Congress

CONGRESSIONAL BILL WOULD DESTROY CALIFORNIA'S ELDER ABUSE PROTECTIONS, PATIENTS' ADVOCACY GROUP WARNS

 

 

East County News Service

March 9, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – Congress is considering a bill that will effectively end California’s 20-plus year civil protection system for victims of elder abuse or neglect perpetrated by health care providers.



“H.R. 1215 is a corporate wish list of anti-justice measures to immunize health care providers from accountability for terrible care by limiting justice for victims of health care malpractice,” warns California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, a nonprofit that advocates for improving care for patients needing long-term care. “The bill is misleadingly named the `Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017.’  A more apt name for H.R. 2115 would be `Obstruction of Justice for the Injured.’”

REP. SUSAN DAVIS CALLS FOR REPEAL OF TRUMP ORDER TARGETING MUSLIMS AND REFUGEES, PRAISES COURT RULING STAYING ORDER

 

East County News Service

January 31, 2017 (San Diego) -- “Federal courts have rightly stayed President Trump's unconstitutional executive order banning Muslims and refugees. Immigration officials need to follow and respect the rule of the federal judges and allow those being held to have access to attorneys. The right of habeas corpus is a bedrock of our democracy,” says Congresswoman Susan Davis, who yesterday called on President Trump to left his executive order banning travel to the U.S. from  predominantly Muslim nations.

FIRST ACTION OF NEW GOP CONGRESS: GUT ETHICS OVERSIGHT, RESTORE IT AFTER PUBLIC OUTCRY

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 3, 2017 (Washington D.C) –The first action of the 115th Congress was a closed-door vote by House Republicans to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics’  (OCE) independence and oversight powers.  But hours later,  after media reported on the action and members received a flood of calls from angry constituents, a new vote was held to scrap that plan and keep the OCE intact, for now.

The OCE was created in 2008 by then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in response to the corruption scandal involving lobbyist Jack Abramoff, who was later convicted of multiple felonies.  The House Ethics Committee did nothing about that scandal. Nor did it take any action against Randy “Duke” Cunningham, a San Diego Congressman sentenced to a decade in prison for bribery and corruption charges. It also took no action against Congressman Bob Filner when he was charged with trespass after pushing past a TSA agent at an airport.

In light of the House Ethics Committee’s impotence, the OCE  was created to conduct independent investigations, including probes based on tips from staffers, the public and anonymous sources.  

READER’S EDITORIAL: NEW HOUSE SPEAKER PAUL RYAN GOES AFTER POOR PEOPLE’S MONEY

 

By Tommy Tidrow

November 8, 2015 (Washington D. C.) – New House Speaker Paul Ryan and his friends in Congress (most of whom have signed the Republican operative Grover Norquist’s “No New Taxes” pledge) have come up with a plan to fund a highway bill by privatizing the part of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tasked with collecting back taxes from individuals who owe as little as $200 dollars in unpaid income tax. 

The measure would have private collection agencies act on behalf of the government to collect delinquent taxes.  These are the people who have been sued for predatory practices, harassment and misrepresentation for years.    

These debt collectors will not be going after billionaires and corporations who put $150,000,000,000 Billion dollars in off-shore tax havens like the Cayman Islands.  Nor will there be any reform to the tax code that allows giant corporations like General Electric to pay no taxes at all.

SPEAKER BOEHNER ANNOUNCES RESIGNATION AS GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN DEADLINE LOOMS

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 28, 2015 (Washington D.C.) – Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has announced he will resign from Congress at the end of October.  With a September 30th deadline looming to pass a spending bill or force a government shutdown, Boehner has stated on Face the Nation that he expects a continuing resolution to pass for funding at least through the end of the year, averting a shutdown.  But after that, all bets are off, since the likely successor to Boehner, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, of California, is backed by conservative Tea Party forces.

LIGHTS ABOUT TO GO OUT ON AMERICA’S PARKS, BALLFIELDS AND TRAILS

 

Congressional leadership’s refusal to take a vote to continue a critical parks fund means 50 year conservation program could disintegrate, despite support to pass in both chambers

East County News Service

Photo: Saguaro National Park, courtesy of the National Park Service

September 26, 2015 (Washington D.C.)--The Land and Waer Conservation Act Fund is set to expire on September 30th if Congress fails to act.  The Republican leadership is blocking a floor vote, despite enough support in both houses to renew the landmark measure.

“Leadership is dithering and deliberately stalling, because if put to a vote, the House would  have the 218 votes needed for  reauthorization of this core conservation program,” said Alan Rowsome with The Wilderness Society, which co-chairs the national Land and Water Conservation Fund Coalition. “On top of that, the Senate secured 60 votes for reauthorization back in January. So House  and Senate leadership are snatching defeat from the jaws of victory by holding America’s parks, trails, soccer fields and historic sites hostage —when  more than 75% of America disagrees with them.”

CONGRESS PASSES MEASURE TO ALLOW SELLING OFF NATIONAL FORESTS AND OTHER PUBLIC LANDS

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Cleveland National Forest, courtesy National Forest Service

April 6, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)—The Republican-controlled House and Senate have passed measures that would allow the sale or outright giveaway of most public lands –including national forests, federal wildernesses and  wildlife preserves and Bureau of Land Management properties.  Only Republicans voted for the language slipped into a non-binding budget resolution—which passed without a single Democratic vote. 

The shocking news is revealed in a New York Times editorial by Will Rogers, president of the Trust for Public Lands, titled “Our Land, Up for Grabs.”  

While it’s unlikely that President Barack Obama would support such an extreme measure, if a Republican president is elected in 2016 and Republicans maintains control of both houses of Congress, losing our cherished public lands such could be a very real possibility.

Here in San Diego County alone, that could mean the demise of:  Cleveland National Forest,  Otay Mountain Wildnerness, Hauser Wilderness, Pine Creek , Carrizo Gorge, Sawtooth Mountains Wilderness , Agua Tibia Wilderness, San Diego National Wildlife Refuge, San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge , Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge, McCain Valley National Recreation Area and more.

REPORT BY REPUBLICAN-LED HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE DEBUNKS GOP’S BENGHAZI ALLEGATIONS, SUPPORTS OBAMA ADMINISTRATION’S ACTIONS

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 22, 2014 (Washington D.C.)—A two-year investigation by the Republican-controlled House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has resulted in publication of a report   on November 21st. That report concludes that accusations made by Republican leaders over terrorist attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya are untrue.  The committee found no wrongdoing by any administration officials, and it concluded  that the CIA  and U.S. military acted appropriately before, during and after the Benghazi attacks that killed four Americans.

The following bullet points are direct quotes from the committee’s conclusions:

REPUBLICANS WIN CONTROL OF SENATE, GAIN HOUSE SEATS INCLUDING ONE LIKELY IN SAN DIEGO

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 5, 2014 (San Diego) -- Nationally, Republicans have won control of the Senate and increased their margin of dominnance in the House of Representatives. One of those gains appears to have occurred in San Diego's 52nd Congressional District.

With all votes tallied except several thousand provisional ballots, former Councilman Carl DeMaio, a Republican, has just 752 votes more than Democratic incumbent Scott Peters, up by 50.26% to 49.74%.  It is not yet known whether Peters will request a recount, which is his right under the law with such a narrow margin. 

In other local races, Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter captured 71.55% of the vote over challenger James Kimber, a physician assistant in the 50th Congressional District.  In the 51st District, Democratic Congressman Juan Vargas scored a solid victory with 68% of the vote over his opponent, Stephen Meade. 

Two other races were somewhat closer. Congresswoman Susan Davis, a Democrat, fought off a challenge from ex-Navy Seal Larry Wilske, a Republican. Davis won with 57.88% of the vote in the 53rd District; Wilskie picked up  42.12%. Congresman Darrell Issa, a Republican who has drawn national media scrutiny as chair of the House Oversight Committee held his seat with 57.97% of the vote over Democratic challenger Dave Peiser, who receivecd 42.03%.

FARM BUREAU PASSES POLICY URGING REMOVAL OF INDUSTRIAL HEMP CLASSIFICATION AS CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE

 

Majority of Leading Farming Organizations Now Support Hemp Farming in the U.S.

January 22, 2014 (Washington D.C.) – The American Farm Bureau Federation has passed a resolution calling on the federal government to repeal classification of industrial hemp as a controlled substance.   Delegates approved the resolution at the Farm Bureau’s 95th annual meeting in San Antonio, Texas on January 14.

The Farm Bureau had previously passed a resolution supporting research into the uses of industrial hemp, back in 1995.

The Farm Bureau’s new position in favor of decriminalizing industrial hemp cultivation adds growing weight to the hemp legalization movement.

COUNTY SERVICES IN JEOPARDY IF CONGRESS FAILS TO PASS PILT

 

January 21, 2014 (Washington D.C)--America’s counties will have no option but to severely reduce or eliminate critical county services to the public if Congress fails to deliver funding for the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program in the Fiscal Year 2014 Omnibus spending bill.

Without annual PILT payments, many services including fire and emergency medical services, search and rescue, public health, law enforcement and justice operations could be affected. In many cases, counties will face more severe consequences including insolvency, default, and bankruptcy.

A REVIEW OF JUAN VARGAS’ FIRST YEAR IN CONGRESS

 

By Jordan Schaffner

Miriam Raftery also contributed to this article

January 21, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – What has Congressman Juan Vargas accomplished during his first year in office and how effectively is he representing his constituents?

The answer varies, with the Congressman showing strong interest in representing the interests of Latinos, seniors, and labor interests -- while largely ignoring the interests of rural constitutents and enviornmentalists concerned over the industralization of East County with large-scale energy projects.

RENO DISPATCH: DID THIS LEGENDARILY INERT CONGRESS REALLY JUST GET OFF THE FLOOR AND DO SOMETHING RIGHT FOR OUR TROOPS & VETERANS?

 

 

By Jamie Reno

Jan. 16, 2014  (San Diego) -- It’s been a pretty positive week in Washington for our troops and veterans. As you've probably heard, Congressional negotiators have shockingly agreed on a $1.1 trillion spending package that almost everyone says is a pretty good deal. Go figure! And one of the real positives of this whopping budget agreement is that it gives active-duty military a one percent pay raise. 

But wait, there's been even more surprising action from this historically do-nothing Congress.  Read more at the Reno Dispatch.

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS EXPIRE FOR MILILONS OF LONG-TERM UNEMPLOYED

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 28, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) -- Long-term unemployment benefits expired on Saturday , after Congress failed to authorize an extension. People who have been out of work for six months or longer will no longer be receiving unemployment checks.

About 1.3 million Americans will lose benefits immediately, including 222,000 Californians.  By the end of 2014, it’s estimated that nearly 5 million people will lose unemployment benefits. Those checks range from $40 to $450 a week, so this is a major blow for individuals who may have no other source of income.

The New York Times reports that removing this safety net for unemployed workers will push hundreds of thousands of households below the poverty line. With the cut off, only one out of every four unemployed Americans will receive jobless benefits –the lowest proportion in half a century.

D-DAY: WILL THE U.S. DEFAULT ON DEBT?

 

By Miriam Raftery and Nadin Abbott

October 16, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – If Congress and the President don’t pass a spending bill and raise the debt ceiling, tomorrow the United States will default on its debts for the first time in our nation’s history. 

The heads of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce representing businesses, the AFL-CIO representing labor unions, and the nonprofit United Way have all urged Congress to end the shutdown and avoid a default. 

If the nation defaults on its debts, economists warn this could trigger a stock market crash, soaring interest rates, and a global recession.  The U.S. would be unable to borrow money and would be able to spend only cash on hand creating an uncertain future for all who rely on federal money, including Social Security and Medicare recipients.  Foreign creditors could seek to cash out their U.S. bond holdings, leaving the government unable to pay its debts.    Standard and Poors has downgraded the U.S. credit rating in reaction to the stalemate in Washington, CCN.

CONGRESSWOMAN DAVIS MOVES TO FORCE VOTE TO OPEN FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

 

October 12, 2013 (Washington D.C.) --As the economically damaging government shutdown entered its 12th day, Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) took an extraordinary legislative step to bypass the Speaker of the House and force a vote to open the government.

“A majority of the Congress wants to end the government shutdown and stop the economic harm it is causing,” said Davis. “Legislation to open the federal government is sitting on the Speaker’s desk, having passed the Senate two weeks ago. Unfortunately, he won’t let the House vote. This move will apply the necessary pressure to force a vote to end the shutdown.”

Davis joined her House colleagues in signing what is known as a discharge petition to require the Speaker to bring the Senate-passed government funding bill to the House floor for an immediate vote. If a majority of the House signs the petition, a vote would be scheduled.

REPRESENTATIVES DAVIS AND VARGAS SUPPORT INCREASE IN MINIMUM WAGE

 

March 18, 2013 (Washington)--Two San Diego Congressional members, Democrats Susan Davis and Juan Vargas, joined 131 colleagues in introducing legislation to give minimum-wage workers a raise.  Both are cosponsors the Fair Minimum Wage Act (H.R. 1010) to boost the minimum wage to $10.10 over three years, increase the minimum wage for workers who rely on tips, and tie future annual increases to the rate of inflation. 

“Earning minimum wage salary should not mean living in poverty or struggling to pay the bills,” Davis said.  “A minimum wage increase would enhance the economic security of our families by putting more money in the pockets of those who need it most.  Let’s honor and respect our hard work minimum-wage earners by giving them a much-deserved raise.”

READER'S EDITORIAL: HOURS LEFT TO SAVE SOCIAL SECURITY

 

By Fred Griesbach

American Association of Retired Persons (AARP)

 

March 19, 2013 (Washington D.C)--In a matter of hours, the Senate could vote to cut your Social Security benefits.

President Obama is pushing a budget deal that would include a proposal called "chained CPI", a benefit cut that would take money straight out of your pocket – and some Senators want to take it.

Their vote could happen at any moment, so your Senators need to hear from you right now. Tell your Senators to keep your hard-earned benefits safe and say no to chained CPI.

READER'S EDITORIAL: SEQUESTER HARMS SAN DIEGO; BIPARTISAN SOLUTION NEEDED

By Congressman Scott Peters (D-San Diego)

March 12, 2013 -- Two weeks before the sequester took effect, House leadership called a recess and sent us home. As a former Port Commissioner and City Council president, that was foreign to me. I could not believe, with the amount of work still to be done, we were sent home. And, even more frustrating, that we were sent home without being allowed to vote on a single alternative to the sequester, because leadership didn’t agree with the legislation. This, in my opinion, is not representative of the democratic process that the United States is regarded for.

I used my time at home to send a message back to Washington. I worked with our port commissioners, scientific research community and maritime workers to tell Congress that the negative effects of the sequester will be felt in San Diego through layoffs, furloughs, stifled research and decreased GDP.

WHAT HAPPENS IF SEQUESTRATION OCCURS ON FRIDAY?

By Miriam Raftery

White House releases list of cuts to California

“By God, across-the board cuts are the worst and most cowardly way to approach this situation.” –Senator John McCain (R-AZ)

"Are Republicans in Congress really willing to let these cuts fall on our kids’ schools ...slash military health care and the Border Patrol ...Are they seriously prepared to inflict more pain on the middle class because they refuse to ask anything more of those at the very top?" -- President Barack Obama

February 25, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – If Congress can’t agree by Friday, automatic sequestration cuts will take place in nearly all federal programs.  Half will hit the military, the other half will slice domestic programs. 

Both sides agreed in prior debt negotiations that the cuts were so severe that neither party would actually let them take place--and that the sequestration trigger would force Congress to come up with a more sensible plan before the March 1 deadline.

Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened.  Sequestration appears likely to occur on Friday--and the impacts are apt to be felt by every American, from long waits at airports to cuts in programs impacting students, senior citizens, the military, national parks, the unemployed, health programs, and much more.  Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said cuts will  even harm the readiness of U.S. troops in the military.

CONGRESSMAN PETERS TO SERVE ON HOUSE COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE, SPACE AND TECHNOLOGY

January 16, 2013 (Washington, D.C.)--The Democratic Caucus earlier this month approved additional committee assignments for Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) has been assigned to serve on the House Science, Space and Technology committee.

ECM WORLD WATCH: GLOBAL AND NATIONAL NEWS

January 10, 2013 (San Diego’s East County)--ECM World Watch helps you be an informed citizen about important issues globally and nationally. As part of our commitment to reflect all voices and views, we include links to a wide variety of news sources representing a broad spectrum of political, religious, and social views. Top world and U.S. headlines include:

U.S.

WORLD

Read more for excerpts and links to full stories.

RENO DISPATCH: WILL CONGRESS THROW VETERANS UNDER THE BUS?

January 2, 2013 (San Diego) – What has sadly been lost this week amid all the chatter about the so-called fiscal cliff is the fact that members of Congress are already threatening to throw our veterans under the bus. And it is nothing short of despicable.

Back in September, I reported for Newsweek/The Daily Beast that an unidentified Senator tried to block disabled veterans and their survivors from getting a cost-of-living adjustment to their benefits. The Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) increase for Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits, which typically passes the House and Senate without opposition, was cleared by Senate Democrats but was unconscionably placed on a “secret hold” by an unidentified Republican senator.

http://therenodispatch.blogspot.com/2012/12/will-congress-throw-veterans...

FISCAL CLIFF LOOMS AS YEAR END DEADLINE DRAWS NEAR

How will failure of Congress to halt fiscal cliff impact you?

By Miriam Raftery

December 30, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – If Congress fails to agree by the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, automatic spending cuts of 8-9% across the board will take place as required through sequestration in both domestic programs and Defense.  That could cut the deficit by half, but theCongressional Budget office warns this could trigger recession as steep  tax hikes take effect along with spending cuts. It’s not just the rich who will feel the pinch—in fact middle class and low income earners would face severe economic impacts.

San Diego's biotech industry, military and Border Patrol offices are all bracing for potential painful cuts.

The deficit currently stands at $1.1 trillion, the lowest since 2008 but still a daunting figure that both sides seek to reduce, but with vastly different approaches.

ECM WORLD WATCH: GLOBAL AND NATIONAL NEWS

December 19, 2012 -- (San Diego’s East County) – ECM World Watch helps you be an informed citizen about important issues globally and nationally. As part of our commitment to reflect all voices and views, we include links to a wide variety of news sources representing a broad spectrum of political, religious, and social views. Top world and U.S. headlines include:

U.S.

Mass shooting at Connecticut elementary school:

Other national news:

WORLD

Read more for excerpts and links to full stories.

VETS FIGHT FOR WILDERNESS: ISSA BILL WOULD EXPAND WILDERNESS IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY

By Lori Abbott, California News Service

November 17, 2012 (San Diego)-Congress returned to Washington, D.C., to begin its lame-duck session, but a veterans' group has not given up the fight for legislation to protect parts of the California desert. A bill  by Darrell Issa (R-San Diego) would designate as wilderness more than 21,000 acres of Beauty Mountain and Agua Tibia in northern San Diego County. 

NATIONAL COMMITTEE TO PROTECT SOCIAL SECURITY/MEDICARE BACKS PETERS OVER BILBRAY

October 9, 2012 (San Diego) -- The National Committee to Protect Social Security and Medicare (NCPSSM), one of the most trusted, independent and effective advocates for these programs in the country since 1982, has endorsed Scott Peters for Congress, the Peters campaign announced today.

 NCPSSM President and Chief Executive Officer Max Richtman said they are endorsing Peters over Bilbray because they trust Peters to protect Medicare and Social Security, while Bilbray has voted repeatedly to cut these critical programs which protect many of America’s seniors from living in poverty.

ECM WORLD WATCH: GLOBAL AND NATIONAL NEWS

 
August 2, 2012 --  (San Diego’s East County) – ECM World Watch helps you be an informed citizen about important issues globally and nationally. As part of our commitment to reflecting all voices and views, we include links to a wide variety of news sources representing a broad spectrum of political, religious, and social views. Top world and U.S. headlines include:   
 
 
 

U.S.

  • Romney would let wind energy tax credits expire, campaign says (Denver Post)
  • Leaders have agreement to avoid pre-election government shut-down (The Hill)
  • Scathing report on for-profit colleges and their $32 billion in tax dollars (Atlanta Journal Constitution)
  • Congress warned that Al Qaeda in Iraq is coming to America (Jewish World Review)
  • Scalia: Guns may be regulated (National Journal)
  • More worries for the wealthy? Inheritance taxes to jump unless Congress acts (Christian Science Monitor)
  • U.S. raises taxes on Chinese wind turbine makers (NY Times)
  • 14 reasons why this is the worst Congress ever (Wonkblog)
WORLD
  • India blackout affects millions, grid failure among world’s worst power outage (Reuters)
  • Japan utility gets $12.8B nuclear crisis bailout (UT San Diego)
  • Cuba broadens economic reforms, plans new measures (Reuters)
  • In pictures: Olympics opening ceremonies (BBC)
  • Thousands flee amid growing ethnic violence in India (NPR)
 
Read more for excerpts and links to full stories.

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