֎ A number of polls suggest that Democratic voters now consider climate change to be a top-tier issue, as important as health care. Perhaps even more remarkably, the party’s presidential candidates seem to be taking that interest seriously. Jay Inslee has staked his candidacy on the issue; Beto O’Rourke has used a climate proposal to revive his flagging campaign; and Elizabeth Warren has cited the warming planet across a wide set of her famous plans. Three cheers for the electorate.
– – – –
֎ Forget Donald’s public display of attention-getting rhetoric. His real damage is occurring in his cabinet – which isn’t eager to have attention brought to it. Every sector of the cabinet is on a destructive warpath against civility, science, housing, environment, business regulations, domestic fairness and Obama. NPR did a special report on Donald’s war against the poor. Mariner provides an exegesis below but he seriously encourages the reader to visit the NPR article. (https://www.npr.org/2019/06/11/730639328/trump-wants-to-limit-aid-for-low-income-americans-a-look-at-his-proposals?utm_source=npr_newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=20190611&utm_campaign=breakingnews&utm_term=nprnews&utm_id=39748169 )
Trump Signs Farm Bill, Backs Rule Sidestepping Congress on More Work for Food Stamps
◾ The Department of Agriculture has called for stricter enforcement of a requirement that able-bodied adults work, volunteer or get job training for at least 20 hours a week to continue getting their Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits, or food stamps, after three months. 750,000 SNAP recipients will likely have their benefits cut off.
Payday loans and Debt Traps
◾ The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has proposed rescinding an Obama-era regulation that would require payday lenders to determine whether a borrower has the ability to repay the loan. That regulation was intended to prevent low-income borrowers from becoming saddled with ballooning debt because payday loans can carry annual interest rates of 300% or more.
Trump Administration Considering Changes That Would Redefine the Poverty Line
◾ The Office of Management and Budget is considering whether to recalculate the official poverty line using a different inflation measure.
Fear of Deportation or Green Card Denial Deters Some Parents from Getting Kids Care
◾ The Department of Homeland Security has proposed limiting the ability of immigrants to get green cards if they receive government benefits, such as SNAP or housing aid. Social service providers have already seen a big drop in immigrant families signing up for assistance, including Medicaid and SNAP, because of fears that it could hurt their efforts to get green cards or become citizens.
◾ President Trump signed a memorandum May 23 calling on federal agencies to enforce a law requiring those who sponsor green card holders to reimburse government agencies for the cost of any public benefits used by the immigrant.
Proposed housing Rule Could Evict 55,000 Children from Subsidized Housing
◾ The Department of Housing and Urban Development has proposed a rule that would deny housing assistance to families with one or more members who are undocumented immigrants. The administration notes that those in the country illegally are not eligible for housing aid, although HUD now prorates rental assistance for such “mixed status” families to take that into account. By HUD’s own estimate, 55,000 children who are either citizens or legal residents could lose their housing as a result of the move. Critics call the proposal “cruel” and are waging a vigorous campaign to block it. HUD Secretary Ben Carson defended it, saying that “it seems only logical that taxpaying American citizens should be taken care of first” and that the change would provide more aid for needy Americans. However, HUD’s own analysis concludes that the rule would lead to fewer people getting housing aid and to an increase in homelessness. The public comment period for the proposed rule runs through July 9, but House Democrats are trying to prevent HUD from enforcing such a rule.
◾ The Agriculture Department is expected to propose a rule later this year similar to HUD’s proposal, to restrict the use of rural housing assistance for households that have one or more members who are undocumented immigrants.
◾ HUD has proposed that the operators of federally funded homeless shelters be allowed to determine which services transgender individuals can use. Operators could base their decisions on their religious beliefs, among other factors. Critics say that if the rule is adopted, transgender individuals could be kicked out of shelters or forced to use ones that serve a gender they do not identify with. HUD Secretary Carson had assured lawmakers at a congressional hearing May 21 that he did not anticipate eliminating Obama-era rules that protect transgender individuals from housing discrimination, and lawmakers were angry to see the proposed rule on a list published by the administration the following day. Details of the rule are expected to be made public later this year for comment. About 1 in 5 transgender individuals experience homelessness at some point in their lives, according to the National Center for Transgender Equality.
Shots – Health News
Federal Judge Again Blocks States’ Work Requirements For Medicaid
◾ The administration has approved waivers allowing eight states to impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients, although legal challenges have blocked such efforts in Kentucky and Arkansas. The administration argues that the requirement will encourage people to join the workforce, but opponents say that instead it will deny low-income families much-needed medical aid. About 18,000 Arkansas residents lost their Medicaid coverage when the work requirements went into effect in that state last year.
Census citizenship question
GOP Redistricting Strategist Played Role In Push For Census Citizenship Question
◾ Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has proposed adding a question to the 2020 census asking whether an individual is a U.S. citizen. The administration says that it needs the information to help enforce the Voting Rights Act, but opponents believe that the real motive is to diminish minority representation. Civil rights groups argue that the question will discourage immigrant and noncitizen households from participating in the census. The result would be an undercount, especially in areas with large immigrant populations. Opponents of the change say low-income communities would be harmed because the census numbers are used to allocate hundreds of billions of dollars in federal aid, including many safety net benefits. They’ve challenged the citizenship question in court. The case is now before the U.S. Supreme Court, which is expected to rule in June.
Labor Department Rethinking Obama-Era Overtime Pay Rule
◾ The Department of Labor has proposed increasing the wage level below which workers would automatically be eligible for overtime pay on time worked over 40 hours a week. The Trump administration would raise the current $23,660 a year threshold to $35,308, which would make an estimated 1 million more workers eligible for overtime. However, the Trump proposal would replace an Obama-era rule that would have increased the level to $47,476 and covered four times as many workers. That plan has been blocked in court, in part because of strong opposition from small businesses, which say it would impose a big financial burden. The public comment period on the Trump proposal ends June 12.
This is just the wellbeing of the poor. Obviously sympathy has no place in governance of the public. A similar litany of Donald’s cabinet can be written for banks, the environment, public land and parks, taxes, corporate regulation, humane farming and an isolationism that diminishes the nation’s wellbeing among nations.