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White House Wants ‘Medicare For Less’

Medicare-for-all v. Medicare-for-less: Trump’s proposed cuts put health care at center of 2020 race. WaPo: “A new proposal by President Trump to slash Medicare spending puts Republicans in a political bind ahead of the 2020 election as Democrats are pitching an expansion of the popular health-care program for all Americans. Trump’s 10-year budget unveiled Monday calls for more than $845 billion in reductions for Medicare, aiming to cut “waste, fraud and abuse” in the federal program that gives insurance to older Americans. It’s part of a broader proposed belt-tightening effort after deficits soared during the president’s first two years in office in part due to massive tax cuts for the wealthy. The move immediately tees up a potential messaging battle between Democratic proposals for Medicare-for-all — castigated by Republicans as a socialist boondoggle — and a kind of Medicare-for-less approach. focused on cutting back on spending, from the GOP. Democrats, including some seeking to challenge Trump in 2020, seized on the proposed Medicare cuts Monday as an example of the GOP seeking to balance the budget on the backs of the elderly and the poor after giving broad tax breaks to the wealthy. ‘Make no mistake about it: Trump’s budget is a massive transfer of wealth from the working class to the wealthiest people and most profitable corporations in America,’ Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a Democratic presidential candidate, said in a Monday tweet that highlighted Medicare cuts.”

Trump Budget Slashes EPA Research, Enforcement

Trump’s budget seeks cuts to climate research and renewable energy programs. WaPo: “The 2020 Trump administration budget overview document, released on Monday, doesn’t even bring up the subject of climate change in laying out the president’s major priorities. Yet as in prior years, it telegraphs what the U.S. government thinks of climate change — mostly by proposing, in the fine print released individually by separate agencies, numerous cuts to climate research, adaptation, and renewable energy programs. at a time when climate scientists globally say there’s barely a decade to slash emissions, and when the administration’s own scientists say effects within the United States are getting worse, the Trump administration is barely even shrugging at mounting concern over climate change. The proposed plans for the Environmental Protection Agency are instructive about the administration’s approach. The 31 percent, $2.8 billion proposed cut, which would leave the agency a budget of $6.1 billion, is in line with the previous deep reductions that the administration has sought each year under President Trump. So far, Congress has been unwilling to go along, keeping the EPA’s budget largely stable. The administration, for instance, would cut the EPA’s Global Change Research office, which exists to provide scientific information to policymakers about the threats posed by climate change. Employees of the office worked on the National Climate Assessment released last fall, which warned of growing impacts of climate change, and which Trump dismissed.”

Budget Slashes Housing Aid By $8.6b

Proposed 2020 HUD budget down 16.4% from 2019. HousingWire: “President Donald Trump announced his budget proposal Monday for fiscal year 2020, including a nearly 7% increase for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 2019 budget proposal. But this proposal is actually a decrease from 2019’s enacted budget. While the funding is an increase from Trump’s requested budget for 2019, it is down a whole $8.6 billion, or 16.4%, from 2019’s enacted budget. HUD explained the president’s budget is a commitment to fiscal restraint, and targets lower value HUD programs for elimination or reduction. Back in April 2018, HUD proposed to reform its rental assistance programs through the Making Affordable Housing Work Act, which it submitted to Congress. Now, this new budget incorporates those reforms. These reforms include increased tenant rent contributions for those able to work, not including elderly/disabled households, reduced frequency of income re-certifications and additional flexibilities for public housing authorities and property owners to develop alternative rent structures. In addition, the budget proposes uniform work for work-able households, while exempting the elderly, the disabled, those caring for a disabled family member or small child and pregnant women.”

Budget Sells Out Farmers

Trump Lauded Farmers, Medicare and AIDS Programs. Then He Unsheathed the Budget Knife. NYT: “The Trump administration’s annual budget proposal on Monday envisioned a series of cuts that contrasted with the president’s own words of support for both programs and people — including some groups that make up his political base. To help make way for more military and border spending, it would slash programs large and small, from Medicaid and Medicare — which President Trump as a candidate promised to protect — to safety nets for farmers. America’s farmers, a key component of the president’s base and a group suffering the effects of his trade war with China, could be among those the budget would squeeze: The White House wants to ax 15 percent, or $3.6 billion, from the Agriculture Department’s budget. According to budget documents, officials plan to ‘efficiently use taxpayer resources’ to find savings by eliminating ‘overly generous subsidy programs’ and examining other safety nets.”

Warren Wants To Break Up Tech Giants

Warren throws down gauntlet in tech fight. The Hill: “Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s (D-Mass.) proposal to break up the country’s largest tech companies has set the tone for the Democrats vying for their party’s 2020 presidential nomination. The progressive senator staked her claim as a trustbuster with an ambitious plan to break up companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon. She argued that Big Tech’s market power has stifled competition and even democracy. ‘As these companies have grown larger and more powerful, they have used their resources and control over the way we use the Internet to squash small businesses and innovation, and substitute their own financial interests for the broader interests of the American people,’ Warren wrote in a blog post last week, unveiling her plan. Her plan involves appointing regulators who share her views on the industry and pushing legislation that would make it illegal for a large internet company to both own a platform or marketplace and also compete in it — which critics say gives tech giants an unfair advantage over startups and local businesses. Warren’s plan is the most aggressive proposal yet from any candidate in a party that has increasingly pushed a tougher stance on Silicon Valley. Going after tech companies has quickly become a go-to issue for Democrats, whether they’re centrists or firebrand progressives.”

CFPB’s Kraninger Has No Idea How Payday Loans Work

Rep. Katie Porter Exposes CFPB Director As Fraud In Under Two Minutes. Crooks and Liars: “Kathy Kraninger, who was picked by Donald Trump to helm the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) with no financial experience, faces questions by the Senate Finance Committee today. In House questioning last week, California Democratic Rep. Katie Porter used her time masterfully to expose Kraninger’s ignorance of consumer affairs. how is it that the Director of the agency cannot even explain what APR financing is? Or refuses to under oath in a Congressional hearing? Why, when asked multiple times by Rep. Porter, did she not explain that a $200 loan with a 10% APR would cost $520? It’s 260% of the loan. Plus the $20 origination fee. So a $200 loan would cost you an additional $540, in addition to the $200 you’d need to pay back. So, in 2 weeks, when payday came around, you’d need $740 of it to go back to that lender. The people targeted for these predatory loans are those who could least afford interest or fees that exceeded the principal borrowed: the poor, the elderly, communities of color, and military veterans Gee, I wonder why Director Kraninger didn’t want to do the math, even when handed a calculator? She demurred, saying, ‘That’s a math question.’ Well, yes. You’re the head of a FINANCE agency. You are supposed to be able to answer math questions. Easily and honestly. Especially if your job is to protect consumers — and the most vulnerable ones.”

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