Progressive Breakfast for May 29

Morning Message

In Search of the Democratic Soul

Democrats should be wooing progressives, not scolding them. [They] will also be winning over the many Republicans and independents who agree with them on a broad range of issues. The best way to find the soul of the Democratic Party is by seeking out the small-d 'democratic' soul instead – that voice of the majority that so often goes unheard in today’s money-driven politics. It can be found by speaking, in an unwavering voice, for the millions of voters who seek concrete solutions to their problems: stagnating wages, unaffordable education, a disappearing middle-class, racism, war, and crumbling roads and bridges.

Fast Track On The Fence

House Dems feel the squeeze on fast track. Politico: “…some members are dodging questions from the press despite repeated attempts to pin down their position. Some of this is political gamesmanship. A member looking for assurances on policy or politics for a major piece of legislation is almost always better off holding out until later in the process. Yet there’s also real concern about what a mammoth trade deal could mean for their working-class constituents.”

AFL-CIO’s Richard Trumka warns Hillary in USA Today interview: “I think she won’t be able to go through a campaign without answering that and people will take it seriously and it will affect whether they vote for her or don’t vote for her.”

“Warren Pushes Obama To Keep Slavery Ban In Trade Deal” reports HuffPost: “Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) on Thursday decried efforts by the Obama administration to undermine an anti-slavery measure that the Senate approved last week as part of a major trade bill. The provision, authored by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), would bar the U.S. from expediting trade deals with governments that the State Department deems to be among the very worst offenders on human trafficking. … much of the debate over TPP has shifted to human rights issues, due to the unexpected Senate survival of the Menendez ban…”

Rep. Sandy Levin warns TPP would restrict cheaper medicines. The Hill: “One of his concerns with the Pacific trade deal is that it extends more patent protection to drug companies, meaning the generic versions of medicines, which are typically cheaper, would not be available as quickly as they are now.”

Obama insists deal is not secret, in Twitter chat. The Hill: “He made the statement in response to a question about making the text of the deal available … ‘after I sign agreement, Congress will have months of debate before a vote. Nothing secret about it.'”

Clinton, Walker Stake Out Energy Turf

Clinton sends signals on energy. TNR’s Rebecca Leber: “With a clear eye on the Iowa caucuses, she says it’s important to improve, not scrap, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which requires a minimum blend of biofuels in gasoline … an issue that splits Democrats and environmentalists … [Adviser John] Podesta—insisting this was his personal view—spoke to The Guardian, telling them that he thinks Canada should do more to curb its greenhouse gas emissions ahead of international talks for a climate deal … This isn’t outright disapproval of the tar sands or the pipeline, but Clinton might change a few minds on her commitment if she decides to adopt Podesta’s view.”

Scott Walker slams EPA climate regs. The Hill: “…in a letter to Obama dated May 21, he expressed ‘deep concerns regarding our ability to develop a state plan to comply with the proposal’” and said it is ‘riddled with inaccuracies, questionable assumptions and deficiencies that make the development of a responsible state plan unworkable.'”

Some Dems attack Obama over new water rule. The Hill: “The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers [clarified] that small streams, wetlands, headwaters and tributaries are covered by the Clean Water Act … Opponents labeled the rule as a massive ‘power grab’ by the Obama administration that could give federal officials authority over every creek and puddle. Three moderate Democrats in the Senate and 24 in the House have joined the GOP in opposition, but leave them far from the two-thirds majorities they would need for a veto-proof vote…”

Christie Abandons Jeb On Common Core

Chris Christie flips on Common Core. W. Post: “New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who brought the Common Core State Standards to his state and loudly defended them as recently as 2013, said Thursday that ‘it simply is not working’ and that he wants new academic standards.”

Now Jeb stands alone. Politico: “[Christie] joins the ranks of other GOP presidential candidates who supported, then ditched [Common Core]: Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, once a Common Core supporter, is now suing the federal government … Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee previously supported Common Core … [Now] he’s tweeting, ‘Kill Common Core. Restore common sense.’ Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker also supported the Common Core … but has since called for replacing the standards and aligned tests.”

O’Malley launches tomorrow. The Hill: “…Democrats interviewed by The Hill insist O’Malley has a chance. They say there’s still an opening for him to become the alternative among Democrats to Clinton given his liberal voting record, his youthful good looks … and his standing as a Washington outsider.”