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Tuesday News: Terrorist Attack in Manchester Kills 22; Trump Budget Demolishes His Own Voters; “Jed Clampett” and the “Orb”

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by Lowell

Here are a few national and Virginia news headlines, political and otherwise, for Tuesday, May 23.

  • Quizzical

    Trump’s budget is their opening position on budget negotiations. It isn’t going to be enacted but shows the direction they are headed. To me it seems all about getting a huge tax cut passed for the .1%.

  • PEOPLE’S ACTION ENDORSES TOM PERRIELLO IN VIRGINIA GOVERNOR’S RACE

    Co-Director George Goehl Calls the Candidate Virginia’s Antidote to a Dangerous Profit-Before-People-And-Planet Ideology

    WASHINGTON – People’s Action, a national alliance of grassroots organizations, announced May 19 that it is endorsing Tom Perriello in the Virginia Democratic primary for governor.

    The endorsement means that People’s Action will mobilize volunteers and other resources to inform voters that Perriello is the best candidate to challenge an unprecedented concentration of wealth and power, and ongoing racial injustice.

    “We need bold elected officials like Tom Perriello who will put people and our planet before corporate profit,” said George Goehl, co-director of People’s Action. “Perriello is the antidote to Trumpism, neoliberalism and racism: a candidate who will stand up for racial and gender justice, champion policies that expand economic equity and power to all Virginians, and stop the rich and corporations from corrupting our democracy.”

    “He is a candidate who embraces a new movement politics that puts people power at the center of our democracy instead of concentrated wealth,” said Goehl.

    Perriello is the first gubernatorial candidate among those People’s Action has either already endorsed or will endorse around the country as the resistance transitions from protest to power.

    “We endorsed Perriello because he brings a fresh set of ideas and energy at a time when Virginia has to move in a more progressive direction to bring about the economic and racial equity that the people of this state need,” said Janice “Jay” Johnson of Newport News, Va., board president of People’s Action.

    “We as average citizens of Virginia are not at the table, and a lot of us are frustrated by that. Perriello has proven that he is a good listener; he hears what we say about the solutions that we need, is more inclusive and brings a wide range of experiences beyond Virginia into the conversation,” said Johnson.

    Perriello won the endorsement during a process led by a panel of nine leaders of People’s Action in Virginia who reviewed questionnaires submitted by Perriello and the other declared Democratic candidate, lieutenant governor Ralph Northam, and conducted interviews with both candidates.

    They measured the candidates’ positions against the People’s Action “Rise Up: From Protest to Power” platform that was unveiled at the organization’s founding convention in Washington in April. Their decision was unanimous.

    The positions that earned Perriello the People’s Action endorsement include:
    Support for a $15 minimum wage.
    Repeated stands against the unprecedented concentration of wealth and power in the state, and the toxic politics of racism and sexism in Virginia and across America.
    Opposition to fracked gas pipelines and support for investments in green energy.
    Commitment to a progressive system of taxation that ends corporate subsidies and makes the wealthy and corporations pay their fair share.
    Pledging to fight “new Jim Crow” legal codes, systemic racism in mass incarceration and the for-profit prison industry.

    People’s Action and its affiliates intend to make endorsements in hundreds of races in this election cycle, including some Virginia state legislative races later this year.

    Many of the candidates will be from among the 72 who pledged during the People’s Action convention to run for office during a session that featured former presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and was attended by more than 1,000 activists from around the country. People’s Action has commitments from more than 400 others in its organizations to run for office within the next five years as part of a joint candidate slate running on our Rise Up! platform.

    # # #

    People’s Action was formed last year in a rare merger of five national organizations, each with decades of organizing and activism history, creating one of the largest grassroots, people-powered networks in the country. People’s action is more than a million people across 30 states working for economic, racial, gender and climate justice – and to ensure everyone a voice in our political system.

  • From Rep. Donald McEachin:

    Congressman A. Donald McEachin (VA-04) issued the following statement about President Trump’s updated FY2018 budget:

    “The President’s budget is nothing but Robin Hood in reverse – stealing from those most vulnerable while rewarding those who already have the most. As proposed, it would make egregious, draconian cuts to programs that Americans count on. This updated budget would take our country back to a time when government turned their backs on hardworking families. Middle class Americans, minority communities, low-income families, children and the elderly will suffer under this budget, which fails to protect funding for public education, healthcare, housing, and the social safety net.

    “While I fully support smart investments for our Armed Forces, that must not be at the expense of Americans’ needs. The cost to fulfill the Pentagon’s needs cannot, and should not, jeopardize fully funding needed programs including those that protect clean air, water and land.

    “This ‘trickle-down’ economics plan has been tried and failed before. I call on my colleagues to do what is right; protect all of your constituents – not the select few who would benefit from this budget.

  • From Sen. Mark Warner:

    STATEMENT OF U.S. SEN. MARK R. WARNER
    ~ On President Trump’s proposed budget ~

    WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), a member of the Senate Budget and Finance Committees, released the following statement on President Donald Trump’s FY 18 budget proposal:

    “Even as many families continue to struggle, the Trump Administration’s budget would dramatically cut important safety net programs for working people, including food stamps, children’s health insurance, temporary aid to families, and student loan support. It also cuts billions of dollars from Medicaid while shifting more of the cost and responsibility to the states. It presumes tax reforms without providing any details, and the entire Trump budget is based on unrealistic growth estimates that have already been rejected by many leading economists. As a member of the Senate Budget and Finance committees, I will strongly oppose the Administration’s approach, and I will continue to push for a comprehensive, long-range plan that takes a more responsible approach to fixing our nation’s balance sheet.”

  • Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-VA) released the following statement on President Trump’s FY2018 Budget proposal:

    “The President’s FY2018 budget proposal is the most radical policy document to come out of Washington since the failed Ryan Budget. It is a blueprint for social Darwinism and a unilateral retreat from our commitments at home and abroad.

    How does slashing Medicaid, Medicare, the Children’s Health Improvement Program, Social Security, disability insurance, NIH funding, SNAP, community development block grants, foreign assistance, and public health and safety programs make America Great Again? It won’t.

    The President’s budget makes mindless cuts to so many programs we know work. It cuts $800 billion from Medicaid over the next decade, ripping away health care from millions of low-income Americans. It slashes SNAP by $193 billion, even more than the unconscionable cuts proposed by Republicans in recent years. It guts foreign assistance programs, threatening our security and shirking our global commitments. It disinvests in the National Institutes of Health, crippling our ability to find the cures of tomorrow. The President would begin to hand over public education to private charter schools, and eliminate federal student loan support. And this plan would make many public health and environmental protections obsolete.

    The consequences of this budget would be disproportionately harmful to Northern Virginia. While we can take solace that PRIIA funding is included, this budget threatens other funding sources for Metro and could grind to a halt the progress we’ve made in restoring our nation’s transit system. It eliminates funding for the Chesapeake Bay program. It eliminates climate science research. It eliminates community development block grants our localities rely on. And the President’s budget is yet another attack on federal employees and retirees by cutting their retirement benefits and pay. In fact, the biggest losers of the President’s budget will be the millions of Americans that rely on the federal government to care for our veterans, maintain our national parks, and process Social Security checks each and every day. Cuts of this magnitude will make it impossible to recruit and retain the qualified workforce we need to meet our nation’s challenges.

    The President’s proposal finances tax cuts for the rich, a ramp up in defense spending, and his fantasy border wall with austerity measures on domestic investments in education, infrastructure, and research – investments we should prioritize, not eliminate. It’s a dystopian vision that will inflict the very carnage he described in his inaugural jeremiad.”

  • Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) issued the following statement today on the Trump budget:

    “While President Trump’s budget will not pass Congress, it is nonetheless a telling statement of Republican priorities: cutting taxes for the wealthy while gutting innumerable programs and agencies that protect the most vulnerable.

    The Trump budget is rooted in fantasy. It will not generate the constant three percent growth that is the premise for massive tax cuts, nor does it even account for the cost of those cuts in the first place.

    It would gut the safety net needed by millions of Americans. Despite Trump’s campaign promises to the contrary, this budget would kick nearly 14 million Americans out of federal health care programs, ultimately cutting Medicaid in half. These cuts would hurt millions of American veterans. Trump’s $193 billion cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program would leave millions of Americans hungry.

    Trump’s proposal to slash Social Security Disability Insurance destroys the household budget millions of hurt, sick, or injured Americans rely on to make ends meet each month. The budget also contains cuts to the Children’s Health Insurance Program which could jeopardize the health care for millions of children in poor and working families.

    The budget’s effects on scientific research and environmental protection, ranging from massive cuts to the EPA and NIH to elimination of funds that create clean energy jobs, would hurt our economy, our ability to fight climate change, and efforts to protect clean air and water.

    Trump’s proposal for the defense budget is implausible, with ambitious plans to scale down spending in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria, despite no concrete military plan to do so and a ‘Commander in Chief’ uninterested in the kind of international diplomacy that avoids future conflicts.

    Trump’s plan is an inhumane wish list to Republican lawmakers looking to reward the wealthiest Americans at the expense of everyone else. I encourage my colleagues to work earnestly to improve upon this disaster to reach a budget agreement that funds our investment in American families and keeps the government running past September.”

  • Governor Terry McAuliffe released the following statement in response to President Trump’s full budget proposal for fiscal year 2018:

    “The budget plan President Trump unveiled today is not a vision for future economic growth, it is a scheme to cut taxes for billionaires by gutting programs that create economic opportunity for American families. This budget makes savage cuts to Medicaid, student loan programs, disability assistance and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), while at the same time making fantasyland assumptions about economic growth that have already been debunked by experts.

    “As the Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, I urge President Trump and leaders in Congress to turn away from this dangerous approach and take a lesson from the bipartisan success we have had in Virginia addressing shortfalls and balancing our budget, all while investing in priorities that create opportunity for the families we serve. It is past time for the President and members of his party to get serious about leading this country and making it easier for states like Virginia to create jobs and opportunity, not harder. ”

  • Video: Democratic Press Conference on Trump’s Budget

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JWVwk45H9qQ

  • From Sen. Tim Kaine:

    U.S. Senator Tim Kaine, a member of the Senate Budget Committee, released the following statement on President Trump’s FY2018 budget:

    “The detailed budget released today confirms where President Trump’s priorities lie: he wants to dismantle critical programs that support Virginia’s families, children, seniors, and businesses in exchange for misguided spending and tax cuts that leave working families behind. After promising not to cut Medicaid, Trump’s budget would slash the program, which provides more than one million Virginians – including more than 594,000 kids, 112,000 seniors, and 186,000 people with disabilities – with health care, and make drastic cuts to programs like Social Security and Meals on Wheels that support those in need. It would cut nutrition assistance that keeps the poorest Americans from going hungry, take away job training initiatives that are critical to American workers’ success, and hurt the environment and our tourism industry. Trump’s budget would cause disproportionate pain in the rural communities he promised to help – including those in Southern and Southwest Virginia and the Valley – by eliminating the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Economic Development Administration, and clean coal research that could help revitalize Southwest Virginia’s economy.

    “It’s particularly disappointing that President Trump ignored the concerns raised by Virginians and local organizations across the Commonwealth that highlighted just how painful these cuts would be to their communities. I will work with my Budget Committee colleagues on both sides of the aisle to prevent these harmful, short-sighted cuts.”

    Below is a list of some of the impacts President Trump’s budget would have on Virginians:

    Medicaid: President Trump’s budget cuts $610 billion in Medicaid, on top of the hundreds of billions in Medicaid cuts that were included as part of efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This has the potential impact of affecting nearly 1.3 million Virginians who rely on the program for health care or long-term care coverage.

    Economic Development Administration (EDA): President Trump’s budget abolishes the EDA, which in just the past two years alone has provided $1.5 million to Roanoke for infrastructure improvements to support a manufacturing facility that will create 154 jobs and $2 million to Boydton for wastewater treatment that was critical to securing a new Microsoft plant in Southern Virginia.

    Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC): President Trump’s budget abolishes the ARC, which in the last two years alone has supported 38 projects in Virginia’s 25 Appalachian counties, creating or retaining some 1,350 jobs, supporting job training initiatives that trained more than 800 students and workers, and attracting more than the total ARC amount in private investments.

    SNAP: President Trump’s budget cruelly restricts access to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), a safety net to prevent the most vulnerable Americans—particularly seniors and children—from going hungry. In Virginia in 2016, some 826,000 residents participated in SNAP, and the average monthly SNAP benefit to each household member was $118, or $1.31 per meal.

    Advanced Coal: In addition to huge cuts to renewable energy research and development, President Trump’s budget cuts the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fossil Energy R&D office in half. This is a decision at direct odds with the President’s stated desire to bolster the coal industry.

    Opioids: Despite claiming to protect funding for the opioid epidemic, the budget cuts Community Mental Health Services block grants by $116 million and reduces other state mental health grants by $136 million. Substance abuse treatment grants for states would fall by $73 million and public awareness programs would be cut by $74 million.

    Student Loans: President Trump’s budget proposes a $143 billion cut in student loan programs, including abolishing the Public Service Loan Forgiveness programs, which undermines the commitment the federal government has made to those who committed their lives to public service.

    Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) State Grants: President Trump’s budget cuts $168 million to grants given to states to strengthen high quality CTE programs even though President Trump has said he is committed to creating jobs and ensuring workers are qualified to fill new jobs.

    Chesapeake Bay Program: President Trump’s budget eliminates the EPA Chesapeake Bay Program, a bipartisan, public-private initiative first established during the Reagan Administration that provides grants to help localities, farmers, and others take steps to reduce the pollution flowing into the Bay.

    Rural Water: President Trump’s budget eliminates the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s rural water and wastewater loan and grant program, which has helped countless small rural Virginia communities finance water infrastructure.

    Transportation Infrastructure: President Trump’s budget eliminates the TIGER transportation infrastructure program. TIGER has been in such high demand that it has funded only 6% of the applications submitted nationwide over the life of the program. In Virginia, it has funded an I-564 connector from Norfolk International Terminals; the Richmond Pulse bus-rapid transit corridor; the I-64 Delta Frames Bridges in Rockbridge County, and others. Countless other project applications have fallen short due to limited funds.

    Federal Employees: The President’s budget eliminates Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLAs) for the Federal Employees Retirement System and would reduce COLAs for the Civil Service Retirement System by 0.5%. These retirement benefit cuts not only threaten the retirement security of current public servants but will depress the ability of the federal government to recruit talented public servants in the future. The President’s budget could also hurt the retirement income of current retirees because of its proposed changes to annuities, hurting retirees on fixed incomes and suddenly altering the retirement plans of current employees.

    Veterans Individual Unemployability and COLA: The budget eliminates unemployment assistance to retirement age veterans, impacting more than 225,000 veterans. The budget also plans to “round down” cost-of-living increases for all veterans receiving benefits checks.

    Legal Services Corporation: President Trump’s budget eliminates funding for Legal Services Corporation, which Congress funded at $385 million in FY2017 to provide access to justice for low-income Americans, especially vulnerable populations like the elderly and military veterans.

    Community Development Block Grants (CDBG): President Trump’s budget eliminates the $3 billion CDBG program, which awarded $50 million in competitive grants to more than 30 Virginia cities and counties last year alone.

    Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI): The President’s budget makes cuts to the Social Security Disability Insurance program, going against his campaign pledge to protect Social Security, and penalizes families with more than one disabled family member.