fresh voices from the front lines of change







Trump Bombs Syria

NBC asks what’s next: “The Trump team has taken pains to emphasize that the move was a ‘proportionate’ response to the chemical attack, but what comes next? And if the goal is ending the bloodshed in Syria, how will Trump finish the job?”

Congressional reaction mixed. Politico: “Congressional leaders in both parties largely signaled their support … libertarian-minded Republicans like Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky blasted Trump’s decision to launch strikes without first getting approval by Congress … They were joined by liberal Democrats, including Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii and Rep. Ted Lieu of California … A slew of other Republicans who praised Trump — including Don Young of Alaska, Martha Roby of Alabama, Roger Williams of Texas — opposed or leaned heavily against Obama’s request to authorize the use of force in Syria…”

The Nation’s John Nichols criticizes the bypassing of Congress: “[Trump’s] reference to a ‘vital national security interest’ was an attempt to justify the presidential action. But Congresswoman Barbara Lee argued Thursday night that ‘this is an act of war. Congress needs to come back into session and hold a debate. Anything less is an abdication of our responsibility. … In 2001, when she opposed George W. Bush’s AUMF, millions of Americans said ‘Barbara Lee Speaks for Me.’ She also spoke for the Constitution. And she is still doing so.”

Gorsuch Confirmation Today

Gorsuch to be confirmed today. Politico: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell moved to change the Senate rules after Democrats blocked Gorsuch’s nomination minutes before, 55-45. All 52 Republicans then supported the vote to go nuclear … After the vote, McConnell was seen high-fiving Secretary for the Majority Laura Dove …”

Bloomberg on the implications for the Court: ” It could lead to new curbs on union powers and worker lawsuits while bolstering the rights of religious groups. It could also fuel the perception that the court is largely a tool of the politicians in Congress and the White House.”

The Nation’s Ari Berman lambastes GOP for “thwarting the will of the people”: “The pattern is clear—when Republicans don’t like the legislative rules or an outcome of an election, they change the rules or try to nullify the election.”

Trump Meets With China

“China’s Xi urges trade cooperation in first meeting with Trump” reports Reuters: “‘We have a thousand reasons to get China-U.S. relations right, and not one reason to spoil the China-U.S. relationship,’ Xi told Trump … ‘I don’t expect a grand bargain on trade. I think what you are going to see is that the president makes very clear to Xi and publicly what we expect on trade,’ a U.S. official told Reuters…”

“Is Trump backing down on China?” asks Politico: “…his campaign promise to label the Asian economic powerhouse a currency manipulator hasn’t materialized. Instead, Trump has been taking a conciliatory tone … Democrats and business interests are also pressing Trump to talk tough with Xi on issues such as currency manipulation, industrial espionage, and China’s excess production of aluminum and steel…”

Breakfast Sides

Enviros try to reach swing state Trump voters. The Hill: “‘It’s really about appealing to most voters, including people who voted for Trump who are nominally Democrats or have voted for President Obama before, or are Republicans who are not hard-line right-wing,’ said David Goldston, director of government affairs at National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) … The NRDC, Environmental Defense Fund and other groups are running advertisements, organizing protests and lobbying lawmakers to come out in opposition to the administration’s ideas … The public relations effort puts iconic water bodies important to the identities of Rust Belt states at the forefront rather than broader issues such as global climate change.”

25-year EPA staffer pens blistering resignation letter to Administrator Scott Pruitt: “I assume you are aware of the current low morale of EPA career staff … This is the first time I remember staff openly dismissing and mocking the environmental policies of an Administration and by extension you … The message we are hearing is that this Administration is working to dismantle EPA and its staff as quickly as possible. I have highlighted several areas below which are emblematic of why morale at EPA is the lowest since I started in 1987…”

Health care further strains GOP. Politico: “White House officials are nevertheless bearing down on Ryan to move a bill soon, even suggesting during a Wednesday evening meeting that he keep lawmakers in town until a deal is struck. GOP leaders, however, say the legislation isn’t ready and lawmakers need to cool down before they try again to pass again … administration aides are under intense pressure to help the House deliver on one of Trump’s top campaign promises — and many are fretting that their jobs will be in jeopardy if it doesn’t happen.”

Justice Department has “grave concerns” about Baltimore police reform agreement. Baltimore Sun: “John Gore, deputy assistant attorney general in the federal agency’s Civil Rights Division, said officials there are no longer sure the consent decree — reached in the waning days of the Obama administration — supports public safety, citing recent increases in city crime. He asked U.S. District Judge James K. Bredar to ‘hold off’ on signing the decree for at least 30 days so officials of the new Trump administration could ‘analyze it and re-engage with the city if necessary.’ … The Justice Department’s request came at a hearing where, one after another, Baltimore residents, advocates and community organizers stood before Bredar and asked him to approve the deal without delay.”

Do Trump and Warren agree on Glass-Steagall? NYT: “…Gary D. Cohn, Mr. Trump’s chief economic adviser, said the administration was considering a proposal that would require separating retail banking from investment banking and trading … [Sen. Elizabeth Warren] seized on the news … to reintroduce … the 21st-century Glass-Steagall Act … Still, it is unclear whether a return to Glass-Steagall is politically feasible.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders and DNC Chair Tom Perez will go on tour. CNN: “The tour will begin April 17 and last roughly one week. The exact locations are still being nailed down, but the tour is expected to begin in Maine and is also likely to include stops in Florida, Arizona, Kentucky, Nevada, Nebraska and Utah.”

OMB director’s claim of Social Security waste gets three “Pinocchios” from the W. Post Fact Checker

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