Progressive Breakfast for February 26

Morning Message

A Voice for Workers at the Federal Reserve

The Federal Reserve’s Chairwoman Janet Yellen is intimating that it might begin to lift interest rates in the middle of this year. If so, its decisions over the next year could well lock millions of Americans out of the workforce, and insure that wages generally continue to stagnate. That is why it is vital that President Obama act now to nominate someone with a clue about the real conditions of working people in this economy ... Progressives should be rallying support for the nomination of a leader like Larry Cohen, the dynamic retiring president of the Communications Workers of America...

Pressure On House GOP To Avert DHS Shutdown

Senate could pass bill to fund Homeland Security today, House prospects unclear. W. Post: “…Boehner repeatedly declined to say Wednesday whether he would take up the Senate’s ‘clean’ bill … Sen. Mark Kirk (Ill.), a moderate Republican, defended McConnell and laid blame at the feet of House Republicans … Democrats were happy to twist the knife. ‘There’s trouble in paradise. I don’t understand it,’ said a chuckling Sen. Richard J. Durbin…”

“Boehner and his leadership team are mulling several different options” reports Politico: “One is to approve a one- to two-week stopgap funding bill, alongside a request for a formal negotiation between [House and Senate] … Another alternative House leaders are weighing is to tie DHS funding to the outcome of [the] court fight …”

“Disgruntled right wing keeps Boehner coup talk alive” says The Hill: “While there’s not a coordinated effort yet, chatter of another coup attempt has grown louder now that the Senate is moving to pass a funding bill to avert a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) without the immigration riders.”

Obama expects to prevail in court on immigration. AP: “‘People should be gathering up their papers, make sure you can show you are a long standing resident of the United States,’ Obama said at a town hall meeting hosted by the Spanish-language TV network Telemundo. He said immigrants should make sure that by the time the legal issues are sorted out, ‘you are ready to go.'”

Warren Intensifies Fight Against TPP

Sen. Elizabeth Warren takes on TPP in W. Post oped: “Who will benefit from the TPP? … One strong hint is buried in the fine print of the closely guarded draft. The provision, an increasingly common feature of trade agreements, is called ‘Investor-State Dispute Settlement,’ or ISDS. The name may sound mild, but don’t be fooled. Agreeing to ISDS in this enormous new treaty would tilt the playing field in the United States further in favor of big multinational corporations. Worse, it would undermine U.S. sovereignty.”

Politico Magazine’s Zachary Karabell frets Germany will “crash the world economy”: “Instead of easing the language and giving the new Greek government some room to claim that it has honored its election pledges to remove the more onerous conditions of the bailout and attend to the needs of the average Greek citizen, the German-led champions of austerity are seizing on the moment to stand on their antiquated principles, even if those principles result in a Greek exit and untold economic damage.”v

Walker Closer To Kneecapping Private Sector Unions

Wisconsin closer to passing anti-union law. NYT: “[Gov.] Walker is now preparing to sign a measure … that would bar unions from requiring workers to pay the equivalent of dues … The State Senate passed the bill, 17 to 15, mostly along party lines, Wednesday night after about eight hours of debate … The State Assembly is expected to take up the measure next week. Where Mr. Walker’s earlier high-profile strike against labor cut collective bargaining rights for most public-sector unions, this one is aimed at workers in the private sector.”

Gov. Christie backtracks from claims of a pension deal with the teachers’ union. USA Today: “He blamed the media for butchering his message, though [union] leaders who attended the speech Tuesday blasted the Republican governor for jumping the gun, saying there are negotiations but no deal.”

Progressive movement rallies around Chuy Garcia in Chicago mayoral runoff. Politico: “García’s chances of winning the April 7 run-off are, as even his supporters admit, pretty slim. He got 34 percent to Emanuel’s 45 in a five-way race, and the mayor can now likely consolidate support, money and attention … Even if García doesn’t catch fire in the run-off, some progressive groups are hoping that just having Emanuel go through the next two months of campaigning will be humbling enough to get him to shift more in their direction.”