John Lewis on the For the People Act: Voting Rights


Those were Former Congressman John Lewis’s remarks advocating for the For the People Act (H.R. 1) just days before it passed the House. Almost two years ago.

That’s how long Mitch McConnell has refused to try and pass this bill — legislation that would reform redistricting and make our government work for the people, not the special interests.

With more pro-democracy senators now in Washington, there may be enough Senate votes to pass a new version of the bill Former Congressman Lewis spoke of — but it could come down to every last vote.

Will you reach out to your representative and ask them to support the For the People Act? Use our online advocacy tool to contact Congress and demand action on democracy reform.

USDA Temporarily Suspends Debt Collections, Foreclosures and Other Activities on Farm Loans for Several Thousand Distressed Borrowers Due to Coronavirus


USDA Logo

WASHINGTON, Jan. 26, 2021 – Due to the national public health emergency caused by coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), the U.S. Department of Agriculture today announced the temporary suspension of past-due debt collections and foreclosures for distressed borrowers under the Farm Storage Facility Loan and the Direct Farm Loan programs administered by the Farm Service Agency (FSA). USDA will temporarily suspend non-judicial foreclosures, debt offsets or wage garnishments, and referring foreclosures to the Department of Justice; and USDA will work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office to stop judicial foreclosures and evictions on accounts that were previously referred to the Department of Justice. Additionally, USDA has extended deadlines for producers to respond to loan servicing actions, including loan deferral consideration for financially distressed and delinquent borrowers. In addition, for the Guaranteed Loan program, flexibilities have been made available to lenders to assist in servicing their customers.

Today’s announcement by USDA expands previous actions undertaken by the Department to lessen financial hardship. According to USDA data, more than 12,000 borrowers—approximately 10% of all borrowers—are eligible for the relief announced today. Overall, FSA lends to more than 129,000 farmers, ranchers and producers.

“USDA and the Biden Administration are committed to bringing relief and support to farmers, ranchers and producers of all backgrounds and financial status, including by ensuring producers have access to temporary debt relief,” said Robert Bonnie, Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of the Secretary. “Not only is USDA suspending the pipeline of adverse actions that can lead to foreclosure and debt collection, we are also working with the Departments of Justice and Treasury to suspend any actions already referred to the applicable Agency. Additionally, we are evaluating ways to improve and address farm related debt with the intent to keep farmers on their farms earning living expenses, providing for emergency needs, and maintaining cash flow.”

The temporary suspension is in place until further notice and is expected to continue while the national COVID-19 disaster declaration is in place.

USDA’s Farm Service Agency provides several different loans for producers, which fall under two main categories:

  • Guaranteed loans are made and serviced by commercial lenders, such as banks, the Farm Credit System, credit unions and other non-traditional lenders. FSA guarantees the lender’s loan against loss, up to 95 percent.
  • Direct loans are made and serviced by FSA using funds from the federal government.

The most common loan types are Farm Ownership, Farm Operating, and Farm Storage Facility Loans, with Microloans for each:

  • Farm Ownership: Helps producers purchase or enlarge a farm or ranch, construct a new or improve an existing farm or ranch building, pay closing costs, and pay for soil and water conservation and protection.
  • Farm Operating: Helps producers purchase livestock and equipment and pay for minor real estate repairs and annual operating expenses.
  • Farm Storage Facility Loans are made directly to producers for the construction of cold or dry storage and includes handling equipment and mobile storage such as refrigerated trucks.
  • Microloans: Direct Farm Ownership, Operating Loans, and Farm Storage Facility Loans have a shortened application process and reduced paperwork designed to meet the needs of smaller, non-traditional, and niche-type operations.

Contact FSA

FSA encourages producers to contact their county office to discuss these programs and temporary changes to farm loan deadlines and the loan servicing options available. For Service Center contact information, visit farmers.gov/coronavirus. For servicing information, access farmers.gov.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender.

fsa.usda.gov

1935 – Iceland became the first country to introduce legalized abortion


By Lily Rothman

Satellite image of Iceland Planet Observer / Getty Images / Universal Images Group

Satellite image of Iceland

Ask the Internet which country was the first to legalize abortion and you’re likely to find some confusing answers, many of which point in one direction: Iceland.

It’s true that, 80 years ago, on Jan. 28 of 1935, Iceland’s “Law No. 38” declared that the mother’s health and “domestic conditions” may be taken into consideration when considering whether to permit doctors to perform an abortion. And, according to the 1977 book Abortion by Malcolm Potts, Peter Diggory and John Peel, that law stuck for decades.

However, there are a lot of caveats to that “first” label. For one thing, abortion spent centuries as neither illegal nor legal, before becoming formally legislated, which happened in the 19th century in many places. Iceland, then, was the first Western nation to create what we might now recognize as a common modern abortion legalization policy, with a set of conditions making the procedure not impossible but not entirely unregulated.

For more … time.com

History… January 28


521 – The Diet of Worms began, at which Protestant reformer Luther was declared an outlaw by the Roman Catholic church.

1547 – England’s King Henry VIII died. He was succeeded by his 9 year-old son, Edward VI.

1788 – The first British penal settlement was founded at Botany Bay.

1807 – London’s Pall Mall became the first street lit by gaslight.

1871 – France surrendered in the Franco-Prussian War.

1878 – The first telephone switchboard was installed in New Haven, CT.

1878 – “The Yale News” was published for the first time. It was the first, daily, collegiate newspaper in the U.S.

1902 – The Carnegie Institution was established in Washington, DC. It began with a gift of $10 million from Andrew Carnegie.

1909 – The United States ended direct control over Cuba.

1915 – The Coast Guard was created by an act of the U.S. Congress to fight contraband trade and aid distressed vessels at sea.

1916 – Louis D. Brandeis was appointed by President Wilson to the U.S. Supreme Court, becoming its first Jewish member.

1918 – The Bolsheviks occupied Helsinki, Finland.

1922 – The National Football League (NFL) franchise in Decatur, IL, transferred to Chicago. The team took the name Chicago Bears.

1935 – Iceland became the first country to introduce legalized abortion.

1945 – During World War II, Allied supplies began reaching China over the newly reopened Burma Road.

1957 – The Brooklyn Dodgers announced that circus clown Emmett Kelly had been hired to entertain fans at baseball games.

1958 – Roy Campanella (Brooklyn Dodgers) was seriously injured in an auto accident in New York. He would never return to play again.

1958 – Construction began on first private thorium-uranium nuclear reactor.

1965 – General Motors reported the biggest profit of any U.S. company in history.

1973 – CBS-TV debuted “Barnaby Jones.”

1980 – Six Americans who had fled the U.S. embassy in Tehran, Iran, on November 4, 1979, left Iran using false Canadian diplomatic passports. The Americans had been hidden at the Canadian embassy in Tehran.

1982 – Italian anti-terrorism forces rescued U.S. Brigadier General James L. Dozier. 42 days before he had been kidnapped by the Red Brigades.

1986 – The U.S. space shuttle Challenger exploded just after takeoff. All seven of its crewmembers were killed.

1994 – In Los Angeles, Superior Court Judge Stanley Weisberg declared a mistrial in the case of Lyle Menendez in the murder of his parents. Lyle, and his brother Erik, were both retried later and were found guilty. They were sentenced to life in prison without parole.

1997 – Clive Davis received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

1998 – In Manilla, Philippines, gunmen held at least 400 children and teachers for several hours at an elementary school.

1999 – Ford Motor Company announced the purchase of Sweden’s Volvo AB for $6.45 billion.

2002 – Toys R Us Inc. announced that it would be closing 27 Toys R Us stores and 37 Kids R Us stores in order to cut costs and boost operating profits.

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