fresh voices from the front lines of change








Robert Kraig

The Fight For Health Care In Wisconsin

Has Just Begun

Wisconsin’s Republican lawmakers proudly turned their backs on the people of the Badger State when they voted against expanding health coverage to 82,000 people yesterday. But at Citizen Action of Wisconsin, we’re not turning back. We’ll keep fighting until every Wisconsinite gets the health care we deserve, and voted for in November. Yesterday’s vote by the Joint Finance Committee to strip Medicaid/Badgercare Expansion from the state budget is just the latest evidence of the Republican Party’s ongoing effort to keep Scott Walker’s shroud pulled tight over the will of the people, who threw him out of the Governor’s Mansion last November. But the passion is on our side. Republican leaders scheduled this sudden and desperate vote because they are losing the public debate. Days before this rash decision, news reports broke of multiple Republican legislators beginning to bow to public pressure and support the expansion of BadgerCare. We did not lose anything at yesterday’s hearing. This sudden attempt to cut off debate is a sign of weakness. If we keep up the pressure on every legislator who is ignoring the will of the people, we will win.

House GOP Votes Against Protecting Preexisting Conditions

183 Republicans vote against bill to protect people with pre-existing conditions. ThinkProgress: "The House of Representatives on Thursday passed a bill that would block the Trump administration from granting states the leeway to skirt Obamacare rules —- a measure designed to ensure that patients with pre-existing conditions continue to receive affordable robust coverage — in a 236 to 183 vote. The bill is not expected to pass the GOP-controlled Senate, but even if it does, the president has threatened to veto the measure. Every House Democrat and four Republicans voted in favor of the bill, H.R. 986, known as the Protecting Americans with Preexisting Conditions Act of 2019. Meanwhile, 183 Republicans voted against it — including members who vowed in 2018 that they would protect people with pre-existing conditions. The Department of Health and Human Services issued new guidance around the Affordable Care Act (ACA) last November that encourages states to make changes to their marketplaces even if that means skirting federal rules and putting people with pre-existing medical conditions in jeopardy of increased health care costs."

Trump Kicks In 25 Percent Tariffs On China

The US just raised tariffs on Chinese goods. China says it will hit back. CNN: "The United States has escalated its trade war with China, hiking tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese exports hours after trade talks held in Washington failed to produce a breakthrough. Trump has already suggested that he's ready to bring in more trade penalties if his demands are not met. He threatened in a tweet on Sunday to raise taxes on virtually all of China's exports to the United States. 'While we believe that a trade deal will eventually be reached between the US and China, the risk of a complete breakdown in trade talks has certainly increased,' said Michael Taylor of Moody's Investors Service.

FL Teachers Will Carry Guns In Class

Florida’s new law lets teachers carry guns in class. Black and Latino students are worried. Vox: "In the year since the February 2018 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, several states have moved to pass laws to arm teachers as a way to protect students.But students and parents of color worry that allowing guns into classrooms will put black, Latino, and Native American students, who are already subject to harsher discipline than their white classmates, in harm’s way. On Wednesday evening, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill allowing teachers to carry guns in classrooms after receiving training. The new law — which is part of a larger set of school safety reforms — lifts an earlier ban on armed teachers in the state. The measure also extends the scope of Florida’s year-old “guardian” program, which allows some trained school officials and staffers to carry concealed firearms on campus. The measure will go into effect on October 1. Several school districts, including Florida’s Broward County, where Marjory Stoneman Douglas is located, have declined to participate in the program, and teachers have also criticized the measure."

White House Restricts Press Access

White House crackdown on press access takes effect. ThinkProgress: "In the past 180 days, the White House has held four official press briefings — the last one held a record 59 days ago. A new White House policy, however, requires that, for journalists to maintain their 'hard pass,' they must have been in the building at least 90 of the past 180 days, counting weekends — resulting in a major change to the White House press corps and its ability to do its work. To meet the new standard, a reporter would need to be physically present at the White House seven out of every 10 workdays, a high expectation for an administration that hasn’t delivered a formal briefing in two months. That’s according to Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank, who shared Wednesday that the White House had revoked the credential he’d held for 21 years. By Milbank’s estimation, the new rule would likely purge many members of the current White House press corps were it not for 'exceptions' to the policy, such as for 'senior journalists' or for 'special circumstances' like maternity leave. That means, as Milbank put it, 'they all serve at the pleasure of press secretary Sarah Sanders,' and could, in theory, 'have their credentials revoked any time they annoy Trump or his aides.'"

AOC, Sanders Team Up To Rein In Banks

AOC, Sanders join fight on bank legislation. The Intercept: "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's first major bill is offered in partnership with Vermont Sen. and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. It’s something Sanders has proposed for many years: a 15 percent interest rate cap on all consumer loans, which would reduce what many Americans pay on their credit cards and effectively eliminate the payday loan industry. The bill is called the Loan Shark Prevention Act, and it’s only two pages long. It includes language that would prevent lenders from adding fees to “evade” the interest rate cap and sets penalties for violators, including a forfeiture of all interest on the illegal loans. According to Ocasio-Cortez’s office, the freshman representative plans to suggest postal banking as a public option for consumer lending, though that is not in the legislation. A postal lending option would in theory minimize the impact on access to credit from the rate cap. Sanders endorsed postal banking during his 2016 presidential campaign. The interest rate cap, often referred to as a usury cap in a reference to the biblical term, has been a mainstay of Sanders’s left-wing agenda. He introduced similar legislation as far back as 2009, when Congress was debating the CARD Act, which added some more modest protections for credit card holders. While the 2009 bill specifically focused on credit cards, by 2016 Sanders had added all consumer loans to the plan."

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