Today's Fair Shots - June 14, 2017
1-Signing of 'Buy American' Bill Sets Stage for Part 2 Debate in 2019
2-Trump Blasts Health Care Repeal He Celebrated When It Passed U.S. House
3-IAM Posts Anti-ALEC Video Featuring Brother Danny Cooke
4-One More Thing on Courage Victory: He's a Long-Time Union Member
1) In a legislative session that forced working families to play defense the large majority of the time, score one on the plus side: Gov. Greg Abbott has signed SB 1289, the "Buy American" bill, into law.
Abbott signed the measure with no fanfare on Friday, and we were alerted to the action only after making some inquiries on the course of the bill.
The law, which takes effect Sept. 1, offers a modest preference for purchase of American iron and steel on publicly funded projects. This is accomplished by requiring the use of American iron and steel except in three circumstances: first, iron and steel are not produced in sufficient quantities for a project; second, iron or steel products produced in the U.S. will increase the total cost of a project by more than 20 percent; or third, complying is "inconsistent with the public interest."
For water development projects, which currently have a "Buy American" preference, the requirement will be temporarily dropped. A study will be undertaken and a report submitted by Dec. 1, 2018 that analyzes the cost of iron and steel on such projects. The 2019 Legislature will be able to pass on whether to apply "Buy American" provisions to water projects at that time, all but guaranteeing the issue will be a live one again in two years.
For now, though, congratulations to all who were involved in getting this bill to the finish line. Among unions, special hat tips to the United Steelworkers, who partnered with management to highlight to legislators the importance of rebuilding the strategically essential domestic steel industry.
SB 1289 amounts to a bipartisan win that has potential to bring solid middle-class jobs back to the U.S. We will watch the implementation of the measure with interest.
2) In his attempt to "repeal and replace" the Affordable Care Act and destroy coverage for millions of Americans, President Trump made it clearer than ever today that Congress cannot trust him to understand the first thing about the process or stick with lawmakers who take votes that have created some sitting ducks in next year's election.
AP reports Trump took aim at the very House repeal bill that he celebrated upon passage. That bill would knock 24 million Americans out of coverage.
The Senate is taking a different tack, hiding the bill for as long as possible with an apparent strategy of springing it on the calendar for a quick-vote. Danger rests in that direction as well.
AP recounts yesterdays's developments:
President Donald Trump told Republican senators Tuesday that the House-passed health care bill is "mean" and urged them to craft a version that is "more generous," congressional sources said.
The president's comments, at a White House lunch with 15 GOP senators, came as Senate Republican leaders' attempts to write their own health care package have been slowed by disagreements between their party's conservative and moderates.
Trump's remarks were a surprising critique of a Republican-written House measure whose passage he lobbied for and praised. At a Rose Garden ceremony minutes after the bill's narrow House passage, Trump called it "a great plan."
His comments also seemed to undercut efforts by Senate conservatives to include restrictions in their chamber's bill, such as cutting the Medicaid health care program for the poor and limiting the services insurers must cover. Moderate GOP senators have been pushing to ease those efforts.
Read more: https://apnews.com/b5383189b4dc4dea94890f13846c2639/AP-sources:-Trump-tells-senators-House-health-bill-'mean
3) The International Association of Machinists has posted a video on the role of the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council in promoting anti-union legislation in statehouses across the country.
The video features Brother Danny Cooke, a long-time member of both IAM and the Texas AFL-CIO Executive Board. Cooke discusses some of the ALEC-influenced legislation that the United Labor Legislative Committee opposed in the legislative session that was just completed.
4) Brother Bob Comeaux of San Antonio points up a key point, omitted here on Monday, about John Courage, a COPE-endorsed candidate who scored a big upset win in the most conservative City Council district in San Antonio.
"John is a retired educator, longtime member of the San Antonio Alliance of Teachers and Support Personnel which is part of the Texas AFT and the Texas State Teachers Association. It's great to have a union teacher on the most progressive city council we've had in a while."