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: Demand A Full-Employment Agenda
OurFuture.org’s Isaiah Poole: “[Rep. John] Conyers is pushing his ‘Humphrey-Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment and Training Bill,’ which picks up where the original Humphrey-Hawkins bill, passed in 1978, left off. That earlier bill requires the Federal Reserve to balance employment and inflation when managing monetary policy, but it does not mandate specific steps to create jobs during times of high unemployment, an objective of the original legislation that was compromised out of the final bill. The legislation Conyers has introduced puts direct job creation back on the table. ‘It gives the federal government the right to hire in high-unemployment areas right on the spot, to rebuild these crumbling schools, beat-up highways, waterways and other kinds of public works,” he explained in an exclusive OurFuture.org video interview. ‘And, [it] pays them good money to be retrained as well.’”
Progressive Caucus Jobs Tour Launches
House Progressive Caucus launches “SpeakOut For Good Jobs Now” nationwide tour. Details at SpeakOutTour.com and at OurFuture.org.
Tour will seek to shift focus away from austerity. TPM: “…caucus members will fan out across the country on a summer tour that will attempt to push the focus away from spending reduction and toward using government resources to create jobs … The stops will feature members of the CPC sitting down with workers to hear about the employment situation and how it can be improved. Some events will be town halls, some will be rallies, some will be hearings and all will be open to the public.”
Small businesses plan hiring less. NYT: “…more small businesses say that they are planning to shrink their payrolls than say they want to expand them … according to a new report released Tuesday by the National Federation of Independent Business …”‘
Small businesses can’t blame regulation, says Jared Bernstein: “Did regulation increase? This is a cue for the small biz lobby to fret about the Affordable Care Act, and I have heard actual business people raise legit concerns. But the Act exempts small businesses (with less than 50 employees) from the employer mandate … they haven’t changed. What’s changed is a housing bubble that burst and whacked the stuffing out of over-leveraged consumers.”
Third Way forum to push giving multinationals another big tax break. Politico: “The center-left Washington think tank Third Way is holding a forum Wednesday to discuss the merits of allowing companies to bring the $1 trillion in profits parked overseas back to the United States at a temporarily reduced tax rate … It’s not a perfect solution, [Third Way's Sean] Gibbons said, but one the Republican-controlled House might be willing to entertain.”
Debt Limit Talks Appear Calm
OMB Director indicates bipartisan debt limit talks are advancing. WSJ: “Office of Management and Budget Director Jack Lew said ‘this week, next week are a critical period’ … He said he was heartened that so far details of their talks had been kept private and that there hadn’t been leaks to the media. He said this was a sign that all sides were taking the discussions seriously.”
House Maj. Leader Cantor suggests he agrees with Dems on long-term debt limit extension. W. Post: “In an unusual move for the top Republican, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), one of the negotiators, heaped praise on Biden for his leadership in the talks … Cantor also said that he would prefer there be only one debt-limit vote before the 2012 election. But declined to specify the total in spending cuts Republicans are looking for in the deal.”
NYT’s David Leonhardt pushes jobs now-for-cuts later compromise: “Any business that increased its net employment could be exempted from payroll taxes on new workers for a few years, creating a big incentive to hire instead of, say, buying new machines … High-skill immigrants, often the entrepreneurs of tomorrow, could be encouraged to stay here … Washington could make more high-return investments in science and education. … a growth agenda like this one would cost a few hundred billion dollars over the next couple of years. It’s small change relative to any number of ways to reduce the deficit: squeezing wasteful Medicare and military spending, reforming the Social Security disability program … returning tax rates on the rich to Clinton-era levels.”
Senate Dems draw line against Medicare benefit cuts. HuffPost: “[Said Sen. Chuck Schumer,] ‘Basically [McConnell] is saying that if he can’t dismantle Medicare all at once, he wants to do it in pieces … We will not let him succeed … No matter what we do in these budget talks we must preserve the program in its current form, and we will not allow cuts to seniors’ benefits.’ … Democrats said that any changes to Medicare would be in the form of delivery reform to avoid cutting benefits for seniors, along the lines of the Medicare reform made in President Barack Obama’s health care reform last year.”
Senate defeats attempt to end ethanol subsidies, but 34 GOPers defy Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge. The Hill: “Tuesday’s vote was significant because critics of the pledge claim it is getting in the way of a possible bipartisan deal on cutting spending while simultaneously raising the nation’s debt ceiling … [Sen. Tom] Coburn, who has publicly feuded with Norquist over the issue, claimed victory. ‘That’s 34 Republicans that are willing to say this is more important than a signed pledge to ATR,’…”
Vote Today To Cut Aid To Hungry Women, Children
House poised to slash food aid to women and children. Watertown Daily Times: “Democrats and Republicans argued over a proposed 12 percent cut to the Women, Infants and Children nutrition assistance program, the biggest anti-poverty program in the nation. And Democrats decried cuts to school nutrition programs.”
“GOP Cuts To Food Aid For Seniors And Food Banks Equals One Day Of Bush Tax Cuts For Millionaires” notes ThinkProgress’ Pat Garofalo.
GOP peddling false information about WIC costs. CBPP’s Zoë Neuberger: “The [bill] would force the program to turn away at least 200,000 to 350,000 eligible low-income women and children next year. The Appropriations Committee approved this unprecedented cut last month, in part based on the claim that more than 40 percent of WIC costs go to program administration. But this claim is flatly false … only about 9 percent of federal funds … go to administrative costs…”
Stimulus cut level of homelessness by 700,000. McClatchy: “Despite high unemployment and a stalled economy, the nation’s homeless population grew only slightly in 2010 as stimulus-funded initiatives helped to take or keep nearly 700,000 people off the streets, according to a federal report released Tuesday … not only reflect the success of anti-homeless Recovery Act initiatives, but also a bipartisan push to house ‘chronically homeless’ people with severe disabilities and long histories of homelessness.”
Wisconsin Supreme Court Rules Against Public Workers
Conservative activist judges in Wisconsin allow anti-union law to stand. NYT: “The ruling was 4 to 3, split along what many viewed as the court’s predictable conservative-liberal line. One of the dissenting justices even raised the specter of a ‘partisan slant’ by the other side … the court cited the importance of the separation of powers, and said the Legislature had not violated the state’s Constitution when it relied on its ‘interpretation of its own rules of proceeding’ …”