Galactic’s Corey Henry Personifies New Orleans Music On ‘Lapeitah’

first_imgCorey Henry is a the essence of New Orleans personified, a certifiable G. No two ways about it, the NOLA-born and bred trombonist is not only one of the best kept secrets of the Crescent City, he is a shining example of a hometown success story. A longtime member of Rebirth Brass Band, Kermit Ruffins’ BBQ Swingers, and currently Ben Ellman’s right-hand man in Galactic, for nearly four years Henry has been leading his own band Treme Funktet, and the venerable sideman-turned-frontman just dropped his solo debut Lapeitah.Released on Louisiana Red Hot Records, the album finds Henry incorporating his background rich in Bayou tradition, with fresh influences from the realms of funk and golden-era hip-hop. A testament to the staying power of Treme tradition as well as a nod toward the ever-changing hood’s future, Boe Money’s solo joint is chock-full of blazing horns, helping usher in a new age in Second Line serenade. Henry looks for inspiration beyond his grandiose city’s limits; a longtime fan of James Brown trombonist Fred Wesley, he originally created the Treme Funktet as a NOLA version of The JB’s. “To sound like Fred Wesley and the JB’s. I was thinking in that kind of direction. But the sound takes a life of its own. We just add our New Orleans spices to it.” Explaining the unusual album title, the trombonist offers a tribute to his father. When acting as a Second Line Grand Marshal, Oswald “Bo Monkey” Jones breaks out a particular brand of steppin’, one that Royal Players’ leader Anthony Bennett calls “Lapeitah.” So his son Corey decided that fiitedly, it would be an apt moniker for his homemade gumbo grooves.  “We do our own style of New Orleans Treme funk, that of funk, New Orleans brass band music, a little bit of hip­ hop–inspired music, a little bit of soul and R&B. We try to mix everything and keep it real New Orleans.” said Henry. In 2012, Henry organized the Treme Funktet with the intention of holding down a steady hit at the Candlelight Lounge, as a favor to the owner, his cousin Leona “Chine” Grandison. The venue was looking to expand the music schedule, hoping to lure live music back into heart of the Treme. In a beautiful example of irony and things coming full circle, Henry’s band became wildly popular, so much so that Treme Funktet was eventually handed the reigns to a neighborhood institution, Kermit Ruffins’ Thursday night standing residency at Vaughn’s. “He turned it over to us and we’ve been holding it down ever since,” Henry told Offbeat. “We appreciate that because that was a big step for us as a band—thanks to the great Kermit Ruffins.” Though Henry stays busy with local icons Galactic, touring nationally several times annually, the trombonist looked toward Gotham City and brought in Pimps of Joytime bandleader Brian J. for songwriting collaborations on Lapeitah. As evidenced by so much within the Brooklyn-based Pimps’ prodigious output, J. is a huge proponent, and admirer of, New Orleans music. So it was a fortuitious twist of fate when the duo came together to make original songs. Henry explained: “That’s my main man right there! We’d been talking a long time about doing an album. We finally sat down and got in a creative space. He was masterful, integral, one of the big reasons this album happened. And he’s all over the record. He’s as much a part of this record as I am.”  The album’s more than two dozen collaborators are a laundry list of longtime pals and peers. Boe Money makes sure to include Galactic saxophonist Ben Ellman and bassist Rob Mercurio, renowned tuba player Phil Frazier of the Rebirth Brass Band (with whom Henry cut his proverbial teeth in the game), saxophonist Greg Thomas of Parliament-Funkadelic, singers Erica Falls (currently touring with Galactic) and Cole Williams, and trumpeter/rabble-rouser Maurice “Mo Betta” Brown.  This is an album that salutes the Treme; and also the eulogy for a fallen friend, Funktet member Trumpet Black. With that understanding, listeners will revel in this honest pledge of allegiance. Williams steps to the mic on “Tell Ya Mamma Nem” and “Baby C’Mon,” his weathered vocal going toe-to-toe with the jumping brass and bulbous basslines. Among the standouts on Lapeitah: Corey Glover, a vocalist who toured and recorded with Galactic (and is best known for singing with Living Colour) joins in on a reinvention of Jimi Hendrix’s “If 6 Was 9.” Mo Betta and the dearly departed Travis “Trumpet Black” Hill team up on the hood-fabulous “Treme Life”, where Boe Money grips a microphone and gets his emcee on, name dropping NOLA-phonics like a the certified G that he is.   Ushering in a new era at Vaughn’s, in the Treme, with Galactic, and beyond, Corey “Boe Money” Henry is a product of the Crescent City we can all get behind. His music is authentic, honest, and exciting; Lapeitah is all that jazz, and some lagniappe too. You can find the album on Amazon. B.Getz (Quotes from Offbeat, and The New Orleans Advocate)last_img read more

Cannon was drawn to politics early in life

first_img July 1, 2006 Regular News Cannon was drawn to politics early in life Cannon was drawn to politics early in life Jan Pudlow Senior Editor When Dean Cannon was just a kid growing up in Lakeland, the YMCA’s youth legislator program gave him his first taste of politics. Who knew then that when he grew up he’d be invited to the full banquet of power and influence, in line to serve as Florida’s speaker of the House in 2010?It’s as though he’s been preparing for that honor since he was a teenager.Once in college at the University of Florida, Cannon was a student lobbyist, making his opinions known on higher education issues like tuition rates. Next, he became a student senator. While in law school, he became the UF student government president.“It was exciting to begin to appreciate how government affects our daily lives,” Cannon said. “At the same time I was getting my legal training, I was beginning to understand the different roles of the three branches of government. I studied Florida constitutional law and learned more about the structure of government, and it continued to fuel my interest in government.”Now, he’s a 37-year-old lawyer-legislator from Winter Park, looking forward to becoming speaker of the House in four years — if the GOP maintains its majority — after Rep. Marco Rubio, R-Miami, serves 2006-07, and Rep. Ray Sansom, R-Fort Walton Beach, takes the helm of the House in 2008-09.This trio of up-and-coming Republican leaders is engaging in what they call “bold public policy” of listening to innovative ideas from the people of Florida and holding government accountable for results.The night before he talked to the News, Cannon was in Ocala at an “idea raiser,” where he listened to people’s ideas for a better Florida.“It’s exhilarating as a constitutional law student,” Cannon said. “It’s a dynamic and vigorous exercise in democracy.”He invites lawyers to go to the Web site — — and share innovative ideas for Florida’s future.“My colleagues in the Bar, if you have ideas and innovative thoughts to improve the criminal justice system or adoptions or family law or civil litigation, we want to hear from you,” Cannon said. “You can post your own idea on the Web and receive reviews and comments. It stimulates a town hall meeting in an electronic discourse.”So far, they have received more than 700 ideas, “ranging from the profound to the somewhat odd: everything from ways to increase local controls of public education dollars to ways to deliver primary health care at the local level. There are wild ideas out there, too. People who want to increase nude beaches.“Part of the goal of the movement,” Cannon said, “is to get people to offer input in areas they have special expertise.”He’s glad he built his legal expertise before becoming a legislator. Since 1995, he’s been a lawyer at GrayRobinson in Orlando, where he practices land use, property rights, and local government law, and he is a member of the Bar’s Environmental and Law Use Law Section. He has lectured on such topics as resolving land use disputes, environmental permitting, and the “environmental and socio-political aspects of landfill siting and regulation.”Practicing as a lawyer for 11 years before he became an elected official in 2004, Cannon said, helped him appreciate the same things his constituents are concerned about: the cost of health insurance, earning a living, and supporting a family.Being a lawyer helps him in his job at the legislature, where he serves on the Civil Justice Committee, Health Care Appropriations Committee, Insurance Committee, Select Committee to Protect Private Property Rights, Transportation Committee, and the Water & Natural Resources Committee.“It’s extra invigorating when you realize the interplay between the statutes enacted by the legislature that are interpreted by the judiciary, and then carried out by the executive branch. It makes you appreciate the finer points. It’s like flying an airplane instead of just reading a book about how a plane works,” said Cannon, who, by the way, is a licensed private pilot.“I believe it makes me more thoughtful, because I have done everything from land use cases, to appearing in court, to adoption cases. I see the relationship between statutory law enacted by representatives and then how it works on the ground in the real lives of Floridians.”Another benefit of his training as a lawyer, Cannon said, is he has learned “how to disagree respectfully, treating people with dignity and respect, even as adversaries.”That attribute came in handy during the debate on HB 145, as co-sponsor of the controversial bill that deleted exceptions to a requirement for liability percentage of fault instead of joint and several liability in damages in civil actions.“I believe that the most fair and equitable way for us to allocate fault as apportioned by the finder of facts. That allocation by juries of people’s peers ought to stand. If someone is 2 percent negligent, they ought to be responsible for 2 percent,” Cannon said. “People had strong feelings on both sides, and that is part of a healthy democracy.. . . I certainly respect people who disagreed with that decision.. . . I have been proud of those in The Florida Bar who lobby different perspectives, to advise and advocate. As long as the advocacy is done in an admirable and zealous fashion, I respect that, regardless of the position.”Cannon, a Baptist, sponsored legislation creating the Florida Faith-based and Community-based Advisory Council within the Executive Office of the Governor (HB 599). His training in constitutional law, he said, made sure to protect the separation of church and state in drafting the legislation.“Essentially, it is to function as a source of information protected by the First Amendment,” Cannon said. “But it is prohibited from establishing religion. No one could identify anything that violated the anti-establishment clause of the state and federal constitutions.”As he looks to critical issues of the future, Cannon lists the “economic impact of the class size amendment, continuing increases in the costs of Medicaid, and the state’s infrastructure of roads, airports, and seaports.”He is married to Ellen Friedley, and they have two children, Dean III and Katherine.“The law is a profession that can do so much good, professionally and privately,” Cannon said. “Whether volunteering time through the Guardian ad Litem Program or running for political office, we can have a great and positive impact on the state. I encourage lawyers to do that.”last_img read more

Road Hazard: How the ‘Embarrassing’ Gas Tax Impasse Explains Washington

first_imgSign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York This story was co-published with Politico.In 1993, the Dow Jones industrial average was still well under 4,000, the best-selling car in the country was the Ford Taurus, and the average cost of a Major League Baseball ticket was under $10.That was also the year that Congress last raised the federal tax on gasoline.The gas tax pays most of the tab for America’s federal highway program; it’s what we rely on for new highways and for the bridge repairs that keep us safe. Those costs go up every year, but the tax remains stuck at 18.4 cents per gallon. In fact, it’s effectively going down: since it was last raised, those 18.4 cents have lost more than a third of their value to inflation, and at the same time drivers with fuel-efficient vehicles have been buying less gasoline, further reducing the federal take.As a result, the main U.S. spending account for infrastructure has fallen deep in the red, and the gap gets worse every year. The government, through a series of funding tricks, keeps the Highway Trust Fund on life support with short-term emergency patches. The latest infusion expires at the end of the month, and the argument about how to fix it is coming to a head this week.The uncertainty has frozen major projects around the country, from the widening of Route 1 in Delaware to the Kalispell bypass in Montana, while maintenance and repairs are long overdue on thousands of roads and bridges dangerously near the end of their expected life spans.That Congress can’t fulfill such a basic purpose of government stands out as a signal example of Washington dysfunction. Unlike some other stalemates, though, this one can’t be blamed on special interests at loggerheads. Nearly all the lobbies that take an interest are in favor of simply increasing the tax — big business, the road builders, the unions, even the truckers. Lobbies that might oppose an increase, notably the oil industry, have invested relatively little in the debate.Instead, it’s an example of those big decisions that get trapped in a kind of ideological crevasse. Because it’s a tax, raising it has been decreed out of bounds by a combination of anti-tax orthodoxy among conservative Republicans and a fear of political backlash that spans both parties.Still, there may be a way out of the trap. A slew of states around the country — including some led by conservative Republicans — have managed to raise their state gas taxes to address the transportation burden without triggering the fury of taxpayers. The contrast is an unflattering one, says former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendell, a Democrat and a leading proselytizer for infrastructure spending.“If the gas tax could be voted up or down on a secret ballot, it would get 285 yes votes in the House and 85 or 90 in the Senate,” says Rendell. “Everyone knows we need new revenue, everyone knows we can’t let the trust fund go broke … Everyone knows this is one of the most embarrassing chapters in the history of the U.S. Congress.”What’s gone so wrong?It sounds strange now, but the gas tax was born and built up under Republican presidents. The U.S. government has been picking up a part of the highway tab for nearly a century — since 1916, when, in an era of Model T’s bumping over rutted country lanes, the bluntly named Good Roads Movement gave rise to a law providing federal money for any rural routes used for U.S. mail. Fuel taxes started around the same time, but only at the state level.When the federal government adopted its own penny-per-gallon one in 1932, under President Hoover, it was intended for deficit reduction, not roads. It was only when the tax was raised to 3 cents under President Eisenhower in 1956 — with an additional cent added on in 1959 — that it was targeted for the new interstate highway system and the Highway Trust Fund that would finance it.In a country that loves big cars and views cheap energy as a national birthright, the gas tax was never going to be beloved. After several failed attempts to raise the tax in the 1970s as a means to spur fuel conservation and fight inflation, it was left to Ronald Reagan, of all people, to push through the next increase, in late 1982.With the economy still sluggish after Reagan’s steep income tax cuts in 1981, “they were facing $200 billion deficits as far as the eye could see … and the administration was desperate to find some way to close that gap,” recalls Kenneth Schwartz, a career employee in the Office of Management and Budget.Just before the 1982 midterm election, Reagan had ruled out a gas tax increase “unless there’s a palace coup and I’m overtaken or overthrown.” But shortly after the election, he and his budget director, David Stockman, settled on a five-cent increase in the gas tax (or “user fee,” as Reagan preferred to call it) proposed by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dan Rostenkowski, the Illinois Democrat. The increase, Reagan said, would be “less than the cost of a couple of shock absorbers.”The proposal had bipartisan backing from Hill leadership. In the House, well over half of Republicans voted for it. The Senate passed it 54-33.That political landscape was already shifting when Washington took up the tax again less than a decade later. As part of George H.W. Bush’s big deficit-reduction package of 1990 — in which he violated his “read my lips” pledge — the gas tax was raised by another nickel. This time, it didn’t win over a majority of House Republicans: just over a quarter of them voted for the increase. The partisan divide ratcheted several notches further three years later when President Clinton, after initially proposing a broad-based “BTU tax” on all forms of energy, included a 4.3 cent gas tax increase in his 1993 deficit-reduction package. It passed without a single Republican vote.The following year brought the electoral earthquake of 1994 that made Newt Gingrich House Speaker. Two years earlier he’d been the only Republican in Georgia’s 10-member House delegation. Now he was one of eight. Among the lessons drawn by Clinton and other Democrats from this wipeout was a deep wariness about fuel taxes.The lesson was no less clear to Clinton’s successor, whose father had been pilloried among Republicans for the 1990 increase. Schwartz says that it was impressed on him and his OMB colleagues under President George W. Bush that a gas tax increase was not to be discussed.While the flow of money from the gas tax was flat-lined, spending wasn’t. Congress kept pressing for bigger highway bills. “They weren’t raising the revenues,” says Schwartz, “but they were raising the authorizations.” After 2000, lawmakers turned to one-time budget gimmicks and spending from general revenues to plug the gap, thereby driving up the deficit.Liberals have a handy culprit to explain why the gas tax hasn’t budged since 1993: Grover won’t allow it. Republicans, the story goes, have developed such fealty to the anti-tax pledge rolled out by Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform in 1986 that raising the rate has become a matter of heresy.Making this explanation all the more appealing to the left is the hypocrisy it points to: The signers of the Norquist pledge predominate in the states most dependent on federal highway funding. (On average, Washington contributes about a quarter of all transportation funding but about half of major capital projects.) A ProPublica analysis finds that the rate of pledge signers is twice as high in the delegations from the dozen states that are most dependent on federal highway aid as it is in the 11 states that are least dependent on it. In Georgia, which is among the most highly dependent states, all but one of the 12 Republicans it now sends to Washington has signed it.But it’s oversimplifying to give Norquist all the credit. For one thing, his pledge focuses on income tax rates, and while he has done his best over the years to apply it to taxes more broadly, there have also been plenty of times when its signatories have voted to raise revenues without being vilified by Norquist: raising some industry taxes in the 2007 energy law, raising cigarette taxes to pay for children’s health insurance that same year, raising taxes on the wealthy in the 2012 fiscal cliff showdown. While Norquist has sent mixed signals, it’s not unreasonable to think that a gas tax increase that managed to draw support from Republican leaders would get a pass as well.Resistance to the tax hike goes well beyond the Norquist army. There were a couple years recently where the pledge signers were in the distinct minority on the Hill, and the gas tax still didn’t budge. On the campaign trail in 2008, Barack Obama opposed Hillary Clinton and John McCain’s call for cutting the gas tax amid high oil prices. But Obama made his own pledge not to raise taxes on anyone making less than $250,000. And even if that pledge could be reconciled with a gas tax increase, when he became president with huge majorities in Congress, there was little appetite in his administration for a higher tax amid a steep recession.“Obama is more open-minded on this than the people around him, but in the conversations I had with him he was not particularly receptive to raising the gas tax,” says Rep. Earl Blumenauer, an Oregon Democrat and leading infrastructure booster. “When we were in charge, we didn’t push it.”The fact is, the gas tax has never been deeply embraced even by many Democrats. It’s a regressive tax, hitting Americans at the same level regardless of income. Partly for this reason, some liberals have started flirting with alternatives to the gas tax — like a far-reaching carbon tax or a tax on vehicle miles traveled. So far, though, these ideas are far from executable and have only distracted some likely supporters from the push for a simple increase.So the rate stayed stuck in Washington, even as oil prices plunged, an ideal window for raising the tax since the increase wouldn’t be as hard on a driver’s wallet. The tax now provides only $34 billion of the $50 billion spent annually out of the trust fund. Since by law the fund can’t operate at a deficit, short-term infusions from the Treasury — $62 billion since 2008 alone — have kept it solvent. What’s supposed to be a self-supporting trust fund has turned into just another scramble for taxpayer money.In the face of the stalemate, the states have crafted their own solutions, often in a rebuke to the political assumptions that have stymied Washington.In early 2013, just a few months after it voted for Mitt Romney by 41 percentage points, Wyoming passed a 10-cent increase in its gas tax, to 24 cents. Members of the Republican-dominated legislature say there has been no discernible blowback, in the form of primary challenges or otherwise. “There are those folks that will always be upset, but the average person looks at the conditions of the highways and understands there is a need,” says state senate President Phil Nicholas.As it turned out, Wyoming Republicans were hardly going out on a limb. Instead, they were setting a trend. Other states with Republican leadership that have approved increases in the tax (or in a few cases have hiked other taxes directed toward road spending) are Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Utah and Virginia.In Iowa, state Sen. Michael Breitbach, a Republican, says his reason for voting for a 10-cent increase was pretty straightforward: it had been 25 years since Iowa raised it, and trucks that used to get four miles per gallon now get almost seven, reducing revenue. He hasn’t seen much backlash, but said he wouldn’t care much if he did. “When I ran for office, I ran on a platform that we needed to improve our road system and we won on that platform, so I’m not too worried about that,” he says. “If I don’t get reelected, I can live with that.”In Georgia, former Republican state representative Edward Lindsey, who served on a state commission that proposed an increase, says the seven-cent hike passed in April “was not an easy sell” but the backlash has been relatively minimal. “When you go back and tell folks, look guys, this is a core government function — if we can’t do roads and schools and public safety, what’s the purpose of government?”These legislators’ equanimity about their votes is backed up by the numbers. A survey released in May by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association found that raising the gas tax didn’t hurt Republicans politically, and if anything helped them slightly. Ninety-five percent of Republican state legislators who voted to increase their state gas tax in the past two years and ran for re-election won their races—one point higher than the rate for Republicans who voted against increases. The survey identified 25 legislators who voted for higher gas taxes despite having signed the Norquist anti-tax pledge — and of those, all but one won re-election.In Pennsylvania, which raised its tax by as much as 28 cents over five years, making it the most expensive in the country (50 cents) while providing $2.3 billion per year for transportation, not a single Republican who voted for the increase was booted from office. The notion that voting to raise the gas tax is a political third rail is being undermined in some of the most conservative swaths of the country.It’s true that most states must, by law, balance their budgets, and can’t just load highway costs onto the deficit as Washington can. The major anti-tax groups were noticeably subdued in the state debates — some groups, like Club for Growth and Heritage Action, steered clear entirely, while Koch Brothers-backed Americans for Prosperity made only token efforts in some states, like Iowa. As some of these groups see it, transportation spending should be left to the states entirely — “devolution” — and if they want to raise their gas tax, so be it. “There are 50 departments of transportation that know their priorities far better than bureaucrats do,” says Andy Roth, vice president of government affairs at the Club for Growth.Most of all, state legislators voting for gas tax increases benefit from one key dynamic that hurts all federal tax-collection efforts: voters know the money would stay right at home, without the strings that come with federal money, such as having to spend some of it on public transit, a requirement that dates back to the Reagan tax increase. “The problem I have with the federal gas tax is … you never know if you’re going to get back what you put in,” says Breitbach, in Iowa.In fact, all states are now getting back more than they put in, because the federal gas tax is being supplemented by so much additional spending in the trust fund. But Breitbach put his finger on the biggest obstacle to raising the federal gas tax: voters simply don’t trust what happens to their money once they send it to Washington. “I don’t think anyone at the national level will be able to articulate a gas tax as the way to go forward,” says Dan Holler of Heritage Action. “It’s gotten progressively harder because there’s less and less trust in Washington.”The latest short-term extension for the Highway Trust Fund — the 33rd passed by Congress — expires at the end of next week. House Ways and Means Chairman Paul Ryan and Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman Bill Shuster last week pushed through the House yet another short-term fix, with about $8 billion, enough to get the fund through mid-December.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has cobbled together a somewhat longer-term fix, enough to get the fund through the 2016 election, when many of his Republican colleagues are up for reelection. Among the revenue sources in the three-year proposal he presented yesterday, and which the Senate may vote on today, is selling off part of the nation’s Strategic Petroleum Reserve for $9 billion — that is, instead of updating a tax on gasoline, Congress may end up selling off part of its emergency supply of it.The extensions, their proponents say, will give Congress more time to come up with a truly long-term solution to transportation funding — the same thing congressional leaders have been saying for years now. There is talk of using a one-time influx of repatriated corporate revenues from overseas for infrastructure, but that has gotten caught up in the larger debate over tax reform. The conservative dream of devolution to the states has a long way to go to win acceptance, not least amongst the states themselves. Some Republicans, including Ryan, say they are open to new forms of “user fees” to pay for roads, such as electronic tolling, but this remain nebulous.What Ryan, McConnell and Speaker John Boehner have all ruled out is an increase in the gas tax. At a Ways and Means hearing last month to discuss long-term solutions for the shortfall, Ryan announced at the outset that “We are not going to raise gas taxes, plain and simple.” The tax, he said, had outlived its time. “We just can’t chase fuel efficiency with much higher taxes,” he said, deftly painting the decision as technocratic rather than ideological and political. Top Democrats like Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, have made precious little attempt to rally support for an increase, citing a lack of support in both parties.Even as congressional leaders look for another short-term fix, though, more of their Republican colleagues are starting to contemplate the long-term one adopted by so many red states. Early this year, several Senate Republicans, including the conservative Oklahoman James Inhofe, spoke up for an increase before Ryan quashed the notion. In the House, Rep. Jim Renacci, an Ohio Republican, reached out to colleagues as fed up as he was with funding patches, including Rep. Bill Pascrell, a New Jersey Democrat. In April, they released the Bridge to Sustainable Infrastructure Act.The bill would keep the gas tax, raise it by half a cent in the first year, and then index it to inflation moving forward, so it could grow roughly in line with costs. The plan would provide enough revenue over 10 years, $27.5 billion, to plug the shortfall in the next couple years. Meanwhile, the bill would order a congressional task force to come up with an alternate long-term solution, and if it failed to do so, the gas tax would be increased to whatever level was necessary to fill the trust fund.This indirect, incremental approach may make the proposal more palatable than a straightforward proposal by Earl Blumenauer to increase the tax 15 cents over three years, or about as much as it would have gone up if it had been tied to inflation way back to 1993.“When people say, ‘That’s an increase in the user fee,’ I say, no, that’s an opportunity for Congress to work its will,” Renacci says. “And if it won’t work its will, then the user fee goes up.” As painfully gradual as this approach is, it’s a big step further than anything else Hill leaders have proposed, its proponents say. “Mr. Ryan hasn’t done a damn thing yet that we can buy into,” Pascrell says.The bill has more than 30 co-sponsors, a quarter of them Republicans. (Another Republican, Rep. Tom Rice of South Carolina, just introduced his own bill, to increase the tax by 10 cents, offset with a $133-per-driver income-tax credit.) So far, aside from a Wall Street Journal op-ed from Americans for Prosperity, the anti-tax groups have held off on it, saying its prospects are so dim that it’s not even worth warning Republicans against it. “We don’t view it as a credible threat from a legislative standpoint,” says Holler, of Heritage Action. But that could change quickly, says Club for Growth’s Roth: “If this Renacci nonsense gains traction, I’m pretty certain we’re going to weigh in on it.” To prepare for that moment, the transportation lobby has given the bill’s sponsors some back-up advertising at home, says Michael O’Brien of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers.The prospects for any long-term fix may turn on whether enough Washington Republicans are willing to relinquish the anti-tax flag and join their state legislative counterparts who voted for gas-tax hikes and lived to tell of it.Some of the Renacci bill’s Republican backers, including Renacci himself, have signed the Norquist pledge — but are adamant that it does not apply to the gas tax. Others, such as Rep. Scott Rigell of Virginia and Rep. Richard Hanna of New York, have formally rejected the pledge.“You can’t run a country on ideology, you have to run it on ideas, and they have to be forward-thinking and allow us to be competitive,” says Hanna. “These are public benefits. They’re not about bigger government. They’re about running the country.”Related stories: For more coverage of politics and lobbying, read ProPublica’s previous reporting on an about-face by the higher ed lobby, the rising influence of single donors and an imploding super PAC.ProPublica is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative newsroom. Sign up for their newsletter.last_img read more

Number of US coronavirus cases of unknown origin climbs to four

first_img“What we know now is that the virus is here, present at some level, but we still don’t know to what degree,” said Dr. Sara Cody, the chief public health officer for Santa Clara County, speaking of the newly diagnosed case there, the latest of three in her county and the 10th statewide.Even as confirmation was pending there, the CDC sent a team to assist local authorities in tracing close contacts the patient had with others in a bid to curb transmission.Until this week, the CDC had counted 15 confirmed cases in six states as having been detected through the US public health system since Jan. 21, none fatal. Most were contracted by individuals while traveling in China, where the outbreak originated. Only two person-to-person transmissions were documented among them, both between married couples.An additional 47 cases have been confirmed among people recently repatriated from abroad, either from the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined in Japan or from Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak, according to the CDC.Masks, gloves and test kits The latest flurry of cases came as the Trump administration said the United States would invoke a federal defense law to boost production of masks, gloves, gowns and other items needed to protect medical personnel from exposure.Around the world, more countries are reporting new infections, companies have curtailed travel and global stock markets have tumbled.President Donald Trump said at the White House on Friday the United States will decide “very soon” about whether to bar entry to travelers from countries other than China where community transmission has emerged.At a rally in South Carolina on Friday night, Trump defended his administration’s response to the coronavirus outbreak and accused Democrats of politicizing the disease.“This is their new hoax,” Trump said at the event, held a day before the state’s Democratic presidential primary.The US State Department has issued travel advisories for several nations and on Friday it said Americans should reconsider travel to Italy, where nearly 900 coronavirus cases have been confirmed. A similar warning was issued earlier this week for South Korea, which has hundreds of infections.A government task force appointed by Trump to deal with the threat will meet at the White House on Saturday morning, according to an administration official.Latest figures from China, where the outbreak started late last year, indicated that nearly 80,000 people have been infected, with more than 2,800 deaths. The World Health Organization reported 57 deaths in 46 other countries.Dr. Anthony Fauci, who heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said in a closed-door briefing in the US House of Representatives that sustained spread of the coronavirus meant there would be many more infections in the United States, according to a source.Fauci warned lawmakers the country lacked enough testing resources, the source said on condition of anonymity. The CDC said it has revised its criteria for who should be tested and is ramping up testing capabilities.”Our goal is to have every state and local health department online and doing their own testing by the end of next week,” CDC official Nancy Messonier told reporters.A vaccine may take up to 18 months to develop, health officials have said.The United States has decided to postpone a meeting with leaders of Southeast Asian countries it had planned to host on March 14 in Las Vegas because of worries about the outbreak.US and global stocks plummeted as rattled investors braced for the prospect that a pandemic could further dent an already slowing world economy.The S&P 500 fell for the seventh straight day on Friday, suffering its biggest weekly drop since the 2008 global financial crisis. Stocks cut losses right at the end of the session. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.4%.Trump this week said the coronavirus risk to Americans remained “very low,” but he has been increasingly alarmed by the reaction of the US stock market, which he considers a barometer of the economy’s health.Topics : US public health officials said they have identified four “presumptive” coronavirus cases believed to have emerged from community transmission of the infection, signaling a turning point in efforts to contain the disease in the United States.The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a statement on Friday citing three such cases newly diagnosed by state public health authorities – one each in California, Oregon and Washington state.If confirmed by the CDC, together with a previous case of unknown origin announced on Wednesday in California, that would bring to four the number of diagnosed individuals in the United States with no history of travel to a country where the virus is circulating and no close contact with an infected person. The three latest patients were diagnosed based on results obtained in their respective states from CDC-supplied test kits and are considered “presumptive positive” cases pending CDC confirmatory testing, the US agency said.A fourth presumptive positive was also announced in Washington state on Friday, but that one is “likely travel-related,” the CDC said.Still, the three latest cases of apparent community transmission, plus the one identified earlier this week in California, are a sign the virus is now spreading within at least four separate locations up and down the US West Coast.They span nearly 900 miles from California’s Silicon Valley region in Santa Clara County north to the Puget Sound near Seattle.last_img read more