Senators Ayotte (NH) and Collins (ME) Voted Against Unemployment Insurance Extension (Granite State Rumblings)

(January 7, 2014 - Source: Mark Wilson/Getty Images North America)

Last week the Senate failed to pass an extension of unemployment insurance. Nearly 1.3 million workers lost their unemployment insurance when the emergency program to help them expired on December 28th.

More than one-third of the unemployed have been out of work for more than 6 months. For each week that nothing is done, another 72,000 long-term jobless will lose their Unemployment Insurance, another 3.6 million by the end of 2014.

A total of 8,500 unemployed Granite Staters and 18,100 unemployed Mainers will lose their benefits by the end of 2014 according to information from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Two different bills came up for a vote in the Senate last week. Neither bill received the 60 votes necessary to overcome a filibuster and move forward.

One would have extended unemployment benefits for 11 months and paid for it by extending the existing 2 percent cuts to Medicare health providers by an additional year, to 2024. It failed 52 – 48.

The other bill would have extended unemployment benefits for three months at a cost of 6.4 billion dollars. It failed 55 – 45.

(January 7, 2014 - Source: Mark Wilson/Getty Images North America)

(January 7, 2014 – Source: Mark Wilson/Getty Images North America)

Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Senator Susan Collins of Maine were among the Republican Senate members who voted against extending unemployment insurance. However, they did vote the very first time to allow the issue to be debated in the Senate and subsequent votes taken. We have a chance to convince them to do the right thing again.

Senators are in their home states this week and waiting to hear from their constituents. They have not been home since the checks stopped arriving for the first wave of the long-term unemployed.

Those missing checks are having a huge impact on the families who relied upon them for their basic needs. They are also having an impact on our local communities. The money from those checks is not being spent at the grocery stores in our towns and cities, not being spent on gas and propane and heating oil, not being spent on rent or mortgages.

When the Senators return to Washington they need to return having heard the voices loudly and clearly from their constituents about this issue and then vote to undue the harm that has been inflicted on the children, the families, and the communities of the long-term unemployed.

Every Child Matters and other statewide groups are asking you to call Senator Ayotte and Senator Collins tomorrow and tell them to do the right thing. Go back to work and protect those workers who want nothing more than to be able to do the same.

The number for Senator’s Ayotte’s Manchester office is: 603-622-7979

The number for Senator Susan Collins’ Portland office is: 207-780-3575.

Senator Kelly Ayotte Twists The Facts About Immigrants & Taxes With Unemployment Insurance Amendment

New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte (AP Photo/Cheryl Senter)

This week, as the Senate decides whether to extend unemployment benefits, some Senators are looking for “offsets.”  Unfortunately, a fallback for some members of Congress has become targeting programs for immigrants, without regard to the true fiscal or social impact.

Senator Kelly Ayotte Official Portrait

Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH)

One recurring target has been the Addtional Child Tax Credit for immigrant taxpayers. An amendment proposed by Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) prososes to “pay for a three-month extension of unemployment benefits by stopping a scheme that currently allow {sic} illegal immigrants to claim the Additional Child Tax Credit.”

Calling a program which allows immigrant workers to pay taxes and legally claim tax credits a “scheme” distorts reality. Immigrant workers—both undocumented and lawfully present immigrants—like all workers, are required to pay taxes and many do so using an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN). The IRS has determined that ITIN filers are indeed eligible to claim the Additional Child Tax Credit for their qualified children. Those who are undocumented pay into a system that makes them ineligible for the vast majority of benefits their tax dollars fund.

Weeding out fraud is important and while there have been some reports of fraud in the program, just as there is in other tax programs, the “fraud” doesn’t occur when an ITIN holder claims the credit. Ending the entire program punishes those who are seeking to follow the law.

ITIN filers are doing the right thing by paying into the tax system with little hope of collecting any future benefits for themselves. According to the Treasury Department’s Inspector General, in 2010, ITIN filers reported $60 billion dollars in wages. There may be debate as to whether this is fair or reasonable policy, but it is not a scheme, nor is it fraud. The debate about ITIN filers and the Additional Child Tax Credit should be fueled by honest reporting and reliable facts.

Via press release from the Immigration Policy Center

Granite Staters Rally At Sen Ayotte’s Office In National Day Of Action To Protect Social Security

Ayotte Dec. 3, 2013

Ayotte Dec. 3, 2013Statement from New Alliance for Retired Americans President Lucy Edwards at the National Day of Action event in Nashua NH 

As the president of the New Hampshire Alliance for Retired Americans, a grassroots volunteer group of senior citizens representing 13,000 NH retirees, I am here today with others fighting to save our Social Security and Medicare benefits from any “grand bargain” between the President and Congress.  Right now in Washington DC, a committee of House and Senate members is trying to agree on a budget that could pass both houses of Congress and get the President’s signature.  Our junior Senator, Kelly Ayotte, is one of these members and that is why we are here today.

For many of us, including me, cuts to these earned benefits would mean the loss of our economic security in retirement.  Do not be fooled by those who tell you that there are no seniors in NH who are all or mostly dependent on Social Security for their income, or for whom turning Medicare into a voucher program to buy insurance on our own would most likely mean increased ill-health and even early death.  We’re out here today because we must be getting the word out. This is not some political game played in DC, this is very real and very frightening to many of us.

And let me say that I and my fellows worry about our children and grandchildren as well.  We are not “greedy geezers!”  When a politician says to me that any changes to the programs will not affect anyone over 55, the first people who pop into my mind are my daughters and their husbands!  When a politician says to me that raising the eligibility age for these programs would be fine because people are living longer, I think of all the people I know who have been without health insurance until now, and wonder if they will even be able to work til 65.

What we really need in this age of the 401(k) and “you’re on your own” retirement plans, and proposals such as the Chained CPI, is something like Senator Harkins’ bill, the Strengthen Social Security Act of 2013, which would fit a Consumer Price Index for us seniors to our true costs, including healthcare costs.  The Chained CPI would cut benefits now AND in the future, leaving us with shrinking incomes just at the time when we need the funds the most.

We are here to remind Senator Ayotte of this, and even more important, to remind our fellow citizens that we need to fight for our rights, including the right to a secure retirement.  Don’t let a “grand bargain” steal what we worked so hard for!

Thank you all for coming!

Lucy Edwards

(You can follow the NH Alliance for Retired Americans on twitter @NH_ARA and via their blog)

Working Families Can’t Afford Another Shutdown Style Crisis (by Richard Trumka & Mark Mackenzie)

NH AFL-CIO Logo

By Mark MacKenzie and Richard Trumka

NH AFL-CIO LogoLast month, we saw Washington at its worst. Driven by the Tea Party, Republican leaders, including Senator Ayotte, recklessly shut down our government and brought our nation to the brink of default. Ignoring voices of reason from working families across New Hampshire, some of our leaders in Congress listened to shouts of “shut it down” and inflicted unnecessary damage to our economy.

The shutdown cost 120,000 jobs in the first two weeks of October and will reduce economic growth by at least .25% in the fourth quarter. Here in New Hampshire it directly impacted 4,069 federal workers and countless residents who rely on federal services.

Thankfully, reason prevailed, Republican leaders relented and Congress appointed negotiators to work on a new budget agreement.

Now it’s on to the next fight in Washington.  But before we get caught up in another news cycle where extremists convince us we shouldn’t invest in our future, it is worth noting that a congressional budget is a vision. It is a blueprint that outlines our priorities as a nation. A good budget invests in America. It doesn’t rob our government of the resources it needs to succeed. A good budget properly funds its obligations and promotes the creation of well-paying jobs. It doesn’t bargain away protections for our seniors and it isn’t balanced on the backs of working families.

As Democrats and Republicans spend this month negotiating how to avoid another government shutdown, it is important to remind Washington politicians about what working families need.

The recovery is still being dragged down by the repeated budget crises manufactured by Republicans in Congress.  Budget austerity in the Tea Party Congress has already slowed annual economic growth by 0.7%, cost 1.2 million jobs, and increased the unemployment rate by 0.8%, according to Macroeconomic Advisers.

First, Congress should repeal the sequester it created, not replace it. The sequester’s dumb across-the-board cuts have hurt everything from education to child care to medical research. Here in New Hampshire, much attention has been given to the hardworking workers at our Shipyard and National Guard members who have faced furloughs as a result of defense cuts. But sequestration is also forcing layoffs and cutbacks to other critical programs that provide job training, education, and other services.

Repealing the sequester would generate 800,000 jobs by this time next year, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).  The next budget should undo this painful damage— and not replace it with other harmful cuts.

Most importantly, policymakers in Washington must reject proposals to cut Social Security, Medicaid, or Medicare benefits.  They should avoid deficit hysteria promoted by billionaires and the 1%. Instead of terrifying our parents and grandparents with threats to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits they’ve earned, politicians should protect these vital programs that have shielded the elderly and vulnerable from poverty for generations. Our nation’s safety net should be strengthened, not weakened, because working people need more economic security, not less.

Instead, Congress should look to raise new revenue by repealing the tax subsidies that encourage corporations to send jobs overseas and ending special tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans.  When the average CEO’s salary for the first morning on the job is the same amount the average worker makes in a year, it’s clear that the wealthiest Americans and corporations making record profits can pay their fair share.

Ending these undeserved and wasteful tax breaks would allow us to invest in our workforce and create the well-paying jobs millions so desperately need. By rebuilding our infrastructure, education, and manufacturing base, we can create good jobs with good benefits and provide relief to our struggling working and middle class. This is America, after all.  No job should trap anyone in a vicious cycle of poverty.

By focusing on helping working families instead of how to score political points, Congress can produce a budget that supports an economy that works for all. It is time for Senator Ayotte to realize that instead of shutting down progress, she needs to listen to the needs of the hardworking voters who sent her to Washington.

Richard Trumka is President of the AFL-CIO. Mark MacKenzie is President of the New Hampshire AFL-CIO.

New Hampshire Citizens To Rally Against Cuts To Social Security At Sen. Ayotte’s Office

NH Citizens Alliance

Below is a message from Olivia Zink, Director of the NH Citizens Alliance

NH Citizens Alliance

Have you ever seen a movie, thought it was awful, and then been horrified to learn there was actually going to be a sequel?

That’s how we feel about yet another looming fight over our country’s budget. “The Budget Battle: The Sequel No One Wants” is not a movie anybody wants to see.

But some Republicans are insisting we watch it. Their hostage-taking has forced a sequel of the same manufactured debt crisis. Right now, Republicans on the Budget Committee—like committee Chair Paul Ryan—are trying to get Democrats to keep the sequester in place and agree to even more austerity pain by cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits.

Senator Kelly Ayotte is on the Budget Committee. Tell her to oppose any plan that includes benefit cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Stop the cuts to Social Security by reducing the Cost-of-Living Adjustment (COLA).

Who: Advocates for Social Security and Medicare
What: Rally and message delivery
Where: Nashua office of Senator Kelly Ayotte
144 Main Street, Nashua
When: Tuesday December 3, 12:00 noon

You can make a difference. Senator Ayotte is on the powerful Senate Conferees Committee who will vote on December 13th . Let make sure she hears from NH voters loud and clear that NH voters do not wants CUTS our Social Security.

Thank you for helping us send a powerful and personal message to all members of Congress: Let’s get to work on creating the sequel to the budget battle that working people, not extremist lawmakers and their corporate funders, want to see.

LTE: Senator Ayotte Avoiding Her Constituents

Senator Kelly Ayotte

Senator Kelly AyotteTo the editor:

I was excited to hear that Kelly Ayotte is hosting town halls to hear from her constituents about our country’s finances. Sadly, as they are being held in towns like Whitefield and Jackson, both considerable distances from me or most of her other constituents, I won’t have the opportunity to speak with her.

It is a shame because I would like to hear her plans for addressing our country’s finances. The government shutdown cost us $24 billion dollars alone and will reduce our country’s economic growth by 0.6% in the coming months. According to the economic forecasting company Macroeconomic Advisors, additional budget cuts since 2012 have cost 1.2 million jobs and increased our unemployment rate by 0.8%. Now there is talk of cutting into safety net programs like Social Security.

Here is what I would tell Senator Ayotte: your plans for addressing our country’s finances so far have hurt New Hampshire families, including my own, and they will be hurting New Hampshire seniors very soon if you don’t change course. So what is your plan for changing course?

Rick Rothwell
Manchester, NH

NH AFL-CIO Calls on Ayotte to Do Her Job and Prevent Government Shutdown

NH AFL-CIO Logo

NH AFL-CIO LogoThe New Hampshire AFL-CIO called today on Senator Kelly Ayotte to reverse course and reject Republican plans to continue to tie the repeal of the Affordable Care Act to any continuing resolution to prevent a government shutdown. NH AFL-CIO President Mark S. MacKenzie expressed concern that such a strategy was yet another political gimmick that would hurt New Hampshire workers and residents.

“The Republican leadership has been playing with the future of the American people for too long,” said MacKenzie. “From holding food stamps and Social Security hostage in budget negotiations and planning to force the U.S. to default on its loans, it’s clear that Senator Ayotte and her Republican colleagues care more about catering to Tea Party extremists than serving the people. Tying the implementation of the Affordable Care Act to the funding needed to keep our country running is just another desperate move to push through a radical political agenda at any cost. We need Senator Ayotte to stand up for her constituents and not bow to Tea Party pressure.”

“Congress should be focusing on creating jobs, not making everyone’s lives harder,” MacKenzie continued. “80,000 workers are facing weeks and possibly months of unpaid furloughs thanks to the irresponsible and extreme positions of Republican leaders.  Yet it is the people of our state and across the country who will pay the highest price when so many workers are kept from doing their jobs. We ask that Senator Ayotte reject this fiscally irresponsible and dangerous path and do the job she was elected to do, serve all of the people of New Hampshire.”

Tell Sen. Ayotte: Protect Our Retirement!

NH_ARA

NH_ARA

Congress faces two important deadlines which could result in Social Security changes for all of us. The first comes at the end of this month when the federal budget must be passed, and the second later in October when there is sure to be a showdown on raising the debt ceiling.

This Thursday, Alliance retirees will be out in front of Senator Kelly Ayotte’s office at 1200 Elm Street, Manchester, calling on her to abandon her party’s commitment to protecting the very wealthy by cutting Social Security benefits.

Will you join us at noon? Stand up for our Social Security! 

Please let us know if you can come: Email Jennifer Kenny.

Teachers’ Unions Make A Call For Common Sense Gun Reform

AFT President Weingarten  (Photo by Bruce Gilbert)
Not Another Newtown NN13

Not Another Newtown Panel At Netroots Nation 2013

Recently we marked the six-month anniversary of the tragedy at Newtown Elementary School, where 20 children and six teachers were murdered.  After that tragedy. millions of Americans began talking about common sense gun reform, include Randi Weingarten (President of AFT) and Lily Eskelsen Garcia (Vice President of NEA).

AFT President Weingarten  (Photo by Bruce Gilbert)

AFT President Weingarten (Photo by Bruce Gilbert)

Randi represents the nearly 1.5 million educators and public employees, including those who worked at Sandy Hook.  I recently heard her speak in support of common sense gun reforms, and relating what happened in Newtown.  She highlighted the heroism of the six AFT educators who gave their lives in attempt to protect the children.  And then she told the story of a teacher who was locked arm in arm with her student at the time of their deaths. Even in her last moments, the teacher was trying to protect her student.

After Randi went public with her strong support of gun reforms, she received considerable kickback from the National Rifle Association (NRA).  That is not going to stop her.  When I heard her speak, she told the crowd, “I am glad to be on the list of people they (NRA) hate.”

One of the initial responses to the Newtown tragedy that popped up in state legislatures across the country is this idea that we should ‘arm’ our teachers.  The NRA likes to say that ‘the only way to stop a bad guy is a good guy with a gun’.

Lily Eskelsen Garcia (image courtesy of NEA)

Lily Eskelsen Garcia (image courtesy of NEA)

Lily Eskelsen Garcia completely rejects this idea.  Lily represents over three million educators nationwide.  As she phrased it, “People that would put our children, teachers, and janitors at risk do not deserve their office.”

Both Randi and Lily have applauded the efforts of Senator Joe Manchin and Senator Pat Toomey – who have both come under attack from the NRA.  We need to show our support to these brave Senators who have both been willing to take on the NRA.  At the same time we need to continue to push back against those Senators – like Kelly Ayotte – who voted against comprehensive and enforceable background checks.  Hold your Senators accountable to the voters, not the NRA.

The Manchin-Toomey bill focused on common sense gun reforms: closing loopholes in current law and require background checks on all commercial gun sales.  Some states already require these harmless background checks, but not all.  Those states that do not require background checks allow people to buy guns at gun shows or via the internet, without any background check at all.  Comprehensive and enforceable background checks would help to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and the mental ill.

As Steven Maloney, president of the 168-member Manchester Patrolman’s Association, recently told the Union-Leader:

“We feel as a police patrolmen’s association that background checks are something that will keep us safer, the community safer.  Most of us are gun owners, so we do believe in the Second Amendment.”

But why isn’t the rest of the labor movement more involved in this fight for common sense gun reforms? Where are the other police unions who predominately push for tighter gun control?  Is it because too many people are buying the lies from the NRA that ‘Obama wants to take your guns’?

These reforms are not about taking your guns away.  These reforms are about ensuring that responsible gun owners have the ability to purchase weapons while keeping criminals from obtaining them.

The NRA is famous for twisting the message when it comes to guns.  We are talking about how to stop tragedies like Newtown from happening again.  Their response: “buy more guns and arm the teachers”.  What does selling more guns and arming teachers do to prevent dangerous people from obtaining guns? NOTHING! Every answer the NRA gives leads to the sale of more guns.

Do you honestly think that this is about the Second Amendment? Do not be fooled.  This is about the NRA using the Newtown Tragedy and fear to sell more guns.  They are standing in the way of passing legislation that will help prevent the wrong people from obtaining guns.

I am glad to see that Randi, Lily and Steven have used their position as labor leaders to help push for this common sense legislation.  Randi has even encouraged many of the AFT locals to pull their retirement funds from any gun manufacturers.

Labor unions need to use their collective voice to call for common sense gun reform.  We are talking about the safety of the public.  We are talking about the safety of our public workers.  I would love to see more police and public sector unions come voice their support for the Manchin-Toomey bill.  Their support would make a strong impact and could be the push that the bill needs to pass the Senate.

 

Senator Ayotte’s Immigration Plan Is Bad For Immigrants And Bad For American Workers

Senator Kelly Ayotte Official Portrait

After the 2012 election of President Obama, the Republican Party realized that they scored very poorly with Latino voters.  This could be why the GOP is pushing as hard as it can for immigration reform.

Immigration reform has been a hot topic for many, many years now.  It has been broken for as long as I can remember. I remember as a kid living in California, there were problems with people running across the border illegally.  Nobody can deny that we need real immigration reform.

Senator Kelly Ayotte was all over the news this week talking about how she is now going to support the immigration reform bill currently being tossed around in the US Senate.  I was excited to see Senator Ayotte’s support of a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented Americans.  That is, until I read what she wants the immigration bill to do.  (Read Senator Ayotte’s Op/Ed on Immigration)

Senator Ayotte starts her editorial by saying:

“We need immigration reform that serves the best interests of our country – a solution that finally secures our southern border, implements an employment verification system, stops future waves of illegal immigrants, deports undocumented criminals, creates a tough but fair means for those who are here illegally to earn citizenship, and allows high-skilled and other needed legal immigrants to work here and help grow our economy.”

I want to show you where I see some serious problems with the way this legislation is shaping up and how Senator Ayotte wants it to be.

Senator Ayotte: “It (immigration reform) starts by finally securing our southern border. Consistent with my priorities, the legislation includes more border agents, more fencing, and better surveillance technology. And during the upcoming debate, I will support strengthening the legislation’s border security measures even further.”

I am not opposed to strengthening our borders. I am concerned about the amendment she is going to propose.  Is she going to suggest that we build a wall from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico?

Senator Ayotte: ”Also, under this bill all employers would be required to use an employment verification system – known as “E-Verify” – to check that job applicants are lawful for employment. To put teeth into the law, employers would face fines and possible criminal penalties for violations of E-Verify requirements.”

This is where the Senator and I begin to really differ.  The ‘E-verify’ program has been routinely condemned for its many faults.  The National Immigration Law Center came out against E-Verify in Feb 2013 saying:

“NILC continues to strongly oppose a federal requirement that all employers use E-Verify, because of the program’s database error rates, lack of worker protections, lack of due process, insufficient privacy protections, and the significant amount of employer misuse of the program.”

There have been countless examples of workers who were unjustly fired because the E-Verify program said they were not legal citizens.  For some it was a matter of a misspelling in their name.  When workers are fired because of the mistakes in the E-Verify program, there is no way to correct the problem, and no way to get back lost pay.  Requiring E-Verify nationally could have other serious complications.

In Georgia, the implementation of a state mandate that employers use E-Verify resulted in over 1,000 doctors and other medical practitioners temporarily losing work eligibility because of insufficient staffing at local licensing offices.”

This is what happened in Georgia.  Can you imagine what would happen if this went National? Can you imagine the issues in places like Florida, California, or Texas where legal immigration is higher than in Georgia?  E-Verify could force legal citizens out of their jobs or bar them from acquiring new ones.

Senator Ayotte: “In addition to fixing our illegal immigration problem, the bill also takes steps to modernize our legal immigration system. To help ensure our hospitality and agricultural sectors are able to fill jobs that Americans won’t perform, the bill creates a new guest worker visa program.”

There is not a single job in America that Americans will not do.  The problem is that companies have a hard time finding workers to do these jobs at the low wages they are offering.  If you were offered $20 per hour to clean bathrooms, or pick vegetables, would you do it? I would.

Senator Ayotte: ”And the legislation addresses concerns that I’ve heard frequently from New Hampshire’s business community, especially the high-tech industry: the outdated cap on visas for highly-skilled workers is holding back our economy.”

Senator Ayotte: ”After companies make every effort to recruit Americans to perform particular jobs and can’t find any – especially those with expertise in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) – they are forced to look elsewhere. This legislation addresses that shortfall by raising the cap on H-1B visas.”

Once again, this is an issue of under-paying workers.  Employers are not offering high enough wages to attract the highly skilled workers they desire. So they look overseas for cheaper labor they can import on a work visa.

Expanding the work visa program especially for these ‘higher skilled’ STEM workers is a phenomenally bad idea.  Why bring in workers to take away the jobs from the workers who are here already?  We are telling our children they need to go to college, and then when they get out workers on temporary visas have taken all the jobs.

There are more problems with the temporary visa program than I could possibly go into here.  Let’s just say that “guest workers” on temporary work visas are essentially like indentured servants.  They are tied to one employer, and that means they are completely at the mercy of that one employer.  There are even stories of workers being forced to work for 24 hours straight with no rest or overtime pay.

Senator Ayotte: ”Before any of these 11 million could earn a green card, they would go to the back of the line, not receive means-tested federal benefits and Obamacare subsidies, and they would be required to pay fines, pay taxes, and pass background checks, learn English, and secure a job. The minimum most immigrants would have to wait to earn a green card would be ten years – and 13 years for naturalization.”

“Moving to a more merit-based immigration system is good for our economy. By placing an emphasis on skills, we’re harnessing the expertise and ingenuity of the most talented immigrants – especially those who have been educated in our colleges.”

This is horrible.  Sen. Ayotte wants to allow only highly educated, highly skilled immigrants into the system, while millions of others are forced to wait.  Then she wants these immigrants to work and pay taxes – without being able to receive any of the benefits from the government like universal healthcare.  Many employers have stopped offering health insurance as part of a compensation package.  Many expect their employees to rely on the subsidies offered under the Affordable Care Act.  Sen. Ayotte wants people to pay into a system they cannot collect from.

Before the Senate passes this bill, there needs to be serious consideration of these issues.  Work Visas violate current workers-rights laws, creating indentured servants.  E-Verify is a broken system that could force legal US citizens out of their jobs for months while they try to ‘correct the government’s mistakes’.   Forcing immigrants to pay taxes without being able to collect any of the benefits is just plain wrong.

I am not a Latino, and I think the current form of this bill stinks.

I wonder what Latino voters think of the bill – and what they’re going to think of the GOP, if this bill passes.

* * * * *        UPDATE 6-11-13     * * * * * *

After this post was published I was contacted because people were confused because they thought that labor supports the ‘gang of eight’ recommendations.  That is true.  All of the unions that I know of are pushing for comprehensive immigration reform and this bill is the most promising way to reach that goal.  I want to make it perfectly clear, I want this bill to move forward.  I want the US Government to pass immigration reform that helps create a process for immigrants to become citizens.  I wrote this post to highlight a few of the issues that many organizations have opposed individually in the past.  If we can highlight these issues like E-Verify and expanded ‘guest worker’ programs maybe we can get edits made to the legislation before it is finalized.