Progressive Breakfast for March 23

Morning Message

Washington Voting Rights Act a New Dawn for Democracy

With the passage of the Washington Voting Rights Act (WVRA), democracy in Washington State is about to get a lot more vibrant! This month, Governor Inslee signed this Act into law, with other measures that will improve voter turnout, ushering in a new era for local representation. This victory, six years in the making, was the result of tireless activism from communities who have a passion for democracy. It just goes to show that when we organize, we win!

Congress Approves $1.3T Spending To Avert Shutdown

Congress OKs $1.3 trillion budget, averting another shutdown. WaPo: “Congress gave final approval Friday to a giant $1.3 trillion spending bill that ends the budget battles for now, but only after late scuffles and conservatives objected to big outlays on Democratic priorities at a time when Republicans control the House, Senate and White House. Senate passage shortly after midnight averted a third federal shutdown this year, an outcome both parties wanted to avoid. But in crafting a sweeping deal that busts budget caps, they’ve stirred conservative opposition and set the contours for the next funding fight ahead of the midterm elections. The House easily approved the measure Thursday, 256-167, a bipartisan tally that underscored the popularity of the compromise, which funds the government through September. It beefs up military and domestic programs, delivering federal funds to every corner of the country.”

WH Announces Trade Sanctions On China

Trump hits China with stiff trade Mmasures. NYT: “President Trump put China squarely in his cross hairs on Thursday, imposing tariffs on as much as $60 billion worth of Chinese goods to combat the rising threat from a nation that the White House has called ‘an economic enemy.’The measures are Mr. Trump’s strongest trade action yet against a country that he says is responsible for thousands of lost American jobs and billions in lost revenues. Financial markets plunged on fears of a potential trade war between the world’s two largest economies, with the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index dropping by 2.5 percent. The White House said it was taking action in retaliation for China’s use of pressure and intimidation to obtain American technology and trade secrets. The measures include a significant change in Mr. Trump’s looming steel and aluminum tariffs that would aim them primarily at China. After Mr. Trump announced the moves, China’s Ministry of Commerce said that it was proposing tariffs of its own on 128 products from the United States, like nuts, wine and pork, that it valued at about $3 billion. China urged the Trump administration to resolve differences through dialogue to ‘avoid damage to the broader picture of Chinese-U.S. cooperation.'”

How A Trade War Could Hurt Your State

How a trade war could hurt these US states. CNN: “The Trump administration imposed tariffs on at least $60 billion in Chinese imports Thursday. Those will come on top of the controversial steel and aluminum tariffs that go into effect Friday. The moves have producers in almost every state bracing for blowback. Big manufacturers could pay more for the steel they use to make plane engines, auto parts and building materials. And American farmers could be in the crosshairs of China, a big importer of US crops. While China has not said which US exports it might target, agricultural products have historically been a favorite for retaliation. Most recently, China launched an investigation into US sorghum exports in response to an earlier round of tariffs imposed on Chinese washing machines and solar panels. The United States sold nearly $1 billion worth of sorghum to China in 2017. Should China impose duties on those exports, states like Kansas, which account for nearly half of the nation’s sorghum production, could take a sizable financial hit. In response to Trump’s plan to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum, the European Union published a list of hundreds of US-made products, ranging from peanut butter to pleasure boats, that it would slap with duties. That would have hurt any number of states that rely heavily on overseas sales of those products. However, on Thursday, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told a Senate committee that the EU, Argentina, Brazil, South Korea and Australia will not be subject to the trade penalties once they take effect Friday. Based on trade data collected by the U.S. Census, here are the export products each state depends on the most, and which tariffs would have the biggest effect.”

Bolton Brings War Footing To White House

Bolton brings hawkish perspective to North Korea, Iran strategy. NPR: “President Trump has chosen John Bolton, a hawk on North Korea and Iran, to be his next national security adviser… Bolton served as undersecretary of state for arms control and United Nations ambassador during the George W. Bush administration and was an advocate for the Iraq War. He stepped down as ambassador in 2006 after holding the job on a temporary basis and facing a challenging path to confirmation in the Senate. He advocates a sort of ‘drain the swamp’ agenda when it comes to international organizations, calling, for instance, to move from ‘assessed funding’ to ‘voluntary funding’ at the United Nations. He once famously said that if the U.N. Secretariat building lost 10 stories, ‘it wouldn’t make a bit of difference.'”

Student Marchers Aim to Upend Violence, Stir Elections

Beyond gun control, student marchers aim to upend elections. NYT: “To Ms. Schneid, a survivor of the school shooting that killed 17 people last month in Parkland, Fla., the march is just the beginning — a moment of political awakening, she hopes, that will put the nation on notice that young people plan to be a greater, more organized force than teenagers and college students in the past. ‘It’s going to look like millions and millions of people,’ said Ms. Schneid, 16, who is the editor of the newspaper at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. ‘And it’s going to look scary to politicians.’ With more than 800 student-led demonstrations planned in the United States and internationally, the organizers of the March for Our Lives are aiming for a generational show of strength by a diverse movement united in a conviction that adults have failed them. Still, for all their fierce energy, these liberal-leaning activists have yet to be tested in the arena of electoral politics. They face a political system that is historically resistant to major change, and a Republican president and Congress with a strong base of support among much older voters, many of whom have more conservative views on guns. A major moment will come in the 2018 midterm elections: Some students will be eligible to vote in November, and have vowed to make gun laws a central issue. Many more hope to organize networks and lay groundwork to vent their frustration — about pervasive school violence, and an unjust political system they view as enabling it — in the next vote for president in 2020.”