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Trump Floats Rejoining Pacific Trade Deal

Trump weighs rejoining Trans-Pacific Partnership amid trade dispute with China. WaPo: “President Trump ordered top administration officials Thursday to look at rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the sprawling trade pact he rejected three days after taking office. The move would mark a stunning reversal for Trump, who sharply criticized the pact as a “disaster” and made opposition to global trade deals a centerpiece of his economic agenda as a candidate.”

Mulvaney Begs Congress To Strip CFPB Powers

Sen. Elizabeth Warren challenges Mulvaney in CFPB testimony. NPR: “An epic throw-down happened Thursday on Capitol Hill over the role of the federal government. The topic: the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the agency created in the wake of the 2007-08 financial crisis. On one side was the Trump administration’s acting director, Mick Mulvaney, who believes the bureau’s powers are excessive and unchecked. On the other was Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who led the creation of the bureau to protect consumers from abuses by everything from big banks to student loan providers to fly-by-night loan sharks. Mulvaney, Trump’s appointee, calls the bureau Warren’s “baby.” But Democrats say that over the past five months, he has done a terrible job of taking care of it.”

Coal Lobbyist Confirmed as EPA Deputy Chief

Pruitt’s new deputy: a coal lobbyist steeped in Washington’s ways. NYT: “The Senate on Thursday confirmed the Environmental Protection Agency’s second-in-command, Andrew Wheeler, a former coal lobbyist who not only shares the deregulatory zeal of Scott Pruitt, the E.P.A. chief, but also his doubtful view of climate science. More notable, however, are the differences between the two men. Unlike Mr. Pruitt, a Washington outsider caught in a swirl of controversy over his costly first-class travel and security spending, Mr. Wheeler is viewed as a low-key insider with years of Washington experience in the art of pursuing policy change while avoiding public distraction. Deregulation is among President Trump’s central campaign promises, and Mr. Pruitt has proposed ambitious rollbacks of rules governing clean air and water and fighting against climate change. But many of his initiatives have stumbled because of haste or imprecision, and at least six have been struck down by the courts. That makes the arrival of Mr. Wheeler’s expertise particularly consequential.”

AZ Offers Teachers Pay Raise

AZ governor offers teachers 20% pay raise, but educators have questions. CNN: “Faced with growing pressure from educators, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced Thursday his plan to give teachers 20% pay raises by the beginning of the 2020 school year. But Arizona educators who have been calling for better pay and more school funding reacted to the governor’s announcement with questions and skepticism. Under his proposal, teachers’ pay would increase 9% in the 2018 school year, then another 5% for the next two years, which would boost the average salary from the current $48,372 to $58,130 by the 2020 school year… Ducey has also proposed to restore education funding from recession-era cuts with $371 million phased in over the next five years “all without raising taxes while maintaining Arizona’s balanced budget.”

Ryan Resignation Sparks GOP Red Alert

GOP breaks the glass as House outlook darkens. Politico: “Republicans are rushing to shore up congressional seats deep in the heart of Trump country as they come to an alarming realization: In this midterm election, few GOP lawmakers are safe. GOP leaders are pressing Republicans lawmakers in conservative areas to get their sluggish campaigns in order. They’re pleading with major donors to open their wallets for incumbents in seats previously thought to be secure. And they’re polling districts President Donald Trump won comfortably just a year-and-a-half ago, searching for signs of trouble. While most of the party’s efforts have been focused on defending swing districts, Republicans are increasingly turning their attention to more conservative areas, from suburban Phoenix to rural Virginia, fearful that they too could be casualties of a midterm bloodbath.”

More from OurFuture.org:

Will Trump ‘Wag The Dog’ to Gain Support? Miles Mogulescu: “It’s starting to look like a an increasingly unhinged Donald Trump might start a war, fire special counsel Mueller, and then argue, along with his Republican allies, that you can’t impeach a wartime Commander in Chief without jeopardizing national security. It’s sometimes called the ‘Wag The Dog’ strategy. The fact that this scenario is at least credible shows the depths to which Trump has driven the Presidency and the nation.

GOP Claims Tax Fraud Will ‘Pay for Itself.’ Leo Gerard: “Remember the Republicans’ claim last year that their $1.5 trillion tax scam, slashing rates for the rich and corporations would magically pay for itself? It’s nothing but a fraud. Well, that’s what the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said this week, anyway. Without blatantly labeling the GOP tax cut as a con, the CBO did say that it would in no way, not ever pay for itself. It would, the CBO warned, dramatically raise the national budget deficit, year after year, for at least a decade. Republicans, the party of public hand wringing over deficits, deliberately created this gob-smackingly huge deficit as an excuse to slash and burn programs cherished by the vast majority of Americans such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Yes, Grandma, that tax cut Republicans gave to fat cats means you’ll be eating cat food.”

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