fresh voices from the front lines of change







Each morning, Bill Scher and Terrance Heath serve up what progressives need to affect change on the kitchen-table issues families face: jobs, health care, green energy, financial reform, affordable education and retirement security.

No Carbon Cap Bill This Summer

Sen. Maj. Leader announces he doesn't have the votes, won't put carbon cap on the floor this summer. Politico quotes: "It’s easy to count to 60. I could do it by the time I was in eighth grade ... We know we don’t have the votes..."

WH signals it won't abandon the issue. LAT: "An Obama administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity ... said the White House was 'not packing its bags' on a comprehensive energy bill, but 'we're not interested in a vote that's not going to succeed.'"

Sen. John Kerry says the grassroots must keep fighting. McClatchy: "Some industries, however, warned that their costs would go up and they'd lose competitiveness if carbon pollution had a price. That message made some senators, including some Democrats, fear that they'd lose their seats if they supported it, Kerry said ... He urged his supporters not to get discouraged but to take part in a grass-roots effort to drum up support. 'We need to take the fear out of this and empower our colleagues to go out and vote,' he said."

Despite Senate move, utility companies move closer to deal with enviros for partial carbon cap. The Hill: "The draft proposal – dated July 19 and circulating on Capitol Hill -- would block key EPA greenhouse gas regulations in exchange for the imposition of new emissions limits ... The draft would also retain emissions reduction goals through mid-century that the Obama administration and Senate climate advocates have proposed."

Ecocentric's Bryan Walsh blames everybody: "...Republicans never even played a constructive role in the shaping of the bill ... a number of Democrats were almost as obstructionist as their Republican colleagues ... Obama seemed generally detached ... [For] wonky organizations like the Natural Resources Defense Council and especially the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)—shooting for an economy-wide carbon cap was the number one tool ... [But when] a pitcher can't close the game ... you give him the hook."

Climate Progress declares "the failed presidency of Barack Obama": "... he made bigger investments in clean energy than all of his predecessors combined and put into place fuel economy standards that represent the biggest greenhouse gas reductions in US history and his EPA has declared carbon dioxide a pollutant that must be regulated ... [But] he has let any chance of comprehensive climate legislation die without a fight."

Grist's David Roberts says save the anger for the Senate's obstructionists: "...the Republican Party and a handful of 'centrist' Democrats in the Senate. They are the ones who refused to vote for a bill ... They are moral cowards, condemning their own children and grandchildren to suffering to serve their own narrow electoral interests ... try to keep the focus on the real malefactors."

WH, enviros all point fingers. Politico: "One exasperated administration official on Thursday lambasted the environmentalists – led by the Environmental Defense Fund – for failing to effectively lobby GOP senators ... But many say it was Obama who didn’t do enough to make the climate bill a big enough priority ..."

The EPA still has the authority to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. It should use it, says Center for American Progress' Daniel Weiss: "It is up to the Obama administration to promptly comply with the Supreme Court by using EPA's authority to reduce global warming pollution."

Will Congress let the EPA keep it? The Hill: "Environmentalists signaled they would shift their focus to protecting the Environmental Protection Agency’s power to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, which some lawmakers want to roll back."

Green Energy Report says corporations are the big losers: "Today’s decision is also a setback for corporate America. Many Fortune 500 companies have come in support of a legislated, rather than an (EPA) regulated approach, to carbon pricing."

Remaining Senate energy package a mere scrap. Mother Jones' Kate Sheppard: "Here's what we know is going to be in the package ... elimination of the liability cap for [oil spill] damages ... Reforms to the Department of Interior ... $5 billion to spur the development of a natural gas truck fleet. $5 billion to ... encourage construction of energy-efficient homes ... no other major energy efficiency standards, and, perhaps most importantly, no renewable electricity standard..."

House working on green jobs bill. CQ: "The House tax writers are preparing a draft bill that currently totals between $25 billion and $35 billion ... House Democrats are eyeing the repeal or reduction of tax breaks for oil and gas companies as a way to offset [the cost.] ... A core piece of the package is expected to be an expansion of the clean-energy manufacturing tax credit ..."

Warren Wave Of Support

Support grows to nominate Elizabeth Warren to head new consumer financial protection bureau. HuffPost: "Over 164,000 Americans have signed a petition in favor of Warren's appointment, and 57 representatives and 11 senators sent two letters to the White House on Thursday. DeLauro claimed that in the past 24 hours more than one hundred constituents have called her office asking her to support Warren."

NYT's Floyd Norris makes another case for Warren: "Ms. Warren is one of the more intelligent people I know. She is not among the more diplomatic, which is a major reason she may not get the job ... But if [the President] names Ms. Warren, and she wins confirmation, she and [SEC chair Mary] Schapiro could become a dynamic duo in reforming Wall Street."

Rortybomb argues Warren's opposition to Treasury's housing policy is the strongest argument for her nomination: "There’s pressure to be quiet, to hope that a quick housing and economic recovery will just make this whole foreclosure crisis go away. But Warren has demanded answers ... And this is exactly how the CFPA should work."

Geithner praises Warren, but doesn't endorse. WSJ: "[He] said Warren would be 'an enormously effective leader' of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ... Geithner said he hasn’t always agreed with Warren’s findings but said the bailout program 'should be subject to brutal, independent evaluation.' ... [He] demurred when asked whether he was endorsing Warren, noting that the White House has said it’s considering at least two other candidates."

GOP supporters of Wall St. reform argue against circumventing Senate on appointment. Politico: "'...we firmly believe the United States Senate’s responsibilities in confirming the head of the CFPB are paramount,' the senators wrote..."

Big banks paid out $1.6B in bonuses immediately after being bailed out. NYT: "In a report to be released on Friday, Kenneth R. Feinberg, the Obama administration’s special master for executive compensation, is expected to name 17 financial companies that made questionable payouts totaling $1.58 billion immediately after accepting billions of dollars of taxpayer aid ... The group includes Wall Street giants like Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and the American International Group ... Mr. Feinberg’s report points to companies that he says paid eye-popping amounts or used haphazard criteria for awarding bonuses ... Mr. Feinberg has very limited power to reclaim any money ... [He] will merely propose that the banks voluntarily adopt a 'brake provision' that would allow their boards to nullify or alter any bonus payouts or employment contracts in the event of a future financial crisis."

Goldman coughs up more docs to Warren's congressional watchdog panel. Bloomberg: " Goldman Sachs Group Inc. told U.S. investigators which counterparties it used to hedge the risk that American International Group Inc. would fail ... [Goldman] has said it didn’t need AIG to be rescued because it was hedged against the firm’s failure. ... 'We want to know the identity of those parties, partly just to know where American taxpayer dollars went, but partly to assess Goldman’s claim,' said Elizabeth Warren ..."

Jobless Aid Extension Signed Into Law

Jobless aid extension signed, checks coming soon. AP: "Federal checks could begin flowing again as early as next week to millions of jobless people who lost up to seven weeks of unemployment benefits in a congressional standoff ... About half of the approximately 5 million people in the program have had their benefits cut off since its authorization expired June 2."

60 Senators support $30B small biz lending fund. NYT: "The vote was 60 to 39, with [GOP] Senators George LeMieux of Florida and George V. Voinovich of Ohio, delivering crucial support ... The Senate must still vote on the overall small business measure ... Republican leaders are pressing to offer amendments to the bill and it is not yet clear if it will be approved."

Senate passes war spending bill after rejecting funds to prevent teacher layoffs. Politico: "...the Senate 51-46 roll call was devastating, showing the House that less than half the upper chamber was on its side ..."

House looks to push maufacturing jobs agenda starting next week. CQ: "The 'Make It in America' campaign consists so far of fairly non-controversial legislation ... But things could heat up in September, with the strong possibility that the House will consider a bill designed to pressure China to end the practice of pegging the yuan to the dollar ..."

Ian Fletcher proclaims dead the notion that American manufacturing is dead.: "Manufacturing is old hat and America is moving on to better things. This idea played a large role during the 1980s and 1990s in getting Americans to accept deindustrialization ... Unfortunately, postindustrialism is now a blatantly dead letter, as the U.S. economy has ceased generating any net new jobs in internationally traded sectors of any kind: manufacturing or services, industrial or postindustrial. The comforting myth still lingers that America is shifting from low-tech to high-tech employment, but we are not."

Netroots Nation Starts Strong

David Goldstein notes the high energy at Netroots Nation isn't getting Tea Party-style coverage: "Conference organizers tell me that over 2100 attendees have registered for this year’s event, compared to about 1800 last year ... the oh-so-enthusiastic teabaggers had to cancel their Tea Party Nation convention, which was to have been held here in Las Vegas last week, due to lack of interest ... if 2000 teabaggers had gathered here last week with their conspiracy theories and poorly spelled signs, that’s a story that would have led the network news. But a similar number of liberals? Crickets."

Netroots-labor alliance strengthening. In These Times' Mike Elk: "Seven of the 13 premier sponsors of the conference are unions, including the AFL-CIO, AFSCME, NEA, SEIU and AFT ... labor is sending more and more of their rank-and-file leaders to these conferences to get to know bloggers."

Netroots Nation panel explores the direction of populist anger. AFL-CIO's Laura Clawson: "[Mark] Mellman set the stage with an overview of the recent bipartisan poll on attitudes toward manufacturing and economic policy ... Voters say manufacturing is the most important sector for a strong economy ... Scott Paul closed the panel by pointing to elected officials like Sen. Sherrod Brown, Rep. Mark Schauer and Rep. Mark Critz, all of whom focused their campaigns on keeping jobs in their districts and improving trade agreements."

Strengthen Social Security ... Don't Cut It launches at Netroots Nation with new video pounding debt commission leaders and other Social Security opponents.

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