Led by ranking member Rep. Jamie Raskin, Democrats on the U.S. House Oversight and Accountability Committee this week warned that Republicans doubled down on “a dangerous lie” when they refused to back a statement denouncing white supremacy.
Raskin (D-Md.) was joined by all 20 Democrats on the committee in signing a brief, straightforward statement condemning “white nationalism and white supremacy in all its forms, including the ‘Great Replacement’ conspiracy theory,” which claims that white Americans are intentionally being “replaced” by people of color, particularly through immigration policy.
“These hateful and dangerous ideologies have no place in the work of the United States Congress or our committee,” reads the statement.
Raskin sent the statement along with a letter to committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.), saying he was driven to call on his 26 Republican colleagues to sign on to the statement after the panel held a hearing in February titled “On the Front Lines of the Border Crisis.”
In that hearing, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) asked whether immigrants arriving in the U.S. via the southern border are “changing our culture” and both Reps. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) claimed an “invasion” by migrants and asylum-seekers is taking hold at the U.S.-Mexico border.
In his letter to Comer, Raskin noted that he had explained to the chairman at the hearing that “such language borrows from the ‘Great Replacement’ theory, the central dogma of contemporary white supremacy,” and that the theory has been invoked by white nationalists who have committed deadly acts of domestic terrorism in Buffalo, New York; El Paso, Texas; and Pittsburgh.
Republican lawmakers including Sens. J.D. Vance of Ohio and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin have also alluded to the theory in their attacks on Democratic immigration policy.
Presented with the facts about the rise of white supremacy in the U.S. at the hearing and in Raskin’s letter, Comer and the committee’s other Republicans refused to sign the statement.
A spokesperson for the committee’s Republicans claimed the Democrats were attempting to “distract from President Biden’s border crisis and their failure to conduct oversight of it for two years,” and did not address the embrace of the Great Replacement theory by Republican lawmakers and domestic terrorists.
The Biden administration has garnered condemnation from progressives and human rights advocates for a number of anti-immigration policies, including his expansion of the Trump-era Title 42 expulsion policy and his current reported consideration of migrant family detentions.
As the Trump and Biden administrations have pushed anti-immigration programs, advocates have maintained that the “crisis” at the border is one of denying asylum-seekers their internationally recognized right to seek refuge in another country.
“Politicians and media pundits quickly reduce this mounting humanitarian crisis to ‘border security,'” wrote Farrah Hassen of the Institute for Policy Studies at OtherWords in January. “That narrow focus puts real solutions out of reach—and imperils the universal right to seek refuge from danger.”
In his letter, Raskin noted that Republicans have been given previous opportunities to condemn white supremacy.
“On June 8, 2022, following the racially motivated Tops Supermarket mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, House Democrats passed H. Res. 1152, a resolution to condemn the ‘Great Replacement’ theory and affirm the commitment of the People’s House to combating white supremacy and race hatred,” wrote Raskin. “Despite then-Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s acknowledgment that white supremacy and white nationalism are ‘definitely not American,’ not a single House Republican voted in favor of the resolution.”
“As chairman, you have another opportunity to take a public stand against the deliberate amplification of dangerous racist rhetoric that has had deadly consequences in this country,” he continued, referring to Comer. “If committee Republicans intend to continue examining the southern border and related policies, it is imperative for every member of this committee to make clear to the American people that we speak with one voice to reject dangerous conspiracy theories and racist and antisemitic ideology in our committee’s deliberations and decision-making.”
More than 200 top U.S. economists warned congressional leaders Thursday that a failure to raise the debt ceiling would likely spark a devastating economic crisis, rattling global financial markets and killing jobs nationwide.
“The economic consequences of a federal default are unpredictable, but frightening,” the economists warned in a letter to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
“A swift and severe economic downturn could follow, with unnecessary layoffs across the economy,” the experts wrote. “Chaos in world financial markets is highly likely. Higher borrowing costs for the federal government, and indeed for all Americans, could remain with us for a long time—an unwanted legacy of a foolish decision. We should not run the experiment.”
The list of letter signatories includes Joseph Stiglitz, a recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, as well as former Federal Reserve Vice Chair Roger Ferguson, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, Groundwork Collaborative chief economist Rakeen Mabud, and former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke.
“We have a wide range of views on economic policies, some ‘conservative’ some ‘liberal,'” the economists wrote, “but we all agree that Congress should raise the debt limit promptly and without conditions in order to eliminate the risk of default.”
u201cud83dudea8 More than 200 top economists, including Nobel laureates, former Fed & cabinet officials (and Groundwork’s @rakeen_mabud!) urge Congress to raise the debt limit “promptly and without conditions in order to eliminate the risk of default”nnhttps://t.co/aE6gjbGFzDu201d
The letter was sent as congressional debt ceiling talks remain at a standstill, with the House Republican majority refusing to drop its push for deep federal spending cuts in exchange for lifting the borrowing limit. In 2011, congressional Republicans leveraged the debt ceiling to push through an austerity measure that—according to one economist—helps explain “why the recovery from the Great Recession was so agonizingly slow.”
The current impasse has forced the Treasury Department to take “extraordinary measures” to prevent the federal government from defaulting on its obligations, which include Social Security and Medicare benefits.
But the department’s actions can only buy lawmakers so much time. Last month, the Congressional Budget Office said the U.S. will default this summer unless a deal is reached to raise the debt limit.
One analysis released during the last congressional debt ceiling standoff in 2021 estimated that a U.S. default would wipe out upwards of $15 trillion in household wealth and eliminate nearly 6 million jobs.
“It’s clear that defaulting on the national debt would not only imperil the progress we’ve made over the past three years toward an equitable and long-lasting recovery, but would also risk a completely avoidable and historically severe economic crisis,” Shayna Strom, president and CEO of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, said in a statement Thursday.
“Economic research tells us that austerity measures can have negative long-term effects on workers, their families, and the economy,” Strom added. “By raising the federal debt limit, Congress can avoid bringing unnecessary hardship on Americans and the economy and, in doing so, will take another needed step toward ensuring economic growth in the future is stronger, more stable, and more broadly shared.”
Vaccine equity campaigners said Thursday that a new peer-reviewed study published in a major medical journal should put to rest the pharmaceutical industry’s “false narrative” that its own investments were responsible for the rapid development of mRNA vaccines to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
The study, published in The BMJ on Wednesday, estimates that the U.S. federal government has invested at least $31.9 billion in the development, production, and purchase of mRNA coronavirus vaccines—a finding that the People’s Vaccine Alliance said undercuts pharmaceutical companies’ attempts to take credit for the innovations that made the lifesaving shots possible.
“Pharmaceutical companies have sold a false narrative to the public; that it was their investment which gave us mRNA vaccines and that they deserve the $75 billion profit made from Covid-19 vaccines. As this research shows, that claim is a total myth,” Mohga Kamal-Yanni, policy co-lead for the People’s Vaccine Alliance, said in a statement Thursday.
“Without public investment, there would be no mRNA vaccines. Yet just three pharmaceutical companies have been handed monopolies on this lifesaving public science,” Kamal-Yanni continued. “These are the people’s vaccines, and the technology behind them should be shared with the world.”
The new study, which tracks U.S. public investments in mRNA vaccine technology dating back decades, identifies 34 National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded research grants that were “directly related to mRNA Covid-19 vaccines.”
The authors summarized their findings:
Pre-pandemic, the NIH invested $116 million (35%) in basic and translational science related to mRNA vaccine technology, and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) ($148 million; 44%) and the Department of Defense ($72 million; 21%) invested in vaccine development. After the pandemic started, $29.2 billion (92%) of U.S. public funds purchased vaccines, $2.2 billion (7%) supported clinical trials, and $108 million ( These public investments translated into millions of lives saved and were crucial in developing the mRNA vaccine technology that also has the potential to tackle future pandemics and to treat diseases beyond Covid-19. To maximize overall health impact, policymakers should ensure equitable global access to publicly funded health technologies.
Though their successes were enabled at every step by government support, pharmaceutical companies—including Moderna and Pfizer, the manufacturers of the two available mRNA Covid-19 vaccines—have resisted the notion that federal research and funding was critical to the rapid development of coronavirus shots.
Speaking to Barron’s in July 2020, before any coronavirus vaccines had received emergency authorization, Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla scoffed at the notion that pharmaceutical companies should forgo any profits from coronavirus vaccines and therapeutics.
“I think it’s very wrong. You need to be very fanatic and radical to say something like that right now,” Bourla said. “Who is finding the solution? The private sector found the solution for diagnostics, and the private sector found the solution for therapeutics and is along [the] way to find more solutions for therapeutics and vaccines.”
Pfizer posted $31.4 billion in profits in 2022, a sum advocates condemned as “sickening”—particularly as many people in low-income countries still lack access to coronavirus vaccines.
While Moderna’s billionaire CEO Stéphane Bancel has acknowledged that “we didn’t do this alone” and that government financial backing played an important role in the development of Covid-19 vaccines, the company is fighting with the NIH over patent rights to spike-protein technology that is central to the mRNA shots.
The New York Timesreported last month that Moderna recently agreed to make a $400 million payment for using a chemical technique that was developed with government funding. The payment will be shared by the NIH and two U.S. universities involved in the invention of the technique.
But the Times noted that “Moderna is still locked in a separate high-stakes dispute with the NIH over who invented the central component of the vaccine, the genetic sequence that helps recipients produce an immune response.”
Peter Maybarduk, director of the Access to Medicines program at Public Citizen, said in response to Moderna’s $400 million payment that it “amounts to little more than 1% of its $36 billion in global sales.”
“Considering Moderna’s soup-to-nuts reliance on U.S. government support, the public deserves a much better deal, including vaccines made available free or at cost today,” said Maybarduk. “The government should have insisted on affordability from the start, and should insist on essentially free vaccines today. There would be no NIH-Moderna vaccine without the NIH.”
The People’s Vaccine Alliance and Oxfam International echoed that sentiment in a statement last week as a World Health Organization body kicked off negotiations over an international pandemic accord.
“Medical technologies related to pathogens with pandemic potential must be treated as global common goods—be available to all who need them at the same time,” the groups said. “Global common goods must take precedence over private commercial interests.”
Widening the lens on the escalating assault on education and those who teach it offers chilling thoughts on the future of U.S. democracy.
From book bans to classroom demonizing trans youth and LGBTQ lives, to eradicating the real history of the U.S. and its ongoing legacy on racial and gender oppression, to the intimidation of educators and purging those who don’t toe the line, global parallels with where this repression leads should set off alarms.
Chile provides a case study. After the 1973 coup, led by Augusto Pinochet with U.S. support against democratically elected Socialist President Salvador Allende, “the military seized control of campuses and swept out those they felt sympathized with Allende rule,” as the Christian Science Monitor put it.
Active-duty generals were appointed to run the universities and primary and secondary schools were placed under the rule of mayors appointed by Pinochet to promote full government control of classroom instruction.
Targeting educators was a priority with strict penalties imposed on what could be taught, leading to the firing of thousands of university professors and teachers, while others were forced out by sweeping cuts in educator pay.
Privatization, sharp cuts in public education funding, and corporate control of curricula was a major goal, including the elimination of political science and sociology in favor of vocational and business programs, and banning of texts.
The cuts and restrictions “sharply increased economic discrimination in higher education,” said Allende’s former education superintendent Iván Núñez, producing a privatized, corporatized school system that became more elitist. Implicit was the recognition that an egalitarian education system produces generations of young people who study the society they live in, think critically, and pose a major impediment to dictatorial rule. It would take 17 years until democracy finally was restored in Chile.
Comparisons with Nazi Germany are always fraught with overstatement. But it is worth emphasizing Hitler’s reign started not with death camps, but with an onslaught on education and those it deemed as undesirables. Just weeks after Hitler’s rise to Chancellor in 1933, Germany enacted a Civil Service law that as historian Jarrell Jackman wrote in The Muses Flee Hitler, immediately “forced over 1,000 scholars from their academic positions as either ‘politically unreliable’ or ‘non-Aryan’.”
On May 10, 1933, Nazi student groups carried out book burnings in 34 university towns across Germany.
Comparisons with Nazi Germany are always fraught with overstatement. But it is worth emphasizing Hitler’s reign started not with death camps, but with an onslaught on education and those it deemed as undesirables.
On the bonfires went some 25,000 “un-German” books especially those by Jewish writers from Albert Einstein to Sigmund Freud, socialists, and communists, like Bertolt Brecht, August Bebel, and, of course, Karl Marx, literary and political critics of fascism and the Nazi regime, and foreigners considered advocates of social justice, such as Helen Keller targeted for championing rights for women, workers, and the disabled.
Speaking at the largest boon bonfire in Berlin, propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels would declare that “Jewish intellectualism is dead” and he endorsed the students’ “right to clean up the debris of the past.” In the prescient words of banned, 19th century Jewish poet Heinrich Heine, “Where they burn books, they will also ultimately burn people.”
“Nazi mentality,” wrote Jackman, “held that only a small segment of humankind belonged among the chosen citizenry” and that the ‘undesirables’ should be ‘”segregated from the rest of society.” Those defined as “non-Aryan” or undesirables—which would also include people of color, lesbians and gays, the disabled, Gypsies, socialists, communists and any other opponents of the regime “were linked together in one form of conspiracy to destroy the purity of the German Volk.”
“Since everyone was either supportive of German purity, or too scared to speak up for fear retribution, the Nazi Party could push any policy they wanted,” writes Julia Rittenberg, calling it “a necessity for dictatorial control. Fascist leaders seek to crush any thoughts that might encourage resistance to their regime.”
U.S. history is stuffed with examples of racial and gender oppression, repression of those viewed as “undesirable,” censorship of education and history, and book banning, all intended to suppress any perceived threat to the dominant political class and white supremacy. In the wake of Trump’s demagogy and attempted coup, the past two years illustrate the most dangerous illustration of those attacks on democracy.
Books sympathetically portraying diversity, especially featuring LGBTQ individuals and works, including children’s books, describing struggles against racism by Black, Latino and civil rights figures, and human sexuality lead the list.
In Tennessee where one school district notoriously banned the graphic novel series “Maus” about the Holocaust, Rep. Jerry Sexton, sponsor of a bill to police school libraries, said he would burn books he considered inappropriate. A Texas school district official told educators if they kept books about the Holocaust in their classrooms, they would be required to offer “opposing” viewpoints to comply with a new state law.
Since January, 2021, reportsEducation Week, 44 states have introduced bills or taken other steps to restrict teaching critical race theory or limit how teachers can discuss racism and sexism; 18 states have imposed the bans and restrictions either through legislation or other avenues.
After heavy criticism from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a likely leading candidate for President in 2024, the national College Board on the first day of Black History Month this February released an official curriculum for its new Advanced Placement course in African American Studies that stripped key parts of its content.
Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis takes the stage in front of a sign reading “Awake Not Woke” at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on February 24, 2022 in Orlando, Florida.
(Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
On top of the DeSantis’ infamous “Don’t Say Gay” and “Stop Woke Act,” bills, a bill introduced in late February would bar colleges and universities from spending any money to fund educational programs or activity that promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion, and could eviscerate programs on African American, gender studies, and other vulnerable curriculum.
Historian Robin D.G. Kelly describes these moves as “attacking the whole concept of racial justice and equity. It’s an ongoing struggle to roll back anything that’s perceived as diminishing white power. They want to convince white working people… if they can get control of the narrative inside classrooms, their lives would be better. Racism actually damages all of our prospects and futures.”
As in Chile and Germany, educators are a major target. Multiple bills have threatened teachers with discipline, including termination, fines, criminal penalties, and loss of their teaching credentials for perceived violation of the laws, including the complaint of even one parent.
In Texas, Republican officials have called for criminal charges against school officials who make certain books available to young adults.
In New Hampshire, a conservative mom’s group is offering a $500 bounty to catch teachers who break a state law prohibiting certain teachings about racism and sexism.
A high school English teacher in Missouri lost her job following parents’ complaints that one of her assignments taught critical race theory after assigning a worksheet titled “How Racially Privileged Are You?” as prep material for reading the school-approved book “Dear Martin,” a novel about a Black high school student who is physically assaulted by a white police officer.
In Tennessee, a teacher was fired after telling her class that white privilege is a fact. In Texas, a Black principal lost his job after parents accused him of promoting critical race theory based on a letter he had written more than a year earlier, calling for the community to come together and defeat systemic racism in the days following the murder of George Floyd.
DeSantis and Florida are again leading the charge. A substitute teacher in Jacksonville, was fired after posting a video to Twitter showing rows of empty bookshelves at the school’s library.
Another teacher near Naples, FL was fired after a classroom discussion prompted by LGBTQ students asking if they could create art expressing their own sexualities and identities.
Preschool Storytime at the Portola Valley Library in California.
(Photo: San Mateo County Library)
DeSantis has also gone after teacher unions, seeking to defund them, along with other restrictions, and the newest bill would allow a faculty member’s tenure to be reviewed “at any time.”
Activists across the country are fighting back. In Indiana, for example, a coalition of organizations mobilized to defeat two anti-critical race theory bills after a Republican state senator urged teachers to be impartial on “isms,” and a history teacher went viral for saying he refuses to be impartial when teaching Nazism.
And, in New Hampshire, a group called Granite State Progress boasted wins in all 34 of the school board races where it supported candidates who pledged to resist pressure to restrict the teaching of the history of racism.
“The history of Nazi book burning is one of the most obvious antecedents to the censorship of books in the U.S.,” notes Julia Rittenberg. “While book banners and censorship supporters paint their concerns as specific to contemporary issues, it’s a common way to consolidate power.”
In a commentary in the New York Times, prominent historian, educator Henry Louis Gates cited the work of historian Carter Woodson, pioneer in 1926 of what has become Black History Month. Woodson was “keenly aware of the role of politics in the classroom,” said Gates, “if you can control a man’s thinking, you do not have to worry about his action.”
Timothy Noah is an incisive commentor on U.S. politics. His recent New Republic essay, “How the GOP Lost Its Brain,” nicely documents the ways that the Republican party has become both increasingly anti-intellectual and incoherent since the days of Reagan. The GOP deserves to be skewered for its inconsistencies, absurdities, and lunatics. And its very real fissures ought to be analyzed with care, for they can grow, and contribute to the party’s weakening if they do. But it does not follow from these fissures that the GOP is an agglomeration of nihilists and no longer has “ideas.” It has ideas, and they are summed up in the acronym MAGA, which now defines both the Republican base and its major leaders and presidential aspirants.
These are powerful and dangerous ideas, even if they do not constitute a coherent policy agenda.
Noah writes that the party’s “failure to produce a party platform in 2020 proved beyond a doubt that there was no such thing as a GOP ideology.” I get what he is saying; that 2020 Republican not-platform was surely a sign of something troubling. But Noah’s account is not quite right. The RNC’s one-page announcement in the summer of 2020 declared that the Convention “would adjourn without adopting a new platform” until 2024 (emphasis added.) This announcement was immediately preceded by this Resolution: “That the Republican Party has and will continue to enthusiastically support the President’s America-first agenda.”
In short, the GOP in 2020 registered its continued adherence to its 2016 platform and, more important, announced its unqualified and total support for the agenda, the rhetoric, and the performance of Donald Trump, this after numerous scandals, the Mueller Report, and an impeachment.
There is a term for this: The Leader Principle (in German, more ominously, Fuhrerprinzip). It played an important role in the history of fascism. As Noah well knows, for years now a serious debate has raged among scholars and public intellectuals about the extent to which Trumpism has fascist dimensions. The semantic debate about “fascism” will surely continue. But what is really beyond debate is that the GOP has become deeply hostile to liberal democracy, and its principal leaders and ideologues have quite explicitly lauded the xenophobic, nationalistic, and anti-liberal regime of Hungary’s Viktor Orban.
The GOP might be confused about what it is for. But it is crystal clear about what it is against.
It is not only that prominent Republican officials and MAGA media personalities like Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and Steve Bannon embrace Orban. A substantial network of right-wing academic institutions actively and relentlessly promote Orban’s dark vision. These include the Claremont Institute and its publications, The Claremont Review of Books and The American Mind; venues such as American Affairs, American Greatness, and Law & Liberty; and Hillsdale College–the principal source of Trump’s infamous “1776 Commission”–which Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is currently vaunting as the model for the restructuring of higher education in his state (and is surely a demonstration project for a DeSantis presidency).
The purveyors of these ideas have willingly and cynically made common cause with Q-anon conspiracists, Second Amendment fanatics, “Left Behind” preppers, and neo-Nazis. And in doing so they have helped to transform the GOP from a more or less free market conservative party to a radical conservative party—an extremist party—intent on eradicating “progressivism,” “socialism,” “wokeism,” and all forms of liberalism.
The GOP might be confused about what it is for. But it is crystal clear about what it is against.
And while the nasty skirmish about Kevin McCarthy’s House Speakership might have centered on “egos and power rivalries,” it is a fact that McCarthy, Elise Stefaniak, Steve Scalise and their attack dog Marjorie Taylor Greene in short order came together with Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert, Paul Gosar—all of whom voted to undo Joe Biden’s election as president—to commit themselves to a culture war against the left and indeed against cultural modernity itself.
Today’s GOP contains idiots and nihilists and pathological liars like George Santos. It contains sheer opportunists such as Mitch McConnell and even McCarthy himself. And since 2016, it has been dominated by a group of right-wing ideologues, inside and outside of government, who have fueled and been fueled by Trump and who are emphatically committed to a reactionary nationalist, racist, and authoritarian vision of “American Greatness.” Whether this vision is carried forward by Trump, or DeSantis, is for them quite beside the point. For that is the GOP vision.
I am quite willing to agree with Timothy Noah that in a conventional, colloquial sense these people have “lost their minds.” They surely inhabit a strange intellectual and moral universe of their own deluded contrivance. But they are not without ideas. They are fanatics, in possession of and possessed by very dangerous ideas. These ideas helped to promote an insurrection. They continue to sustain lies about the legitimacy of the Biden administration and to justify efforts to undermine democratic procedures, voting rights, and racial and gender equality. And they are currently being instrumentalized to reshape K-12 education and higher education in the U.S.
These ideas are very dangerous. And in order to defeat them we need to treat them with the seriousness they deserve.
The number of U.S. workers who staged work stoppages in a wide array of industries in 2022 surged by nearly 50% from the previous year, new federal data shows—but the resolve among employees demanding fair pay after years without a raise, better working conditions, and paid sick leave may be under threat as the U.S. Supreme Court weighs a key labor case.
An analysis by three Economic Policy Institute (EPI) experts—Margaret Poydock, Jennifer Sherer, and Celine McNicholas—of data released Wednesday by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showed that at least 120,600 U.S. workers were involved in major strikes in 2022, up from 80,700 in 2021.
EPI noted that a number of significant strikes went uncounted by the bureau, as the federal government does not track strikes involving fewer than 1,000 people, such as the three-month work stoppage staged by 250 union members at HarperCollins Publishers recently, which successfully secured bonuses and raises.
Between 2021 and 2022, union membership grew by 200,000 people, with 16 million workers represented by collective bargaining units, EPI’s report showed. More Americans expressed approval of unions last year than they have in more than 50 years.
“Workers are turning to strikes to fight for better wages and working conditions, as well as union recognition,” said Poydock. “This strike activity is occurring despite our broken labor law failing to adequately protect workers’ fundamental right to strike.”
As EPI noted, the internationally recognized human right to go on strike is guaranteed to most private sector workers in the U.S. under the National Labor Relations Act, but the law does not cover employees in the railway or airline industries, the public sector, agriculture, or in domestic work including home health aides and childcare workers.
Last month the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Glacier Northwest, Inc. v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters—a case that could further weaken American workers’ right to stage work stoppages to demand fair treatment from employers.
“Workers will face potential liability for any damages the employer deems to be related to the work stoppage. This would greatly limit workers ability to strike and would be a gross misinterpretation of the NLRA.”
The case involves concrete company Glacier Northwest, which filed a lawsuit for damages after its truck drivers in Washington state, who are represented by the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 174, went on strike. The company claimed the work stoppage caused concrete to harden in trucks before it could be delivered, leaving Glacier Northwest with lost sales.
“The case centers on the question of whether an employer’s suit for damages related to a strike is preempted by the NLRA, which governs the right to strike,” Poydock, Sherer, and McNicholas in the EPI report, referring to the National Labor Relations Act. “In the Glacier case, the employer is arguing that, in spite of workers’ attempts to protect the employer’s property, the union is liable for damages related to the strike. If the Supreme Court is persuaded by this argument, it will upend decades of precedent surrounding the right to strike and leave workers with a significantly diminished ability to strike.”
“Workers will face potential liability for any damages the employer deems to be related to the work stoppage. This would greatly limit workers ability to strike and would be a gross misinterpretation of the NLRA,” they continued.
u201cGlacier Northwest v. Teamsters is the latest SCOTUS case thatu2019s flying under the radar u2014 but you need to know about it.nnIf wealthy corporations get their way, companies would be able to sue striking workers for the cost of lost revenue, spoiled products, and more.nnBe warned.u201d
EPI said the case offers the latest reason for Congress to ensure that the right to unionize and strike is protected by passing the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. The legislation would prohibit employers from permanently replacing workers who go on strike, eliminate a ban on secondary strikes, and allow intermittent strikes.
The group also called for the passage of the Striking Workers Healthcare Protection Act to prevent companies from retaliating against striking workers by cutting off their health coverage, as well as a number of state-level reforms.
Recent proposals in Massachusetts and Maine would extend the right to strike to public workers, and in Connecticut and Pennsylvania lawmakers have proposed allowing workers to collect unemployment benefits while on the picket line—”promising signs of growing state-level interest in shoring up workers’ right to strike,” EPI said.
“The right to strike is a critical source of worker power, but that right could be under further threat from the Supreme Court,” said Sherer. “We need Congress and state legislatures to step in and strengthen the right to strike by passing the PRO Act and other critical reforms.”
The Biden administration on Tuesday proposed a rule that immigrant rights groups, civil liberties organizations, and some Democratic lawmakers condemned as an illegal attack on asylum-seekers that resembles an inhumane policy pursued by former President Donald Trump.
The new rule, unveiled by the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security, would assume that “certain noncitizens who enter the United States without documents sufficient for lawful admission are ineligible for asylum.”
“The proposed rule would encourage migrants to avail themselves of lawful, safe, and orderly pathways into the United States, or otherwise to seek asylum or other protection in countries through which they travel,” the administration’s summary of the rule states, outlining conditions that broadly mirror a Trump-era “transit ban” that was ultimately blocked in federal court.
Those who don’t meet the more strict asylum eligibility requirements under the proposal would be subject to quick deportation.
Biden administration officials said they expect the rule to take effect in May after a 30-day public comment period and once a Trump-era mass expulsion policy known as Title 42 is terminated. (GOP-led states are trying to keep Title 42 in place.)
Advocacy groups, including the ACLU, signaled that they’re prepared to take legal action to ensure the Biden policy suffers the same fate as Trump’s “transit ban.”
“Congress designed our asylum laws to ensure that everyone escaping persecution has a chance to seek safety in the U.S., regardless of how they must flee danger or enter the country. This asylum ban is, at its core, Trump’s asylum ban under a different name,” said Anu Joshi, deputy director of the National Political Advocacy Department at the ACLU.
“It will leave the most vulnerable people in much the same position as Trump’s policy did—at risk and unfairly denied the protection of asylum for reasons that have nothing to do with their need for refuge,” Joshi added. “We can’t overstate the human suffering that will result.”
Keren Zwick, director of litigation at the National Immigrant Justice Center, toldNBC News that if the Biden administration’s rule “does what we expect it to do—unlawfully deprive access to asylum based on the manner of entry and/or transit route—it would be invalid like the similar Trump administration rules that were found unlawful by federal courts.”
u201cBREAKING: @POTUS proposes reviving a Trump-era asylum ban that would prohibit certain people from accessing asylum.nnThis asylum ban plan will worsen conditions at the border & return vulnerable people to danger. We urge POTUS to reverse course immediately.nn#NoAsylumBanu201d
— National Immigration Law Center (@National Immigration Law Center) 1677011086
The proposed rule was expected after the Biden administration announced a significant expansion of Title 42 last month, even as it claimed to be preparing for the policy’s end. Part of those preparations, administration officials said at the time, was rulemaking on the asylum process.
Douglas Rivlin, director of communication for America’s Voice, said Tuesday that it is “hard to reconcile” Biden’s campaign pledge to “turn the page on the cruelty and chaos of the Trump era” with the new asylum rule.
“Just because this news had been anticipated doesn’t make it any less devastating,” Rivlin said. “We should be finding ways to fix and fully resource our asylum process, not devising ways to prevent people seeking safety from accessing the asylum process under our laws.”
Biden is also facing backlash from members of his own party over the rule, which Rep. Chuy García (D-Ill.) slammed as a “re-implementation of the Trump-era policy that will ban people from requesting asylum, worsen conditions at the border, and return vulnerable people back to danger.”
Andrea Flores, a former White House official, lamented Tuesday that “rather than make progress on addressing regional mass migration, the Biden administration has resurrected a transit ban that normalizes the white nationalist belief that asylum-seekers from certain countries are less deserving of humanitarian protections.”
“For an administration that strives to uphold racial equity,” Flores added, “it is deeply disheartening to watch them normalize the dehumanizing narrative that Black and brown migrants at the southern border deserve to be punished for seeking out a legal pathway that Congress provided for them.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced during a national address Tuesday that he is suspending his country’s participation in the New START Treaty, Moscow’s lone nuclear arms control agreement with the United States.
Non-proliferation advocates responded to the move with alarm and condemnation as fears of a broader—and possibly nuclear—conflict in Europe remain elevated, with Russia’s assault on Ukraine raging on with no end in sight.
“Suspending implementation of New START represents a dangerous and reckless decision from President Putin,” said the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN). “Russia must immediately return to full compliance with the agreement and continue to adhere to warhead limits.”
Derek Johnson, a managing partner at Global Zero, wrote that while nuclear weapons inspections permitted under the treaty have “been on ice for a while” amid the coronavirus pandemic and the war in Ukraine, Putin’s move could push the world “one step closer to nuclear anarchy” if it means Russia will no longer inform the U.S. of nuclear weapons movements and exercises.
Together, the U.S. and Russia control 90% of the world’s nuclear weapons. The New START Treaty, which is formally set to expire in 2026 after both sides agreed to an extension in 2021, bars the two countries from deploying more than 1,550 nuclear warheads each, with inspections allowed to ensure compliance.
The U.S. has accused Russia of violating the treaty’s terms by refusing to allow inspections of its nuclear sites, a charge Moscow has denied. As the Financial Timesreported earlier this month, “Russia and the U.S. suspended inspections during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, and originally planned to renew them last year.”
“But Russia abruptly pulled out of talks in Cairo on renewing them last November, then failed to meet a deadline to reschedule them last week, which the U.S. State Department said constituted two violations but not a material breach of the treaty,” the newspaper added.
“Without a new agreement to replace New START, each side could double the number of their deployed strategic nuclear warheads within 2-3 years. It would be a senseless arms race to nowhere but increasing nuclear danger.”
During his speech to Russia’s Federal Assembly, Putin said he is pausing participation in the treaty because the U.S. and other NATO countries—through their military support for Ukraine—are attempting to “inflict a ‘strategic defeat’ on us and try to get to our nuclear facilities at the same time.”
Putin responded specifically to NATO’s statement earlier this month urging Moscow to comply with the terms of New START by allowing “inspections on Russian territory.”
“Before we return to discussing the treaty, we need to understand what are the aspirations of NATO members Britain and France and how we take into account their strategic arsenals that are part of the alliance’s combined strike potential,” the Russian president said.
Daryl Kimball, director of the Arms Control Association, warned that Putin’s decision to halt Russia’s participation in the bilateral treaty “makes it more likely that after New START expires, there will be no limits on U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals for the first time since 1972.”
“Without a new agreement to replace New START, each side could double the number of their deployed strategic nuclear warheads within 2-3 years,” Kimball wrote. “It would be a senseless arms race to nowhere but increasing nuclear danger. It would be a race that neither side can hope to win.”