Progressive Breakfast for March 26

Morning Message

Progressive Caucus Budget Defeated, But Wins Majority of Democrats

The Progressive Caucus People’s Budget, as expected, went down to defeat on the House floor today, but not before it picked up 96 Democratic votes, a majority of Democrats ... a larger share of Democratic votes than it did in previous years ... Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), co-chair of the Progressive Caucus ... pointed out that the Progressive Caucus budget specifically promises to produce 8.4 million new jobs through a specific set of policies. The Republican budget, he noted, makes no similar job-creation commitment.

TPP Draft Leaks

Classified TPP draft released by WIkileaks to NYT: “[The draft accord] would allow foreign corporations to sue the United States government for actions that undermine their investment ‘expectations’ and hurt their business … Backers … say that it is in line with previous agreements that contain similar provisions. But critics, including many Democrats in Congress, argue that the planned deal widens the opening for multinationals to sue in the United States and elsewhere…”

Sen. Ron Wyden risks primary challenge if he supports fast-track. The Hill: “The Oregon chapter of MoveOn.org on Wednesday released a poll that found more than 79 percent of its members would back a primary challenge to Wyden if he supports the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which it calls a ‘dangerous trade agreement.’ … Wyden and Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) haven’t reached an agreement yet on legislation that would let the TPP move through Congress in an up-or-down vote. Hatch said he has sent the Democrat a new legislative proposal, and wants to introduce something after lawmakers return in April from a two-week recess.”

House Passes Budget

Defense hawks beat fiscal hawks as budget clears House. The Hill: “House Republicans adopted a 2016 budget in a 228-199 vote on Wednesday that represents a major victory for GOP leaders after a rocky start to their year. The budget would increase defense spending next year by boosting the Pentagon’s war fund to $96 billion … The provision won over dozens of defense hawks … Only 17 Republicans voted against the budget … The Senate is expected to vote on its GOP budget by the end of the week … While the two GOP budgets are similar, important differences will make it difficult to reconcile them.”

Obama backs bipartisan House Medicare bill, squeezing Senate Dems. NYT: “Leaders of both parties in the House expressed confidence on Wednesday that their chamber would soon approve sweeping changes in Medicare … President Obama endorsed the legislation. ‘I’ve got my pen ready to sign a good bipartisan bill, which would be really exciting,’ he said … The bill would extend the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program for two years. Senate Democrats would strongly prefer a four-year extension.”

More welfare = more entrepreneurship. The Atlantic’s Walter Frick: “A series of more recent studies challenge the view that larger or more activist government necessarily threatens entrepreneurship … Entrepreneurs are actually more likely than other Americans to receive public benefits, after accounting for income .. in many cases, expanding benefit programs helps spur new business creation.”

Top Lawyers Debunk Coal Defense

Harvard law profs Jody Freeman and Richard J. Lazarus debunk coal industry attorney Laurence Tribe’s brief against EPA climate regs, in Politico Magazine: “In 200 years of precedent, there is not a shred of support for Tribe’s notion that it can be a ‘taking’ when the government regulates industry to prevent harms to the public health or welfare…”

As does NYU Law prof Richard L. Revesz in NYT: “He claims that the Clean Power Plan violates the 10th Amendment by letting the federal government commandeer state institutions. But this reading of the Constitution would invalidate not just the Clean Power Plan, but also the Clean Air Act’s centerpiece the National Ambient Air Quality Standards — which have saved hundreds of thousands of lives.”

Payday Lending Rules Coming

CFPB to outline new payday lending regs. McClatchy: “Federal regulators on Thursday will outline a proposal to place limits on high-interest, short-term loans – the first step in the government’s efforts to curb payday debt traps … [Rules] would cover payday loans, vehicle title loans and high-cost installment loans. Lenders would be required to make sure borrowers can afford to repay and to notify borrowers before debiting payments from their checking accounts.”

Obama to defend payday lending rules in Alabama speech reports USA Today.

Breakfast Sides

Sen. Bernie Sanders’ distaste for money in politics complicates possible presidential run. Bloomberg: “His political advisers think he can be viewed as a legitimate candidate if he raises $50 million … That involves a new skill set for a guy whose major fundraiser every year is a sunset cruise on Lake Champlain, for which donors pay $25 to come aboard. He’s trying. On April 3, he’ll host a private breakfast fundraiser at the Hotel Palomor in Chicago, where the suggested contribution is $1,000.”

European anti-austerity movement reaches Ireland. NYT: “…, Ireland had been the poster child for German-led austerity policies. Its citizens offered little resistance … In recent months, however, the Irish have been anything but quiet … Support has been growing for the anti-austerity, left-wing opposition Sinn Fein party…”

Rising dollar hurting manufacturers. NYT: “Last week, Janet L. Yellen, the Fed chairwoman, warned that the stronger dollar was likely to weigh on exports, producing ‘a notable drag this year on the outlook.’ … More warnings are expected as companies begin to report earnings for the first quarter of 2015, which ends Tuesday.”