Essential Politics: Made in America? Maybe not

Essential Politics: Made in America? Maybe not
Essential Politics / LAT (LAT)

President Trump has bragged that he's ordered that new oil and gas pipelines built in the U.S. will be made from American steel, but it's one of a number of times he has overstated the scope of an executive order to make his administration look good.

Washington Bureau Chief David Lauter reviewed the practical effects of the 39 orders and presidential memorandums signed by Trump so far, and found few affect actual policy. He found that many, like the order that steel for pipelines has to come from the U.S., may be toothless.


I’m Sarah D. Wire, and I cover the California delegation in Congress. Welcome to the Monday edition of Essential Politics.

Get the latest about the Trump administration on Essential Washington and follow @latimespolitics. Keep an eye on our Essential Politics news feed for California political news.


National security advisor H.R. McMaster warned North Korea on Sunday to end its nuclear testing or face U.S. reprisals. He called that country's leader a global threat and said Trump "will take action" if North Korea continues to threaten the U.S. W.J. Hennigan and Barbara Demick looked at the few good military options Trump faces in North Korea.

Members of Congress are scheduled to be back home for one more week of recess, and face an immediate fight when they return over a spending bill to keep the government functioning. If they can't agree, parts of the government will shut down April 28.


The next national census may still be three years away, but national advocacy groups say the government is running out of time and money to do it right.

Despite sweeping plans to change how citizens are counted in the constitutionally required census, observers told me that the U.S. Census Bureau won't be able to fully make the switch if Congress doesn't act soon to increase the bureau's budget.


California may have 14 Republicans in Congress, but those 13 men and one woman aren't in the majority back at home. In fact, there's not a single congressional district in the state where the majority of voters are Republicans.

In his Sunday column, John Myers takes a closer look at the eroding base of GOP lawmakers in these districts — a reality that makes the 2018 election cycle all the more do-or-die for the state's second-largest party.


Two California assemblywomen are trying to eliminate sales taxes on diapers and tampons and other women's health products and cover the cost of the change by hiking alcohol taxes.


The lawmakers are positioning their bill as a way for their colleagues to express their values and put the California in line with numerous other states that have passed proposals to exempt sales taxes on those products, Liam Dillon reports. But their bill faces a high hurdle due to the power of the alcohol lobby and the difficulty of raising taxes in general.


It was never going to be easy for the U.S. to meet its obligation under the Paris agreement on climate change, but Trump is making it even more difficult by rolling back federal regulations on greenhouse gas emissions. The lack of a national plan to fight global warming means decisions from individual states are more important than ever. Chris Megerian explores how California has tried to rally its allies and looks at what states are doing right now to support clean energy.

Megerian and Melanie Mason explored how the heavy lift to pass the $52-billion roads bill may have made it harder for state lawmakers to approve a cap-and-trade program.

Also, Gov. Jerry Brown spoke to The Times about California, climate change and Trump.


Columnist George Skelton weighed in on talks about whether the most populous state in the country should move its primary to earlier in presidential election years so it has a greater say in who the nominees are.

Moving the primary was also one of the topics of this week's California Politics Podcast.


Twitter has long been Trump's favored means of pushing his message. We're compiling all of his tweets and looking into his use of the platform.


— Over the weekend, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said tough rhetoric from the Trump administration has caused "confusion" among those considering crossing illegally into the U.S. and made them abandon their travel plans.


— The Trump administration will keep secret the records of those who visit the White House, ending a practice started under the Obama administration of partially releasing visitor logs.

— Brown issued 72 Easter weekend pardons and seven sentence commutations, largely for nonviolent drug crimes, but also for crimes including burglary and being an accomplice in a murder.

— What you need to know about California's "sanctuary state" bill and how it would work.

— New prison parole overhaul guidelines won initial approval from California state regulators.

— A rift has opened between the Brown administration and legislators over new marijuana laws in California.

— A Republican assemblyman's Modesto district office was vandalized Thursday night, the latest in a series of troubling incidents at the location in the past few months.

— Uber could face a $1.1-million fine from state regulators after an investigation found the company didn't adequately investigate suspected drunk drivers.

— A trio of California state senators spent its spring break up north, studying Canada's single-payer healthcare system.

— Trump's Interior secretary met with Brown in Sacramento.

— North Carolina's repeal of its controversial "bathroom bill" isn't enough to address discrimination concerns, California Atty. Gen. Xavier Becerra said, and the ban on state-funded travel to that state remains.


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