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Gov Hassan Continues to Stress the Need for Responsible, Compromise Budget at Nashua Chamber of Commerce

Governor Hassan: Business Tax Cuts Must Be Paid For, Cannot Come at the Expense of Critical Economic Priorities

NASHUA – At the Nashua Chamber of Commerce State of the State breakfast, Governor Maggie Hassan continued to stress the importance of working across party lines toward a compromise to pass a fiscally responsible, balanced budget that keeps New Hampshire moving forward by supporting critical economic priorities like higher education, public safety, health care, and a modern, safe transportation infrastructure.

“As the Committee of Conference on the budget moves forward this week, I remain committed to working with Republican leadership to reach a compromise, fiscally responsible budget that moves New Hampshire forward,” Governor Hassan said. “We will continue to be willing to negotiate productively throughout the week.”

Governor Hassan said she has serious concerns that the current Senate budget proposal is unbalanced and contains expensive tax cuts primarily benefiting large out-of-state corporations while under-funding key priorities including education, health care, public safety and roads and bridges.

“My budget proposal is honest about what we can afford to do and it is focused on keeping New Hampshire moving forward by supporting critical economic priorities like higher education, public safety, health care, and our roads and bridges,” Governor Hassan said. “On the other hand, the plan proposed by Republicans prioritizes tax cuts for large businesses, mostly headquartered out-of-state, without paying for those cuts, creating a $90 million hole in our budget at the expense of the priorities that are essential for our families, small businesses and economy.”

Governor Hassan said she understands that business tax cuts are among the Senate’s most important priorities and that she is willing to work with Republican legislative leaders on a proposal to cut the business taxes, but only if those reductions are paid for within this budget and do not come at the expense of priorities such as higher education, public safety, health care and transportation.

“I have made it clear to Republican leadership that I am not philosophically opposed to their proposal to lower the business taxes and that I believe we can find common ground, but those cuts must be paid for and cannot come at the expense of our state’s long-term financial health or at the expense of the priorities that are critical to the success of people and businesses – holding down the cost of college tuition, making sure our workers can access health-care without financial ruin, and keeping our roads plowed for commuters and businesses,” Governor Hassan said.

Governor Hassan has made clear that she believes it is a critical to have a transparent and honest balanced budget that moves away from gimmicks such as back-of-the-budget cuts and unrealistic “assumptions” to ensure that the state can deliver on the promises made in the budget. In addition to the reauthorization of the state’s bipartisan health care expansion program that is providing coverage to more than 40,000 hard-working Granite Staters and the new contract for state employees, ensuring an adequate budget for the Governor’s priorities include higher education, substance misuse and mental health, the Departments of Corrections and Transportation.

“First and foremost, the budget must be balanced and honest. I recognize that we may not agree on every spending priority, but we cannot promise to spend money that isn’t there,” Governor Hassan said. “Continued reliance on these irresponsible budget gimmicks will put our state on perilous financial footing and undermine the legislature’s constitutional duty to balance the budget.”

The Governor closed her remarks by reiterating that while she continues to negotiate with Republican legislative leaders, any final agreement will require compromise from both sides.

“I am committed to negotiating in good faith to reach a compromise budget, but I need willing negotiating partners on the other side,” Governor Hassan said. “We can pass a responsible, bipartisan budget that invests so that we can stem troublesome demographic trends and build a brighter economic future with more opportunity that will allow our people to climb the ladder of success. We have done it before, and we can do it again.”

Congresswoman Kuster Pushes For House To Pass ENDA On National Transgender Remembrance Day

Kuster to Boehner: Don’t Stand In the Way of Ending Workplace Discrimination

During a speech urging House action on ENDA, Kuster shares story of a teenage transgender constituent who is fearful about his job prospects 

Senate already passed ENDA with bipartisan support earlier this month, but Speaker Boehner has called this vital legislation unnecessary and refuses to allow a vote

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, on National Transgender Day of Remembrance, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) called on Speaker of the House John Boehner to allow a vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), legislation that would end workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. During her remarks on the House floor, Kuster shared a story from a transgender teenage constituent who supports ENDA, and who is fearful about his job prospects if the legislation doesn’t become law. ENDA recently passed the Senate with strong bipartisan support, but Speaker Boehner has refused to allow a simple vote on the legislation in the House.

“Earlier this month, the Senate made history by passing employment protections for transgender workers for the first time ever. This bipartisan legislation is about one thing: ensuring that all Americans – regardless of who they are or who they love – are treated with the dignity and equality they deserve,” Kuster said. “Last week, I heard from a teenage constituent in New Hampshire who would be deeply impacted by this bill. This young man is just beginning to search for his first job, and he is worried that he will be at a significant disadvantage right off the bat just because he is transgender.”

Following Senate passage of ENDA earlier this month, Kuster said that “no one should ever fear being fired from their job or harassed in the workplace because of who they are or who they love – period.” Kuster is an original co-sponsor of ENDA.

Kuster’s remarks as prepared for delivery are below:

Today, as we mark National Transgender Remembrance Day, I rise in support of H.R. 1755, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

Earlier this month, the Senate made history by passing employment protections for transgender workers for the first time ever.

This bipartisan legislation is about one thing: ensuring that all Americans – regardless of who they are or who they love – are treated with the dignity and equality they deserve.

Last week, I heard from a teenage constituent in New Hampshire who would be deeply impacted by this bill.

This young man is just beginning to search for his first job, and he is worried that he will be at a significant disadvantage right off the bat just because he is transgender.

Finding a job in tough economic times is hard enough without the obstacle of discrimination.

We must work toward becoming a country that rewards the hard work of every person – regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. 

My constituent, and every American, deserves a vote on ENDA.

Senator Cruz Is Not The Only One Who Wants To Shut Down The Government Over The ACA

There are a lot of people talking about the upcoming showdown over the Affordable Care Act and the Continuing Resolution to keep the government running.  Without a budget or a Continuing Resolution the government will be forced to close up shop due to lack of funds.

This has been the subject of many previous debates in the last few years.  It seems that every three to six months Congress is threatening to shut down the government if they do not make significant changes.   Obviously this debate goes both ways.

Right now the debate over the Continuing Resolution (CR) has turned to healthcare, specifically the Affordable Care Act.  The debate over the ACA rages on every day.  Even after the house voted for the 41st time to repeal the ACA it should be obvious that the House is not going to get their way.  That is not stopping them; it is just making them more inventive in their repeal efforts.

The House passed a CR that would keep the government running, except they took out all the funding for the ACA.  They essentially are attempting to defund the ACA and are holding the government hostage to do it.

After they passed the bill it was quickly moved to the Senate.  Then a few Senators took that and ran with it.  Senator Ted Cruz has been all over the news talking about his position to shut the government down if they do not defund the ACA.  Cruz even got up and wasted 21 hours in a pretend filibuster. It was a pretend filibuster because the 21 hours of talking could not have any effect on whether or not a vote is going to be held.  His marathon talking session ended with a unanimous vote (100-0) to end debate and move toward voting on the actual bill.  We should be calling a 21 hour debate speech, because it is by definition not a filibuster.

The irony is that GOP leaders in the House were quick to distance themselves from this scenario.

Rep Peter King (potential GOP candidate for President) said, “He’s not standing on principle, I don’t know what he’s standing on,” King said. “But he’s standing for a strategy that can’t work. It’s going to personally help him as far as his political status, but it’s going to be bad for the county, bad for the Republican Party.”

Wait a second; are they really trying to blame Senator Cruz for holding the country hostage and threatening a government shutdown over the ACA?  Didn’t the bill that Senator Cruz is promoting came from the US House?  That’s right, it did.  Every one of those Reps who voted to repeal the ACA by defunding it, are doing the same thing.  Defund the ACA or we will not pass a CR, which is what you all voted on.

The House was even happy after the passage of the defunding-CR.

The Huffington Post reports, “Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) also took to twitter to vent. “House Republicans are turning words into action to defund #Obamacare. Ball will be in the Senate’s court,” he wrote.”

Yet now they want to distance themselves from shutting the government down because the public is adamantly against a shutdown.   The House GOP cannot get away from the fact that they voted to do what Senator Cruz is advocating for.  The House GOP cannot wiggle their way out of this.

Here is the full list of the Representative who would rather shut the government down if the President does not defund his signature bill.   Don’t let them forget it!

house votes CR 2014 Crop


AFL-CIO President Trumka Statement On Passage Of Immigration Reform Bill

Richard_TrumkaThe United States Senate today moved our country a big step closer to building a common sense immigration system that will allow millions of aspiring Americans to become citizens.

Now it is up to the House of Representatives to follow the Senate’s lead by allowing a majority of House members to vote on a bill with a path to citizenship.

Speaker John Boehner and his leadership team face a decision that will have ramifications for a generation: Block a roadmap to citizenship vote, obstruct the will of overwhelming majorities of working people and face a generation of electoral decline—or support citizenship and embrace America’s diverse future.

There is much that works for working people in the Senate bill. Most of all, it allows people who are American in every way except on paper to come out of the shadows, lift themselves out of poverty and be recognized as contributors to our communities and our country.  Unfortunately, the bill has become less inclusive, less compassionate and less just since it emerged from the Gang of 8’s bipartisan compromise.  We will work to see the bill offer even more protections to workers, more access to needed benefits, a far less militarized, more sensible border security program and fewer obstacles to aspiring Americans. Clearly, no further compromise to the roadmap to citizenship can be tolerated by the labor movement or our allies.

As this bill goes forward, we renew our call to President Obama to ease the deportation crisis that is wrecking workforces, families and communities.  More than a thousand aspiring Americans are being deported every day for no reason other than the absence of a working immigration system in the United States of America.

Now it is time for action.  Working people are more committed than ever to enacting meaningful, common sense immigration reform with a real path to citizenship.


CWA: Senate Bill Moves Nation toward Goal of Fair Immigration Reform

Washington, D.C. – Following is a statement by the Communications Workers of America on the Senate’s passage of immigration reform.

CWA has been a strong advocate of comprehensive immigration reform that provides a roadmap to citizenship for more than 11 million immigrant workers and that reflects our shared values of opportunity, voice and justice for all.

The bill passed by the Senate today moves our nation closer to that goal, by outlining a path to citizenship and enabling immigrant workers to come out of the shadows.

Immigrant workers have strong ties to family, community and this country. They deserve the protections of the law, including from employer exploitation, that this bill provides. They also deserve a voice in our nation and the Senate bill makes this possible as well.

The Senate bill is a step forward for 11 million immigrant workers, and for our nation. CWA calls on the House of Representatives also to act on sensible immigration reform.  We look forward to a comprehensive reform plan being sent to President Obama for signature.

AFL-CIO President Trumka Issues A Stern Warning On ‘Triggers’ In Immigration Bill

Immigration rally Nashua 4-6-13 (credit Arnie Alpert)

By legalizing millions of people who have been forced to live and work without the ability to exercise fundamental rights, the bill will go a long way toward lifting aspiring Americans out of poverty and raising standards and pay for all workers.  But legalization is just the first step: a roadmap to citizenship is not only about economic fairness; it is also a civil rights issue.  At its essence, America is about citizenship: the right to vote, the right to serve in public office and the responsibility to defend America’s values and the Constitution, which guarantees equality, justice, freedom and fairness.

Republicans have extracted a high price for moving this necessary legislation forward. The latest price for Republican support is the establishment of triggers to citizenship that, as Senator Leahy noted, read “like a Christmas wish list for Halliburton” and are clearly designed for one reason, to keep people from becoming citizens.  There is no logical connection between achieving maximum militarization of the border and letting people who have spent 10 years in temporary status move closer to citizenship. Indeed, future Republicans afraid of immigrant voters might forestall achievement of triggers in order to deny citizenship to people who have satisfied a variety of conditions, including staying employed, avoiding public benefits and possessing no criminal history.

These triggers are on top of previous compromises of sound policy for Republican support, such as enabling American tech companies to fire local workers in order to bring in less well paid temporary H-1B visa holders. America deserves better.

We expect that we will be better off with the bill than with the continuing, catastrophic deportation crisis that is wrecking workforces, families and communities across our country.

For these reasons, the AFL-CIO urges Senators to support this compromise bill—even as we make clear that no further compromise to the roadmap to citizenship can be tolerated by the labor movement or by our allies.  Now it is time for the House to act and deliver a broad and certain path to citizenship.

At the same time, we renew our call to President Obama to ease this crisis by stopping the deportation of those who would qualify for relief under the bill.

The Last Thing We Need Is More Austerity; A Statement By AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka

From WIKIPediaHouse Republicans’ latest budget crafted by Rep. Paul Ryan is a zombie proposal long ago rejected by working families.  But he won’t let it die.  Instead of calling for the sensible repeal of the sequester, Rep. Ryan would double down on harmful cuts to education, health care and other programs that build a strong middle class.  And instead of closing tax loopholes for the super wealthy, this budget would give even more tax breaks to the rich—higher subsidies for shipping American jobs overseas, bigger tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy.  Republicans would pay for all this by voucherizing Medicare, cutting Medicaid for the most vulnerable, and increasing Medicare premiums for middle class beneficiaries.  This budget would cut spending by $5.7 trillion – devastating child nutrition, cancer research, transportation and other key programs and shrink government to the size it was in the 1950s.

Our economy is still in a fragile state of recovery and we’ve seen that previous cuts to state and local services and jobs have prevented us from recovering faster.  The last thing we need is more austerity that would cost jobs and stunt America’s future.  We reject these so called “balanced” approaches that increase inequality and shift even more of the burden to those who can least afford it.  We call for an immediate repeal of the across the board sequester cuts and urge lawmakers to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid from benefit cuts.

The Magical Math of Boehner’s Congress: tax cuts don’t ‘cost’ anything

House Speaker John Boehner
Another thing to remember, as you’re watching the Fiscal Cliff standoff:

When John Boehner was first elected Speaker of the House of Representatives, he changed the Rules.

Yes, the actual Rules that the House uses to structure debate on pending legislation.

One of those changes tells you a lot about Boehner’s priorities.

Boehner decreed that the House would not consider any additional federal spending without an identified “offset”.  For example, in order to increase spending on Medicaid, the House would have to “offset” that spending through cuts to other programs (for example, by cutting Food Stamps).

BUT – Boehner decided that tax cuts would be exempt from this. Under Boehner’s Rules, Congress could pass any tax cut proposal without having to “offset” – or even consider! – the revenue cost of the legislation.  [And yes, the Bush tax cuts are specifically mentioned, and specifically exempted from any Congressional consideration of their cost.]

In other words, under Boehner’s Rules, Congress will not add a dime to the deficit through increased spending.

But Congress can increase the deficit by any amount, as long as the money is being “spent” on tax cuts.

Yes, for more than a decade, our country has been borrowing to pay for the Bush tax cuts.  And under Boehner’s Rules, Congress can increase the deficit as much as it wants – as long as the borrowed money is paying for tax cuts, not spending.

Boehner’s “Magical Math” sheds a different light on the Fiscal Cliff “negotiations”, doesn’t it?

State House Report Cards Available

Website provides voters with level of detail rarely found in down-ballot races

A friendly reminder that Granite State Progress has made publicly available a State House Report Card of more than 200 roll call votes from the past session, categorized by issue and legislator; and a State Senate Report Card of just over 50 roll call votes. The website makes available the same type of resources and attention that top of the ticket races have enjoyed for years.

GSP State House & State Senate Report Cards


“Granite Staters looking to cut through the election rhetoric can visit our website and see for themselves the voting record of their current legislators, many of whom are running for re-election,” said Zandra Rice Hawkins, Granite State Progress Executive Director. “We’ve removed the confusing legislative jargon around these bills and instead explained in a straight-forward way what they really mean for Granite State families and small businesses. State legislators make big decisions about local roads, public schools and the economy. It’s long overdue that voters are provided with the same type of resources and attention for down ballot races that top of the ticket candidates have enjoyed for years.”

Examples of the roll call vote descriptions include:

  • Rep. Will Smith voted for repealing major sections of the anti-bullying law and leaving our children vulnerable to bullying on-line and off school grounds. (HB370, Roll Call #69, 3/15/2011)
  • Rep. Will Smith voted for urging Congress to privatize all aspects of Social Security. Privatizing social security puts at risk benefits for New Hampshire’s current and future retirees. *ALEC Model Legislation* (HCR39, Roll Call #190, 3/21/2012)

“Whether or not you agree with Granite State Progress’ particular take on a piece of legislation, one thing is clear: you will know exactly which legislators you side with,” Rice Hawkins said. “We are very proud to provide this resource to Granite State voters.”

For the full, original press release, visit http://www.granitestateprogress.org/press-releases. The website was built by Hoeferweb, an Internet Marketing and Strategy Agency based in Keene, New Hampshire and online at www.hoeferweb.com.


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