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: The Dumbest ‘Bipartisan’ Move Since Repealing Glass-Steagall
OurFuture.org’s Richard Eskow: “Here we go again. Once again the ‘bipartisan’ consensus in Washington, fueled by an intoxicating brew of conventional wisdom laced with campaign cash, has repealed some of those ‘cumbersome regulations’ that do nothing of value – nothing, that is, except prevent catastrophes … We haven’t learned a damn thing. The hype that led Washington honchos to name this tragic bill the ‘JOBS Act’ is the same brand of patented b.s. that inspired lawmakers to call Gramm-Leach-Bliley, the law that overturned Glass-Steagall, the ‘Financial Services Modernization Act.’”
“JOBS Act” Dereg Bill Clears Senate
Senate passes slightly amended “JOBS Act” dereg bill. LAT: “The measure now returns to the House, which is expected next week to pass the bill and send it to President Obama, who supports the legislation … An amendment that would require crowd-funding websites, which can pool up to $1 million in investments by selling stock online, to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission passed with bipartisan support.”
Secret Report Undercuts FHFA’s DeMarco
ProPublica uncovers internal Fannie/Freddie analysis bolstering case for principal reductions, resisted by FHFA’s DeMarco: “Their conclusion: Such loan forgiveness wouldn’t just help keep hundreds of thousands of families in their homes, it would also save Freddie and Fannie money. That, in turn, would help taxpayers … The analyses, which have not been made public, were recently presented to the agency that controls the companies, the Federal Housing Finance Agency … As recently as Feb. 28th, DeMarco told the Senate banking committee, ‘Both companies have been reviewing principal forgiveness alternatives. Both have advised me that they do not believe it is in the best interest of the companies to do so.’”
Bank of America to pilot test renting to struggling homeowners to avoid foreclosure. NYT: “Under the terms of the pilot program, which will be offered initially to about 1,000 consumers only in New York, Nevada and Arizona, homeowners will give up the title to their property in exchange for bank forgiveness of their mortgage debt. They would then be able to rent the property for up to three years. The rent payments would be less than the monthly mortgage payment and be set at or below market rates…”
GOP Budget Funnels Cash To The 1%
“House GOP Budget Gives $187,000 Tax Cut To Every Millionaire” finds ThinkProgress.
House Votes To Scrap Health Care Cost Controls
House votes to repeal key cost control mechanism in Affordable Care Act. CBS: “…the House voted today to repeal a provision of that bill that would create a panel charged with finding ways to bring down health care costs … Republicans argued the yet-to-be-established panel is a rationing board that would bypass congressional authority … It’s unlikely the bill will gain traction. The Democratic-controlled Senate has enough votes to protect IPAB from repeal, and the White House threatened to veto the bill earlier this week.”
Many health care reforms will stay in place no matter what Supreme Court does. W. Post: “…in plenty of other states, insurers would not be free of the rule [to cover young adults] unless state leaders rolled back the statutes or regulations they adopted to implement the health-care law. The same is true of the host of other mandates the federal law currently imposes on insurers. These include prohibitions against imposing lifetime limits on insurance payouts or dropping someone’s coverage after they get sick on the grounds that their insurance application contained inaccuracies. There’s also the requirement that private insurers cover preventive services such as mammograms and colonoscopies without imposing co-pays or other out-of-pocket charges.”
President Completes Energy Tour
President wraps up energy tour. The Hill: “President Obama closed his four-state energy tour Thursday in Ohio, a crucial battleground state he carried in 2008, with a speech that cast support for alternative energy as an economic driver that his political foes are trying to thwart. … Obama spoke Thursday morning in Cushing, Okla., where he pledged to expedite approval of an oil pipeline from that region to Gulf Coast refineries…”
Senate to hold cloture vote Monday on bill to end oil subsidies reports The Hill.
NYT’s Paul Krugman slams GOP gas price conspiracy theories: “It’s the sort of thing you used to hear only from people who also believed that fluoridated water was a Communist plot. But now the gas-price conspiracy theory has been formally endorsed by the likely Republican presidential nominee.”
Is Romney For Real On China?
NYT’s John Harwood explores Romney’s attempt to outflank Obama on China: “…Mr. Romney, a former financial executive identified with Republicans’ free-trade, pro-business wing, has promised to go further than Presidents Obama or George W. Bush in confronting China … Mr. Obama’s advisers called Mr. Romney’s stance hypocritical. A Romney family blind trust owns a stake in an investment fund established by his former company, Bain Capital, that has bought a Chinese video surveillance company. And in his 2010 book, ‘No Apology,’ Mr. Romney criticized Mr. Obama for levying a trade complaint against Chinese tire exports.”