You may know of CHIP from the DACA fights from earlier this year. The Republicans refused to renew the Children’s Health Insurance Program, and held it hostage, forcing the Dems to choose between funding for CHIP or extending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows kids who were brought to America by their parents to remain in the country for a period of two years (they can reapply for another two years forever, but this was an Obama-era program designed as a stopgap while Congress figured out how to do their job, and we are still waiting).
Well, CHIP is back in the news again thanks to Donald Trump’s new budget proposal with $15 billion in cuts—including $7 billion from CHIP. The administration downplayed the cuts, saying it wouldn’t affect operations and “this is money that was never going to be spent,” which seems hard to believe given that according to the government’s CHIP budget overview, that would mean that over half of its necessary funds are being stripped away.
But that’s not all! While the Cohen revelations keep blowing up by the hour, this major scoop from Bloomberg slipped through the cracks of the news cycle.
The Labor Department plans to unwind decades-old youth labor protections by allowing teenagers to work longer hours under some of the nation’s most hazardous workplace conditions, sources familiar with the situation told Bloomberg Law.
The DOL will propose relaxing current rules—known as Hazardous Occupations Orders (HOs)—that prohibit 16- and 17-year-old apprentices and student learners from receiving extended, supervised training in certain dangerous jobs, said the two sources. That includes roofing work, as well as operating chainsaws, and various other power-driven machines that federal law recognizes as too dangerous for youth younger than 18.
To recap, Trump is simultaneously proposing a cut to the Children’s Health insurance Program while relaxing child labor laws and allowing teenagers to do more dangerous work for longer hours. I’m so angry and exhausted that I can’t even find the creativity to end this with a good kicker. It’s easy to laugh at the Cohen mess because it involves a level of corruption that we have become a bit inured to, but this is the kind of destructive madness which created that pit in our stomachs on that fateful election night in 2016. Making America Great Again means putting our most vulnerable in greater danger.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.