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‘Grinding my teeth so hard they snap off at the roots’: Pelosi frustrates progressives by stalling pro-labor bill while pushing Trump’s trade deal

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Progressives on Monday criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for reportedly leaving a broadly popular bill boosting union membership on her desk for months while pushing for the passage of one of President Donald Trump’s legislative priorities, the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, by Christmas.

“I don’t know exactly what the holdup is,” said Rep. Pramila Jayapa (D-Wash.), a co-chair of the House Progressive Caucus, “it is taking longer than it should given the number of co-sponsors that we have.”

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Pelosi’s decision to push the USMCA forward while leaving the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, or PRO Act, on her desk since it passed out of committee on September 25 was the subject of an article by Rachel Cohen at The Intercept Monday morning.

According to Cohen’s reporting, the USMCA is seen by moderates as a good example of bipartisan compromise leading up to the 2020 election while labor is antagonistic to the bill:

Centrist Democrats have been insisting privately that a quick passage for the trade deal is necessary for moderate members of Congress to win their competitive reelections in 2020, to show they can “do something.” Unions have made clear, though, that from their perspective, USMCA lacks real labor enforcement mechanisms, which could undermine the whole deal, further drag down wages, and eliminate more jobs.

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The PRO Act, on the other hand, is a bill with appeal across the party, with 215 House co-sponsors.

“Many other bills have come to the floor with fewer co-sponsors than this one,” Jayapal told The Intercept.

Nevertheless, Pelosi is letting the PRO Act sit on her desk, a decision that left journalist Ryan Cooper frustrated.

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“Grinding my teeth so hard they snap off at the roots,” tweeted Cooper.

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It’s not the first time Pelosi’s leadership of a Democratic-controlled House has led to the shelving of labor-friendly legislation. In 2009, the chamber failed to pass the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA), which would have passed through the then-Democratic Senate and ended up on President Barack Obama’s desk.

The parallels to this House bill are clear, The District Sentinel cohost Sam Knight said on Twitter.

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“In 2009, EFCA was cosponsored by a majority of members when Dem leaders refused to even bring it up for a vote,” said Knight. “Pelosi is so utterly devoted to serving her donor class friends.”

DSA organizer Margaret McLaughlin did some math to figure out how she felt about implications of Cohen’s reporting.

“Handing Trump a USMCA win without any strong labor enforcement mechanisms + not passing the PRO act which would sail through the House = gonna give me an aneurysm,” said McLaughlin.

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2020 Election

Masks take center stage in presidential race as Biden slams Trump for ‘costing people’s lives’

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In an interview with CNN's Dana Bash on Tuesday, former Vice President Joe Biden laid into President Donald Trump for his comments belittling his decision to wear a mask at the Memorial Day events at the beginning of the week.

"He's a fool, an absolute fool to talk that way," said Biden. He added that "This macho stuff ... It's costing people's lives."

Trump has frequently refused to don a mask while speaking to the media, even when he is in public places where masks are required.

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“He’s a fool, an absolute fool to talk that way,” Biden to @DanaBashCNN about Trump belittling his wearing of a mask. “This macho stuff ... It’s costing people’s lives.”

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COVID-19

1 in 5 teachers—citing COVID-19 concerns—likely won’t return to US schools this fall: survey

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While most U.S. schools have ended in-person instruction for the rest of this academic year because of the coronavirus pandemic, polling results published Tuesday show that the majority of parents and teachers expect classrooms to reopen in the fall and worry about what that will mean for safety and education.

In mid-May, Ipsos conducted a pair of online polls for USA Today of K-12 teachers and parents of school-aged children. Pollsters found that if schools reopen in the fall—with strict new rules to limit Covid-19 infections—nearly six in 10 parents would consider not sending their kids back and one in five educators likely would not return to teaching. Among teachers 55 and older, that figure was one in four.

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Trump says he can ‘absolutely’ force governors to reopen churches if he decides to do so

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At Tuesday's coronavirus press briefing, President Donald Trump was pressed on whether he really has the authority to force governors to allow houses of worship to reopen amid the coronavirus pandemic. "Can you explain what authority you had in mind when you said that you would do that?" asked a reporter.

The president emphasized that he does have the power — but did not elaborate on how specifically he would do so, and added that he doesn't think he will have to.

"I can absolutely do it if I want to," said Trump. "I don't think I'm going to have to, because it's starting to open up. We need our churches and our synagogues and our mosques. We want them open, churches, synagogues, mosques, and other — we want them open and we want them open as soon as possible."

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