Today, House Speaker Paul Ryan announced he will retire at the end of his current term. Since Trump took office, Ryan has been one of his biggest supporters and mouthpieces for his policy agenda, voting with Trump’s priorities 100 percent of the time. Here’s just a few of Ryan’s highlights since Trump became president:
- Ryan was the major proponent of the Congressional majority’s tax bill, which has led to massive windfalls for the richest Americans, while little to nothing for the rest of Americans. Ryan himself got a large cash infusion from the Koch brothers after the bill passed.
- He’s been a keen ally in Trump’s efforts to sabotage the Affordable Care Act (ACA), disrupt the marketplace, and jack up premiums. In fact, he’s been fighting for the repeal of the ACA since it was enacted into law.
- In today’s press conference, Ryan celebrated his ability to “normalize entitlement reform.” What does this actually mean? He’s made is easier for politicians to pass policies that make it even harder for struggling Americans to get the help they need from government benefit programs.
- Ryan has allowed Representative Devin Nunes to run amok at the head of the House’s investigation into Russia interference in the 2016 presidential election—which all plays very nicely into Trump’s plans to avoid legal consequences.
- Despite echoing Trump’s empty promises that Dreamers shouldn’t worry, Ryan has refused to push for legislation that would provide a permanent solution for Dreamers.
But Ryan wasn’t fundamentally changed by Trump ascent to the Oval Office. He’s advocated for policies that harm Americans, particularly low-income communities, for decades. Despite his best efforts, progressives have also won some major battles—he’ll leave office with his dreams of privatizing Social Security, introducing vouchers for Medicare, and repealing the ACA left unfulfilled. The bottom line? Good riddance, Ryan.
ACTION OF THE DAY
#BootPruitt. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt keeps finding himself in scandal after scandal—from living in an energy lobbyist’s condo for only $50 a night to reassigning people who disagreed with him at EPA. On the whole, he’s wasted more than $400,000 of taxpayer’s money. And that doesn’t include the millions he has spent on security costs, which his own agency has said were unjustified, according to a new report. EPA’s response? They fired the long-time career staffer who authorized the report. It’s clear: Pruitt’s culture of corruption is putting our environment at risk, as well as the safety and health of our communities. Sign the petition today, and tell Pruitt that it’s time to resign.
Halting Legal Aid for Immigrants. Yesterday, the Trump administration announced it would temporarily end the Legal Orientation Program, which “offers legal assistance to detained foreign nationals facing deportation.” The Department of Justice (DOJ) justified the move by saying that it needed to examine the program’s cost-effectiveness. But numerous studies—including a study conducted by the DOJ!—has found the program to be extremely successful in making immigration courts more efficient and saving the federal government millions of dollars. Let’s be clear: this move is not about cost savings. It’s about making immigrants in detention even more vulnerable in a system that is already weighted against them, and to make it even more likely that vulnerable immigrants get deported even more quickly.
Another Blow to Struggling Workers. With no notice, the Trump Administration last night unveiled an executive order framed as about “promoting opportunity and economic mobility.” Unfortunately, instead or raising the minimum wage or helping workers afford childcare, Trump’s plan for promoting opportunity and economic mobility appears to be stripping healthcare, food, and/or housing away from struggling families. At the heart of the order is so-called “work requirements,” which have nothing to do with helping anyone work—and are just cuts to vital programs in disguise. The order itself directs agencies to review programs that help families make ends meet, but its real purpose is to smear the programs Trump and his colleagues in Congress want to slash to pay for their millionaire tax cuts. The rules are designed to stigmatize nutrition assistance—or SNAP—ahead of the upcoming debate around the Farm Bill, which Congressional Republicans see their best opportunity for draconian public assistance cuts this year. Go to HandsOff.org to share your story and learn what’s at stake.
Attacking #ReproRights. Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing for Trump’s judicial nomination to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, Wendy Vitter. Vitter is most well-known for her extreme views on abortion and birth control. She’s claimed that abortions increase the risk of cancer and fertility (not true), and she even promoted a pamphlet that included the five ways the “pill kills” (also not true). This information is not only false, but dangerous. Women need access to scientifically-accurate health resources and data—not the lies spread by Vitter. Call your senators today at 202-224-3121, and urge them to vote “no” on a dangerous lifetime appointment for Vitter.
UNDER THE RADAR
Rural Pragmatism. President Trump is plowing a path that benefits the coal, oil, and gas industries at the expense of other emerging economic sectors and that leaves western communities without a voice. Despite this, many rural communities across the country are taking control of their futures and actively transitioning towards more diverse and sustainable economies. One of those communities is Colorado’s North Fork Valley, which instead of banking on coal to come back, have moved to also embrace tourism, agriculture, outdoor recreation, and clean energy. The Center for American Progress is out with a menu of natural resource policies that aim to strengthen and diversify the rural economies that the Trump administration has largely ignored—despite his rhetoric that he’s focusing on the “forgotten people.”