Progressive Breakfast for March 27

Morning Message

Now We Know Why Huge TPP Trade Deal Is Kept Secret From The Public

A key section of the secret Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement has been leaked to the public ... Now we know why the corporations want TPP, a huge “trade” agreement being negotiated in secret between the United States and 11 other countries, kept secret from the public until it’s too late to stop it ... if corporations feel they have been denied “expected” profits by a government regulation, [the agreement] lets them circumvent a country’s courts and go to an international corporate tribunal with their grievance. But if labor organizers are murdered, workers and their families have nowhere to go.

Senate Approves Radical Right-Wing Budget

Senate passes budget overnight. NYT: “The 52-46 vote came at 3:28 a.m. … Now, Senate and House negotiators hope to take similar tax-and-spending plans and negotiate the first common congressional budget in a decade. Then would come the difficult work, turning a hard-fought, aspirational document into the actual legislation the budget promises…”

Senate budget tracks House’s radical vision. AP: “Both budgets embody a conservative vision of shrinking projected federal deficits by more than $5 trillion over the coming decade, mostly by cutting health care and other benefit programs and without raising taxes … The legislation is a non-binding blueprint that does not require Obama’s signature but lays the groundwork for future bills that seem destined for veto fights with the president.”

Though amendment supporting paid leave wins bipartisan support. Bloomberg: “… unlike most of the Democrat’s amendments this one was agreed to, picking up every member of Murray’s party and 16 Republicans … All are up for re-election in 2016 … singing in the Republican ‘no’ chorus: All of the senators considering 2016 presidential bids.”

Rep. Paul Ryan “open to another bipartisan deal to alleviate sequestration before it returns in October.” HuffPost: “Ryan cautioned that his ability to bring along other House Republicans was more limited now that he no longer chairs the House Budget Committee.”

Reid To End Senate Career in 2016

Sen. Minority Leader Reid will not run for re-election. NYT: “His departure at the end of 2016 will create an opening both at the top of the Senate Democratic hierarchy and in a Senate contest that would have been a megaspending slugfest … He also said he was worried his race would consume campaign money that would be needed in other competitive states as Democrats try to regain control of the Senate.”

Eyes on Durbin and Schumer. Chicago Sun-Times: “Durbin and Schumer will now be pitted in a leader fight – and be looking over their shoulders at other up and coming younger Democratic senators who may try to leapfrog over them. Durbin is a consumer crusader – last year taking on Walgreen’s for even contemplating relocating its headquarters overseas. Schumer is friend of Wall Street.

Walker Struggles With Immigration

Gov. Scott Walker struggles to define immigration stance. NYT: “… Walker … told a private gathering of New Hampshire Republicans this month that he supported a pathway to legal status — but not citizenship … according to the chairwoman of the state’s Republican Party … The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post reported that Mr. Walker had endorsed eventual citizenship … Walker did once support a pathway to citizenship, but said he changed his mind …”

Republican talk on inequality just talk, says New Yorker’s John Cassidy: “Rubio’s wage-subsidy proposal would be far more interesting if the senator would explain how he would pay for it without hurting the current beneficiaries of the earned-income tax credit. More broadly, it is difficult to take seriously the idea that the Republican Party is changing its ways when its elected officials are simultaneously seeking to bestow more tax cuts on the richest of the rich and slash programs aimed at the poor and the middle class.”

Breakfast Sides

Senate passes bipartisan energy-efficiency bill, 2 to 0. The Hill: “The Energy Efficiency Improvement Act was passed by voice vote, with the two senators [cosponsoring the bill] the only two on the floor after 4 a.m. Friday. The legislation focuses on improving energy efficiency in buildings, while also exempting thermal storage water heaters from upcoming energy standards.”

CFPB details payday lending regs. NYT: “The regulations would not ban high-interest, short-term loans, which are often used to cover basic expenses, but would require lenders to make sure that borrowers have the means to repay them … Obama lent his weight to the consumer bureau’s proposal, saying that it would sharply reduce the number of unaffordable loans that lenders can make each year to Americans desperate for cash.”

Yale Law prof David Singh Grewal makes case against fast-track in LAT oped: “What trade agreements now seek is to harmonize regulatory standards across countries. Fast track now serves a new purpose: not governance of trade but governance through trade … Congress, for all its flaws, should not be allowed to exclude itself — and with it, the American people — from the process.”

Congressional Dems help undocumented while deportation relief remains in legal limbo. The Hill: “Behind Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.), the Democrats are issuing ‘emergency cards’ to potential participants and asking them to present those cards in the event they’re detained by an immigration official before the court issues are resolved … The emergency cards are part of a new ‘toolkit’ Gutiérrez and many other Democrats are distributing at outreach forums they’re hosting in their districts…”