Tag Archives: Chuck Schumer

Don’t let the “Undectectable Firearms Act” expire on 12/9/2013 …

Team –
If you or your family have ever visited an airport, courthouse, or even some hospitals and schools, you know that a metal detector can be the last line of defense between your loved ones and a criminal with a gun.

But on December 9th, a relatively obscure but important law that prohibits the sale or shipment of firearms not detectable by a walk-through metal detector is set to expire.

It’s called the Undetectable Firearms Act and in the age of 3D printers that can produce a gun made almost entirely of plastic, it’s imperative that Congress move to reauthorize the legislation.

With three weeks to go, time is running out. It’s important that you sign our petition urging the House and Senate leadership to bring the Act to a vote before it expires.

Add your name here:

In the past Republicans and Democrats have come together to renew the law by simple voice votes. Even the NRA has agreed not to oppose the bill.

We’re counting on Congress to reauthorize this responsible solution to reduce gun violence. If you make your voice heard, we’re sure they will.

All the best,

Gabby and Mark

living wages


It’s Time to Raise the Minimum Wage

The White House and Senate Democrats are zeroing in on a plan to raise the minimum wage, which has not increased in more than four years, to $10.10 per hour. The Senate is expected to take up the plan sometime “very soon,” according to Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY).

The renewed effort in Congress to increase the minimum wage comes afterimportant victories at the ballot box this past Tuesday.

ThinkProgress outlines five reasons why we should raise the minimum wage:

1. It would bring it in line with inflation: While the federal minimum wage isn’t indexed to inflation (unlike some state minimum wages) and hasn’t been raised in four years, if it had kept up with inflation since its peak in the 1960s it would be over $10 an hour. Many fast food workers have been calling for a $15 minimum wage — a rate that will soon go into effect in a small town in Washington state — which is more in line with what civil rights activists demanded in the 1960s.

2. It would boost the economy: While opponents of a minimum wage increase claim that it will hurt job growth, research points to the opposite. There is little evidence that it would hurt jobs, but it would very likely help businesses through increasing demand, lowering turnover, and boosting prices and would give the economy a big boost thanks to more money in people’s pockets to spend on purchases.

3. It would lift millions out of poverty: Full-time minimum wage workers earn just $14,500 a year, which for someone with two kids means living $3,000 below the poverty line. The wage isn’t enough to make rent in any state. Raising it to $10.10 an hour, on the other hand, would lift nearly 6 million people out of poverty.

4. It would be a big help for women and people of color: People of color make up 42 percent of minimum wage workers despite representing just 32 percent of the overall workforce, and women make up two-thirds of the country’s minimum wage workers despite being half of the population. Raising the wage to $10.10 an hour would lift 3.5 million people of color out of poverty and help close the gender wage gap.

5. Americans support it: A recent poll showed that 80 percent of Americans support raising the wage to $10.10 an hour, and that includes two-thirds of Republicans and nearly 80 percent of those making $100,000 or more. On Tuesday, voters approved minimum wage increases in New Jersey and a town in Washington and they also approved raises in the 2012 elections in three other cities. In fact, when given the opportunity, voters nearly always approve minimum wage raises by substantial majorities.

Raising the minimum wage it’s just good policy, it’s “a political goldmine.” The issue is very popular and cuts across party lines. In fact, it’s the perfect issue to help Democrats attract more white working class voters.

BOTTOM LINE: Raising the minimum wage will be a huge boost to our economy. More money in the pockets of workers means more customers for businesses large and small, which in turn leads to a virtuous cycle that creates jobs and grows the economy.

Going to cost them

Absolutely incredible!

Democrat Kathy Hochul has surged to a dead heat in a New York special election that could dramatically alter the political landscape in Washington. Ever since Republicans took the majority in the U.S. House, they’ve pushed a non-stop platform of unpopular and destructive ideas, like ending Medicare while preserving tax breaks for millionaires.

Kathy’s special election, in one of the reddest districts in the state this May 24th, is our first chance to show them how much it’s going to cost them. Let’s get her over the top.


Kathy is exactly who we need in Congress. She is a tireless fighter for jobs, someone who will always do right by middle class families in her district, and a strong leader who will stand up to the hard right.

Washington insiders and the media are closely watching this race. If Kathy can win a dramatic grassroots victory in this Republican stronghold, it would give Democrats the momentum in our fight to preserve Medicare and stop the Republicans’ reckless agenda.

That’s why hard right groups have just launched a smear campaign against her.


This race is winnable, but time is running short. We must keep TV ads on the air so Kathy can keep fighting back against the special interest-funded attacks.

With the eyes of the world watching, let’s show them exactly the kind of victory that grassroots Democrats are capable of.

Senator Chuck Schumer

BUDGET: Continuing Mis-Appropriation

The Progress Report

The battle over the 2011 federal budget has degenerated into a game in which Republicans move the parameters of negotiations in order to slash ever deeper into programs which aid middle-class Americans and others in need, while also targeting measures that support the economic recovery. So far, a series of continuing resolutions have provided temporary stop-gap funding, thus warding off a shutdown, but that option appears spent. On Tuesday, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) said, “Time is up here,” and that he would not support “a short-term CR without a long-term commitment.” The question of budget riders is also coming to a head, with Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) flatly refusing to allow Republican provisions that would defund health care reform and Planned Parenthood, among other programs. Meanwhile, Democrats offer increasing capitulations on the budget number, chasing the tail of Republican demands. The outlines of a possible deal have emerged, but if that falls through, then the threat of a government shutdown is waiting in the wings. Perhaps summing up the sentiments best, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) reassured nervous Republicans by bluntly asserting that, if they hold the line, “We’re gonna kick their ass.”

UNPOPULIST REVOLT: The strange saga of the 2011 budget began with a February proposal by the House Republicans to cut $32 billion relative to current spending levels. This fell short of the cuts originally demanded by the incoming freshman Tea Partiers, but at the time, even the Republican leadership did not have the stomach for such extreme reductions. Tea Party congressmen, apparently unfazed by whatever concerns were holding back their leadership, forced the Republicans to pass a budget, H.R. 1, a budget with $57 billion in cuts. In fact, the Tea Party stance has become so unforgiving that a strange good-cop-bad-cop split has emerged in which Eric Cantor has begun parroting the Tea Party line while John Boehner has presented the face of negotiation, attempting to work around the extremists in his own party. As for the Democrats, they understandably balked at the $57 billion figure, and along with the White House, have floated a compromise offer of approximately $30 billion in further cuts. But this does not appear sufficient to satisfy the Republicans’ far right. Nor has the Democrats’ proposal to expand the cuts beyond non-defense discretionary spending made much headway. One top Republican aide went so far as to state, “This debate has always been about discretionary spending — not autopilot ‘mandatory’ spending or tax hikes.”

BLEEDING THE MOST VULNERABLE: Republicans are singling out non-defense discretionary spending, which provides the most support to the middle-class. The cuts in the H.R. 1 slash funding for transportation infrastructure, workplace safety, regulation of commodity and energy speculation, and inspections for food, drugs, and consumer products. They also bite deeply into security for railroads, ports, subways and air travel, cut $1.3 billion from local law enforcement, reduce funds for drinking-water infrastructure, threaten to deny 9.4 million individuals Pell grants, and even cut the budget for programs to counter the international proliferation of nuclear weapons. As for the poor, a recent report by the poverty reduction campaign Half In Ten found within H.R. 1 a laundry list of assaults on our society’s most vulnerable members. They include: denying 10,000 low-income veterans housing vouchers and cutting off 218,000 low-income children from early learning opportunities provided by Head Start. Job training and other employment services for 8 million people are also eliminated, as are hundreds of millions of dollars for assistance to dislocated workers, career pathway grants for community colleges, low-income community development, FEMA’s emergency food and shelter funds, community health centers, prenatal and postnatal care for low-income women, and preventative health care for low-income families. And all this while corporate profits are near record highs, the richest fifth of Americans lay claim to half the nation’s income, and unemployment remains at 9 percent. In fact, Half In Ten’s report concluded the GOP‘s cuts could push the unemployment rate back up to 10 percent, Goldman Sachs economists predicted a 1.5 to 2 percentage point drop in economic growth, and Moody’s Mark Zandi predicted 400,000 fewer jobs by the end of 2011 if cuts were enacted.

THE AGONY AND THE IRONY: As of this writing, hints have emerged that negotiations between Republicans and Democrats may have reopened over the $30 billion figure, placing the budget right back where the Republicans had originally proposed. But even $30 billion in cuts would still deal a severe blow to the American economy, the middle-class and millions of the country’s least fortunate citizens — all while leaving intact enormously expensive tax cuts for the wealthy and tax expenditures which have allowed major American corporations to get away with paying to taxes at all. As such, even this “relatively” mild outcome would hurt too many Americans. A sound alternative put forward by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY), which would have attempted to reset the budget debates for 2011, 2012 and beyond by opening up other spending cuts and revenue increases as options, has been left on the cutting room floor. And in a bitter irony, the Democrats’ willingness to bend over backwards has thoroughly put the lie to what has been one of the Republicans’ main talking points: that if a shutdown does occur, it will be due to the Democrats’ intransigence.

Stop Fracking Now

I bet you’re wondering what the heck “fracking” is. That’s a good question.

Hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, is a controversial drilling technique used by the oil and gas industry that has injected millions of tons of highly toxic chemical fluids into the ground to break apart shale and release natural gas.

Scientists believe these chemicals are poisoning America’s drinking water.

That didn’t stop Vice President Dick Cheney from exempting fracking from the Safe Water Drinking Act in the 2005 Energy Bill or the natural gas industry from unleashing a massive 34-state drilling campaign.

Now, six years later, with the facts stacking up showing the damage being caused and the American lives being placed at risk, a few members of Congress are standing up to close the loophole and hold the oil and gas production industry to the same standards as any other industry to ensure the safe protection of America’s drinking water.

But they’ll need our help to win. Join us in calling on Congress to pass the FRAC Act now.

Representatives Diana DeGette, Jared Polis, and Maurice Hinchey have introduced the Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act in the U.S. House while Senators Bob Casey and Chuck Schumer have introduced the companion bill in the U.S. Senate.

In the past, the oil and gas industry has spent millions of dollars fighting against these common-sense regulations and have succeeded in defeating similar bills. This time, we’re not going to let Congress fight the industry alone.

That’s why Democracy for America is building a coalition of grassroots activists and environmental organizations to work together with leaders in Congress to pass the FRAC Act this year.

We’ll educate the public, expose scientific studies that reveal the real risks, hold rallies, meetings, public forums, and organize grassroots action until we win.

Please add your name and join the campaign to protect America’s drinking water right now.

It’s been reported that since 1999 more than 90 percent of the natural gas wells have used the fracking process. Because of the Safe Water Drinking Act exemption, industry is not required to reveal the exact chemicals used in fracking, but researchers in independent scientific studies suspect 65 percent of the compounds used in fracking are hazardous to human health.

It only takes low concentrations of benzene and diesel fuel, two compounds found in fracking studies, to lead to severe health and environmental consequences and illnesses traced to fracking have been documented in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Arkansas, Colorado, Wyoming, and Alabama.

As if that wasn’t enough to demand proper regulation and environmental oversight, a recent New York Times article revealed that the inability to properly process wastewater from fracking, may even be allowing radioactive materials into local rivers, streams, and drinking water.

The oil and gas industry is too big and too powerful for us to let members of Congress take them on alone. It’s up to us to stand with them, fight back, and make sure they have the support they’ll need to win.

Join the campaign at www.StopFrackingNow.com  today.

Thank you for everything you do.


Jim Dean, Chair

Democracy for America