The daily Progressive Breakfast serves up what progressive movement members need to know to start their day
Obama Mentions Currency, Hu Doesn’t
Obama presses China on currency manipulation. Bloomberg: “‘I was pleased to note the Chinese commitment, made in past statements, to move toward a more market-oriented exchange rate over time,’ Obama said during a joint appearance with Hu after a meeting in Beijing today. ‘Doing so based on economic fundamentals would make an essential contribution to the global rebalancing effort.’ … Hu, in his remarks, made no mention of the yuan [currency] … the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, said today in Beijing that a stronger yuan would be in the interests of China and the world … ”
NYT analyzes: “The scripted interaction underscored the obstacles Mr. Obama faces … It remained unclear whether the United States would make progress on several issues on this trip, including on the management of its tightly controlled currency…”
CBO Score of Senate Health Care Bill Today?
CQ reports CBO may release cost estimate today, kickstarting Senate floor debate: “The development could clear the way for a vote Nov. 20 on a procedural motion to allow the Senate to being debating its version, a senior Democratic aide said late Monday.”
Senators press Reid to keep public option. NYT: “…a group of liberal Senate Democrats … urged Mr. Reid not to back down … Reid is still short at least 3 of the 60 votes he needs on a motion to bring the health care bill up for debate. An aide to Mr. Reid said that the majority leader remained committed to retaining the public plan … [Sen. Baucus] said he believed that further compromise would be necessary on the public option…”
ABC/W. Post poll finds continued support for public option, opposition for overly restrictive Stupak amendment, concern about cost: “[The] poll shows Americans deeply divided over the proposals under consideration and majorities predicting higher costs ahead. But Republican opponents have done little better in rallying the public opposition to kill the reform effort. Americans continue to support key elements of the legislation, including a mandate that employers provide health insurance to their workers and access to a government-sponsored insurance plan for those people without insurance … 61 percent say they support barring coverage for abortions for those receiving public subsidies, but if private funds were used to pay for abortion expenses, the numbers flipped. With segregated private money used to cover abortion procedures, 56 percent say insurance offered to those using government assistance should be able to include such coverage.”
Sen. Ben Nelson softens anti-abortion stance. CNN: “[Nelson] now says he would be satisfied with the less restrictive language approved by the Senate Finance Committee … Nelson said his position has been consistent, but said he misunderstood a reporter’s question on the issue last week.”
LA Times reports right-leaning Senate Dems resisting Reid on payroll tax increase on wealthiest: “Reid is meeting resistance from centrist Democrats who believe the tax on expensive insurance plans could rein in the growth of health costs overall, while a payroll tax hike would not.”
FDL’s Jon Walker raps Sen. Carper for pushing trigger compromise: “If Harry Reid chooses to betray the Democratic base by listening to Sen. Carper it will create a lot of anger among rank and file party members.”
Ezra Klein raps conservatives who voted for budget-busting prescription drug bill, now preach fiscal austerity: “…the senators who voted for Medicare Part D and are still in the Senate are: Lamar Alexander, Max Baucus, Bob Bennett, Kit Bond, Jim Bunning, Tom Carper, Saxby Chambliss, Thad Cochran, Susan Collins, Kent Conrad, John Cornyn, Mike Crapo, Byron Dorgan, Mike Enzi, Dianne Feinstein, Chuck Grassley, Orrin Hatch, Kay Bailey Hutchinson, James Inhofe, Jon Kyl, Mary Landrieu, Blanche Lincoln, Dick Lugar, Mitch McConnell, Lisa Murkowski, Ben Nelson, Pat Roberts, Pete Sessions, Richard Shelby, Olympia Snowe, Arlen Specter, George Voinovich and Ron Wyden … It’s like watching arsonists calling the fire department reckless.”
HCAN’s Levana Layendecker has some suggestions of good economists for the Chamber of Commerce to hire: “They are looking for some help to fund a study that will show that health care reform is bad for the economy … Luckily for them we already know of more than 300 respected economists and health care experts who signed on to a letter addressing health care reform and the economy. Unfortunately for the Chamber, here is what it says.”
House Looks To Pass Jobs Bill Next Month
The Hill reviews the possible options for a House jobs bill: “The main idea for job creation is finding some sort of compromise on a highway-construction bill that Democrats have been haggling over for months. House Democrats have fought resistance in the Senate and at the White House for a massive, long-term expansion of the highway authorization bill. They haven’t been able to agree on how to raise the money for a $500 billion bill. One idea would be to do a shorter-term bill without a revenue stream, a Democratic aide said, adding to the deficit. Lawmakers are also discussing more small-business tax breaks intended to create new jobs. But other pieces being considered — extending unemployment benefits again, paying the health benefits of unemployed workers, providing aid to state Medicaid programs and extending popular tax breaks — might help the economy, but are less likely to chip away at the unemployment rate.”
House Dem Caucus Chair Rep. John Larson lists ideas to CQ: “Larson mentioned funding for infrastructure projects House Democrats have been pushing, and Democratic aides said the House might also move extensions of tax policies set to expire at the end of the year. Among them are the research and development tax credit, incentives for biodiesel, an additional standard deduction for property taxes, accelerated depreciation for motorsports complexes and expensing of brownfields cleanup costs. Expiring business provisions are more likely to be extended than those affecting individual taxpayers. Extension of the business provisions would have an immediate impact on corporate planning and could affect quarterly earnings statements since companies cannot otherwise assume their extension. One Democratic lawmaker said there has also been talk about using money from the financial sector bailout to aid small businesses. Larson said Democratic leaders have not decided whether to move their jobs proposals separately or as a package.”
AFL-CIO releases 5-point jobs plan, re-directing TARP funds : “1. Extend the lifeline for jobless workers … for another 12 months … 2. Rebuild America’s schools, roads and energy systems … 3. Increase aid to state and local governments to maintain vital services … 4. Fund jobs in our communities … restoring our environment, providing child care and tutoring, cleaning up abandoned houses and more … 5. Put TARP funds to work for Main Street.”
Bernanke says job growth is “great concern,” indicating interest rates should remain low. Bloomberg: “‘Jobs are likely to remain scarce for some time, keeping households cautious about spending’” he said. While payrolls will increase as the economy recovers, unemployment ‘likely will decline only slowly if economic growth remains moderate, as I expect.’”
Time reports that Build America Bonds, part of the stimulus, are working: “…the municipal-bond program, which provides a federal subsidy to help states and other local governments raise funds, looks to be one of the economic recovery effort’s biggest successes … The bonds have renewed and expanded investor interest in the muni-bond sector. And by getting money into the hands of cash-strapped local governments, the bond program has saved or even boosted jobs, stimulating the economy.
HuffPost quotes Rep. David Obey’s concern over erroneous reporting of stimulus fund impact: “Credibility counts in government and stupid mistakes like this undermine it. We’ve got too many serious problems in this country to let that happen … Whether the numbers are good news or bad news, I want the honest numbers and I want them now.”
WH Stresses Deficit Reduction
Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel previews budget focus for Jan. State of the Union address. Bloomberg: “A plan for reducing America’s long- term federal budget deficits will be ‘a key component’ of President Barack Obama’s annual State of the Union address in January, according to White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel … Emanuel predicted that even as the administration grapples with deficit reduction, Obama would succeed in winning congressional passage of key elements of what the president has called his ‘new foundation’ for the country. ‘I think there’s no doubt they’ll achieve it,’ Emanuel said. ‘All three: health-care, financial and energy-policy reform.’”
Dean Baker assails right-leaning Dems threatening to rejecting raising the debt limit unless deficit-cutting commission is installed: “If the debt limit is not passed, then at some point the government will not be able to pay workers and contractors. It won’t be able to send out Social Security checks or make payments for Medicaid and unemployment insurance to state governments. And, it will not be able to make interest payments on government bonds, effectively defaulting on the national debt. As a condition of allowing a bill to increase the debt limit to pass the Senate, the hostage-takers are demanding that Congress agree to establish a special commission to make recommendations for reducing the long-term budget deficit. This commission would be stacked with people who want to cut Social Security and Medicare. When the commission makes its report to Congress, which would include huge cuts for these programs along with some tax increases … it could not be amended, debate would be limited, and there would not be the usual 60 votes required to bring the report to a vote in the Senate. In short, the deck would be stacked toward approving large cuts in ways that would not ordinarily be the case.”
TARP Watchdog Criticizes Geithner Role in AIG Bailout
Bloomberg sums up hard-hitting TARP report: “The Federal Reserve Bank of New York ‘severely limited’ its ability to save taxpayer money on American International Group Inc.’s rescue by refusing to compel banks to take concessions, said a Treasury Department watchdog. The Fed didn’t use its ‘considerable leverage’ as regulator of several of AIG’s counterparties to force them to accept so-called haircuts on credit-default swaps, Neil Barofsky, special inspector for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, said … ‘These policy decisions came with a cost — they led directly to a negotiating strategy with the counterparties that even then-New York Fed President Geithner acknowledged had little likelihood of success,’ Barofsky said.”
BofA, JP Morgan Chase, UBS sued for rigging derivatives trading. Bloomberg: “Bank of America Corp., UBS AG and JPMorgan Chase & Co. were sued by a California public utility over claims they rigged sales of municipal derivatives and shared illegal profits through kickbacks … The allegations resemble those made by a U.S. grand jury in New York last month…”
Springtime for Climate?
CQ reports climate bill may be pushed back to spring. Sen. Kerry remains optimistic: “…the slow pace of health care overhaul legislation has stalled other Senate business. And once the health bill is done, financial regulatory legislation is next in line for the Senate’s attention. ‘We’ll come to the floor in the near aftermath of financial reform,’ Kerry said … Kerry said it might be easier to establish the new market for allowances once the financial regulatory system is overhauled.”
Obama and Hu pledge to act on climate. CNN: “The U.S. president said the two leaders want to accelerate the world toward a pact to cut greenhouse gases. The leaders did not offer a time frame, however.
‘Our aim … is not a partial accord or a political declaration,’ Obama said, ‘but rather an accord that covers all of the issues in the negotiations and one that has immediate operational affect. This kind of comprehensive agreement would be an important step forward in the effort to rally the world around a solution to our climate challenge.’”
German Chancellor will attend Copenhagen climate summit reports AFP.
Rahm Emanuel expresses WH support for nuclear power in any climate bill. Bloomberg quotes: “You can’t get from here to there on global warming if you don’t have a theory of the case as it relates to nuclear power … We’re in the middle of negotiations now on the loan agreements as it relates to what the United States government can do to help build nuclear power plants … And hopefully in short order you’ll see some announcements in that space.”
Politico reviews difficulty of appeasing coal-state Senate Dems: “…while the coal industry and its backers keep chipping away at the Boxer bill, a weaker emissions target could be a deal breaker for liberal Democrats.”