This Week’s Under-reported News Summary Feb. 27, 2019

Compiled by Bob Nixon

  • House panel probes Trump advisors’ push for Saudi nuclear deal
  • Hedge funds win, Puerto Ricans lose in first debt restructuring deal
  • Can public-private solutions solve California housing crisis?

• In the early days of the Trump administration, former national security advisor Michael Flynn pushed a plan to build dozens of nuclear power plants in Saudi Arabia in possible violation of the Atomic Energy Act, which requires congressional approval of nuclear exports. Flynn resigned and later plead guilty to lying to the FBI, and cooperated with the Mueller investigation into his communications with Russian officials. Before joining the Trump administration, Flynn worked with energy interests seeking to build nuclear power plants in the Persian Gulf.

(“House Panel Probes Trump Advisors’ Push for Saudi Nuclear Deal,” Pro Publica,  Feb. 18, 2019; “Us-Saudi Nuclear Talks Prompt Deeper Probe by House Democrats,”, Bloomberg, Feb. 19, 2019)

• Hedge Fund investors won a round in the ongoing battle over Puerto Rico’s massive debt. The American Prospect reports that a US federal court approved a plan that locks in 40 years of extremely generous government payments on sales tax–backed bonds, the island’s largest pool of debt.  The deal will saddle the island with a  regressive 11.5 % sales tax, higher than any other state in the U.S.

(“Hedge Funds Win, Puerto Ricans Lose in First Debt Restructuring Deal,” American Prospect, Feb. 8, 2019)

• California’s newly sworn in Governor Gavin Newsom promised a new “Marshall Plan” for housing and asked that $1.75 billion be dedicated to alleviating the housing shortage in his proposed state budget. Housing advocates praised the new commitment, noting that former Gov. Jerry Brown had failed to address the affordable housing crisis.

(All Hands on Deck’: Can Public-Private Solutions Solve Calif. Housing Crisis?” Christian Science Monitor, Feb. 12, 2019; “Why Unions Must Bargain for Affordable Housing—And How,” American Prospect, Feb. 19, 2019)

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