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: Tell The Senate. Pass The Student Loan Bill.
OurFuture.org’s Isaiah J. Poole: “… Tuesday morning, it’s critical for you to send a message to your senator to tell them you do not stand for students being shackled by more debt. Tell your senator to support the ‘Stop Student Loan Interest Rate Hike Act.’ … When conservatives are not making idiotic statements about student loans being ‘entitlements’ … or implying that students are racking up student debt because they are lazy and irresponsible, they are using the student loan issue as a pawn in a game of political posturing …”
GOP Pledges Filibuster Of Student Loan Bill
“Senate GOP vows to block White House student loan bill” reports CNN: “Senate Republicans will block Democrats from taking up a White House-backed bill to cap rates on some student loans unless Democrats allow a vote on a GOP alternative … ‘We’ll defeat cloture,’ [Sen. Jon] Kyl said…”
The Nation calls for broader reform to “End Student Debt”: “Representative Hansen Clarke introduced a bill that would forgive up to $45,520 in student debt after a borrower makes ten years of payments at 10 percent of income. The Occupy Student Debt Campaign is calling for a write-off of existing debt as well as free public higher education. Students in California are pushing an initiative that would make four years of state university free for all full-time, in-state students who maintain at least a 2.7 GPA or do seventy hours of community service a year. Lost tuition would be paid for with a modest surtax on those earning more than $250,000.”
AFL-CIO organizes “Youth Voice Day Of Action” in Washington, DC today.
President Presses Congress To Do Something On Jobs
President to unveil economic package, pressure Congress to act. NYT: “…allow more families who are current on their mortgages to refinance at lower interest rates … provide a 20 percent tax credit for companies that move overseas operations back to the United States … A proposed 10 percent income tax credit would go to small businesses that add employees or increase wages … A final proposal would create a Veterans Jobs Corps to help place veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan as police officers and firefighters or in other community-service jobs.”
Shrinking work force not about aging population, argues NYT’s Catherine Rampell: “The [25-54 year-old] participation rate fell after the 2001 recession, never recovered, and then started another slide that began in the financial crisis. This trend among prime-working-age Americans cannot be explained by baby boomers’ retiring … The main reason the labor force has been declining in the last couple of decades, then, is that men have been dropping out in droves.”
Republicans block two more Federal Reserve nominees. Time’s Adam Sorenson: “On Monday, Louisiana Senator David Vitter placed a hold on Obama’s latest two Fed nominees, Jerome Powell and Jeremy Stein … these two nominations are Obama’s last remaining tools to influence U.S. economic policy.”
“Insiders pessimistic about highway bill talks” reports The Hill: “The committee of lawmakers appointed to negotiate a new federal highway bill will meet for the first time Tuesday … The talks are likely to center, at least at the outset, on a controversial cross-country pipeline that has emerged as an anti-Obama rallying cry for Republicans.”
“I’ll take a lot of credit for the fact that this [auto] industry’s come back,” said Romney. CNN: “In 2008 Romney penned a now-infamous op-ed in the New York Times with the headline ‘Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,’…”
House GOP Takes From The Poor, Gives To The Pentagon
House GOP proposes increase in military spending, breaking 2011 budget deal. W. Post: “While the Obama budget proposed reducing the core defense budget by $5.2 billion, or 1 percent below this year’s spending, the Republican majority on the House Appropriations Defense subcommittee put out a suggested bill that would add $1.1 billion to Pentagon spending.”
Pays for military by cutting aid to poor. Bloomberg: “The legislation would cut projected food stamp spending by about 4 percent over the next decade.”
No Relief For Europe
Germany not expected to give up austerity despite voter backlash France, Greece and Britain. McClatchy: “Only Germany might have the needed cash – and it has no intention of sending it around the continent.”
Six alternatives to European austerity offered by W. Post’s Brad Plumer: “1) More inflation from the European Central Bank … 2) More stimulus from euro zone countries that are in sound budget shape … 3) Open the bailout fund for bigger countries …”