Yesterday, several media outlets reported that the White House may have struck an agreement with Democratic Leaders Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi to pass legislation that would provide a pathway to legal status and citizenship for immigrants who came to the U.S. at a young age and whose lives are at risk following President Trump’s cruel decision to terminate the DACA program.
But don’t celebrate too quickly. The potential deal was immediately met with inconsistent messages coming from White House officials and the President himself. The President tweeted, “No deal was made last night on DACA. Massive border security would have to be agreed to in exchange for consent. Would be subject to vote.” But he also expressed concerns over Dreamers being deported, writing, “Does anybody really want to throw out good, educated and accomplished young people who have jobs, some serving in the military? Really!” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders attempted to roll back some of the promises reported overnight, tweeting, “While DACA and border security were both discussed, excluding the wall was certainly not agreed to.”
Whatever happened last night still leaves Dreamers without a signed Dream Act, meaning that their lives are still at risk. It’s crucial that Congress pass a clean version of the Dream Act asap, without compromises. A “massive increase in border security” far from a win for all parties involved, as suggested by Representative Sean Duffy, who went so far as to claim that border security and a DACA fix “go hand in glove.” Such an increase would simply hurt other groups within the immigrant community, and that is unacceptable. With the talk about ramping up border security and the possibility of an enormous, wasteful border wall, we should all remind ourselves that Trump’s plan for the southern border will be both costly and wildly ineffective. Even Trump’s own Department of Homeland Security came out with a report yesterday that puts paid to the need for “massive” increases, finding that the U.S.-Mexico border is “more difficult to illegally cross today than ever before.”
The American public widely supports a pathway to legalization for dreamers. Today’s POLITICO/Morning Consult poll shows that 73% of all voters, and 70% of Republican voters support a pathway to legal status for Dreamers. Let’s not lose the momentum that brought us to this moment. We must continue to lift our voices to demand a solution from Congress for dreamers that doesn’t use young people’s lives as bargaining chips to play politics. Use our easy toolkit to make calls to and tweet at key members of Congress. Our pressure is working – so let’s keep it up!
ACTION OF THE DAY
#DreamAct. Last night, it was reported that Trump has agreed to not tie DACA to border wall funding. But with conflicting reports and doubt that Trump will stick to his word, let’s not back down. Use our easy toolkit to reach out to key members of Congress, and let them know to that it’s time to defend Dreamers by passing the #DreamAct.
Predatory Loans. While President Trump and congressional Republicans are busy pushing tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) are taking steps to fight inequality and boost incomes for working families. They released the GAIN Act to significantly expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), a program that protects millions of low-wage workers and their families from poverty. In addition to strengthening the EITC for workers without dependent children, the bill creates an Early Refund option that would allow working families to access a portion of their earned EITC refund —up to $500—midway through the tax year to deal with an emergency or take advantage of a mobility-boosting opportunity. The Early Refund option, which CAP first proposed in 2014, would give low-income families an alternative to costly, exploitative payday loans—the average value of which is $375—and reduce the economic instability that comes from financial shocks like a broken-down car or an unexpected medical bill.
Child Care Bill Introduced. Today, Senator Patty Murray and Representative Bobby Scott introduced “The Child Care for Working Families Act,” which guarantees affordable child care for low-income and middle class working families. The bill will provide parents with affordable, flexible, and quality child care options and creates sustainable jobs. The Center for American Progress (CAP), in partnership with the Make It Work campaign, recently published a “Blueprint for Child Care Reform” outlining progressive solutions to make high-quality child care accessible. Child care issues can cause career interruptions for working adults, and half of all Americans live in a child care desert. Despite promises, the Trump Administration has yet to produce any plan that will address the needs of America’s working families. Senators behind “The Child Care for Working Families Act,” seek to address these issues.
Press Secretary Sanders, J.D.? White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, in a press briefing yesterday, made the case for the Justice Department to prosecute former FBI Director James Comey. This White House’s continued interference with what is supposed to be an independent Justice Department is troubling and dangerous. The Justice Department is supposed to be free to make its own judgements regarding criminal investigations, not subjected to the whims of a President and his Press Secretary – neither of whom have any legal training whatsoever. This, of course, is not the first time Trump has tried to interfere with the Justice Department. On numerous occasions, he has badgered Attorney General Jeff Sessions, signaling a trend of either governmental ignorance or indifference that is likely to continue.
UNDER THE RADAR
Let’s Get Ethical. The U.S. Office of Government Ethics has reversed its own internal guidance preventing White House staffers who have legal defense funds from soliciting anonymous donations from lobbyists. The original reasoning behind this policy was to eliminate potential conflicts of interests stemming from donors. This shift in policy has roots in office guidance issued during the Clinton administration saying that such donations were permitted, and this guidance was never officially reversed. With the new change, Trump’s aides can now raise money from donors to pay attorneys working to defend him during the Russia probe. And we all know what happens when Donald Trump is given the chance to receive anonymous help: Russia jumps at the chance to assist.
Tax Cuts For Who? Yesterday, Representative Tom Reed went on MSNBC to try to defend Trump’s tax reform plan. But there were a few problems, as he was unable to explain how it would help the middle class. The only relief he discussed for middle-class families is easier tax prep, which is impossible to verify without seeing details. He left out anything about an actual drop in taxes for the middle-class, and for good reason: Trump’s campaign plan would raise taxes on 8.7 million of them. Reed also argued that small businesses stand to gain, but because of the rules surrounding passthrough businesses, wealthy people, like Trump, are the ones who would fatten their pocketbooks. Bottom line: Trump’s tax plan is a sham. Go to NotOnePenny.org to find out more and fight back!