Taking on Trump: Where We Stand
The Trump Administration and lawmakers in Congress are proposing and implementing dangerous policy changes – and installing unqualified cabinet picks – that would roll back progress on consumer protection, civil rights, fighting climate change and access to the courts. Here’s how Public Justice is responding:
- We created a new, national grassroots program to mobilize opposition to the worst of Trump’s agenda. Earlier this year, we launched Public Justice Action, a new grassroots program to engage and mobilize fair-minded allies across the country on issues that are important to them. Spearheaded by our new Outreach Manager, Public Justice Action is helping thousands of committed activists reach lawmakers and the Administration on issues like environmental protection, civil rights, worker’s rights and issues impacting consumers and working families.
- We’re fighting efforts to dismantle the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB was, for years, one of Washington’s most effective agencies, returning billions of dollars to consumers wronged and cheated by big banks and predatory payday lenders. But under Trump’s Interim Director, Mick Mulvaney, the agency has been looking out for the lenders and turning its back on consumers. Public Justice has fought back, using creative protests on Capitol Hill to call attention to Mulvaney’s dangerous policies and mobilizing grassroots opposition to GOP proposals to water down the agency’s effectiveness and hand control of the CFPB over to Wall Street. We’ve also fought hard to oppose, and draw attention to, Trump’s new nominee to head the agency, Kathy Kraninger. One of Kraninger’s few “qualifications” is her experience in managing the Administration’s horrible family separation policy that has torn apart immigrant families at our borders.
- We’re holding Betsy DeVos accountable. Few cabinet secretaries have done so much damage in such a short time. Under DeVos’s tenure, the Department of Education has tried to wipe away protections for transgender students, abandoned students fighting sexual assault and harassment at school and rolled back commonsense measures to help those struggling with student loan debt. That’s why Public Justice is leading a coalition of 50 prominent civil rights and legal advocates in letting every school – in every state – know that their obligations to transgender students haven’t changed. We’re also helping students who can’t rely on DeVos’s Department of Education to fight back in the courts, and hold their schools accountable under federal Title IX law. And we’re calling on Congress to hold student loan companies accountable, despite DeVos’s efforts to do their bidding in Washington.
- We’re telling Trump and the GOP: Hands Off Your 401(k). When Trump’s picks at the Securities and Exchange Commission (S.E.C.) threatened to rollback longstanding policy allowing shareholders to band together and hold corporations accountable for fraudulent behavior, Public Justice helped organize a national coalition of more than 100 organizations to fight back. For years, class actions have recovered many billions of dollars for cheated investors, ranging from large pension funds for police officers and firefighters to regular American citizens holding IRAs and 401(k)s. If the SEC allows corporations to simply say that they can’t be sued for securities fraud by their investors in a class action, it will wipe away the most effective way of policing fraud in the securities markets. We’re determined to make sure that doesn’t happen.
- We’re exposing Trump’s hypocrisy and broken promises to rural America. While the Administration has heavily courted rural Americans, it has abandoned actual human beings in favor of giant, industrial agriculture corporations when it comes to policymaking in Washington. We’re standing with America’s independent farmers and ranchers – in the courts and in Washington – to demand they be treated fairly. We’re proud to be a leader in the fight for clearly and accurately labeled meat products (that give independent and sustainable American ranchers a shot at competing with international agricultural producers). And we won a landmark victory on behalf of U.S. ranchers fighting an unconstitutional tax that forced them to pay for their competition’s advertising campaigns.
- We’re stepping up as government agencies are stepping back from their responsibilities under Trump’s watch. As the EPA turns a blind eye to water and air pollution, we’re working with communities – like Millsboro, Delaware, where families were fighting for access to clean water – to force polluters to clean up their act. As Jeff Sessions scales back the Justice Department’s investigations into police brutality, we’re launching a project to battle the increased use of qualified immunity as a tool for allowing police shootings to go unpunished. And as the Education Department stepped back from its work to protect students from sexual assault, we’ve stepped in to represent students, and their families, in court.
- We’re mobilizing opposition to dangerous and unqualified nominees. When President Trump nominated Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency, we were one of the first organizations to call on Senators to vote ‘no.’ Throughout Pruitt’s disastrous tenure, we identified and publicized ways in which he was breaking and undermining the law. We also vigorously opposed Andrew Wheeler – a former coal lobbyist – for the agency’s number two job. Wheeler, who has succeeded Pruitt, is arguably even more dangerous at the helm of the EPA. In addition to EPA nominees, we’ve mobilized opposition to some of the White House’s most troubling nominees, including:
- Sam Clovis, a nominee with no background in science who was picked to be Chief Scientist for the USDA. Thanks in part to an outcry from Public Justice’s grassroots network, Clovis never got the job.
- Kathy Kraninger, Trump’s pick to replace Mulvaney at CFPB, has not only said she can’t think of a single thing she disagrees with Mulvaney on; she’s also refused to reveal the role she played in the Administration’s family separation policy at the U.S. border.
- Kenneth Marcus, an ideological zealot who was chosen by Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to lead the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. Under DeVos’s leadership, OCR has drastically scaled back its enforcement of civil rights protections for America’s students, and Marcus appears determined to continue that dangerous pivot.
Our country faces critical challenges that will impact our laws, and our families, for decades to come. We know the courts will be a critical part of preserving our progress and advancing our values. When lawmakers work in the public interest, we’ll stand with them. But whenever they prioritize profit over people, corporations over communities or try to roll back our rights, we’ll fight back. Check back here for an updated, ongoing list of actions we’re taking to combat social and economic injustice, protect the Earth’s sustainability, and challenge predatory corporate conduct and government abuses.
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