Tag Archives: United States Senate

Ted Cruz says we need 100 more Jesse Helms? a repost


wiki says , Jesse Helms was a “master obstructionist” who relished his nickname, “Senator No“.[7] He opposed, at various times, civil rights, disability rights, feminism, gay rights, affirmative action, abortion, and government support for contemporary art with graphic sexuality.[8] Helms brought an “aggressiveness”[9] to his conservatism, as in his rhetoric against homosexuality, and employed racially charged language in his campaigns and editorials.[10] He combined cultural, social and economic conservatism which often helped his legislation win overwhelming support. The Almanac of American Politics once wrote that “no American politician is more controversial, beloved in some quarters and hated in others, than Jesse Helms”.[11]

Wind Energy Information


by Aaron Severn
Director, Grassroots and Federal Legislative Affairs
American Wind Energy Association

 

I wanted to loop you in on the latest updates on American wind power.  The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) recently released its Annual Market Report for 2013, as well as its First Quarter 2014 Market Report.

So what’s new?

The U.S. wind industry did not install much wind power capacity in 2013, reflecting the impact of the policy uncertainty that the wind industry faced throughout 2012

The numbers were small:

  • 1,087 megawatts (MW) installed in 2013, compared to 13,131 in 2012 – a 92% drop in new capacity
  • Corresponding drop in investment, $2 billion into the US economy in 2013,  compared to $25 billion in 2012
  • Loss of thousands of manufacturing jobs – ending the year with 50,500 total wind industry jobs, as compared to 80,700 jobs at the end of 2012

In total, though, wind power is making impressive contributions to the U.S. electricity supply:

  • Wind now provides over 4% of our electricity nationally
  • Iowa and South Dakota get over 25% of their electricity from wind power; nine states get more than 10% and six states get more than 15% of their electricity from wind power

As you may recall, Congress allowed the PTC to expire at the end of 2012.  Then, our legislators extended the credit in early January 2013, allowing projects that started construction by the end of 2013 to qualify for the credit (rather than requiring that they be operational by the end of 2013, as  required in the past).  The uncertainty throughout 2012 caused wind project development to come to a halt, and manufacturing orders to cease, resulting in little development and significant job loss as noted above.

How’s this year looking so far?

The PTC extension in 2013 allowed developers to put plans back in motion.  As a result, 2014 is off to a great start:

  • Over 13,000 MW of wind power under construction – more than any other time in history – and including over 95 projects across 21 states
  • 214 MW of wind power installed so far — more than in the first three quarters of 2013
  • Utility companies and corporate purchasers continue to announce agreements to purchase wind power – they announced 8,000 MW of power purchase agreements in 2013, and about another 1,000 MW so far this year  

Is there a catch?

Yes – federal policy for the wind energy industry is still uncertain.  The PTC expired again, at the end of 2013.  Without an extension, the wind industry is looking at the prospect of near-term downturns in project development, and job layoffs as well.

The Senate Finance Committee has acted to extend the PTC, and a credit that developers can choose instead of the PTC, the investment tax credit (ITC).  They extended these provisions as part of the EXPIRE Act in early April.  The bill moves to the Senate floor for consideration next, and we will keep you updated on that front.  It will be important to weigh in with your Senators about the importance of extending the PTC through the EXPIRE Act.

Thanks, as always, for your support.  I encourage you to check out these resources if you’re interested in more information:

Sincerely,
Aaron

Aaron Severn
Director, Grassroots and Federal Legislative Affairs
American Wind Energy Association

 

A Historic Meeting … Cuba


whitehouselogoa repost

President Obama met with Cuban President Raul Castro in Panama City  — marking the first full meeting between the leaders of the two countries since we announced a new diplomatic path with Cuba.

The two presidents discussed our shared histories, significant policy changes, and the positive response in both countries to this thaw in relations. “This is obviously a historic meeting,” said President Obama — who was in Central America for the seventh Summit of the Americas, a tradition that brings together the leaders of North and South America to discuss issues that impact the region.

Watch the President’s remarks at the Summit and learn more about his trip.

The President speaks at the Summit of the Americas.

Weekly Address: Tuition-Free Community College

In this week’s address, the Vice President laid out his and the President’s plan to make two years of community college free for responsible students. A better-educated citizenry is necessary to ensure that the United States continues to out-compete the rest of the world. Making two years of community college free is good for workers, good for companies, and good for our economy.

READ MORE

Why Conversion Therapy Hurts All of Us

More than 120,000 people signed a petition calling for a ban on the dangerous and unacceptable practice of conversion therapy — and on Wednesday, we responded. The overwhelming scientific evidence demonstrates that conversion therapy is neither medically or ethically appropriate and can cause substantial harm. That’s why the Obama administration supports efforts to ban the use of conversion therapy for minors.

READ MORE

West Wing Week: “A Good Deal”

Last week, the President made an important announcement about preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, traveled west to champion high-tech jobs in Louisville and clean energy jobs in Salt Lake City, had some fun at the 137th-annual White House Easter Egg Roll, and flew to Jamaica for a meeting with leaders of Caribbean nations.

READ MORE

Mayor Rauner … seems to be against his constituents


  Rauner suspends $26 million in social services, public health grants

Rauner suspends $26 million in social services, public health grants

Gov. Bruce Rauner’s office worked with the Departments of Human Services and Public Health “to see which grants could be suspended and prioritized essential services.”


Associated Press

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner suspended $26 million in social services and public health grants as part of his push to whittle away at a $1.6 billion shortfall in the current state budget.

The Republican’s office released a list of targeted programs late Friday that included funding to pay for the funerals and burials of public-assistance recipients, smoking cessation, teen programs, autism, and HIV and AIDS programs, among other things.

Rauner also froze $3.4 million in funding for immigrant integration assistance as part of ongoing efforts to keep the state rolling through the June 30 end of the fiscal year.

Rauner’s office said the check-writing halt – he also interrupted $180 million in parkland grants in March – is necessary because the expenditures were based on the assumption a temporary income tax would be extended past January, but it wasn’t after Rauner won the election.

“Part of the solution to solving the inherited $1.6 billion budget hole without raising taxes or increasing borrowing is to continue to evaluate the current fiscal year’s budget,” Rauner spokeswoman Catherine Kelly said. “The governor’s office worked with agencies to see which grants could be suspended and prioritized essential services.”

The cuts will save the state $21.8 million in Department of Human Services Grants and $4.5 million in unexpended funding through the Department of Public Health. The suspensions only affect this year’s funding, Kelly said.

But there’s always another price – this one paid for by constituents who, as soon as Monday morning, will be told through closed doors there’s no more money to help them.

Breandan Magee, senior director of programs for the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, said dozens of organizations assisted 102,000 legal immigrants in 2014 with applications for citizenship, English as a Second Language classes and health and nutrition programs for low-income immigrants.

“There are 299 jobs across 60 different immigrant-services agencies at risk” with funding ceasing, Magee said Saturday. “There are workshops scheduled for citizenship, applications for citizenship pending, ESL classes hallway through.”

Immigrant integration programs – which Rauner proposed eliminating entirely in the 2016 budget – will forfeit nearly half of their $6.7 million budget, according to figures provided by the governor’s office. Magee said he hopes the state will cover expenses he’s already incurred.

A copy of Friday’s letter from Human Services, obtained by The Associated Press, notifies the recipient to “immediately cease incurring additional obligations, costs or spending any further grant funds.” Agencies must submit records of all spending for the year. Jimi Orange of Children’s Home and Aid faces the unenviable task of telling up to 25 of the 100 children in Chicago’s impoverished West Englewood neighborhood they can’t come to Earle Elementary School for after-class tutoring and cultural activities because the state has recalled the remaining $3.1 million of Teen REACH money for kids ages 7 to 17.

“The staff’s concern is how to tell the families? What to tell the kids? How to tell the kids?” Orange said. “These are kids who already have abandonment issues, trust issues.”

Parkland-related grants Rauner has suspended this year include $90 million for park facility construction, $56 million for local governments to purchase open space for future parkland, and $30 million for museum capital-construction grants.

Grants suspended by Rauner include:

DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES

Funeral & Burial, $6.9 million

Rauner’s ‘turnaround budget’ has cuts called ‘reckless,’ ‘wrong priorities’

You be the judge. Look at the list below and decide if grants for the Homeless or for HIV assistance, Addiction  prevenetion, and so on are reckless.

Immigrant Integration Services, $3.4 million

Welcoming Centers, $191,300

ARC Lifespan, $118,100

Best Buddies, $250,000

Autism, $1 million

Group Home Loans, $20,000

Compulsive Gambling $406,000

Westside Health, $94,200

Addiction Prevention, $1.6 million

Assistance for Homeless, $300,000

Community Services, $2 million

Teen REACH, $3.1 million

Coalition F/Tech Assist-Child, $250,000

For Children’s Health Program, $231,600

Outreach to Individuals to Engage in Services, $380,700

Regions Special Consumer Support, $277,700

SMRF Training, $420,100

Transportation, $43,900

DD Latino Outreach, $87,500

Microboard Development and Outreach, $47,500

Epilepsy, $514,700

DHS TOTAL: $21.8 million

DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES

Brothers and Sisters United Against HIV/AIDS, $789,800

Increasing Access to Health Care-Wellness on Wheels, $180,000

Wellness on Wheels – Mobile Administration 2015, $135,000

Illinois Tobacco Quitline, $3.1 million

Project Safe Sleep Education and Outreach, $250,000

MidAmerica Regional Public Health Leadership Institute, $75,000

IDPH TOTAL: $4.5 million

DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES*

Park and Recreational Facility Construction, $89.5 million

Open Space Lands Acqusition and Development, $56.3 million

Museum Capital Grants, $30.4 million

Bike Paths, Mud-to-Parks, others, $2.6 million

IDNR TOTAL: $178.8 million

*Grants suspended in March

Donna De La Cruz, Reform Immigration FOR America


immigrationa repost from April 2015

Republicans in Congress spent two years blocking immigration reform from becoming law, forcing President Obama to find a solution by providing relief to immigrant families through Expanded DACA and DAPA. Now, a group of Republicans Governors and Attorneys General have gone out of their way to obstruct progress once again by getting an anti-immigrant judge in Texas to issue an injunction delaying relief programs.

Republican attacks on our community are happening in Congress and the courts–they want to make life as hard as possible for our community. They want us to be discouraged. They want us to quit. But we cannot!

Push back on Republicans by publicly showing that you support justice for immigrant families! Click here to share your support for our community on Facebook and click here to show your support on Twitter!

Republicans want the public to believe that their lawsuit is about President Obama’s use of power, but don’t be fooled–their lawsuit is about denying peace and justice to immigrants and their families. Delaying administrative relief means taking mothers and fathers from their children. It means keeping bright and ambitious young people from following their dreams and attending college. It means deporting hardworking community members, disrupting cities and towns across the country. Does that sound like justice to you?

Stand with families and demand justice for immigrants and their families–share the images to show solidarity with immigrant families everywhere! Click here to share on Facebook and click here to retweet on Twitter!

We have to keep fighting, because while Republicans in Congress and in the states play their political games, it’s our families and our communities that suffer. We cannot give in: the law is ultimately on our side, we need only to keep faith and prepare for the day when the injunction is lifted and we can proceed with administrative relief. Share these images on your Facebook and Twitter to show that you stand with immigrants in demanding justice!

With determination,

Donna De La Cruz
Reform Immigration FOR America

P.S. Not on Facebook or Twitter? Help us spread the word! Forward this email to a friend so they can show their support for the rights of immigrants and their families!

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