Day 279: Drain the swamp.
1/ Senate Republicans repealed a rule that allowed Americans to sue their banks and credit card companies in class-action lawsuits. Senators passed the measure by a vote of 50-50, with Pence breaking the tie. The Obama-era rule banned Wall Street banks and credit card companies from inserting arbitration clauses into contracts that prevented consumers from banding together to bring class-action lawsuits. Democrats and consumer advocates called the effort a gift to financial institutions like Wells Fargo and Equifax. (New York Times / CNN)
Tonight @VP Pence & the @SenateGOP gave a giant wet kiss to Wall Street. No wonder Americans think the system is rigged against them. It is.— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) October 25, 2017
By voting to take rights away from customers, the Senate voted tonight to side with @WellsFargo lobbyists over the people we serve. -SB— Sherrod Brown (@SenSherrodBrown) October 25, 2017
2/ Business is booming for a private prison company after it contributed to Trump’s campaign and moved its company meetings, dinner receptions, and golf outings to Trump National Doral. GEO Group, through a company subsidiary, gave $225,000 to a pro-Trump super PAC and an additional $250,000 to Trump’s inaugural committee. It also hired two former aides to Jeff Sessions as outside lobbyists. In exchange, Sessions reversed an Obama-era directive to stop using private prisons, which allowed the company to secure a deal with the government in April worth tens of millions a year. GEO’s stock price has tripled since last year. (Washington Post)
3/ Foreign steel imports are up 24% since Trump’s “Buy American” pledge. In particular, a Russian steel company has won several pipeline contracts, including the Keystone XL. The biggest shareholder in Evraz North America is an oligarch and Trump family friend. (Bloomberg)
4/ Rick Perry claimed Obama discriminated against the coal and nuclear industries. Perry has proposed rewarding nuclear and coal fired power plants that store 90 days of fuel on site for contributing to the reliability of the power grid. Natural gas producers, renewable energy generators, and public utilities – who rarely agree on anything – have asked regulators to reject the proposal, arguing that the approach would distort markets, inhibit competition, and raise consumer prices. (Reuters / Bloomberg)
5/ The House Ways and Means Committee chairman declined to rule out changes to 401(k) plans despite Trump’s promise that there would be “NO change” as part of tax reform. Kevin Brady said he’s working with Trump and “we think in tax reform we can create incentives for people to save more and save sooner.” Brady will introduce his tax bill when the House passes a budget. Orrin Hatch, the top tax writer in the Senate, also declined to agree with Trump’s vow to protect 401(k) plans. (Washington Post / NBC News)
There will be NO change to your 401(k). This has always been a great and popular middle class tax break that works, and it stays!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 23, 2017
6/ The head of Cambridge Analytica tried to work with Wikileaks to find Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 deleted emails. Alexander Nix, whose firm worked for Trump’s campaign, wrote an email to Julian Assange asking if the two could work together to find and release Clinton’s emails. Assange replied that he didn’t want Nix’s help. (The Daily Beast)
7/ Paul Manafort is facing a third money laundering probe. The Manhattan US attorney’s office is working in collaboration with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation to look at Trump’s former campaign chairman. The state of New York also has its own money laundering investigation going. (Wall Street Journal)
8/ CBO Score: The bipartisan health care bill would reduce the deficit by nearly $4 billion over 10 years. If the insurer subsidies aren’t funded, however, the federal deficit would increase by $194 billion by 2026. (The Hill)
- A judge rejected a request by Democratic attorneys general in 18 states to block Trump’s decision to end subsidy payments to health insurers under the Affordable Care Act. U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria in San Francisco said the government does not have to make the payments while litigation over the subsidies unfolds. (Reuters)
9/ The FCC will roll back media consolidation rules designed to preserve media diversity in local markets. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan will eliminate a 1975 rule that prevented a single company from owning a TV station and newspaper in the same market. Critics say the move will lead to greater media consolidation and the loss of independent voices, while Pai said it would help struggling media outlets in the age of digital consumption. The FCC could also eliminate a rule that prevents TV stations from merging in the same market in order to ensure a variety of perspectives on the air. (Washington Post / Reuters)
poll/ 56% of voters think Trump is reckless. 35% say Trump is honest. (Politico)
poll/ 64% of Americans support legalizing marijuana, including 51% of Republicans. The Trump administration said February that it viewed recreational marijuana use as a flagrant violation of federal law. (Gallup)
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