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Shea-Porter Listens to Seniors, Discusses Affordable Care Act and Importance of Social Security & Medicare in Manchester

image001MANCHESTER, NH – Today, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) joined 35 seniors in Manchester to discuss the Affordable Care Act and answer questions about Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. During the open forum with residents of Birch Hill Terrace, Congresswoman Shea-Porter answered questions about New Hampshire’s ACA Marketplace, how the Affordable Care Act is strengthening Medicare, and how Congress can work to improve the long-term outlook of Social Security.

“Granite State seniors have earned their Medicare and Social Security benefits through a lifetime of hard work,” Shea-Porter said. “These programs are vital to the retirement security of millions of Americans, and we must protect them for future generations.”

In Congress, Shea-Porter has led the fight against reckless schemes to balance the budget on the backs of New Hampshire seniors. Last February, she wrote to President Obama urging him to reject any proposals to cut benefits to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. She has cosponsored the Strengthening Social Security Act of 2013, which would improve benefits for current and future Social Security recipients, extend the life of the Social Security trust fund, and ensure greater economic security for America’s seniors. And she has spoken out against chained CPI and other cuts to benefits that seniors have earned through a lifetime of hard work.

As of December 2012, the average monthly benefit for those receiving Social Security was $1,215. Over the course of a year, this averages out to $14,580. As Shea-Porter reiterated, the idea that we should balance the budget on the backs of seniors relying on less than $15,000 is simply wrong.

Shea-Porter was joined at the forum by Helen Mulligan from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and Karol Dermon, from the Department of Health and Human Services Bureau of Elderly and Adult Services.

 

During Teacher Appreciation Week Shea-Porter and Ros-Lehtinen Press for Action on REPAY Supplies Act

During Teacher Appreciation Week and as Congress Considers Tax Extenders, Shea-Porter and Ros-Lehtinen Press for Action on REPAY Supplies Act

“Classroom Expense Deduction must be addressed”

WASHINGTON, DC – As our nation celebrates Teacher Appreciation Week and leaders in Congress work to extend tax deductions that expired at the end of 2013, Representatives Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) urged Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Ways and Means Committee Chair Dave Camp (R-MI) to hold a vote on the REPAY Supplies Act, legislation to continue a historically bipartisan tax deduction available to teachers who purchase classroom supplies with their own money.

“The Classroom Expense Deduction is a tax extender that we can all agree should not only be extended but should be made permanent. H.R. 3318, the REPAY Supplies Act, would do exactly that and given that this is Teacher Appreciation Week, we urge you to bring the bill to the floor for a vote as soon as possible,” Shea-Porter and Ros-Lehtinen wrote.

The Classroom Expense Deduction allows teachers who pay out of their own pockets for classroom supplies like books, software, and rulers, to claim a $250 above-the-line deduction on their tax returns. This deduction has traditionally been bipartisan and extended every year since 2002, but it was allowed to expire at the end of 2013.

The bipartisan Reimburse Educators who Pay for Academic Year (REPAY) Supplies Act of 2013 would permanently extend the Classroom Expense Deduction. Introduced in October 2013, the REPAY Supplies Act came in response to a letter Shea-Porter received from  Margaret Morse-Barry, a New Hampshire educator who urged Shea-Porter to look into extending the expiring tax deduction. In March, Shea-Porter and Ros-Lehtinen urged the House Ways and Means Committee to hold a hearing on H.R. 3318.

This week, Shea-Porter launched the hashtag #REPAYSupplies, and encouraged House colleagues to participate in a social media awareness drive. Tweets can be viewed here.

The REPAY Supplies Act has been endorsed by the National Education Association (NEA), National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP), Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), American Federation of Teachers (AFT),  NEA–New Hampshire Chapter, AFT–New Hampshire Chapter, and New Hampshire School Administrators Association.

Full text of the letter to Speaker John Boehner and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp is below.

+++

May 7, 2014

The Honorable John Boehner
Office of the Speaker of the House
H-232, U.S. Capitol
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Dave Camp
Chairman, House Committee on Ways and Means
1102 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Speaker Boehner and Chairman Camp:

We understand the difficult nature of reforming our nation’s tax code and appreciate the attention being given to the tax extenders that expired at the end of 2013. One tax extender that must be addressed is the Classroom Expense Deduction, a historically bipartisan tax deduction available to teachers who purchase classroom supplies with their own money. The Classroom Expense Deduction is a tax extender that we can all agree should not only be extended but should be made permanent. H.R. 3318, the REPAY Supplies Act, would do exactly that and given that this is Teacher Appreciation Week, we urge you to bring the bill to the floor for a vote as soon as possible.

Our country’s teachers are hardworking and dedicated to the success of their students.  Many people do not realize, though, that teachers often use their own money and personal time to further ensure that their students receive a quality education. The Classroom Expense Deduction allows teachers who pay out of their own pockets for classroom supplies like books, software, and rulers, to claim a $250 above-the-line deduction on their tax returns. This deduction has traditionally been bipartisan and extended every year since 2002, but it was allowed to expire at the end of 2013.

As our nation celebrates Teacher Appreciation Week, let us show our thanks to our educators by making the Classroom Expense Deduction permanent. The sixty-five bipartisan cosponsors of the REPAY Supplies Act agree: the Classroom Expense Deduction should be a permanent part of our tax code. Please help us show teachers that they are truly appreciated by scheduling the REPAY Supplies Act for a vote as soon as possible.

 

Sincerely,

 

Carol Shea-Porter

Member of Congress

 

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

Member of Congress

 

CC: Ways and Means Committee Members

40,262 Granite Stater Have Signed Up For Healthcare Through The Affordable Care Act Exchange

MANCHESTER, NH – Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) issued the following statement regarding news that 40,262 Granite Staters and more than 8 million Americans in total have enrolled in private health insurance plans through the Affordable Care Act:

“The Affordable Care Act has turned a corner in New Hampshire. The rollout was rocky, and I made my frustration well known, but it’s great news that 40,262 Granite Staters and over 8 million people nationwide have signed up for private health insurance plans through the Affordable Care Act’s Marketplaces.

“Today’s announcement, combined with recent passage of a bipartisan plan to expand Medicaid to 50,000 Granite State citizens and news that two additional insurers plan to offer coverage on New Hampshire’s Marketplace next year, demonstrate the progress our state has made so far.

“I’ve heard from constituents, both Republicans and Democrats, about how the Affordable Care Act has helped them and their families. There are still challenges, but today’s news is confirmation that access to affordable healthcare has improved for New Hampshire families.”

Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins released the following statement:

“New Hampshire families across the state are celebrating a health law that has brought new consumer protections and benefits to the table. Because of the Affordable Care Act, some Granite Staters have been able to access quality, affordable health care coverage for the first time in their life, and others have experienced better benefits or cost savings.  The marketplaces are a key component of the Affordable Care Act and the fact that families are successfully finding coverage on them is a testimony to the law. The politicians who oppose the Affordable Care Act are the same ones who would instead leave New Hampshire families and small businesses at the mercy of insurance company abuses. Obamacare is improving the health and financial well-being of families in our state and that’s something to be proud of.”

Rep Shea-Porter Helps Secure A Grant To Repair North Country Roads After Hurricane Irene

White Mountain National Forest Awarded $2 Million Federal Grant

Funding will help repair roads and bridges damaged by Hurricane Irene

CAMPTON, NH – Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) announced that the White Mountain National Forest will receive a $2 million grant from the Federal Highway Administration to help repair roads and bridges damaged by Hurricane Irene.

“Heavy rain from Hurricane Irene significantly damaged roads in the White Mountains,” Shea-Porter said. “This funding will ensure that Slippery Brook Road, Rocky Branch Road, and East Branch Road can be returned to good condition and remain safe for travelers.”

In January 2013, Shea-Porter voted for bipartisan disaster relief funding that contained $2 billion for the Federal Highway Administration’s Emergency Relief for Federally Owned Roads (ERFO) Program. The White Mountains received an ERFO grant to help repair roads on three Forest Service routes.  Work on Forest Service Route 17 (Slippery Brook Road) includes riprap installation, ditch repair, and road slide repair.  Work on Forest Service Route 27 (Rocky Branch Road) and Forest Service Route 38 (East Branch Road) includes bridge replacement.

On Friday, May 2, 2014, Shea-Porter will meet with hikers and tour the White Mountain National Forest with Appalachian Mountain Club President John Judge. In October, Shea-Porter visited the White Mountain National Forest to discuss the impact of the government shutdown with White Mountain National Forest Supervisor Tom Wagner.

As a member of the House Natural Resources Committee, Shea-Porter has consistently fought to protect New Hampshire’s environment. She also recognizes the importance good roads and bridges play in New Hampshire, from creating well-paying construction jobs, to growing businesses, to supporting the vital tourism industry.

 

Shea-Porter Urges Transportation Committee to Ensure Funding for New Hampshire Roads and Bridges

Highway Trust Fund Scheduled to Run Dry THIS SUMMER
Improvements to our Roads and Bridges Badly Needed

WASHINGTON, DC – With the Highway Trust Fund scheduled to run dry this summer and more than a third of New Hampshire’s state-maintained roads in poor condition, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) sent a letter to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee urging a full long-term reauthorization bill to ensure that highways, bridges, and roads are safe and usable and that the Highway Trust Fund remains solvent.  (See also NHLN story: LiUNA Warns Of Danger Ahead For Roads And Workers.)

Carol Shea Porter Official Photo“As your Committee considers surface transportation reauthorization, I urge you to develop a long-term bill that authorizes our nation’s transportation programs for at least five years,” Shea-Porter wrote. “In New Hampshire, investment in infrastructure serves a critical role in the local economy by helping to expand economic growth and supporting good, well-paying construction jobs, in addition to making badly needed improvements to our roads and bridges.”

Since the 1970s, Congress has traditionally passed multi-year reauthorizations that cover five- to six-year periods. Such long-term reauthorizations have proven critical to facilitating stability in the construction industry. As a recent letter signed by the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire, along with 30 other states’ Chambers of Commerce, notes: “At minimum, a five-year authorization [is needed] to provide predictability and certainty.” Because of the current budgetary environment and slow economic recovery, our state agencies, employers, and workers have acute need for long-term planning certainty.

Congresswoman Shea-Porter has long championed transportation issues as a Member of Congress. She recognizes the importance of transportation infrastructure in New Hampshire, from creating well-paying construction jobs to getting our kids home safely from school. Recently, she supported a $25 million grant from the Department of Transportation for the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge Replacement Project.

A five-year reauthorization bill will provide stability to an industry that has lacked clear governmental direction in past years.

Full text of the letter is below.

+++

April 22, 2014 

Chairman Bill Shuster
Transportation & Infrastructure Committee
2165 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Ranking Member Nick Rahall
Transportation & Infrastructure Committee
2163 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

 

Dear Chairman Shuster and Ranking Member Rahall:

As your Committee considers surface transportation reauthorization, I urge you to develop a long-term bill that authorizes our nation’s transportation programs for at least five years. I also request that you report such legislation to the full House before the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) faces a shortfall, which recent forecasts anticipate as soon as this July.

Since the 1970s, Congress has traditionally passed multi-year reauthorizations that cover five- to six-year periods. Such long-term reauthorizations have proven critical to facilitating stability in the construction industry. As a recent letter signed by the Business and Industry Association of New Hampshire, along with 30 other states’ Chambers of Commerce, notes: “At minimum, a five-year authorization (is needed) to provide predictability and certainty.” Because of the current budgetary environment and slow economic recovery, our state agencies, employers, and workers have acute need for long-term planning certainty. 

In New Hampshire, investment in infrastructure serves a critical role in the local economy by helping to expand economic growth and supporting good, well-paying construction jobs, in addition to making badly needed improvements to our roads and bridges. 37% of state-maintained roads and highways are currently in poor condition – a number that is expected to rise 43% by 2016. This problem costs New Hampshire citizens $333 million annually, or $323 per motorist, according to transportation research group TRIP. As you know, these dismal numbers are not unique to New Hampshire.

I appreciate the need for the Committee to undertake a comprehensive process as it develops its reauthorization bill. But given the pressing nature of the issue, I respectfully urge you to report a multi-year authorization plan to the full House before July, when the Highway Trust Fund risks insolvency.

Thank you for your work on behalf of our nation’s infrastructure, and for your consideration of this request.

 

Sincerely, 

Carol Shea-Porter

Member of Congress

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Expand STEM Education

Legislation could benefit NH’s FIRST Robotics Competition

Supported by Rocket Scientist Rep. Rush Holt and GOP Rep. Thomas Massie

First Robotics Competition  2010 (Image Wiki Commons)

First Robotics Competition 2010 (Image Wiki Commons)

WASHINGTON, DC –With economic projections indicating that the U.S. will need 1 million more workers in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) within the next decade, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) today introduced the STEM Mentoring and Inspiration Act, legislation that would expand the number of programs eligible to compete for federal STEM funding.

Currently, the National Science Foundation (NSF) offers grants to help schools improve STEM education. Shea-Porter’s STEM Mentoring and Inspiration Act expands grant eligibility to after-school programs that incorporate self-directed student learning, inquiry-based learning, cooperative learning in small groups, collaboration with mentors, and participation in STEM competitions. This bill does not cost anything; it simply makes additional programs eligible for already-existing NSF funding.

“STEM education is vital to building a high-tech workforce and preparing students for jobs in the global economy,” Shea-Porter said. “Today, some of the most promising STEM programs incorporate mentoring and self-directed learning to inspire and engage students. Those programs should be on an equal playing field when it comes to accessing federal grant funding.”

Original cosponsors of the legislation include (Rocket Scientist) Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12); Rep. Thomas Massie, a Republican from Kentucky who holds an engineering degree from MIT along with 24 patents; and Rep. Annie Kuster, from New Hampshire, a member of the STEM Education Caucus.

Shea-Porter is a member of the STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Art and Mathematics) Caucus. In March, she spoke at the opening ceremonies of the FIRST Robotics competition at UNH. Earlier in the year, she wrote a letter to the U.S. Department of Labor expressing her support for Manchester School District’s STEAM Ahead initiative.

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter Votes Against The RYAN Budget

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) released the following statement on the House Republican Ryan Budget, which she voted against today.

“Granite Staters roundly rejected Paul Ryan and his budget in the last election, but instead of working across the aisle on real solutions, Ryan and Washington Republicans doubled down on some of their worst ideas, like turning Medicare into a voucher program, giving millionaires a tax break while raising taxes on the middle class, cutting student aid, Meals on Wheels, and medical research, slashing Medicaid and jeopardizing nursing home care, going after funding that helps children, and undermining investments in job creation.

“Paul Ryan’s priorities are out of touch with average Americans. Instead of strengthening and protecting Medicare, the Ryan budget takes the opposite approach. As AARP said about the Ryan Budget, ‘Removing the Medicare guarantee of affordable health coverage for older Americans by implementing a premium support system and asking seniors and future retirees to pay more is not the right direction.’

“Granite Staters want Congress to invest in the economy, education, manufacturing, and infrastructure. But according to the Economic Policy Institute, the Ryan budget would decrease GDP by 0.9 percent and cost our economy 1.1 million jobs in fiscal year 2015. In New Hampshire, over 1,500 fewer college students would receive financial aid in the form of Pell Grants. Three hundred forty children would be kicked out of Head Start programs. Almost 3,000 fewer Granite Staters would receive Training and Employment services.

“Under the Ryan budget, CEOs and corporations will continue to reap rewards, but the middle class and the most vulnerable will be asked to do more.  If you refuse to close tax loopholes for the rich, while also cutting programs that help the middle class, you negate your claim of responsibly balancing the budget.

“Congress passed a budget through 2015 that alleviates some of the harmful cuts to programs that help seniors, children, and families in New Hampshire. While it was not a perfect bill, it was a responsible step. Instead of building on the bipartisan budget, it’s disappointing to see Congressman Ryan return to the same partisan approach to budgeting that’s a major source of gridlock in Congress.”

Shea-Porter to Guinta and Innis: Match Scott Brown’s Standard and Take The People’s Pledge

Image by MARCN CC on Flickr

Image by MARCN CC on Flickr

MANCHESTER, NH – Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) has challenged Republican candidates Frank Guinta and Dan Innis to live up to the standard once set by Scott Brown in Massachusetts and agree to keep third-party spending out of New Hampshire.

In a letter sent to former Congressman Guinta and Mr. Innis, Shea-Porter urges them to join with her to limit third-party spending in New Hampshire, returning politics to the place it belongs — in the hands of New Hampshire citizens.

“New Hampshire has always been fertile soil for democracy, but third-party groups are threatening to drown out the voices of average citizens as they flood our airwaves with millions of dollars in negative advertising,” Shea-Porter wrote to Guinta and Innis. “I’m asking you to live up to Scott Brown’s standard, even if he abandoned it, and sign the People’s Pledge to keep third-party spending out of New Hampshire.”

In 2012, Shea-Porter called on Frank Guinta to denounce SuperPAC ads, but he refused. In the 2014 election cycle, third-party groups have already spent more than $1.8 million on negative advertising in New Hampshire, and they’ve pledged to spend more. Despite calls from Public Citizen and Common Cause, Scott Brown has so far refused to sign the People’s Pledge.

Shea-Porter has always practiced campaign finance reform. She does not accept money from Corporate PACs or DC lobbyists. In January, she joined NH Rebellion for the Manchester to Bedford part of the group’s walk across New Hampshire for campaign finance reform. The march was inspired by New Hampshire’s Doris Haddock (“Granny D”), who famously walked across the country in 1999 with a simple sign on her chest: “Campaign Finance Reform.”

Below is a copy of the letter sent to both Mr. Guinta and Mr. Innis who have a primary on September 9th to determine who will be the Republican Party’s candidate in November.

+++

April 8, 2014

Mr. Frank Guinta
PO Box 877
Manchester, NH 03105

Mr. Daniel Innis
PO Box 667
Manchester, NH 03105

Dear NH-01 Republican Candidate Mr. Guinta and NH-01 Republican Candidate Mr. Innis,

New Hampshire has always been fertile soil for democracy, but third-party groups are threatening to drown out the voices of average citizens as they flood our airwaves with millions of dollars in negative advertising. I’m asking you to live up to Scott Brown’s standard, even if he abandoned it, and sign the People’s Pledge to keep third-party spending out of New Hampshire.

Third-party groups have already spent more than $1.8 million on negative advertising in New Hampshire this cycle, and they’ve pledged to spend more. We know that New Hampshire voters hate these ads, and by working together, we can dramatically reduce them. The time to act is now.

Sign the agreement with me by next week and we will:

 

  • Immediately send out a joint press release that third-party money is not welcome in NH-01
  • Jointly hold a press conference to denounce any third-party that use the airwaves or any form of media ads to attack or support any of us
  • Jointly sign a public statement to the offending third-party that it stop running the ads immediately

 

New Hampshire politics is about knocking on doors, shaking hands, and visiting countless communities. It’s not about who can buy an election by spending millions of dollars on negative ads.

Together, we can return politics to the place it belongs, in the hands of New Hampshire citizens. I hope you’ll join me in doing what’s right for our state and our democracy.

Sincerely,

Carol Shea-Porter

Shea-Porter and 139 Bipartisan Members Urge Congress to Protect Education Funding

Carol Shea Porter Official PhotoWASHINGTON, DC – Representatives Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01), Gwen Moore (WI-4), and Donald Payne Jr. (NJ-10) led 142 bipartisan Members of Congress in urging the House Appropriations Committee to protect funding for TRIO, a nationwide network of programs that help students, veterans, and working adults access higher education, navigate their courses, and graduate.

“TRIO represents a sound investment in our entire nation,” the members wrote. “We hope that you will continue to give TRIO programs a high priority in the FY 2015 appropriations cycle.”

TRIO programs are designed to help low-income individuals, first-generation college students, veterans, and individuals with disabilities progress through the academic pipeline from middle school to college. Across the country, TRIO serves almost 760,000 students through programs such as Upward Bound, Talent Search, and Educational Opportunity Centers.

Under sequestration, 31,000 low-income, first-generation students lost access to the academic tutoring, college and career counseling, and mentoring services provided by TRIO. The FY 2014 omnibus appropriations legislation restored most of the lost funding to TRIO.

In July 2013, Shea-Porter, Moore, and 19 Representatives sent a letter to the House Appropriations Committee requesting that Federal TRIO Programs be protected from further cuts under sequestration in Fiscal Year 2014.

 

Full text of Shea-Porter, Moore, and Payne’s letter, along with the full list of 142 signatures, can be viewed here.

 

Congresswomen Shea-Porter, DeLauro To Host The NH Women’s Economic Agenda Summit (3-21-14)

Image by MARCN CC on Flickr

Image by MARCN CC on Flickr

Will be joined by NH House Speaker Terie Norelli and NH Senate Minority Leader Sylvia Larsen

MANCHESTER, NH – On Friday, March 21, Congresswomen Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01) and Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), along with NH Senate Minority Leader Sylvia Larsen and NH House Speaker Terie Norelli, will host a summit on the economic issues facing women and their families in New Hampshire.

The summit will feature a panel discussion on paycheck fairness, work-life balance, and quality, affordable child care. It will be moderated by MaryAnn Manoogian, Executive Director of the Center for Women’s Business Advancement at SNHU, and will be followed by a Q&A session.

In July, Congresswomen DeLauro and Shea-Porter, along with their Democratic colleagues, launched When Women Succeed, America Succeeds:  An Economic Agenda for Women and Families. The initiative addresses the need for women to get equal pay for equal work. It promotes work and family balance, and it recognizes that expanded educational opportunities, increased job training, and investments in women entrepreneurs are all essential for women’s economic success.

Minority Leader Larsen has led the charge for paycheck fairness in New Hampshire. She championed passage of the Paycheck Equity Act, which recently passed the New Hampshire State Senate and will help women stand up for equal pay in the workplace. On average, women in New Hampshire still make only 77 cents for every dollar a man earns.

Speaker Norelli recently oversaw passage of House Bill 1403, which implements a minimum wage of $8.25 per hour for 2015 and $9.00 for 2016, with automatic annual adjustments based on the Consumer Price Index. According to the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute, in the Granite State, 59 percent of minimum wage workers are women.

WHO: Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter (NH-01)
Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03)
NH House Speaker Terie Norelli
NH Senate Minority Leader Sylvia Larsen

MODERATOR: MaryAnn Manoogian, Executive Director of the Center For Women’s Business Advancement at Southern New Hampshire University 

WHAT: A Summit on the Economic Issues Facing Women and their Families in New Hampshire

WHEN: Friday, March 21, 2014 from 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
Light lunch will be served

WHERE: Manchester Community College
1066 Front Street
Manchester, NH

 

NOTE: Members of the media are asked to RSVP to ben.wakana@mail.house.gov

 

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