Progressive Breakfast for August 4

Morning Message

Obama’s Climate Plan: Is It Good Enough?

Fault lines are emerging in response to President Obama's Clean Power Plan, the EPA rule designed to cut carbon emissions from power plants 32 percent relative to their 2005 level by 2030. The Sierra Club hailed the announcement as “the most significant single action any president has ever taken” while downplayed it. “Taking on King Coal is the easy part … decisions on things like the Keystone XL pipeline, fracking and Arctic drilling are … the true test of climate leadership,” they said. How can we make sense of it, and what should citizen-activists do next?

Republicans Plan Climate Attack

Conservative ready assault on Obama’s climate regs. The Hill: “…the National Mining Association struck first, lodging a formal request Monday for a stay … [There will be] legislative maneuvering and legal assaults at both the state and federal levels. And if all else fails, conservatives say, Obama’s successor could unwind the regulations, if a Republican wins the White House next year.”

HuffPost’s Jonathan Cohn explains how a Republican president could undo Obama’s climate legacy: “…Congress would pass a law modifying or repealing part of the Clean Air Act [but it would have to] overcome a filibuster in the Senate. … A Republican president could … issue a new regulation … But that would still take time, because regulatory changes happen through a fixed, legally prescribed process …”

TPP Hits Wall

Big obstacles to TPP agreement. NYT: “Tokyo was ready to extend major concessions on American truck tariffs but was blocked by Mexico … Canada held firm on protecting its politically sensitive dairy market ahead of elections in October, but for New Zealand … that was unacceptable … And virtually all of the parties hated American protections of pharmaceutical firms, but a compromise on that issue could cost the support of Republicans in Congress.”

Secretary of State Kerry tries to keep momentum alive. NYT: “Days after negotiators failed to wrap up an Asia trade agreement, Secretary of State John Kerry expressed confidence on Tuesday that the pact would be completed, calling it vital for the economic well-being of the region.”

Breakfast Sides

Republicans may shutdown government over Planned Parenthood. The Hill: “A group of conservatives in the House have already pledged not to vote for any government funding bill that includes Planned Parenthood, creating the potential for a high-stakes battle … ‘I believe we should use every and any procedural tool available to defund Planned Parenthood,’ Cruz, who is running for president, told reporters…”

“Conservatives are trying to prove income inequality is a myth” says LAT’s Michael Hiltzik: “[Martin] Feldstein urged his readers not to ‘lose sight of how well middle-income families have actually done over the past few decades.’ …by defining the ‘middle class’ as those earning the median income, Feldstein is putting his thumbs on the scale … what were once thought of as middle-class households have slipped well down the income ladder.”

WH pushes for lower health insurance premiums. NYT: “…the Obama administration is trying to persuade states to cut back big rate increases requested by many health insurance companies for 2016 … In calling for aggressive regulation of rates, federal officials are setting up a potential clash with insurers. Some carriers said they paid out more in claims than they collected in premiums last year…”