Progressive Breakfast for July 29

Morning Message

Did Obama Administration Downplay Malaysia Slavery To Grease Trade Deal?

Cheap labor is the whole point of our corporate-rigged, NAFTA-style trade agreements. Companies get to move jobs, factories, even entire industries out of the U.S. to countries where people are exploited, the environment is not protected and “costs” like human safety are kept low. But even so … tolerating slavery? Flat-out slavery? Really? Unfortunately, it looks like that’s what is happening with fast-track trade promotion authority, The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Obama administration.

Congress Poised To Pass 3-Month Transportation Bill

Senate bends to House on transportation bill. The Hill: “The House will vote Wednesday on a three-month highway-spending bill … Senate leaders signaled they will approve the three-month extension before the end of the week … Republicans in both chambers said passing the three-month bill would buy time to reach a deal. ‘I want a long-term highway bill that is fully paid for,’ Speaker John Boehner said … The decision to fund highways for three months means the Export-Import Bank loses a vehicle for its charter to be extended.”

House Dems may not back three-month bill. The Hill: “It’s unclear if there’s any threat to GOP’s three-month proposal. The five-month bill passed easily, 312-119, but 65 Republicans opposed the measure. If Democrats were unified against the three-month deal, it could leave GOP leaders struggling to find the votes. [Rep. Steny] Hoyer noted that the five-month bill provides a convenient backstop.”

Bernie Takes Aim At Hillary’s Climate Plan

Sanders knocks Clinton on Keystone. The Hill: “‘It is hard for me to understand how one can be concerned about climate change but not vigorously oppose the Keystone pipeline.’ [said Sanders.] … The former secretary of State told supporters in Iowa that she would take a position on the pipeline if she wins the White House and the fate of the project is still undecided.”

Bernie proposes 50-state strategy. Bloomberg: “Bernie Sanders is taking a General-Sherman approach to his summer, barnstorming across a deep South that is definitely enemy territory for Northeastern liberals … During his speech [in Louisiana], Sanders criticized the Democratic party for writing off the state. ‘And I’m here to tell you that the time is now for us to fight in 50 states of the country,’ he said”

Jeb Bush can’t take credit for Florida’s growth. Bloomberg: “Florida’s economy grew at a 4.4 percent pace from 1999 through the end of 2006, his years in office. Trouble is, the policies Bush adopted as governor did little to spur Florida’s growth, analysts say. That is especially true of the $19 billion in tax cuts he says he made.”

Major Executive Actions Coming

New federal college ratings system could reduce student debt. HuffPost: “U.S. households for the first time would be able to examine how much a college’s graduates earn and how often its students receive a degree with new data the Obama administration intends to make public in the coming weeks … Lawmakers may one day use the information to cut off funding to dodgy schools that saddle students with debt for worthless credentials.”

Carbon cutting plan may give states more flexibility: “…some environmental groups have cautioned that a later deadline for states to comply could make it tougher for the United States to meet Mr. Obama’s climate change pledges on the world stage … The looser deadline came after states and electric utilities spent months appealing to the E.P.A. for more time to comply. The leaders of major electric utilities warned that the tighter timeline could threaten electric reliability…”