MORNING MESSAGE: Renew The American Commitment To Opportunity
OurFuture.org’s Jeff Bryant: “The simplest way to turn around reduced opportunity in the economy and in education is to put money back into our schools, and on a massive scale. Passing the Obama administration’s proposal for early childhood education would relieve unsustainable financial burdens for young families … Unleashing new funds for school buildings and refurbishment and modernization of existing structures would generate jobs in the construction industry while providing the nation’s children with facilities that enhance their learning experiences … Investing in school wraparound services would create better conditions for students to learn by addressing their health, mental and family backgrounds … And most important, plowing more money into efforts to train highly qualified teachers, ensuring they have jobs, and paying them well would stimulate commerce in the communities where those teachers work…”
Summer Of “Grand Bargain”?
President tells GOP senators he wants “grand bargain” by July. The Hill: “A GOP lawmaker who met with Obama said the accelerated timeline has two advantages. Reaching a broad deficit deal by August would allow the president to avoid another messy standoff over raising the debt limit … [and he] believes it will be harder to forge a major deal in September and beyond, as both parties begin to position themselves for the 2014 mid-term election.”
Senate moves toward compromise on bill to keep government open after March 27. Politico: “Senate Democrats mapped out plans Thursday to expand on a House-passed stopgap spending bill — adding full-year budgets for four more Cabinet departments as well as major science and space agencies … Senate Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski said she has begun drafting new legislative language to expand on the ability of other departments to move money between accounts to cope with cuts ordered last week. But to keep the peace, the Maryland Democrat has had to sacrifice Transportation, caught in a long-simmering partisan fight over the future of California’s high-speed rail program.”
Minimum Wage May Be Linked To Biz Tax Breaks
Senate Dems considering tax concessions to win GOP support for minimum wage increase. Roll Call: “Senate Democrats are looking for sweeteners such as small-business tax incentives they hope will attract support from Republicans and constituent groups for a plan to raise the minimum wage to a level beyond what President Barack Obama has proposed … Finance Chairman Max Baucus of Montana helped engineer the small-business tax incentives that were attached to the 2007 minimum wage increase with his longtime ally, Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, then the panel’s ranking member. But Baucus and Grassley both have been cool to the latest minimum wage increase proposal.”
Pelosi supports $10.10 min wage bill. ThinkProgress: “Pelosi cited recent stock gains that pushed markets to record highs even as worker incomes remain stagnant as her reason for backing the legislation…”
Stock market rise not actually a good sign for workers, notes NYT’s Paul Krugman: “Stocks are high, in part, because bond yields are so low, and investors have to put their money somewhere. It’s also true, however, that while the economy remains deeply depressed, corporate profits have staged a strong recovery. And that’s a bad thing! Not only are workers failing to share in the fruits of their own rising productivity, hundreds of billions of dollars are piling up in the treasuries of corporations that, facing weak consumer demand, see no reason to put those dollars to work.”
Climate On The Brink
Record global warming in 2012. AP: “The amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the air jumped dramatically in 2012, making it very unlikely that global warming can be limited to another 2 degrees as many global leaders have hoped … the second highest rise in carbon emissions since record-keeping began in 1959.”
“Recent Heat Spike Unlike Anything in 11,000 Years” reports AP: “Research released Thursday in the journal Science uses fossils of tiny marine organisms to reconstruct global temperatures back to the end of the last ice age. It shows how the globe for several thousands of years was cooling until an unprecedented reversal in the 20th century. Scientists say it is further evidence that modern-day global warming isn’t natural, but the result of rising carbon dioxide emissions that have rapidly grown since the Industrial Revolution began roughly 250 years ago.”
Sen. Warren slams bank regulators for going easy on HSBC. HuffPost: “Sen. Elizabeth Warren unloaded on bank regulators Thursday about the fact that British bank HSBC is still doing business in the U.S., with no criminal charges filed against it, despite confessing to what one regulator called ‘egregious’ money laundering violations.”
New “BizVizz” app lets you hold corporations accountable: “Companies claim to be job creators and to contribute to our economy, but how do we judge their claims? BizVizz makes their records visible by putting the metrics of corporate citizenship in the hands of ordinary people. Allowing you to see shareable tax data, jobs data, and other financial information hidden in regulatory documents…”
Judicial filibuster may prompt Dems to rethink filibuster reform. NYT: “…the Senate failed to end debate on the nomination of Caitlin J. Halligan of New York to a seat on the federal appeals court for the District of Columbia … The real reason she was blocked, [Democrats] say, is that Republicans do not want to see the balance of power on the D.C. appeals court shifted … they are in no hurry to change the new rules after just two months in place. They say they are more inclined to explore new ways to confront Republicans over the vacancies. [Sen. Tom] Udall says one option might be for the president to make multiple nominations, in effect daring Republicans to find ways to cite extraordinary circumstances in multiple instances.