PHILADELPHIA, PA- Dozens of long-term unemployed people will be marching from Philadelphia, PA to Washington, DC to take on the US Chamber of Commerce, whom they call “Washington’s chief puppet master.”
WHO: Unemployed activists, supported by Shut The Chamber, Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign (PPEHRC), Public Citizen, Move to Amend
WHAT: 150-mile “Operation Green Jobs” march to DC
WHEN: May 18th to May 24th
WHERE: Beginning at N 3rd St and W Cumberland St, Philadelphia, PA; Ending at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce building in Washington D.C. (1615 H St NW Washington D.C.)
Jobless activists are taking their anger to the front door of the US Chamber of Commerce, who ranked #1 in lobbyist spending in 2012 with $136,000,000 spent on influencing Congress, according to opensecrets.org. Marchers say their anger is being directed at the organization for its lobbying efforts to block job creation in the green energy industry.
“Everyone agrees that Congress needs to focus on job creation and climate change,” said Carl Gibson, lead organizer of the Shut The Chamber campaign. “The reason they’re focusing on dirty fossil fuels and job-killing austerity policies is because the US Chamber is paying them to.”
Activists are demanding Washington take action to pass laws that would fund long-term investments in the renewable energy industry and in boosting public transportation to simultaneously create millions of new jobs and reduce CO2 output.
“Green jobs are the best way to heal the environment and put people to work,” said Cheri Honkala, PPEHRC lead organizer and 2012 Green Party Vice Presidential candidate. “The only thing stopping it from happening is a Congress that only listens to corporate lobbyists.”
Activists are marching roughly 20 miles a day between May 18th and May 24th. You can see the march route at bit.ly/greenjobsroute and learn more about the action at shutthechamber.org and economichumanrights.org.
Press Release: Network for Good
ALEXANDRIA, VA – Americans for Job Security President Stephen DeMaura issued the following statement in the wake of statements from Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker that indicate he would reduce individual state income taxes if Congress enacts the Marketplace Fairness Act:
“Scott Walker is yet another leader who demonstrates why the Marketplace Fairness Act is tax reform that all conservatives should get behind. Like the Republican legislators in Ohio who recently approved language that will reduce that state’s income tax if the Marketplace Fairness Act is adopted, Governor Walker has indicated he will lower the tax burden on all Wisconsin citizens when Congress approves this needed reform. The Marketplace Fairness Act gets government out of the business of picking winners and losers by putting brick-and-mortar outlets on the same tax footing as online retail stores. The changes in sales tax collection will allow governors like Scott Walker to reduce the overall tax burden on the residents of their states. We applaud Governor Walker’s leadership and urge the House to follow the Senate’s lead and approve the Marketplace Fairness Act in a timely fashion.”
Flint, Michigan – As the Senate and House Agricultural Committees decide how to construct a new Farm Bill beginning this week, hundreds of thousands of Michigan families are learning that meals for their children, elderly or disabled family members may be sacrificed in the budget fight.
The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps, the Food Assistance Program ‘FAP’ in Michigan), is the Agriculture Department’s biggest program, amounting to more than 70 percent of the budget. More than 47 million people in the country and 1.7 million people in Michigan get SNAP benefits.
On May 10, Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK), Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee and the Committee’s ranking member, Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN) released a proposal to cut SNAP by almost $21 billion over the next decade. This cut would eliminate all food assistance to nearly two million low-income people – most of which include senior citizens, people with disabilities, or working parents supporting children. The proposal reduces total Farm Bill spending by about $39.7 billion over ten years – more than half of the cuts coming from SNAP. These SNAP cuts are more than $4 billion larger than those proposed last year. The proposed SNAP cuts would also be on top of across-the-board cuts (averaging $25 per month for a family of four) already scheduled for every SNAP recipient in the nation beginning November of this year.
Anti-hunger advocates marvel that these proposed cuts ignore the widespread support for SNAP demonstrated by a new nationwide poll by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC). “Seven in 10 voters support SNAP,” explains Terri Stangl, Director of the Center for Civil Justice, an advocacy organization that works on hunger issues. “Most people surveyed say cutting food assistance is not the way to go about reducing government spending.”
Stangl hopes that those who care about hunger and worry about SNAP will speak out against the cuts with their members of Congress. The Center is supporting Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-NY) amendment to restore $4.1 billion SNAP cuts in the Senate Bill and Representative Jim McGovern’s amendment to restore the $20 billion in SNAP cuts expected to be in the House mark up. “Food is one of our most basic needs. We should not be balancing our national budget by taking food away from those who are struggling and who are already scheduled to lose benefits this fall.”
The Center for Civil Justice (CCJ) advocates for people in Michigan who need help meeting their basic needs. CCJ offers a statewide helpline to assist people in determining whether they qualify for food assistance and the amount in which they qualify and to help people overcome barriers in receiving help for which they are eligible. The Center for Civil Justice’s helpline is (800) 481-4989.
CCJ also offers an on-line calculator where households can get estimates of the monthly food assistance (Bridge Card) benefits for which may be eligible. See www.foodstamphelp.org. Go to our website www.ccj-mi.org, or find us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. If you’d be interested in receiving our newsletter send your email to: email@example.com.
May 14, 2013, Fairfax, VA—Attorney General Eric Holder says the Department of Justice has launched a criminal probe into whether tea party and other groups were improperly targeted by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens earlier today in a letter urged Senate leaders to demand Holder appoint a special counsel to investigate the matter, noting that Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus had in Sept. 2010 called for the IRS to investigate 501(c) non-profit political organizations.
“Just as the Senate majority cannot be trusted to investigate its own complicity in this affair, neither can the Obama Administration,” Mehrens wrote.
“The only role the scandal-plagued Justice Department should play in investigating the IRS abuse case is by Attorney General Holder appointing a special counsel to ensure that politics do not obscure the facts, and that investigators can follow those facts wherever they may lead,” ALG vice president of public policy and communications Rick Manning stated.
Under current law, only the Attorney General can appoint a special counsel.
May 13, 2013, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government President Nathan Mehrens today issued the following statement urging Congress to investigate the Internal Revenue Service’s admission that it was targeting groups for audits on the basis of their tea party affiliation:
“The use of the nation’s tax agency to target groups for audit and review on the basis of political leanings is an egregious abuse of power. This is beyond Nixonian in its flagrant disregard for the rule of law as it was intended to stifle dissent, and now there must be accountability. We know the Democrat-controlled Senate will not be bothered to inquire what happened, but the House of Representatives can and should use its power to subpoena witnesses to get to the bottom of this scandal. Our laws either apply equally to all citizens and citizen groups regardless of political leanings, or we have become nothing more than a banana republic.”
From the Center for Rural Affairs
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – May 9, 2013
Lyons, NE - Today the Center for Rural Affairs harshly criticized a pact to block limits on crop insurance premium subsidies to high income mega-farms. National wildlife organizations made the deal with farm and commodity groups in exchange for a requirement that subsidy recipients implement soil conservation plans.
“It takes a lot of brass to block any limit on subsidies to rich investors and mega-farms when ordinary Americans face job cuts and the working poor are losing food aid in order to reduce record deficits,” said Chuck Hassebrook, Executive Director at the Center for Rural Affairs. “It demonstrates that the richest and most powerful interests have no shame about overeating at the federal trough.”
Furthermore, unlimited subsidies help mega-farms and investors drive smaller family farms out of the market for land. And crop insurance premium subsidies to the rich have sucked funding from rural community and small business development programs. Such programs have been cut in half over the decade, Hassebrook continued. Blocking crucial crop insurance limits in exchange for inadequate conservation compliance policies is a bad deal and a horrible price for family farmers, ranchers and rural communities to pay.
Hassebrook urged Senate Agriculture Committee members to set the proposed deal aside.
“These are not America’s priorities, these are not rural America’s priorities, these are the priorities of a small number of very large, very wealthy farms,” Hassebrook added. “The position of the Center for Rural Affairs is clear, reasonable limits and rules that require subsidy recipients to be actively engaged in farming should apply to all crop subsidies. And conservation accountability should apply to the entire farm safety net.”
These are fundamental principles supported by family farmers and ranchers throughout rural America. That’s why the Center for Rural Affairs does not support this deal, concluded Hassebrook.
Copies of the letter to Senators and other materials explaining the proposed deal can be viewed or downloaded at:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Doug Pratt, MEA Director of Public Affairs, 517-337-5566
MEA statement responding to dues deduction ruling
EAST LANSING, Mich., May 9, 2013 — The following statement can be attributed to MEA President Steve Cook in response to today’s Sixth Circuit federal court decision regarding Michigan’s ban on payroll deduction of dues for school employees only:
“We are disappointed in the Sixth Circuit’s decision in this case and believe the dissenting opinion most accurately portrays the law in this case. Banning payroll deduction of dues only for school employees is clearly an attack on the first amendment rights of our members and retaliation for our activism in fighting the right-wing, anti-public education agenda.
“This is yet another case of Gov. Rick Snyder and other big-government politicians’ interfering in the affairs of local school districts and their employees. Those who supported this bill admitted it saved no money – in fact, school districts complained it could actually cost them more to make the required changes.
“MEA, along with the other plaintiffs in this case, are exploring all further legal options, including appeal.
“In the meantime, MEA will continue to advocate for Michigan students, school employees and parents to ensure every child in our state has access to a world-class education. No law passed in Lansing will stop that.”
Flint, Michigan – May 9, 2013 – As Congress is poised to mark up the Farm Bill and possibly cut the nation’s low-income food program, a new poll shows that voters in the U.S. support the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, otherwise known as food stamps or the ‘Food Assistance Program’ in Michigan).
The data released by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) shows that seven out of 10 voters say that cutting food stamp funding is the wrong way to reduce government spending. Voters reject the idea of cutting spending on hunger. Only 23 percent say the federal government should be spending less money to address hunger, while 77 percent say the government should spend more or at least the same amount. Nearly three in four (73%) voters believe the food stamp program is very or fairly important for the country, including 41 percent who say it is very important. This sentiment is widely held across demographic groups and the political spectrum.
“Any cut to SNAP means less food in the refrigerator for struggling seniors, families with children, veterans, people with disabilities, and unemployed people in Michigan,” said Terri Stangl, Executive Director of the Center for Civil Justice, a nationally-recognized leader in anti-hunger advocacy. “Nearly one in five people in Michigan now needing help and voters recognize the harsh impact of such cuts on those they know – their parents and children and neighbors. It’s time for Congress to come to the same conclusion.” CCJ works to expand awareness of and participation in federal programs, such as SNAP.
Other findings from the poll include:
- Voters in rural communities and small towns reject cuts decisively, by 68 percent to 32 percent. Support for food stamps also crosses generational lines—67 percent of both young voters (under age 35) and seniors reject food stamp cuts.
- Rural and small town voters also are more likely to favor greater government spending to address hunger (39 percent) than less (31 percent), as are voters with children under 18 (48 percent to 23 percent).
- Republican voters also support the program: 63 percent of Republicans want to see current spending levels continue (34 percent) or increase (29 percent). Only 37 percent of Republican voters say that the federal government should spend less.
The national poll of 850 registered voters was conducted online from April 29 to May 1, 2013, by Hart Research Associates on behalf of the Food Research and Action Center.
The full findings from the poll are available on FRAC’s website (www.frac.org).
RESOURCES FOR THE PUBLIC
CCJ offers a toll-free statewide helpline to help people find out what programs they can qualify for to help with questions and barriers. That helpline is (800) 481-4989. CCJ also offers an on-line calculator where households can get estimates of the monthly food assistance (Bridge Card) benefits for which may be eligible. See www.foodstamphelp.org.
Source: Press Release – Center for Civil Justice
LANSING, Mich.—Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba welcomed Eric Dompierre and family to the Michigan Capitol on Last Thursday.
Dompierre was honored in Lansing with a Governor’s Fitness Award by Gov. Rick Snyder. Dompierre won the Accepting the Challenge Award, which recognized him for overcoming great challenges to pursue physical activity as a part of daily life.
In May, the Dompierres came to Lansing on behalf of more than 90,000 people who had signed a petition demanding that the Michigan High School Athletic Association adopt an equitable policy like that in 23 other states, balancing the special needs of disabled students with the need to protect the integrity of high school sports.
The Senate unanimously approved a resolution sponsored by Casperson calling for the policy change. Later that month, Michigan schools overwhelmingly approved a change providing for a limited waiver to the age eligibility rule. That rule change permitted Eric to line up alongside his teammates this for his senior year on the football field, where he served as the teams kicker for the Ishpeming Hematites, who won the Division 7 State Football Championship, as well as on the basketball court.
Additionally, Dompierre was also the winner of Sports Illustrated’s ‘Underdogs’ series. It was a contest in which the winning team, the Hamatites, received a $25,000 donation and had ten team members treated to a trip to Sports Illustrated’s Sportsman of the Year Award Ceremony in New York City.
Washington, DC - Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers was forced to state a position on North Carolina’s controversial renewable energy mandate yesterday, after the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Justin Danhof asked him at Duke’s annual shareholder’s meeting if he would agree, in light of the mandate’s impact on consumer energy prices, that the mandate should be repealed.
A North Carolina Senate committee voted to repeal those standards yesterday. Duke supported enactment of the standards in 2007, but had been publicly mum on its position on repeal even as three committees in the North Carolina legislature voted on repeal measures over the last two weeks. A primary sponsor of the repeal legislation in the House is a former Duke employee.
North Carolina lawmakers had repeatedly attempted to determine Duke’s position on the law during committee hearings to no avail.
Rogers skirted a direct answer to Danhof’s question during the shareholder meeting, but was cornered by the press afterward.
According to a Charlotte Business Journal article yesterday by John Downey, Rogers then said, “We still support [the renewables law] because it has the economic provision in it. Personally I support the renewable energy portfolio standard.”
The “economic provision” to which Rogers refers is a cap on the amount of expenditures utilities should make to comply with the law. The provision is intended to cap the rate increases consumers receive as a result of the renewables mandate.
“By saying Duke supports the renewables mandate because of the cap, Rogers is conceding the renewables mandate is costing North Carolina consumers unnecessary money,” said Amy Ridenour, chairman of the National Center for Public Policy Research. “Rogers’ answer is a defensive answer. Notice he doesn’t say Duke supports the mandate because of the good it’s doing. Duke’s CEO says he supports the mandate because there’s a cap on the amount of damage it’s allowed to do. What kind of reason is that? He’s basically saying that he supports a law that’s bad because it isn’t worse.”
“In fact,” said Ridenour, “the truth lies in what Mr. Rogers didn’t say, which is that government subsidizes renewable energy. Retaining the mandate is good for Duke because of government subsidies paid for by taxpayers who also suffer utility cost increases because of the mandate they are forced to subsidize.”
“Mr. Rogers, when finally forced to state a position, may have endorsed keeping the renewable mandate,” continued Ridenour, “but footage of Rogers endorsing the mandate could be used in a commercial for repeal.”
A study by the John Locke Foundation and Beacon Hill Institute found that North Carolina consumers will pay an extra $2 billion between 2008 and 2021 because of the renewables mandate.
National Center Senior Fellow Bonner R. Cohen, Ph.D. says Duke Energy and its subsidiary, Progress Energy, the state’s two largest utilities, recently sought rate increases for residential customers from the NC Utility Commission of 14.2 and 11.7 percent, respectively.
Bloomberg News estimates the size of the federal government’s subsidies for “renewable power and energy efficiency” at $4.5 billion in 2012 alone.
More information about the exchange between Justin Danhof and Jim Rogers can be found here, an audio recording of it can be found here, and Danhof’s question, as prepared for delivery, can be found here.
Further information about the renewables mandate can be found here.
The National Center for Public Policy Research is a Duke Energy shareholder.
Source: Press Release – The National Center for Public Policy Research