Monthly Archives: March 2011

Action Required

Heads up: Congress is debating a compromise to HR1 (the draconian House Continuing Resolution Budget bill) that would be devastating to Nevada.  Here’s a link to the original bill:  HR1  — Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011. You can access my analysis of the appropriations chages by clicking here.  If you really want to verify my analysis or want to review the original bills, you can find links to all of the relevant approved appropriations legislation passed by the 111th Congress by clicking this link.

Even though Senator Reid brought the GOP’s HR1 up for a vote in the Senate on 3/9/11 (vote 36: failed 44-56) and then the Democratic counter-proposal up for a vote (vote 37: also failed 42-58) … GOP House Freshmen Reps (Teapublicans), specifically Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-Mo.) claim that Senator Reid’s failure to consider HR1 is tantamount to a dereliction of duty.  Um … he not only considered it, he put it up for a vote. Ms. Hartzler, it FAILED passage in the Senate.

It’s not just freshman members of the house who don’t understand how government works.  House Majority Leader Eric Cantor apparently doesn’t understand how laws are enacted per the constitutional process.  Yesterday, he announced that on Friday,the GOP will be voting on the “Prevention of Government Shutdown Act”  (HR 1255).  He went on to explain to reporters that if the Senate “does not act, H.R. 1” — that’s the $61 billion of cuts favored by Republican freshmen — “becomes the law of the land.” Just like that!  Um … I do realize that Friday is April 1st or in other words April Fools Day, but there is no way on God’s green earth that a bill passed only by the House and not by the Senate, and in addition, not signed by the President, will every become the law of the land under our US Constitution.  Apparently Mr. Cantor decided to do a bit of dozing when they went through their opening day reading of the Constitution.  Good luck with that premise Mr. Cantor, we’re not the fools you make us out to be and you can’t just arbitrarily suspend the constitution to bully your bill into law.

The Republican leadership has said ‘NO’ to additional CRs, and now legislators have until April 8 to come up with a compromise budget for H.R.1 or else the government will stop operating.  The problem is, however, that the process for identifying and delineating compromises is NOT all that transparent and we the general public don’t have enough information about what is being demanded by the GOP

I’ve searched the web for an hour now and can’t find specifics, but supposedly, Rep. Boehner has agreed to look at a compromise in the area of  $33B in spending cuts versus the $61B in spending cuts included in HR1. The itemized cuts for Nevada below are purportedly part of the compromise and have been disseminated via mass-email by MoveOn.org:

  • $12 million would be cut from federal funds for clean and safe water in Nevada. [1]
  • 479 Nevada children would be immediately cut from Head Start, which provides comprehensive early childhood development services for at-risk children ages zero to five. [2]
  • $19 million would be cut from Pell Grants, affecting all 33,000 higher education students with those grants in Nevada. [1]
  • Job training and employment services would be effectively eliminated for 1,000 dislocated workers, 4,900 low-income adults, and 1,100 youths age 14 to 21. [1]
  • $1.6 million would be cut from law enforcement assistance, taking cops off the beat. [1]

It’s especially galling when the same budget includes special breaks for corporations like GE, subsidies for the oil companies and tax breaks for the very rich.  Senators John Ensign and Harry Reid need to hear from all of us about it right now, before they cut a deal in the next few days.

Just last night the news broke that Congress may be close to striking a deal on the budget. Now is the only time we can influence the outcome.

Can you call Sens. Ensign and Reid and ask them to oppose these cuts in the budget? You can pick one of the cuts in this list to highlight in your call.  Or better yet, take a look at one or more of the riders included in HR1 and tell them to make sure they strike those riders from the bill before any vote on a compromise bill.

Senator John Ensign Senator Harry Reid
Phone: 202-224-6244 Phone: 202-224-3542

Click here to report your call (what the Senator or his call answerer said and/or committed to do).

The cuts that the Republicans are proposing would disproportionately hit those who can least afford it in Nevada, and it’s up to us to stop them.

Thanks for all you do.

-Daniel, Amy, Milan, Tate, and the rest of the team

Resources:

  1. House Bill Means Fewer Children in Head Start, Less Help for Students to Attend College, Less Job Training, and Less Funding for Clean Water,” Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, March, 1, 2010
  2. Projected Reduction in Children Served in Head Start Based on H.R. 1—Fiscal Year 2011 Continuing Resolution,” Center for Law and Social Policy
  3. WP/Dana Milbank: Republican freshmen in House shut down compromise, and possibly the government
  4. WP: House Republicans plan symbolic bill to pressure Senate on shutdown
  5. WP: House Whip McCarthy acknowledges meeting with Dems on fiscal issues
  6. Forbes: Boehner signals compromise in budget talks

Happy Birthday Health Care Reform

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was signed into law one year ago today, March 23, 2010.  The GOP may be campaigning to “repeal” and “replace” it … but thus far, they’ve offered up absolutely nothing of any substance whatsoever with which to replace provisions like:

  • Small Businesses receive a tax credit when providing insurance
  • Health coverage cannot be arbitrarily cancelled if you become sick
  • (Newborn) Children cannot be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition
  • Children up to age 26 can stay on parent’s health plan
  • No annual/lifetime limits on health coverage (Annual limits are phased out over 3 years)
  • Key preventive services will be available without a deductible or co-pay
  • Patients have a right to choose their own doctor
  • Options are improved for appealing insurance companies’ decisions
  • Restrictions on emergency room care are ended

In this video, HHS Secretary Sebelius explains that we’ve begun to usher in a new era, where patients – not insurance companies – are in charge of their health care. And Americans are enjoying greater protections, new freedoms, and lower costs.


Steny Hoyer on HCR Anniversary

Hoyer Statement on One Year Anniversary of the Affordable Care Act

________________________________________

WASHINGTON, DC – House Democratic Whip Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today regarding the one year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, which is tomorrow, March 23:

A year ago this week, President Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law, giving families—not insurance companies—the freedom to control their own health care choices. Just a year after it became law, the Affordable Care Act is making it easier for small businesses to cover their employees, reforms in the law are taking important steps to slow the growth of health care costs, and the law is stopping the worst insurance company abuses, including making it illegal to deny care to children because of a pre-existing condition.

Thanks to this law, young people under the age of 26 are already able to stay on their parents’ insurance plans. The law is also helping nearly 4 million seniors across the nation—including 54,723 Maryland seniors— cover the cost of prescription drugs. Seniors in the Medicare Part D coverage gap, known as the “donut hole,” now receive an 50% discount on brand name drugs – and thanks to the Affordable Care Act, those discounts will increase until the donut hole is eliminated completely.

One year later, we have given American families new patient protections and greater freedoms. But if Republicans had their way, they would repeal the law and take away these newfound freedoms. We cannot roll back that progress. And we cannot go back to the days when insurance companies were in charge.”

Preventing Maternal Deaths

Did you know that, in the last year, the United States slipped from 41st to 50th place for the number of women whose deaths are due to  pregnancy-related complications?  Even more disturbing is that nothing is being done to study the causes of maternal deaths during pregnancy.

Earlier this month, Rep. John Conyers [D-MI14] introduced HR894,the Maternal Health Accountability Act of 2011.  This proposed legislation would provide grant funding for States to establish Maternal Mortality Review Committees to examine pregnancy-related deaths and to identify ways to reduce maternal mortality. The legislation would also help to eliminate disparities in health care, risks, and outcomes.

In introducing HR894, Rep. Conyers stated, “In the United States, more than two women die every day from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth.  The aggregate pregnancy-related mortality ratio in the United States was 14.5 per 100,000 live births from 1998 through 2005, higher than the previous 20 years.  Additionally, African American women are nearly four times more likely to die of pregnancy-related complications than white women.”

In a post on Huffington Post by Christy Turlington:

“The Maternal Health Accountability Act of 2011, as a condition of receiving grants, will require States to do the following:

  1. Require health professional and facilities to report all pregnancy-related deaths.
  2. Investigate and develop case findings and summaries for maternal deaths.
  3. Establish review committees with OB-GYNs, midwives, nurses, social workers, health care facility representatives, members of affected communities, and other relevant stakeholders to recommend prevention strategies.
  4. Disseminate findings and recommendations.

We need reliable data on maternal deaths because without it, we are unable to respond to what is clearly a human rights crisis. The Maternal Health Accountability Act of 2011 is a step towards reducing the needless loss of women’s lives in the US and preventing the complications that have risen steadily in recent decades.

Please encourage your representatives to contact Representative John Conyers to become a co-sponsor of the Maternal Health Accountability Act of 2011 in the 112th Congress.”

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, we need to act now so that this can be a day of celebration for everyone. Please take the time to ask your Representative to cosponsor H.R. 894 and work diligently toward its passage.

Related Posts:

 

Nevada Women Have a History of Shaking Things Up

CELEBRATE, CHALLENGE, CHANGE – A NEVADA WOMEN’S RALLY

Meet on March 25, 2011 at 12 Noon on the Reno City Hall Plaza

On Friday, March 25, 2011, at 12 noon, in celebration of Women’s History Month, join Channel 2 News Anchor Kristen Remington, Nevada First Lady Kathleen Sandoval, Girl Scout CEO and Sparks City Councilwoman Julia Ratti, and TMCC President Maria Sheehan as they headline this free, upbeat musical and improv rally on the Reno City Hall Plaza between First and Center Streets.  (Rainy or snowy weather moves us into Reno City Hall.)

All Northern Nevadans are invited to bring their drums or other rhythm instruments and join the sing-along, drum-along, story-telling event to thank the women in our lives for all they have done for us throughout history.  Today’s Nevada women leaders will share their visions for the future for Nevada women and girls in education, leadership and community endeavors.

The cast also includes Nevada Women’s History Project Chautauquans, TMCC’s Musical Theater Touring Company, Reno High’s Treblemakers and Reno Silver Dollar Chorus’ Barbershop Express quartets, and Laurie Martin’s drum circle from RhythmU.

In addition to entertainment and education, the event is also an online fundraiser for many Northern Nevada women’s and girls’ programs.  Citizens are encouraged to donate online to the charity of their choice at NEVADA WOMEN’S RALLY.  This web address will take donors to secure website links for the many Northern Nevada charities that are involved in the Rally.  The event is free, and donation baskets will be available at the Plaza for in-person cash or check donations to any of the sponsoring charities.

Food vendors include Men Wielding Fire and TCBY Yogurt.

The Nevada Women’s Rally is co-sponsored by International Women’s Day Committee of Northern Nevada, Truckee Meadows Community College Performing Arts Department, Nevada Women’s History Project, UNR Gender, Race & Identity/Women’s Studies Program,  ASUN VOX,  Western Nevada College, Community Foundation of Western Nevada, Washoe County Schools and the City of Reno Special Events programs.

Organizers Donna Clontz (775) 240-2745, and Carolyn Wray (775) 789-5674 are available for interviews.

View the Flyer here.