The Senate GOP “Working Families” Agenda Is Out Of Touch

In anticipation of the White House Summit on Working Families taking place next Monday (and co-sponsored by the Center for American Progress!), Senate Republicans unveiled a “working families” policy package of their own today. And while they may trick some people by adopting progressive language, the actual policy proposals leave a lot to be desired. Here’s a few of them:

  • Working Parents Home Office Act: introduced by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), this bill would allow parents to deduct home office costs from their taxes if they have a baby crib in the office. Which begs the question: what happens if you happen to work outside of the home?
  • Forty Hours is Full Time Act: introduced by Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), this bill would repeal the Affordable Care Act’s 30-hour workweek rule. Doing that would mean 500,000 people losing health care coverage and going uninsured.
  • Working Families Flexibility Act, which Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) is now pushing and which Republicans tried to pass last April. Instead of requiring that employers pay workers higher wages when they work more than 40 hours a week, as under current overtime laws, the bill would instead give them the option of compensating employees with “comp time” off of work. But rather than giving working parents some relief, it would likely end up putting employer pressure on them to take comp time instead of extra pay and loosen the disincentive employers currently have to make workers stay past 40 hours.
  • An unnamed alternative to Democrats’ Paycheck Fairness Act, endorsed by Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE), is similar to Democrats version in that it would end the practice of employers banning their employees from discussing their salaries. However, it lacks the enforcement mechanism by dropping the part of the Democratic bill that raises punitive damages for employers found guilty of pay discrimination against women.

Even with this calculated rollout, the GOP stepped on their feet thanks to Rep. Tim Huelskamp. Earlier today, the Kansas Congressman spoke about the need for husbands to step up and become “real men” by explaining that their wives are “desperately looking for a husband.”

Earlier this year, Senate Democrats offered their own legislative agenda for working families and, in particular, working women. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and other House Democrats have pushed their agenda to address equal pay, work/family balance, and childcare. It includes the Paycheck Fairness Act to help enforce equal pay for equal work; a minimum wage increase, which would benefit millions including the increasing share of workers who live off of it as their primary source of income; the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act, which protects pregnant women in the workplace from common discrimination; investment in job training programs; and support for women entrepreneurs and small businesses.

BOTTOM LINE: Fifty years ago, 25 percent of women were their family’s primary breadwinner or co-breadwinner. Today, that number is nearly two thirds of women. Working families don’t need policies that give them a tax credit for putting a crib in their home office; they need 21st century reforms that acknowledge the changing role of women — and men — in the workplace and at home.

Meet James

For James, a 29 year old in Pensacola, FL, a normal week involves hunting, welding, fishing, and before January 1st, worrying about his lack of health insurance.

“I’ve always been able to afford health insurance—they just wouldn’t cover me, because I’m a diagnosed diabetic. Being without health insurance was terrifying because you could be bankrupted by someone else not paying attention on the road. Or what if something bad happened in the shop?”

Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, James was able to enroll in coverage without worrying about his pre-existing condition.

James Image: A 29 Year Old Floridian On Getting Covered

‘Serious and Disturbing​’ Picture of VA’s Failure to Provide Timely Access to Care

by Patty Murray

Stop Child Summer Hunger

Stop Child Summer Hunger Act

During the school year, low-income children have the opportunity to receive free or reduced-priced meals at school. However, millions of these same children go hungry during summer break. That’s why I was proud to introduce the Stop Child Summer Hunger Act, a long-term, common-sense solution to reducing child hunger during school breaks. This legislation will provide families who have children eligible for free or reduced-price school meals with an electronic benefit transfer (EBT) card. This EBT card will include funds that the family can use to purchase food to replace the meals that the children would otherwise be receiving at school.  The threat of hunger doesn’t take a summer break.  We shouldn’t either.  We must do more to make sure kids get the nutrition they need to learn, grow, and thrive.

Learn more about my bill.

“Sen. Murray proposes summer food benefits for low-income kids”

“Bill would buy summer lunch for kids out of school”
 – The Olympian

“To fight students’ ‘summer hunger,’ Sen. Murray pushes debit cards for lunches” – KPLU

‘Serious and Disturbing’ Picture of VA’s Failure to Provide Timely Access to Care

The release of the VA’s Nationwide Access Audit of veterans health facilities paints a serious and disturbing picture of the VA’s system-wide failure to provide timely access to care for our nation’s heroes. I am especially concerned by the number of facilities that serve Washington state veterans that have been flagged for further review and investigation. This information confirms what I have been hearing from so many veterans who are struggling with extended wait times in the Pacific Northwest.

Thankfully, the Senate overwhelmingly passed the Sanders-McCain compromise, legislation aimed at addressing transparency, wait times, and accountability issues at the VA.  This legislation is a critical step toward addressing some of the immediate accountability and access concerns plaguing the VA. In addition, as further investigations and reviews are completed, we need to keep working to ensure the VA continues to take substantive action to address any management, resource, and personnel shortcomings that have contributed to today’s findings.

Read more.

“VA audit flags Seattle hospital, 6 others after investigation into wait times”
– Q13

“Wait times for Puget Sound VA up to nearly 59 days”


Critical Federal Funding for Washington State in Appropriations Bills

As a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, I was proud to deliver for Washington state in the Appropriations bills passed last week.  Funding will go toward projects in Seattle, Spokane, Pullman, Walla Walla and more, and includes everything from funding for the FAA Center of Excellence for Alternative Jet Fuels and Environment led by Washington State University, to new requirements for oil train safety, to funding for airport improvement projects, and more.

The Commerce, Justice, and Science Appropriations bill included funding for additional immigration judges to reduce case backlog, a new report on the next generation of polar icebreakers,  and funding for pacific salmon restoration.

Find a list of selected projects and programs in the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations bill that benefit Washington state.

“Murray seeks DOJ change in anti-gang grant process”
– The Yakima Herald

“Airport could get more federal funds”
– Walla Walla Union-Bulletin

“Murray works for jet biofuels center money; National center co-led by WSU in the Tri-Cities”  –  Tri-City Herald


Strengthening Social Security Benefits for Seniors, Persons with Disabilities, and Young Adults who Face Serious Hardship

I was proud to join Senator Mark Begich (D-AK) in introducing the Retirement and Income Security Enhancements (RAISE) Act – a set of commonsense proposals to modernize, enhance, and protect our Social Security system in a fiscally responsible way. The RAISE Act would strengthen benefits for seniors, persons with disabilities, and young adults who have faced serious hardship in their immediate families, while helping to shore up the Social Security Trust Fund using an approach that protects middle class families, and asks those who can afford it to pay their fair share.  At a time when Social Security is an increasingly critical source of support for so many, the RAISE Act would take some important steps to ensure our Social Security system is doing everything possible to help seniors and their families.

Read more about my bill.

“Senate Democrats propose Social Security reform”
 – The Hill


Virginia Governor Defies GOP, Pledges To Expand Health Coverage To Low-Income Virginians

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Virginia Governor Defies GOP, Pledges To Expand Health Coverage To Low-Income Virginians

Virginia has been embroiled in a political drama for some time now, but with real stakes for hundreds of thousands of the state’s residents. On one side is Governor Terry McAuliffe, who has consistently pushed to close the health coverage gap for low-income working Virginians by including a Medicaid expansion provision in the Virginia state budget. On the other is the GOP legislature, intent on putting politics over people by denying health coverage to working Virginians by preventing Medicaid expansion.

The stalemate appeared to break earlier this month, when the GOP took control of the state Senate in a dramatic turn of events that may have involved an illegal bribe to get a Democrat to step down. State Republicans then rushed to pass a budget that explicitly bans the state from expanding Medicaid.

Things didn’t look good for the roughly 400,000 residents of Virginia who would benefit if the state accepted the federal funding to expand health care under the Affordable Care Act. But today, Gov. Terry McAuliffe made a bold and surprising announcement that he would act unilaterally to close the coverage gap, whether by expanding Medicaid or through another avenue.

The Huffington Post reports:

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) used his line-item veto power Friday to nix portions of the state budget, extending his battle with legislative Republicans who oppose his attempt to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.

McAuliffe struck language from the state legislature’s budget that Republicans had inserted in the hopes of blocking a Medicaid expansion, which could provide health care to 400,000 uninsured Virginians.

“By refusing any and all compromise, the House leadership has turned its back on people all over Virginia who were looking to us to help them and their families gain access to lifesaving treatments and medicine,” McAuliffe said at a Friday press conference. “With respect to health care, I am moving forward. There are several options available to me.”

The governor’s office made clear that he doesn’t necessarily intend to extend health coverage by unilaterally expanding Medicaid, a decision that has been considered a possibility before.

“There are a number of options, so we’re exploring all options within the governor’s executive power to get Virginians access to the health care they need,” said a spokesman for McAuliffe.

Either way, this is great news for hardworking Virginia families. The fight will continue on Monday evening when the Virginia General Assembly returns to Richmond to consider action on upholding or overriding his vetoes.

BOTTOM LINE: In too many states, Republican lawmakers are refusing to provide health coverage to millions of Americans simply because of politics. These political games have real consequences. In the face of a Republican legislature refusing to compromise on Medicaid expansion, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe vowed to take matters into his own hands in order to make sure working Virginia families get the care they deserve.

did you know … the LaRouche movement

just another rant …

I am sure that attitudes about the LaRouche movement is different among left of center folks out there. I admit my attitude is for and about left of center actions that will help my family yours and possibly effect others that have like minded actions … ones that create change for the better like: clean air water environment living for the 21st Century that is inclusive … extremists on the right or the left are tough to accept when the goal or mission is only for a select few to reap the benefits … that is just wrong in my opinion. Anyway, a little information about their movement is below and contrary to what they say I just cannot believe they consider themselves apart of the Democratic Party

Lyndon LaRouche, who is, well, a fringe political cult leader of sorts.  LaRouche is a left-wing Marxist-turned-right-wing conspiracy theorist, and believes in off-the-wall policies like space colonization, a quarantine for everyone with AIDS, and opposition to abortion and gay rights. And LaRouche, himself a former perennial presidential candidate, has been accused of espousing fascist, racist and anti-Semitic views.  As the late Manning Marable once said, “LaRouche appeals to fear, hatred and ignorance. He seeks to exploit and exacerbate the anxieties and frustrations of Americans by offering an array of scapegoats and enemies: Jews, Zionists, international bankers, blacks, labor unions-much the way Hitler did in Germany.” Not running for political office these days, LaRouche, 91 years old, has his minions on the ballot—people such as Kesha Rogers.  Like other LaRouche supporters, Rogers has compared President Obama to Hitler, complete with the mustache, and likened Obamacare to the policies of Nazi Germany. And she wants to impeach him, too.

Resources: UK Progressives … the grio … state- … Rogers official website


The LaRouche movement opposed the UN sanctions against Iraq in 1991 and the Gulf War in 1991.[13] Supporters formed the “Committee to Save the Children in Iraq”.[14] LaRouche blamed the sanctions and war on “Israeli-controlled Moslem fundamentalist groups” and the “Ariel Sharon-dominated government of Israel” whose policies were “dictated by Kissinger and company, through the Hollinger Corporation, which has taken over The Jerusalem Post for that purpose.”[15] Left-wing anti-war groups were divided over the LaRouche movement’s involvement.[16]

In 2000, the Democratic Senatorial nominee in Wyoming, Mel Logan, was a LaRouche follower;[17] the Republican incumbent, Craig Thomas, won in a 76%–23% landslide. In 2001, a “national citizen-candidates’ movement” was created, advancing candidates for a number of elective offices across the country.

In 2006, LaRouche Youth Movement activist and Los Angeles County Democratic Central Committee member Cody Jones was honored as “Democrat of the Year” for the 43rd Assembly District of California, by the Los Angeles County Democratic Party.[18][better source needed] At the April 2007 California State Democratic Convention, LYM activist Quincy O’Neal was elected vice-chairman of the California State Democratic Black Caucus,[19][better source needed] and Wynneal Innocentes was elected corresponding secretary of the Filipino Caucus.[20][better source needed]

In November 2007, Mark Fairchild returned to Illinois to promote legislation authored by LaRouche, called the “Homeowners and Bank Protection Act of 2007”, establishing a moratorium on home foreclosures and establishing a new federal agency to oversee all federal and state banks. He also promoted LaRouche’s plan to build a high-speed railroad to connect Russia and the United States, including a tunnel under the Bering Strait.[7][21]

In 2009, a volunteer table in Mattituck, NY had a picture of Obama with a “drawn-in Hitler moustache” and “a picture of Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi with Frankenstein-style bolts in her head.”[22] In Seattle in 2011 (?), an image of Obama with a “Hitler moustache” angered some. Police were called in regarding a LaRouche opponent telling a LaRouche volunteer “Look at me again and I’m going to punch your face.” In another case, during the prior month, “the same officer was called to investigated an incident in which a man threatened to rip down several political signs displayed by LaRouche supporters.” “Police investigated the incident as malicious harassment — the state’s hate-crime law.”[23] At one widely reported event, Congressman Barney Frank referred to the posters as “vile, contemptible nonsense.”[24]

LaRouche supporters, Homer Alaska, May 2012

In March 2010, LaRouche Youth leader Kesha Rogers won the Democratic congressional primary in Houston, Texas’ 22nd District.[25] The following day, a spokeswoman for the Texas Democratic Party stated that “La Rouche members are not Democrats. I guarantee her campaign will not receive a single dollar from anyone on our staff.”[26] In June 2012, Rogers won the Democratic congressional primary for a second time.[27]

In March 2014, Rogers received 22% of the vote in the U.S. Senate Democratic primary, placing her into a runoff election with David M. Alameel.[28]

Resource: wiki


In May David M. Alameel won the runoff by 72% against LaRouche candidate Rogers and will need help from the Democratic Party with his bid to unseat Cornyn ~~ Nativegrl77