Today, the Trump administration released its 55-page infrastructure plan. Taken together, the Trump budget and plan would cut existing highway and transportation funds and shift the cost burden to onto states and localities, which means higher local and state taxes. In fact, the Trump administration’s plans rely heavily on tolls to fund its efforts, including new tolls on existing interstates. The plan calls for a massive investment in infrastructure, but the federal portion will only cover $200 billion in direct federal spending—paid for with cuts to other critical domestic programs like Medicare and Medicaid.
Now, the budget and plan aren’t bad for everyone. For corporate polluters and Wall Street bankers, Trump’s proposals are very appealing. They would gut protections for clean air, clean water, and wildlife, harming our environment and encouraging dangerous business practices. The Endangered Species Act, the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act would all face massive changes that would weaken their ability to keep our planet clean and healthy. These are changes that 94 percent of Americans oppose.
Paired with his budget, Trump’s infrastructure plan would actually kill infrastructure jobs, by cutting existing highway and public transportation funds. In fact, for every $1 of proposed expenditure on infrastructure, the infrastructure scam and budget would cut $1.69 in spending. To see the impacts of proposed cuts to the Highway Trust Fund by state, check out this report. All in all, these plans would “deepen regional inequality and political divisions” across the country, which is the last thing most Americans want or need. Our infrastructure needs a real plan for revitalization—not a scam intended to enrich the already wealthy.
ACTION OF THE DAY
#HandsOff. Also today, President Trump released yet another Robin Hood in reverse budget, slashing nearly every program that helps working families afford the basics. These draconian proposed cuts come as the ink is barely dry on the #TrumpTaxScam, which jacked up the deficit by over $1.5 trillion to give huge tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans. Trump’s budget doubles down on his punitive Medicaid time limits with over $300 billion in additional cuts to the program—despite the fact that 80 percent of Americans oppose cutting Medicaid. It also calls for deep cuts to affordable housing, nutrition assistance, Social Security disability benefits, and more. As you hear Trump talk about so-called “welfare reform,” remember what that phrase really means: slashing programs for everyday Americans in an attempt to make Wall Street richer. Tell Trump and Congress #HandsOff — then, share the graphic below. And if you’re in Washington, D.C., join us at the Capitol on Wednesday at 12:30 to rally against the proposed cuts.
The Immigration Fight Ahead. Over the weekend, the Trump administration released a “new immigration framework” that was—surprise!—filled with the exact same nativist policies that have been integral to every one of his proposals (and this time with even more resources for ramping up deportations and splitting apart families and communities). As the Senate begins to debate immigration policy with an open amendment process this week, it’s likely that some senators will follow Trump’s lead, and use this time to advocate for drastic, devastating changes to our immigration system and immigrant communities in the United States. That’s why it’s crucial we pay close attention this week as proposals are released. Take action today by calling your senators and demanding that they reject Trump’s nativist agenda and protect Dreamers! And, check out this column from the Center for American Progress on why Trump’s attacks on immigrants are attacks on families.
Despicable. Remember Rodrigo Duterte, the president of the Philippines? He is widely known for ordering extrajudicial killings in the “war on drugs,” and has been a target of Human Rights Watch for years. Last week, he ratcheted up his misogynistic, brutal rhetoric, telling “soldiers to shoot female rebels in their genitals.” He went on to say that without genitals, women are useless. This shocking language is really no surprise for Duterte, who has even urged soldiers to use rape as a weapon in the war of drugs. But there’s been no comment from his friend President Trump, who claimed in November that the two had a “great relationship.” Trump has continually failed to lead on human rights issues around the world, leaving a vacuum in a space that the United States has previously filled.
Securing Our Elections. Following Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential elections—and years of concerns over the security of our elections—the Center for American Progress has released a new report that analyzes each state’s security measures surrounding elections. In the report, every state shows “significant vulnerabilities that leave them susceptible to hacking and infiltration by sophisticated nation-states.” But states and localities—or Congress!—can take action to protect future elections. How much would fully securing our election systems cost? Between $400 million and $1.2 billion, or the cost of one military plane.
“Able-Bodied.” The so-called “able-bodied” are now everywhere among antipoverty programs—or so claim Republican leaders like House Speaker Paul Ryan. But as Emily Badger of the New York Times Upshot explains on the latest episode of Off-Kilter, the term “able-bodied” dates back centuries as a proxy for separating the “deserving” from the “undeserving” poor—all the way back to England’s 1601 Elizabethan poor law. Plus: While President Trump releases yet another Robin Hood in reverse budget today, fast food workers are staging a massive walkout in Memphis, Tennessee, calling for higher wages and union rights, 50 years after the famous sanitation workers’ strike that famously took Martin Luther King, Jr., to Memphis, where he was assassinated.
A More Diverse Team Going for Gold. As millions of Americans tune in to the Winter Olympics, they’ll see a team that looks more like the actual population of the United States—diverse, in both race and gender. The U.S. team is 45 percent female, with a record-breaking 108 women in total. 10 of the athletes are African American, and 11 are Asian American. Two are openly gay. While these are some of the highest levels of diversity seen at the Winter Olympics Games, it is nowhere near ideal. The team is still overwhelmingly white, and the official representative to the Games – Vice President Pence – supports awful anti-LGBTQ policies. But, in the meantime, we can cheer on all the athletes in South Korea, including the three out LGBTQ athletes who have already won medals!