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Letting Corporations Rei(g)n

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The 115th Congress has just begun and Congressional Republicans are already in a hurry to give themselves and their corporate friends more power. First, they tried to get away with gutting the independence of their own watchdog, with a middle of the night vote. However, after a barrage of angry calls from their constituents, House Republicans backed down.

But now, they’re back at it with the REINS Act, which they’re selling as a way to keep regulations in check. However, in reality, the REINS Act hands reins of public health and safety over to big corporations. And with this legislation, Congress is granting itself unprecedented power to cater to big corporations that want to evade safety standards, pollute the environment, and otherwise game the system to their benefit. The REINS Act and related bills would effectively shut down the government’s agencies, leaving the American public exposed to corporate and special interest exploitation.

The REINS Act is just one of many examples of Republicans catering to special interests. President-elect Trump is filling his cabinet with Wall Street alums, Russian allies, and anti-worker billionaire CEOs. The actions of congressional Republicans and President-elect Trump show that they are not planning on keeping their campaign promises to American workers and instead are working for corporations, special interests, and the wealthiest few.

ACTION OF THE DAY

#StopSessions. One of Congress’s first orders of business will be to hold hearings on Trump’s pick for Attorney General Sen. Sessions. Yep, the one who was too racist to be confirmed as a federal judge in 1986. Join The Leadership Conference in making calls (877-959-6082) today to tell senators to #StopSessions from becoming the next U.S. Attorney General.

WHAT’S TRENDING

Failing grade. Over 1,200 law professors have signed a letter in opposition to Jeff Sessions as Attorney General, saying “We are convinced that Jeff Sessions will not fairly enforce our nation’s laws and promote justice and equality in the United States.” If you agree with these professors, participate in our Action of the Day (above)!

Russia. This morning, Congress held its first hearing on cyber threats since it was confirmed that Russia interfered in our election. The hearing was held by the Senate Armed Services Committee, which is headed by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). The hearing was long and wonky, as congressional hearings are wont to be, but here’s what you need to know: First, despite Trump’s skepticism, there is absolute certainty that Russia was behind the hacks. Second, the next administration needs to take these threats seriously and follow through on the Obama administration’s promises to make Russia face serious consequences for its actions. And finally, the last thing we need (cough, Trump, cough) is to disparage the U.S. intelligence community; doing so only serves Russia and other enemies.

Twitter Polls. Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s (R-TN) backfired yesterday. While Congress was busy debating the Affordable Care Act, Rep. Blackburn decided to take to Twitter to get feedback on the GOP’s plan to repeal the health care law. It didn’t go well.

Disagreement. It’s not just Twitter voters who disagree with congressional Republicans’ plan to repeal the ACA. Prominent Republican leaders in the states—like New Mexico Governor Susanna Martinez (R) and Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (R)—have opposed repeal plans. And the conservative Washington Examiner rejects a “repeal and delay” strategy calling it “unwise for many reasons.”

What’d ya got to hide? Senate Democrats are making a play to up transparency in the Trump administration. First up: re-introducing legislation requiring the president-elect to release his taxes (which Trump dodged in an unprecedented break from campaign tradition). The Presidential Tax Transparency Act first hit Congressional desks in May and would force presidents and presidential candidates to release at least three years’ worth of tax information. We’ll watch to see if Trump can continue to bully his way out of this one on Twitter.

UNDER THE RADAR

Oops, we did it again. In addition to being the year most referred to as a “dumpster fire,” 2016 also holds the distinction of being the hottest year on record. 2016 beat the previous record set in 2015, which beat the previous record set in 2014. There has never been a three-year hot streak like this in the history of temperature records. And yes, Trump, many of his staff picks, and a majority of congressional Republicans still deny climate change.

GOOD NEWS

Biden’s still Biden. In case you missed it, Joe Biden still Bidened at his final swearing-in ceremony.