Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Atlantic -- Jeff Sessions’ Agenda for the Civil-Rights Division

“Trump's budget isn't just about massive tax cuts for rich and major cuts in assistance for the poor. He also wants to roll back civil rights”

His budget proposal -- “America First: A Budget Blueprint to make America Great Again” -- calls for major reductions of civil-rights division staff in the Justice Department’s operation that’s charged with enforcing laws against discrimination and protecting the right to vote.

While Trump’s budget will not fully pass muster in Congress, it certainly is a reflection of his state of mind. What he believes will benefit America is horribly wrong for the vast majority of Americans.

Robert Reich outlines some of the major staff reductions in Trump’s proposal:

1. The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice -- which has long investigated hate crimes, voter suppression, and other forms of discrimination -- would lose at least 121 positions.

2. The Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Program -- in charge of policing against discrimination by companies with federal contracts – would be eliminated altogether. That’s 600 positions. (Just last September, the office reached a $1.7 million settlement with tech giant Palantir for discriminatory hiring practices.)

3. The Environmental Protection Agency’s environmental justice program -- which combats higher-rates of pollution in communities of color -- would be eliminated.

4. The Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights -- charged with investigating discrimination in America’s schools – would be drastically cut. The Trump administration itself has admitted these cuts will hamper its ability to conduct investigations.

Trump has made clear his priorities are to benefit the most comfortable Americans and stick it to the most vulnerable.

Mike Blake / Reuters
Jeff Sessions’ Agenda for the Civil-Rights Division

The Trump administration's budget envisions staff reductions and a diminished focus on traditional civil-rights enforcement.

By Adam Serwer