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High Noon For Fast Track Vote

Suspense thick before Senate procedural vote on fast-track today. The Hill: “…with most Democrats now demanding that all four trade bills — fast-track, TAA, a customs enforcement bill and a package of trade preferences for African countries — move in a single package, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will have trouble rounding up enough votes. ”

Sen. Ron Wyden may determine if the bill advances or not. Politico: “[Wyden] co-authored the fast-track trade measure … But Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and his top lieutenants are eager to block the measure as a way to increase their negotiating leverage over the trade deal and expiring transportation and surveillance laws. They expect Wyden to join them. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), chairman of the Finance Committee, who brokered the deal with Wyden, said the Oregon Democrat must vote yes Tuesday if he’s going to abide by the agreement they reached last month.”

Unresolved currency manipulation issue looms over vote. NYT: “…a bipartisan coalition, including Mr. Brown and Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, is challenging the administration to do far more [on currency] … Josh Earnest, the White House press secretary, said any measure to counter a foreign power’s currency policies could backfire, undermining the Federal Reserve Board, which uses the flow of currency to tighten or loosen economic growth in the United States. More to the point, Republicans say, a tough currency measure attached to trade promotion authority would doom the Pacific trade accord, scaring away important countries like Japan and Malaysia in a misguided jab at China.”

W. Post whip counts: “With a few Republicans expected to oppose the TPA legislation, Obama will need roughly 10 [Senate] Democrats to join about 50 Republicans … The vast majority of the 245 House Republicans are expected to support the president, leaving White House officials to find possibly 25 to 30 Democratic votes. According to one Democratic estimate provided Monday, there are just 17 House Democrats so far supporting TPA.”

Hillary stays quiet. NYT: “Just 48 hours after Mrs. Clinton delighted liberal Democrats with a proposal to expand citizenship eligibility to immigrants who are in the country illegally, protesters on Thursday urged her to speak out against the trade deal … The campaign had hoped to delay outlining her policy proposals until later this summer, but the pressure over the trade deal could prompt Mrs. Clinton to detail her domestic policies sooner.”

De Blasio, Stiglitz Press Hillary On Platform

Mayor Bill De Blasio unveils “Contract With America”-style platform today. Politico: “After his joint appearance with Warren [today], de Blasio will stand alongside liberal lawmakers and labor leaders on Capitol Hill to roll out a policy wish list. Progressives close to de Blasio say the hard part will be laying down an achievable marker for candidates — including Clinton — while still applying enough pressure to get their attention.”

New Roosevelt Institute report by Joseph Stiglitz may also impact Hillary Clinton’s platform. NYT: “[Stiglitz] has been an influential adviser to the Clinton campaign and will present his report on Tuesday … Several proposals by Mr. Stiglitz, including raising taxes on capital gains and a push to make corporations less focused on short-term quarterly returns, are in line with what Mrs. Clinton is expected to embrace in her campaign … the thrust of the report, titled ‘Rewriting the Rules of the American Economy: An Agenda for Growth and Shared Prosperity’ … is a scathing indictment of 35 years of economic policies…”

Click here to download “Rewriting The Rules…”

Progressives, Wall Street give dueling interpretations of UK election. Politico: “…bankers and their ideological supporters say if likely Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton keeps tacking to the left on Wall Street issues … she could face the same fate (as Ed Miliband) … Dennis Kelleher, head of financial reform group Better Markets, said many other factors were at play in the U.K. ‘Claiming the five-week sprint known as the U.K. election — and the Scottish freedom campaign — means anything for the U.S. is nothing more than wishful thinking by Wall Street’s spinners,’ he said.”

“Banks brace for Bernie Sanders” reports The Hill: “Sanders (I-Vt.) last week unveiled new legislation designed to break up the nation’s largest banks … Though it stands virtually no chance of passage in the GOP-controlled Congress, the bill has industry leaders fretting … Sanders’s ability to activate progressive outside groups could mean he may be able to move Clinton to the left …”

Inequality is not because of “job-killing robots” says Dean Baker in LAT oped: “…the robots story is important because it perpetuates another myth: that inequality is something that just happened, when in fact it’s the consequence of specific policies … a trade policy designed to whack the middle class; Federal Reserve Board policy that fights inflation at the expense of jobs; a bloated financial sector that relies on government support; and a system of labor-management relations that is skewed against workers.”

Breakfast Sides

Highway cliff nears. The Hill: “The Obama administration is warning state transportation departments that it will have to stop authorizing payments for construction projects on May 31 unless Congress reaches a deal to extend federal infrastructure funding … Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx has said previously that the agency has enough money to cover existing projects until the end of summer, but he said in letter to state departments of transportation on Monday that he will be unable to make new payments if Congress allows the law that authorizes the federal government’s infrastructure spending to expire.”

“Greece Dodges Economic Bullet With Progress Toward Deal” reports Bloomberg: “…Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis assured euro-area governments that his country is aiming to strike a bargain to win the final installments of its 240 billion-euro ($268 billion) aid program.”

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