Fat Cat Republican Donors Tell Trump and Congress to Avoid ‘Arbitrary’ Immigration Limits
Koch cash. The Koch political network is calling on Trump and Congress to avoid any “arbitrary” reductions in immigration as part of negotiations over the future of undocumented dreamers brought to our country as children. The statement was issued as hundreds of donors and potential donors gathered for a weekend summit at a desert resort near Palm Springs, Calif.
The statement followed a proposal by the Trump administration that calls for a path for citizenship for as many as 1.8 million undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. Trump also called for a reduction in legal immigration and a $25 billion trust fund to pay for a southern border wall. Keeping the Kochs and their donors happy is important for the GOP in an election year.
The network pledged to spend $300 million to $400 million on policy and political campaigns in 2017 and 2018, up from roughly $250 million during the 2015-2016 campaign season.
The weekend gathering was the largest donor meeting since Charles Koch began hosting the twice-a-year gatherings in 2003. There are roughly 700 “investors” who contribute a minimum of $100,000 annually to the network.
Deadly flu. More than 50,000 Americans will be dead by the time this flu season is over. So far at least 37 children have died. Influenza infections are at a level not seen since the swine flu pandemic of 2009. The entire continental U.S. reported widespread flu every week for the past three weeks. The season is shaping up to be similar to the epidemic of late 2014 and early 2015 which had 710,000 hospitalizations and 56,000 deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Hospitalizations in California are running at four times the level seen in 2014 and 2015. Minnesota’s rate is double. Hospitalization rates are highest among the elderly but also high among those 50 to 65, who typically withstand the flu fairly well.
Pebble mine. The Environmental Protection Agency reversed itself and maintained restrictions on the proposed copper and gold mine in southwest Alaska’s Bristol Bay region. “It is my judgment at this time that any mining projects in the region likely pose a risk to the abundant natural resources that exist there,” said EPA administrator Scott Pruitt. The Obama administration blocked the proposed mine in 2014 over environmental concerns. Pruitt started a process last year to reverse that decision. The Canadian company behind the mine applied for a permit. The Pebble Limited Partnership is planning to mine 1.2 billion tons of material, including 287 million pounds of copper. The permitting process will continue. Pruitt indicated the mine could ultimately be approved.