Will Republicans Block Biden's Budget? - The Tuesday AM Quickie 3/12/24

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3/12: It's News Day Tuesday! Sam and Emma break down the biggest headlines of the day. But first, Sam speaks with Brian Concannon, human rights lawyer and executive director of the Institute for Justice & Democracy (IJDH) in Haiti, to discuss the ongoing political instability in Haiti.


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Today you'll read about Biden's attempt to find budgetary support for his SOTU promises, the coming TikTok ban, and a reckoning at the RNC.

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Biden's New Budget Taxes Corporations and the Rich to Boost Social Spending

On Monday, the Biden administration unveiled a new budget proposal clocking in at $7.3 trillion, with increased taxes on high earners and corporations to pay for social spending and chip away at the deficit. The proposed budget isn't too dissimilar from the one the president presented last year, which might be currently found in Mitch McConnell's trash can. But this time around, Biden is emphasizing the success of his economic program and the ability to spread wealth and opportunity through modest tax increases on those who can most afford to pay.

If budgets are moral documents then the new budget presents a far different social vision than that of Republicans, who have promised massive cuts to welfare and social programs, more tax cuts for the rich, and a deliriously high economic growth rate to compensate for it all. Biden's budget reinstates the child tax credit that helped chip away at poverty during the height of the epidemic. It establishes a national program for paid family and medical leave, provides health insurance assistance, and subsidizes childcare for working people.

For many Democrats, this is, broadly, how they'd like their budget to look. It's progressive but incrementalist, expanding social programs while continuing to fund the military at record levels. Biden isn't eliminating student loan debt in one pen stroke. He's "eliminating origination fees on government student loans, possibly saving borrowers $1,000 over the life of the debt," according to ABC News.

Of course, the Republicans plan to oppose as much of it as they can, as fiercely as they can. "There has never been a clearer and starker contrast between Democrats’ big tax and spend policies and Republicans’ fiscal framework for economic growth and prosperity," said Rep. Jodey Arrington. Thankfully for voters, he's right.

The RNC Gets a Trump Makeover

The Republican National Committee's new co-chairs – Donald Trump's daughter-in-law Lara Trump and former North Carolina GOP chair Matt Whatley – have begun remaking the organization. At least 60 people are losing their jobs. While the stated justification is minimizing bureaucracy and trimming budgets, it also looks very much like a consolidation of power by Trump and his allies as the former president wraps up the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. Trump already was the leader of the Republican party, but now he'll control its infrastructure and potentially its financing in a way he couldn't before.

"The Trump campaign is looking to merge its operations with the RNC," Politico reported. "Key departments, such as communications, data and fundraising, will effectively be one and the same."

For a cash-strapped candidate whose desire to stay out of jail is inescapably entwined with his desire to return to power, such a merger could prove very useful.

TikTok Bill Has a Good Chance in the House

House Republicans are planning on holding a vote as soon as this week on a bill that would force TikTok to divest itself of its Chinese owners or face a ban in the U.S. As President, Donald Trump signed an executive order trying to force a TikTok sale (to Larry Ellison, a Trump supporter), but it didn't pan out. Now, Trump has changed his mind and opposes a TikTok ban, perhaps thanks to the influence of TikTok investor/Republican mega-donor Jeff Yass. Still, the legislation is likely to pass with bipartisan support.


  • Mar-A-Lago Employee Who Helped Move Classified Docs Comes Forward Brian Butler, also known as Trump Employee 5 in the former president's classified documents case, has revealed himself, saying in an interview that yes, he helped move a number of document boxes from Mar-a-Lago to Trump's private plane. He's now cooperating with prosecutors. via CNN.
  • Boeing Whistleblower Found Dead John Barnett, a longtime Boeing employee who was about to give a deposition in a whistleblower lawsuit against the company, was found dead. Barnett had issued warnings about Boeing's safety practices, including the use of defective parts. via BBC News.
  • The East Palestine Disaster Was Far Worse Than It Should Have Been The deliberate burning of chemicals from the derailed train cars in East Palestine, Ohio, last year was unnecessary, said the chair of the NTSB. The derailment and subsequent burn created a large explosion, polluted the area to an unknown but frightening degree, and led to thousands of people being evacuated from their homes. via Cleveland.com.
  • Carmakers Are Selling Driver Data to Insurance Companies Automakers have been surreptitiously selling data about drivers' behavior – speed, breaking, length of trip, etc – to data brokers like Lexis-Nexis. These brokers in turn sell the data to insurers, who have used it to justify rate increases. Many drivers don't know this kind of data is being collected or that they've consented to its sale. via New York Times.



That's how many audits – out of 89 – that Boeing failed during a just-concluded six-week investigation. The investigation found dozens of "instances of alleged noncompliance," including mechanics "using a hotel key card to check a door seal" and, in another case, using liquid dish soap as a lubricant. The latest report has followed a raft of troubling incidents and whistleblower testimony concerning the safety of Boeing planes.


Democrats Are Just Making Their Problems Worse

There's still time, but the polling ain't good and alienation is growing among potential voters. Does the administration understand that?

Fox Host Rediscovers Trump Worship

The political fluffers at Fox News pay tribute to Trump for – we kid not – "never playing the victim."


"Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing. I wanted to express my apologies for any confusion the family photograph we shared yesterday caused. I hope everyone celebrating had a very happy Mother’s Day. "

-- From a post on X attributed to Kate Middleton, aka the Princess of Wales, who has been mostly out of public view after undergoing abdominal surgery earlier this year. The Princess' purported statement – there's not much proof she had anything to do with it – comes after Kensington Palace released a photo of her with her children that shows obvious signs of tampering. The photo was then withdrawn by wire services. It's all very odd and no one seems to have a good idea what's happening, which has made the episode a sumptuous feast for conspiracy-minded gossip hounds.

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