IMMIGRATION BILL EXAMINED – Progressive groups evaluated the bipartisan Gang of Eight’s copious, 844-page immigration bill filed yesterday morning:
PROS: Center for American Progress published ten strengths of the bill including an expedited five-year path to citizenship and permanent residency for DREAMers and farmworkers. Economic Policy Institute praised the bill for granting Registered Provisional Immigration status (RPI), which will legally enable many undocumented immigrants to work (see: RPI explained). Human Rights First said the bill could protect thousands of persecuted refugees by improving the asylum system. Progressive leaders from the AFL-CIO, Center for American Progress, SEIU, and National Council of La Raza have agreed to endorse the bill.
CONS: Human Rights Watch reproached the bill for increasing funds to expand criminal prosecutions of migrant border-crossers when current laws already call for deportation. ACLU also questioned expansive border control spending and described the new e-verify system as “job-killing, costly and privacy-invasive.” Human Rights Campaign criticized the bill for failing to protect LGBT immigrant couples and denying family visas to 40,000 same-sex foreign national spouses of U.S. citizens. Sign HRC’s petition to get the uniting american families act into the bill.
WHAT TO FIX: Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund proposed four revisions including visa sponsorship for siblings and a shorter waiting period for applied citizenship (<13 years). The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights stressed the bill must equally promote wage protection and economic advancement for US born workers including “low-income African-American workers whose high unemployment is often exploited by restrictionist groups.”
CLASH OF THE WONKS – On Tuesday, Top Wonk Michael Konczal wrote about a new UMass Amherst study that found an Excel coding error in Reinhart-Rogoff’s highly influential austerity report, leading to a contentious re-evaluation of the Austerity report’s results. FYI: The Austerity report informed the Ryan budget and has served as the key pillar for fiscal austerity in the developed world. Note: Konczal’s post about the coding error draws directly from the research of a UMass Amherst study conducted by Thomas Herndon, Michael Ash, and Robert Pollin. Their study documents further fatal methodological problems in the Reinhart-Rogoff report. Read Pollin’s latest FT article, “Austerity after Reinhart and Rogoff” (*subscription needed).
CPI UNCHAINED — Progressive organizations continue to attack the inclusion of a chained consumer price index in the President’s new budget, which will cut social security benefits for senior citizens. Activists from AFL-CIO, MoveOn.org, Campaign for America’s Future, and Rebuild the Dream have delivered a petition with 2.3+ million signatures to the White House rejecting the President’s adoption of chained CPI. Center for Economic Policy and Research has reported that for an average worker retiring at 65, chained CPI would amount to a cut of $650 by age 75 and another $1,130 by age 85.
FLASHBACK – In 2008, Sen. Obama clearly stated he would not cut Social Security cost of living adjustments.
HOT OFF THE PRESS: AFL-CIO released the latest edition of Executive Pay Watch, an online database comparing real CEO salaries at S&P 500 companies to the pay of US workers. Last year, CEOs took home $12.3 million, or 354 x more than the average rank-and-file worker. That is the largest pay gap in the world. Sunlight Foundation also published an organized Google spreadsheet reflecting all of the reported donors for Organizing for Action, the President’s new nonprofit.
ON OUR AGENDA….A small note about the Boston Marathon Bombings… “The Good Outnumber You, and We Always Will…” (Daily Agenda)…
What Does Gabby Giffords Want You to Do at the Grocery Store?
FACT: Over 90% of Americans support background checks for all gun buyers (Reuters). Shame on Congress.