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Progressives In The Senate Push To Expand Employee-Owned Companies

Senator Hassan Joins Senator Sanders, Lahey, and Gillibrand To Introduce Legislation To Encourage and Expand Employee-Owned Companies 

WASHINGTON – Today, building on her efforts to expand middle class opportunity and support innovative businesses in New Hampshire, Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined in introducing two pieces of legislation to help encourage and expand employee-owned companies.

Senator Hassan joined Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) in introducing the WORK Act and the U.S. Employee Ownership Bank Act.

“Studies have shown that employee-owned companies have more productive workers, better working conditions, and greater shareholder returns,” said Senator Hassan. “New Hampshire has innovative businesses that are setting a great example of the benefits of employee-owned companies. I am proud to support these two bills that will help encourage these efforts, boost economic growth and expand opportunity for hard-working Granite Staters.”

Broad-based employee ownership has been proven to increase employment, increase productivity, sales, and wages in the United States. Employee ownership boosts company productivity by 4 percent, shareholder returns by 2 percent and profits by 14 percent, according to a Rutgers University study. Nationally, there are already nearly 10,000 employee-owned businesses which employ roughly 10 million people.

The WORK Act would provide more than $45 million in funding to states to establish and expand employee ownership centers, which provide training and technical support for programs promoting employee ownership. The bill is also co-sponsored by Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

The U.S. Employee Ownership Bank Act would create a U.S. Employee Ownership Bank to provide $500 million in low-interest rate loans and other financial assistance to help workers purchase businesses through an employee stock ownership plan or a worker-owned cooperative.

Building Bridges Within The Democratic Party

The Democratic party is working to build strong bridges between those members who followed the DNC during the 2016 elections and those members who bucked the DNC by supporting Senator Bernie Sanders.

Throughout the DNC election process all of the candidates spoke about working to bring “Sanders wing” and the “Clinton wing” together and building a strong grassroots movement to fight back against the Trump-GOP agenda.

This morning the DNC sent out this email:

Sanders and Perez Announce “Come Together and Fight Back” Tour 

Senator Bernie Sanders, DNC Chair Tom Perez and other Democratic Party leaders will be traveling to nine “red” and “purple” states starting on April 17th.  Along with local activists they are tentatively scheduled to hold rallies in Maine, Kentucky, Florida, Nebraska, Utah, Montana, Arizona and Nevada. More information will be released in the coming days. The purpose of their trip is to begin the process of creating a Democratic Party which is strong and active in all 50 states, and a party which focuses on grassroots activism and the needs of working families.

Sanders and Perez stated: “At a time of massive income and wealth inequality and a shrinking middle class, we need a government which represents all Americans, not just Wall Street, multi-national corporations and the top 1 percent. Regardless of where they live or their political affiliations, most people understand that it is absurd for Republicans in Congress to support huge tax breaks for billionaires while pushing for cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. They understand that the recent Republican health care proposal which would have thrown 24 million Americans off of their health insurance, substantially raised premiums for older workers and defunded Planned Parenthood while, at the same time, providing almost $300 billion in tax breaks to the top 2 percent is a disgraceful idea.”

Sanders and Perez will speak out for raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, pay equity for women, rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, combatting climate change, making public colleges and universities tuition-free, criminal justice reform, comprehensive immigration reform and tax reform which demands that the wealthy and large corporations start paying their fair share of taxes.

We need to rise up together and build on the grassroots momentum that has emerged after Trump was elected.  We must work together to fight back against the anti-worker, anti-women, anti-immigrant policies being pushed in Washington and our own State House’s.

Despite the outcome of the 2016, polling still shows that our agenda is the American agenda.  Our platform of raising wages, rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, college affordability, climate change, and immigration reform is what “we the people” want our government to act on.

The race to take back control of our State Houses and Congress in 2018 has already begun and we must work together to put an end to the regressive policies being rolled out by Trump and the entire GOP.

 

Hassan Joins Progressive Senators In Introducing Legislation To Bring Down Prescription Drug Prices

Proposal Improves Upon the Affordable Care Act By
Addressing Skyrocketing Drug Prices

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) joined Senator Al Franken (D-MN) and others in launching a major push to improve upon the Affordable Care Act (ACA) by bringing down the skyrocketing price of prescription drugs, one of the main reasons why health care costs for seniors and families are rising.

The Improving Access to Affordable Prescription Drugs Act would help ensure that drug companies put patients before profits and bring much-needed relief to families and seniors, including many who have had to make the impossible choice between paying for a life-saving drug and putting food on the table.

“It is long past time for Congress to put patients first by coming together and acting to lower the cost of prescription drugs,” said Senator Hassan. “This major piece of legislation helps ensure that seniors and families can afford the medication they need through common-sense steps including cracking down on bad actors who hike the cost of prescription drugs that have been on the market for years or who play games to prevent competition. I will continue working with anyone who’s serious about addressing the rising costs of prescription drugs and ensuring that all Americans can afford critical care.” 

The landmark proposal, which the Senators said they want to see included in upcoming legislative debates, seeks to tackle prescription drug costs by increasing transparency and accountability, boosting access and affordability of key drugs, spurring innovation, and increasing choice and competition.  

The Senators were joined in introducing this legislative package, which is supported by a wide range of organizations and patient advocacy groups, by Senators Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Jack Reed (D-RI), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Jeff Merkley (OR), Tom Udall (D-NM), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Cory Booker (D-NJ).

You can read more about the legislation by clicking here or reading below:

The Senators’ legislation is supported by:

  • The American Medical Student Association (AMSA)
  • AFSCME
  • Housing Works
  • MoveOn
  • National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare
  • National Physicians Alliance
  • Other98
  • PFAM: People of Faith for Access to Medicines
  • Public Citizen
  • Social Security Works
  • Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM)
  • AFT
  • Doctors for America
  • Center for Medicare Advocacy
  • Alliance for Retired Americans

Improving Access to Affordable Prescription Drugs Act

Title I: Transparency

Section 101: Drug manufacturer reporting.

To better understand how research and development costs, manufacturing and marketing costs, acquisitions, federal investments, revenues and sales, and other factors influence drug prices, this section requires drug manufacturers to disclose this information, by product, to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), who, in turn, will make it publicly available in a searchable format.

Section 102: Determining the public and private benefit of copayment coupons and other patient assistance programs.

To better understand how patient assistance programs affect drug prices and the extent to which drug makers are using independent charity assistance programs to drive up profits, this section requires independent charity assistance programs to disclose to the IRS the total amount of patient assistance provided to patients who are prescribed drugs manufactured by any contributor to the independent charity assistance program. It also requires a GAO study on the impact of patient assistance programs on prescription drug pricing and expenditures. 

Title II: Access and Affordability

Section 201: Negotiating fair prices for Medicare prescription drugs.

Medicare is one of the largest purchasers of prescription drugs in the country but, unlike Medicaid and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), it is not allowed to leverage its purchasing power to negotiate lower drug prices and bring down costs. This section would allow the Secretary of HHS to negotiate with drug companies to lower prescription drug prices, and directs the Secretary to prioritize negotiations on specialty and other high-priced drugs.

Section 202: Prescription drug price spikes.

Prescription drugs are priced in the United States according to whatever the market will bear and are sometimes subject to drastic and frequent price increases without apparent justification. This makes drugs increasingly unaffordable and creates significant uncertainty for patients’ and insurers’ budgets. This section requires the HHS Office of the Inspector General (HHS OIG) to monitor changes in drug prices and take steps to prevent drug manufacturers from engaging in price gouging. 

Section 203: Acceleration of the closing of the Medicare Part D coverage gap.

This section closes the Medicare Part D prescription coverage gap in 2018, two years earlier than under current law, providing faster financial relief to seniors, and requires drug manufacturers to pay a larger share of the costs during the coverage gap.  

Section 204: Importing affordable and safe drugs.

This section allows wholesalers, licensed U.S. pharmacies, and individuals to import qualifying prescription drugs manufactured at FDA-inspected facilities from licensed Canadian sellers and, after two years, from OECD countries that meet standards comparable to U.S. standards.

Section 205: Requiring drug manufacturers to provide drug rebates for drugs dispensed to low-income individuals.

This section restores prescription drug rebates for seniors who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid and extends these rebates to other Medicare patients in Medicare low-income-subsidy plans.

Section 206: Cap on prescription drug cost-sharing.

For plan years beginning in 2019 and later, this section caps prescription drug cost sharing at $250 per month for individuals and $500 a month for families enrolled in Qualified Health Plans and employer-based plans.

 

Title III: Innovation

Section 301: Prize fund for new and more effective treatments of bacterial infections.

This section creates a $2 billion prize fund at the National Institutes of Health to fund entities that develop superior antibiotics that treat serious and life-threatening bacterial infections and to fund research that advances such treatments and is made publicly available. In order to receive prize funds, recipients must commit to offering their products at a reasonable price, share clinical data, and take steps to promote antibiotic stewardship. 

Section 302: Public funding for clinical trials.

This section creates a Center for Clinical Research within the NIH to conduct all stages of clinical trials on drugs that may address an existing or emerging health need. 

Section 303: Rewarding innovative drug development.

This section amends various exclusivity periods awarded by the FDA to brand-name pharmaceutical companies in an effort to accelerate competition in the generic and biologics market. First, the bill modifies the New Chemical Entity (NCE) exclusivity period to allow FDA to accept a generic drug application for the branded product after three years rather than five. Second, this section would add in a requirement that products awarded the 3-year New Clinical Investigation Exclusivity must show significant clinical benefit over existing therapies manufactured by the applicant in the 5-year period preceding the submission of the application. Third, this section reduces the biological product exclusivity from 12 years to 7 years. 

Section 304: Improving program integrity.

This section would terminate any remaining market exclusivity periods on any product found to be in violation of criminal or civil law through a federal or state fraud conviction or settlement in which the company admits fault.

 

Title IV: Choice and Competition

Section 401: Preserving access to affordable generics.

This legislation would make it illegal for brand-name and generic drug manufacturers to enter into anti-competitive agreements in which the brand-name drug manufacturer pays the generic manufacturer to keep more affordable generic equivalents off the market. 

Section 402 and 403: 180-Day exclusivity period amendments regarding first applicant status and agreements to defer commercial marketing.

This section enables FDA to take away the 180-day generic drug exclusivity period from any generic company that enters into anti-competitive pay-for-delay settlements with brand-name drug manufacturers. 

Section 404: Increasing generic drug competition.

This section introduces new reporting requirements and financial incentives to promote and sustain competitive generic markets. 

Section 405: Disallowance of deduction for advertising for prescription drugs.

This section eliminates the tax breaks drug companies receive from the federal government for expenses related to direct-to-consumer advertising.

Section 406: Product hopping.

This section establishes a definition for the term “product hopping” and instructs the FTC to submit a report to Congress on the extent to which companies engage in these anti-competitive practices and their effects on company profits, consumer access, physician prescribing behavior, and broader economic impacts.

Progressives Rejoice As Obama Announces Support For Expanding Social Security

(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

(Official White House File Photo by Pete Souza)

Progressives are celebrating a huge win this week as President Obama announced his support for expanding Social Security as part of a larger economic agenda.

 

“To me, if we raise the minimum wage; if we make it easier, not harder, for people to unionize; if we negotiate trade deals that raise labor standards and environmental standards in other countries, instead of letting them sell here and we can’t sell there; if we make sure that we’re rebuilding our roads and our bridges and our infrastructure to put a bunch of folks in hardhats back to work; if we make Social Security stronger rather than cutting it — if we do those things, then we are going to see wages go up, labor markets tighten, and we will relieve a lot of the stress that people feel,” said President Obama at a town hall discussion in Elkhart, Indiana on June 2nd.

This is a complete change in direction for Obama as it was only a few years ago that he was willing to make cuts to Social Security as part of his “Grand Bargain” with Republicans.

“Progressives led, they people spoke out, and the politicians are now embracing change we can believe in: Expanding Social Security benefits — never cutting them,” said Adam Green & Stephanie Taylor, Co-Founders of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. “This will be a defining issue in the 2016 election. Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and congressional candidates across the nation are for expanding benefits to keep up with the rising costs faced by our grandparents and veterans. Donald Trump and Republicans oppose increased benefits, and many support cuts.”

“I applaud President Obama for joining the growing movement in the Democratic Party to expand Social Security — for today’s seniors, workers, persons with severe disabilities, and for generations to come,” said Eric Kingson, Co-Founder of Social Security Works. “With two-thirds of today’s working persons, especially those in their late 40s and 50s, facing a personal retirement income crisis, yes, it’s time to expand benefits. With the Social Security benefits for today’s seniors averaging just $14,000, today’s older Americans need benefit increases, and they need fairer cost-of-living adjustments. With the United States being one of only three nations that do not provide paid maternity benefits at birth or adoption, it’s long past time to add up to 12 weeks paid family and sick leave to our Social Security.”

“The Alliance for Retired Americans welcomes President Obama’s statement in favor of expanding earned Social Security benefits,” said Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans. “The Alliance advocated the expansion of Social Security benefits for years and we are pleased that the President agrees with us.”

“Forty percent of Americans over the age of 50 say that Social Security will be their primary source of retirement income, and the current level of benefits is not keeping pace. It’s time for Congress to pass one of the many bills that has already been introduced to make a more secure retirement for current and future retirees,” added Fiesta.

Progressives like Senator Elizabeth Warren have tirelessly been taking the floor of the Senate to talk about how we need to do more to help our nation’s seniors.

“After a lifetime of work, people deserve to retire in dignity. Two-thirds of seniors rely on Social Security for the majority of their income, and for 15 million seniors — 15 MILLION — Social Security is the only thing standing between them and poverty,” said Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). “I’m proud that President Obama spoke out Wednesday about protecting and expanding Social Security for millions of people who are struggling to get by.”

“For me, this is about whose side you stand on. We have a growing retirement crisis in this country. Democrats recognize that. The President supports expanding Social Security. Nearly every Senate Democrat voted for my budget amendment in support of expanding Social Security. Both Democratic Presidential candidates support expanding Social Security. And the vast majority of Americans support expanding Social Security. Republicans may still be living in the Stone Age of trying to cut benefits, but on Social Security, the American people stand with President Obama and the Democrats to take on the retirement crisis,” added Warren.

As Sen. Warren alluded to, the battle over Social Security is a defining issue in the Presidential election.

In typical Donald Trump fashion, Trump says he is going to save Social Security, and the millions of seniors who rely on it, by not doing anything.

“I will do everything within my power not to touch Social Security, to leave it the way it is,” Trump said at a campaign event in Miami, Florida (3-10-16).

Trump also claims that Social Security is full of fraud, waste and abuse.

“Waste, fraud and abuse is massive in Social Security and Medicaid,” Trump told MSNBC’s Morning Joe. In the same interview Trump attacked Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders for wanting to increase Social Security.

The Democratic candidates strongly support expanding Social Security and the Presidents new initiative.

Secretary Clinton tweeted out her support for expanding Social Security saying, “We can never let Republicans cut or privatize Social Security — we should protect and expand it. Thanks, @POTUS.”

 

Before campaigning for President, Senator Bernie Sanders was one of the loudest voices in the fight to expand Social Security.

“Social Security is the most successful government program in our nation’s history. Before it was signed into law, nearly half of senior citizens lived in poverty,” said Senator Bernie Sanders. “Today, the elderly poverty rate is 10 percent. Although still much too high, that’s a dramatic improvement.”

“I applaud President Obama for making it clear that it is time to expand Social Security benefits. Millions of seniors, disabled veterans and people with disabilities are falling further and further behind on $10,000 or $11,000 a year Social Security,” added Sanders.

Senators Warren and Sanders, along with Rep Keith Ellison (MN-5) and Rep Raul Grijalva (AZ-3), the Co-Chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, have been asking Congress to “scrap the cap” on Social Security.

“We thank President Obama for speaking up on behalf of seniors and people with disabilities by calling for an expansion of Social Security benefits,” said Rep Keith Ellison and Rep Raul Grijalva. “So many Americans rely on these vital, earned benefits that they have secured through a lifetime of hard work. Still, too many seniors struggle to make ends meet. Expanding benefits and scrapping the payroll tax cap, which prevents the wealthy from paying their fair share, is the responsible way to ensure full Social Security solvency in the long-term while protecting today’s seniors.”

“We applaud the president for reaffirming the importance of Social Security, and we believe his statement shows just how important the progressive movement is in shaping the policies that will drive our country forward,” added Ellison and Grijalva.

It has become painfully obvious to many people that Social Security benefits have not kept up with the needs of seniors. New Hampshire Executive Councilor, and Gubernatorial candidate, Colin Van Ostern, explains how critical Social Security is to New Hampshire seniors.

“I applaud President Obama in his call to expand Social Security for hardworking Americans,” said Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern. “Here in New Hampshire one in five residents collect Social Security and without this critical program, nearly half of those individuals 65 years or older would have incomes below the poverty level. After years of too many calling to cut Social Security, this is a welcomed direction. Issues like this, and access to debt-free college are the path to a stronger future where everyone has a chance to succeed, not just those at the top.”

Expanding Social Security is a direct infusion to our local economies as seniors spend the majority of their Social Security check in their communities. Even though Social Security was designed to provide assistance to seniors as they retire, many now fully depend on Social Security as their sole source of income.

As part of expanding Social Security we should continue to push for higher payouts to seniors and to eliminate the payroll tax cap. We can add additional strength to the Social Security trust fund by increasing the minimum wage. By raising the minimum wage, workers would earn more in their paycheck and pay more in to the Social Security trust fund. Ultimately raising the minimum wage would provide higher payouts to workers 30-40 years from now when they retire as Social Security payouts are based on quarterly income rates.

Expanding Social Security is the only way to ensure that more seniors do not slip into poverty and can retire with the dignity and respect they deserve after a lifetime of hard work.

Sanders Singles Out Top-10 Corporate Tax Dodgers

Taxes Cartoon

Major Profitable Corporations Are Collection Tax Refunds While Avoid Paying Their Fair Share

MOUNT PLEASANT, Iowa – Taking aim at how corporate America has rigged the economy, Bernie Sanders on Friday pledged to close tax loopholes like a law that lets profitable corporations exploit offshore tax havens to avoid paying U.S. income taxes.

“Three major profitable corporations not only pay nothing in federal income taxes, they actually got a rebate from the IRS,” Sanders told a town meeting in a student center at Iowa Wesleyan University.

Overall, General Electric, Boeing and Verizon paid no federal income taxes during the combined 2008 through 2013 tax years. During that period, those three corporate giants racked up combined profits totaling more than $102 billion. In fact, they received income tax rebates from the Internal Revenue Service totaling more than $4.1 billion, according to a report from Citizens for Tax Justice.

“In America today we are losing $100 billion in revenue every single year because large corporations are stashing their profits in the Cayman Islands and other offshore tax havens,” Sanders said.

Sanders’ tax plan would close loopholes those and other corporations have exploited and use the revenue to create and maintain at least 13 million good-paying jobs by rebuilding our crumbling roads, bridges, water systems, railways, airports and more.

Sanders singled out GE, Boeing, Verizon and others on his Top 10 list of corporate tax dodgers during a swing through eastern Iowa three days before Iowa’s precinct caucuses. The senator from Vermont also has detailed a plan to reform the tax system.

To crack down on corporate tax avoiders, Sanders would:

  • End a rule allowing American corporations to defer paying federal income taxes on profits of offshore subsidiaries. Under current law, U.S. corporations are allowed to defer or delay U.S. income taxes on overseas profits until the money is brought back into the United States.
  • Prevent corporations from avoiding U.S. taxes by claiming to be a foreign company through the establishment of a post office box in a tax-haven country.
  • Eliminate tax breaks for big oil, gas, and coal companies.
  • Stop American companies from avoiding U.S. taxes through corporate inversions.
  • Close loopholes that allow U.S. corporations to artificially inflate or accelerate foreign tax credits.

To see the list of the Top-10 corporate tax avoiders, click here.

To read more about Sanders’ plan to reform the corporate tax code, click here.

Clinton Unveils New ‘Fair Share Surcharge’ on Multi-Millionaires, Sanders Responds

 

Today at an organizing event in Waterloo, Iowa, Hillary Clinton unveiled a new surcharge on multi-millionaires to ensure these taxpayers pay their fair share so we can invest in creating good-paying jobs and raising wages for the middle class, not just those at the top.

Expanding on the central idea of the “Buffett Rule,” she called for imposing a four-percent “Fair Share Surcharge” on Americans who make more than $5 million per year – a measure that would only affect the top 0.02 percent of taxpayers. That breaks down to about 64,000 people who would see an increase. The remaining 99.98 percent of taxpayers would be unaffected.

“It’s outrageous that multi-millionaires and billionaires are allowed to play by a different set of rules than hard-working families, especially when it comes to paying their fair share of taxes,” said Hillary Clinton. “I disagree with Republicans who say that America needs yet another massive tax cut for the very rich. That’s the exact opposite of what we should do. Instead, let’s make sure the rich pay their fair share. That’s what my proposal would do. It would let us make the investments we need to create more good-paying jobs and make college more affordable. That’s what American families need – not another giveaway to the super wealthy.”

Clinton has pledged that she will not raise taxes on middle-class families and has already proposed tax relief for college and health care costs.

In the United Stated the middle class is defined as the middle three quintiles (20% brackets) of the income distribution. In 2012 you would be considered middle class if you made between $21,000 and $104,000 a vast majority of the population. The true middle 20% is between $30,000 and $65,000 with a true median wage of $52,000 a year (per household).

To be true to her word, Clinton would not be raising taxes on the middle class if she increased taxes on those making $105,000 (in 2012) a year.

Clinton’s “Fair Share Surcharge” is a direct way to guarantee that effective tax rates rise for the taxpayers most likely to avoid paying their fair share through tax gimmicks and exploiting loopholes.

Clinton’s proposal would force Americans making more than $5 million per year to pay an effective rate higher than middle-class families, along with other measures she has proposed to close loopholes such as the “Buffett Rule.”

Michael Briggs, spokesperson for the Bernie Sanders campaign, quickly responded to Sec. Clinton’s proposal to put a surcharge on .02% of the wealthiest Americans.

“At a time of grotesque income and wealth inequality and when trillions of dollars have been transferred from the middle class to the top one-tenth of 1 percent over the last 30 years, Secretary Clinton’s proposal is too little too late. In fact, it would raise less than half of what we need just to pay for paid family and medical leave. We need real tax reform which demands that Wall Street, corporate America and the top 2 percent start paying their fair share.”

The Sanders campaign is suggesting that we raise taxes on people who are currently making $290,000 (household) a year versus Clinton’s proposal to raise taxes on those making $5 million a year.

Sanders: Wall Street Will Play By The Rules If I’m President

"Wall Street - New York Stock Exchange" by Carlos Delgado

“Wall Street – New York Stock Exchange” by Carlos Delgado

NEW YORK – Speaking a few subway stops away from the epicenter of the global financial crisis, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders promised to remake the financial system to serve America’s working families.

“We can no longer tolerate an economy and a political system that has been rigged by Wall Street to benefit the wealthiest Americans in this country at the expense of everyone else,” Sanders said. “I’ll rein in Wall Street behavior, so they can’t crash our economy again. Will they like me? No. Will they begin to play by the rules if I’m president? You better believe it.”

Sanders presented a sweeping plan to rein in the greed of the nation’s biggest financial institutions, drawing sharp contrasts with Sec. Clinton’s approach. “My opponent says that as a senator she told bankers to ‘cut it out’ and end their destructive behavior,” Sanders said. “But, in my view, establishment politicians are the ones who need to ‘cut it out.’ The reality is that Congress doesn’t regulate Wall Street. Wall Street and their lobbyists regulate Congress. We must change that reality and as president I will.”

Sanders’ administration will create a list of “too big to fail” institutions by the end of his first 100 days in the White House. ”Within one-year, my administration will break these institutions up so that they no longer pose a grave threat to the economy,” he said. Sanders will accomplish this goal by appointing strong regulators who will utilize Section 121 of Dodd-Frank to ensure the safety and soundness of the financial system by breaking up large banks and shadow banks that pose a grave threat to the economy.

Sanders promised to fight to establish a 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act, a Depression-era law signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt designed to prevent Wall Street speculators from crashing the economy. He also said his administration will cap ATM fees, allow post offices to offer banking services and reform the Federal Reserve to focus on its full employment mandate.

“Secretary Clinton says that Glass-Steagall would not have prevented the financial crisis because shadow banks like AIG and Lehman Brothers, not big commercial banks, were the real culprits. On this issue, Secretary Clinton is wrong. Shadow banks did gamble recklessly, but where did that money come from? It came from the federally insured bank deposits of big commercial banks – something that would have been banned under the Glass-Steagall Act,” Sanders said.

Sanders also said he will fight to cap ATM fees at $2, cap interest rates on credit cards and loans at 15 percent, establish modest banking services at post offices, and turn credit rating agencies into non-profits that are committed to accurately rating financial products, and are not beholden to Wall Street.

“Not one major Wall Street executive has been prosecuted for causing the near collapse of our entire economy,” Sanders said before describing some of the biggest crimes committed by financial institutions in recent years. “That will change under my administration. ‘Equal justice under law’ will not just be words engraved on the entrance of the Supreme Court. It will be the standard that applies to Wall Street and all Americans.”

Click here to read Sanders’ prepared remarks.

Bernie Sanders Launches Four New Ads Focusing On Working Families

BURLINGTON, Vt. – Four new television ads from the Sanders campaign will hit airwaves in early primary states starting tomorrow. The spots focus on Sanders’ plans to end policies that leave American families working longer hours for lower wages.

“What this campaign is about is to demand that we create an economy that works for all of us rather than a handful of billionaires,” Sanders says in an ad titled “Working Families.”

In a second spot, Sanders tells a crowd about his fight in the Senate to stop Social Security cuts. “We said it will be over our dead bodies if you cut Social Security. As president, I will do everything I can to extend the solvency of Social Security and expand benefits for people who desperately need them,” Sanders promises in the ad titled “Social Security.”

“Bernie Sanders understands how pharmaceutical companies and major medical companies are ripping us off,” Mari Cordes, a registered nurse from Lincoln, Vermont, says in an ad on the cost of health care. “He’s the only one who can bring real change.”

“The 15 richest Americans acquired more wealth in two years than the bottom 100 million people combined,” Sanders says into the camera before laying out his plan to make the wealthy pay their fair share and bring prosperity to working Americans in a fourth ad titled “Bottom 100 Million.”

The new ads come on the heels of Sanders’ two millionth contribution and a 12-point pickup in the latest CNN/ORC national poll, including growing support among what the pollster refers to as non-white voters. The latest The Economist/YouGov poll shows Sanders gaining significant ground. Sanders is currently campaigning in Nevada where more than 2,000 people turned out to see him speak just two days after Christmas.

Sen. Bernie Sanders Meets With Picketing WMUR Workers, Helps Broker A Deal To Reopen Negotiations

IMG_2197

Yesterday it was announced that unionized workers at WMUR would be picketing the arrival of Senator Bernie Sanders at the WMUR studios this morning.  True to their word, workers showed up holding signs stating the WMUR and Hearst Media Corporation are refusing to negotiate with the newly formed union.

Sources tell the NH Labor News that Senator Sanders arrived and met with the workers and asked what he could do to help them.  The union discussed, in great detail, what their issues are and that all they want is to get back to the negotiating table to resolve their contract dispute.

The main issue for the union is that WMUR and Hearst Media are refusing to negotiate the workers pension, saying the pension is “off the table” and have failed to schedule timely negotiations.

The union also asked for Senator Sanders to have a “sit down” with WMUR President and General Manager, Jeff Bartlett, to schedule more timely bargaining sessions and to have an open discussion about adding the 22 workers to the WMUR pension program already in effect for other WMUR employees.

Senator Sanders said he would go in to the WMUR studios and request a meeting with Bartlett.

IBEW 1228 Business Agent, Fletcher Fischer told us that he was pleased with the results of the informational picket.

“Senator Sanders was very helpful and we are grateful,” said Fischer.”Bartlett is now open to negotiating all of our issues.  We have provided him multiple dates within the next two weeks and now we are just waiting for the Hearst Corporation to meet with us.”

There is still the looming issue of whether or not Sanders and Hillary Clinton – who has previously voiced her support of the WMUR union members – will boycott the WMUR debate or if the DNC will pull WMUR’s debate completely if the contract dispute is not resolved by the December 19th debates. .

Images below curtesy of IBEW 1228. 

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Massachusetts & Rhode Island Telephone Workers Unions Endorse Bernie Sanders For President

IBEW locals representing over 5,100 members call Sanders the clear choice for working people

Boston, MA—Leaders of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) System Council T-6 announced Thursday that they have voted unanimously to support the candidacy of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders for President of the United States.

“Bernie Sanders is the clear choice for working people, every union should be supporting Bernie for President” said Myles Calvey, Business Manager of IBEW Local 2222 and chair of the System Council T-6, which represents seven local unions in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. “Labor unions should always be guided by a moral compass and must support only those candidates for office that share our values and champion the causes important to the working class. The majority of our members work for Verizon, who despite recording profits in excess of $1 Billion dollars per month, is actively trying to cut healthcare benefits for retirees on a fixed income. Senator Sanders is not only talking about this inequality, he has spent his life fighting to eliminate it.”

Leaders said that the decision to endorse came about after rank-and-file members have spent the summer urging support of Sanders. According to Ed Starr, Business Manager of IBEW Local 2321 in North Andover, MA, “Our members are smart people who understand that poll-driven platitudes will not rebuild the middle class. They have urged the leadership of the IBEW T6 council to be true to our ideals and support a champion for working people for President of the United States. Senator Sanders has been a friend to IBEW workers, has walked along side us on picket lines and has supported our efforts to preserve jobs and benefits. Simply, Bernie is the real deal”

Local leaders say that they will begin outreach to workers throughout New England and put together an “aggressive” field campaign that will leave no stone unturned in the lead up to primaries scheduled for early 2016. According to Calvey, “We will continue to have conversations in the workplace, but we will not stop there. This campaign will be won in the neighborhoods and that is where we will spend our time; out in the community talking to workers, their families and neighbors. Our futures depend on it.”

IBEW System Council T-6 is comprised of seven local unions in Massachusetts and Rhode Island representing over 5,000 Verizon employees. They are IBEW Locals 2222, 2313, 2321, 2322, 2323, 2324, and 2325.

 

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