Progressive Breakfast for October 9

Morning Message

Candidate Scorecard: Sanders Leads, Populism Drives Debate

When Hillary Clinton expressed doubts about the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement and then issued a call for new Wall Street reforms, reporters suggested she was trying to mute her differences with Bernie Sanders in the run-up to the first Democratic presidential debate on Tuesday. A new Candidate Scorecard, released this week by the Campaign for America’s Future, tracks the scope and the limits of that effort. The scorecard grades the Democratic candidates against a popular populist agenda of economic and political reforms. Not surprisingly, Bernie Sanders gains the highest scores of the field, with Martin O’Malley second and Hillary Clinton third.

Animal House

House GOP in chaos as Rep. Kevin McCarthy drops Speaker bid. W. Post: “Less than a year after a sweeping electoral triumph, Republicans are on the verge of ceasing to function as a national political party … Their contempt for compromise has also undermined the Republicans’ drive to prove that they can actually govern.”

No clear choice for successor. LAT: “Reps. Daniel Webster of Florida and Jason Chaffetz of Utah [have not] amassed majority support, and both appear to be long shots … Other Republicans mentioned as potential caretaker candidates, though unlikely, include Rep. John Kline, a retiring Minnesotan, and Rep. Tom Cole, an Oklahoman who is close to Boehner … The decision has become so fraught that some Republicans, not altogether seriously, have suggested picking someone beyond the House to tame the institution.”

Heavy pressure on Rep. Paul Ryan to become Speaker. The Hill: “There’s only a couple of problems with that idea. First, Ryan has steadfastly insisted he has no interest in the Speaker’s job … On top of that, it’s far from certain that the House Freedom Caucus, the group of roughly 40 conservatives who opposed Boehner and McCarthy, would fall in line behind a Ryan candidacy.”

Or Boehner could stay on . Time: “…if the conference fails to actually elect a new Speaker, he’s stuck with the job … Another solution is electing a Speaker with Democratic votes—a pragmatist who could see through much of the pending legislation.”

“GOP drama hurls budget talks into disarray” reports The Hill: “Congress has less than a month to raise the nation’s debt limit and only two months to find a deal to avoid a government shutdown. Meanwhile, many in the GOP are unsure who is representing the House majority at the table.”

House floor vote on Ex-Im bank expected. The Hill: “‘I’ll tell you what this guarantees,’ [Rep. Charlie] Dent said after leaving the GOP meeting where McCarthy made his announcement. ‘Tomorrow, that the discharge petition on the Ex-Im Bank’s going to happen. It’s going to happen.'”

Clinton Announces Bank Reform Plan

Clinton walks “delicate line” in Wall Street reform plan. Bloomberg: “In unveiling her most specific plans yet to stiffen rules on financial firms, Clinton’s presidential campaign is aiming to shore up her standing with the liberal base … At the same time, the Democratic frontrunner’s move was greeted with a shrug by many bankers because it stopped short of the calls by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders … to break up the biggest lenders.”

Mixed reaction from left. The Hill: “[Martin O’Malley] said Clinton’s plan ‘falls short on what should be our ultimate goal: preventing reckless Wall Street speculators from backing up their bad bets with taxpayer money.’ … Wall Street reform groups praised Clinton for putting forward a plan, but said they weren’t sure it went far enough … Robert Borosage, co-director of the liberal Campaign For America’s Future [said] ‘The emphasis on holding individuals accountable is vital, and will be widely praised among progressives … [But the plan is] far less bold than the agenda of Sanders … or Elizabeth Warren.'”

Breakfast Sides

Sanders to oppose Obama’s FDA nominee. W. Post quotes: ““At a time when millions of Americans cannot afford to purchase the prescription drugs they need, we need a new leader at the FDA who is prepared to stand up to the pharmaceutical companies and work to substantially lower drug prices. Unfortunately, I have come to the conclusion that Dr. [Robert] Califf is not that person.”

Obama considers executive action on gun sales. W. Post: “Under the proposed rule change, dealers who exceed a certain number of sales each year would be required to obtain a license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and perform background checks on potential buyers … While the White House Office of Legal Counsel and then-Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. initially concluded the regulation was legally defensible … some federal lawyers remained concerned that setting an arbitrary numerical threshold could leave the rule vulnerable to a challenge.”