Each morning, Bill Scher and Terrance Heath serve up what progressives need to effect change on the kitchen-table issues families face: jobs, health care, green energy, financial reform, affordable education and retirement security.
OurFuture.org's Richard Eskow:  "After the foreclosure fraud deal came under attack from a number of its allies, the Administration settled with the banks anyway. But it promised millions of wronged homeowners - and the nation as a whole - that it would move 'aggressively' to investigate criminal misdeeds and prosecute bankers and anyone else who broke the law. That was then, this is now. Two and half months later the Administration hasn't even started to take the inadequate steps it promised it would take. The clock is running out on the statute of limitations and there's no sign that the Administration has lifted a finger to investigate criminal bankers."
White House draws budget battle line, no bills that break last year's deal. Politico:  "In a remarkable display of power — and political theater — three House committees moved in unison to implement an array of new cuts at the expense of food stamps, social service block grants to the states and child tax credit refunds for working-class, often Latino parents who lack a Social Security number ... . In its bluntest language to date, the administration said that President Barack Obama will not sign any new appropriations bills until the House Republican leadership moves back to the spending targets agreed to in last summer’s debt accords."
Daily Beast's Michael Tomasky debunks the "centrist fantasy" that Obama can strike a long-term deficit reduction deal with Republicans:  "Let’s imagine a scenario. Obama comes forward with a tax-reform proposal along Bowles-Simpson lines, one that meets the GOP halfway ... in short order, the line from [Republicans] would be: 'This is a massive tax increase!'"
House passes stopgap transportation bill, with Keystone poison pill. NYT:  "The vote was 293 to 127, with 69 Democrats crossing the aisle to vote yes."
But Senate expected to strip that out. W. Post:  "...everyone knew that once the extension reached the Senate, it would be stripped bare and replaced with a two-year transportation bill the Senate approved earlier this year. That bill would land in the lap of a conference committee. 'The House extension is a shell bill, a Kabuki dance,' one senior House staff member said. 'They want to get this [in a conference committee] behind closed doors so they can work it, but what’s making the House conservatives crazy is that none of what they wanted in a transportation bill is in the Senate bill, and it obviously isn’t in the House extension, and in conference they’re required to stay within the bounds of the bills each side has passed.'"
Obama hits Romney's opposition to saving the auto industry in Michigan speech. CNN quotes:  "Change is the decision we made to rescue the American auto industry from collapse when some politicians said, 'Let Detroit go bankrupt.'"
Romney goes with "Obama Isn't Working" slogan. Politico quotes:  "We’re going to recognize that it’s time that we’ve learned who Barack Obama is and what he’s capable of doing, that he’s over his head and he’s swimming in the wrong direction."
Romney elusive on Violence Against Women Act. NYT:  "The Violence Against Women Act, which passed the Senate Judiciary Committee along partisan lines, would continue existing grant programs that aid local law enforcement agencies and finance shelters and other programs for battered women. It would expand efforts to reach Indian tribes, include same-sex couples in programs for domestic violence and allow more battered illegal immigrants to claim temporary visas, expansions that have made many Republicans unhappy ... Republicans are working furiously to create an alternative bill ... Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for Mr. Romney, said in an e-mail, 'Gov. Romney supports the Violence Against Women Act' ... But she declined to specify which version he supported."
EPA puts cap on emissions from oil and gas wells, but gives industry time to comply. NYT:  "The rule is the first federal effort to address serious air pollution associated with the natural gas drilling process known as hydraulic fracturing ... The original proposal was significantly revised, giving industry more than two years to comply ..."
Electric car industry is creating jobs, despite naysayers, says Electric Drive Transportation Association President Brian Wynne, in Politico oped:  "In just the first three months of this year, Americans bought another 113,000 [electric cars and hybrids]. That’s more than 1,200 vehicles per day, a 45 percent increase over the sales rate from the year-ago period ... The electric vehicle industry already supports tens of thousands of jobs in manufacturing, battery technologies and infrastructure at some 300 facilities in the U.S. ... Smart, strategic government policies have helped accelerate this success — just as they did in other strategically important industries ..."
Shareholder coalition pressing health insurer Wellpoint to disclose political spending. W. Post:  "The shareholder coalition cited WellPoint’s reluctance to answer questions about a transfer of $86 million from the health insurers trade association to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in 2010, when the Chamber was actively opposing President Obama’s health-care overhaul ... The coalition’s effort to hold specific corporate board members responsible represents a new militancy in the fight to require companies to reveal their political activities."
Geithner optimistic on recent China moves. W. Post:  "Chinese leaders have moved to free up trading of their currency, the renminbi, and offered high-level criticism of state-owned banks. At the same time, China has seen a sharp reduction in the surplus its runs with the rest of the world in trade and financial flows. 'The cumulative effect of what China has done is very significant and very promising,' Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said ... [But] the IMF said some of the recent progress may be illusory."