DeVos May Squeak Through
Senate advances DeVos nomination. The Hill: "Senators voted 52-48 to advance DeVos’s nomination. No Democrats voted yes. The vote, which came during a rare Friday session, sets up lawmakers to take a final vote early next week. Vice President Pence is expected to have to break a 50-50 tie..."
Betsy DeVos attracts the most opposition of all Cabinet members. NYT: "...some Senate offices reported receiving more calls opposing Ms. DeVos than any other Trump nominee ... On Thursday, calls opposing Ms. DeVos so overwhelmed the Senate phone system that by the afternoon, offices were having trouble gaining access to their voice mail messages."
Confirmation process is slow. ABC: "President Donald Trump has more unconfirmed Cabinet nominees at this point in his term than all previous presidents combined ... Trump's nominees for the Departments of Agriculture, Labor, and Veterans Affairs have yet to have their hearings ... Senate Democrats have focused on delaying several of Trump's nominees over the course of the last weeks."
Corporate America begins to resist. Politico: "[Trump's] early moves have worried and galvanized companies as diverse as Apple, Walmart, Amazon, Expedia, Uber, Target and LVMH ... Business executives felt hopeful that a friendly Republican-controlled Congress would push through tax reform and consider a large infrastructure package. Now they’re on edge that their bottom lines are going to be hurt by an administration that seems to be making policy on the fly, with little input from congressional leaders or federal agencies where they often engage with an administration."
Uber CEO leaves Trump economic advisory council. NYT: "'What would it take for you to quit the economic council?' at least two employees asked at [a] Tuesday meeting. On Thursday, Mr. Kalanick gave his answer ... 'There are many ways we will continue to advocate for just change on immigration, but staying on the council was going to get in the way of that,' Mr. Kalanick wrote in an email to employees ... [It] underscores the tricky calculus facing many Silicon Valley corporate chieftains who try to work with the new administration. On one hand, many tech executives have openly tried to engage with the president, a path that is typically good for business. Yet Mr. Trump’s immigration order has been so unpopular with so many tech workers ... that they are now exerting pressure on their chief executives to push back..."
Trump voter doesn't want wall on his golf resort. Bloomberg: "Along with a potential lack of concrete and documented construction workers, one of the main hurdles Trump will face is the use of eminent domain ... Jeremy Barnard voted for Trump and says a wall makes sense in certain places—just not on his [golf resort] property, where building it would be 'complicated.' Lost property value could exceed $1 million..."
Trump voter doesn't want Trump's tax proposals. W. Post: "The chief executive of Scotts Miracle-Gro expected that Republicans would reduce his firm's tax rate from about 36 percent to 20 percent or less. He did not expect that Republicans would take such a broad approach to fulfilling Trump's promises on trade, with stiff new taxes on imports ... [Now] the company projects that its rate could tick up to about 37 percent. 'My wife, who's a radical Democrat, is laughing at me on this one,' said [CEO James] Hagedorn, who voted for Trump and continues to support the president."
More Regulatory Rollback
Trump looks to gut Dodd-Frank. Bloomberg: "President Donald Trump will order a sweeping review of the Dodd-Frank Act rules enacted in response to the 2008 financial crisis [and] halt another of former President Barack Obama’s regulations, hated by the financial industry, that requires advisers on retirement accounts to work in the best interests of their clients ..."
Congress kills SEC disclosure and coal pollution rule. Politico: "The Senate Friday gave its thumbs up to a resolution to nullify a SEC rule requiring oil, gas and mining companies to reveal their payments to foreign governments ... The final vote was 52-47 along strict party lines. That was narrower than yesterday's vote to kill an Interior Department coal mining rule, in which four Democrats sided with the majority ... The House is teeing up even more resolutions [that overturn Obama regulations], including a vote today to block an Interior Department rule limiting methane emissions from oil and gas drilling on public land."
Sen. Sanders asks in W. Post oped "Will Trump have the guts to stand up to drug companies?": "...we are the only major country not to negotiate drug prices with the pharmaceutical industry ... Until recently, Trump agreed. Yet after one meeting with pharmaceutical lobbyists, the president started reversing course ... I am introducing legislation to end this insanity, allowing Americans to buy the same drugs they receive now, but from Canada, at far lower prices."
Trump Targets Separation of Church and State
Trump aims to permit political endorsements from tax-exempt churches. NYT: ".... Trump said his administration would 'totally destroy' the Johnson Amendment, a 1954 law that prohibits churches from endorsing or opposing political candidates at the risk of losing their tax-exempt status ... Eliminating the measure has been a goal of many social conservatives, who argue that it unfairly restricts clergy members from expressing themselves by endorsing, or speaking out against, political candidates."
OurFuture.org FLASHBACK: "Donald Trump’s Smear of Lyndon Johnson"
Lawyers Target Travel Ban
Doctor wrongly refused entry back to America weakens Trump's case. NYT: "Just minutes after a federal judge blocked part of President Trump’s immigration order on Saturday night, ruling that no one with a valid visa should be deported, someone was, according to court papers filed on Thursday. Her name is Suha Amin Abdullah Abushamma, a Sudanese doctor with a valid H-1B foreign-worker visa who was working at the Cleveland Clinic ... The case may emerge as the first of its kind to decide whether the Trump administration disobeyed Judge Donnelly’s ruling to keep legal visa holders in the country."
Evangelicals protest travel ban. Yahoo! News: "Ann Voskamp has been a successful Christian author for the past decade, with a largely conservative evangelical audience. On Thursday morning, she stood outside the National Prayer Breakfast to protest President Trump’s order [with] 150 members of local churches, many of which have been working to help refugee families find housing and jobs."
Bipartisan push for program encouraging private investment in low-income communities. Roll Call: "...[Republican Sen.] Republican teamed up with Democratic Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Democratic Rep. Ron Kind of Wisconsin, and Republican Rep. Pat Tiberi of Ohio to reintroduce the 'Investing in Opportunity Act' ... The legislation would allow investors to defer paying capital gains taxes if they reinvest in 'opportunity funds' ... the group sees a new push for a tax overhaul as a potential vehicle for their legislation."
Several Dems to meet with Gorsuch. Politico: "Allies of Gorsuch began hammering Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and fellow Senate Democrats on Thursday for what they called a refusal to meet with Gorsuch ... A spokesman for Schumer said the New York Democrat asked the White House for more time to review Gorsuch’s record ... more Democrats will begin their courtesy visits with the nominee next week; he is scheduled to meet with California Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, on Monday afternoon."
Now Republicans talk of "repair" for Obamacare. W. Post: "Two top Republicans long expected to lead the Senate’s role in repealing the Affordable Care Act said publicly this week that they are open to repairing former president Barack Obama’s landmark health-care law ahead of a wholesale repeal ... On Thursday, Ryan tried to right the party’s message on health care by insisting that repair is the same thing as replace."