Progressive Breakfast for February 16

Morning Message

DeVos Denies Civil Rights and Stifles Dissent. But She’s a Victim?

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos has been steadily dismantling policies that protect students' civil rights, yet accuses anyone who points this out of being "hurtful," and blocks them from having their voices heard. Her actions threaten our democracy, and are the tip of a movement to rid our country of public schools.

WH Crushes Immigration Reform In Senate

Senators fume after immigration bill failure. CNN: It was supposed to be a raucous, week-long, open floor debate on immigration – the President’s signature issue and such a contentious topic that Democrats shut the government down over it just a month ago. Instead, it was the incredible shrinking immigration debate, which lasted roughly one hour on the floor and ended without a single amendment passing to protect DACA recipients… members retreated from the floor, defeated, frustrated and downright mad that after weeks of negotiations, the best chance they had to broker a deal ended without any resolution for a population everyone agreed they had wanted to help. A group of bipartisan lawmakers – the same group responsible for helping end a government shutdown weeks before – fumed at the White House’s treatment of their proposal, which they argued could have inched toward passage, had the White House stayed on the sidelines rather than actively lobbied against them.”

Budget Zeroes 62 Federal Programs, Hits Unions

Trump plan to eliminate agencies leaves questions; budget also hits federal unions. WaPo: “Presidential budgets often are considered dead on arrival on Capitol Hill, where Congress must approve spending. Nonetheless, Trump’s budget is a clear indication of his priorities and, since he is president, worth some attention. The ‘Major Savings and Reforms’ chapter of the budget shows 62 federal programs would be eliminated through zero funding. Among them are the Agricultural Department’s rural water and wastewater grants, the Education Department’s student support and academic enrichment grants, the Health and Human Services Department’s low-income home energy assistant program, the Labor Department’s Indian and Native American Program, and development assistance provided through the State Department and the Agency for International Development.”

Court Orders Energy Efficiency Standards Should Proceed

Court Rules Obama-Era Energy Efficiency Standards Should Proceed. Earthjustice: “A federal court ruled that a suite of energy efficiency rules advanced during the Obama administration must move forward, despite a Trump administration attempt to scrap the rules. A coalition of states and environmental groups had sued the Trump administration in June 2017 arguing that the Department of Energy was not permitted to abandon the rules… The rules that the Trump administration had sought to derail required increased energy efficiency standards for portable air conditioners, uninterruptible power supplies (the battery backup systems used to keep computers and other electronic devices running when the power goes out), air compressors used in a variety of commercial and industrial applications, and packaged boilers that heat one-fourth of the nation’s commercial space. Combined, the efficiency standards could save American consumers as much as $8 billion in energy bills while avoiding 18 million metric tons of climate pollution over 30 years.”

Families of FL Victims Demand Gun Curbs

Crowd chants ‘No More Guns!’ at vigil for FL shooting victims. Time: “Among at least 1,000 people attending a candlelight vigil near the school Thursday night, some openly sobbed as the victims’ names were read aloud. At one point, people began chanting, ‘No more guns! No more guns!’ Dressed in the school’s red color, some held flowers while others wielded signs asking for action to fight school violence, including gun control.”

More from OurFuture.org:

Trump’s Big Infrastructure Con. Leo Gerard: “Trump’s ‘big’ infrastructure plan is nothing but a con. As a candidate, he boasted he would double what Clinton said she’d spend on infrastructure. But the scheme he released this week fails to do that. Instead it robs vital safety-net programs to pay for a pittance of improvements.”

Kim Jung Un’s Sister Crushes Pence for Gold in Korea Peace Olympics. Miles Mogulescu: “If peace diplomacy were an Olympic sport, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, won the Gold Medal hands down, while Vice President Mike Pence crashed and burned. And that’s a good thing for the possibility of world peace. It increases the likelihood of an eventual diplomatic solution in Korea and the avoidance of a possible war that could kill millions.”