Monthly Archives: May 2013

  • CHN: Immigration Bill Passes Senate Judiciary Committee

    On May 21, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act (S. 744) by a vote of 13-5. All Committee Democrats [Leahy (VT), Feinstein (CA), Schumer (NY), Durbin IL), Whitehouse (RI), Klobuchar (MN), Franken (MN), Coons (DE), Blumenthal (CT), Hirono (HI)], and three Republicans [Hatch (UT), Graham (SC) and Flake (FL)] voted in favor of the bill. Five Republicans [Grassley (IA), Sessions (AL), Cornyn (TX), Lee (UT) and Cruz (TX)] were opposed. The vote followed 5 days and nearly 30 hours of debate and consideration of 212 amendments, of which 141 were adopted. Some of the 300 amendments originally submitted were withdrawn or will be voted on when the bill comes to the Senate floor Read More »

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  • CHN: House and Senate Agriculture Committees Back Farm Bills with Significant Cuts to SNAP

    Once every five years, Congress passes legislation that sets federal policy on forestry, conservation, nutrition and agriculture, called the “farm bill.” Passed in 2008, the latest farm bill expired in 2012 but was partially extended on January 1, 2013. With this extension (PL 112-24) expiring on September 30, Congress is deeply enmeshed in work on the new farm bill. Both the Senate and House Agriculture Committees have approved legislation, and now the Senate bill (S. 954) has been taken up on the Senate floor. Most disturbing to nutrition advocates is the fact that both bills cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) substantially, meaning added hardship for low-income people, including families, the elderly, and people with disabilities, who rely on nutrition assistance to get by. Read More »

    Posted in Child Nutrition, Food and Nutrition, Home Energy Assistance, Housing and Homelessness, Income Support, Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), Poverty and Income, SNAP, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families | Comments Off on CHN: House and Senate Agriculture Committees Back Farm Bills with Significant Cuts to SNAP
  • CHN: House Appropriations Committee Sets Funding Levels for FY 2014: Domestic Programs Slashed While Pentagon is Protected

    Each week, there is more news about the impact of sequestration cuts to a wide range of government services, from rental vouchers for low-income families to unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed to cuts to education and health care. But this is only the beginning. If Congress does not act, next year, and every year through FY 2021, there will be more cuts. The House Appropriations Committee approved funding levels for its dozen subcommittees for FY 2014, showing its willingness to make deep cuts in domestic programs, even though most of those programs have already been cut substantially over the past decade. Read More »

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  • CHN: Tax Reform: A Long Shot

    Republicans have started to set their sights on enacting tax reform and on more spending cuts, by making these goals the price of raising the federal debt limit. On May 7, the Washington Post quoted House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) as saying, “The debt limit is the backstop…we need to get a downpayment on the debt; we need entitlement reform; we’re very serious about tax reform because we think that it is critical to economic growth and job creation.” In addition, interest in reforming the tax code has led to bi-partisan work in House and Senate committees to spell out options. Read More »

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  • CHN: New Legislation Gives Working Families a Pay Cut, Not Increased Flexibility

    On Wednesday, May 8, the House passed the Working Families Flexibility Act of 2013 (H.R. 1406), introduced by Representative Martha Roby (R-AL). The measure, passed by a vote of 223-204 along party lines, seeks to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (PL-75-718) to give private companies the ability to offer employees the choice of receiving regular paid time off instead of overtime pay for hours worked over the standard 40 hours per week. Currently, employees in blue-collar jobs get time and a half for overtime hours worked. Read More »

    Posted in Labor and Employment, Poverty and Income | Comments Off on CHN: New Legislation Gives Working Families a Pay Cut, Not Increased Flexibility
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