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Two days after the 2012 election, Speaker Boehner, the leader of the House Republicans, had this to say about immigration reform:

“I think a comprehensive approach [to immigration reform] is long overdue…And I’m confident that the President, myself, and others can find the common ground to take care of this issue once and for all.”

Boehner hasn’t been alone.  Other Republican Members of the Conference have echoed similar sentiments:

Congressman Diaz-Balart:  “we are close to passing immigration legislation. I’m convinced it can happen this year.”

Congressman Paul Ryan: “We’ll be bringing legislation to the floor. I do think we’ll go to conference [with the Senate] with immigration reform.”

Republican Conference Chair McMorris Rodgers: “…there’s still time [in 2013]. We must pass immigration reform…it’s a priority for Republicans…it’s important to America…our economy.  America has long been the land of immigrants.”

Majority Whip McCarthy: “[immigration reform is not] dead…it is going to happen…”

Majority Leader Cantor: “I expect us to move forward this year in trying to address reform and what is broken about our system.”

However, all of that talk hasn’t led to action on reform.  In fact, the majority of the American public is left pondering the following:

  • Why has the Republican leadership only allowed votes on items from the dark vein of intolerance caucus that threaten and jeopardize the lives of DREAMers with extreme measures that would result in their deportation?
  • Why hasn’t there been bipartisan immigration legislation coming from House Republicans, who have attempted to rebrand themselves by holding courses on how to talk to women and minorities?
  • If House Republicans won’t sign a #DemandAVote discharge petition to bring H.R. 15 to the floor for a vote, when will they introduce their own proposal?

The Republican empty hypocritical rhetoric has reached all corners of our country, frustrating Americans everywhere.  It’s been a year since the Senate introduced their version of bipartisan immigration reform – and more than 275 days since they passed a bill.  H.R. 15 – bipartisan immigration reform – has 200 cosponsors and 191 signatures on the discharge petition.

House Democrats join the American people in demanding action now.  It’s time for Speaker Boehner and House Republicans to end this avalanche of excuses and answer the American people with common-sense, empirical solutions that would unite families, secure our borders, protect our workers, and provide a pathway to citizenship.  With the support of House Democrats and at least 30 House Republicans, there are enough votes to pass comprehensive immigration reform now.  How much longer are the American people expected to wait, Mr. Speaker?

Posted in Immigration | Leave a comment

A similar version of this memo went out today in the following 30 districts represented by Republican Members of Congress who have stated their support for comprehensive immigration reform, but have not signed the #DemandAVote discharge petition calling for a vote on HR 15:

Don Young (AK-AL), Chris Stewart (UT-2), Sean Duffy (WI-7), Spencer Bachus (AL-6), Jeff Denham (CA-10), David Valadao (CA-21), Greg Walden (OR-2), Paul Ryan (WI-1), Michael Grimm (NY-11), Darrell Issa (CA-49), Mark Amodei (NV-2), Mike Coffman (CO-6), James Lankford (OK-5), Mike Kelly (PA-3), Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27), Devin Nunes (CA-22), Jason Chaffetz (UT-3), Joe Heck (NV-3), Peter King (NY-2), Raul Labrador (ID-1), Sam Johnson (TX-3), John Carter (TX-31), Daniel Webster (FL-10), Aaron Schock (IL-18), Steve Pearce (NM-2), Tim Griffin (AR-2), Justin Amash (MI-3), Vance McAllister (LA-5), Renee Ellmers (NC-2).

***

MEMORANDUM

To:      Interested Parties

Fr:       Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA), Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Rep. Joe Garcia (D-FL), Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV) – chief sponsors of H.R. 15, bipartisan immigration reform

Dt:       Tuesday, April 15, 2014

RE:     It’s Time for Rep. Mike Coffman to Walk the Walk on Immigration Reform

“I think a comprehensive approach [to immigration reform] is long overdue…And I’m confident that the President, myself, and others can find the common ground to take care of this issue once and for all,” Speaker Boehner said in 2012.  We – and the majority of Americans – couldn’t agree with the Speaker more but, to date, he and the Republican leadership have not lived up to their words.  But it’s not too late.

Recently, House Democrats launched a #DemandAVote discharge petition to bring H.R. 15, a bipartisan immigration reform bill, to the floor for a vote.  We know we have the votes to pass immigration reform in the House: 200 Members, including 3 Republicans cosponsored H.R. 15, and another 30 Republicans, including Rep. Mike Coffman, have come out in favor of reform.

The Denver Post wrote: “Coffman believes comprehensive immigration reform…needs to happen. Then, when it has been proven the border is secure a pathway to apply for legal citizenship should be opened for all undocumented people.”

Mike Coffman has expressed support for immigration reform in the past, including a pathway to citizenship.  Now we need him to join us to finish the job.

The 180,000 people living in the shadows – unable to fully contribute to this great state and our nation – deserve better than Congressional inaction.  Failure is not just an affront to our values as a nation of immigrants, it also costs the state economy of Colorado to the tune of $681 million in additional tax revenues and 2,300 new jobs annually.

Americans across the country are overwhelmingly calling for action on immigration reform.  According to a public opinion poll, 79 percent of voters surveyed nationwide said they support comprehensive immigration reform.  Newspaper editorials nationwide are fed up with the stalling and the excuses.  Over 600 businesses, including the Chamber of Commerce, and religious leaders have called for immediate action.  And most recently, agriculture groups have grown frustrated with the House GOP’s failure to act on reform.

H.R. 15 will secure our borders, unite our families, protect our workers, provide an earned pathway to citizenship, and reduce the deficit by nearly $1 trillion.

The time to act is now.  The votes are there and the means to bring immediate action – the discharge petition – exists.  It just needs Mike Coffman’s support.  We are counting on Rep. Mike Coffman to be courageous, take action, and live up to his promise.

It has been more than 275 days since the Senate passed its bipartisan immigration reform.  Now is the time for Rep. Mike Coffman to sign the discharge petition and demonstrate to the American people and the thousands living in Colorado that he wants to see the House of Representatives do the same.  It is time to fix our broken immigration system and restore our American values.

# # #

 

Posted in Economic News, General, Immigration | Leave a comment

House Republicans have repeatedly refused to act to #RenewUI for the nearly 2.4 million jobless Americans have lost unemployment insurance benefits – a critical lifeline which helps them feed their families and keep a roof over their heads as they try to get back on their feet with a new job.

Today comes the news that maybe House Republican leaders will bring a bill with a short term extension of UI to the floor but only if they add permanent tax cuts for special interests. From Roll Call:

Sessions said the five-month extension could serve as a partner for House-passed bills and other priorities, such as a permanent extension of so-called bonus depreciation for business investment.

“I’m engaged in conversation with others about putting accelerated depreciation on,” Sessions said.

It is apparently not enough for the GOP to do the right thing because it will benefit their constituents back home and strengthen the local and national economy.

Who is hurt by the Republican refusal to #RenewUI?

VETERANS: 270,000 veterans are among the 2 million unemployed workers who’ve lost access to federal unemployment benefits.

CHILDREN: This cut off has harmed more than 1.2 million children in affected families.

WOMEN: Long-term unemployment among jobless women workers is increasing. In February, the share of unemployed adult women searching for a job for six months or more grew to 37.7 percent up from 34.8 percent in January.

ECONOMY: The GOP’s failure to #RenewUI cost the economy nearly $5 billion through March.

193 House Democrats have signed the discharge petition to force a vote on extending emergency unemployment insurance for the millions of Americans who are searching for work because nothing is more important than the strength and stability of our nation’s workers, their families and the economy.

Posted in Economic News, Fiscal Responsibility, General, In the News, Labor and American Jobs | Leave a comment

Repeals Protections and Benefits Millions of Women Enjoy Under ACA

  • Insurance companies would be allowed once again to charge women more than men for the same health coverage.
  • Insurance companies would be allowed once again to treat being a woman as a “pre-existing condition.”
  • Millions of women and their families would be stripped of the private Marketplace health plans and the expanded Medicaid coverage they have obtained under the Affordable Care Act.
  • More than 47 million women would again have to pay out-of-pocket for lifesaving preventive health care services, like mammograms and cervical cancer screenings.

Undermines Women’s Economic Security

  • The Ryan Republican budget fails to call for increasing the minimum wage, leaving the nearly two-thirds of our nation’s minimum wage workers who are women behind.
  • The Ryan Republican budget fails to call for a bill promoting equal pay for equal work for women, with women on average still earning only 77 cents for every dollar earned by men.
  • The Ryan Republican budget cuts Food Stamps by $137 billion over the next 10 years, which would be devastating for millions of America’s women.  Nearly 62 percent of adult Food Stamp recipients are women.
  • At least 200,000 women and children would be dropped from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), if the GOP’s 15 percent cut in non-defense appropriations in 2016 was applied across-the-board.

Punishes Women Seniors and Cuts Health Benefits to Give Tax Breaks to Millionaires

  • Up to 4 million women seniors in the Rx drug ‘donut hole’ would immediately have to start paying more for their Rx drugs because the Ryan Republican budget re-opens the ‘donut hole.’  As a result, seniors in the ‘donut hole’ will be forced to pay an additional $18,000 on average for their Rx drugs over 10 years.
  • Women make up 55 percent of Medicare enrollees and would suffer the most when the Medicare guarantee is replaced with a voucher in 2024 – with premiums for traditional Medicare going up by 50 percent on average.   Indeed, the Republican plan would drive traditional Medicare into a “death spiral.”
  • The Ryan Republican budget slashes Medicaid by $732 billion over 10 years or by nearly 25 percent in 2024 – with the largest impact on women.  Nearly 70 percent of Medicaid’s adult beneficiaries are women; in addition, Medicaid is the primary payer for 64 percent of nursing home residents, who are mostly women.
  • 66 percent of individuals who depend on senior meals like Meals on Wheels are women.  Senior meals would be cut by 15 percent in 2016 if the GOP cut in non-defense appropriations was applied proportionately.

Threatens Our Nation’s Competitiveness for Generations to Come

  • Up to 5.6 million women students would find college less affordable due to $145 billion in cuts in Pell Grants under the Ryan Republican budget.
  • Up to 170,000 children would lose access to Head Start and up to 3.4 million disadvantaged children at 8,000 schools would lose vital Title I education funding, if the Ryan Republican Budget’s 15 percent cut in non-defense appropriations in 2016 was applied across-the-board.
  • Parents of tens of thousands of children would be impacted by a 15 percent cut in help with child care expenses in 2016, if the GOP cut in non-defense appropriations was applied proportionately.
Posted in Affordable Health Care, Economic News | Leave a comment

In the Republican-controlled House, the GOP has waged a war against the Affordable Care Act – voting 52 times to repeal or undermine the ACA at the expense of nearly every single real issue facing the American people – while insisting they have a replacement health care plan which is moments away from release.

The House has acted to begin…replacing the job-destroying health care law” – January 2011

GOP still working on ‘replace’ – June 2011

House GOP “will be ready with a plan” – January 2012

Next session of Congress” – December 2012

House GOP “plan to have alternative…ready by fall” – July 2013

After the first of the year we will bring forth a bill…” – December 2013

House GOP leaders “will meet Friday to begin crafting an alternative” – February 2014

Really, what’s another month or two at this point?  From Bloomberg:

House Republicans are delaying by at least a month unveiling their alternative proposal to Obamacare, according to lawmakers and aides involved in the process…

Instead, a Republican leadership aide said the rollout will occur possibly in May or June. [4/8]

 

Posted in General | Leave a comment

Today is Equal Pay Day – a day that symbolizes when, more than three months into the year, women’s wages finally catch up to what men were paid in the previous year.  Women on average earn just 77 cents for every dollar earned by men.

All House Democrats are cosponsors of the Paycheck Fairness Act – a bill to ensure American women receive equal pay for equal work – a key pillar of House Democrats’ When Women Succeed, America Succeeds: An Economic Agenda for Women and Families.  197 House Democrats have signed a discharge petition to try and force the GOP Leaders to bring the bill to the floor for a vote.

Where do House Republicans stand on Equal Pay for America’s working women?  Well, if you were just tuning in today to the issue you might think the GOP were strong supporters… but you would be wrong.

This morning, House Republican Leaders, led by Majority Leader Cantor, held a press conference in which they repeatedly asserted that the GOP supports equal pay for equal work. What followed was a series of tweets from House GOP members making the same claim, for example:

@RepLynnJenkins:  All people deserve equal pay for equal work. Period. pic.twitter.com/hNaReShVxt

@Rep_Southerland: As the father of four daughters, I believe all people deserve Equal Pay for Equal Work. Period. #EqualPayDay2014 pic.twitter.com/UhAcCcXZIr

@RepDavidValadao: Man or woman, every single person has the right to equal pay for equal work. No exceptions. #EqualPayDay #CA21 pic.twitter.com/XblYwzfc7x

FACT: In vote after vote, House Republicans have said NO to equal pay for equal work for America’s working women.

April 7, 2014: All House Republicans voted NO on legislation ensuring equal pay for equal work

May 7, 2013: All House Republicans voted NO on bringing up the Equal Pay bill

April 11, 2013: All House Republicans voted NO on bringing up the Equal Pay bill

May 31, 2012: All House Republicans voted NO on bringing up the Equal Pay bill

It’s time for House Republicans to walk the walk of equal pay for equal work – not just talk the talk.

Posted in Civil Rights, Consumer Protections, Economic News, Fiscal Responsibility, General, Labor and American Jobs, Retirement Security | Leave a comment

Today, Speaker Boehner tried to shine up the Ryan Republican budget by claiming it would benefit American workers in six ways.  The very short list was long on vague messaging and lacking in concrete facts.

Here are just some of the real ways the Ryan Republican Budget would harm American families:

Destroys American jobs.

Gives millionaires an average tax cut of at least $200,000 while raising taxes on middle class families by at least $2,000.

Would result in 40 million more uninsured people – repealing ACA and Medicaid expansion as well as dramatically reducing funding for (and later block-granting) Medicaid.

Ends Medicare as we know it by turning it into a privatized voucher program

Slashes Pell Grants making college less affordable

Cuts food stamps by $137 billion over ten years – eliminating critical food assistance to those who are most in need.

Would allow insurance companies to discriminate against women and charge them more than men for the same coverage

Insurance companies would once again be allowed to deny coverage to people based on “pre-existing conditions” (including being a victim of domestic violence).

Insurance companies would once again be allowed to drop women when they get sick or become pregnant.

Eliminates free preventive health services such as cancer screenings, mammograms and immunizations

Eliminates free well-baby visits

Reopens the Medicare prescription drug gap in coverage (the donut hole)

Eliminates free annual wellness visits for Medicare beneficiaries

Young adults would no longer be allowed to remain on their parents’ health insurance plans until age 26 

Insurance companies would again be able to cap services with lifetime and yearly limits

Eliminates tax breaks to small businesses that enabled owners to provide health insurance to their workers – many for the first time

Slashes funding for libraries in communities across the country

 

Posted in Affordable Health Care, Consumer Protections, Economic News, Education, Fiscal Responsibility, General, In the News, Labor and American Jobs, Retirement Security | Leave a comment

Including bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform legislation that would create jobs, empower small businesses, spur innovation, grow the economy, and reduce the deficit by nearly $900 billion – NOT INTERESTED

Prohibiting discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, allowing young people to stay on their parents’ health insurance plans and eliminating different insurance rates for American workers with physical labor jobs – TOO EXPENSIVE

Giving millionaires an average tax cut of at least $200,000 in 2015 – JUST RIGHT

Posted in Affordable Health Care, Fiscal Responsibility, General, Immigration, In the News, Labor and American Jobs | Leave a comment

Right now, House Republicans are on the floor debating their 52nd attempt to destroy the Affordable Care Act and the health security it is providing so many families across the country.

In a circus mirror-like twist, the GOP is currently lecturing the American people on the importance of working a full-time, 40-hour work week.

This Republican Congress doesn’t have a single five day work week scheduled for the entire 2014 year.  Not one.

Posted in Affordable Health Care, General | Leave a comment

For all of the Republicans’ talk about cutting the nation’s deficit, there was one major omission from the Ryan Republican Budget – immigration reform, which would reduce the deficit by $900 billion, according to CBO.

Earlier in the Budget Committee, Congressman Tony Cardenas put Chairman Ryan on the spot by raising that point:

“Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.  Earlier you spoke on the dire fiscal situation this country is in.  I agree that we need to do more to balance our budget…comprehensive immigration reform would reduce our deficit by $900 billion.  And also, this is the committee where we should handle it, Mr. Chairman, just as you are rewriting Medicare to balance the budget as well in this Committee.  [4/2]

In fact, Congressman Ryan agreed with him, mouthing:

“That’s a good point.”  [4/2]

Yet 21 House Republicans, including Chairman Ryan, on the Committee defeated Congressman Cardenas’ amendment to include H.R. 15 – bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform legislation – as part of the budget without additional comment.  Chairman, we are left wondering: is your budget really about reducing the deficit or protecting your “partisan wish list”?

Posted in Economic News, Fiscal Responsibility, Immigration | Leave a comment