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HUD's Carson Questioned About Housing Cuts

Bipartisan Disapproval Over Trump Administration's Housing Program Cuts. NPR: "Lawmakers told Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson Wednesday that there's little chance Congress will accept the Trump administration's plan to make deep cuts in housing and development programs. The president's 2020 budget calls for eliminating the Community Development Block Grant program, the public housing capital fund and the HOME grant program for more affordable housing, for a one-year savings of more than $7 billion. But these programs are popular among lawmakers, especially local officials who say they desperately need money to help their low-income communities. House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Nita Lowey of New York noted that the administration's new housing budget echoed last year's proposal, which was rejected by Congress on a bipartisan basis. 'This year, your proposal contains even deeper cuts and would greatly reduce public housing and end most community development block grants. It would lead to more people struggling to find affordable housing and more people falling into homelessness,' she said. The ranking Republican on the HUD appropriations subcommittee, Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida, warned Carson, 'Just like last year, we're unlikely to agree on a lot of the things you've put forward.'"

Trump Considers Pizza Man, Tax Cheat For Federal Reserve

Trump eyes open Federal Reserve seats as a chance to burrow loyalists into positions of power. ThinkProgress: "Former presidential candidate and Godfather’s Pizza mogul Herman Cain is the preferred choice of President Donald Trump to fill one of two vacant positions on the seven-member Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Cain has been floated alongside Stephen Moore, the frequent Fox News guest and a veteran of almost every major right-wing think tank in Washington, D.C., as the potential new members of the central bank’s governing body. Cain’s trial balloons may prompt some snickering. Last seen smirking creepily in campaign advertisements for his quixotic, half-serious bid for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, Cain has long cut a comic figure in national political circles. Whatever real cachet he had with a sliver of the party’s base some years ago has aged queasily, though the same type of sexual misconduct scandals that seemed to have closed the book on Cain’s public career eight years ago are apparently no longer deal breakers for the party Trump leads."

ICE Teams UP With NC GOP Against Pro-Immigrant Sheriffs

"Over the course of four days in February, federal immigration officials arrested more than 220 undocumented people in North Carolina. They were retaliating against five newly elected sheriffs who had announced they would cut certain ties with ICE. Republicans in the state legislature passed a bill Wednesday that would force sheriffs to cooperate with the agency. And ICE helped them to craft it. The North Carolina Sheriff’s Association announced that it opposed the bill hours before it passed. “The GOP leaders are being very candid, very straight up in saying that they are introducing this bill because they have been in communication with ICE,” Stefania Arteaga told The Intercept. Arteaga is the statewide immigrant rights organizer with the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina. She also co-founded Comunidad Colectiva, a grassroots immigrant rights group working in Mecklenburg County, which includes Charlotte. Mecklenburg County Sheriff Garry McFadden ran and won last year on ending the county’s participation in the controversial 287(g) program, which allowed voluntary participation between local law enforcement and ICE. Now, federal immigration authorities are fighting back. 'This is what ICE wants,' Arteaga said."

Guatemalan Families Say Child Separation Policy Led to Sexual Abuse

Two Guatemalan Families Say Child Separation Policy Led to Sexual Abuse. Gothamist: "Two Guatemalan fathers and their children are seeking monetary damages from the U.S. government over its family separation policy at the border last year, claiming the children suffered sexual abuse after they were brought to foster homes in New York. They also claim the government violated their constitutional rights, including their right to family integrity, and failed in its basic duties not to harm those in its custody. The administrative claims were filed Thursday on behalf of each parent and child by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the law firm Covington & Burling. If no settlement is reached within six months, attorney Michelle Lapointe of the Southern Poverty Law Center said a suit will be filed in federal court."

How The Freedom Caucus Shut Down Government

How Trump conspired with the Freedom Caucus to shut down the government. Politico: "As he entered a divided government, Rep. Mark Meadows believed that finally this was Trump’s hill to die on. “It’s a symbol of the dysfunction of government overall, and it’s bigger than just the wall, and it’s why the two sides are dug in,” Meadows told us in January. 'It’s who’s going to decide what happens in the next two years under this administration … We’re trying to figure out who’s going to be the most powerful person in Washington, D.C., and bottom line is, it’s either going to be Nancy Pelosi or it’s going to be Donald J. Trump. And that’s what this comes down to.' Months after the 34-day standoff that followed, the full story of how the president was pushed into the shutdown is a lesson in how to take the reins in Trump’s Washington. The lawmakers around Trump who wanted a shutdown knew exactly how to bring the president around to their side: threaten that others might perceive him as weak and push that threat around Capitol Hill and, eventually, all the way to Fox News. It helped to have a man on the inside, too—in this case, acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. As Meadows was about to find out, following this playbook was enough to get inside the head of the most powerful man in Washington, and use him to get what Meadows and his allies wanted."

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