Trump Education Nominee Betsy DeVos Lied to Senate
The Intercept – There are many reasons Betsy DeVos’s nomination to serve as Donald Trump’s education secretary could be justifiably quashed by the U.S. Senate. Her long public record indicates she is a religious Christian zealot who does not believe in the actual separation of church and state, wants public monies funneled into religious schools, and has contributed through family foundations to bigoted groups with a militant anti-gay agenda. During her confirmation hearing, she gave disturbing answers to questions about her views of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, standardized tests, and school vouchers. She also suggested guns have a place in American schools, though her claim that they were necessary to defend students from grizzly bear attacks was not very compelling.
…Newly elected Democratic Sen. Margaret Hassan pressed DeVos on [claims about her family’s foundation]. She asked DeVos directly if she was on the board of her mother’s foundation during the period in which large donations were made to Focus on the Family. DeVos said that she was not on the foundation’s board.
[According to] 990 tax documents of the Prince Foundation… Betsy DeVos was clearly listed as a vice president of the foundation’s board, along with her brother Erik, for many years, at least until 2014. DeVos was a vice president during the precise period Hassan was referring to.
JPMorgan Agrees to $55 Settlement of Mortgage Discrimination Complaint
Reuters – JPMorgan Chase & Co has agreed to pay $55 million to settle a U.S. Justice Department lawsuit accusing it of discriminating against minority borrowers by allowing mortgage brokers to charge them more for home loans, a person familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
The U.S. Justice Department complaint, filed in Manhattan federal court on Wednesday, accused the bank of willfully violating the U.S. Fair Housing Act and the Equal Credit Opportunity Act between 2006 and 2009 and showing “reckless disregard” for the rights of at least 53,000 African-American and Hispanic borrowers.
Jackie Rock Proves That Berniecrats’ Platform Can Win in Deep Red Districts
Progressive Army – In 2008, Jackie Rock faced a crisis: her family home was illegally repossessed by Wells Fargo. Many Americans went through the same struggle during the housing crisis, but for Jackie, that was just the beginning. She explained, “It shattered my life apart. Divorce followed and single motherhood to an 8-year-old boy was surreal. All in 2009. Still thinking we were failures because of the [bank’s] warfare on our psyche.”
But while the government bailed out Wells Fargo and other “too big to fail” banks, Jackie was left on her own. That’s why, when Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders talked about the banks and criticized them during his run for President in 2016, Jackie took an interest. She had always been interested in politics, but hearing Sen. Sanders speak transformed her interest into involvement.
Lamar Alexander States Repeal and Replace Must Be Simultaneous
The Washington Times – A leading Senate Republican Wednesday used a courtesy hearing for Rep. Tom Price to become President-elect Donald Trump’s health secretary to lay down his marker on repeal of Obamacare, saying it cannot occur until the Republican-led Congress has a suitable replacement in hand.
As head of the Health and Human Services Department, Mr. Price would oversee an agency with a $1 trillion-plus budget and a wide array of responsibilities, from running government insurance programs for seniors and the poor to beating back the global health scares like Ebola and Zika.
Trump EPA Pick Pledges to Quash Heavy Hand of EPA Rules
Bloomberg – President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency outlined a vision for scaling back the office’s reach, while pledging to support clean air and water and hold polluters responsible for violations when necessary.
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt told the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Wednesday that environmental protection can be accomplished in collaboration with states and Congress — without undermining the economy.
“We must reject as a nation the false paradigm that if you’re pro-energy, you’re anti-environment, and if you’re pro-environment, you’re anti-energy,” Pruitt said in his confirmation hearing. “In this nation, we can grow our economy, harvest the resources God has blessed us with, while also being good stewards of the air, land and water.”
Senators Call For Investigations of Tom Price’s Healthcare Investments
The Guardian – Donald Trump’s choice for health secretary, Tom Price, faces his first congressional grilling on Wednesday, hours after leading Democrats called for an investigation of the congressman’s investments.
Price bought and sold health-related stocks while he was an influential voice on healthcare policy in the House of Representatives, advocating for and against bills that affected health companies’ fortunes.
“You made these trades while actively sponsoring, co-sponsoring or voting on dozens of bills that could affect these companies,” wrote Senator Elizabeth Warren, in a letter to Price before his hearing on Wednesday.