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About NH Labor News

The New Hampshire Labor News is a group of NH Workers who believe that we need to protect ourselves against the attacks on workers. We are proud union members who are working to preserve the middle class. The NHLN talks mostly about news and politics from NH. We also talk about national issues that effect working men and women here in the Granite State.

(Event Tonight) Clean Energy Transformation Initiative, Lower Your Energy Costs And Save The Planet

On First Day of Spring, Seacoast Communities Launch New Hampshire’s First Clean Energy Transformation Initiative

LAUNCH EVENT:

Monday, March 20th, 7-9pm

Oyster River High School Cafeteria

55 Coe Drive in Durham, NH

DURHAM, NH – Energy leaders from five New Hampshire communities have joined forces to launch Energize 360, a first-of-its-kind campaign to save money and help save the planet by providing citizens a suite of new energy efficiency and clean energy options at bulk discounts.

“Spring is here and there’s no better time for homeowners and businesses to take control of their energy future by availing themselves of proven solutions that save money, lower energy use, and transition to clean renewable energy for the good of our state,” said Daniel Clapp, General Manager of ReVision Energy, the local industry leader in renewable energy solutions and lead Energize 360 vendor chosen through competitive bidding.

Every participant in Energize 360 in the NH Seacoast will get a free site visit, a Home Heating Index score, and a comprehensive analysis of their energy usage specific to their home. Energize 360 offers energy audits, weatherization, solar electric systems, heat pump installations, and more, as well as help qualifying for all available rebates and incentives. 

 “With the cost of solar panels down 75% over the last decade, anyone with a roof or lawn and a clear view to the sun has the potential to generate their own electricity,” Clapp added. “And thanks to complementary technologies offered by Energize 360, you can now use that power to heat your home, charge your vehicle, and power your daily life.”

Energize 360 includes tiered discounts for consumers and pledges to fund clean energy projects in each of the communities of Dover, Durham, Lee, Northwood and Portsmouth. The funds available for community projects and the discounts available to homeowners and business owners both increase as participation in the campaign increases. The program ends June 30th.

Energize 360 is a partnership between Seacoast Regional Energy Hub, Seacoast Area Renewable Energy Initiative (SEAREI), ReVision Energy, and Yankee Thermal Imaging. The participating program vendors were selected by an independent committee through a competitive bidding process that took into consideration competence and cost. Energize 360 discounts cannot be combined with other discounts. 

“It’s exciting to see more and more local communities stepping forward to address high energy costs and chart a more sustainable future through Energize 360 and other innovative campaigns,” concluded Jack Ruderman, Director of Community Solar Initiatives at ReVision Energy. “Why send millions of dollars out of state or overseas for dirty fossil fuels when we can generate our own clean electricity at lower cost on our own roof or backyard?”

RSVPs are encouraged at the March 20th launch event but are not required: https://energize360.eventbrite.com.

Residents interested in participating in the program are encouraged to bring utility and heating fuel bills to launch event. A series of educational events are scheduled after the March 20th launch. For more information on future events and other program questions, please visit energize360.org or call (603) 679-1777.  

Senator Hassan Reintroduces Paid Sick Leave Bill

 Healthy Families Act would help hard-working Americans, protect public health, and strengthen the economy

WASHINGTON – This week, Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined her colleagues in the Senate and House in introducing the Healthy Families Act, which would allow Granite State workers to earn paid sick leave to use when they are sick, to care for a loved one, to obtain preventative care, or to address the impacts of domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault. Currently, 41 million workers across the nation do not have access to paid sick leave, forcing them to take time off with no pay, and at times even risk their jobs when they or a loved one is sick. 

“Ensuring that our workers have the flexibility to support themselves and their families during times of need is critical to maintaining a healthy and productive workforce and a strong economy,” Senator Hassan said. “I’m proud to join in reintroducing the Healthy Families Act to help ensure that no hard-working American is forced to choose between their health and economic security. I’ll continue working across the aisle to expand paid family leave in order to strengthen our families, our businesses, and our economy.”

The Healthy Families Act would allow workers at businesses with at least 15 employees to earn up to 56 hours, or seven days, of paid sick leave each year. This would allow workers to stay home when they are ill, to care for a sick family member, seek preventive medical care, or seek assistance related to domestic violence, stalking, or sexual assault. 

Businesses that already provide paid sick leave would not have to change their current policies, as long as they meet the minimum standards of the Healthy Families Act. Studies show that paid sick leave can reduce the spread of contagious diseases like the flu and a national paid sick day policy would reduce emergency room visits by 1.3 million annually, saving $1.1 billion a year.

Senator Hassan is a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.

 

Shea-Porter Gets Amendment To Improve Hiring At The VA, Passed In US House

American Legion-Endorsed Shea-Porter Amendment Earns Bipartisan Support 

WASHINGTON, DC— Everyone agrees the VA needs help.  Healthcare professionals at the VA are swamped. There is a shortage of qualified health professionals and this is leading to the VA’s failure to care for those who need it.

The VA’s current shortage of mental health providers causes unacceptable wait-times for veterans who need care for mental health conditions, including substance use disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and military sexual trauma.  More than 20% of veterans suffering from PTSD also suffer from substance use disorder, and 25% of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan showed signs of substance use disorder.  Between 2010 and 2015, the number of veterans suffering from opioid use disorder increased by 55%.

Yesterday, the U.S. House passed an amendment introduced by Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH01) to improve VA hiring of mental health professionals.

“The VA faces a critical shortage of mental health professionals, including psychiatrists, psychologists, mental health counselors, and peer support specialists. These providers care for our veterans with behavioral health needs that include post-traumatic stress disorder, military sexual trauma, and substance use disorder. Too many of our veterans must wait to receive the mental health care we have promised to them, and some never receive needed care at all,” Shea-Porter said while offering the amendment on the House floor. “In my home state of New Hampshire, we are fighting a fentanyl, heroin and prescription opioid crisis that is disproportionately affecting the veteran community. Increasing mental health provider capacity will allow more of these veterans to enter treatment and, ultimately, recovery.”

Congressman Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health, rose to speak in support of Shea-Porter’s amendment, saying: “It’s critical that VA closely track to mental health vacancies on an ongoing basis so they can be prioritized and filled to prevent any disruptions in care to our most vulnerable veterans. I’m fully supportive of this amendment and grateful to Representative Shea-Porter for submitting it.” 

The American Legion said: “The American Legion thanks Congresswoman Shea-Porter for her amendment, which will improve veterans’ access to critical mental health services, allowing the VA to better serve those who have sacrificed for our nation.”

Shea-Porter’s amendment passed as part of H.R. 1367, a bill to improve the VA’s ability to hire and retain health providers, which would create a database to help match qualified applicants to critical open positions at the VA, facilitating faster hiring. Because of Shea-Porter’s amendment, that database will list open mental health positions if the bill becomes law, improving the VA’s ability to hire needed mental health professionals.

A former military spouse, Shea-Porter understands the challenges facing our military families and veterans. This Congress, she has cosponsored 18 bipartisan bills to improve services for veterans, including the WINGMAN Act, legislation she co-introduced and the House passed earlier this year to make it easier for certified Congressional caseworkers to assist veterans. She has been a leader in the fight to lift the harmful federal hiring freeze that is damaging the VA’s ability to provide care and limiting employment opportunities for returning veterans.

“Our veterans deserve to be treated by professionals who fully understand the veteran experience and veteran-specific mental health conditions. That is why it is so important for veterans to have the option to receive specialized mental health from VA mental health professionals who have the training that will allow them to build trust,” said Shea-Porter on the floor of the House yesterday“There is an urgent need to address this problem. Every day, 20 veterans commit suicide. MST. Opioid. PTSD. These are all crises we need to address. The time to act is now. Please vote yes on this amendment.”

Shea-Porter Introduces Corporations Are Not People Amendment

Constitutional Amendment Attacks Flood of Dark Money
Unleashed by Citizens United Decision
 

WASHINGTON, DC— Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) today introduced the Corporations are Not People Amendment, a Constitutional Amendment to ensure that people, not corporations, are entitled to First Amendment-protected political speech. The Amendment would reverse the catastrophic effects of 2010’s Citizens United Supreme Court decision, which has allowed dark money to flood our elections and drown out Americans’ voices in our democracy. 

“Getting dark money out of politics is the necessary first step toward restoring trust in elections and getting our government working for the people instead of for corporate interests,” said Shea-Porter. “With the Corporations Are Not People Amendment, we can stem the flood of money unleashed by Citizens United and make sure our government is working for real people instead of big business.” 

Shea-Porter’s amendment has earned endorsements from government accountability advocacy groups including Common Cause, People for the American Way, and Free Speech for People. 

“Common Cause commends Congresswoman Shea-Porter and the many other Members of Congress who have championed a Constitutional amendment to help reduce the influence of big money in politics,” said Aaron Scherb, director of legislative affairs for Common Cause. “This amendment would help ensure that the voices of all Americans can be heard in our democracy even if they can’t hire a lobbyist, make a large campaign contribution, or start a super PAC.”

The Corporations Are Not People Amendment is the first bill Shea-Porter is introducing as part of her People Not Profits initiative to root out corporate influence in Washington. In addition to getting money out of politics, Shea-Porter will tackle lobbying loopholes that currently allow revolving-door influence, and work to strengthen prohibitions against conflicts of interest so we can make sure government officials aren’t using their position for personal profit.

Joyce Craig Announces Campaign for Mayor of Manchester

MANCHESTER – Citing a need for new leadership in City Hall to address the many challenges facing Manchester, Joyce Craig today announced her campaign for Mayor of Manchester. 

“I’m running for Mayor because I love Manchester, and I know that we can and must do better to make our city a place where people want to live, work and raise their children,” said Joyce. “For eight years, under Mayor Gatsas, we’ve seen our city stumble from crisis to crisis.  We need a new Mayor with vision and energy. As an Alderman, I led bipartisan efforts to lower the tax rate while putting more police officers on the streets, improving our roads and investing in our schools. As Mayor, I will make smarter decisions with your hard earned money and work to bring pride and optimism back to the City of Manchester. Our city has great potential, but to get there we need new leadership, and that change must begin in the Mayor’s office.”

Born and raised in Manchester, Joyce is a former school board member and alderman, property owner and parent of children attending Manchester public schools who has seen first-hand the challenges our citizens face every day.  Joyce knows that Manchester cannot reach its full potential without the leadership in City Hall to address the many issues facing the city – including drugs and crime, the quality of our schools, our roads and infrastructure, and the need for a long term plan to promote economic development and job creation. 

Joyce and her husband, Attorney Michael Craig, have three children, William, Sarah and Kathryn. Joyce is a graduate of Manchester public schools and earned her degree in Business Administration from the University of New Hampshire. Joyce worked as a marketing director in Boston for 15 years where she developed strategic plans and managed multimillion dollar budgets. She is now a self-employed property manager. Joyce is also an avid runner, who has completed 13 marathons and is currently training for her 10th consecutive Boston Marathon. 

Transportation Unions Roll Out Strategies to Move $1 Trillion Transportation Infrastructure Package

Labor Leader Release List Of Priorities For 2017 And Beyond 

San Antonio, TX – Transportation labor leaders laid out an aggressive strategy yesterday focused on shaping the President’s $1 trillion transportation infrastructure package and tackling unprecedented challenges faced by frontline transportation workers. Some of those challenges include the looming transportation automation wave, risks to jobs and safety, and reckless political forces taking aim at workers’ rights to bargain collectively for good wages and benefits.

“We committed to rally behind a $1 trillion infrastructure package that doesn’t rely mostly on tax incentives but instead includes an infusion of billions in new federal funding and embraces high labor standards,” said Edward Wytkind, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO (TTD). “We cannot toll our way to modernizing and expanding our transportation system and creating millions of new jobs.”

TTD hosted Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) for a discussion on the pressing issues affecting America’s transportation workers, including the need to advance a robust infrastructure package. Denham is a senior member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure and chairman of the Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines, and Hazardous Materials.

“Our nation’s transportation system, and the men and women who build, operate and maintain it, play a crucial role in keeping our economy strong,” Denham said. “I look forward to working with transportation labor leaders to advance strategic infrastructure investments that will rebuild our vast transportation network and, in the process, drive middle-class job creation in California and throughout the nation.” 

Transportation labor leaders laid out key issues for 2017 and beyond, including:

 Responding to the Wave of Transportation Automation

  • Automated technologies will drastically change the nature of work in transportation industries, will put millions of jobs at risk and pose new safety and security threats requiring rigorous federal regulations.

Views on President Trump’s Call for a $1 Trillion Infrastructure Investment Initiative

  • Any transportation infrastructure plan advanced by the President and Congress must include a significant infusion of new federal funds and embrace strong worker protections, labor standards and Buy America requirements.

Mobilization Against Job-Killing Right-to-Work Laws

  • Transportation labor will engage in an aggressive effort to stop national right-to-work legislation, which is part of an orchestrated, deliberate attempt by extremists to crush the wages and benefits of working Americans.

Protecting Airline Customer Service Agents from Assault

  • Too many airline customer service agents are verbally or physically assaulted on the job. Federal legislation must mitigate the problem by providing clear protocols for violent situations, preventing violent travelers from boarding planes and subjecting those who assault customer service agents to arrest and prosecution.

Strengthening Transportation Buy America Rules

  • Billions in new transportation investments must be used to not only grow the economy, but to maximize middle-class job creation through vigorous and strongly enforced Buy America policies.

Protecting and Expanding Middle Class Freight Rail Jobs

  • Transportation unions are committed to policies that strengthen and expand freight rail and will oppose reforms that would weaken the freight rail sector’s ability to expand business, invest in its network and workforce, and support middle-class job creation.

Supporting Cargo Preference Laws that Strengthen Our National Defense

  • The Trump Administration and Congress must uphold cargo preference laws that ensure a viable U.S. merchant marine, strengthen our national defense and support mariner jobs.

Protecting Official Time for Federal Employees

  • Transportation unions will mobilize against the Official Time Reform Act, which is a thinly veiled attack on public sector unions and federal employees.

The Executive Committee heard a presentation from Wytkind, who was appointed to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s federal advisory committee on transportation automation, on the safety and security challenges as well as massive job impacts from emerging automation technologies.

“Every sector of the transportation industry faces massive change and significant job loss from the development and deployment of automated technologies,” said Wytkind. “Our priority going forward is to ensure that these technologies are tools for frontline workers to enhance safety, security and service, rather than enablers of massive job and wage destruction.”

National COSH Announces Action Agenda: “Protecting Workers’ Lives and Limbs”

90+ Groups Endorse New Workplace Safety Protections
to Save Thousands of Lives, Billions of Dollars

Advocates also call for action in local communities and workplaces

San Diego – Today the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (National COSH) announced a new action agenda: “Protecting Workers’ Lives and Limbs.”

Advocates say the comprehensive platform for strong worker safety protections can save thousands of workers’ lives and reduce costs to employers by billions of dollars. Delegations of safety advocates from 12 communities will schedule visits to present the platform to members of Congress in ten states in the coming weeks. 

“Out-of-touch politicians are misreading the results of the last election,” said Jora Trang, managing attorney at San Francisco-based Worksafe and president of the National COSH board of directors. “Nobody voted to get sick or die at work. We need stronger safety protections and tougher enforcement – not weaker laws and fewer life-saving regulations.”

On a typical day, 13 U.S. workers die from preventable hazards in the workplace.  Among those who have lost their lives in March 2017 are:

·      Construction worker David Williams, 36, killed when a trench collapsed at a building site in San Antonio, TX

·      Roberto Cortez, 36, died after a fall from an unmanned tree service truck in Bell Canyon, CA

·      Timothy Dragon, 42, lost his life at the Granite City Steelworks in Granite City, MO

 Recent Congressional actions have put workers at risk by taking steps to reverse longstanding recordkeeping rules and eliminate sanctions against federal contractors who violate safety laws. Delegations led by local COSH groups will schedule visit to Congressional offices as safety activists prepare to observe Workers Memorial Week. The observance, marked in communities around the world from April 23 through April 30, honors workers who have died on the job.

“Protecting Workers’ Lives and Limbs” has been endorsed by 92 local, regional and statewide organizations representing workers, unions, environmentalists and civic groups. Key elements of the platform include: ensuring health and safety protections for all workers, reducing and working to eliminate the use of toxic chemicals; ensuring injured workers access to quality medical care; accurate counting of all occupational injuries and illnesses, and measures to adapt to – and reduce – further climate change.

“Every day in this country, workers are dying from conditions we know how to prevent,” said Joseph Zanoni, PhD, director of continuing education at the Illinois Health and Safety Education and Research Center and chair of the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Section of the American Public Health Association (APHA). The OHS Section of APHA is one of the endorsers of “Protecting Workers’ Lives and Limbs.”

“There’s no reason for a worker to drown in a trench or get crushed to death by a machine without proper guarding,” said Zanoni. “We can prevent these tragedies by engaging workers in training and applying proven safety practices – and if we do, we’ll save lives, increase productivity and reduce the high cost of caring for sick, injured and fallen workers.” 

More than 4,500 U.S. workers die every year from preventable workplace trauma and an estimated 95,000 die from long-term occupational illnesses. Millions more are injured after exposure to preventable safety hazards. The cost to U.S. employers for workers’ compensation alone was $91.8 billion in 2014, representing a fraction of the total cost of workplace deaths injuries and illnesses.

In addition to meeting with members of Congress, health and safety activists plan to push for better safety practices in U.S. workplaces and enhanced protections in state and municipal law.

For example, following a recent tragedy, the Boston City Council passed a new ordinance giving city officials authority to deny construction permits to companies with a record of poor safety practices. Boston construction workers Kelvin Mattocks and Robert Higgins drowned to death in a trench in October 2016 because their employer, Atlantic Drain Services, failed to follow required safety precautions by shoring up the excavation site. Atlantic Drain had a long history of safety violations; the company and its owner, Kevin Otto have been indicted for manslaughter. The Massachusetts legislature is considering a bill to increase penalties against employers when a worker is killed on the job.

In Dallas, after construction worker Roendy Granillo died of heat exhaustion in 2015 during a triple-digit heat wave, his family joined a successful campaign to pass a new city ordinance requiring mandatory rest and water breaks on building sites.

We can’t wait for tragedy to strike before we take action,” said Jessica Martinez, co-executive director of National COSH. “We have to improve our safety laws and insist on tough enforcement before workers are hurt or killed on the job.”

“We’re going to make it clear to public officials, if you stall on safety legislation or cut back on regulations, you are putting people’s lives at risk,” said Marcy Goldstein-Gelb, also a co-executive director of National COSH. “If a worker dies from a cause you failed to prevent, that’s on your watch – so you better start thinking about what you will say to that person’s family.”

“Protecting Workers’ Lives and Limbs” is available in English and Spanish on the National COSH website here and below.

A list of the 92 organizations endorsing the platform is here and below. 

Protecting Workers' Lives and Limbs -3-15-17 3-30 pm(2).compressed

Protecting Workers' Lives and Limbs Endorsements_0

 

Senator Hassan Joins Colleagues in Calling on Education Department to Explain Delay of Gainful Employment Rule

Image from Senator Hassan on FLIKR (All Rights Reserved)

Senators Argue Delay Hurts Students and Needlessly Stalls Important Protections for Taxpayers

WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined a group of her Senate colleagues in calling on Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to explain the Department’s decision to delay the implementation of the Gainful Employment rule, which cracks down on for-profit higher education institutions that fail to prepare students for good-paying jobs that allow them to repay their student debt. Last week, the Department of Education announced it would postpone the deadline for failing schools to submit appeals of their debt-to-earnings rates and delay the use of a new disclosure template to provide students better information about their programs. 

“The Gainful Employment rule is a critical protection for both students and taxpayers,” the Senators wrote in a letter to Secretary DeVos. “It will encourage improvement of career education programs that fail to adequately prepare students for good-paying jobs that allow them to repay their student debt, and cut off federal financial aid to programs that continue to fall short of these reasonable expectations. This will help prevent students from amassing debt that they can’t repay and reduce taxpayer dollars being wasted on underperforming programs. Disappointingly, [the Department] has now moved the March and April deadlines back to July 1, 2017, on the grounds that the delay will allow time to ‘further review’ the regulation… [T]his delay needlessly stalls important protections for students and taxpayers and creates more uncertainty for schools.” 

The letter was also signed by Senators Dick Durbin (D-IL), Patty Murray (D-WA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jack Reed (D-RI), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Al Franken (D-MN), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), and Chris Murphy (D-CT).

Federal law requires career education and certificate programs at for-profit, not-for-profit, and public institutions to prepare students for “gainful employment in a recognized occupation” in order to qualify for federal student aid. The Department’s Gainful Employment rule seeks to hold institutions to that statutory responsibility. Final debt-to-earnings data released by the Obama Administration in January revealed that 98 percent of the 800 failing degree programs identified were offered by for-profit colleges. 

Full text of the letter is available here and below:

March 13, 2017
The Honorable Elisabeth DeVos
Secretary
Department of Education
400 Maryland Ave, SW
Washington, DC 20202

 

Dear Secretary DeVos:  

            We write today regarding our serious concerns over the Department of Education’s (ED) announcement delaying implementation of the Gainful Employment (GE) rule. 

            The Gainful Employment rule is a critical protection for both students and taxpayers.  It will encourage improvement of career education programs that fail to adequately prepare students for good paying jobs that allow them to repay their student debt, and cut off federal financial aid to programs that continue to fall short of these reasonable expectations.  This will help prevent students from amassing debt that they can’t repay and reduce taxpayer dollars being wasted on underperforming programs.  

            On January 9, 2017, the Department of Education released final Debt-to-Earnings (D/E) rates for all GE programs at public, non-profit, and for-profit schools.  These rates were generated using earnings data from the Social Security Administration and data on program completers reported by institutions.  GE afforded schools two opportunities to formally challenge ED’s calculations of their data before the January 9 release. 

            The rule, generously, gives schools a third opportunity for appeal after the release of final D/E rates.  Schools can submit alternate earnings data for “failing” or “zone” (near-failing) programs if that data will improve the program’s rate significantly enough to avoid sanctions.  The deadline for colleges to notify ED of their intent to file an alternate earnings appeal was January 23.  Schools then had until March 10 – more than six weeks – to submit their final appeals. 

In addition, schools were required to begin using the new GE Disclosure Template by April 3.  This new and improved template includes a more meaningful completion rate, the typical earnings of graduates, whether a program meets state licensure requirements, and a prominent warning for failing programs that do not have appeals pending.  The GE Disclosure Template will help students be better informed consumers.  

Disappointingly, ED has now moved the March and April deadlines back to July 1, 2017, on the grounds that the delay will allow time to “further review” the regulation.  According to a Department spokesperson, the delay was also due to “a question about whether schools can provide data to a third party.”  It is unclear how this question could not have been solved through follow-up guidance rather than delay.  The Department has already gone through an extensive federal rulemaking process and the Gainful Employment rule has been upheld by federal courts. Therefore, this delay needlessly stalls important protections for students and taxpayers and creates more uncertainty for schools. 

As such, we seek your answers to the following questions: 

  • Why did the Department delay the deadline for schools to file alternate earnings appeals and use the GE Disclosure Template?
  • What is the scope of the Department’s current “review” of the GE regulations and their implementation?
  • Did ED explore alternative options to the delay for resolving any questions about the use of data by third-parties, including issuing guidance?
  • Of the programs for which the Department received notice of an intent to appeal by January 23, 2017, how many alternate earnings appeals have been submitted to the Department as of the date of this letter?
  • What is the timeline for the Department to resolve all of the alternate earnings appeals received by July 1, 2017?
  • Will you commit to swiftly enforce the requirement, which took effect February 8, that institutions provide warnings to current and prospective students for failing programs where no notice of an intent to appeal was received by January 23, 2017?
  • Will you commit to requiring schools to use the new GE Disclosure Template no later than July 1, 2017?
  • Will you commit to no further delays in the Department’s implementation and enforcement of GE? 

Implementation of this rule is an important part of your responsibility as Secretary to protect students and appropriately oversee taxpayer dollars.  In fact, in recent testimony before a House subcommittee, Department of Education Inspector General Kathleen Tighe agreed that “the gainful employment rule is a good rule in terms of protecting kids and protecting taxpayers’ dollars.”  Further delays or other attempts to undermine Gainful Employment implementation are unacceptable.

We look forward to your prompt response to our questions.

Sincerely,

AFGE: Trump’s Governmentwide Review Must Include Billions in Wasteful Contractor Spending

Government spends twice as much on service contractors as on civilian workforce

WASHINGTON – American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. issued the following statement in response to President Trump’s executive order calling for a top-to-bottom review of the executive branch:

“The federal government has two workforces: civilian federal employees and contractors. The contractor workforce has grown massively over the past two decades. Each year, the government spends more than twice as much on service contractors as it does on its own workforce.

“It doesn’t take a Wharton MBA to figure out that getting a handle on what contractors are doing and what they are charging should be the first priority in any governmentwide review of operational efficiency. 

“Contractor pressure groups spend millions lobbying the Congress to make sure that the facts and figures surrounding the annual $450 billion spent on them each year remains hidden and unaccountable.

“We remain hopeful that the administration is serious about draining this wasteful swamp of politically connected contractors. They have insinuated themselves into every government agency, performing work at a cost to taxpayers that is often twice or three times higher than would be necessary if government employees were hired to do the jobs.

“The very best approach to rooting out government waste is to require agencies to finally comply with their legal requirements to inventory all of their service contracts. Only then can the government make sourcing decisions – whether to continue outsourcing or to bring work back in-house – that align with the public interest in cost-effectiveness and accountability.

“We also urge the administration to include front-line employees’ input in its review and analysis. Whether it is the VA nurse at the bedside of a wounded warrior, the Border Patrol agent securing our homeland, or the EPA scientist working to keep our air and water safe and clean, federal employees are eager to help make sure that every dollar spent produces the best possible outcome for our fellow citizens.”

Kuster Discusses Importance of Affordable Care Act in Peterborough

Congresswoman Kuster discusses the importance of the ACA at Monadnock Community Hospital

(Peterborough, NH) –  Yesterday, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) joined healthcare providers and advocates as well as town and regional leaders in Peterborough to discuss the importance of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in rural communities. The discussion comes as Republicans in Congress are pushing legislation to repeal the law.  

“I remain very troubled by the reckless efforts of Republicans in Washington to repeal the ACA,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “The ACA is not perfect, but coverage through the law has been a critical component in fighting the heroin and opioid epidemic by providing access to recovery and treatment services. Uninsured residents in rural areas of New Hampshire have been reduced by half, and nearly 50,000 New Hampshire residents have access to private health insurance on the New Hampshire Exchange through Medicaid expansion.  Meanwhile, the Republican health care proposal would increase costs, limit access, and cover fewer Americans. I’m willing to work with Republicans and Democrats to improve the ACA, but I will not support a plan that will undo the progress that has been made the last few years.”   

Kuster was joined by Dr. Michael Lindberg, Chief Medical Officer at Monadnock Community Hospital (MCH), and other senior officials at MCH; as well as Jennifer Frizzell, Vice President of Public Policy at Planned Parenthood of Northern New England; and Sean Ryan, Executive Director at Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce, among others.

“Monadnock Community Hospital (MCH) was honored to host Congresswoman Annie Kuster in a roundtable discussion on the anticipated repeal of the Affordable Care Act,” said Dr. Michael Lindberg, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Monadnock Community Hospital. “Here at MCH, our mission is to improve the health and well-being of our community. We affirm the importance of health insurance that has been made available to thousands of New Hampshire residents who could not afford coverage prior to the Affordable Care Act. We also support the New Hampshire Hospital Association’s concern that any roll-backs in Medicaid coverage for New Hampshire residents could present significant hardship to our patients who rely upon it for coverage.”

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