Congresswoman Annie Kuster Unveils Women’s Economic Agenda

Annie Kuster Women economic agenda

During roundtable discussion, Rep. Kuster was joined by New Hampshire women business leaders, female students, and other women who shared their stories and called for Congress to prioritize Kuster initiatives to improve the economic security of Granite State women

Annie Kuster Women economic agenda

(Tuesday, April 15, 2014 | Congresswoman Annie Kuster joins with Granite State women to unveil her Women’s Economic Agenda)

NASHUA, N.H. – On the heels of Equal Pay day, this morning Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) unveiled her new “Women’s Economic Agenda,” a plan for Congress to help level the playing field for New Hampshire women. A diverse group of female business owners and other women joined Kuster in unveiling her plan. These women shared their personal stories with Kuster, and underscored the need for leadership in Congress on issues that affect their ability to succeed in this economy. This morning’s event kicked off a series of roundtable discussions Kuster will hold to hear from women throughout the Second District during the next two weeks.

“It is astonishing that even in the 21st Century, women continue to make only 77 cents to the dollar of their male counterparts’ salary. We must prioritize initiatives that will help eliminate the wage gap between genders and encourage women to pursue successful careers during these challenging economic times,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster. “Today, I unveiled my new Women’s Economic Agenda, which outlines a list of initiatives that Congress must pursue in order to level the playing field for Granite State women and support their full economic success.”

Kuster’s new Economic Agenda includes initiatives to address the wage gap between genders, the importance of a fair minimum wage, tax relief for working families, efforts to better support women entrepreneurs, the urgent need to invest in the education of our children from early-childhood through college, the need for women’s comprehensive reproductive health care, and the importance of job training and workforce development, among other issues. Participants in this morning’s event included local women who shared their personal stories and representatives from a variety of New Hampshire organizations who support efforts to bolster women’s economic success.

“I was so grateful to hear from the Granite State women who shared their own personal stories with me today. Their stories demonstrate the extreme need for Congress to prioritize the initiatives I outlined in my Women’s Economic Agenda, and it is on behalf of them that I will continue to fight for things like equal pay, access to childcare, more contracting opportunities for women business owners, and so many other issues that are crucial to the success of our women professionals.”

“Fair pay, access to childcare, workforce development, small business ownership and job training programs affect not only the success of women, but of every Granite State family. These are issues that we all must embrace in order to support the economic development of our great state. I’m so appreciative that Congresswoman Kuster is taking the time to fight for the issues that matter most to our women and our families back in Washington,” said MaryAnn Manoogian, Director of the Center for Women’s Business Advancement at Southern New Hampshire University.

As a member of the United States’ first all-female Congressional delegation, Kuster has worked to level the playing field and create equal opportunities for Granite State women since taking office. She is a cosponsor of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would increase the effectiveness of remedies available to victims of pay discrimination on the basis of gender, and she has successfully pushed the President to issue executive orders to support fair pay for federally contracted employees.  Kuster has also hosted a series of roundtable discussions with women business leaders from New Hampshire to hear directly from them about what she can do on the federal level to help New Hampshire women succeed in the workplace. These roundtables helped inform the crafting of her Women’s Economic Agenda. During the two-week April work period, Kuster will hold discussions with New Hampshire women from a variety of fields throughout the Second District, and she is committed to fighting for their best interests in Congress.

Congresswoman Kuster Calls For Increased Infrastructure Funding

Annie Kuster Highway

Congresswoman Annie Kuster Tours I-93 Construction Project and Calls for Increased Federal Funding for Infrastructure Projects

Annie Kuster Highway

Kuster recently called on House Leadership to provide additional funding for the Highway Trust Fund in order to ensure projects like I-93 expansion can continue

NASHUA, N.H. – During a tour of the I-93 expansion project in New Hampshire’s southern tier, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) called for increased federal investment in our roads and bridges. New Hampshire Department of Transportation Commissioner Chris Clement and New Hampshire State Senate and House Transportation Committee Chairs State Senator Jim Rausch and State Representative Candace Bouchard, among others, led the Congresswoman on the tour and stressed the importance of continued funding for infrastructure projects like this one.

Last month, Congresswoman Kuster wrote a letter to House Leadership urging that funding for the Highway Trust Fund, which funds projects like the I-93 expansion, not be allowed to run out. As it stands today, the Highway Trust Fund is scheduled to drop below a critical funding threshold by June of this year, which could delay payments to states for vital infrastructure repair projects.

“We must make repairing our roads and bridges a top priority,” said Congresswoman Annie Kuster. “Projects like the I-93 expansion not only help protect the safety of Granite State residents, they also provide better transportation options for our state’s workers, spur the economy, and create jobs. I call on House Leadership to work to quickly find a solution to fund the Highway Trust fund, which is so critical to projects like the one I toured today.”

Kuster went on to call on her colleagues in Congress to support general infrastructure investment in order to protect public safety and promote economic development in the Granite State and across the country.

The widening of a 20-mile segment of I-93 is one of the largest infrastructure improvement projects in New Hampshire history. Not only will the expansion project make the corridor safer for New Hampshire drivers, it is also creating many needed construction jobs for Granite State workers. Congresswoman Kuster believes that a robust, safe, and efficient transportation network is critical to protecting public safety, growing our economy, and creating jobs in New Hampshire, and she has been a staunch supporter of this project.

CEOs Paid 331 Times Average Worker, 774 Times Minimum Wage Worker

Executive Pay Watch

Executive Pay Watch

2014 Executive PayWatch exposes high paid CEOs in the low wage economy

www.PayWatch.org

While Congress has left for recess failing to fully address economic issues from the minimum wage to unemployment insurance and equal pay, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka unveiled the 2014 Executive PayWatch today. According to its data, U.S. CEOs – the highest paid in the world – pocketed, on average, $11.7 million in 2013 compared to the average worker who earned $35,293. That means CEOs were paid 331 times that of the average worker.

Many of the CEOs highlighted in PayWatch head companies, like Walmart, that are notorious for paying low wages. In 2013, CEOs made 774 times more than those who work for minimum wage. And while many of these companies argue that they can’t afford to raise wages, the nation’s largest companies are earning higher profits per employee than they did five years ago. In 2013, the S&P 500 Index companies earned $41,249 in profits per employee, a 38% increase.

This year, PayWatch highlights five low wage companies through worker testimonials at Walmart, Kellogg’s, Reynolds, Darden Restaurants and T-Mobile.

“These companies are run by short-sighted business leaders, because people who earn minimum wage, for instance, can’t afford cell phones from T-Mobile or dinner at Red Lobster or the Olive Garden, both of which are owned by Darden Restaurants,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “America’s CEOs—as exemplified by the individuals of these companies—are cannibalizing their own consumer base. It’s wrong. It’s unfair, and it’s bad economics.”

PayWatch is the most comprehensive searchable online database tracking the excessive pay of CEOs of the nation’s largest companies. It offers visitors to the website the unique ability to compare their own pay to the pay of top executives.

“CEO Executive PayWatch calls attention to the insane level of compensation for CEOs, while the workers who create those corporate profits struggle for enough money to take care of the basics,” said Trumka. “This database is relevant to every community in the country. And we’ll use this data to organize and mobilize to lift millions of workers out of poverty and to strengthen the middle class.”

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

First Robotics Competition  2010 (Image Wiki Commons)

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.

Scott Brown’s Die Young and Broke Campaign Launch (A Statement By Granite State Progress)

Scott Brown in 2010
Image by Wiki Commons
Scott Brown in 2010 Image by Wiki Commons

Scott Brown in 2010
Image by Wiki Commons


Brown wants New Hampshire families to forgo benefits he used himself

CONCORD, NH – Scott Brown will formally announce his campaign bid for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire tonight with a hypocritical ‘Die Young and Broke’ campaign theme – otherwise advertised as Live Free or Log On. Statement from Granite State Progress Executive Director Zandra Rice Hawkins:

“Scott Brown had no problem logging on when he was collecting health care from the federal government for his own family. Brown even told his hometown paper the Boston Globe that he was keeping his younger daughter on his health plan through age 26, a popular provision available to all families thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Yet, Brown is encouraging Granite State families to forgo health care coverage with a misleading campaign slogan. He might as well be saying die young and broke from lack of health care coverage or medical bankruptcy because that’s what he’s endorsing.”

“Scott Brown’s failed Massachusetts talking points don’t jive with the real benefits tens of thousands of Granite Staters are experiencing thanks to Obamacare. Like Scott Brown’s daughter, 10,000 New Hampshire young adults have remained on their parent’s health insurance plan thanks to the Affordable Care Act. In the last month New Hampshire exceeded expectations for marketplace enrollment and passed Medicaid expansion with a bi-partisan coalition because true Granite Staters know that access to quality, affordable health care coverage means living free from a lifetime of health care problems or escalating medical debt.”

Scott Brown’s campaign also released a press release earlier this week that stated that health care premiums in New Hampshire have risen 90%. WMUR debunked the number, reporting that the flawed figure was based on the opinion of a single New Hampshire broker and that New Hampshire premiums will actually decrease by 8% this year.

“Perhaps Scott Brown’s formal campaign launch will mean that he’ll finally invest in a campaign researcher instead of just the staff he hired to pick out popular New Hampshire venues for his staged photo ops,” Rice Hawkins said.

 

Sources:

Boston Globe: Brown says daughter, 23, insured under health law, May 1, 2012

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, How the Health Care Law is Making a Difference for the People of New Hampshire, Updated August 1, 2013

Scott Brown: Study Showing Rising Insurance Premiums a Sad Reminder of Obamacare’s Consequences

WMUR: Hear the one about NH health insurance rates going up 90 percent? April 9, 2014

Shaheen Presses Top Air Force Officials On Development Of KC-46 Tanker For Pease AFB (VIDEO)

Shaheen Video Image

Tanker Could Bring 100 New Jobs,
Millions in Economic Investments to New Hampshire

(Washington, DC) – This morning U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) called on top U.S. Air Force officials to produce an updated projected timeline on the development of the next-generation KC-46A tanker to be based at Pease Air National Guard Base, an Air Force project that is estimated to create 100 jobs and invest millions in New Hampshire’s economy. Shaheen, who worked closely with the entire New Hampshire delegation to promote the selection of Pease to house the KC-46A tanker, sought an update on the KC-46A development process from Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James and Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh III.

“The importance of having a base with Pease’s capabilities to support the U.S. Air Force and its work around the world cannot be overstated,” Shaheen said. “The Air Force’s commitment to continued and timely development of the KC-46 project at Pease is critical to our national security and I’ll continue working with federal officials on the timely completion of this project.”

At the hearing, Shaheen raised the Air Force’s budget with Secretary James and the Air Force’s ability to mitigate the risk future cuts could pose to the KC-46 contract at Pease, specifically citing the impact of continued sequestration as a concern. Secretary James is scheduled to visit Pease in early May.

As a member of both the Senate Appropriations and Armed Services Committees, Shaheen worked to include funding for a number of New Hampshire defense priorities in the 2014 Defense Appropriations bill and the bipartisan omnibus bill, including the KC-46A aerial refueling tanker and Virginia-class nuclear attack submarines, as well as programs that provide care and support to service members and their families. Last year, the Air Force announced that Pease was one of five Air National Guard finalists to receive the KC-46A, which will replace the Eisenhower-era KC-135 tankers.

Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter Votes Against The RYAN Budget

Carol Shea Porter Official Photo

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.”

Senator Shaheen Meets With National Education Advocates From NH On Capitol Hill

Senator Shaheen and Early Learning N.H. Executive Director Jackie Cowell
Senator Shaheen and Early Learning N.H. Executive Director Jackie Cowell

Senator Shaheen and Early Learning N.H. Executive Director Jackie Cowell

At roundtable discussion, Shaheen stresses importance of investments in early childhood education

(Washington, DC) ­–U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) participated in a roundtable discussion today on Capitol Hill with New Hampshire and national education advocates and experts to address policy issues and priorities on early childhood education. Shaheen hosted Early Learning New Hampshire Executive Director Jackie Cowell at a Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee discussion, which focused on expanding access to high-quality early-learning opportunities and coincided with Week of the Young Child.

“There is no more important or effective investment in our future and our children than education, particularly in their early years,” Shaheen said. “We should all work together to make sure all children in New Hampshire and around the country have accessible, quality early childhood education that will help them form a solid foundation for their life and become productive members of society.”

Many economists note that for every dollar invested in quality early childhood education, up to $17 is realized in return in the form of economic impact.

Throughout her career, Shaheen has made it a priority to expand opportunities for young children. As Governor, she expanded public kindergarten for tens of thousands of New Hampshire children. To increase awareness about the importance of early learning, she also launched a comprehensive statewide campaign that brought the business community to the table for the first time to create the Business Partners for Early Learning. The program fostered business involvement at the state, regional, and local levels in strategies to improve the quality, accessibility, and affordability of early care and education.

Since arriving in the Senate, Shaheen has also supported efforts to bolster Head Start programs, which promote school readiness among America’s low-income children, and other investments in early childhood education to help working families. Recently, Shaheen supported legislation in the Senate to reauthorize, reform and revitalize the child care and development block grant program (CCDBG) to assist working families with the cost of child care and promote the healthy development of children and middle-class families.

Raising The Minimum Wage Would Improve The Lives Of 4 Million African-Americans

Image via Wiki-Commons
Image via Wiki-Commons

Image via Wiki-Commons

A new study conducted by the AFL-CIO confirms 4,123,000 African American workers would benefit if the federal minimum wage were increased to $10.10 per hour. The study, “Closing the Gap to the American Dream,” which uses information provided by the Economic Policy Institute, found that while African Americans make up 11% of the workforce, up to 14.8% of those workers would benefit from a raise in the minimum wage.

“Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 would improve the lives of more than 4 million African Americans,” said AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka. “This pay raise is vital if we want to get our economy back to pre-recession levels. This is why the AFL-CIO has launched a Raising Wages campaign, to hold Congress accountable to the American people and demand that they raise the minimum wage for the dignity of workers and the sake of our economy and country.”

The report details the state of economic insecurity for many African Americans, who are much more likely to be paid lower wages than others. African Americans often have trouble finding a job, and if they are working, struggle to save for retirement. Hiking the minimum wage to $10.10 would greatly help African American workers across the country.

AFL-CIO Civil, Human and Women’s Rights Director Carmen Berkley said, “Raising the minimum wage is critical to African American communities across this nation. With national unemployment for African Americans still lingering in the double digits, any help from President Obama and Congress to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 for jobs that African Americans already hold would be welcomed and a boost to our economy.”

The EPI report also highlights that between 2000 and 2007, African American men saw a decrease in weekly earnings of 2.3% compared with white workers, while African American women saw a 3.2% increase in weekly earnings. From 2007 to 2012, the report found that African American women only saw a 1.5% increase in their weekly earnings, lower than white women, while African American men saw virtually no change in their weekly earnings.

Click here to view the report

For more information on the AFL-CIO’s Raising Wages campaign, visithttp://go.aflcio.org/ClosingTheGap

 

Congresswoman Annie Kuster Applauds CMS Decision Not to Cut Payments for Medicare Advantage Plans

Ann kuster head shot LG

Congresswoman Annie Kuster Applauds CMS Decision Not to Cut Payments for Medicare Advantage Plans 

Earlier this month, Kuster wrote a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius Requesting the Increased Support for Medicare Advantage

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) today applauds a new rate announcement by the Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services (CMS). CMS has announced that it will raise payments to Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, which will help protect important health benefits for New Hampshire seniors.

Previously, CMS had estimated a reduction in payments to Medicare Advantage plans due to a provision in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Congresswoman Kuster recently wrote a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius urging the Administration to reconsider this scheduled cut, which could have adversely affected 12,542 Medicare Advantage beneficiaries in New Hampshire by causing increases in their premiums and copays, and affecting their plan and benefit options. The recent announcement takes into consideration Kuster’s advice, and no cuts will take place for 2015.

“I’m extremely relieved that CMS took my advice and reversed its previous scheduled plan to reduce payments to Medicare Advantage,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “I have long said the Affordable Care Act was far from perfect, and I was deeply concerned that these specific reductions proposed by the ACA were not cost-effective and could have negatively impacted many Granite Staters who depend on these plans.  I’m thrilled that the Administration has done the responsible thing and will continue to support the Medicare Advantage plans that provide high quality, affordable health care to many of our seniors.”

Congresswoman Annie Kuster is a strong proponent of working across the aisle to implement the Affordable Care Act as smoothly as possible and fix any problems with the bill, like potential cuts to Medicare Advantage that could have hurt New Hampshire seniors. In addition, Kuster joined a bipartisan group of her colleagues in sending a letter to CMS urging Administrator Marilyn Tavenner to reevaluate proposed reductions in payments for Medicare home health services, which many New Hampshire seniors and their families rely on to stay healthy in the comfort of their homes. She also voted in favor of the Keep Your Health Plan Act to allow people whose plans were being canceled due to ACA requirements to keep their plans for an additional year. And she recently cosponsored the Small Business Tax Credit Accessibility Act, which will help small businesses provide their employees with health insurance by expanding affordability tax credits for small employers.