Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

Veto the Cold-Hearted Health Bill

Donald Trump is right. The House health insurance bill is “mean, mean, mean,” as he put it last week. He correctly called the measure that would strip health insurance from 23 million Americans “a son of a bitch.”

The proposal is not at all what Donald Trump promised Americans. He said that under his administration, no one would lose coverage. He said everybody would be insured. And the insurance he provided would be a “lot less expensive.”

Senate Democrats spent every day this week pointing this out and demanding that Senate Republicans end their furtive, star-chamber scheming and expose their health insurance proposal to public scrutiny. That unveiling is supposed to happen today.

Republicans have kept their plan under wraps because, like the House measure, it is a son of a bitch. Among other serious problems, it would restore caps on coverage so that if a young couple’s baby is born with serious heart problems, as comedian Jimmy Kimmel’s was, they’d be bankrupted and future treatment for the infant jeopardized. Donald Trump has warned Senate Republicans, though. Even if the GOP thinks it was fun to rebuff Democrats’ pleas for a public process, they really should pay attention to the President. He’s got veto power. 

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Workforce Training is on the White House Agenda — But There’s Some Skepticism

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch

Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch Digital Media Director, Alliance for American Manufacturing

Last week, the White House was all about infrastructure (although that other big thing that happened grabbed most of the attention).

This week, the White House is all about workforce development. President Trump is scheduled to travel to a technical college in Wisconsin on Tuesday to promote the effort, while first daughter/adviser Ivanka Trump will lead a roundtable discussion with chief executives on Wednesday. The president also is expected to give a big policy speech on job training that day, and father and daughter will gather for a roundtable discussion with governors on Thursday.

Ivanka Trump is really taking the lead on the whole thing. Here she is on Monday morning on Fox and Friends, talking up the plan:

Ivanka Trump’s appearance quickly made headlines, although not for any of the workforce training stuff. But Trump did spend a good amount of time talking about it, noting that the goal is to “really highlight that there is a viable path other than a four-year college experience.”

“Apprenticeships really, that’s the model,” she said. “It’s worked throughout the world, and it’s something we’ve de-emphasized here, in favor of four-year traditional college. But they don’t have to be mutually exclusive.”

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Betsy DeVos Rolls Back Regulations Holding For-profit Colleges Accountable

Alan Pyke

Alan Pyke Deputy Economic Policy Editor, Think Progress

Taxpayers and striving would-be students alike lost big on Wednesday. Twice.

The federal government will abandon two signature efforts to hold for-profit colleges accountable to the taxpayers who fund them or the Americans who take out loans to attend their classes, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced.

DeVos has canceled a pair of new regulations intended to thwart firms that over-promise and under-deliver on higher education credentials marketed primarily to lower-income adults eager to trade low-wage jobs for long-term careers. The move comes two months after DeVos rescinded another Obama-era policy aimed at protecting student loan borrowers from predatory debt servicers.

One of the now-ended federal policies is known as the “gainful employment rule.” It was hammered out over years of research and compromise, and was finalized in 2014. The policy restricted companies’ access to taxpayer-funded student loan dollars if too few of their graduates ultimately find jobs that pay well enough to allow them to repay their loans. While some critics worried the final rule was too lax, the outgoing Obama team announced that some 800 programs nationwide were failing to meet its standards as of early January.

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Cuomo Wants to Privatize Penn Station; That’s a Bad Republican Idea

Richard Eskow

Richard Eskow Writer, Host, "The Breakdown;" Senior Fellow, Campaign for America's Future

New Yorkers face a “summer of hell”  as Governors Andrew Cuomo and Chris Christie seek to hand over the city’s historic Penn Station to private investors. This “hell” is the result of our leaders’ “bipartisan” reluctance to invest in needed government infrastructure.

Donald Trump is working with his fellow Republicans in Congress to enact a “privatization” program that could become the largest giveaway of public resources to private corporations in our nation’s history. (See Part 1 of this privatization series.)

Why wouldn’t they? Republicans claim to hate “big” government, and privatization – the dismantling of government and giveaway of publicly owned resources to corporate interests – has been a core part of the Republican agenda for years.  Unfortunately, a number of corporate-friendly Democrats have also embraced the idea.

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Union Matters

Even Trump Agrees

Even Trump Agrees