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Shaheen Urges FCC Chairman Pai to Consider Importance of Net Neutrality Rules for Small Businesses

(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), the lead Democrat on the U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship, led several of her colleagues in a letter to Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai, emphasizing the importance of net neutrality regulations to small business interests. The senators urged Chairman Pai to fully consider the impact of any regulatory changes on small businesses before voting on any changes. The other senators signing the letter include fellow Small Business & Entrepreneurship Committee members Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Mazie Hirono (D-HI) and Tammy Duckworth (D-IL).

“In advance of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) upcoming vote on proposed changes to the existing net neutrality rules, we are writing to emphasize the importance of an open and free Internet to the nation’s small business community,” wrote the senators. “The structure of these crucial regulations must maintain a level digital playing field for businesses of all sizes and we implore the FCC to fully honor the unique challenges that small businesses face in an online market and reject changes that could disadvantage this important sector of our economy.”

The senators continued, “The concept of a fair and open Internet prevents discriminatory practices that could favor larger companies online – like higher costs for faster delivery speeds or prioritization of provider content.  Small businesses are particularly dependent on high quality Internet services in order to increase their consumer base and expand their operations and are much less likely to have the resources to invest in this kind of ‘pay-to-play’ system… As the lynchpins of many local communities, small businesses deserve our support.”

The full text of the letter is available here and below.

Earlier this week, Senator Shaheen joined a letter led by Senator Hassan to Chairman Pai expressing concern over reports that bots filed hundreds of thousands of comments to the FCC during the net neutrality policymaking process and called on the Chairman to delay the planned December 14th vote to roll back net neutrality rules until an investigation of the state of the record is conducted.

Small Business Letter - FCC - 12.8.17

Disability Advocates Speak Out Against The GOP Tax Scam

Granite Staters return to New Hampshire and tell their stories after risking arrest in Washington D.C. protesting the GOP Tax Bill 

A delegation of Granite State disability rights and health care advocates who traveled to Washington, DC this week to protest the damaging Senate bill that guts Medicaid and Medicare for working families to fund massive tax breaks for the rich and corporations held a press briefing about the bill and their participation in a large-scale protest this week in the nation’s capital – which in some cases, included being arrested –  in Concord yesterday.

In a fast-tracked process that required Senators to vote on a 500-page draft bill with notes still in the margins, Senate Republicans passed a tax giveaway to the very wealthy and big corporations that will pave the way for massive Medicaid and Medicare cuts, strip 13 million Americans of health care coverage and increase insurance premiums by 10 percent for millions more. Millions of people with disabilities and seniors, working families, and children will be stuck with the bill and cuts to critical services and basic human rights all so the rich can get richer. Governor Chris Sununu has praised the bill as a “net positive.” 

The press conference highlighted the actual impact on middle and lower income Granite Staters and share the personal stories of those who traveled to Washington DC to protest it.

“I traveled to Washington D.C. to protest this bill because I know this bill will hurt the people who can least afford to be hurt, the struggling middle class and the working poor,” said Melissa Hinebauch, Human Rights Co-Chair of the Kent Street Coalition. The mother of three spoke out against the GOP Tax Bill highlighting the harm working families will suffer under the proposal.

Hinebauch also spoke about how the bill will add over $1 trillion dollars to the national debt while Senator Orin Hatch said “we no longer have the money” to fund essential programs like the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). “This tax bill is just mean and heartless.”

Video of Melissa Hinebauch

“People with disabilities will be the hardest hit by this tax bill for the wealthy,” said Forrest Beaudoin-Friede a member of ABLE-NH who traveled also traveled to Washington D.C. to protest this GOP tax bill.  “This tax bill takes away tax credits that help small businesses become ADA (Americans with Disabilities) compliant. This credit is equal to half of their expenses above $250 dollars. This effectively raises taxes on small businesses who want to open their doors to both customers and workers with disabilities who need reasonable accommodations.”

“This bill will force cuts to Medicaid that will harm people with disabilities, like me, and some will die,” Beaudoin-Friede stated.

Eddie Gomez went to Washington to speak out against this tax bill on behalf of his seven year old nephew who suffers from the genetic disease, Muscular Dystrophy.   The program that helps Gomez’s sister, a single parent, is funded through charitable donations and receives no federal funding.

“This tax bill eliminates deductions for charitable contributions and discourages charitable giving while threatening enormous cuts to Medicare and Medicaid. How will my sister be able to afford the care for my nephew on a lower-middle class income?” asked Gomez.

Gomez explained that over 8 million working families used the medical device deduction, that would be eliminated under the GOP tax plan, to help offset the costs of high priced equipment and medical expenses.

Video of Forrest Beaudoin-Friede and Eddie Gomez members of ABLE-NH

“We are fighting against this ‘Reverse Robin Hood’ tax bill” said Lisa Beaudoin, Executive Director of ABLE NH.  This tax bill makes “deep cuts to a whole range of programs that are critical to people with disabilities.”

“This tax bill will be a slow death sentence to people with developmental disabilities,” she added.

Video of  Lisa Beaudoin, Executive Director of ABLE NH

This bill will cause “13 million people to lose their healthcare and increase the premiums of millions more,” said Zandra Rice-Hawkins, Executive Director of Granite State Progress.

The GOP Tax Bill passed the senate in a 51-49 party line vote and now moves to a committee of conference to hash out differences between the House and Senate versions of the bill.

Senator Hassan Names “Might Max” As Her Granite Stater Of The Month

Senator Hassan Delivers Senate Floor Speech Announcing Max Mendez of Merrimack as Granite Stater of the Month for December

New Hampshire Eight-Year-Old Battling Leukemia Started “Mighty Max’s Mega Toy Drive”

WASHINGTON – Senator Maggie Hassan spoke today on the Senate floor, where she announced that Max Mendez, an eight-year-old boy from Merrimack who started “Mighty Max’s Mega Toy Drive” while battling leukemia, is her “Granite Stater of the Month” for December.

After Max received toys from Boston Children’s Hospital as a reward for his courage during treatment, he started the “Mighty Max Mega Toy Drive” with help from family and friends to help resupply the Jimmy Fund Clinic, the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and Boston Children’s Hospital’s hematology and oncology unit with presents for brave young patients like himself. For more information on the toy drive, visit: facebook.com/mightymaxtoydrive/

Click here for video or see below for Senator Hassan’s remarks:

Mr. President, it is my honor to announce our latest Granite Stater of the Month, an inspiring, resilient, and generous young man from Merrimack, New Hampshire. Max Mendez, an 8-year-old boy, also known as “Mighty Max” and “Professor Max,” has battled leukemia for over a year, and he has proven to be a shining example of the values that make the Granite State – and all of our communities – strong.

As Max began treatment last year – procedures, blood draws, and tests at Boston Children’s Hospital – he was often recognized for his courage and grit. The hospital had a supply of toys and after these procedures he would often be rewarded with one them. Max received so many toys that he started to donate some of them to other kids, and realized that giving toys felt even better than receiving them. In the face of his own severe health challenges, Max started “Mighty Max’s Mega Toy Drive” to help supply the Jimmy Fund Clinic, the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and Boston Children’s Hospital’s hematology and oncology unit with presents for brave young patients like himself.

In true Granite State fashion, Max and his family received invaluable support from their community, including friends, local businesses, schools, sports teams, and the local police department. Max’s community donated toys, offered space as collection sites, and delivered donations to Max and the Mendez family. With extra help from his sister, Mckayla, and the Lyna family who helped advertise the toy drive and store donations, Mighty Max’s Mega Toy Drive received roughly 3,000 toys ahead of the holiday season this year.

Mighty Max, the Mendez family, and all of the Granite Staters who supported the toy drive demonstrate the spirit that makes New Hampshire such a strong, resilient state. While battling leukemia and enduring painful treatments, Max found it in himself to bring joy to others who face similar challenges, and his entire community – including people Max will never meet – is stronger because of his generous spirit and hard work. Max is an inspiration for all of us during this holiday season and beyond, and I am proud to call him our Granite Stater of the Month.

Senators Shaheen, Hassan Call On Trump Administration to Reinstate Birth Control Coverage for Millions of Women

In letter, Senators urge Trump Administration to rescind President Trump’s action allowing employers to roll back health care coverage for women

WASHINGTON – This week, Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined 36 of their colleagues in calling on Acting Secretary of Health and Human Services Eric Hargan to rescind President Trump’s interim final rules (IFRs) issued on October 13, 2017, enabling employers and universities to interfere with their employees’ and students’ access to preventive health care by allowing them to choose not to cover birth control for religious or moral reasons.

In the letter, the senators highlighted the enormous economic benefit of requiring health plans to cover preventive services, including birth control for women, without out-of-pocket costs.

“This requirement has helped 62.4 million women have coverage for birth control. As a result, they have been able to make decisions about their reproductive health care that strengthen their economic standing and allow them to decide if and when to start families,” wrote the senators. “These IFRs also allow employers and insurance companies to once again discriminate against women by requiring them to pay more for the health care they need compared to their male counterparts.”

The senators also noted that repealing the contraceptive coverage provision goes against the original intentions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which created explicit provisions to guarantee women access to preventive services.

“Congress specifically included the Women’s Health Amendment in the ACA to ensure that the legislation would end the “punitive practices of insurances companies that charge women more and give [them] less in a benefit” by guaranteeing women access to preventive services,” the senators wrote. “The IFRs fail to recognize this clear congressional intent to place medical experts’ recommendations over political ideology.”

See full text of the letter below or click HERE:

20171205_BirthControlIFR

Republicans Ram Through Their Tax Scam

Senators were given two hours to read the 400+ page bill before being asked to vote on it.

Unless you have been living under a rock for the last three days by now you have already heard that Republicans in the Senate rammed through their wildly unpopular tax proposal that will raise taxes on the middle class and strip healthcare from 13 million people. The bill would also raise our national deficit by over $1 trillion dollars over the next ten years.

“This partisan tax bill is a giveaway to corporate special interests, not something that will help the middle class,” said Senator Maggie Hassan. “I am extremely disappointed that my Republican colleagues passed a bill that non-partisan experts have shown will raise taxes on millions of hard-working families, increase health care premiums by 10 percent annually, and add $1.5 trillion to the national debt – all to give tax cuts to corporate special interests and the wealthiest few. There is strong bipartisan support for real tax reform that would benefit hard-working people and small businesses, but this is not that bill.”

“We need bipartisan tax reform to simplify our tax code, bolster the middle class, support small businesses and create jobs. But the partisan bill forced through the Senate and passed on a party-line vote failed to address any of these critical needs,” said Senator Jeanne Shaheen. “This legislation asks middle-class families to foot the bill for massive tax breaks for the wealthy and large corporations, and will have serious ramifications for Granite Staters who rely on important tax benefits that are eliminated under this bill. I am tremendously disappointed by the secretive manner in which Senate Republicans crafted this legislation, and I’m concerned about how the middle class, seniors, homeowners, teachers and so many others will suffer as a result of this legislation. As the tax overhaul process moves forward, I’ll continue to push for bipartisanship and to protect essential New Hampshire priorities, including the state and local tax deduction and the student loan interest deduction.”

The Republican tax bill will add nearly $1.5 trillion to the national debt and make most families who earn less than $75,000 a year pay more in taxes by 2027. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, by 2019, Americans earning less than $30,000 a year will be worse off. The bill would lead to $25 billion in cuts from Medicare, harming seniors, and repeals part of the Affordable Care Act, which will raise healthcare costs and leave more Americans uninsured. Additionally, the Republican tax plan could prevent homeowners in New Hampshire from deducting state and local taxes and increase the tax burden on work-study students at colleges and universities.

“At a moment when 10,000 Americans are turning 65 every day, members of the Senate have stolen the retirement health benefits that Americans have earned over a lifetime to provide an unneeded windfall to the top 1%. They seem determined to create a retirement crisis that will take decades to reverse,” said Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans.

“The GOP tax bill that passed the Senate by one vote is nothing but an attack on America’s workers,” said Richard Trumka, President of the AFL-CIO. “We will pay more, corporations and billionaires will pay less. It’s a job killer. It gives billions of tax giveaways to big corporations that outsource jobs and profits.”

“President Trump said that he wanted to lower taxes for everyone as a Christmas gift to America, but this bill is simply a lump of coal to working families across the country. The only real gift is the major tax giveaways to Wall Street, big corporations and the super-rich, when what our country needs is investment in our schools and infrastructures that creates jobs,” Trumka added.

“In voting to give a tax break for millionaires, billionaires, and wealthy corporations, Senate Republicans have made an enemy for themselves in their own constituents,” said Tax March Executive Director Nicole Gill. “As a result of this monstrous bill, 87 million middle-class families would pay more in taxes so that Republicans can reward their rich donors with even more unearned tax breaks. Not only would working families see their own taxes go up, this bill threatens massive cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, and critical funding for programs that hardworking Americans rely on. Senators who voted for this scheme should be ashamed and will not avoid the repercussions from voters – we won’t forget.”

“The bill passed today is nothing more than a giveaway to the richest households and corporations, period,” said Josh Bivens, of the Economic Policy Institute. “It will raise taxes on many low- and moderate-income households, and the deficits it will leave in its wake will be used to attack Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid—a strategy clearly telegraphed by both the Republican budget resolution from last month as well as by Senator Rubio more recently. Besides lying about who would benefit most directly from the tax cut, defenders of today’s bill have also lied about the trickle-down benefits that will accrue to workers in the form of higher wages. Simply put, this bill will not raise wages for typical workers—but it will deny health insurance to 13 million workers, a measure Senate Republicans included to help contain the overall cost of giving large tax cuts to rich households and corporations. This bill is a scam through-and-through.”

For years Republicans in the Senate have used the “Debt and Deficit” as a way to justify their votes against a variety of bills. They even shut down the government for almost two weeks because they refused to raise the debt ceiling. Yet, all of those issues seemed to disappear as they voted to increase the national debt by over $1 trillion dollars.

The Concord Coalition is a right-leaning government watchdog group that is focused on reducing the national debt and opposes these cuts.

The Concord Coalition said today that the tax legislation considered by the Senate is based on flawed economics, reckless fiscal policy and blatant budget gimmickry. It would worsen the nation’s fiscal outlook and introduce new complexities in the tax code at a time when policymakers should be aiming to lower deficits and make the tax code more efficient.

“This is the wrong bill at the wrong time,” said Robert L. Bixby, Concord’s executive director. “Like its counterpart in the House, the Senate’s tax bill is based on the flawed premise that another trillion dollars or more of new debt is needed to spur higher economic growth.”

He added: “The economy does not need short-term stimulus from a major tax cut at this time. And over the long term, adding more debt to the already unsustainable path of current fiscal policies would act as a restraint on future growth. Revenue-neutral tax reform would not have this problem.”

Because the Senate version and the House version are different, a committee of conference will be created to iron out the details before it must come back for an “up and down” vote.

Are you angry yet? Tax “reform” will be followed by Medicare, Social Security “reform”

Late last night, the Senate passed its version of the tax cut bill.  Next step? According to GOP leaders, it will be “entitlement reform.” Which includes the Social Security and Medicare benefits you have been paying for – with every paycheck – since you started working. Just like they’ve been talking about since the Bush tax cuts.

Congress won’t have to do anything, to cut Medicare by $25 billion next year.  If President Trump signs a final version of this bill, according to the Congressional Budget Office, it will create a budget deficit that will trigger $25 billion in automatic cuts to Medicare.

And if “chained-CPI” is still in the bill, Congress won’t have to do anything to cut Social Security benefits, long term. “Chained-CPI” is a way of calculating inflation that incorporates a ratcheting-down of benefits. It assumes that senior citizens who can’t afford steak don’t need a cost of living increase because they can buy chicken, instead. And those who can’t afford to buy chicken can buy tuna. And if they can’t afford tuna…  It’s the cat food thing. (Read our 2013 post about chained-CPI here.)

BUT they’re already planning more cuts. Because at some point, our government is going to have to do something about our national debt. Which has quadrupled since the Bush tax cuts.  Which is now equal to more than $170,000 per taxpayer. Which has increased by $745 billion – almost 4% — since the debt limit was suspended on September 8th.  Which was only 11 weeks ago.

Having a hard time wrapping your head around what you just read?  Let’s try it again.

On September 8, 2017, Congress suspended the debt limit.  Since then (only 11 weeks), the debt has grown by more than $745 billion. And Congress is cutting taxes in order to add $1.5 Trillion to that number.

It’s pretty clear that Congress is creating a “debt problem” that they’re going to “solve” by going after Social Security and Medicare.

Newsweek: Republicans will cut Social Security and Medicare after tax plan passes, Rubio says
Forbes: How the GOP tax plan scrooges middle class, retired and poor
Washington Post: GOP eyes post-tax-cut changes to welfare, Social Security and Medicare

This isn’t a surprise.  Back in 2004, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan suggested cutting Social Security and Medicare benefits to pay for the cost of the Bush tax cuts.

Looks like that’s still the strategy. Here’s where it goes from being “strategy” to “theft.”

Since 2012, most workers have been paying more into the Social Security system than they can expect to receive in benefits.

People retiring today are part of the first generation of workers who have paid more in Social Security taxes during their careers than they will receive in benefits after they retire. It’s a historic shift that will only get worse for future retirees, according to an analysis by The Associated Press.

Back in 2001, 57% of Americans wanted to roll back the Bush tax cuts to protect (what was then) the budget surplus. A whopping 92% wanted to prevent Congress from using Social Security for any other purpose. But at last report, about $3 trillion of the national debt is now owed to the Social Security system.

So… if you’ve already put more in to the Social Security system than you can expect to get out of it – and Congress wants to put even more tax cuts on the nation’s credit card – and Congressional leadership wants to pay down that extra debt by cutting Social Security… that means the money to pay for these tax cuts is coming out of your pocket.

Are you angry, yet?

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Public Citizen reports that at least 6,243 Washington lobbyists have been working on this tax bill.  That’s almost 12 lobbyists per legislator! Read about some of the last-minute add-ons – including an amendment that exempts a college in Michigan and a carve-out for cruise ships docking in Alaska – here. Wondering who benefits from this tax bill? Read about analyses done by the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation here.

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If you want to contact your elected federal officials about this, please do so on your own time and using your own personal phone/email. (Most employers prohibit using work time or resources for this sort of thing.)

Contact information for President Trump is available here.

You can find contact information for your two US Senators here.

You can find the phone number and website for your US Representative here.  (If you don’t know who your Representative is, check here.)

IBEW Local 2320 Endorses Chris Pappas For Congress

Manchester, NH – Garnering his second union endorsement Chris Pappas announced that IBEW Local 2320 has endorsed  his run for Congress in New Hampshire’s 1st Congressional District.

“IBEW Local Union 2320 is proud to endorse Chris Pappas for Congress,” said Business Manager Steve Soule.

“Chris Pappas has been a friend and advocate for our members throughout his time in public service.  He’s someone we can trust to tirelessly fight for New Hampshire’s working families.  Washington needs more members of Congress with the values and community outlook that Chris possesses.  We enthusiastically support him in this race.”

“It’s an honor to have the support of Local 2320 in my race for Congress,” Chris Pappas said.

“Whether it’s investing in infrastructure or expanding middle class opportunity, I am committed to taking steps in Congress that will help build a brighter future for New Hampshire.  I am grounded in the people and places of this state, and I want to ensure that working families have a voice in Washington.  I am very thankful for the support of IBEW Local 2320 in this campaign.”

Local IBEW 2320 represents highly trained, professional women and men in all corners of New Hampshire.  The union is comprised of a talented group of individuals in many differing fields including Administrative Specialists, Automotive Mechanics, Building Equipment Mechanics, Circuit Design Specialists, CDL A & CDL B Truck Drivers, Community College Professors, Customer Service, Equipment Installation Technicians, Facility Design & Inventory Specialists, Fiber Splice Technicians, HVAC Technicians, Information Technology Specialists, Line Construction, Payroll Processing, Power Distribution Technicians, Security Officers, Stock Room Attendants, and Workers in the Nuclear Industry.

Pappas was recently endorsed by the Teamsters Union local 633.

House Republicans Push Through Their Tax Hike On Middle Class Families

Last night, straight down party lines, Republicans voted to give millionaires and billionaires a massive tax cut and to raise taxes on millions of hard working Americans.

“Today’s vote is a missed opportunity to deliver the tax reform we need for middle class families and small businesses,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster. “I strongly support reform that starts with the goal of providing tax relief for those in the economy who need it most. This bill is little more than a giveaway to big corporate interests and wealthy individuals while creating losers among many middle class families who will see their taxes increase in the coming years.”

“The tax bill that House Republicans passed today seeks to steal from the vast majority of Americans to benefit the very few. This is an attack on our economic security and on the fabric of our nation,” said Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter. “House Republicans’ tax scam is loaded with provisions to help the wealthiest: it eliminates the estate tax, which will only be paid by an estimated 5,500 super-wealthy Americans this year, and slashes the corporate tax rate claimed by the biggest businesses. Meanwhile, it raises taxes on many middle-class families, and it sets small benefits for working families to expire in five years – while making cuts for corporations permanent. And make no mistake about it: these cuts will take money away from needed national security investments at this dangerous moment in time.”

The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, confirmed Shea-Porter’s claim by stating, “12 percent of taxpayers would pay more in 2019 and 13 percent would pay more in 2027.” These increases unfairly hit middle class families.

This tax increase to the middle class comes primarily from the loss of “itemized deductions” that allow taxpayers to deduct things like mortgage interest, state and local taxes, student loan interest, qualifying work related expenses, and medical expenses.

“One reason for the variation across states is that taxpayers who live in places with higher state and local taxes may be more heavily impacted because those taxes would no longer be deductible on federal tax returns,” ITEP added.

“The bill the House approved today hurts older Americans now and in the future,” said Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans. “Eliminating the medical expense deduction means it will be harder for families with high medical expenses, most of whom are seniors, to make ends meet. The House Republican tax bill axes deductions that help working people so it can give more to the wealthiest.”

“The wealthy and corporations do not need these tax breaks. The vast majority of Americans understand that trickle-down economics does not work, and they disapprove of this plan. Retirees and working Americans know who this plan helps and who it hurts. And they will remember this when they vote in 2018,” Fiesta concluded.

Shea-Porter added, “This bill eliminates the deduction for high medical expenses claimed by over 40,000 Granite Staters and the student loan interest deduction that helps people saddled with student debt. It even takes away the modest $250 above-the-line deduction I fought to make permanent for almost 20,000 New Hampshire teachers – while keeping the golf course tax loophole. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says the plan would explode the deficit by $1.7 trillion, triggering automatic cuts to Medicare. We all know our tax code desperately needs reform – but those reforms need to help the working people who are already losing out under our tax code, not give even more to the wealthiest 1% and the biggest corporations.”

The AFL-CIO says the bill is a “job killer” and rewards corporations for offshoring American jobs. Under the House proposal “U.S. tax rate on offshore profits from 35% to 0%,” creating a subsidy for outsourcing jobs that would cost taxpayers “$208 billion over 10 years.”

In their letter of opposition to the proposed tax plan, William Samuel, Director

Government Affairs Department at the AFL-CIO, called the proposal the “poster child for the failed ‘trickle-down’ economic theory that has never worked and has repeatedly stuck working people with the tab for tax giveaways for millionaires, big corporations, and Wall Street.”

Republicans are trying to pull the wool over our eyes in this massive tax scam. The plan would slash the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20% and repeals the Alternative Minimum Tax on “pass-through” businesses. A couple of examples of a “pass through” business are “small businesses” like hedge funds, law firms, realty investment companies, and some large corporations like Bechtel construction (the 9th largest single owned business in the US). Without the Alternative Minimum Tax these “pass through” businesses would not be required to pay any federal taxes at all.

NBC News is reporting “Trump and his heirs potentially could save more than $1 billion overall under the GOP tax proposal that the House of Representatives passed Thursday,” though he continues to say that the plan will not benefit him.

The progressive coalition, Not One Penny, supports tax reforms but not one penny in reductions to “millionaires, billionaires, and wealthy corporations.”

“The tax bill that passed the House today is an affront to the people that our leaders in Washington claim to represent. The GOP voted to cut taxes for millionaires, billionaires, and wealthy corporations, inevitably forcing cuts to programs working families depend on like Medicaid, Medicare, public education, and Social Security. While passing the largest middle-class tax hike in a generation, the GOP said ‘no thanks’ to helping working families this Thanksgiving,” said Not One Penny spokesman Tim Hogan. “The tax proposal that passed today is wildly unpopular with a majority of Americans, and voters won’t forget those who enabled this hypocrisy. Republicans’ vote today is one that will haunt them in the weeks and months ahead.”

Over the last month, in mobilizing against Republicans’ disastrous tax plan, the Not One Penny coalition has coordinated more than a hundred events and actions across the country to hold congressional Republicans accountable for pushing tax cuts for the wealthy and well-connected at the expense of working families.

Advocates and activists continue to mobilize in opposition to Republicans’ tax scam. From hundreds gathering together at rallies alongside Leaders Pelosi and Schumer, Members of Congress, and progressive allies on November 1 and November 15, to local grassroots activity across the country, Americans will continue to resist this toxic tax plan.

“Progressive groups have come together to prevent Republicans from rigging the system even further for the wealthy and well-connected, and we will not quit until this taxpayer-funded giveaway to millionaires, billionaires, and wealthy corporations is stopped dead in its tracks. After months of activity, we continue to mobilize thousands of activists to stop Republicans attempts to raise taxes on middle-class families. Congressional Republicans should take note: we will hold you accountable for every vote you take that threatens the health and financial security of your constituents,” Hogan added.

“This bill has always been about giving massive tax cuts to the wealthy and corporations, paid for by the rest of us — and our groups have been fired up about that from the beginning,” said Ezra Levin, Co-Executive Director of Indivisible, a member of the Not One Penny coalition. “Even before this tax fight became a health care fight, we had over 100 events in every corner of this country to oppose the Trump Tax Scam. Now that Republicans have explicitly included ACA repeal, our groups are even more energized than before.”

The bill now moves to the Senate where it is sure to face stiff opposition, especially after the news that Senator McConnell added the repeal of the Affordable Care Act to their tax plan.

Should-be Republican supporters are beginning to defect from the GOP tax plan because of the disastrous impact it would have on the American economy and the harm it would have on millions of middle-class families. Opposition to the plan includes:

  • Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson, who said the plan benefits corporations over small businesses, and he finds the process being used to rush the bill “offensive.”
  • Arizona Senator Jeff Flake said, “I remain concerned over how the current tax reform proposals will grow the already staggering national debt by opting for short-term fixes while ignoring long-term problems for taxpayers and the economy.”
  • MaineSenator Susan Collins said, “I don’t think it’s a good idea from either a political or policy perspective.” Tennessee Senator Bob Corker said, “If I believe it’s going to add to the deficit, I’m not going to vote for it.”
  • Oklahoma Senator James Lankfordsaid, “It’s one thing to be able to cut taxes. It’s another thing to say how are we going to deal with our debt and deficit.”
  • Texas Senator Ted Cruzsaid, “Right now, they don’t have my vote.”

Make sure to let your Senators know how you feel about this new proposal. The Senate Democrats are unanimous against the bill but in order to ensure this bill never reaches the President’s desk we need to get at least three Republicans to vote it down.

“We need bipartisan tax reform that simplifies our tax code to help small businesses and delivers meaningful relief to middle-class families. Sadly, the tax bill approved last night is a partisan effort that doesn’t meet any of those goals,” said Senator Shaheen. “This bill would add over one and a half trillion dollars to our national debt and hurt Granite State students, seniors and working families, all to provide tax cuts to the very wealthy and large corporations. I stand ready to work with Republicans and Democrats to reform our tax code, but we need a bill that’s fiscally responsible, helps grow our economy and prioritizes the middle class.”

Senator Hassan Helps Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Expand Breastfeeding Protections at Work

WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Maggie Hassan announced that she helped introduce the Supporting Working Moms Act of 2017. This bipartisan legislation would help ensure that more working mothers can continue to breastfeed their babies after they return to work.

This bill builds on an existing law authored by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Rep. Carolyn Maloney in 2010 that provides space and time for hourly employees to pump breastmilk at work. The Supporting Working Moms Act would extend these protections to salaried workers.

“Ensuring that women can continue to breastfeed when returning to the workplace is critical to the health and well-being of mothers and babies, and it is essential to our country’s economic stability,” Senator Hassan said. “This bipartisan bill is a common-sense measure to help ensure that women can remain in the workplace while supporting the health of their children and contributing to our nation’s economic success. I will continue fighting to ensure that women have the freedom to make their own health care decisions and are not held back from participating in our economy because of outdated policies.”

According to the Business Case for Breastfeeding, published by the Department of Health and Human Services in 2014, employers that provide support for breastfeeding mothers experience lower health care costs, lower rates of absenteeism, and better retention of experienced employees.

The Supporting Working Moms Act would help new parents and babies by expanding the breastfeeding provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act to cover salaried office workers:

  • The 2010 Merkley-Maloney provision amended Section 7 of the Fair Labor Standards Act to provide mothers who are classified as non-exempt employees with reasonable break times to pump milk in a private, non-bathroom environment while at work.
  • The Supporting Working Moms Act would expand this provision to cover salaried employees who work in traditional office environments.
  • The expansion would cover an additional approximate 13.5 million executive, administrative, and professional women in the workplace.

The Supporting Working Moms Act is endorsed by the following national organizations:

Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine

American Association of Birth Centers

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)

Baby Cafe USA

Breastfeeding in Combat Boots

Childbirth and Postpartum Professionals Association

HealthConnect One

Healthy Children Project, Inc.

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Kuster And Bipartisan Legislators Introduce Legislation Addressing Sexual Harassment In Congress

Rep. Speier, Sen. Gillibrand & Reps. Kuster, Costello and Poliquin Introduce Bipartisan Legislation to Prevent & Respond to Sexual Harassment in Congress

(Washington, DC) – Today, Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), along with Representatives Ryan Costello (R-PA), Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH), and Bruce Poliquin (R-ME) introduced bipartisan, comprehensive legislation to prevent and respond to sexual harassment in Congress. The Member and Employee Training and Oversight On (ME TOO) Congress Act will require more transparency, overhaul the flawed complaint process, and provide better support for victims and whistleblowers. Additionally, both the House and Senate bills will require mandatory annual training for Members and staff, implement climate surveys to show the true scope of this problem, give interns and fellows the same protections as full-time staff, and end forced mediation.

“In 1995, Congress created the Office of Congressional Compliance to protect itself from being exposed, and it has been remarkably successful. Twenty years later, 260 settlements and more than $15 million have permanently silenced victims of all types of workplace discrimination,” said Rep. Speier. “Zero tolerance is meaningless unless it is backed up with enforcement and accountability. Today, I am proud that my colleagues in the House and the Senate, from both sides of the aisle, are joining me to end the era of impunity for disgraceful behavior and to protect the survivors.”

“We need to create a workplace climate where our staff members can come in and do their jobs without having to worry about being harassed – and if it does happen, they should be able to report the incidents without fear of retaliation, and without having to fear that it will ruin their careers,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Congress should never be above the law, Congress should not play by their own set of rules, and as elected officials, we should be held to the highest standards – not the lowest. This needs to change. We need accountability and we need transparency. We need reform, and we need it now. Congress needs to set a better example, and I urge all of my colleagues to join me in supporting this fight.”

“While many, if not most, Congressional offices, mine included, have policies in place regarding sexual harassment, this legislation will require annual sexual harassment training, and bring greater transparency and accountability to procedures for filing and investigating a complaint,” said Rep. Costello. “It is appropriate for the federal government to lead on this issue. This bill is an important step forward in supporting a professional work environment, and I hope to see it signed into law.”

“If we’re going to confront the challenge of sexual assault and harassment, we need to start with lawmakers and people in power,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “In recent months there has been a national groundswell of people coming forward to share their stories. This powerful conversation is letting others know that the experience of sexual harassment and violence is sadly all too common. As a young staffer I was assaulted by a guest of the Congress and had no training for how to respond, who to turn to, or what my rights were. This legislation is an important part of the conversation that will lead to real change in the way the House of Representatives responds to sexual harassment. I’m committed to continuing to work across the aisle to foster safer environments in all workplaces, on college campuses, in our military, and throughout our communities.”

“Every employee should always feel safe and comfortable in their own workplace, and it’s past time that Congress acts to ensure the employees in the Legislative Branch have the support to act on and prevent sexual harassment,” said Congressman Poliquin. “I applaud Congresswoman Speier for her bravery in bringing this issue to the forefront and am proud to work across the aisle and across the Capitol to make these necessary fixes. There can be no tolerance of any kind for sexual harassment anywhere—period.”

Earlier this month, Reps. Speier (D-CA), Costello (R-PA), Brady (D-PA), and Poliquin (R-ME) introduced the bipartisan H.Res. 604, the CEASE Resolution. It would require all members and staff of the House of Representatives to undergo annual sexual harassment prevention and response training. On Tuesday, Speaker Paul Ryan announced that House members and their staff will now be required to undergo mandatory anti-harassment and anti-discrimination training. Last week, the Senate passed a resolution instituting similar requirements.

A copy of the bill text, and a section-by-section summary of the bill are attached to this release.

METOO Congress Bill Text FINAL (002)
FINAL Section by Section ME TOO CONGRESS (004)

 

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