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Fast Track Off Track

Dems unite to filibuster fast track. W. Post: “[Sen. Ron] Wyden and more than a dozen other pro-trade Senate Democrats voted against a Republican proposal to begin consideration of [fast track.] The vote was 52-45, short of the 60 votes needed … Wyden said he and the other pro-trade Democrats were expecting all four trade bills that passed out of the Finance Committee were going to be considered at the same time on the Senate floor … Left out was a third bill that provides for enforcement — and includes a controversial crackdown on currency manipulation — and non-controversial legislation supporting African economies.”

“Could this be the populist moment?” asks W. Post’s Dana Milbank: “However the trade debate is resolved, Tuesday’s defeat in the Senate is likely to be a turning point, because it shows that the populists are now firmly in control of the Democratic Party. Anger over growing inequality has reached critical mass … The trade deal has for now become the victim of that anger – less because of the details of the TPP than because it hasn’t been accompanied by more protections and assistance for American workers.”

But Sen. Harry Reid suggests he could drop filibuster. Politico: “[Reid] has already floated a plan to find a way out of the impasse by offering to drop a customs bill, which includes anti-currency manipulation language, from his party’s list of demands … under Democrats’ latest strategy, the customs bill would be pulled out of the bigger package for a standalone vote … senior Republicans said they were skeptical of Reid’s overture, but acknowledged talks were ongoing. And they noted there were problems with the customs bill beyond just the currency language.”

NYT adds: “The compromise proposed by Mr. Reid and Mr. Schumer could help the president because the currency provisions demanded by Democrats are strongly opposed by Japan and Malaysia, two of the 12 nations trying to complete the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and could be significant enough to stop the larger accord … Beyond the currency issue, a provision attached to the trade promotion authority bill to block trade preferences to countries involved in human trafficking would effectively exclude Malaysia … Another provision to crack down on child labor could stop American candy makers from importing cocoa from Africa.”

Sen. Mitch McConnell may schedule another fast track vote this week. HuffPost: “McConnell spokesman Don Stewart did not pledge that a currency measure would be passed, but he did say it was a matter that could be negotiated … While Stewart declined to offer a solid prediction about when the fast-track legislation would return, beyond saying it could be this week, he said he expects it eventually will pass.”

“Progressive Agenda” Debuts

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio unveils “The Progressive Agenda” “Raise the federal minimum wage, so that it reaches $15/hour, while indexing it to inflation … enhance workers’ right to organize … Oppose trade deals that hand more power to corporations … Pass national paid sick leave [and] family leave. Make Pre-K, after-school programs and childcare universal …”

And rallies support in DC. The Hill: “The mayor — flanked by a host of Democratic lawmakers, labor leaders, immigration reformers and other liberal activists — said the agenda turns on a simple notion: ‘We need to reward work,’ he said, ‘not wealth.’ … ‘We’ll be calling on leaders and candidates to address these issues, to stiffen their backbones, to be clear and to champion these progressive policies.'”

Obama presses conservatives on fighting poverty. NYT: “The president said his unsuccessful effort to raise taxes on hedge fund managers was an example of the refusal by conservatives to compromise for the benefit of the poor … Republicans should be willing to tax their incomes at the same level as they do kindergarten teachers’. ‘If we can’t ask from society’s lottery winners to just make that modest investment, then really, this conversation is for show,’ Mr. Obama said.”

Mayors Demand Transit Funds

De Blasio co-authors NYT oped with GOP mayor of Oklahoma City, pushing Congress to fund transportation: “Our bipartisan coalition of mayors — which includes Republicans like Richard J. Berry of Albuquerque and Tomás Regalado of Miami, and Democrats like Betsy Hodges of Minneapolis and Nan Whaley of Dayton, Ohio — is calling on Congress to pass a six-year transportation authorization measure that significantly increases investments from the current level of $50 billion a year. Anything less and we will be falling behind.”

“Gas tax hike safe politically, analysis says” reports The Hill: “Almost all state lawmakers who have voted to raise gas taxes in states that increased their own fuel levies in recent years have been re-elected, according to an analysis that was released Tuesday by the American Road & Transportation Builders Association.”

GOP Moves To Weaken Dodd-Frank

Dems cool to new GOP bank bill. The Hill: “[Sen. Richard] Shelby is calling for changes in the criteria used to designate systemically important financial institutions (SIFI), a classification that subjects key banks to more federal supervision. The bill would increase the SIFI-designation threshold from banks with $50 billion in assets to $500 billion, though the bill would give regulators some leeway to make exceptions … none of the [Senate Banking Committee] centrists offered a ringing endorsement of the bill, [but] they also didn’t rule out eventual support.”

Feds may prosecute UBS. Bloomberg: “The move by the U.S. would be a first for the industry, making good on a March threat by a senior Justice Department official to revoke [settlement] agreements and putting banks on notice that these accords can be unwound if misconduct continues.”

Business Moves to Thwart Tax Compromise

Split in business community threatens potential Obama-Ryan tax reform deal. Bloomberg: “Leaders of small-business groups say they object to any deal that would help big companies by cutting the corporate tax rate without lowering the individual income tax rates that apply to millions of small businesses across the country. That’s exactly the kind of deal that Ryan and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, a Utah Republican, have been considering [in which businesses] outside the corporate income tax would receive help with targeted breaks but not a rate cut … Ryan has said he wants to make major progress within the next few months before presidential-campaign politics overwhelm Congress.”

While some corporations warn of higher European taxes to encourage domestic deal. The Hill: “Lobbyists and corporate advocates who have been pushing to overhaul the U.S. tax code for years insist that could pave the way for the worst possible outcome: multinational companies being forced to fork over more in taxes, but the U.S. not getting the revenue.”

Greece Lives Another Day

Greece makes another loan payment. NYT: “…Greece managed on Tuesday to make a loan payment of about 750 million euros, or about $837 million, to the International Monetary Fund. From now through the autumn, Greece will repeatedly run this obstacle course … But Greece cannot keep the game up for long. Its economy has taken a turn for the worse, reversing a mild recovery that started last year.”

“Greece’s Creditors Said to Seek EU3 Billion in Budget Cuts” reports Bloomberg.

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