Each morning, Bill Scher and Terrance Heath serve up what progressives need to effect change on the kitchen-table issues families face: jobs, health care, green energy, financial reform, affordable education and retirement security.
MORNING MESSAGE: What “Free” Trade Has Cost The World
OurFuture.org’s Dave Johnson: “…we were somehow convinced to try a worldwide experiment in taking good jobs from democracies and turning them into bad jobs in thugocracies. Now, of course, the experiment has run its course and we can see the results.”
WH Maintains Support For Nuclear Power
White House sticks with nuclear power as part of any “clean energy standard” bill. The Hill: “…Obama used January’s State of the Union speech to float a ‘clean energy standard’ that would require power companies to collectively supply 80 percent of U.S. electricity from various low-carbon sources — including nuclear power — by 2035. [Press Sec. Jay] Carney said Monday that although the crisis in Japan is still unfolding, the White House isn’t backing away from the proposed ‘clean’ standard. He said that U.S. officials will incorporate information from Japan ‘into how we view safety and security of nuclear energy as a resource.’”
Nuclear lobbyists distribute 11-page packet to keep congressional supporters on board. CNN: “As he walked the halls of Congress going from meeting to meeting, Alex Flint, a top lobbyist for the Nuclear Energy Institute, told CNN that the industry’s immediate goal was to give worried lawmakers as much information as possible … Flint was careful not to sound like he was trying to pressure Congress at such a sensitive time, but there is no question he and other industry representatives are working to prevent support for nuclear power from unraveling …”
Nuclear industry spin is taking a beating, says Salon’s Justin Elliot: “The dual message of the industry is neatly encapsulated in the name of a prominent pro-nuclear group, the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition … In a typical Op-Ed [Christine Todd Whitman] wrote for the group last year, Whitman used the word ‘safety’ five times in one paragraph…”
Mother Jones’ Kate Sheppard suggests politicians will wait to see how nuclear power polls: “In 2009, the last time Gallup polled on nuclear energy, a record 59 percent of respondents said they favored its use. Then again, it’s been 25 years since the last major nuclear disaster, and 32 years since Three Mile Island. And that incident, far less serious than the one in Japan, turned Americans off to nuclear power for a generation.”
House Dems want hearings on nuclear safety, reports The Hill.
Politifact debunks litany of new anti-EPA charges from conservatives: “Tales of light bulbs, gas prices and spilled milk.”
Outcome In Question For House Vote To Keep Government Open
Some Republicans reject a second stopgap measure to keep government open. CNN: “Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, who serves as chairman of a key bloc of House conservatives, said he will vote against the three-week spending plan when it comes before the chamber for a vote [today.] … on the Senate side of Capitol Hill, Marco Rubio said he, too, would oppose any additional short-term solutions.”
“There could be enough ‘no’ votes to kill it,” one House GOP staffer tells Time.
New poll shows public increasingly blaming GOP for threat of shutdown. W. Post: “Large majorities in the poll say a partial shutdown of the federal government would be a ‘bad thing,’ … Among those who say a government shutdown would be harmful, about twice as many say they would hold the GOP, rather than the president, responsible. A similar question two weeks ago showed that about as many said they would blame Obama as the congressional Republicans for a such a stoppage.”
NYT adds: “Senate Democrats said the possibility of a rebellion by Republicans allied with the Tea Party presaged difficulties for the party’s leadership in being able to get any eventual compromise approved in the House and the Senate.”
Austerity posse frustrated with the President. Politico: “In the eyes of deficit hawks, Obama has passed up several opportunities to push the issue to the center of his agenda … Now, with lawmakers suggesting a look at entitlement reform during the short-term budget negotiations, White House aides said they aren’t ruling it out, but their preference is to finish the continuing resolution first and deal with the long-term budget issues later, once the threat of a government shutdown is averted. The administration has also signaled that it wants an unfettered vote on the debt-limit increase…”
MoveOn.org and broad coalition holds more than 250 rallies today to oppose GOP budget.
GOP proposes cuts to IRS, which will expand deficit. W. Post’s Ezra Klein: “…as the Associated Press reported, ‘every dollar the Internal Revenue Service spends for audits, liens and seizing property from tax cheats brings in more than $10 …’ … But deficit reduction is not the GOP’s top priority. It’s a bit lower on the list, somewhere between ‘get Styrofoam cups back into Congress’ … and make ‘Sesame Street’ beg for money.”
Conservative claim that rich pay half of income in taxes debunked finds TNR’s Jonathan Chait.
After voting to kill infrastructure fund, some GOPers beg for infrastructure funds. Wonk Room’s Pat Garofalo: “Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) voted for H.R. 1, and thus to dismantle TIGER II, but is still asking the Department of Transportation to give a Tiger II grant to a bridge refurbishing project in her state [as are both] of Maine’s Republican senators … Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), who voted against H.R. 1, still wants a rail project in Fort Wayne funded. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) also voted to kill the grant program, but still wants a Salt Lake City streetcar project to receive funding.”
Bipartisan bill to create infrastructure bank. Boston Globe: “Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, along with Republican Kay Bailey Hutchison of Texas, will propose legislation today that would … provide loans and loan guarantees for bridges, rails, roads and other infrastructure projects through an independent entity called the American Infrastructure Financing Authority … The noon press conference will also include U.S. Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Thomas J. Donohue.”
Conservatives Subvert Democracy In States
AFL-CIO’s Mike Hall rounds up all the attacks on the middle-class coming from conservative statehouses: “…there are other serious assaults under way in dozens of states, pushed by corporate CEOs and their Republican puppets.”
Digby notes a pattern of undemocratic behavior from conservative governors: “‘Reporters have been told they will not be allowed to broadcast sound and images from the Tuesday release of Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s budget plan.’ … [Soon in Michigan,] ‘Under the governor’s authority, local officials can be fired, city and locality contracts broken, city assets seized and sold, services eliminated, school districts—entire city governments—eliminated.’ … these people are rushing through draconian changes to basic democratic systems without much debate or discussion.”
Michigan governors proposes cutting taxes on corporations, raising taxes on poor. ThinkProgress’ Pat Garofalo: “Gov. Rick Snyder (R-MI) has proposed ending his state’s Earned Income Tax Credit, cutting a $600 per child tax credit, and reducing credits for seniors, while also cutting funding for school districts by eight to ten percent. At the same time, as the Michigan League for Human Services found, the state’s business taxes would be reduced by nearly $2 billion, or 86 percent…”
Biggest Profits Ever
CEOs reap biggest profits in 20 years. W. Post’s Jena McGregor prods executives to create jobs: “One might expect, then, that there would be a little extra lying around for CEOs to do some things like, oh, invest in new projects and innovations that would lead to more hiring … At some point, leadership means taking risks and taking the lead on new ventures, new bets and new opportunities that are likely to lead to growth.”
Fed meets today. AP: “A contentious debate is expected Tuesday. If, as expected, Bernanke prevails and the Fed decides to keep the bond-buying program intact, Plosser and Fisher might dissent. There’s a slight chance that Bernanke could craft a compromise. That could involve slowing down the bond purchases by extending the program’s end date to September. The total size of the program, however, would stay the same.”
House GOP Proposes Weakening Of Wall St. Reform
GOP introduces legislation to weaken new Wall St. reform law. Reuters: “One of the bills to be introduced would exempt private equity firms from registering with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission … [Another] would amend Dodd-Frank in a way that would shield end-users of OTC derivatives from new central clearing requirements and the costs involved. [A third bill] would repeal a part of Dodd-Frank that requires public corporations to disclose the median pay of all their employees, the total pay of the chief executive officer and a ratio comparing the two numbers … A fourth bill would repeal a Dodd-Frank provision exposing credit rating agencies, such as Moodys Corp or Standard & Poor’s, to legal liability in cases where their ratings were found to be inaccurate.”
FDIC not suing many failed bank execs. W. Post: “…the FDIC has sued officers and directors at only five of the 345 banks that have collapsed since 2008, or about 2 percent … At this pace, critics say, the FDIC is falling short of what banking regulators did a generation ago in the U.S. savings-and-loan crisis, when they sued officers and directors at about one-quarter of the more than 1,000 institutions that failed.”
House GOP Blocking China Currency Bill
House GOP burying bill to press China on currency manipulation. Mother Jones: ” Senior House Republicans are putting the brakes on the Currency Reform for Fair Trade Act of 2011 … They oppose it, says an inside source familiar with the negotiations, because ‘US multinationals with operations in China really don’t like it.’”