The Culture of Corruption – And Cronyism.

This morning, President Trump’s nominee to be the Secretary of the Veterans Affairs Administration (and current White House doctor), Dr. Ronny Jackson, withdrew his name from consideration. In the past few days, Jackson had faced allegations of leading a “hostile work environment,” overprescribing drugs, and drinking on the job. (He has denied those allegations.) Although Jackson is the latest of Trump’s nominees to fall, he’s certainly not the first. In fact, 24 of Trump’s picks for Senate-confirmable jobs have been unsuccessful.

These unsuccessful picks highlight a larger problem of dysfunction that continues to plague the Trump administration. When Trump’s nominees are confirmed, they tend to contribute to the #CultureOfCorruption that this administration seems to love. They also tend to fight against and work to undermine the very agencies they have been picked to lead—whether that’s Mick Mulvaney at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau or Scott Pruitt at the Environmental Protection Agency. In Jackson’s case, it was clear that he was nominated without real vetting or directly relevant experience, because he happened to be close to President Trump—that’s unacceptable for the person overseeing the health of our veterans, but it’s also just as unacceptable for the person overseeing our children’s education.

ACTION OF THE DAY

Stand Against Racism. YWCA has launched a new campaign that we are proud to be co-sponsoring! This year’s theme for the Stand Against Racism campaign is “Our Power, Our Mission, Our Future,” and it’s focused on civic engagement, specifically for marginalized communities, particularly women and girls of color. Head to StandAgainstRacism.org to see how you can get involved in the campaign today!

WHAT’S TRENDING

Pruitt’s Public Appearance. Today, embattled Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt testifies in the U.S. House of Representatives for two different hearings, one at 10 am in the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the other at 2 pm in the House Appropriations Committee. This is only Pruitt’s second public appearance in Congress in his year-long tenure, and many see this as a fight for him to keep his job in President Trump’s Cabinet after being ensnared in a significant number of ethics and other violations for misuse of taxpayer dollars and inappropriate relationships with lobbyists and industry. While Members are expected to ask questions related to his ethics violations, Pruitt is expected to stick to a script underscoring how effectively he has carried out President Trump’s deregulatory agenda. Ahead of Pruitt’s hearings, CAP published an analysis that found that Pruitt’s deregulations—to benefit his industry friends–will cost Americans $260 billion annually, or more than $2,000 per household. Also read how Pruitt’s policies are harming women’s health.

#ProtectMueller. The Senate Judiciary Committee “advanced legislation Thursday that would protect special counsel Robert S. Mueller III from being fired by President Trump after the panel’s Republican chairman backed off changes that threatened bipartisan support for the bill.” The vote came in spite of Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowing that he would never bring such legislation to the Senate floor. The vote is a positive first step in ensuring that Mueller is able to continue to carry out his investigation uninterrupted by the president or his allies. But more action must be taken—including a full Senate vote on this bill—to protect Mueller from the whims of Trump.

GOOD NEWS

Funding for Crucial Health Programs is Here to Stay…For Now. This week has been full of wins for women’s health care funding in the courts. On Tuesday, a federal judge ruled that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) could not stop funding programs affiliated with Planned Parenthood, as ensuring the programs’ survival “prevent harm to the community…and prevent loss of data regarding the effectiveness of teen pregnancy prevention.” Yesterday, a judge in Baltimore ruled that HHS “improperly moved to terminate five-year grant awards issued to the city and a non-profit two years early” for a teen pregnancy prevention program. The courts’ actions ensure that women in many communities can still access critical services—but with Trump in office, we can expect that more attacks on women’s reproductive rights and evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs are still to come.