FROM Shane Goldmacher
President Trump's opening offer America's deal-maker-in-chief has proposed a budget so draconian it's already called "dead on arrival" in Congress. Massive cuts in domestic programs would fund the biggest jump in military spending since Ronald Reagan faced down the Soviet Union. But many Republicans are disturbed that the biggest losers would be in rural areas where Trump himself won the most votes. Democrats are predictably outraged over threats to environmental protection and help for the working poor. The give-and-take is just beginning.
Big oil, Vladimir Putin and transactional diplomacy Donald Trump's choice to be Secretary of State is Rex Tillerson , who's never had a job outside the oil giant ExxonMobil, where he's the long-time CEO. He and Vladimir Putin agreed to a multi-billion-dollar oil-drilling deal now subject to sanctions over Ukraine and Crimea — sanctions Tillerson has opposed. Some key Republicans are already grumbling about his ties to Russia and his lack of diplomatic experience, raising questions about Senate confirmation. We hear more about Tillerson and Trump's concept of foreign policy as deal-making.
House Speaker Ryan no longer publicly supporting Trump Fellow Republicans say that House Speaker Paul Ryan will focus on maintaining the GOP majority in Congress, rather than campaigning with Donald Trump or defending his comments. Shane Goldmacher, senior reporter at Politico , has more on Ryan's latest announcement and the infighting within the Republican Party.
PAC puts on Trump dinner contest, misleads donors and raises $1 million The website for the American Horizons PAC – dinnerwithtrump.org – looks just like Donald Trump’s campaign website. The PAC, which is run by a Maryland man named Ian Hawes , promised donors a chance to win dinner with Trump, and it raised $1.1 million from over 20,000 Trump supporters. American Horizons, however, has no connection to Trump or his campaign. Are Hawes’ actions illegal?
Trump's Unconventional Convention Gets More Chaotic than Ever Last night's introductory address by Vice Presidential nominee Mike Pence has been completely overshadowed by outspoken hostility among Republicans. Texas Senator Ted Cruz used his prime time speech to infuriate Trump supporters by refusing to endorse the presidential nominee. Whatever Trump himself says tonight in a bid for unity, disputes over the "Soul of the Party" are bound to continue — win or lose in November. The management of the convention has raised questions about the potential staff in a Trump White House. In the meantime, Trump has told the New York Times he might reduce support for NATO allies — a sweeping change in decades of foreign policy.
Can Conservatives Beat Trump? Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump both emerged victorious last night in the latest primary election. Most political analysts agree that both candidates are likely to clinch the nominations. On the Republican side, Trump’s strength has some conservative insiders scrambling to formulate a hail mary -- a possible third party “true conservative” to run in the fall. With that in mind, several influential conservative leaders will convene in Washington this week to develop their plan to defeat the Donald.
How Paris Attacks Are Playing in US Politics Hillary Clinton is not just a former First Lady and former Senator. She was also President Obama's first Secretary of State. Now, she faces a difficult task in running to be his successor — since he is following a policy of containment. She is one of presidential candidates of both political parties who are holding forth about America's fight against ISIS. Shane Goldmacher, who reports for Politico , considers their contrasting views.
The Limits of Political Polls The political story of the week is the stunning defeat of House majority leader Eric Cantor in Virginia’s seventh district. Nobody predicted that Cantor would lose to a no-name, Tea Party-backed economics professor -- least of all, Cantor’s pollster, John McLaughlin. Less than a week before the election, McLaughlin forecasted that Cantor would win by 34 percentage points. Instead, he lost by ten. How did the pollster get it so wrong?
Republicans Set Up Fake Sites for Democratic Congressional Candidates New websites that look at first like they’re promoting Democrats turn out to be just the reverse. When users hit Donate, they contribute to the National Republican Congressional Committee. Democrats say it’s illegal; Republicans say it’s all part of the game in the digital age. If a prospective voter searches online for New York Democrat Domenic Recchia, the first site that comes up headlines, “Domenic Recchia for Congress.” But the fine print goes on to describe him as “shady,” and a “career politician” with ties to “mobsters.” That’s not what you’d expect from www.domenic-recchia.com/ — and sure enough it’s been planted by the National Republican Congressional Committee. Shane Goldmacher is Congressional Correspondent for the National Journal.
Governor Brown Wants Urgency for a Budget Deal Legislators in Sacramento are getting close to the wire. As a result of voter anger last year, if Senators and Assembly members don't pass a budget by Wednesday's constitutional deadline, they'll lose their pay until they do. On YouTube yesterday, Governor Brown released a statement pushing his now familiar plan to avoid more spending cuts by extending tax increases. Shane Goldmacher of the Los Angeles Times has an update.
Jerry Brown Returns to the Governor's Office Next week Jerry Brown will be sworn in as Governor of California for the third time, nearly three decades after he left that office in 1983. His first challenge will be to solve the state's massive budget problem. He's outlined a plan that includes deep cuts to state services as well as an extension of tax hikes that are set to expire. Shane Goldmacher covers the State Capitol for the Los Angeles Times .
California's New Way of Not Doing Business Property values are going down all over California. In Silicon Valley, where high-tech billionaires live, they've dropped for the first time since the Great Depression. Tax assessors are lowering rates, and that means the state and the counties will be getting less money.
Trying to Fill Another Huge State Budget gap It’s budget season again in Sacramento, with a June 30th deadline that hasn’t been met for the past 20 years. Governor Schwarzenegger’s proposed spending plan calls for massive program cuts and no new taxes—a formula for another extended standoff.
Budget Negotiations off to Rocky Start in Sacramento With a state deficit of $20 billion, Governor Schwarzenegger called a special session in January, so the Legislature could get a head start on the budget. The Democrats passed $4 billion in cuts but their bills have now been vetoed, even though they contained provisions much like those proposed by the Governor himself. Shane Goldmacher reports on the State Capitol for the LA Times .
Bailing Out California The latest budget deficit will be at least $20 billion, and Governor Schwarzenegger wants Washington to help make up the difference. Without $8 billion in new federal money, he says welfare and two tax breaks for big corporations may go by the boards. Shane Golmacher reports from Sacramento for the Los Angeles Times .
Schwarzenegger Picks Maldonado for Lieutenant Governor Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi has resigned to become a member of Congress giving Governor Schwarzenegger the chance to appoint a replacement. Just as he did when he ran for office himself, the Governor revealed his choice last night on the Jay Leno show. Shane Goldmacher covers the state capitol for the Los Angeles Times .
What happens when America retreats from the world? Is President Trump taking his "America First" agenda to extremes, withdrawing the country from the international stage on trade and climate change, distancing America from its traditional allies across the Atlantic and even threatening to physically isolate the country through the building of a wall along its southern border? León Krauze guest hosts.
Janesville and the American Dream Janesville, Wisconsin is the hometown of Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan. But he couldn’t prevent the closing of the General Motors factory after 100 years. On this Memorial Day rebroadcast of To the Point, we hear what’s happened to what once was a model of American middle-class unity.
Venezuela spirals into economic and political chaos Venezuela, a country whose potential for prosperity is unmatched, finds itself on the verge of civil war. What sustains the repressive government? With time running out, guest host León Krauze looks at what the international community can do to pull the country from the edge of collapse.
Trump's 'America First' goes missing abroad In the Middle East, President Trump is changing some policies of the Obama Administration—and reversing his own campaign attacks on Islam as a religion that "hates us." We hear about his visit to Saudi Arabia and what's at stake for the rest of his foreign excursion.