Budget, Defense, Featured Story

Trump’s Budget: More for the Military, Less for the Rest

Hawaii Judge Blocks the Muslim Travel Ban

More guns. Trump’s proposed budget plan, which he released today, includes big cuts in environmental protection and foreign aid and a $54 billion increase in defense spending, reports Reuters. The EPA  would be cut by 31%, or $2.6 billion, according to The New York Times. This would be the smallest budget for the EPA in 40 years. The budget outline is expected to be skimpy on details like tax proposals that are typically included in such plans, Politico said.

No ban. A federal judge in Hawaii issued a nationwide order Wednesday evening, blocking Trump’s ban on travel from parts of the Muslim world, reports the New York Times. Judge Derrick K. Watson wrote that the new order was “issued with a purpose to disfavor a particular religion, in spite of its stated, religiously neutral purpose.”

New injury. New Medicaid chief Seema Verma on her first day on the job told states they should look at charging premiums for poor families on Medicaid and prodding them to get jobs. Verma, who was sworn in Tuesday, made similar changes in Indiana where Medicaid recipients had coverage terminated for missed payments.

No protection. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the watchdog agency created under Obama to protect our wallets from predatory banks and other financial institutions, is under siege, and Consumer Reports lays out why. Trump signed an executive order in February that could lead to the bureau being gutted. The bureau is also being attacked in court, Bloomberg reports. PHH Corp., a New Jersey mortgage company ordered to pay $109 million for illegally referring consumers to mortgage insurers in exchange for kickbacks, is trying to kill off the bureau in a court case. Trump’s Justice Department is expected to side with the offending mortgage company.

Troubled waters. Trump’s administration will offer 73 million acres offshore

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico

of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida for oil and gas exploration. The proposed lease sale is scheduled for Aug. 16 and would include all available unleased areas in federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Sporting news. The Senate is considering a resolution the Republican-dominated House has already approved that would allow hunters to kill bears with cubs and to shoot bears from planes on national wildlife refuges in Alaska, Eric Biber writes in LegalPlanet. The resolution is supported by the National Rifle Association. U.S. Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) sponsored H.J.Res.69. The Senate version is S.J.Res.18 sponsored by Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska).

Pension cuts. The Obama-era administrator, Kenneth R. Feinberg, who oversaw a law on proposed pension cuts has resigned from his position at the Treasury Department, Bloomberg reports. The Kline-Miller Act allows multiemployer pension plans to ask Treasury to cut benefits to avoid insolvency. Feinberg was involved in approving cutting benefits for Iron Workers Local 17 Pension Fund but helped reject four other applications. Benefit cuts could affect 1.5 million retirees and workers.

March 15, 2017