fresh voices from the front lines of change







Miller Seeks To Cement Control Over Immigration Policy

Before Nielsen's abrupt resignation, hardline Trump adviser Stephen Miller was reportedly handed total control of border policy. Insider: "US border and immigration policy is now said to be under the control of one of the most hardline anti-immigration members of the Trump administration, following the weekend's abrupt resignation of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. On Sunday, Politico reported that the White House adviser Stephen Miller was behind a government-wide bid to tighten migration policy. The site said he lobbied for the replacement of government officials with those who share his views and telephoned mid-ranking officials at several government departments to angrily demand that they do more the halt the illegal movement of migrants into the country. 'There's definitely a larger shake-up abreast being led by Stephen Miller and the staunch right wing within the administration," a person close to Nielsen told the publication. 'They failed with the courts and with Congress and now they're eating their own.' CBS News also reported that Miller was behind a planned overhaul of the Department of Homeland Security, where President Trump reportedly didn't believe the outgoing Nielsen shared his anti-migration stance."

Sanders Introduces Senate Medicare For All Bill

Doctors' group welcomes Sen. Sanders' Medicare-for-All bill. Common Dreams: "Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP), a nonprofit research and education organization of 23,000 physicians, medical students and health professionals, welcomes the Medicare for All Act of 2019 as an important step towards the organization's goal of a single-payer national health plan. Introduced today by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the bill would improve Medicare to include all medically necessary services, while expanding coverage to everyone in the U.S. Despite the advances of the ACA, more than 28 million Americans remain uninsured, with tens of millions more under-insured. Sen. Sanders bill would reduce the number of uninsured to zero, allowing everyone in the U.S. to visit the doctor or hospital of their choice for medically necessary care, including dental, vision, and mental health care. It would also largely eliminate patient cost-sharing, which deters many Americans from seeking needed care. Besides expanding coverage, the Medicare for All Act would go a long way towards containing the nation's overall health care costs, which are double the per-capita spending of other industrialized nations that provide universal coverage. Without single-payer reform, U.S. annual health spending is projected to reach $5.96 trillion, 19.4 percent of GDP by 2027."

OR May Award Electoral Votes To Popular Vote Winner

Oregon could be the next state to OK sending electoral votes to winner of the popular vote. CNN: "Oregon could become the next state to join a compact pledging to devote its electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote in future presidential elections if enough states sign on. The state's Senate passed a bill calling for Oregon to join the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, which more than a dozen states and the District of Columbia have already entered into. The states will not shift their vote allocations until their combined electoral votes equal 270, enough to decide a presidential election. Currently, the number stands at 189, and Oregon has seven electoral votes. The bill, which passed the state Senate 17 to 12, now heads to Oregon's House for consideration. Should it pass, it would be up to Democratic Gov. Kate Brown to either sign the bill into law or veto it. According to Oregon Public Broadcasting, Brown's office has said she supports the measure. Last week, New Mexico joined the compact, which was already adopted by California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington state and the District of Columbia."

Trump Paying For Tax Cuts With Education Cuts

Trump’s tax cuts for Betsy DeVos and the very rich are being paid for by education cuts. ThinkProgress: "Education Secretary Betsy DeVos will testify before Congress on Wednesday about her priorities for the department, weeks after she proposed billions of dollars in cuts for education spending in fiscal year 2020. DeVos has labeled the cuts “tough choices,” but new analysis from the Center for American Progress Action Fund (CAPAF) shows DeVos’ personal savings from the 2017 GOP tax bill alone could have covered a significant chunk of them. According to her 2018 personal financial disclosures, DeVos’ income was somewhere between $46.8 million and $109 million, mostly stemming from LLCs, limited partnerships, and distributive shares. CAPAF’s analysis estimates the Trump tax cuts likely saved her $10 million or more in the last year alone. Seth Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress who focuses on federal tax and budget policy, said DeVos was “illustrative of the windfall that extremely wealthy business owners were handed in 2017. Because her family’s company, Amway, is — as we found out from a letter they sent to Congress — structured as an S-corporation,' he explained, DeVos’ holdings were eligible for a special new deduction created in the tax bill. The tax changes Trump and Republicans implemented in 2017 actually reduced the top rate for these types of holdings from 39.6% to 29.6% taxation. 'They sold this new deduction as a small business tax cut, but the kinds of businesses that really benefit are Amway, the Trump Organization, and their owners,' Hanlon said."

Congress Rips Us Off When We File Taxes

AOC: Congress lets Americans get ripped off when they file their taxes. Salon: "Tax returns are due to the IRS on April 15th this year. And as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) pointed out on Tuesday, when taxpayers across the country pay their due, they’ll be victims of a fundamental injustice in the American tax system. That’s because the IRS could actually do most Americans’ taxes for them — eliminating wasted expenditure of time and, for many people, on professional tax preparers and services. Ocasio-Cortex noted in a speech on the House floor that she wanted to lodge some of her 'concerns' about the issue, as discussed by Vox’s Dylan Matthews. She quoted from his recent article, though she left out the names of the specific companies. 'It is a huge scandal that Congress has not yet instructed the IRS to automatically prepare taxes for the vast majority of Americans. The IRS has all the information required to do that for all but a few taxpayers, and the main reason it hasn’t to date is lobbying by companies like TurboTax and H&R Block,' Matthews wrote. 'The reason it doesn’t may have to do with the role of money in politics,' she said. 'I would like to commend the advancements we have made for working class people, but long-term, we should be looking at a solution where everyday people do not necessarily have to spend hours every year preparing tax returns when the majority of Americans have relatively simple and straightforward returns.' Matthews noted that there’s a bipartisan bill that would prevent the IRS from making tax-filing software and interfaces that could compete with services like TurboTax. It is, essentially, a massive giveaway to these companies, he argued. And it would be a blatant way for the American people to get ripped off by their own legislature."

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