Secretary of Discrimination

Today, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced major upcoming changes to the enforcement guidelines behind Title IX, which provides important protections against discrimination based on sex, and claimed that the Obama administration’s approach had failed. Despite saying that Title IX “served an important role in shaping our educational environment” and that she will continue enforcing it, she later asserted that it placed “improper pressure” on schools, causing them to “overreach.” DeVos spent most of her speech decrying a lack of protections for people who are falsely accused. But false reports of rape only accounts for 2-8% of all reports. DeVos also downgraded the significance of verbal harassment, saying that certain harassment codes “trample speech rights.” She added, “If everything is harassment, then nothing is.”

The announcement is little surprise for those who have followed DeVos’s agenda and the Department of Education appointees. For example, Candice Jackson, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the Department of Education, spent much of the 2016 presidential campaign attacking women who accused Trump of sexual assault, calling them liars. She often turns to victim-blaming, at one point saying that 90% of sexual assault reports “fall into the category of ‘we were both drunk.’”

It’s clear that DeVos and her fellow appointees are not well-equipped or capable of creating strong protections for sexual assault victims on college campuses. DeVos plans to scrap the 2011 letter that informed schools of steps they must take after a victim came forward. Although she seems to have no specific plan for moving forward except to erase the progress made under Obama, she did say she wanted input from many perspectives, indicating that her talks with men’s’ rights’ groups will continue.

ACTION OF THE DAY

#HereToStay. A bipartisan coalition of lawmakers in both chambers of Congress are ready to vote on a clean Dream Act. Many GOP members have expressed their support for dreamers. Now it’s time for them to back up words with action. Urge GOP lawmakers to support bringing the Dream Act up for a vote immediately, without anything added to it like border wall funding or other anti-immigrant provisions. Use our new toolkit to call key members of Congress and tell them to defend Dreamers. Use our new toolkit to call key members of Congress and tell them to defend Dreamers. Listen to the latest Thinking CAP podcast to hear the real story behind the Dream Act. Then, share the image below of Jesus, a Harvey Hero and a Dreamer, who needs your help to fight for his ability to stay in the country he calls home.

WHAT’S TRENDING

Like Father, Like Son. Donald Trump Jr. met today with the Senate Judiciary Committee who is leading the Russia investigation. Most of the meeting dealt with Trump Jr.’s interactions with a Russian lawyer during the 2016 presidential campaign, which he said today he took to determine Hillary Clinton’s “fitness” for office. Just last week, it was discovered that Trump originally announced his intentions to fire FBI Director James Comey to his staff, specifically citing the Russia probe. As Special Counsel Mueller’s investigation continues to heat up, it’s more crucial than ever that members of Congress take action to protect future elections, which is what the Graham-Klobuchar amendment proposes.

#NotOnePenny. Yesterday, Trump spoke about his tax reform plan in North Dakota, marketing it as a package to offer relief for middle class Americans and small businesses. But don’t believe a word he said. Close to half of the tax cuts proposed by Trump would go to people making over $1 million a year. These tax cuts, similar to the cuts passed under Reagan, don’t create jobs for the middle class, and “trickle-down economics” has long been disproved. Join the fight to reject Trump’s tax proposals at NotOnePenny.org.

Hurricane Irma. The devastating, Category 5 storm demolished parts of the Caribbean islands yesterday, causing at least 14 deaths and the destruction of nearly every home on the island of Barbuda. It’s expected to make landfall in South Florida soon, and a hurricane watch has now been issued for the region. While some airlines are being accused of price gouging as residents attempt to flee from the storm’s path, Jet Blue capped prices at $99 for flights out of South Florida.

FACT CHECK

Pass-through Businesses. House Speaker Ryan spoke this morning about Trump’s tax plan and how it would help small businesses. That’s simply not the case. Part of Trump’s proposal would address “pass-through businesses,” or businesses that don’t pay the corporate income tax and instead include business income on the personal income tax return of the business owner. Most pass-through business income actually goes to millionaires and big businesses. Ryan said the Trump Organization is not a pass-through business—but, in fact, it is. This is just another attempt by Trump to fatten his own pocketbook and drain money from key programs for the middle class. And this is just one more reason Ryan and the rest of America needs to see Trump’s tax returns.