Yearly Archives: 2013

  • CHN: House Passes Two-Year Bipartisan Budget and Goes Home, Letting Unemployment Insurance Expire; Senate to Take Up the Budget Bill This Week

    For 332 members of the House of Representatives, certain imperatives drove their votes to pass a two-year budget: undo at least some of the impending cuts, and prevent the government from shutting down again on January 15. They got that. Republicans were able to say they did it without raising taxes, and that the end result would be to reduce the deficit some more. Democrats could point to preventing cuts to programs like Social Security, Medicaid, or SNAP/food stamps. Read More »

    Posted in Budget and Appropriations | Comments Off on CHN: House Passes Two-Year Bipartisan Budget and Goes Home, Letting Unemployment Insurance Expire; Senate to Take Up the Budget Bill This Week
  • CHN: Unhappy Holidays: Congress Lets Unemployment Benefits Expire for 1.3 Million People

    The number of people out of work for more than six months rose in November – it was higher than in September or October. Despite that, House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-WI) refused to include the renewal of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program in the Bipartisan Budget Act. This federally funded unemployment insurance for the long-term jobless who exhaust their state benefits will expire on December 28. Between Christmas and New Year’s, 1.3 million people will lose benefits, which average $260 per week. Read More »

    Posted in Budget and Appropriations, Labor and Employment, Poverty and Income, Unemployment Insurance | Comments Off on CHN: Unhappy Holidays: Congress Lets Unemployment Benefits Expire for 1.3 Million People
  • CHN: Congress Poised to Consider Cuts to SNAP in January

    Leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees are reportedly close to a deal on a farm bill they hope to have ready for Conference Committee consideration in early January followed by floor votes. The bill reauthorizes nutrition programs including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and agriculture programs for five years. Read More »

    Posted in Budget and Appropriations, Food and Nutrition, SNAP | Comments Off on CHN: Congress Poised to Consider Cuts to SNAP in January
  • CHN: Fair Minimum Wage Act: Growing Support to Raise the Minimum Wage

    Millions of American workers work hard everyday for wages so low they cannot afford to take care of their families. One of the most disturbing trends of the slow post-recession recovery is the shift in the U. S. economy towards lower-paying jobs. Lagging behind the cost of living for the last decade, the federal minimum wage pays $7.25 per hour or $15,080 per year for a full-time worker. Even more antiquated is the twenty-year-old federal wage for tipped workers, whose base hourly pay before tips is only $2.13. Read More »

    Posted in Labor and Employment, Minimum Wage | Comments Off on CHN: Fair Minimum Wage Act: Growing Support to Raise the Minimum Wage
  • CHN: Federal Unemployment Insurance Set to Expire: Congress Must Act

    Unless Congress acts to extend the federal unemployment insurance (UI) program it will expire on December 29, abruptly cutting off 1.3 million people between Christmas and New Year’s. Another 1.9 million would lose access to benefits in the first six months of 2014 when their regular state UI benefits run out. The consequences for struggling workers and their families would be devastating. (See House Ways and Means Democratic Report with state-by-state estimates of the number who would lose benefits.) Read More »

    Posted in Economy, Labor and Employment, Unemployment Insurance | Comments Off on CHN: Federal Unemployment Insurance Set to Expire: Congress Must Act
  • CHN: The Senate Passes Anti-Discrimination Bill

    On November 7, the Senate passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) of 2013 (S. 815) by a vote of 64-32. All Democrats present were joined by 10 Republicans in support of the legislation. ENDA bans employers from firing, refusing to hire or discriminating against workers or job applicants based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. The vote was hailed by some supporters who likened it to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) gave his first floor speech since having a stroke almost two years ago in support of the bill. Read More »

    Posted in Labor and Employment | Comments Off on CHN: The Senate Passes Anti-Discrimination Bill
  • CHN: Government Shutdown Ended; Negotiations Now Trying to Undo Sequester and Avoid More Crises

    On October 16, Congress brought over two weeks of government shutdown to an end, voting to extend the FY 2013 levels of appropriations ($988 billion) through January 15. The legislation also pulled the nation back from the brink of default on its debts, by suspending the statutory limit on federal borrowing until February 7. The shutdown is gone, but not likely to be forgotten. The Council of Economic Advisors estimated the 16-day shutdown cost 120,000 jobs. Read More »

    Posted in Budget and Appropriations | Comments Off on CHN: Government Shutdown Ended; Negotiations Now Trying to Undo Sequester and Avoid More Crises
  • CHN: SNAP Recipients Brace for a Cut in Benefits

    On November 1, all who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) will see their benefits cut. The cut to the program formerly known as Food Stamps is the result of the end to a temporary boost provided in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The cut will impact 23 million households, including 22 million children and 9 million who are elderly or have a serious disability. The average monthly cut for a household of four will be $36, further squeezing already tight family budgets. This cut will lower the average benefit to $1.40 per meal per person, not enough to provide healthy food. Read More »

    Posted in Budget and Appropriations, Food and Nutrition, Poverty and Income, SNAP | Comments Off on CHN: SNAP Recipients Brace for a Cut in Benefits
  • CHN: Major Glitches with HealthCare.Gov Cause Enrollment Woes for Millions of Americans; the Administration Vows to Fix the Problems by the End of November

    Affordable health care has become one of the most important pillars of Barack Obama’s presidency. So when open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act commenced on October 1, 2013, people nationwide rushed to apply for health insurance coverage – but instead of the simple application process they had been promised, millions of people faced technical roadblocks on the website that kept them from enrolling in a plan – or from even creating an account in some cases. Many people received error messages and suffered long site delays, while website glitches also caused problems for health insurance providers. Read More »

    Posted in Health, Health Care Reform, Medicaid, Poverty and Income | Comments Off on CHN: Major Glitches with HealthCare.Gov Cause Enrollment Woes for Millions of Americans; the Administration Vows to Fix the Problems by the End of November
  • CHN: Government Shutdown Followed by Economic Meltdown? A Way Out Remains Elusive

    The federal government has been shut down for almost a week. The public does not like it. The drivers of the shutdown strategy are starting to acknowledge it has failed to stop or delay the new health care law. The House has begun to enact funding measures for popular programs such as the national parks, veterans’ services, and WIC. The Senate has rejected this piecemeal approach. Divisions among Republicans attempting to extricate themselves from a bad spot are increasingly public Read More »

    Posted in Budget and Appropriations, Economy | Comments Off on CHN: Government Shutdown Followed by Economic Meltdown? A Way Out Remains Elusive
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