*BLUE DOGS PLOT A COMEBACK IN CONGRESS JUST AS DEMOCRATS PUSH A MORE POPULIST “BETTER DEAL” PLAN(ARTICLE BELOW)
*ON OFFSHORE DRILLING, VIRGINIA'S GOVERNOR NOW STANDS ALONE IN THE SOUTHEAST (ARTICLE BELOW)
*FINALLY, A POLL TRUMP WILL LIKE: CLINTON EVEN MORE UNPOPULAR (ARTICLE BELOW)
*CORY BOOKER WILL “PAUSE” FUNDRAISING FROM BIG PHARMA BECAUSE IT “AROUSES SO MUCH CRITICISM”(article below)
*BLUE DOG DEMOCRATS MEET WITH TOP TRUMP AIDES ON TAX REFORM(excerpt below)
*JOE MANCHIN WAS ONE OF FIVE DEMOCRATS WHO SAVED SAUDI ARMS SALES. HIS PRIMARY OPPONENT IS FURIOUS.(article below)
*NEW YORK GOV. CUOMO HIRES TRUMP ADVISER AFTER HUGE DONATIONS( article below)
*DEMOCRAT CORY BOOKER DEFENDS JARED KUSHNER — AFTER RECEIVING LOADS OF CAMPAIGN CASH( ARTICLE BELOW)
*NORTH DAKOTA DEMOCRAT REJECTS THE TRUMP RESISTANCE: “I THINK THAT’S A WASTE OF MY TIME” ( article below)
Blue Dogs plot a comeback in Congress just as Democrats push a more populist “Better Deal” plan
The Democrats are working on a new identity, but the conservative Blue Dog Coalition is looking to gain power
CHARLIE MAY - MONDAY, JUL 24, 2017 02:18 PM PDT
From Salon: After saying the Democratic Party has been “too namby-pamby” on Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., wrote about a new economic agenda for the party in a New York Times op-ed titled, “A Better Deal,” on Monday.
“Americans are clamoring for bold changes to our politics and our economy. They feel, rightfully, that both systems are rigged against them, and they made that clear in last year’s election,” Schumer wrote. “The wealthiest special interests can spend an unlimited, undisclosed amount of money to influence elections and protect their special deals in Washington. As a result, our system favors short-term gains for shareholders instead of long-term benefits for workers,” he continued.
“Democrats have too often hesitated from taking on those misguided policies directly and unflinchingly — so much so that many Americans don’t know what we stand for. Not after today. Democrats will show the country that we’re the party on the side of working people — and that we stand for three simple things,” Schumer explained, calling for increased pay, a reduction of everyday expenses and increased resources “to provide workers with the tools they need for the 21st-century economy.”
Schumer also explicitly confronted some of the ways in which the party has faltered in the past.
“In the last two elections, Democrats, including in the Senate, failed to articulate a strong, bold economic program for the middle class and those working hard to get there,” he wrote.
The Democrats seem to be looking to embrace factions of the party that staunchly support ideas championed by Sens. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt. During a press conference on Monday, when a woman questioned how serious the Democrats were and brought up why the party hasn’t gotten behind Glass-Steagall “in a major way,” Warren, who has been outspoken about supporting Glass-Steagall legislation, let out a little dance.
But it will be hard for voters to take the Democrats seriously, especially if they give rise to a smaller faction of the party that has dwindled over the years. The Blue Dog Coalition is a “group of moderate and conservative Democrats,” according to Politico, and they are planning a comeback:
And with Democrats eager to woo the white working-class voters who flocked to [President Donald] Trump, the coalition is prodding party leaders to support Blue Dog-backed candidates, saying that’s the key to taking back the House in 2018. It’s a push that is quickly running into conflict with the party’s energized left flank.
“The DCCC [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee] recognizes that the path to the majority is through the Blue Dogs,” Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., chairwoman of the Blue Dog PAC, said, according to Politico. “For the first time since I’ve been in Congress, the DCCC has partnered with the Blue Dog Coalition so that we’re recruiting candidates who fit districts that we need to win to take back the majority,” she continued. “We are able to convince folks who normally wouldn’t vote for a Democrat to vote for this Democrat.”
Blue Dog Democrats stand for “a mix of fiscal responsibility, strong support for defense and some conservative social views shunned by the left wing of the caucus, say it’s not just their message they think will appeal to many Trump-aligned voters,” Politico reported. Leaders of the Blue Dogs have already “met with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and other top Trump aides on tax reform. Last week, the Blue Dogs sat down with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue,” Politico reported.
However, some Democrats have spoken out against the Blue Dogs and said that their strategy isn’t a recipe for successful elections.
“I don’t think Blue Dog politics are necessarily winning politics everywhere,” Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., notable progressive and deputy chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said, according to Politico. “I just don’t buy the premise that being on the right side of the Democratic Party makes you more advantageous, more attractive to voters, than being on the left side of the Democratic Party.”
On offshore drilling, Virginia's governor now stands alone in the Southeast
By Sue Sturgis - July 21, 2017
From Facing South: The North Carolina governor's office — once the leading force behind the push to open the Southeast coast to offshore oil and gas exploration and drilling — has reversed course under new leadership and amid dramatic political shifts on the issue.
Gov. Roy Cooper (D) held a press conference this week on a barrier island along the Crystal Coast, a popular North Carolina tourist spot, to announce that his Department of Environmental Quality would submit formal comments to the Trump administration opposing permits allowing seismic testing for offshore oil and gas reserves. The deadline for comments was recently extended to July 21.
"It's clear that opening North Carolina's coast to oil and gas exploration and drilling would bring unacceptable risks to our economy, our environment, and our coastal communities — and for little potential gain," Cooper said in his statement, pointing to concerns about a political climate focused on deregulation. "As governor, I'm here to speak out and take action against it. I can sum it up in four words: not off our coast."
Cooper was joined at the event at Fort Macon State Park's visitor center by coastal business owners and community leaders — part of a groundswell of local opposition to offshore oil and gas development.
The Carolinas and Virginia had been targeted for offshore drilling in a proposal considered and rejected by the Obama administration, but the Trump administration wants to reopen the matter and is now considering permits for seismic testing in an area stretching from Delaware to Florida. The practice involves the intensive use of extremely loud airguns and can injure marine life and harm fisheries.
To date, 127 East Coast municipalities — 32 in North Carolina alone — have passed resolutions opposing Atlantic testing and/or drilling because of the environmental and economic risks to a region reliant on tourism and fishing. Also taking public stances against it are 14 U.S. senators led by Bill Nelson (D) of Florida and over 100 U.S. representatives from both major parties, including Republican lawmakers Walter Jones of North Carolina, Mark Sanford of South Carolina and Ron DeSantis, Bill Posey and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida.
Atlantic drilling is also widely opposed by coastal business interests. More than 41,000 businesses and over a half-million commercial fishing families recently sent a letter to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke that called offshore oil and gas activities "fundamentally at odds with our coastal economies and our way of life."
Shifting politicsCooper's July 20 announcement marks a 180-degree policy turn on offshore drilling for the North Carolina executive branch. The position of a governor is one of the primary factors the Interior Department considers in deciding whether to allow energy development off a state's coast.
"Presidents have long recognized that states' interests matter in whether coasts should be opened to risky offshore drilling," said Sierra Weaver of the Southern Environmental Law Center, which opposes offshore drilling and seismic testing. "North Carolina has spoken. It's time for Washington to listen."
Cooper's predecessor, Republican Pat McCrory, was a key leader in the effort to open the Atlantic to oil and gas interests in his role as chair of the Outer Continental Shelf Governors Coalition. A secretive group with close industry ties, the coalition was founded in the aftermath of the 2010 BP disaster to lobby the federal government to revive and expand offshore drilling. In McCrory it got a former Duke Energy executive and spokesperson for Americans for Prosperity, the conservative advocacy group founded by the Koch oil and gas barons.
At the time McCrory became chair of the coalition in 2014, it included two other governors of Southeastern states — Nikki Haley (R) of South Carolina and Terry McAuliffe (D) of Virginia. But McCrory lost last year to Cooper, the former attorney general and state lawmaker who was endorsed by the N.C. League of Conservation Voters for his record on environmental and public health issues.
Meanwhile, President Trump appointed Haley to serve as his ambassador to the United Nations. Her successor, Henry McMaster (R), opposed Atlantic drilling as lieutenant governor and came out against seismic testing last month while speaking to the regional Chamber of Commerce in Beaufort, South Carolina. The mayor and council of that historic city and tourist center passed a resolution against seismic testing and offshore drilling in 2015.
That leaves McAuliffe as the lone Southeastern coastal representative in the Governors Coalition, whose other current members are the Gulf states' Kay Ivey of Alabama, Phil Bryant of Mississippi and Greg Abbott of Texas, all Republicans, along with Alaska's Bill Walker, an independent. The group's chair, Republican Paul LePage of Maine, is its only other East Coast governor besides McAuliffe, who has said he "never had a problem" with seismic testing but would support drilling off Virginia's coast only if the federal government shared royalties with the state. McAuliffe's office did not respond to Facing South's request for comment.
In Virginia, the political pressure to block offshore development has not been as strong in as in the Carolinas. Of the 127 municipalities that have passed resolutions against it, only five are in Virginia. But even there, momentum continues to build: This week the Norfolk city council unanimously passed a resolution opposing both offshore drilling and seismic testing, citing its potential disruption of marine life and threats to fisheries and protective wetlands. A month earlier, the Virginia Beach city council also voted to opposeoffshore drilling, almost two years after it originally voted to take a neutral stance on the issue. "Our tourism numbers have gone north in the last eight years," Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms said. "I would say that I don't want to risk that."
Finally, a Poll Trump Will Like: Clinton Even More Unpopular
Bloomberg John McCormick
(Bloomberg) -- For a president with historically low poll numbers, Donald Trump can at least find solace in this: Hillary Clinton is doing worse.
Trump’s 2016 Democratic rival is viewed favorably by just 39 percent of Americans in the latest Bloomberg National Poll, two points lower than the president. It’s the second-lowest score for Clinton since the poll started tracking her in September 2009.
The former secretary of state has always been a polarizing figure, but this survey shows she’s even lost popularity among those who voted for her in November.
More than a fifth of Clinton voters say they have an unfavorable view of her. By comparison, just 8 percent of likely Clinton voters felt that way in the final Bloomberg poll before the election, and just 6 percent of Trump’s voters now say they view him unfavorably.
“There’s growing discontent with Hillary Clinton even as she has largely stayed out of the spotlight,” said pollster J. Ann Selzer, who oversaw the survey. "It’s not a pox on the Democratic house because numbers for other Democrats are good."
The former first lady and New York senator has made a few speeches and occasionally tweaks Trump on Twitter, but has mostly kept out of sight since a defeat in November that shocked the political establishment and surprised markets.
In follow-up interviews with poll participants, Clinton voters denied that their negative feelings about her had anything to do with her losing the election and, therefore, helping Trump move into the White House. Instead, their comments often reflected the ongoing angst among Democrats about how best to position themselves against Trump and Republicans in 2018 and beyond. Many said they wished Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont had won the Democratic nomination, or that they never liked Clinton and only voted for her because she was the lesser of two bad choices.
“She did not feel authentic or genuine to me,” said Chris Leininger, 29, an insurance agent from Fountain Valley, California. “She was hard to like.”
Leininger, an independent voter who leans Democratic, said she found Sanders much more likable and with a better story to tell voters.
“But I don’t blame her for Trump,” she said. “There were a lot of factors that fed into Trump becoming a president and she was just one of them.”
As was the case throughout the campaign, Clinton suffers from gender and racial gaps. Just 35 percent of men hold a favorable view of her, compared to 43 percent of women. And just 32 percent of whites like her, while 51 percent of non-whites do.
Clinton’s lowest reading ever in the Bloomberg poll -- one percentage point lower than her current popularity -- was recorded in September 2015, as she battled with Sanders before the first primary ballots were cast and as the scandal surrounding her use of a private email server escalated.
“I felt like there was a smugness and that she was just a politician who was called a Democrat, but could have been a Republican,” said poll participant Robert Taylor, 46, a second-grade teacher from suburban Chicago who voted for Clinton, but would have preferred Sanders as the Democratic nominee. Even before the election, Taylor said he felt negatively about Clinton, but he doesn’t blame her for Trump being president.
“I could vote for a competent leader or I could vote for a jackass,” he said of his choices. “I think my negativity about her would be there whether Trump was elected or not.”
Ray Cowart, 75, the retired owner of a small software company from Elk Park, North Carolina, said he voted for Clinton even though he didn’t like her because “she was the better of two bad options.”
Asked who he would rather have a beer with if neither one of them was president, Cowart said he’d rather stay home. “I wouldn’t go, even if I was thirsty,” he said.
In contrast to Clinton, former President Barack Obama has fared well with some distance from the spotlight. He’s viewed favorably by 61 percent, up 5 points since December and at the highest level since the poll began tracking him in September 2009.
Former Vice President Joe Biden is just one percentage point below Obama and at his highest level since the poll started asking about him in December 2009.
The telephone poll of 1,001 American adults has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, higher among subgroups. It was conducted July 8-12 by Iowa-based Selzer & Co.
CORY BOOKER WILL “PAUSE” FUNDRAISING FROM BIG PHARMA BECAUSE IT “AROUSES SO MUCH CRITICISM” Zaid Jilani June 30 2017, 9:41 a.m.
From The Intercept: DURING AN INTERVIEW ONNPR’s Morning Edition on Friday, New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker announced that he will be pausing fundraising from pharmaceutical companies, a move that comes after months of activist criticism for his vote against allowing drug reimportation to the United States.
NPR’s Rachel Martin prompted the news by asking about his funding from the industry. “You’re in politics so you know that optics matter. You yourself have faced some criticism for taking donations from drug companies. Last month, you suggested you might give some of those back. Have you done that?”
“We’ve put a pause on even receiving contributions from pharma companies, because it arouses so much criticism, and just stop taking it,” he replied, adding that he would prefer to focus on pulling in small donations from regular people.
As Booker noted, he received “much criticism” specifically for his January vote against drug reimportation and his heavy fundraising from the industry alongside it. Both support for, and opposition to, drug reimportation has long been bipartisan — and the divide is more about financial backing from the industry than party. And that financial backing is largely correlated with whether Big Pharma has a sizable concentration of jobs and industry in a particular state. Booker’s New Jersey has a heavy concentration of the pharmaceutical industry. “I come from a Big Pharma state,” said Booker, “and I understand that pharmaceutical companies are making innovations that are life-saving, but something has become terribly twisted if you can go to other countries who can buy drugs that are made and innovated on in the United States and find them for dramatically less costs.”
In that previous vote, an amendment authorizing drug reimportation by Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders was voted down 52-46. Thirteen Republicans joined a majority of Democrats to support it, but 13 Democrats opposed it.
Booker first faced a backlash on social media, where he repeatedly defended his vote, saying that he supported the issue in concept but had issues with the particular amendment; he also was confronted by Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman days later at an inaugural event where he continued to defend his vote against the bill.
Sanders also implicitly criticized Booker for his vote. “The Democratic Party has got to make it very clear that they are prepared to stand up to powerful special interests like the pharmaceutical industry and like Wall Street, and they’re not going to win elections and they’re not going to be doing the right thing for the American people unless they have the guts to do that,” he said. “That 13 Democrats did not is disappointing. I absolutely hope that in the coming weeks and months you’re going to see many of them develop the courage to stand up to Pharma.”
A month later, Booker surprisingly announced that he would be co-sponsoring a drug reimportation bill with Sanders — a major turnaround from the position he held in January.
Booker’s latest move is a sign that the pressure from activists is working. Not only did he reverse his position on the issue, but he also has backed off of fundraising from the industry — although it remains to be seen how long this “pause” will last.
For now, Booker has some awfully strong words for the industry that was once among his biggest backers. “We need to open up transparency and do a lot of things that a lot of these folks who are profiting off the backs of the sick are not going to like,” he said.
Blue Dog Democrats meet with top Trump aides on tax reform BY MIKE LILLIS - 06/21/17 06:00 AM EDT
From The Hill: Blue Dog Democrats huddled with the leading members of President Trump’s economic team on Tuesday in the Capitol, where the lawmakers pressed the administration to seek bipartisan reforms to the nation’s tortuous tax code.
Just 18-members strong, the centrist Blue Dogs compose a tiny voice in the clamorous House, vastly outnumbered by even the liberals in their own caucus. But with GOP leaders struggling to rally their divided conference around big-ticket legislation, the Blue Dogs see themselves potentially stepping into the mix to broker a bipartisan deal for the sake of getting tax reform to Trump’s desk this year.
“If it’s constructive, if they’re genuinely interested in ideas and making it a bipartisan effort, then the Blue Dogs are certainly willing to participate,” said Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.), a member of the group.
“You’ve got the far left, you’ve got the far right, and the Blue Dogs are in the center. And basically, we want a tax code that’s efficient [and] that works for everybody.”
With that in mind, the Blue Dogs met Tuesday evening with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, White House chief economic advisor Gary Cohn and Marc Short, the president's director of legislative affairs, to press a simple, two-pronged message: First, for tax reform to be sustainable, it must be bipartisan; second, the Blue Dogs are willing to help.
“The message is that we’re willing to participate and give input if, in fact, it’s going to be a bipartisan process that ultimately is going to work for the good of the Republic,” Bishop said.
“They’re interested in input because they recognize that it needs to be a bipartisan effort if it’s going to succeed. And they want it to succeed.”
How the Republicans go about the process, however, remains an open question.
GOP leaders in both chambers are hoping to rally their Republican troops behind a tax package that won’t require any Democratic votes — a message amplified by Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Tuesday.
“Once in a generation or so, there is an opportunity to do something transformational — something that will have a truly lasting impact long after we are gone,” Ryan, a former Ways and Means chairman who’s fought for years to rewrite the tax code, said during a speech before the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) in Washington.
“That moment is here and we are going to meet it.”
Thus far, however, Ryan and the Republicans are divided over the policy specifics of their various tax plans, particularly when it comes to an import tax that Ryan backs but Trump and many other Republicans reject.
Furthermore, going the partisan route will require the Republicans to adopt a 2018 budget bill that includes procedural language, known as reconciliation, that would allow them to move a tax package through the Senate with just a simple majority. That budget bill is on hold while the Republicans attempt to pass their ObamaCare repeal bill, which is slated for a Senate vote next week.
The Blue Dogs are eying the healthcare vote with particular interest because they think it will likely dictate both the tenor of the subsequent tax debate and the extent of their influence over it.
If healthcare reform passes on a party-line vote via reconciliation, they say, there will likely be less appetite for Republicans to reach across the aisle for Democratic votes on tax reform. [...]
JOE MANCHIN WAS ONE OF FIVE DEMOCRATS WHO SAVED SAUDI ARMS SALES. HIS PRIMARY OPPONENT IS FURIOUS. Zaid Jilani June 19 2017, 6:03 a.m.
The Intercept: A SENATE RESOLUTION disapproving of a portion of arms sales to Saudi Arabia — which has been waging a long, bloody war in Yemen that has sparked multiple humanitarian crises — narrowly failed along a 47-53 vote on Tuesday. Five Democrats voted against the measure, ensuring that it did not pass.
One of those Democrats was Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who is facing a challenge from environmental activist Paula Jean Swearengin in next year’s primary. In an interview with The Intercept, Swearengin reacted harshly to Manchin’s vote in favor of the arms sale — which provides equipment necessary to conduct airstrikes in Yemen — and even suggested the conservative West Virginia Democrat is a Trump ally.
“I’m not surprised because of his history of voting in favor of President Trump, like a Republican,” Swearengin said.
She then went on a tear suggesting that the weapons would end up in terrorist hands rather than focusing on how the arms could be used in the war against Yemen. “Sen. Manchin voting against the provision to stop the sale. That tells me that Sen. Manchin supports giving weapons to a country that is known for harboring terrorists,” Swearengin said. “The weapons could possibly end up in the hands of terrorists.
She also linked the vote to Manchin’s voting record on domestic matters, saying that both are evidence that Manchin doesn’t respect human rights. “He’s showing us he doesn’t value human life, in Appalachia, in America, or other countries,” she said. “People are dying in the streets and starving in Yemen. How does he sleep at night? West Virginians are tired of dying and starving as a result of his poor leadership, too.”
Manchin, who did not reply to a request for comment, may face more votes on Saudi arms sales before the election next year.
In an interview with The Intercept, Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul, who co-sponsored the resolution of disapproval, said he anticipates further votes on other parts of the arms deal. “This may very well not be the last time they have to ask again for permission for more arms,” Paul said. “And I think as the famine gets more desperate, as the blockade continues, maybe we can convert a few Republicans who may care about the famine and the deaths.”
It remains to be seen whether Manchin does.
New York Gov. Cuomo hires Trump adviser after huge donations International Business Times 30 MAY 2017 AT 22:37 ET
A head of a potential 2020 presidential bid, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has generated headlines for his public criticism of President Donald Trump. However, Cuomo recently appointed one of the president’s infrastructure advisers after that Trump confidante gave the Democrat hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions.
Weeks after pressing to bring in a private operator to run Penn Station, Cuomo appointed Vornado real estate mogul Steve Roth to a new task force charged with shaping the redevelopment of the New York City train station. At the same time, Roth is helping lead the White House’s infrastructure plan, which aims to sell off public assets to private firms — and which has drawn harsh criticism from Democrats.
When asked about the campaign donations that preceded Roth’s appointment to the task force, the governor’s spokesperson, Rich Azzopardi, responded in an emailed statement: "There are 14 stakeholders on this advisory panel representing a spectrum of viewpoints and as Steve Roth and Vornado won a competitive bid to redevelop the Farley Post Office into Moynihan Train Hall, they are clearly stakeholders. It’s obvious to anyone that the status quo at Penn Station is broken and riders are suffering for it — nonsense conspiracy theories help no one here."
Vornado did not respond to International Business Times’ request for comment.
In recent years, Penn Station has been beset by a variety of service disruptions, delays and even derailments. The station is in need of extensive repairs that will necessitate shutdowns and could lead to what Cuomo called a "summer of hell" for commuters. Many of the problems are a result of growing ridership that has far outpaced what the station’s builders foresaw when they completed the facility in 1963. Penn Station now services double the number of riders it was originally designed to accommodate.
Earlier this month, Cuomo penned a joint letter with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to Amtrak’s CEO saying “a professional, qualified, private station operator must be brought in” to manage the public facility. Less than two weeks later, Cuomo asked Trump to provide federal money to help fund repairs, calling the state of affairs at the station an "emergency situation."
Vornado — which has invested with Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner’s real estate empire —owns millions of square feet of office space around Penn Station and has for years pushed for a redevelopment plan for the beleaguered facility. Amid that push, Roth and his wife, Daryl, made large donations to Cuomo's 2018 reelection campaign.
According to state campaign finance records, the couple gave $95,000 to Cuomo’s campaign on Dec. 1, 2016. Those donations came a few months after Cuomo selected Vornado as one of the firms to develop a separate, new 255,000-square-foot train hall to house passenger facilities for the Long Island Rail Road and Amtrak, according to a Cuomo press release.
The Roths’ $95,000 contribution to Cuomo was a fraction of the more than $344,000 the pair has given to Cuomo’s campaigns since 2007 — with three-quarters of that cash haul coming since Cuomo was sworn in as governor in 2011.
Roth is not the first Cuomo appointee with links to Vornado. In 2015, Cuomo appointed Michael Fascitelli as a commissioner of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. He had previously been a partner at Goldman Sachs and a president and CEO of Vornado Realty Trust and remains a trustee of that entity.
“I’m Working With Steve Roth”
While Cuomo has tabbed Roth to craft a new Penn Station redevelopment plan for the same neighborhood Vornado invests in, Roth is also helping spearhead Trump’s infrastructure privatization plan.
Trump told the Wall Street Journal in January that he would be working with Roth on infrastructure policy and Roth attended a White House meeting in March about that policy. Trump most recently touted Roth’s infrastructure policy work for the administration in an April speech.
"I’m working with Steve Roth and with [real estate investor] Richard LeFrak — two friends of mine that are very good builders," Trump said. "They’re great builders. And they know to get things done. They know how to cut red tape. We’re going to give them the advantage of having what we have."
Democrat Cory Booker defends Jared Kushner — after receiving loads of campaign cash
International Business Times 29 May 2017 at 14:36 ET
From Raw Story: New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker — a potential 2020 White House contender and recipient of major campaign contributions from Jared Kushner and others in the Kushner family — declined to endorse his party's call for the White House to revoke the security clearance of the president's son-in-law.
The Democratic National Committee has called for Kushner's security clearance to be revoked after reports that he sought to set up back-channel communications with Russian officials. Similarly, Rep. Adam Schiff — the senior Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee — said Kushner's security credentials should be reviewed.
Booker refused to support those calls during an interview with CNN Sunday. Asked if supports revoking Kushner's security clearance, the New Jersey senator said: "I think we need to first get to the bottom of it. He needs to answer for what was happening at the time. It raises very serious concerns for me. And that could be a potential outcome that I seek, but I want to understand, at least hear from Jared Kushner, as well as the administration, about what was exactly going on there."
Booker also pushed back against those calling for Trump's impeachment, saying, "I'm not going to rush to impeachment."
Kushner and other donors affiliated with Kushner Cos. delivered more than $41,000 to Booker's Senate campaign in 2013, according to data compiled by PoliticalMoneyLine.com. Politico reported that Ivanka Trump hosted a fundraiser for Booker during that election.
In 2009, Jared Kushner also gave $20,000 to Booker's Newark mayoral ticket "Booker Team for Newark," New Jersey campaign finance records show. That year, Booker attended the wedding of Kushner and Ivanka Trump. Booker has in the past made headlines taking stances at odds with others in his party. During the 2012 election, for instance, Booker defended the private equity industry and slammed Barack Obama's campaign for attacking then-Republican nominee Mitt Romney's private equity firm, Bain Capital. More recently, Booker cast a pivotal vote against Democratic legislation to allow Americans to buy lower-priced prescription drugs from Canada.
North Dakota Democrat rejects the Trump resistance: “I think that’s a waste of my time”
Heidi Heitkamp, one of the must vulnerable Democrats in the Senate, complains that fighting Trump is not persuasive
MATTHEW SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY, MAY 24, 2017 01:58 AM PDT
From Salon: In a Monday meeting with a state business group, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, a North Dakota Democrat, said that the staunch “Resistance” position many of her party members are taking toward President Donald Trump is “a waste of my time.”
“The thing is that there are two things that are happening that are really challenging us,” Heitkamp told the North Dakota Chamber of Commerce, according to a video that was posted of the proceedings.
“One is the resist movement. Which is nothing. Just resist, right? Don’t do anything, just resist,” she said.
According to Heitkamp, merely resisting Trump is not a way to achieve good public policy.
“I think that’s a waste of my time, if all I’m there for is to resist,” Heitkamp said. “That’s not persuasive.”
While Heitkamp has said she opposes to Trump’s current health care plan, she has also voted to confirm his picks to head up the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of the Interior. She also joined the GOP in voting for a repeal of an Obama-era regulation on coal mine pollution into streams and rivers.
Heitkamp’s rejection of hard-line Trump opposition is unlikely to win her any popularity with Democrats at the national level — but the freshman senator is in a bit of a tough spot. Heitkamp is one of 10 Democratic senators up for re-election in 2018 in states won by the GOP in the 2016 presidential contest. Trump won North Dakota last year with 63 percent of the vote, while Hillary Clinton got just 27.2 percent.
The Heitkamp approach of tracking more centrist in Republican-leaning states has worked to get politicians elected in the past — many Democratic congressional candidates won in relatively conservative states in 2006, for instance — but many progressive groups are pushing back hard against the idea that economic moderation is what Democrats need.