PROGRESSIVE NEWS UPDATE - March 7, 2001
Congressional Progressive Caucus
1. CRP Releases Analysis of Which Industries Will Benefit From GOP Tax Plan
2. Senate Kills Workplace Protections
3. House GOP Licks Chops in Preparation to Follow Senate
4. Ergonomics Vote: A Corporate Lobbyists Field Day
5. Rallying for Better Wages
6. Bush Gets Rousing Applause From Stock Traders for His Tax Cut
7. Administration Tax Plan Hurts Baby Boomers
8. Progressive Caucus Plan Continues to Make Waves
9. Consumer Confidence Drops With Confidence in Leaders
10. GOP Tries to Shortchange Drug Coverage
11. Battle to Lower AIDS Drugs in Africa Makes Gains
12. One African Company Starts to Act Aggressively Against AIDS
13. Activists Score First Win in African Trial Over Drug Prices
14. Big Drug Companies, Shameful Profits
15. Without Action, 'India Will Become Another Africa'
16. Could Bush Be A Corporate Welfare Cutter?
17. Power Crisis Brings Both Sides Together Against Energy Industry
18. If it Looks That Way, It Probably Is...
19. A Better Way to Work With Genetic Technology?
20. W-CORP, Corporate Radio
Quotes of the Day...
"It's so hard to get out of bed. How I battle in the morning to open my
hands. Tell me, who will hire me with hands like these?"
- Gloria Palomino,a worker recently laid off from a chicken processing
plant, on how the lack of workplace protections has affected her search for
another job (Los Angeles Times, 3/7)
"This has been an all-out effort that involves virtually the entire
Washington business community."
- Michael Baroody, chief lobbyist for the National Association of
Manufacturers, on yesterday's successful GOP effort to kill
workplace protections (CongressDaily, 3/7)
1. NEW REPORT: WHICH INDUSTRIES WILL BENEFIT FROM BUSH TAX PLAN? (news)
The Center for Responsive Politics issues a report showing what corporate
interests will receive under Bush's tax plan. As the report states, "To hear
business groups tell it, they are, in fact, thrilled about the wide reach of
tax plan itself. From its cut in tax rates for individuals to a proposed
phase out of the estate tax, some of Washington's biggest trade associations
contend they couldn't be happier with Bush's proposal."
2. SENATE KILLS WORKPLACE PROTECTIONS (news)
The New York Times reports on the Senate "voted along largely partisan
lines" to repeal workplace protections that "were expected to help prevent
500,000 injuries a year." The bill was passed by Republicans with the help
of 6 Democrats. As the article states, "Business groups were quick to
applaud tonight's vote, saying they would now direct their lobbying at the
3. HOUSE GOP LICKS CHOPS IN PREPARATION TO FOLLOW SENATE (news)
CongressDaily reports that following the Senate's passage of a resolution to
kill workplace protection rules, the House will move forward today with its
own efforts to do the same.
4. A CORPORATE LOBBYIST'S FIELD DAY (news)
CongressDaily reports that there were "a phalanx of business lobbyists
representing numerous industries is blanketing the Senate sideof Capitol
Hill" during the GOP effort to kill workplace protection rules. As the
article notes, there has been an "intense efforts on the part of trade
associations" to kill these rules, with the chief lobbyist for the National
Association of Manufacturing saying "This has been an all-out effort that
involves virtually the entire Washington business community."
5. RALLYING FOR BETTER WAGES (news)
The Los Angeles Times reports on efforts of social service care givers
rallying for higher wages in California.
6. BUSH GETS ROUSING SUPPORT FROM STOCK TRADERS FOR HIS TAX PLAN (news)
The Washington Post reports on President Bush pushing his tax plan to
wealthy stock traders at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Not surprisingly,
he was met with cheers when discussing his plan that gives most of the
benefits to the richest 1% of the population.
7. BUSH TAX PLAN HURTS BABY BOOMERS (editorial)
Economist Paul Krugman of the New York Times reports on who will be the
victims of the Bush tax plan. The first and foremost victims, he notes, will
be "the poor and near-poor, who, because they pay no income tax (though they
pay quite a lot in other taxes), will get nothing from the tax cut but will
bear the brunt of the spending austerity that the tax cut will force. And
these victims include a third of the nation's children." The other victims
will be middle-income baby boomers, 88% of which "will get less than the
'typical $1,600 break" that Bush continues to pretend they will get.
8. PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS PLAN CONTINUES TO MAKE WAVES (editorial)
The Minneapolis Star Tribune editorial board writes that in the upcoming tax
debate, "Democrats who worry about the size and fairness of Bush's plan
shouldn't cave in. There are, or soon will be, better plans available, and
they shouldn't hurry a trillion-dollar decision." The article specifically
notes the Progressive Caucus's American People's Dividend as a worthy
alternative to the Bush plan.
9. CONSUMER CONFIDENCE DROPS WITH CONFIDENCE IN LEADERS (editorial)
Kevin Phillips explores how various leaders are avoiding the issue of
decreasing wages, consumer confidence and the overall economy. As he notes,
"If Bush doesn't understand that he and his half-baked fiscal programs are
part of the confidence crisis, then his concern about not leaving problems
for his predecessors could become tragic instead of funny."
10. GOP TRIES TO SHORT CHANGE DRUG COVERAGE (news)
The New York Times reports that "Members of Congress drafting a budget
blueprint said today that they would provide substantially more money than
President Bush requested to subsidize prescription drug benefits for elderly
people in the coming decade."
11. BATTLE TO LOWER AIDS DRUG PRICES MAKES GAINS (news)
The Wall Street Journal reports that "an extraordinary price war is breaking
out in the market for AIDS drugs in poor countries, as pharmaceuticals
giants seek to blunt a growing threat from generic-drug companies and recoup
some moral high ground amid the crippling epidemic." Specifically, under
increasing pressure to lower prices, "Merck & Co. confirmed it is slashing
the prices for two of its important AIDS-fighting drugs in Africa by 40% to
55%" while other companies plan to implement a new round of sharp cuts."
12. ONE COMPANY STARTS TO ACT AGGRESSIVELY (news)
The Associated Press reports that "Botswana's national diamond company,
Debswana, said it plans to start subsidizing life-prolonging drugs for
HIV-positive employees." With more than one third of the country's
population infected, "the company said it will pay 90% of the cost of
anti-retroviral treatment for HIV-positive employees and HIV-positive
spouses of employees."
13. ACTIVISTS SCORE FIRST WIN IN TRIAL OVER DRUG PRICES (news)
The Wall Street Journal reports that "AIDS activists scored a victory
against international drug companies yesterday" when a South African court
"allowed a local AIDS lobbying group to join the case in support of the
South African government's defense against 39 leading drug makers" - all of
whom are trying to prevent the country from acquiring cheaper, generic
versions of AIDS drugs.
14. BIG DRUG COMPANIES, SHAMEFUL PROFITS (editorial)
Richard Gwyn of the Toronto Star writes on the shameless contradiction
inherent in the drug companies argument that they cannot afford to allow
African countries from obtaining lower-priced AIDS drugs. As he notes "At
the very moment that [drug companies are] reporting record profits, they are
sending lawyers into court to plead poverty."
15. WITHOUT ACTION, 'INDIA WILL BECOME ANOTHER AFRICA' (news)
The Washington Post reports on th growing concern over AIDS in India. The
article explores one Indian businessman's fight against the pharmaceutical
industry to provide generic versions of high-priced AIDS drugs. As he says,
"If we do nothing about it, India will become another Africa, and then it
will be too late."
16. COULD BUSH BE A CORPORATE WELFARE CUTTER? (editorial)
Consumer advocates Ralph Nader and Robert Weissman write that "in a budget
outline that offers little reason to smile to those concerned about the
concentration of corporate power, the Bush administration has offered a
glimmer of hope on the corporate-welfare front" As they write, achieving
budget savings "will require the political courage to offend the very
corporate fat cats who funded" the Bush campaign. "Does the president have
17. POWER CRISIS BRINGS BOTH SIDES TOGETHER AGAINST ENERGY INDUSTRY
David Broder of the Washington Post writes that the growing energy crisis in
California is evoking a "populist revolt" that " is likely to take the form
of a 2002 ballot initiative, aimed at both the power companies and the
process of deregulation." Broder quotes Progressive Caucus Rep. Bob Filner
(D-CA) who says, "For the first time, Duncan Hunter [a conservative
Republican from a neighboring district] and I are on the same side: We both
want a public utility district that can protect consumers from this price
18. IF IT LOOKS THAT WAY, IT PROBABLY IS... (editorial)
The Los Angeles Times writes that by continuing to control about $100
million in stock in Alcoa, Inc Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill risks the
"the appearance of a conflict of interest no matter how honest he may be."
As the article states, with O'Neill making critical decisions affecting this
company, this appearance puts "the credibility of U.S. economic policy at
19. A BETTER WAY TO WORK WITH GENETIC TECHNOLOGY? (news)
The New York Times reports that "As the controversy surrounding genetically
modified foods intensifies, scientists are trying to use the rapidly growing
knowledge about genes to enhance conventional breeding of crops and
livestock rather than implant genes from one species into another. Many say
such an approach is less likely to arouse the public objections that have
been raised by the development of genetically altered plants and animals."
20. W-CORP, CORPORATE RADIO (editorial)
Professor Robert McChesney writes about how the deregulation of the radio
industry in Telecommunications Act of 1996 has now put the entire radio
market into the hands of a very few companies. As he notes "well over half
the 11,000 commercial stations" changed hands since the legislation." Today,
"small station groups can not compete with the giant chains so they sell
out. Radio is now dominated by a small handful of firms that own hundreds of
stations each. Every market is now dominated by two or three firms that are
'maxed out' with eight stations each."
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