Political Roundup

In this week’s headlines…

President Trump sided with Democratic leaders to increase the debt limit and finance the government for three months, sparking Republican outrage, and is now seeking support from the left for his upcoming tax reform plan (The New York Times, “Trump Lashes Out at Congressional Republicans’ ‘Death Wish’,” 09.08.17).

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is working to roll back guidelines put forth by the Obama administration on campus sexual assault, which called on schools to take assault allegations and investigations more seriously. DeVos’ announcement last week, in which she claimed the current policy denies due process to individuals involved, led to #StopBetsy trending on Twitter (CNN, “DeVos announces review of Obama-era sexual assault guidance,” 09.08.17).

A Kremlin-linked Russian company is suspected to have purchased $100,000 worth of Facebook ads used to influence the 2016 presidential election (The New York Times, “The Fake Americans Russia Created to Influence the Election,” 09.07.17).

President of the University of California system and creator of DACA Janet Napolitano is suing Trump officials on the grounds that ending the program violated administrative procedures and due process requirements (The New York Times, “Napolitano Sues Trump to Save DACA Program She Helped Create,” 09.08.17).

Trump’s Former Chief Strategist Stephen K. Bannon will deliver a speech at a Hong Kong investor conference calling for tougher U.S. policy toward China; Bannon has spoken of the need to “confront China on its rise to world domination” and supports halting trade to put pressure on North Korea (The New York Times, “Next Stop for the Steve Bannon Insurgency: China,” 09.08.17). Stepping back from earlier threats, Trump said that he would prefer to solve the North Korea situation without a military strike, commenting last week, “Certainly that’s not a first choice, but we’ll see what happens” (CNN, “Trump: ‘It would be great’ if North Korea could be solved without military action,” 09.07.17).

In our backyard…

Poughkeepsie Mayor Robert G. Rolison supported working toward a more bike-friendly city, saying, “In addition to our Market Street Complete Street project, we need more bike facilities throughout the city, as well as more bike racks at key destinations” (Poughkeepsie Journal, “Yes, it’s possible to create ‘bike-friendly communities’, 09.09.17).

Rolison was referring to the ongoing effort to create streets that are more conducive to mobility and community connection, which was undertaken in coordination with the New York State Department of Transportation and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (City of Poughkeepsie, “Poughkeepsie City Center Connectivity Project”).

On Tuesday, Sept. 12, Poughkeepsie residents voted in primaries to choose candidates for county legislature positions, city council seats and town supervisors, among others (Poughkeepsie Journal, “Candidates from Dutchess, Ulster competing in Tuesday primaries,” 09.10.17).

That morning, a funeral was held for Poughkeepsie native Corey Ingram, who was one of 10 sailors who died following the Aug. 21 crash between the USS John McCain and a tanker off the coast of Malaysia (Poughkeepsie Journal, “Services for Poughkeepsie sailor Corey Ingram set for Monday, Tuesday,” 09.08.17).

On Dec. 7, Hillary Clinton will visit Rhinebeck to sign copies of her book “What Happened,” which was released on Sept. 12 (Poughkeepsie Journal, “Hillary Clinton set for Rhinebeck on book tour in December,” 08.28.17).

Keeping up with 2020 hopefuls…

Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) introduces his single-payer health care bill this week. Single-payer (or Medicare for All) would see all healthcare financing coming from a single entity, cutting employers and insurance companies out of the equation. Sanders’ plan would do away with cost-sharing measures like deductibles and co-payments, with financing for the plan coming mainly from increased taxes (Money, “What Is Single-Payer Healthcare and Why Is It So Popular?,” 04.13.17).

Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) will propose an alternative plan that allows individuals and businesses to buy into Medicare. Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) have both announced they will co-sponsor Sanders’ proposal. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) have also spoken positively of single-payer healthcare, which some, particularly within the progressive base of the party, see as a defining policy issue for 2020 Democratic hopefuls. (CNN, “#2020Vision: Kamala Harris fires the single-payer starting gun; Sanders on the trail; Castro’s next move; Kander’s early-state offices,” 09.08.17).

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has created a new political committee, American Possibilities, and has been arranging one-on-one meetings with donors. Harris, Gillibrand and Warren have also been holding fundraisers, suggesting they may be planning to finance 2020 Presidential bids (The New York Times, “Long List of Top Democrats Have 2020, and Money, on Their Minds,” 09.02.17).

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