Progressive Breakfast for May 1

Morning Message

The Sanders Challenge

...win or lose, Sanders’ campaign will have far greater importance than serving as Clinton’s trainer. His message will reach millions, helping to reinforce the central realization that the rules have been rigged against them ... He’ll attract new energy, young organizers and activists who will gain experience and grow. New talented leaders will emerge through the campaign, using it to widen their own base and establish their own credentials. Out of the Jesse Jackson campaign in 1988, for example, came Paul Wellstone, who ran his operation in Minnesota and David Dinkins who put together the winning coalition in New York City, and many more ... Whether you support him or not, don’t discount him. He’s the real deal and this is a big deal.

Bernie Transforms Dem Primary

Iowans welcome Bernie Sanders to the race. Des Moines Register: “Sanders, a no-frills man of the people, will be welcome in the presidential race becaucharse he’s so sincere about his ideas for making working-class Americans’ lives better, some Iowa Democratic activists said Thursday. It’s possible the Vermont second-term U.S. senator can become a real contender here — and peel away votes from frontrunner Hillary Clinton — if he can explain himself to enough voters…”

Bernie could pressure Hillary on key issues. The Hill: “Some Democrats who are more centrist … believe Sanders could be a significant player in the race, and could at least further sharpen Clinton’s positions … ‘… he will push her on things like Keystone, and trade deals, and expanding social security,’ veteran Democratic consultant Bob Shrum said. ‘I don’t know where she will end up on those issues.’ Shrum does not believe that Sanders will seriously endanger Clinton’s claim on the nomination. But he argues that Sanders’ fundamental political strengths are underrated, including his ability as a debater and the fact that ‘he is what he is — he’s authentic.'”

Obama Lobbies Hard For Fast Track

Obama offers campaign help to Democrats who back fast track. The Hill: “Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), one of the few Democratic proponents of the president’s trade agenda … said the president vowed that if any of the members faced political challenges, he would be there to support them in their districts. ‘That commitment matters, and what he said, you could see for some members that it was very important to hear that,’ he said. The promises of campaign help were so impassioned the ‘we started getting out our appointment calendars,’ Connolly said.”

Obama will stump in Oregon next week. The Hill: “President Obama will hit the road next week to push his trade agenda during a visit to Nike’s headquarters in Beaverton … In his speech next Friday, the president will discuss ‘how workers will benefit from progressive, high-standards trade agreements that would open up new markets and support high-quality jobs,’ a White House official said.”

Republican leaders try to minimize defections. WSJ: “Republican leaders who back the trade bill sought to shore up support among some reluctant conservative lawmakers. And they said they expect the fast-track legislation to pass in the end … Republicans, who started the year with the largest majority since the 1920s, are currently 35 to 40 votes shy of being able to pass the legislation without Democratic support, according to [one] estimate…”

Legal experts challenge legality of TPP’s dispute settlement provision. W. Post’s Greg Sargent: “…the legal experts — who include [Laurence] Tribe, Yale’s Judith Resnik, University of California’s Cruz Reynoso, former federal judge Lee Sarokin, and Joseph Stiglitz, who is not a lawyer but a major economist — argue: ‘…To protect and uphold the rule of law, our ideals of fairness and justice must apply in all situations and equally to everyone. ISDS, in contrast, is a system built on differential access…'”

Hillary vacillates on trade. Bloomberg: “Three years ago Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised a proposed deal to reduce trade barriers among Pacific Rim nations as ‘the gold standard’ for such pacts. Now, the presidential candidate Clinton has nothing to say …. She has … alternately praised and criticized the landmark North American Free Trade Agreement signed by her husband in 1993, calling it good for America or a ‘mistake,’ …”

Breakfast Sides

House military spending bill advances. The Hill: “The bill, which was passed by a 60-2 vote after 19 hours of debate, adds more restrictions on the Obama administration’s ability to transfer detainees housed at the Guantánamo Bay detention facility in Cuba, something the White House has protested. It also authorizes funding based on Republican spending proposals, which would leave in place federal budget caps known as sequestration … the panel also rejected a number of cost-saving proposals requested by the Pentagon, including retiring the A-10 attack jet.”

Sen. Majority Leader McConnell eyes debt ceiling as vehicle to move other legislation. Politico: “…he signaled that the GOP wouldn’t roll over when it comes time to raise the national debt ceiling later this year. ‘I always think a debt ceiling is a good tool to carry something,’ McConnell said when asked if he’d heed White House demands to keep the measure free of restrictions. ‘I hope we can add something to it.'”

GOP divide worsens over Ex-Im Bank. Politico: “[Speaker] Boehner (R-Ohio) has privately asked [Rep.] Hensarling (R-Texas) to craft some sort of plan to address the bank’s expiration this June — whether it be reforms, or a wind-down plan. Hensarling’s allies say he is not interested in doing that. And if the House doesn’t act and lets the bank expire this summer, the Senate will keep it alive on the back of a piece of must-pass legislation.”

Kansas schools literally run out of money, close early. W. Post’s Catherine Rampell: “At least eight Kansas school districts recently announced that they’re starting summer break early this year … thanks to state leaders’ decision to ax education spending midyear to plug an ever-widening hole in their budget … giving us a preview of what might happen if Republicans control the White House and Congress after the 2016 ­election.”