During tomorrow’s State of the Union address, President Trump is expected to tout his infrastructure plan, which he has talked about since his time on the campaign trail. But a leaked draft of the plan show it’s nothing more than a scam. It calls for cutting or significantly changing at least 10 bedrock environmental laws to make it easier for corporations to bypass critical protections for air, water, and wildlife. Instead of putting Americans to work rebuilding crumbling infrastructure, the Trump infrastructure scam is the administration’s latest giveaway to the oil and gas industry. The only clear winners from this plan are corporate developers, while communities, workers, and the environment face untold threats. And there’s no clear economic benefit from this plan, as it will decimate the Highway Trust Fund, cutting jobs and crucial infrastructure projects.
As far as environmental risks, this scam is one of the worst. It would prioritize polluter profits and cut communities out of the decision-making process for major developments in their neighborhoods. Corporations would be able to sidestep public health, worker safety, and environmental protections for infrastructure projects, including for toll roads, pipelines, drilling projects, and new mines. It allows polluters to skirt landmark public health protections like the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, all while depriving funding for improvements for clean drinking water systems. It even grants authority to Interior Secretary (and friend of the oil and gas industry) Ryan Zinke to unilaterally approve new gas pipelines through National Parks. The Trump administration will attempt to brand these environmental attacks as an effort to improve the infrastructure permitting process. In actuality, they are attempting to steamroll hardworking Americans by silencing their voices in determining where pipelines, highways, and other large projects should be built, all to boost industry profits.
But Americans won’t be duped by anything that puts us, our families, and our outdoor places at risk. A recent poll found that 94% of voters reject the idea that we have to put our health and outdoors at risk to improve our nation’s infrastructure. So when Trump tries to use the State of the Union speech tomorrow to sell us on an infrastructure plan, we’ll see it for what it is: a scam.
ACTION OF THE DAY
#HandsOff Our Medicaid. Earlier this month, the Trump administration ended Medicaid as we know it, allowing states to enact punitive work requirements as part of their Medicaid programs. The majority of working-age Medicaid recipients are already working—and majority of those who are not are either ill or disabled, caring for a loved one, or going to school. This decision has put 6.3 million Americans’ health insurance at risk, and it kicks struggling workers while they’re down. And according to a new report, the state of Kentucky will go a step further—requiring people who have lost their Medicaid to pass a health or financial literacy test to get health care back, harkening back to racist literacy tests in the Jim Crow South. It’s the latest in his attacks on crucial programs that help families make ends meet—so take action today! Add your name to our petition urging the Trump administration to reverse their decision and keep their #HandsOff our Medicaid.
Attacking Reproductive Rights. Tonight, the Senate will vote on a 20-week abortion ban. The procedural vote has been scheduled by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who promised a vote early this year after the House passed the bill a few months ago. What effects would such a restrictive ban have on women across the country? Twenty weeks is the time when women have an ultrasound that helps determine if the child will survive after birth. Read stories of women that reveal why the ban would be so harmful. In addition to the harmful effects, our country just acknowledged the 45th anniversary of Roe v. Wade one week ago. Such a ban would clearly violate Roe v. Wade, and thus, is unconstitutional. Even if this particular legislation fails, it reminds us to stay vigilant and continue to fight for women’s rights to access safe, affordable abortion care.
#TimesUp at the Grammys. Last night, some of the biggest music stars in the country gathered for the 60th Grammy Awards. Just like the stars at the Golden Globes, many attendees showed up in support of #TimesUp, the initiative to end sexual misconduct in the workplace, by wearing white roses. Kesha gave a stunning, emotional performance of her anthem “Praying,” which reflects on her survival after her own experiences with sexual assault and abuse. But despite the spotlight given to #TimesUp and #MeToo, gender diversity remains a huge problem for the music industry. In fact, a new study from the University of Southern California “showed that in the past six years, more than 90 percent of Grammy nominees have been men — a statistic that’s come up a lot as the industry begins to grapple with sexual misconduct.” And, women only won one of the 10 awards broadcast during the show last night. It’s clear that the music industry—as well as every other industry across America—needs more than just gestures or roses to bring about real change.
Dog-Whistling Donald. In the aftermath of the blatantly racist “shithole” comment from President Trump, the latest episode of the Off-Kilter podcast explores Trump’s more subtle racism, and whether that is actually more dangerous. Hear from former NAACP head Cornell Brooks and longtime disability rights advocate Patrick Cokley on these issues and why people are afraid to use the word “racist.” And then don’t miss a conversation with Inge Fryklund—a former Assistant State’s Attorney in Cook County who serves on the board of Law Enforcement Action Partnership, an organization devoted to criminal justice reform and stopping the war on drugs—about the law enforcement case for legalization.
UNDER THE RADAR
Tracking Your Car. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has a new, powerful tool in their hands—and it’s raising concerns about people’s civil liberties. According to reports, ICE now has access “to billions of license plate records and new powers of real-time location tracking.” While this is concerning for all Americans, it is especially concerning for immigrants, given ICE’s focus on sweeping up anyone it comes in contact with, even long time family and community members. This new tool will make it easier for ICE to expand its enforcement overdrive apparatus; in addition, it could lead to more people avoiding registering their cars, “a public safety hazard.”