Progressive Breakfast for April 21

Morning Message

Grassroots Candidates Will “Rise Up” To Electorialize The Resistance

Here’s something that can’t be dismissed with a dismissive Donald Trump tweet: An electoral wave is building that seriously threatens the stranglehold that Republicans have on electoral power around the country. It showed itself this week when an unknown, young documentary filmmaker and former congressional staffer nearly won a Georgia congressional special election as a Democrat in a district that had been deeply Republican for decades. It will be amplified on Monday when, according to People’s Action co-director George Goehl, 50 grassroots organizers and activists pledge during the organization’s inaugural convention in Washington to run for political office in 2017, 2018 and 2020.

Trump Risks Shutdown

Trump demands border wall funding to keep government open. AP: “[Budget director Mick] Mulvaney told The Associated Press in an interview that ‘elections have consequences’ and that ‘we want wall funding’ as part of the catchall spending bill … [He] also said that the administration is open, though undecided, about a key Democratic demand that the measure pay for cost-sharing payments to insurance companies … ‘We have the leverage and they have the exposure,’ House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told fellow Democrats on a Thursday conference call…”

Art of the deal? Politico: “…administration officials’ hopes of giving President Donald Trump a win during his first 100 days, such as border wall funding or a crackdown on sanctuary cities, have complicated what had been a relatively smooth, bicameral, bipartisan negotiation, according to staffers in both parties.”

OMB chief Mick Mulvaney says GOP might use reconciliation to cut spending and raise debt limit reports the Hill.

Dim Prospects For GOP Health Care Deal

House moderates skeptical of revised ACA repeal bill. NYT: “White House officials … are pushing to resurrect a Republican health care bill before his 100th day in office next week. Some members of the president’s team have grown consumed by that deadline … [Rep. Dan] Donovan, an opponent of the original Republican health care bill, said the proposed amendment ‘really doesn’t address the concerns that I had.’ Representative Charlie Dent… said it ‘does nothing to change my views.'”

No actual legislation yet. The Hill: ” GOP aides and some lawmakers say it seems doubtful the deal … could win approval in the House. They also note that there is not even legislative text yet to mark a deal, which makes the prospect of holding a vote next week even more unlikely … ‘There’s no deal,’ said an aide to one moderate House GOP lawmaker.”

ACA success is dependent on decisions by the states. NYT: “…the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance marketplaces, also known as exchanges, are not uniformly failing, as Mr. Trump likes to claim. Instead, they have risen or fallen in no small part because of political and policy decisions by each state. New Mexico embraced the law and its marketplace has been healthy, while Oklahoma resisted at every step and its marketplace is foundering.”

Trump May Scrub Inversion Rule

Trump executive order will direct Treasury to review tax rules and financial regulation. Bloomberg: “Under President Barack Obama, Treasury sought to rein in U.S. companies’ attempts to shift their profit offshore by proposing rules that would curb so-called ‘earnings stripping’ and inversions — mergers in which U.S. companies transfer their tax address overseas to low-tax countries like Ireland to cut their tax bills … [Trump also] will require a review of the Financial Stability Oversight Committee’s designation process for systemically important banks [and] orderly liquidation authority … Dodd-Frank established a so-called orderly liquidation authority under which the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. is empowered to untangle and wind down the biggest banks.”

Tax reform hearing delayed in the House. The Hill: “A hearing on the House Republicans’ border adjustment proposal to tax imports and exempt exports had been expected on April 27 … But under committee rules, hearings have to be announced one week ahead of time, and no hearing had been officially put on the books as of 8 p.m. Thursday.”

13 factions battle over tax reform. Politico: “The huge number of players in tax reform will complicate any effort to overhaul the tax code. Cut just one break and lawmakers risk the anger of well-funded interest groups or coalitions, which inevitably try to position their tax goodie as the one singlehandedly responsible for boosting the economy or helping the middle class. That’s why taking on the tax code in a meaningful way hasn’t happened since President Ronald Reagan’s landmark overhaul of 1986.”

ICE Can’t Handle Trump’s Deportation Demands

Deportation push may be slowed by understaffed ICE. LAT: “…. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, hampered by poor organization and an overworked staff, will have trouble keeping up with the Trump administration’s plans to ramp up deportations … ICE has ‘overwhelming caseloads,’ its records are ‘likely inaccurate’ and its deportation policies and procedures ‘are outdated and unclear,’ said a report released Thursday by the inspector general … Although Trump has signed an executive order directing the Border Patrol and ICE to hire 15,000 more agents … Border Patrol was able to vet and hire only about 40 agents a month last year … Reports this year that Customs and Border Patrol might stop using polygraph tests, intended to ferret out unqualified agents, drew a storm of criticism. So did the reason: Two out of three new applicants had failed the lie detector … Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly said Sunday that Customs and Border Protection would continue to use the polygraph as a hiring tool…”

Despite block of travel ban, programs to aid “trusted travelers” throttled. Bloomberg: “U.S. Customs and Border Protection revoked the enrollment of people in the Global Entry program and other U.S. ‘trusted traveler’ categories as part of the Trump administration’s travel ban … American citizens certified for Global Entry often learned of the issue only when they sought to travel, according to the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, which says it received ‘dozens’ of complaints and is seeking agency records about the revocations through the Freedom of Information Act … The CBP did not respond to questions about how many people had been purged and restored to the ‘trusted traveler’ programs.”

DeVos, Weingarten Tour Public School

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and teachers union leader Randi Weingarten visit Ohio rural public school. Chicago Tribune: “The two combatants in the nation’s education battles met for several hours, touring classrooms and hearing from teachers and students in Van Wert … Weingarten said her goal was to show DeVos the good things happening in public schools … [DeVos] called her visit to Van Wert ‘inspiring’ … [then noted] that nearly 1 in 5 children living in Van Wert choose to attend a public school outside the district … DeVos said she wants to help lift burdensome mandates and paperwork requirements that get in the way of teaching. Asked by a reporter for specific examples, she didn’t offer any … the two agreed to meet at least twice – once to tour a traditional public school of the union’s choosing, and once to visit a ‘choice school’ … identified by DeVos.”

Van Wert teachers hopeful. NYT: “For teachers and students here, fights over funding and policy are not abstract. Jen Arend, a literacy specialist at Van Wert’s early childhood center, is paid with federal Title I money, which provides additional resources to districts with high concentrations of poverty. Mr. Trump’s budget proposes increasing Title I funding but using it for school choice initiatives. ‘I hope she sees we’re more than a line item in the budget,’ Ms. Arend said of Ms. DeVos.”

Breakfast Sides

Trump takes shot at Canada as trade receives fresh focus. NYT: “‘What they’ve done to our dairy farm workers is a disgrace,’ Mr. Trump said as he ordered a sweeping investigation into whether steel imports are harming America’s national security. ‘We can’t let Canada or anybody else take advantage and do what they did to our workers and to our farmers.’ … A senior White House official said there would be two trade-related events a week for the next few weeks. ‘He’s manically focused on these trade issues,’ said Stephen K. Bannon … After [revoking TPP] the president’s ‘bark quieted down,’ said Gary Clyde Hufbauer [of] the Peterson Institute for International Economics. ‘Now the volume of the bark is going back up.’ ‘But these are still barks,’ he added. ‘So far, no bites.'”

Trump lawyers argue that protesters don’t have First Amendment rights. Politico: “President Donald Trump’s lawyers argued in a Thursday court filing that protesters ‘have no right’ to ‘express dissenting views’ at his campaign rallies because such protests infringed on his First Amendment rights. The filing comes in a case brought by three protesters who allege they were roughed up and ejected from a March 2016 Trump campaign rally in Louisville, Kentucky, by Trump supporters who were incited by the then-candidate’s calls from the stage to ‘get ’em out of here!'”

The Nation’s John Nichols tracks the electoral success of democratic socialists: “More than a dozen DSA members now serve in local posts across the country, and their numbers are growing. Early this month, Quad Cities Democratic Socialists of America member Dylan Parker was elected to the city council in Rock Island, Illinois … in South Fulton, Georgia, another DSA member, khalid kamau, won an equally striking [city council] victory … kamau (who lower cases his name in the Yoruba African tradition that emphasizes the community over the individual) … won 67 percent on the vote.”