fresh voices from the front lines of change







AFN10 Day 3 Preview: Speaking Frankly

Watch live video at Key sessions today...

8:30 AM: "Speaking Frankly" with Rep. Alan Grayson

9:10 AM: "Can Congress Work in Polarized Age?" with Sen. Tom Udall and more

9:10 AM: "Securing America" with Rep. Keith Ellison and more

10:45 AM: "We Are The Change" with Van Jones, Rep. Barbara Lee and more

12:30 PM: MARCH ON THE TREASURY. Join Cenk Uygur, Sam Seder and Richard Eskow and demand Treasury get our money from Goldman Sachs back. Meet in the Regency Ballroom.

AFN10 Day 2 Roundup: Demand For Jobs

Click here for video highlights of AFN10 Day 2

Speaker Pelosi defends record and praises impatience. "While noting the urgency to do more so laid-off and long-term unemployed Americans can get back to work, the Speaker highlighted recent [jobs] legislation [that has] passed ... she argued that investments education and jobs, particularly clean energy jobs, were essential components in any long-term deficit reduction strategy by increasing revenue to the Treasury."

Progressive leaders demand bolder action from Washington on jobs. AFL-CIO blog: "[AFL-CIO President Richard] Trumka called for the Senate to not only pass but improve the jobs bill just approved by the House, by restoring health care for long-term jobless workers and aid to our states and cities. He also urged quick action bills to keep more than 200,000 teachers from being laid off and one that would create more than 1 million good new jobs, with labor rights protections targeted at the communities across our country hardest hit by Wall Street’s economic crisis."

Trumka: Lawmakers Worried More About The Deficit Than Jobs ‘Have Been Reading Too Much Fiction’ reports ThinkProgress.

Progressive member of WH debt commission predicts conservatives will prevent consensus. Wonk Room's Pat Garofalo: "Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) ... said that success for the commission is 'unlikely' because conservatives members are refusing to consider tax increases ... She also pushed back against the notion that deficit reduction should take precedence over job creation in the short-term."

Atrios reacts to address from VP Biden's economic adviser Jared Bernstein: "[He] says White House is working with Congress for more, including renewed COBRA and UI extensions, but also stresses fact that all of this has had little impact on long term deficit. We know! So, you know, do more, and stop worrying about the deficit hawks." FireDogLake's David Dayen knocks Bernstein for leaving in middle of Bob Herbert's impassioned address for more jobs.

Deficit hysterics should be backing Wall St. reform. New Deal 2.0's Caitlin Howarth: "Rob Johnson replied that 'If you’re going to be a deficit hawk, you have to be a financial reform advocate, because you can’t get the necessary reduction without it.' Simon Johnson then suggested that financial reform is actually the easiest place to start deficit reductions, as it is far less complex and ethically fraught than Medicare changes would be."

Suburban Guerilla sees the mood of the conference as "somber": "I don’t think it really occurred to most people that a Democratic president and Congress would not only be indifferent, but pursue an agenda so hostile to working people."

Senate Moves Closer To Passing Latest Jobs Bill

Senate jobs bill compromise hits Big Oil harder to keep hedge fund tax loophole. Politico: "The showdown vote is expected next week on a motion limiting further Senate debate, and Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) has moved aggressively to tap Big Oil again for the billions he needs to buy peace with private equity and venture capital interests that hold sway in his caucus ... the mood among Democrats was decidedly more optimistic after Baucus’s announcement."

CQ sees Senate deficit hysterics still withholding support for jobs bill: "The latest version of the bill, unveiled Tuesday, still lacks the public support of any moderate Republicans, who are concerned about its estimated $78.7 billion impact on the federal deficit ... Ben Nelson, D-Neb., said he did not consider the $24.2 billion in aid to states for Medicaid that was added back Tuesday to be emergency spending that should not be offset ... Despite those concerns, Democrats may add more costs to the bill in the next few days. They plan to offer an amendment that would restore money, cut by the House last month, for COBRA health insurance subsidies for jobless workers..."

Sen. Reid confident of passage reports The Hill.

NYT on how deficit hysterics are preventing robust investments in job creation: "It is a measure of the mood that Mr. Obama on Tuesday hailed an initiative by his administration to cut the budgets of most major government agencies by 5 percent, at a time when conventional theory would call for more government spending to lift the economy ... rather than promoting another broad stimulus package, the White House is pointing to a series of familiar-sounding, low-cost measures to create jobs: stimulating export-oriented manufacturing, subsidizing energy-efficiency improvements by homeowners, preventing layoffs of teachers and police officers and pressing for a new (and unpaid for) highway bill that could, like the Census, create a short-term burst in hiring."

NYT's David Leonhardt slaps White House for not doing enough on jobs: "The president has not wrapped his arms around teachers, firefighters and other government workers facing layoffs and dared Republicans to oppose him, much as he did with financial reregulation. He has not pushed for a big new round of tax cuts, which could also put Republicans in a bind. And the White House has been slow to fill vacancies at the Federal Reserve that could go to officials who favor the Fed’s doing more to lift economic growth ... top Democrats have decided that the political costs of aggressively pushing for more stimulus are too high. Any new bill will help only on the margins, and it will give Republicans another chance to blame Mr. Obama for the deficit..."

Progressive pushback to WH plan for across-the-board agency cuts. The Hill: "The White House wants non-security federal agencies to list wasteful programs and produce budgets for fiscal year 2012 that cut spending by 5 percent ... Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), the co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said he was 'leery' of 'across-the-board cuts' that could affect safety-net programs. 'I understand the need to be mindful of the deficit,' he said. 'I just wish it would have been surgical.'"

Dems look to end tax incentives for offshoring jobs. W. Post: "Democratic leaders are pushing a package of hefty corporate tax increases intended to discourage businesses from moving their operations overseas. They have attached the proposed increases to a bill that would extend unemployment benefits and tax breaks to businesses, all but daring GOP lawmakers to vote against it.

LA Mayor making headway on major transit infrastructure jobs plan. LAT's Tim Rutten: "The 30/10 transit plan is the most important initiative ever proposed by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. If, as seems increasingly likely, it's embraced by Congress, it will become one of the nation's most significant public infrastructure projects ... Over the next decade, it also will create at least 166,000 well-paying construction jobs ... Congress needs to approve a novel way of funding it. Late last week, Washington took two long steps in that direction..."

Anti-EPA Amendment Loses Steam, While Graham Abandons Own Climate Bill

Sen. Lieberman stands up against downgrading carbon cap bill to a more vulnerable amendment. The Hill: "'It is like we are not the main event, we are kind of a side show,' he said. 'We have to be at the center of the arena.' ... Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said Tuesday that Senate energy and climate strategy has not yet been set."

Disagreements on climate bill strategy persist. Politico: "Backers of energy reform see one possible but risky path to victory: piggybacking the Kerry-Lieberman package on a much more popular effort to eliminate the cap on BP’s liabilities for the Gulf spill ... But there are two potential obstacles: One, Republicans and coal state Democrats might try to strip the BP language, which could deny the larger bill the votes needed for passage. And supporters will have to sell the idea to a skeptical White House, which is likely to demand passage of the BP bill with or without the larger energy measure."

GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham "won’t vote for the climate bill he wrote" reports Grist's David Roberts: "He says he's bailing from the bill because, in the wake of one of the greatest offshore oil drilling disasters of all time, a bill devoted to reducing climate pollution does not expand offshore oil drilling enough. Such is the Bizarro World of the U.S. Senate ... Graham offers some other justifications for bailing ... they are transparently ridiculous -- mostly objecting to provisions of the bill that he was instrumental in shaping ... He's also saying some borderline-denialist (but mostly just incoherent) things about climate change ... This will further convince Democratic 'centrists' (read: craven, ass-covering cowards) that the bill doesn't have a chance, which makes them more likely to push Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to do an energy-only bill."

Key Dems move away from anti-EPA Murkowski amendment. CQ: "Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who opposes the resolution, sounded a confident tone Tuesday, citing whip counts. 'It appears we’re going to be OK,' he said ... Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Carl Levin of Michigan, both representing industrial states and wary of EPA climate regulation, said they would vote against it. Alaska’s Mark Begich said he had not decided how to vote. But he described the possibility of EPA regulation as a powerful incentive for Congress to move comprehensive energy legislation ... Claire McCaskill of Missouri said she is 'probably a ‘no’ vote' because of the resolution’s impact on automakers. Auto manufacturers oppose the resolution because it would undercut the single national fuel economy standard, which they support."

White House delivers veto threat. Politico: "The statement said the resolution would 'undermine the Clean Air Act and hinder the EPA's ability to comply with a Supreme Court ruling on greenhouse gases,' and 'also would undermine the administration’s efforts to reduce the negative impacts of pollution and the risks associated with environmental catastrophes, like the ongoing BP oil spill.'"

Sen. Jay Rockefeller throws support to amendment, while suggesting he knows it is doomed. Coal Tattoo: "Rockefeller’s press office headlined their news release, 'Rockefeller says support for Murkowski resolution is a vote for a strong West Virginia economy.' But, it sounds like Sen. Rockefeller understands this bill has very little chance of becoming law..."

New survey shows clear majority still wants action to stop climate change. NYT oped from Jon Krosnick: "Fully 86 percent of our respondents said they wanted the federal government to limit the amount of air pollution that businesses emit, and 76 percent favored government limiting business’s emissions of greenhouse gases in particular ... Our findings might seem implausible in light of recent polls that purport to show that Americans are increasingly skeptical about the very existence of climate change. But in fact, those polls did not produce conflicting evidence at all."

While nation turns away from offshore drilling, conservatives embrace it. Politico: "While national support for offshore drilling has seen noticeable dips in the wake of the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Republican support has remained mostly steady, even among lawmakers in coastal states affected by the gusher."

House looks to pass "spill bill" by August. The Hill: "Among the measures discussed were proposals to overhaul regulation of the oil industry and dramatically raise or eliminate the current cap on damages that oil companies must pay ... Participants in the meeting said that House leaders may try to bundle several measures into one bill, but that no firm decision had been made."

Primary Day Fallout

Lincoln victory in AR sparks WH-union fight. HuffPost: "Shortly after Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) emerged victorious, an anonymous White House aide began spreading word that the President Obama's political team thought that the money unions had spent on Halter's candidacy was a massive waste and damaging to the party ... Labor, of course, found the verbal lashing genuinely appalling, and a confirmation of their larger philosophy to act in their own political self-interest."

"Reid Opponent Embraces Patriot Group That Warns Of 'Giant Concentration Camps'" reports TPMDC.

"Stop Us Before We Break The Economy Again"

Global investors back bank reform bill in Bloomberg survey: "'"Stop us before we break the economy again," seems to explain why they are not just accepting of new regulations, but think they are a good idea,' said [pollster] J. Ann Selzer..."

Geithner seeks consensus among regulators for bank capital standards, to help with global talks. W. Post: "Sheila C. Bair, chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., has thrown her support behind a measure offered by Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) that could force banks to raise tens of billions of dollars to replace a less stable form of capital in their reserves. The Senate approved the proposal as part of the legislation overhauling financial regulation ... Treasury and the Fed oppose the proposal ... Fed officials, as the lead U.S. negotiators, want to ensure that the [global] standards will be tough enough. But some U.S. officials say those efforts are complicated by Collins's measure, which would prevent 'trust-preferred' securities from counting toward a bank's capital requirements."

CQ on possible changes to Collins provision in final Wall St. reform bill: "Collins said she was working with members of the conference committee, including Banking Chairman Christopher J. Dodd, to ease the impact of her amendment. She said she is open to phasing in the new requirements or including a grandfather provision that might allow banks to retain some existing trust preferred securities."

Dangerous executive pay packages persist, push for reform delays. NYT: "Federal regulators reviewing the compensation policies of major banks are finding that the industry has not adequately adjusted its pay practices to reduce risk-taking ... the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation has pushed back a board vote on a controversial plan that would tie a bank’s pay practices to the fees it pays to the agency’s insurance fund ... The banking industry opposes the plan, arguing it could increase compliance costs and conflict with other regulatory efforts on compensation."

Breakfast Sides

Billionaire's heirs get tax-free inheritance this year thanks to Bush tax cuts. NYT: "...because Congress allowed the tax to lapse for one year and gave all estates a free pass in 2010, Mr. Duncan’s four children and four grandchildren stand to collect billions that in any other year would have gone to the Treasury ... The one-year lapse in the estate tax was signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2001 ... The Senate Finance Committee is now trying to forge a compromise that would reinstate the tax, but even if that effort succeeds, it is unclear whether any changes might be retroactive..."

President Obama highlights the closing the prescription drug "donut hole," while insurers threaten higher premiums. NYT: "'They still think that none of this should have happened; they don’t think you should be getting these [drug] rebates,' Mr. Obama said, previewing the election-year message he will use against Republicans ... 'By 2020 this law will close the doughnut hole completely,' he said ... The insurance industry responded with its own pitch, arguing that reductions in payments to private Medicare Advantage plans will hurt the elderly and drive up premiums."

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