Jan 26, 2018

White House proposal would scale back environmental protections

Photo: Nicholas Kamm / AFP / Getty Images

The White House has drafted a proposal, as part of President Trump's infrastructure plan, that would "scale back environmental requirements ... to make it easier to construct roads, bridges and pipelines," the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: That kind of tradeoff would be sure to complicate negotiations with Democrats, whose support Trump wants for an infrastructure plan. Administration officials are open to negotiations on certain elements in order to get it through the Senate, per the Post, but "they have made it clear they are seeking to make the most sweeping changes in decades."

  • One White House official told the Post: "Smarter regulation doesn't mean that we are abandoning our responsibility to the environment."
  • The other side, from Theresa Pierno, president and CEO of the National Parks Conservation Association: "The administration's legislative outline...sacrifices clean air, water, the expertise of career agency staff and bedrock environmental laws."
  • Among the changes in the plan: guidelines for deciding pipeline routes, the possible construction of the southern border wall, and whether the National Park Service "could object to a development that would impair tourists' views from scenic parks," per the Post.

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The new labor movement

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The coronavirus pandemic has had a big impact on working people, who are increasingly banding together to put pressure on employers and raise public awareness about health and safety issues they're facing on the job.

Why it matters: After years of declining union membership, a new labor movement is rising, amplified by the power of social media and fueled by concerns that workers deemed essential during the crisis are putting their lives at risk to ensure the well-being of others.

Medicaid will be a coronavirus lifeline

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Medicaid will be a lifeline for droves of Americans affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: Medicaid has long been the safety net that catches people during hard times, but a crisis of this magnitude will call upon the program — and strain states' budgets — like never before.

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Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index: Rich sheltered, poor shafted amid virus

Data: Axios/Ipsos survey. Margin of error ±2.8 points for full sample. Margin for subgroups ranges from ±5 to ±9 points. Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

The coronavirus is spreading a dangerous strain of inequality.

  • Better-off Americans are still getting paid and are free to work from home, while the poor are either forced to risk going out to work or lose their jobs.

Driving the news: This sobering reality emerges from Week 3 of our Axios-Ipsos Coronavirus Index.

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