on bipartisan tax reform. Bloomberg: “The Ohio Republican cited a ’50-50 chance at best’ during an interview Thursday … ‘The challenge there is how do you deal with 70 percent of American businesses that don’t pay corporate tax rates’ … President Barack Obama and many Democrats and Republicans, including House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan, agree that they want to lower the corporate tax rate from 35 percent and curb business tax breaks to help pay for it. They would leave individual rates alone to avoid a politically charged fight.”