Democracy Now!

Donald Trump

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  • Just hours before a deadline, Congress has averted a government shutdown by working on a short-term spending bill and a broader deal to fund agencies through September. If the extension is not approved today, federal agencies will run out of money by midnight tonight. One of the key disputes stemmed from Trump’s demands that the government funding bill allocate $1.4 billion for border wall construction. "We don’t have a budget. We have a continuing resolution where basically we’re operating under last year’s numbers," says Vermont Congressman Peter Welch, Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus. "The fundamental responsibility of the legislative body is to pass a budget. We have not done that during the entire time that Paul Ryan has been the speaker of the house. It has not gone well." This comes as House Republicans have called off their efforts to revive a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, preventing President Trump from winning his first major legislative victory ahead of Saturday, which marks his 100th day in office.

  • The Trump administration sent mixed signals on North Korea Thursday, as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. is open to direct negotiations with Kim Jong Un’s regime over his country’s nuclear program, while President Trump hinted at a possible nuclear war. Trump made the remark in an interview with the Reuters news service. Trump’s comment came as Secretary of State Tillerson told NPR he’s open to direct talks with North Korea if the country is serious about permanently abandoning its nuclear program. Meanwhile, President Trump told Reuters that South Korea should pay the $1 billion price tag for a THAAD missile defense system the U.S. recently began installing. Trump suggested the U.S. could cancel a free trade deal between the two countries if South Korea doesn’t accept the demand. "I think the president should be talking diplomacy," says our guest Peter Welch, U.S. Congressman from Vermont. He is Chief Deputy Whip of the House Democratic Caucus, "not making a reckless threat of military action where it is going to be very damaging."

  • As President Trump marks his first 100 days in office, Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) argues many of his plans have increased inequality. "The tax plan is one where the benefits go to the elites in urban areas and corporations," Welch says. "Those are direct policies that will be crushing to the economic prospects of folks, especially in rural America." Meanwhile, a plan that backed by the Koch brothers to classify the Internet as a public utility would leave the industry to largely police itself.

  • Our guest Congressman Peter Welch explains why he joined his Democratic colleagues on the House Oversight Committee in demanding White House documents on President Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn. In a letter to chairman Jason Chaffetz, the group wrote, "There is obviously a paper trail that the White House does not want our Committee to follow. If the White House refuses to produce the documents requested by the Oversight Committee—as it has to date—we believe the Committee should consider employing compulsory measures as it did in similar cases during the previous Administration."

  • As we broadcast from Burlington, Vermont, which is a sanctuary city, Vermont Rep. Peter Welch says there has been enormous citizen support toward undocumented workers. "You’re just seeing people across this country say, 'Wait a minute, that is not the America I know,'" Welch notes. He also discusses the need for local control over whether police departments enforce immigration laws and says, "It is appropriate for law enforcement to have discretion."

  • To mark the 100th day of Donald Trump’s presidency, thousands of climate activists from around the country are converging in Washington, D.C. on Saturday for the People’s Climate March. Already, Trump has threatened to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord, begun dismantling President Obama’s climate legacy and revived the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. He has also put climate change deniers in charge of several key agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency, and proposed slashing the budget of the EPA and other climate programs. This comes as scientists have confirmed 2016 was the warmest year on record. Our guest is Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org, who helped organize this latest march and notes: "Weekends are for fighting tyranny."

  • The White House has outlined a plan to give the nation’s millionaires and billionaires a massive tax break while adding trillions of dollars to the U.S. deficit. The plan would lower the corporate tax rate to 15 percent, end the estate tax and end the alternative minimum tax—a move that would solely benefit the richest Americans, including President Trump. A leaked 2005 tax return shows Trump paid out $36.6 million in federal income taxes that year—most of it due to the alternative minimum tax. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich described Trump’s tax plan as a form of class warfare. The tax plan was unveiled on Wednesday by two former executives at Goldman Sachs—Trump’s chief economic adviser Gary Cohn and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin—who hailed the tax cuts. We speak to economist James Henry of the Tax Justice Network.

  • As Donald Trump approaches his 100th day as president on Saturday, his approval ratings are the lowest any president has had at this stage in generations. A recent poll by NBC News and The Wall Street Journal found just 40 percent of Americans currently approve of his job performance. Trump took to Twitter to call the poll "totally wrong." We speak to the pioneering Vermont politician, former Vermont Governor Madeleine May Kunin. In 1997, she became just the fourth woman in U.S. history to be elected governor whose husband had not previously served. Kunin was born in Switzerland in 1933 and came to the United States as a child. She later served as U.S. ambassador to Switzerland. In recent months, she has been a vocal critic of President Trump. She recently participated in the Tax Day march in Burlington, Vermont, and also wrote a piece thanking Trump for "waking us from our slumber."

  • On Monday night, Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman spoke to world-renowned linguist and dissident Noam Chomsky at the First Parish Church in Cambridge, Massachusetts. During the conversation, Amy Goodman asked Chomsky about one of the most serious threats to the survival of the human species: nuclear weapons.

  • On Saturday, hundreds of thousands of scientists and science supporters took to the streets around the world in a global March for Science on Earth Day. More than 600 marches and rallies took place, with one on every continent, including on Antarctica. Massive marches occurred from coast to coast in the United States, including at a massive rally in Washington, D.C. Among those who took to the stage were Bill Nye, "The Science Guy"; Earth Day founder Denis Hayes; former EPA environmental justice official Mustafa Ali, who resigned after Trump took office; Sam Droege of the U.S. Geological Survey; and James Balog, of the Extreme Ice Survey, which is documenting the rapid retreat of glaciers due to climate change.

  • Among those who spoke out at the March for Science in Washington, D.C., on Saturday was Flint’s Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, an Iraqi-American doctor who discovered the connection between rising blood lead levels in the children of Flint, Michigan, and the switch to the Flint River as a water source. State officials initially dismissed her findings, but she refused to accept their denials. Democracy Now! spoke with Dr. Hanna-Attisha about the ongoing Flint water crisis, the life-saving importance of science, and President Trump’s Muslim travel ban.

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