Progressive Briefing for Thursday, September 13

Democratic lawmakers demand answers from FEMA , Trump cuts FEMA budget to pay for ICE, Midwest abandons Trump, and more.


22 Democratic lawmakers demand answers from FEMA and HHS on updated Hurricane Maria death toll

In a scathing letter addressed to the heads of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), twenty-two legislators recently demanded answers regarding Hurricane Maria’s updated fatality count, which is nearly 50 times higher than previous official estimates. Although the Trump administration has a significant problem recognizing or addressing its failures, obtaining an accurate fatality count and addressing incompetence could result in saving the lives of thousands of people from a future natural disaster.

Addressed to FEMA Administrator Brock Long and HHS Secretary Alex Azar, the letter requested their assessment of the recent study’s findings and what plans they intend to implement to prevent future loss of life while noting that President Donald Trump still refuses to publicly address the fact that nearly 3,000 Puerto Ricans died as result of his administration’s lack of preparedness and basic ineptitude.

Trump took $10 million from FEMA’s budget to pay for ICE detention centers

President Donald Trump’s administration cut nearly $10 million out of FEMA’s budget in order to fund ICE’s immigration detention centers, according a budget document obtained by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and disclosed on Tuesday night’s edition of MSNBC’s The Rachel Maddow Show.

Poll: Midwest abandons Trump, fueling democratic advantage for control Of Congress

In a troubling sign for Republicans less than two months before November’s elections, Democrats’ advantage on the question of which party Americans are more likely to vote for in November is ballooning, according to a new NPR/Marist poll.

The gap has widened to 12 percentage points, up from 7 in July – and it is largely because of voters in the Midwest. They have swung 13 points in Democrats’ direction since July. That Midwestern shift is consistent with what Marist has found in statewide polls conducted for NBC in Michigan, Wisconsin and Minnesota that showed President Trump’s support there starting to erode.

Because ‘richest Americans do not need another massive tax cut,’ 776 groups urge Congress to stop tax scam 2.0

With the Republican Party moving quickly to deliver yet another round of massive, deficit-exploding tax cuts to their wealthiest donors and constituents ahead of November’s crucial midterm elections, 776 national and state groups – representing millions of Americans – sent a letter to members of Congress on Wednesday demanding that they oppose the GOP’s newly introduced Tax Scam 2.0 and instead invest the $3 trillion experts say the plan could cost into infrastructure, healthcare, and education.

they and America’s corporations need to start paying their fair share, so we have the resources needed to protect Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid and to invest in education, infrastructure, and many more services working families and communities need to thrive,” the groups wrote. “America cannot afford the Trump-GOP tax cuts benefiting the rich and corporations, and we sure cannot afford a Round 2 that puts the interests of the wealthy over everyone else.”

Sen. King to vote ‘no’ on Kavanaugh

Sen. Angus King announced his opposition to Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on Wednesday.

“I have determined that I cannot support this nomination,” King, an independent from Maine who caucuses with Democrats, said in a statement. He joins a handful of senators, including New Hampshire Democratic Sens. Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen and Virginia Democratic Sens. Tim Kaine and Mark Warner, in declaring themselves “no” on Kavanaugh.

Flint water crisis ongoing: ‘We are still suffering’


Four years later and the water crisis in Flint, Michigan is far from over. What began in 2014 when the city “switched its water source from Detroit to the Flint River, as a cost-saving measure,” continues to be a problem for many residents.

The water, which was insufficiently treated, “leached lead from service lines and contaminated the city’s water, exposing 100,000 people,” AlterNet reported. On top of that disaster, there was an outbreak of Legionnaires’ Disease killing at least 12 people, which resulted in felony charges brought against many state officials. While the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality insists the lead levels are within acceptable limits today, residents don’t trust using the water in their homes. And scientists back the residents’ suspicion saying “many of the lead service lines that originally contaminated the water supply are still in use, and will not be replaced until 2020,” AlterNet reported.


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