Leo W. Gerard

President’s Perspective

Leo W. Gerard USW International President

This Budget Endangers Americans

This Budget Endangers Americans

After the president issued a budget last week slashing and burning environmental, labor and educational programs, the guy responsible for the thing, Mick Mulvaney, contended those financial massacres are the heart’s desire of the “steelworker in Ohio, the coal-mining family in West Virginia, the mother of two in Detroit.”

Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, asserted that members of my union, the United Steelworkers (USW), coal miners and urban parents are eager to kill off Public Broadcasting’s Big Bird, to drink lead-laden water, to breathe cough-inducing air and to work among life-threatening dangers.

This illustrates a complete lack of knowledge of the working and living conditions of huge swaths of Americans. Big Bird and Mr. Rogers are way more popular than Congress. Americans would much rather pay their freight than the wages of politicians. Americans are horrified by the poisoned water in Flint, Mich., and are willing to invest in an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that would prevent such health hazards. And steelworkers and coal miners have seen dismemberment and death on the job and don’t want the Chemical Safety Board (CSB) eliminated or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) decimated. 

Americans balk at a budget that renders them less safe in their homes and workplaces.

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AFL-CIO Analysis of President Donald Trump’s FY 2018 Budget

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka made the following statement regarding President Donald Trump’s proposed budget:

 “Working people in states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin didn’t vote for a budget that slashes workforce training and fails to invest in our nation’s infrastructure. President Trump’s proposed budget attempts to balance the budget on the backs of working families. The $54 billion cut to programs that benefit working families is dangerous and destructive. Huge cuts to the departments of Labor, Education and Transportation will make workplaces less safe, put more children at risk and make improving our failing infrastructure much more difficult. The administration can and should do better.”

 The budget abandons the future—slashing investments in workers, communities, young people, protecting our environment and building democracy. There are major cuts in job training, education, health programs, the environment, the arts and foreign aid. Research programs in science and medicine are slashed. Sixty-two government programs/agencies are slated for elimination.

Here are some key highlights:

Department of Labor: Overall cut $2.5 billion (-20.7%)
The budget makes it harder for workers to get the training they need in order to advance in their industry and to compete globally.

  • Major cuts:
    • Job training/employment/re-employment
    • Senior Community Service Employment Program eliminated
    • Job Corps
    • Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) grants eliminated
    • Safety and health training grants eliminated
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Paul Ryan says he fantasized about cutting health care for the poor at his college keggers

Ian Millhiser

Ian Millhiser Senior Constitutional Policy Analyst, Think Progress

Oh, college! It’s a time when young adults discover their professional interests, when they live alone for the first time, when many people come into their sexuality, and when youth get to explore other adult pleasures.

And, if you were House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), it was a time to dream about how, someday, you would take health care away from millions of poor people.

In a conversation with the National Review’s Rich Lowry on Friday, Ryan bragged about how conservatives now have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to take health coverage away from the most vulnerable Americans.

“So Medicaid,” Ryan told Lowry, “sending it back to the states, capping its growth rate. We’ve been dreaming of this since I’ve been around — since you and I were drinking at a keg. . . . I’ve been thinking about this stuff for a long time. We’re on the cusp of doing something we’ve long believed in.”

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Trump’s Supreme Court nominee opens his testimony with a massive falsehood

Ian Millhiser

Ian Millhiser Senior Constitutional Policy Analyst, Think Progress

Judges, if you believe Trump Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch, are politically interchangeable parts. “There’s no such thing as a Republican judge or a Democratic judge,” Gorsuch said very early in the second day of his confirmation hearing on Tuesday. And he returned to this theme repeatedly in his testimony, denying that he is even permitted to opine on matters of politics — most notably to insist that he could not comment on whether President Obama’s nominee for the vacant Supreme Court seat was treated fairly.

It’s a very pleasant idea, this notion that judges put on a black robe and magically become nonpolitical actors. And, in fairness, it is a falsehood that Democratic and Republican nominees both like to repeat at their confirmation hearings. Gorsuch is hardly the first nominee to make a similar claim.

But his claim that judges are not political is transparently false. If it wasn’t false, Senate Republicans would have simply confirmed Chief Judge Merrick Garland — Obama’s nominee to fill the seat Gorsuch now hopes to fill. After all, why should senators care which president appoints our judges if a Democratic judge is interchangeable with a Republican judge?

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Paul Ryan is tired of taking the blame for Trumpcare

Laurel Raymond

Laurel Raymond General Reporter, Think Progress

Republicans in Congress spent seven years attacking Obamacare as a failed health care law, but now that they have the opportunity to advance their own bill, things aren’t going as smoothly as they hoped. The GOP’s Obamacare replacement bill is already wildly unpopular, and party leadership is passing the blame like a hot potato.

According to a poll from Public Policy Polling, only 24 percent of voters support the plan, and the GOP caucus itself is split: while the right flank attacks the bill as “Obamacare lite,” moderate Republicans are concerned over the cuts to Medicaid, the projected drop in the overall insured rate, and the proposal to defund Planned Parenthood.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) has long been lauded as the GOP’s signature policy wonk (a reputation he’s failed to live up to), and, as Speaker of the House, he has had a leading role in crafting the bill. So far, an outsized share of the responsibility for the slow-rolling legislative disaster is landing with Ryan.

On Wednesday, he fought back.

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#DontTaxMyHealthcare

#DontTaxMyHealthcare

Union Matters

How President Trump's Pick for U.S. Trade Representative Could Change the Trade Game

Scott Paul

Scott Paul Director, AAM

President Trump won the presidency, at least in part, because of his messaging on trade. Robert Lighthizer, Trump's pick for U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), is likely to be among the officials charged with helping Trump implement his trade agenda. On this episode of The Manufacturing Report, host Scott Paul and Scott Boos, senior VP of Government Affairs and Policy at the Alliance for American Manufacturing, discuss what we can expect from Lighthizer and the Trump trade team.

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