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Seniors Group And NH Congressional Delegation United Against ACA Repeal

The Alliance for Retired Americans join with Congresswomen Shea-Porter and Kuster in opposing the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

This week, Republicans in the US House took the first bold step to strip millions of Americans of their healthcare by repealing the Affordable Care Act.

Repealing the signature healthcare law would have significant impacts on all working people and seniors. Americans would see a massive jump in prescription drug prices as the ACA closed the “donut hole” in Medicare. People with pre-existing condition could once again be discriminated against leaving them unable to acquire any insurance at all. Families would no longer be able to cover their children up to age 25 and preventative care for women would no longer be covered.

Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans, released the following:

“With today’s vote, 227 members of the House of Representatives started the process of eliminating many valuable and affordable health care benefits that American retirees rely on.

From free wellness checks and preventive screenings to lowering prescription drug prices for Medicare beneficiaries, to eliminating pre-existing conditions and limiting what older Americans not yet eligible for Medicare can be charged for insurance, the ACA has made health care better and more affordable for millions.

Depending on the actions of the House Committees that will take the next steps, all of these benefits are now in jeopardy.

The burden for developing a replacement plan that improves health care and keeps it affordable is on these members. Retirees are watching and will loudly defend the guaranteed Medicare and Medicaid health care benefits they have earned through a lifetime of hard work.

The price for health care in America is likely to rise quickly, to the detriment of millions of workers and retirees.”

The New Hampshire Congressional delegation is united in opposition to repealing the ACA.

“Today’s vote by House Republicans sets in motion a dangerous and irresponsible plan to strip health care coverage from millions of Americans, including 118,000 people in New Hampshire,” said Congresswoman Shea-Porter. “They broke their promise to American families – there is no replacement. New Hampshire families deserve better: Congress should work to build on the progress we’ve made so far, making health care more accessible and more affordable, instead of going back to the days before the ACA, when thousands of Granite Staters were locked out of coverage.”

“I am also profoundly disappointed that the Republican leadership in the House rejected my attempt to protect seniors and those with disabilities. Speaker Ryan is using procedural gimmicks to force repeal legislation through the House and destroy what we have accomplished: coverage for people with preexisting conditions, Medicaid expansion, adequate coverage for women and seniors, and no-cost preventive health care screenings and services. Protections for millions of Americans are being jeopardized for political purposes,” Shea-Porter added.

Repealing the Affordable Care Act would strip coverage from 118,000 people in New Hampshire, and 13,000 people in the state could lose their jobs.

In New Hampshire, the ACA:

  • Requires insurance providers to cover the 600,000 New Hampshire residents with preexisting conditions
  • Lowered the uninsured rate by 43%
  • Saved seniors an average of $1,047 on prescriptions
  • Provided substance abuse treatment services for 7,500 people
  • Covered 9,000 young adults on their parents’ health insurance

Shea-Porter offered her own amendment to protect the most vulnerable in our communities. Shea-Porter’s amendment stated that nothing in the Budget Resolution should allow for the denial of care based on patient age or disability.

Unfortunately, the Rules Committee refused to allow the House to vote on this common-sense proposal to protect our seniors and those with disabilities.

Shea-Porter has been a fierce advocate for keeping and improving the health care law. She successfully led the fight to close the Medicare Part D doughnut hole and save seniors thousands on prescription drug costs. While the House has voted repeatedly to destroy the law’s critical protections for all Americans, Shea-Porter has consistently voted to improve the law instead.

“It’s disappointing that Republicans in Congress have moved ahead with efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act without regard for the negative impact it will have on millions of Americans and thousands of Granite Staters,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “I’ve expressed my willingness to work across the aisle to make improvements to the law and foster a system that works for everyone. In the past, I have joined my Republican colleagues to make changes to the ACA, and I firmly believe that is the course we should follow.

“If the ACA is repealed, seniors on Medicare would see the costs of their prescription drugs increase. The Republican budget would also defund Planned Parenthood, reducing access to healthcare for thousands of Granite State women. In New Hampshire, one-in-ten of our friends and neighbors are benefiting from the ACA, and Medicaid expansion has improved access to mental health and addiction recovery services. Young adults are able to stay on their families’ plans and those with preexisting conditions cannot be denied coverage. We simply can’t jeopardize this progress,” Kuster added.

Kuster joined 30 of her colleagues in a letter to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, offering to be constructive partners in improving the law.

The repeal process is far from over and the fight has only begun.  We must stand united against that assault on working people and the Republicans plan to strip vital healthcare options from millions of Americans.

Former NH Speaker Bill O’Brien Considers Run For US Congress

I just wanted to make sure that you all saw that anti-union Tea Party leader William O’Brien is once again making noise about running against Rep Annie Kuster for the NH CD02 seat.

From Kevin Landrigan at The Lobby /NT
O’Brien has eyes on 2nd

From Concord Monitor

From Concord Monitor

There’s no white smoke from the stack yet, but all signs point to a go for O’Brien to seek the 2nd Congressional District seat next year.

O’Brien is making the rounds meeting with GOP activists and wants to pump former Congressmen Charles Bass, Frank Guinta and Bill Zeliff for tips on how to make this work.

In his short tenure as House leader, O’Brien showed himself to be an able fundraiser, and he has gotten his hands on polling that cast a showdown with freshman Congresswoman Annie Kuster, D-N.H., as difficult, but winnable.

There won’t be any “I will run” decision until at least April 1, because you don’t want to make any decision during the first quarter of 2013. Why?

That’s because the shortened quarter gets used against your viable candidacy when you raise so little money in those first three months.

A decision is more likely to come early in the second quarter.

This handicapper says O’Brien goes for it.

With an ego as big as Bill O’Brien’s, I don’t know why he does not just run for President!

The Wealthy Have To Pay A Little More As We Avoid The Fiscal Cliff, or Did We?

Late last night Vice President Biden and  Senate Leaders worked out a deal to temporarily avoid the so-called Fiscal Cliff.  The plan was brokered after midnight even after the US House said there would be no vote on the Fiscal Cliff, and had basically given up on the idea of compromise.

The deal is good in many ways.  It permanently  secures the tax cuts for the middle class to avoid a huge jump in taxes for all Americans.  The biggest news is that the deal, which moves to the House today, includes a significant revenue increase.  For those who make more than $400,000 ($450,000 for couples) will see a 4% increase.

The bill also increases the rates on capitol gains taxes from 15% to 20%.   While this is not the rates and numbers that President Obama campaigned on however in a negotiation you have to give a little as well.

“This agreement will also grow the economy and shrink our deficits in a balanced way – by investing in our middle class, and by asking the wealthy to pay a little more.”
President Barack Obama 1-1-13

The proposed bill includes a “cap on personal exemptions and itemized deductions for income above $250,000, or $300,000 per household.”

Another fabulous part of this bill is that it extends the Child Tax Credit, the Earned Income Tax Credit, and the Tuition Tax Credit for the next five years.  These are tax credits that are specifically designed to help the middle and lower class families.

For labor this bill is a huge win.  VP Biden included a one year extension of the unemployment insurance for more than two million Americans.  The UI helps those who are still struggling to find meaningful work, survive, while the economy is still recovering.

The big draw back to this agreement is that it does not solve the Debt Ceiling issue. As we all remember the House GOP held American’s hostage by refusing to raise the debt ceiling and nearly shut the government down.  This also resulted in a downgrade of our national credit rating.  Early proposals of the Fiscal Cliff negotiations allowed the President to raise the Debt Ceiling without Congressional approval.

President Obama released this statement last night.

“There’s more work to do to reduce our deficits, and I’m willing to do it. But tonight’s agreement ensures that, going forward, we will continue to reduce the deficit through a combination of new spending cuts and new revenues from the wealthiest Americans.  And as we address our ongoing fiscal challenges, I will continue to fight every day on behalf of the middle class and all those fighting to get into the middle class to forge an economy that grows from the middle out, not from the top down. “

This may not be all we wanted or what we have been fighting for, however we made some great advances.  We removed any Social Security cuts, and made positive changes to the Medicare program.

Now we all wait and see what the House does with the proposal.

Read the entire bill

UPDATED 1-2-13

Late in the night the US House passed the bill 257-167.  Only a handfull of Democrats opposed the bill however the Republicans opposed it.  Republicans voted 85 for to 151 against the bill, showing that only some were truly willing to do their jobs as elected leaders.  I applaud these 85 Republicans who help get this legislation through, including Lame Duck Congressman Charlie Bass.  Congressman Frank Guinta voted against it, showing that he is true to his “NO TAX” pledge and Tea Party politics.

See where your Congressional Reps voted.

US House Republicans Try To Force A Pay Cut To Federal Workers In Boehner’s “Plan B”

Once again House Republicans are after the Federal workers.  This time they want more from workers in the form of a 5% increase to the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS).  This once again proves that the House Republicans are trying to use the Federal workers as their personal piggy bank.

From GovExec.com:
“House lawmakers passed legislation requiring spending cuts to accompany Speaker John Boehner’s Plan B tax proposal, including major changes to federal employee retirement plans, before Boehner pulled the Plan B bill from the floor Thursday evening for lack of GOP support.”

A 5% increase in pension costs added in with the proposed  three year pay freeze is a net loss in pay for millions of middle class families.

National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen M. Kelley also wrote to House members. “Make no mistake,” she said, “an increased contribution toward one’s pension, with no corresponding increase in benefits, is a pay cut.”

Thankfully the White House was ahead of the proposal.

“President Obama threatened to veto the measure, saying “the approach put forward in this bill, virtually identical to earlier legislation, eliminates the defense portion of the pending sequester and does so in a way that imposes far greater cuts in the non-defense part of the budget than the existing sequester would entail.”

The previous legislation that the President is referring to was passed in the House along party lines and has yet to be (most likely will never be) discussed in the Senate.

As it was previously reported Speaker Boehner never called for a vote on his ‘Plan B’.  Congresswomen-Elect Annie Kuster had this to say.

“After failing to pass even their lopsided ‘Plan B’ proposal, it’s now clear that House Republican leadership is not serious about coming together to pass a balanced plan to reduce the deficit and avert the fiscal cliff. Instead, with the threat of across-the-board spending cuts and tax increases looming, they have simply given up. This is not what responsible governing looks like. With the clock ticking, both parties need to come back to the table to pass a balanced, bipartisan solution that averts the fiscal cliff, reduces the deficit, asks the wealthiest to pay their fair share, protects seniors and the middle class, and strengthens the economy.”

Annie is right, it does not seem that the House Republicans have any interest in avoiding this fiscal cliff that they created all because they refuse to increase taxes on the ultra-wealthy.  Guess what House GOP, if you do nothing the taxes are going up anyway!

NHLN Election News 8/20: Kuster to be endorsed and Americans for Inequality endorse Romney

KUSTER TO RECEIVE ENDORSEMENT OF THE ALLIANCE FOR RETIRED AMERICANS 

CONCORD, N.H. – Congressional candidate Annie Kuster will receive the endorsement of the Alliance for Retired Americans at a press conference tomorrow, Wednesday, August 22nd in Concord. Kuster will discuss her commitment to protecting programs that New Hampshire’s seniors rely on.


‘Americans For Inequality’ Facebook Group Endorses Romney-Ryan Ticket From the Huffington Post:

Americans for Inequality, a satirical Facebook group promoting inequality, endorsed Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, in a New Hampshire event on Monday, according to a press release issued on its Facebook page:


Traction comes slowly in the NH Governor Race


Letter talking about how Guinta Helped to create the mess he say we need to fix


NH Democratic Candidates Debate taxes and the “Pledge”


The fight for medicare will become front and center of Presidential Campaign

How Rep. Charles Bass and Rep. Frank Guinta Vote for Off-Shoring & Against New Hampshire Workers

The topic of off-shoring has been a hot topic in recent weeks, with the U.S. presidential race featuring new revelations about how Mitt Romney “pioneered” off-shoring practices in several industries during his Bain Capital days.  What has been largely overlooked, however, is a recent vote in Congress dealing with the call center industry – which has been devastated by the practice of off-shoring in recent years.  Unfortunately for New Hampshire workers and consumers, Rep. Charles “Charlie” Bass (R-NH-2) and Rep. Frank Guinta (R-NH-1) voted against considering crucial call center legislation.  Here’s why this issue transcends simple political attacks and why Rep. Bass and Rep. Guinta are on the wrong side of this issue.

 

In mid-June, the U.S. House of Representatives voted against considering legislation called the U.S. Call Center Worker and Consumer Protection Act by a near party-line vote of 238-178.  The legislation would require that U.S. callers be told the location of the call center to which they are speaking and offer callers the opportunity to be connected to a U.S. based center if preferred.  The legislation also would make companies who off-shore their call center jobs from the U.S. ineligible for taxpayer funded grants and loans.

 

Significantly, the call center legislation would have helped to revitalize the U.S. call center industry, which has lost over 500,000 jobs just in the past six years, per the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The state of New Hampshire lost 22,000 call center jobs between 2006 and 2010 – a decline of 56 percent.  Despite the significant loss of call center jobs recently, the industry is still a major, if often overlooked, economic engine to New Hampshire and the country. Over 17,000 call center workers are still employed in the New Hampshire call center industry.

 

Separate from the economic benefits, the legislation would have strengthened American consumer security against ongoing security problems associated with overseas call centers.  A series of revelations over the past few months underscored the importance of this legislation to consumer safety in New Hampshire and nationally – including, the news of U.S. taxpayer money going to train workers in overseas call centers, revelations of multiple scams operating out of overseas call centers, and disturbing findings that the Big 4 Wall Street banks moved their call center operations to the Philippines despite a lack of rudimentary security precautions, privacy standards, and legal accountability.

 

The lead sponsor of the call center legislation, Rep. Tim Bishop (D-NY), recently highlighted the common sense rationale behind the legislation during an appearance on the Thom Hartmann Show: “When we first introduced legislation, the government of the Philippines fought back strenuously and began a lobbying effort to see to it that my bill never  came up for legislation. If call center outsourcing is so important to the Filipino economy, imagine how important it is to our economy. We ought to be more concerned about the implications to our economy than the implications to the Filipino economy.”

 

For those who may be tempted to think the political back and forth over this issue is just an example of modern campaigning lacking substance, the 22,000 call center workers who lost their job in New Hampshire demonstrate why the off-shoring of call center jobs is a topic that is both relevant, timely, and important – facts that Rep. Bass and Rep. Guinta have yet to grasp.

 

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