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Shea-Porter Visits Portsmouth Naval Shipyard with Vice President Biden

BidenPORTSMOUTH, NH – Today, Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter visited and toured the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNSY) with Vice President Joe Biden.  Senator Shaheen, Congressman Mike Michaud, and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree also participated in today’s event.  Captain William Greene, Commander of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, Paul O’Connor, President of the Metal Trades Council, and other shipyard management and labor leaders hosted the Vice President and the delegation members.

“I was very pleased that the Vice President had the opportunity to see the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard today.  The incredible workforce is a model of excellence. The work they do is vital to our national defense and our local economy,” Shea-Porter said. “I am proud to serve on the House Armed Services Committee, where I will continue to work to protect the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and its essential defense mission.”

Congresswoman Shea-Porter has worked to protect New Hampshire’s economy and PNSY workers from the reckless budget cuts of sequestration. She cosponsored legislation that would cancel sequestration, she held meetings with Shipyard leaders, and she spoke directly with the Secretary of Defense about furloughs at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.

This year, Shea-Porter also passed legislation through the House of Representatives that ensures the Department of Defense use its existing methodology to determine which workforce is the most cost-efficient for new work—rather than to rely on informal arrangements or arbitrary decisions—allowing it to reap the savings.

Portsmouth Naval Shipyard is one of four public shipyards in the United States. In 2010, Shea-Porter secured more than $11.9 million in funding for the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard to add to and reconstruct the Shipyard’s Structural Shops, which will help the Shipyard remain competitive and efficient.

President Obama Signs Gun Reform Orders, And Yes You Get To Keep Your Guns

Today only 33 days after the horrific shootings at Sandy Hook the people are finally getting real gun reform.  And no the President is not take away all your guns. He even said so today.

“Like most Americans, I believe the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. I respect our strong tradition of gun ownership and the rights of hunters and sportsmen.  There are millions of responsible, law-abiding gun owners in America who cherish their right to bear arms for hunting, or sport, or protection, or collection.”

In a briefing to the press the President laid out his new executive actions to reduce gun violence.  The President and Vice President both spoke about the need to stop the senseless violence and tragedies that are happening more and more.

President Obama stated: “I’m going to do my part.  As soon as I’m finished speaking here, I will sit at that desk and I will sign a directive giving law enforcement, schools, mental health professionals and the public health community some of the tools they need to help reduce gun violence.”

Some of the items include a universal background check on all weapons sales. A ban on all military style assault weapons with a 10 round magazine limit.  President Obama is also pushing funding out to schools to hire additional resource officers, increasing funding to police departments, and better mental health programs. Read all the proposals.

President Obama stated, “We will make it easier to keep guns out of the hands of criminals by strengthening the background check system.  We will help schools hire more resource officers if they want them and develop emergency preparedness plans.  We will make sure mental health professionals know their options for reporting threats of violence — even as we acknowledge that someone with a mental illness is far more likely to be a victim of violent crime than the perpetrator.”

This statement to the country won high praise from some of the more vocal organization against gun violence including the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

“The Brady Campaign stands with the President and Vice President in supporting these comprehensive policy recommendations to address gun violence. The White House has shown tremendous leadership in convening stakeholders and engaging the country in a conversation that the Brady Campaign and so many Americans have been calling for in the wake of Aurora, Newtown, and the 32 gun murders that happen every day in our country …. We also re-affirm the Brady Campaign’s commitment to lead the way toward better public health and safety education programs regarding the almost 300 million guns already in the hands of mostly law-abiding citizens. I strongly believe that now it’s up to us to make real change happen.”

The President of the American Federation of Teachers, Randi Weingarten, also commended the President on his actions today in a written statement.

“The tragic events of Newtown must serve as a clarion call for immediate action to keep our communities safe from gun violence and ensure schools are the safe sanctuaries our children need to learn and grow. We applaud President Obama and Vice President Biden for heeding this call for action with a series of common-sense, balanced proposals that will make our nation safer.”

My Congresswoman, Carol Shea-Porter had this to say after hearing the Presidents plan.

“I agree with the President’s comprehensive approach to addressing gun violence,” said Congresswoman Shea-Porter.  “I will not and cannot forget the never-ending scenes of families and communities in shock and mourning, and I will not ignore the calls of our citizens to do something to help stop the violence.  I support responsible gun ownership because Americans have a right to hunt or defend themselves, and they also have a right to expect to be safe as they go about their daily lives.”

So as you can plainly see, nobody wants to take away your guns.  We all just want to see our work, our schools, our churches, and our cities be safer places.

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.

Congresswoman-Elect Kuster Announces Online Lottery for Tickets to President Obama’s Second Inauguration

For months we knocked on doors and made phone calls to help re-elect President Obama and elect Annie Kuster.  Now Congresswoman-Elect Kuster is giving back to the community that helped her get elected.

Congresswoman-Elect Kuster today announced that her office is launching an online lottery system for Granite Staters interested in attending President Obama’s Second Inauguration in Washington, D.C.

“I am thrilled that so many Granite Staters will have a chance to experience President Obama’s Inauguration from the nation’s capital,” Kuster said. “It is exciting to see so much enthusiasm from people across the state, and I encourage everyone who is interested in attending the Inauguration to enter their names in the lottery.”

To enter the online lottery system, Granite Staters should visit www.KusterforCongress.com/Inauguration and complete the online form.

Anyone can enter the lottery, but preference will be given to those from within New Hampshire’s Second Congressional District. Tickets are limited, so there is no guarantee that everyone who enters the lottery will receive one. There is a limit of four tickets per request, and the deadline to apply is December 29, 2012 by midnight EST. Due to the large amount of interest, there will be no exceptions to this deadline.

Those chosen in the lottery will be notified by early January and will receive additional information on how to pick up their tickets. Those not receiving tickets will also receive notification. Anyone receiving tickets for the Inauguration will be responsible for his or her own travel and expenses, and we strongly encourage all applicants to think through their travel plans in advance. Historically, the day of the Inauguration has been very cold with attendees standing on their feet for most of the day, so those who receive tickets are asked to plan accordingly.

Those who do not receive a ticket may still attend the Inauguration in the area open to the general public. Additional information about activities that may be of interest can be found here: http://inaugural.senate.gov.

V.P. Joe Biden Know What Unions Have That The Super PAC’s Do Not

Photo courtesy of Joanie MacPhee
on Twitter @JoanieGentian

In a very quiet visit last weekend, Vice President Joe Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden made a few campaign stops here in the Granite State.   The pair traveled from Lebanon to Merrimack on their two-day trip.

On Saturday (Sept 22) the Bidens started off at a local office of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.  He said

“We’re going to be outspent by these Super PACs considerably. There’s only one antidote, and the people of New Hampshire are used to this. . . it’s a knock on a door, it’s somebody saying ‘Look, I know what you just heard, what you just saw in that ad . . . I’m here to tell you, I know these guys . . . I vouch for them.

Joe is right. In every single race here in New Hampshire, we are going to be outspent by the Republican Party and super PACs like Americans For Prosperity.  Just look at what happened during the Wisconsin recall election: Republicans outspent the Democrats nine-to-one.

Photo courtesy of Joanie MacPhee
on Twitter @JoanieGentian

The difference is that we have something the Super PACs do not have — lots of people. (Real, human people… not the corporate kind.)  We have union members in every corner of the state and every town in between.   And we need everyone to get involved.

In the past few decades, attacking our professions has become a talking point for the Republican Party.  They talk about union teachers as if they don’t realize educators want what is best for the children they teach.  They talk about firefighters’ pensions as if retirement security were a political gift, not hard-earned through sweat and blood.  They talk about unions as if we were responsible for “bringing our country down” rather than raising up the middle class.

But it wasn’t that long ago when America had a former Union President serving as President of the United States.  He was a Republican as well.  Remember?  Ronald Reagan served six one year terms as President of the Screen Actors Guild.

President Reagan would not recognize today’s Republican Party – and he wouldn’t agree with the Super PACs’ attacks on America’s unions.

We may not have the money that the Super PACs have, but we can – and will – fight back as we have always done, by standing together and organizing.  Together, we will talk to members about the importance of this election.  Together we will knock on doors and “vouch for these guys” as Joe Biden suggested.  Together we will make a difference and prove that corporate money isn’t the only thing that matters in American elections.

Click here to see some of the local labor walks going on throughout the state.  This weekend we will be meeting in Nashua to Get Out The Vote.

Will you join us?

Joe Biden Speaks at AFSCME Convention and Praises Labor and The Middle Class Workers

On Tuesday (June 19th), Vice President Joe Biden was in California talking to the members of American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employee’s (AFSCME) 40th Convention.

VP Biden and President Obama have not been shy about their support for labor unions and especially public sector unions.   Here are a few great quotes from the video:

“They (the GOP) talk about you like your taking advantage of the communities you live in, as if you weren’t part of the communities you live in.”

“They hear labor and they think Enemy”

“Don’t tell me what you value, show me your budget and I will tell you what you value”

“It is a Public Employee that runs into that fire”

“When a woman dials 9-1-1, it is a Public Worker who answers that telephone. It is a Public Worker who is dispatched to save her life”

“They (the GOP) don’t get it.  They don’t get that your the most professional, disciplined, well trained workers the American People can get and deserve”

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