FINALLY: Some Sensibility & Responsibility in Congress – HR 2775 Passed

10/16/2013

Shame on Congress

House Representatives finally took off the tin foil hats of the Tea Party Pirates and lo and behold they could finally think and see clearly.

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The sad thing is that President Obama asked Congress to pass a continuing resolution long ago but because of  Congress’ manufactured crisis  then waiting until the last minute to do their job properly the credibility of the USA has been scrutinized, which has cost the nation at least $24 billion,  the  people have had to suffer and President Obama had to cancel meetings with global leaders and thus lost opportunities to increase American trade with other countries .

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Now Congress needs to focus on:

* Passing  The “Continuing Appropriations Act 2014 ” HR 2775 which provides fiscal year 2014 appropriations for projects and activities of the Federal Government through Wednesday, January 15, 2014… to stop the shutdown of the US Government (UPDATE: 10/16/13 The Senate passes HR 2775, the House also passes the act and President Obama has signed into law the act). 

 . Highlights of HR 2775:

  • Shutdown: Workers return, agencies financed until Jan 15, 2014
  • Debt Ceiling: Authority to borrow money extended to Feb 7, 2014
  • Health Care Law: Dept of Health & Human Services must certify it can verify income eligibility of people seeking subsidies
  • Congress: No pay raise for members of Congress in 2014
  • Wildfires: Allocates $636 million for firefighting for the Interior Dept & the Forest Service
  • Kentucky: Increases to $2.9 billion the funding for dams on the Lower Ohio River.
  • Veterans: Sets aside $294 million for Veterans Affairs to reduce backlogs of benefit claims.
Source: AP & Washington Post

* Raise the debt ceiling (which simply means paying for debt already incurred)

* Pass bills to help the middle-class Americans

* Work on bills to invest funds in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) so that Americans can compete with the rest of the world 

 .TeaBagger Flag

Vote The Tea Party Pirates Out From Congress in Nov! 

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People's hopes and dreams are what matters

Because we’ve all got a lot of work to do on behalf of the American people – and that includes the hard work of regaining their trust.  Our system of self-government doesn’t function without it.  And now that the government is reopened, and this threat to our economy is removed, all of us need to stop focusing on the lobbyists, and the bloggers, and the talking heads on radio, and the professional activists who profit from conflict, and focus on what the majority of Americans sent us here to do – and that’s grow this economy, create good jobs, strengthen the middle class, lay the foundation for broad-based prosperity, and get our fiscal house in order for the long haul.

10/17/13 President Obama speaking on  reopening the Government 

President Obama’s plan to help rebuild America:

* Economy

* Education

* Energy & Environment

Health Care

Immigration

* Technology

* Veterans

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US Govt & Indigenous Peoples Timeline 1819-2014

10/10/2013

Native Alaskan head wareNative Hawaiian War HelmetNative American indian head ware

 1819 - Mar 3  Civilization Fund Act encouraged activities of benevolent societies in providing education for Native Americans and authorized an annuity to stimulate the “civilization process”
1820 - Protestant missionaries arrive to the Hawai’ian Kingdom
1824 - Mar 11  U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs Agency, established
1830  - May 28 Indian Removal Act of 1830 aka The Trail of Tears was the forced relocation and movement of Native American nations  (CherokeeMuscogee (Creek)SeminoleChickasaw, and Choctaw nations, among others) from southeastern parts of the United States.  Many suffered from exposure, disease, starvation and death.
1834 - Nonintercourse Act is the collective name given to six statutes passed by the United States Congress in 1790, 1793, 1796, 1799, 1802, and 1834. The Act regulates commerce between Native Americans and non-Indians.
1840 - The Constitution of The Hawai’ian Kingdom is formed
1843 – Hawai‘ian Kingdom’s independence recognized; Great Britain and France sign a reciprocal agreement in which both nations formally recognize the independence and sovereignty of the Hawaiian Kingdom.
1848 – Hawai’ian King Kamehameha III divides land; paves way for foreign ownership
1850 – Kingdom of Hawai‘i – U.S. treaty ratified 
1866 - Apr 9 Civil Rights Act of 1866 is a U.S. federal law declaring that everyone born(except certain Native Americans) in the U.S. and not subject to any foreign power is a citizen, without regard to race, color, or previous condition of slavery or involuntary servitude.
1867 - Aug 1  United States purchases Alaska from Russia
1882 – The U.S. Navy shells Alaska Native villages
1883 – President Chester Arthur visits the Shoshoni and Arapaho Indians in Wind River, Wyoming
1884 –  After military abuses, the U.S. establishes a government in Alaska
1885 - Major Crimes Act  places 7 major crimes under federal jurisdiction if they are committed by a Native American against another Native American in Native territory.
1887 - Dawes Act adopted by Congress, authorized the President of the US to survey Indian tribal land, divide it into allotments for individual Indians and opeining up any “excess land” for settlement by non-Indians, Hawaiian King Kalākaua was forced to sign the 1887 Constitution of the Kingdom of Hawaii, which stripped the king of much of his authority.
1887 – Jul 6 ‘Bayonet Constitution’ takes Kingdom of Hawaii’s Native’s rights
1890 – Businessmen plan for Hawai‘ian Kingdom’s annexation
1891 – Hawai‘ian Kingdom’s last monarch Queen Liliʻuokalani is crowned 
1893 – Businessmen call on U.S. military to invade Kingdom of Hawai‘i
1893 - Jan 17  Overthrow of the Hawai’ian Kingdom - local businessmen and politicians, composed primarily of American and European residents, overthrew the Queen Lili’uokalani, her cabinet and her marshal, and took over the government of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi
1896 – Hawai’ian language restricted
1898 – U.S. annexes Hawai‘i; seizes land; suppresses healers 
1898 - Curtis Act of 1898 an amendment to the United States Dawes Act that brought about the allotment process of lands of the Five Civilized Tribes of Indian Territory: the ChoctawChickasawMuscogeeCherokee, and SeminoleNelson Act of 1889  United States federal law intended to relocate all the Anishinaabe people in Minnesota to the White Earth Indian Reservation in the western part of the state, and to expropriate the vacated reservations for sale to European Americans.
1900 –  Native Hawaiians oppose U.S. annexation 
1905 – Native Hawai’ian healing practices are outlawed 
1906 - Burke Act designed to correct certain defects in the General Allotment Act (“GAA”), May 17 Alaska Native Allotment Act permitted individual Alaska Natives to acquire title to up to 160 acres, Former Indian reservations in Oklahoma The US Federal government broke up collective tribal landholdings through the allotment process before the establishment of Oklahoma as a state in 1907. Instead of reservations, Oklahoma Indian tribes have tribal jurisdictional areas, with Osage Nation being the one exception.
1907 - Mar 2  Lacey Act of 1907 revised federal Indian Law to provide for the allotment of tribal funds to certain classes of Indians.
1915 – Alaska Natives must renounce cultures to become citizens
1917 - Dec 18  Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act  the largest land claims settlement in US history was signed into law by President Richard M. Nixon
1919 - Nov 6  The Act of November 6, 1919, Indian who had fought with honorable discharge after World War I was also considered a citizen
1921 - Jul 9  Hawai’ian Homelands  the US federal government set aside as approximately 200,000 acres  in the Territory of Hawai’i as a land trust for homesteading by Native Hawai’ians.
 1923 -  President Warren Harding visits Indian Country in Alaska
1924 - Indian Citizenship Act of 1924 granted full U.S. citizenship to America’s indigenous peoples
1927 - President Calvin Coolidge visits the Oglala Lakota dancers at the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota
1928 - Meriam Report commissioned by the Institute for Government Research (IGR, better known later as the Brookings Institution) and funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. The IGR appointed Lewis Meriam as the technical director of the survey team, to compile information and report of the conditions of American Indians across the country
1934  - President Franklin D. Roosevelt  visited the Blackfeet Tribe, Montana, Apr 16  Johnson–O’Malley Act subsidize education, medical attention, and other services provided by states to Native Americans, especially those not living on reservations. It was effective only in Minnesota, Jun 18 The Indian Reorganization Act  sometimes known as the Indian New Deal, was U.S. federal legislation that secured certain rights to Native Americans (known in law as American Indians or Indians), including Alaska Natives.  These include actions that contributed to the reversal of the Dawes Act‘s privatization of communal holdings of American Indian tribes and a return to local self-government on a tribal basis. The Act also restored to Indians the management of their assets (being mainly land) and included provisions intended to create a sound economic foundation for the inhabitants of Indian reservations.
1936 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt  visited  The Cherokee Tribe, North Carolina, Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act a United States federal law that extended the 1934 Wheeler-Howard or Indian Reorganization Act to include those tribes within the boundaries of the state of Oklahoma.
1936 – Federal recognition extended to Alaska Native villages
1937 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt visited Quinault People, Washington State
1940 - Nationality Act of 1940 - Congress reaffirmed Native people’s citizenship
1941 – Hawai‘i under martial law; U.S. military takes sacred lands 
1944 – National Congress of American Indians established 
1945 – Alaska’s territorial legislature adopts Anti-Discrimination Act of 1945 
 1952 –  President Harry S. Truman  stopped over at the Fort Peck Reservation, Montana
1953 - Aug 1 House concurrent resolution 108 declared it to be the sense of Congress that it should be policy of the United States to abolish federal supervision over American Indian tribes as soon as possible and to subject the Indians to the same laws, privileges, and responsibilities as other US citizens, Aug 15  Public Law 280 (Pub.L. 83–280, August 15, 1953, codified as 18 U.S.C. § 116228 U.S.C. § 1360, and 25 U.S.C. §§ 13211326, is a federal law of the United States establishing “a method whereby States may assume jurisdiction over reservation Indians,” as stated in McClanahan v. Arizona State Tax Commission. 411 U.S. 164, 177 (1973).
1956 - Indian Relocation Act of 1956 - Public Law 959 or the Adult Vocational Training Program) was a United States law intended to encourage Native Americans in the United States to leave Indian reservations, acquire vocational skills, and assimilate into the general population.
1959 - Jan 3  Alaska becomes the 49th State of the United States of America, Aug 21 Hawai`i becomes the 50th State of the United States Of America
1968 - Indian Civil Rights Act (ICRA) in 1968, also called the Indian Bill of Rights, Native Americans were guaranteed many civil rights they had been fighting for’
1971 - Alaska Native Claims Settlement ActAmerican Indian Religious Freedom Act (ANCSA) was signed into law by President Richard M. Nixon on December 18, 1971, the largest land claims settlement in United States history
1972 – The Indian Education Act empowers parents; funds student programs
1972 Native Hawai’ian group calls for reparations from U.S. 
1973 - Dec 22  Menominee Restoration Act returned federally recognized sovereignty to the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin.
1975 - Jan 4  Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act of 1975 (Public Law 93-638) authorized the Secretaries of the Department of InteriorHealth, Education and Welfare and some other government agencies to enter into contracts with, and make grants directly to, federally recognized Indian tribes. The tribes would have authority for how they administered the funds, which gave them greater control over their welfare.
1976 - Tobeluk vs. Lind was a landmark case in Alaskan Native education. The 27 teenage plaintiffs brought suit against the State of Alaska, claiming that Native American boarding schools were discriminatory and unjust.
1978 - Aug 11 American Indian Religious Freedom Act Public Law No. 95-341, 92 Stat. 469, enacted to protect and preserve the traditional religious rights and cultural practices of American Indians,EskimosAleuts, and Native Hawai’ians., Sept 30 Rhode Island Claims Settlement Act  Aboriginal title claim, Nov 8  Indian Child Welfare Act (Pub.L. 95–608, 92 Stat. 3069, codified at 25 U.S.C. §§ 19011963.) is a Federal law that governs jurisdiction over the removal of Native American (Indian) children from their families.
1980 - Oct 10  Maine Indian Claims Settlement Act - Aboriginal title claim
1982 - Indian Claims Limitations Act The Indian Claims Limitations Act of 1982 (ICLA) is a United States federal statute of limitations that governs some types of claims by Native American tribes and claims by the federal government on behalf of tribes, Dec 31 Florida Indian (Miccosukee) Land Claims Settlement  - Aboriginal title claim
1983 - Oct 18  Connecticut Indian Land Claims Settlement  - Aboriginal title claim
1983 – U.S. denies responsibility for overthrow of Hawai’ian monarchy , First Gathering of Nations Pow-wow 
1985 –  President Ronald Reagan met with trival leaders in Albuquerque, New Mexico,
1986- Oct 27  Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians Supplementary Claims Settlement Act  - Aboriginal title claim
1987 - Aug 18  Massachusetts Indian Land Claims Settlement - Aboriginal title claim, Dec.31 Florida Indian (Seminole) Land Claims Settlement  - Aboriginal title claim
1988 - Aleut Restitution Act of 1988 a reparation settlement passed by the United States Congress in 1988, in response to the internment of Aleut people living in the Aleutian Islands during World War IIIndian Gaming Regulatory Act established the jurisdictional framework that governs Indian gaming
1989 - Jun 21  Washington Indian (Puyallup) Land Claims Settlement   - Aboriginal title claim
1990 - Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-644) is a truth-in-advertising law that prohibits misrepresentation in marketing of American Indian or Alaska Native arts and crafts products within the United States, Oct 30 - Native American Languages Act of 1990 Public Law 101-477 of 1990 gave historical importance as repudiating past policies of eradicating Indian Languages by declaring as policy that Native Americans were entitled to use their own languages., Nov 3 - Seneca Nation (New York) Land Claims Settlement  - Aboriginal title claim, Nov 16 - Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act  requires federal agencies and institutions that receive federal funding  to return Native American “cultural items” to lineal descendants and culturally affiliated Indian tribes and Native Hawai’ian organizations, Nov 26 - Aroostock Band of Micmacs Settlement Act - Aboriginal title claim
1993 - Nov 23  President Bill Clinton (D) signs legislation apologizing for the U.S. role in the 1893 overthrow of the Hawai’ian monarchy. The apology, known as the Apology Resolution , meant as a means of reconciliation with Native Hawai’ians, acknowledges the historic significance of the event—but the apology does not provide federal recognition to Native Hawai’ians as other federal laws provide to American Indian tribes, Nov 16 President Bill Clinton (D) signs The Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993,  Pub. L. No. 103-141, 107 Stat. 1488; the Supreme Court soon struck down RFRA as an unconstitutional exercise of Congressional powers in City of Boerne v. Flores
1994 - Oct 19  Mohegan Nation (Connecticut) Land Claims Settlement - Aboriginal title claim, Nov 2  Crow Boundary Settlement  - Aboriginal title claim
1996 - Oct 26  Native American Housing Assistance and Self-Determination Act of 1996 simplifed and reorganized the system of providing housing assistance to Native American communities to help improve the unsatisfactory conditions of infrastructure in Indian country. The legislation proposed to accomplish this reform by reducing the regulatory strictures that burdened tribes attempting to use their housing grants, and created a new program division of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that combined several previously used programs into one block grant program committed to the task of tribal housing.
1996 – U.S. Court recognizes land rights of Venetie Tribe of Neetsaii’ Gwich’in Indians 
1998 - Former Indian reservations in Oklahoma are the Indian reservations in the lands that are now the state of Oklahoma. Prior to statehood, both Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory contained suzerain Indian Nations that had legally established boundaries.
1998 – Supreme Court overturns Neetsaii’ Gwich’in tax levy
1999 -President Bill Clinton visits the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Montana
2000 - Nov 1  Santo Domingo Pueblo Claims Settlement - Aboriginal title claim, Dec 20 Native American Code Talkers Receive Congressional Gold Medal, Dec 27  Torres-Martinez Desert Cahiilla Indian Claims Settlement - Aboriginal title claim, President Bill Clinton visits the Navajo Nation in ShiprockNew Mexico
2002 - Dec 13  Cherokee, Choctaw, and Chickasaw Nation Claims Settlement  - Aboriginal title claim
2004 - Western Shoshone Claims Distribution Act of 2004 established the legal framework for the distribution of the “Western Shoshone Judgement Funds” stemming from docket 326-K before the Indian Claims Commission
2006- Esther Martinez Native American Languages Preservation Act Public Law No: 109-394,  It authorized funding for new programs for tribes to prevent the loss of heritage and culture, Sept 27 Pueblo De San Ildefonso Claims Settlement - Aboriginal title claim
2009 - Apr 30 U.S. Senate passed a resolution apologizing to all Native Peoples on behalf of the United States for a long history of official depredations and ill-conceived policies by the Federal Government regarding Indian tribes, May 8  President Barack Obama (D) signed a law repealing the Bennett Freeze section10(f) of Public Law 93-531, Nov 5  President Barack Obama hosts the first White House Tribal Nations Conference 
2010 - Mar 23 President Obama (D) signed into law the The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA),commonly called Obamacare  thus  making The Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA), the cornerstone legal authority for the provision of health care to American Indians and Alaska Natives permanent, Jul 29  Tribal Law and Order Act of 2010 signed into effect by President Obama (D) that expands the punitive abilities of tribal courts across the nation. The law allows tribal courts operating in Indian country to increase jail sentences handed down in criminal cases. This was a major step toward improving enforcement and justice in Indian country. Before this law, tribal courts were limited in the scope of punishment they could hand down in criminal cases, giving them the impression of a lower, less serious court. They now possess the power under the Tribal Law and Order Act to pass increased sentences in order to incarcerate defendants longer, Dec 8 President Obama (D)  signed into law the Claims Resolution Act which includes the Cobell, Keepseagle, and other settlement agreements, Dec 16 President Obama (D) endorses the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples2010 White House Tribal Nations Conference
2011 - Dec 2  White House Tribal Nations Conference
2012 - Dec 5  White House Tribal Nations Conference
2013 - Mar 5  Federal Agencies Announce Action Plan to Guide Protection of Indian Sacred Sites, Nov 8 Interior Expands Land Buy-Back Process Across Indian Country, Nov 13 –  White House Tribal Nations Conference, Nov 20  Native American Code Talkers Receive Congressional Gold Medal
 2014 – Jan 6 Native Language Immersion Student Achievement Act, S. 1948The legislation “would establish a grant program to fund Native language educational programs, May 28  Sandia Pueblo Settlement Technical Amendment Act is a bill that would transfer to the Sandia Pueblo of New Mexico some land from the United States Forest Service, provided that land remains an “open space in its natural state.”, Jun 8 Attorney General Eric Holder office consults with tribes to increase voting access for American Indians and Alaska Natives, Jun 13  President Obama visits the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Cannon Ball, North Dakota, Jun 18 Washington Redskins football team’s trademark registration for its nickname was canceled by a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office appeals board, Jun 18 The Interior Department issued a press release announcing it is taking “a first step to consider reestablishing a government-to-government relationship between the United States and the Native Hawaiian community
Source: Wikipedia, HawaiiHisotry.org, IndianCountryTodayMediaNetwork.comUSA.gov & WhiteHouse.gov

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Timeline by Region

List of Prominent Native Americans of the United States 

List of Prominent Native Hawaiians

Trace Indian Ancestry

Tribal Leaders Directory

Native American Tribes A-Z

 National Museum of the American Indian

US Department of the Interior: Indian Affairs

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Enough Posturing. Get Serious – #JustVote

10/08/2013

GOP SHOULD ACCEPT REALITY AND RESPONSIBILITY. ENOUGH TALK OF ELIMINATING OBAMACARE, IT’S THE LAW.  DO YOUR JOB & JUST VOTE!

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“As reckless as a government shutdown is, as many people as are being hurt by a government shutdown, an economic shutdown that results from default would be dramatically worse. In a government shutdown, Social Security checks still go out on time. In an economic shutdown, if we don’t raise the debt ceiling, they don’t go out on time.

In a government shutdown, disability benefits still arrive on time. In an economic shutdown, they don’t. In a government shutdown, millions of Americans — not just federal workers — everybody faces real economic hardship. In an economic shutdown, falling pensions and home values and rising interest rates on things like mortgages and student loans — all those things risk putting us back into a bad recession, which will affect this company and those workers and all of you. That’s not my analysis. That’s — every economist out there is saying the same thing. We’ve never done it before.

And the United States is the center of the world economy. So if we screw up, everybody gets screwed up. The whole world will have problems, which is why generally nobody has ever thought to actually threaten not to pay our bills. It would be the height of irresponsibility. And that’s why I’ve said this before — I’m going to repeat it: There will be no negotiations over this. The American people are not pawns in some political game. You don’t get to demand some ransom in exchange for keeping the government running. You don’t get to demand ransom in exchange for keeping the economy running. You don’t get to demand ransom for doing your most basic job.

And the sooner that the Republicans in Congress heed the warnings not just of me or Democrats like Chris and John, but heed the warnings of the Chamber of Commerce, and CEOs, and economists, and a whole lot of Republicans outside of Congress — they’re all saying, do not do this. They’re all saying to Congress, do your job; and the sooner you do your job, the less damage you’ll do to our economy and to businesses like this one.

So pass a budget, end the government shutdown. Pay our bills. Prevent an economic shutdown. Just vote and end this shutdown. And you should do it today so we can get back to growing this economy, creating jobs and strengthening our middle class.”

10/3/13 President Obama

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Day 7 - Boehner JUST VOTE

Boehner #JustVote_med

GOP’s New Strategy: Avert Default But Keep Government Shut

OCTOBER 10, 2013, 11:46 AM EDT1829 SAHIL KAPUR – tpm

Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced Thursday that the House will move forward with a six-week debt limit extension after pitching the idea to his Republican conference during a closed-door meeting.

The plan would sustain the government shutdown — now in its 10th day — while temporarily averting a catastrophic debt default by authorizing continued borrowing through Nov. 22. Conservative activists like Heritage Action’s chief and RedState blogger Erick Erickson paved the way for this plan this week by calling on the GOP to wage their fight against Obamacare on the government funding measure, rather than the debt ceiling.

“We’re going to offer legislation that will offer a temporary increase in the debt ceiling,” said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA), the No. 4 House Republican, after the meeting. “That will allow us some time to continue this conversation.”

The legislation hasn’t been finalized yet. It’s expected to omit unrelated policy measures and may include language about negotiating a long-term solution, according to one source. And the U.S. would not be permitted to take extraordinary measures to borrow after Nov. 22.

For more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/house-republicans-mull-short-term-debt-limit-hike

TELL BOEHNER  JUST VOTE ON A CLEAN CR !

Landline: (202) 225-0600

Twitter:  @SpeakerBoehner

Email: http://www.speaker.gov/contact

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(UPDATE: 10/16/13 The Senate passes HR 2775, the House also passes the act and President Obama has signed into law the act). 

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GOP Wants A Government Shutdown Costing Billions

09/25/2013
Tom Toles cartoon

Tom Toles editorial cartoon.

TeaBagger Flag

80 in House: Shutdown is better than ‘Obamacare’

8/22/13 CHARLES BABINGTON – AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — More than one-third of House Republicans are urging their leader to trigger a government shutdown rather than fund “Obamacare.”

Eighty Republicans on Thursday asked Speaker John Boehner (BAY’-nur) to resist any spending bills that would help implement the new health care law.

It’s virtually certain that President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats would reject such demands. A partial government shutdown probably would result.

With 80 of the House’s 233 Republicans signing the letter, a solid majority has refrained from trying to limit Boehner’s options. That presumably would allow him to push a bipartisan bill that funds the health law and is supported by a “majority of the majority” of his fellow Republicans. That’s a Boehner priority.

But Boehner would need more than 60 Democratic votes to pass such a bill.

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Shutdown Would Cost U.S. Economy $300 Million a Day, IHS Says

Sep 30, 2013 6:18 PM PT By Jeanna Smialek & Ian Katz – bloomberg

A partial shutdown of the federal government would cost the U.S. at least $300 million a day in lost economic output at the start, according to IHS Inc.

While that is a small fraction of the country’s $15.7 trillion economy, the daily impact of a shutdown is likely to accelerate if it continues as it depresses confidence and spending by businesses and consumers.

Lexington, Massachusetts-based IHS estimates that its forecast for 2.2 percent annualized growth in the fourth quarter will be reduced 0.2 percentage point in a weeklong shutdown. A 21-day closing like the one in 1995-96 would cut growth by 0.9 to 1.4 percentage point, according to Guy LeBas, chief fixed income strategist at Janney Montgomery Scott LLC in Philadelphia.

“Greater uncertainty will create hesitancy on the part of businesses to embark on new projects” and encourage consumers to save rather than spend, LeBas said in a research note. “An extended government shutdown has the potential to reverse a good portion of the Federal Reserve’s low-interest rate stimulus.”

The Fed on Sept. 18 unexpectedly refrained from reducing the $85 billion pace of bond purchases intended to boost growth, saying it needs more time to assess the economy’s progress. Federal Reserve Bank of New York President William C. Dudley said last week the budget showdown in Washington is among the risks to the outlook.

The U.S. government is poised at midnight for its first partial shutdown in 17 years. Republicans and Democrats remained at odds over whether to tie any changes to the 2010 Affordable Care Act to a short-term extension of government funding.

For more: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-01/shutdown-would-cost-u-s-economy-300-million-a-day-ihs-says.html

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Shutdown Report: How to Play Chicken and Lose

SEPTEMBER 18, 2013 ROBERT KUTTNER – AmericanProspect

In past budget showdowns, the GOP has forced Obama to blink first. Not this time.

Republicans are likely to incur serious political damage in their effort to hold hostage continued funding of the government in exchange for deep spending cuts. This routine has become an annual ritual, and in the past President Barack Obama has been the first one to cave. The 2011 Budget Control Act, which includes the automatic sequester, is one bitter fruit of the president’s past failure to hang tough in the face of Republican extremist demands.

But this time is different.

The Tea Party Republicans, who dominate the GOP House Caucus, are demanding that President Obama de-fund the Affordable Care Act in exchange for their willingness to fund ordinary government spending in the new fiscal year, which begins October 1. But they picked the wrong demand. In the past, Obama was willing to make deep cuts in federal spending in order to get a budget deal with Republicans. The Affordable Care Act, however, is a nonnegotiable for the president. It’s his personal crown jewel, the centerpiece of his legacy. For Tea Party Republicans, however, Obamacare is evil itself, and opposition to it is a loyalty test.

For more: http://prospect.org/article/shutdown-report-how-play-chicken-and-lose

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How Congress reached this point

Mon Sep 30, 2013 9:01 AM EDT By Steve Benen – maddowblog

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) appeared on “Face the Nation” yesterday and made clear that he’s confused about the federal budget process. Noting that the House and Senate have passed competing spending measures intended to keep the government’s lights on, the Republican senator asked, “Why don’t we have a conference committee on this?”

It fell to Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) to patiently try to explain the details Rand Paul must have missed: “We’ve been trying for more than six months to get Republicans to approve a conference committee on the budget.”

I mention this exchange because I imagine there are quite a few Americans wondering how in the world we ended up, once again, with the prospect of an imminent government shutdown. It’s worth taking a moment to remember that this crisis isn’t an accident — congressional Republicans created it on purpose several months ago.

In the early spring, both the House and Senate approved competing budget resolutions, and under the American system of government, both sides were supposed to go to a conference committee to hash out the differences. This year, Republicans refused. Consider this Washington Post piece from early May, which is all the more amazing nearly five months later.

[The shrinking deficit] might seem like good news, but it is unraveling Republican plans to force a budget deal before Congress takes its August break. Instead, the fiscal fight appears certain to bleed into the fall, when policymakers will face another multi-pronged crisis that pairs the need for a higher debt limit and the fresh risk of default with the threat of a full-scale government shutdown, which is also looming Oct. 1.

In the meantime, Republicans face a listless summer, with little appetite for compromise but no leverage to shape an agreement. Without that leverage, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Tuesday, there is no point in opening formal budget negotiations between the House and the Senate, because Democrats have no reason to consider the kind of far-reaching changes to Medicare and the U.S. tax code that Republicans see as fundamental building blocks of a deal.

This is critically important to understanding what’s happening on Capitol Hill right now. If the House and Senate had gone to a conference committee back in the spring to work out their budget differences, Republicans would have been expected to compromise to reach a broader agreement — but Republicans don’t want to compromise.

So they decided to abandon the budget process they themselves had asked for so they could do precisely what they’re doing now — use extortion instead of compromise to try to get what they want.

Continue reading this entry: http://maddowblog.msnbc.com/_news/2013/09/30/20756914-how-congress-reached-this-point?lite

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Shutdown of the Federal Government: Causes, Processes, and Effects
August 6, 2013
Clinton T. Brass, Coordinator
Specialist in Government Organization and Management

Summary

When federal agencies and programs lack appropriated funding, they experience a funding gap. Under the Antideficiency Act, they must cease operations, except in certain emergency situations or when law authorizes continued activity. Failure of the President and Congress to reach agreement on interim or full-year funding measures occasionally has caused government shutdowns, the longest of which lasted 21 days, from December 16, 1995, to January 6, 1996. Government shutdowns have necessitated furloughs of several hundred thousand federal employees, required cessation or reduction of many government activities, and affected numerous sectors of the economy. This report discusses the causes, processes, and effects of federal government shutdowns, including potential issues for Congress.

For the entire article: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL34680.pdf

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UPDATE:  GOP’s New Strategy: Avert Default But Keep Government Shut

OCTOBER 10, 2013, 11:46 AM EDT1829 SAHIL KAPUR – tpm

Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced Thursday that the House will move forward with a six-week debt limit extension after pitching the idea to his Republican conference during a closed-door meeting.

The plan would sustain the government shutdown — now in its 10th day — while temporarily averting a catastrophic debt default by authorizing continued borrowing through Nov. 22. Conservative activists like Heritage Action’s chief and RedState blogger Erick Erickson paved the way for this plan this week by calling on the GOP to wage their fight against Obamacare on the government funding measure, rather than the debt ceiling.

“We’re going to offer legislation that will offer a temporary increase in the debt ceiling,” said Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (WA), the No. 4 House Republican, after the meeting. “That will allow us some time to continue this conversation.”

The legislation hasn’t been finalized yet. It’s expected to omit unrelated policy measures and may include language about negotiating a long-term solution, according to one source. And the U.S. would not be permitted to take extraordinary measures to borrow after Nov. 22.

For more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/house-republicans-mull-short-term-debt-limit-hike

GOP Shutdown - democrats.org

Boehner #JustVote - lrgContact your legislator Contact your Congress person to TELL THEM TO START WORKING WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA TO HELP AMERICA’S RECOVERY!!

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(UPDATE: 10/16/13 The Senate passes HR 2775, the House also passes the act and President Obama has signed into law the act). 
Obama_Biden_thumbnail


Cutting Into The Bone

09/15/2013

Judges urge Congress to avoid more sequestration cuts

August 15, 2013 By Mark Sherman, washingtonpost

Top federal judges in 49 states are urging lawmakers to avoid another round of automatic spending cuts that they say would have a “devastating and long-lasting impact” on the federal courts.

The unusual letter from the chief judges of trial courts in every state but Nevada says that the $350 million reduction in the judiciary’s lower budget for this year has dramatically slowed court proceedings and jeopardized public safety. The judges say there are fewer probation and other law enforcement officers to deal with record numbers of convicts who have been released from prison or given alternative sentences.

The letter was sent this week to congressional leaders in both parties in the House and the Senate. Congress is not in session in August.

“We had to let people know that we’ve cut so far past the fat and so far past the muscle that we’re into the bone,” Chief Judge Loretta Preska of the U.S. District Court in Manhattan said Thursday.

For more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/judges-urge-congress-to-avoid-more-sequestration-cuts/2013/08/15/64c4c30c-05f4-11e3-a07f-49ddc7417125_story.html

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GOP_Elephant_WRONG_WAY_small

80 in House: Shutdown is better than ‘Obamacare’

8/22/13  CHARLES BABINGTON – AP

WASHINGTON (AP) — More than one-third of House Republicans are urging their leader to trigger a government shutdown rather than fund “Obamacare.”

Eighty Republicans on Thursday asked Speaker John Boehner (BAY’-nur) to resist any spending bills that would help implement the new health care law.

It’s virtually certain that President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats would reject such demands. A partial government shutdown probably would result.

With 80 of the House’s 233 Republicans signing the letter, a solid majority has refrained from trying to limit Boehner’s options. That presumably would allow him to push a bipartisan bill that funds the health law and is supported by a “majority of the majority” of his fellow Republicans. That’s a Boehner priority.

But Boehner would need more than 60 Democratic votes to pass such a bill.

GOP_Elephant_WRONG_WAY_small.

Farm Bill passes in House, without food stamp funding

July 11 at 3:40 pm By Ed O’Keefe – washingtonpost

House Republicans successfully passed a Farm Bill Thursday by splitting apart funding for food stamps from federal agricultural policy, a move that infuriated the White House and congressional Democrats who spent most of the day trying to delay a final vote.

Lawmakers voted 216 to 208 make changes to federal agricultural policy and conservation programs and end direct subsidy payments to farmers. But the measure says nothing about funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, which historically constitutes about 80 percent of the funding in a Farm Bill.

No House Democrat voted for the measure. Twelve Republicans also opposed it. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) voted in favor of it, even though speakers traditionally don’t vote.

The vote made clear that Republicans intend to make significant reductions in food stamp money and handed Republican leaders a much-needed victory three weeks after conservative lawmakers and rural state Democrats revolted and blocked the original version of the bill that included food stamp money.

For more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/07/11/house-republicans-drop-food-stamps-from-new-farm-bill/

=>  9/16/13 UPDATEHouse GOP moves forward with $40 billion cut to food stamps <=

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Obama threatens veto on farm bill

7/11/13 6:48 AM EDT By TAL KOPAN – POLITICO44

The White House late Wednesday night responded to a new farm bill posted by House Republicans, threatening to veto it in part over it not including food stamps.

The House Rules Committee held a hearing on the new version of the so-called farm bill, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, beginning at 9 p.m. on Wednesday night and posted the more-than 600 page bill not long thereafter, with a vote expected Thursday.

The White House statement decried the last-minute move in its veto threat late Wednesday, saying “because the 608 page bill was made available only this evening, the administration has had inadequate time to fully review the text of the bill. It is apparent, though, that the bill does not contain sufficient commodity and crop insurance reforms and does not invest in renewable energy, an important source of jobs and economic growth in rural communities across the country.”

The veto threat was widely expected because of the bill’s lack of renewal of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or food stamps, an amendment on which was a major sticking point in the failure of the House’s last attempt to pass the bill.

 

W.H. aides: Obama prepared for shutdown if necessary

9/12/13 6:17 PM EDT By EDWARD-ISAAC DOVERE – POLITICO44

White House aides went to the Hill Thursday morning to reassure House Democratic leaders that President Obama won’t give in on negotiations the debt ceiling and certainly not defunding Obamacare—even if that means a shutdown he really doesn’t want.

The meeting between House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders with White House deputy chief of staff Rob Nabors and director of legislative affairs Miguel Rodriguez was meant to get the minority conference on the same page as the White House ahead of what’s expected to be a brutal couple of weeks. But the meeting ended with one of the leaders’ biggest questions unanswered: Whether the president was prepared to actively use the bully pulpit to shield House Democrats from political blowback if everybody’s bluffs get called and a shutdown actually happens.

Nabors said he was aware that they’d need the president’s active rhetorical support to keep the advantage over the Republicans. But he didn’t promise them they’d get it.

Asked about the meeting, a White House official said the focus of the meeting wasn’t about a shutdown or not. The president’s fine with signing a continuing resolution, free of extraneous conditions, that would buy Congress some more time to work out a deal, the official said, but Nabors and Rodriguez “made clear that there is absolutely no negotiating over the debt limit, and any delay or defunding of ACA is unacceptable.”

Republican leaders have largely backed away from shutdown threats, though White House press secretary Jay Carney was still goading them from the podium Thursday.

“The leaders in Congress of the Republican Party have made clear that they understand that allowing a shutdown would inflict harm on the economy and I think cause political problems for them,” Carney said. “And I assume that the combination of those two incentives would compel them to come up with a solution, so that we can fund the government responsibly, and not engage in these games that inflict unnecessary wounds on our economy.”

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The Five Year Anniversary of the Financial Crisis: A Look Back at the Progress We’ve Made

Amy Brundage September 15, 2013 09:41 PM EDT

Five years ago this week, a financial crisis unlike any in generations rocked Wall Street, turning a recession that was already hammering Main Street into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. In the months before President Obama took office, the economy was shrinking at a rate of over 8%, businesses were shedding 800,000 jobs a month, lending to families and small businesses dried up, and the American auto industry was on the brink of collapse.

Upon taking office, Obama acted with unprecedented speed to respond to the crisis and its impact on American families – taking actions to stabilize the financial system, rescue the auto industry, and boost the economy by providing tax relief to working families and keeping teachers and first responders on the job. Within six months, he had signed the Recovery Act into law, announced a framework for a new financial stability plan and implemented its key elements, and taken action to support GM and Chrysler while requiring the companies to retool. Now, on the five-year anniversary of the crisis, the Administration has prepared a report that describes 15 key elements of the response to the financial crisis and where we find ourselves today.
For example, it shows that:

· Contrary to Initial Expectations, the Response to the Financial Crisis Is Expected to Yield A Return to the Taxpayer

· Treasury Has More Than Recovered Its Investments in Banks and AIG

· The Stress Tests – A Signature Element of the Response – Has Built Confidence in the Banking System Without Putting New Taxpayer Funds at Risk

· The Auto Industry Is Recovering

· The Housing Market Is Coming Back
READ MORE: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/09/15/five-year-anniversary-financial-crisis

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The Employment Situation in August

Posted by Jason Furman on September 06, 2013 at 09:50 AM EDT
Over the last four years, we’ve cleared away the rubble from the financial crisis and begun to lay a new foundation for stronger, more durable economic growth. With continued solid job gains, today’s employment report is another sign of progress, but we must continue to pursue policies that move our economy forward and restore middle class security.

FIVE KEY POINTS IN TODAY’S REPORT FROM THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS

1. Private sector employment has risen for 42 consecutive months, with businesses adding a total of 7.5 million jobs over that period. Today we learned that total non-farm payroll employment rose by 169,000 in August, with the private sector accounting for 152,000 of that gain. Private sector job growth was revised down for June (to 194,000) and July (to 127,000), so that over the past three months, private sector employment has risen by an average of 158,000 per month. The monthly change is shown below.

wh_jan2008-august2013_private-sector-job-growth

2. The overall unemployment rate ticked down 0.1 percentage point to 7.3 percent, the lowest since December 2008, with long-term unemployment remaining elevated. Although the unemployment rate remains too high, it has been trending down steadily since late 2009. The lingering elevation in the unemployment rate primarily reflects a large number of long-term unemployed (those unemployed for more than 27 weeks), while the share of the labor force that has been unemployed for less than 27 weeks has mostly returned to its average during the 2001-07 expansion period. That’s why the administration continues to push for measures to spur job creation now and put the long term unemployed back to work.

wh_jan2008_august2013_unemployment-rate

3. The economy has been consistently adding jobs at a pace of more than 2 million per year. Over the twelve months ending August 2013, total non-farm payroll employment rose by 2.2 million, similar to the gain in the year-earlier period. While the month-to-month figures can be volatile, the year-over-year changes indicate that the recovery has been durable in the face of several headwinds that have emerged in recent years. The separate household survey is more volatile month-to-month, but over a longer period, it tells the same story. When adjusted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics to be comparable to the concept of employment used in the payroll measure, household employment has risen by 2.4 million over the twelve months ending August 2013.

wh_jan2008-august2013-over-employment-change

4. CEA estimates that if state and local government employment had held steady during the recovery, the unemployment rate would currently be below 7 percent. Unlike previous recoveries in which state and local government employment- like teachers, fire fighters and first responders– expanded, public payrolls have declined in the current recovery (see chart). During the current 42-month consecutive streak of increasing private sector employment, state and local government employment has fallen by 507,000, including the loss of 267,000 education positions.

wh_august2013_state-and-local-government

5. The number of persons working part-time for involuntary “economic reasons” has fallen by 152,000 over the past twelve months. Budget cuts due to sequestration led to an increase of 77,000 in the number of federal government employees at work part-time for economic reasons, so the number of persons part-time for economic reasons in private sector and non-federal government positions is down by an even larger 229,000 (see chart, based on not seasonally adjusted data). Measures of part-time employment can be volatile month-to-month, but the seasonally-adjusted 334,000 drop in persons working part-time for economic reasons in August almost entirely reversed the increase over the preceding two months.

” Incoming economic data broadly suggest that the recovery continues to make progress. It is therefore essential that policymakers avoid “self-inflicted wounds” that could derail the recovery and stay focused on policies that will help sustain and boost the pace of job creation.”

For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/09/06/employment-situation-august

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Learn About President Obama’s plan for Growing Our Economy, US Job Creation, Reform & Fiscal Responsibility, Supporting The Middle Class and Supporting US Businesses: http://www.whitehouse.gov/economy

Contact your legislator Contact your Congress person to TELL THEM TO START WORKING WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA TO HELP AMERICA’S RECOVERY!!

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U.S. Representatives
Tweet a Message to Your Representatives

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US Supreme Court Reviews Prop 8 & DOMA Cases

03/24/2013

Rainbow_flag_and_blue_skies

“It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. (Applause.) Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law –- (applause) — for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. (Applause.) Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. (Applause.) Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity — (applause) — until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. (Applause.) Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia, to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm.

That is our generation’s task — to make these words, these rights, these values of life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness real for every American. Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life. It does not mean we all define liberty in exactly the same way or follow the same precise path to happiness. Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time, but it does require us to act in our time. (Applause.) “

1/21/13 President Barack Obama

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Obama administration urges U.S. Supreme Court to strike down DOMA

‘Gay and lesbian people have been subject to a significant history of discrimination in this country’

February 22, 2013 lgbtqnation Staff Reports

The Obama administration on Friday filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing why it considers the federal Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional.

Filed in United States v. Windsor, a case challenging Section 3 of DOMA, the administration said “gay and lesbian people have been subject to a significant history of discrimination in this country,” and argued that laws targeting individuals based on their sexual orientation should face additional scrutiny by courts reviewing them.

In the brief, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli asked the court to uphold a federal appeals court ruling that found DOMA to be unconstitutional:

Section 3 of DOMA violates the fundamental constitutional guarantee of equal protection. The law denies to tens of thousands of same-sex couples who are legally married under state law an array of important federal benefits that are available to legally married opposite-sex couples. Because this discrimination cannot be justified as substantially furthering any important governmental interest, Section 3 is unconstitutional.

This case deals with Edith Windsor, who was forced to pay $363,000 in estate taxes in 2009 upon the death of her spouse, Thea Spyer. The two had lived as a couple for 44 years and married in Canada in 2007. Because her decades-long partner was a woman, the federal government did not recognize the same-sex marriage in legal terms, even though their home state of New York did.

Section 3 of DOMA, which bars legally married same-sex couples from any federal benefits or programs based on marriage, has been found unconstitutional in eight federal courts, including the First and Second Circuit Court of Appeals, on issues including bankruptcy, public employee benefits, estate taxes, and immigration.

The brief also mentions Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage, and similar measures in other states as evidence of continued discrimination against gays and lesbians.

For more: http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2013/02/obama-administration-urges-u-s-surpeme-court-to-strike-down-doma/

PBO Strive for Complete Equality for LGBT

SCOTUS allows Obama administration to participate in Prop. 8 oral arguments

3/15/13 By DONOVAN SLACK – POLITICO44

The Supreme Court on Friday granted permission to the Obama administration to participate in oral arguments in the Proposition 8 case.

After President Obama had said he was cautious about intervening in the case seeking to strike down California’s gay-marriage ban, the administration ultimately filed a friend-of-the-court brief last month urging the court to strike down the ban and asking for 10 minutes to argue its case.

Oral arguments in the case are scheduled March 26.

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March 26 – Supreme Court reviews CA’s Prop 8

9:00 AM ET
United for Marriage
Proponents of marriage equality gather at the Supreme Court as it considers the first of two cases involving the rights individuals to enter into same-sex marriages.

March 27 – Supreme Court reviews “Defense of Marriage Act

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High court strikes down federal marriage provision

6/26/13 By MARK SHERMAN | Associated Press – 3 mins 4 secs ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that legally married same-sex couples should get the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples.

The court invalidated a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that has prevented married gay couples from receiving a range of tax, health and retirement benefits that are generally available to married people. The vote was 5-4.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion.

Same-sex marriage has been adopted by 12 states and the District of Columbia. Another 18,000 couples were married in California during a brief period when same-sex unions were legal there.

The court has yet to release its decision on California’s ban on same-sex marriage.

“Under DOMA, same-sex married couples have their lives burdened, by reason of government decree, in visible and public ways,” Kennedy said.

“DOMA’s principal effect is to identify a subset of state-sanctioned marriages and make them unequal,” he said.

He was joined by the court’s four liberal justices.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.

For more: http://news.yahoo.com/high-court-strikes-down-federal-marriage-provision-140557846.html

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Rainbow spectrum

Obama Administration Works Quickly to Fully Implement the Court’s Decision
6/26/13 U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the US will give visa applications of gay and lesbian spouses in the same manner as heterosexual couples.
6/28/13 US Office of Personnel Management extends federal rights and benefits to married gay and lesbian federal employees and their families
8/29/13 Treasury and IRS Announce That All Legal Same-Sex Marriages Will Be Recognized For Federal Tax Purposes 
8/29/13 Social Security Announces the Processing of claims for same-sex couples
 9/23/13 First WH Bi Conference
9/24/13 Pres Obama’s nominee Todd Hughes, become the nation’s first openly gay federal appeals judge
10/31/13 Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel  directed the chief of the National Guard Bureau to meet with the adjutants general of nine [of the remaining] states [not in compliance] to resolve the issue of those states denying ID cards to same-sex spouses at National Guard facilities,
 1/10/14 Attorney General Eric Holder recognizes the marriages of more than 1,000 same-sex couples in Utah that took place before the Supreme Court put those unions on hold
3/14/14 President Obama’s Judge Staci Michelle Yandle, an openly gay African-American woman, to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois
6/19/14 President Obama’s nominee Judith Ellen Levy was confirmed by the Senate as the first openly lesbian federal judge in Michigan
6/19/14 President Obama’s nominee Darrin P. Gayles becomes the first black, openly gay male judge was appointed to District Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
6/20/14 President Obama announces a rule that makes legally married same-sex couples eligible for benefits under the Family and Medical Leave Act in all 50 states

 

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 White House – LGBT

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Equality

02/28/2013

equality  .|iˈkwälitē| . noun

the state of being equal, esp. in status, rights, and opportunities.

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In 1776 equality was one of the key ideals in the Declaration of Independence that was promised to every American.

But that equality was restricted to white, males.  What followed was the fight for women’s rights, for civil rights and now for equality for our LGBT Americans.

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Woman_suffrage_procession_March_3,_1913

The Woman Suffrage Parade of 1913 was a march down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C. on March 3, 1913, organized by the suffragist Alice Paul for the National American Woman Suffrage Association. The march was scheduled on the day before President Woodrow Wilson‘s inauguration to “march in a spirit of protest against the present political organization of society, from which women are excluded”, as the official program stated.

The march and the attention it attracted were important in advancing women’s suffrage in the United States.

For more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woman_Suffrage_Parade_of_1913

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MARCHING FOR THE VOTE: REMEMBERING THE WOMAN SUFFRAGE PARADE OF 1913

Sheridan Harvey

MOB HURTS 300 SUFFRAGISTS AT CAPITAL PARADE

“There would be nothing like this happen if you would stay at home.”

On Monday, March 3, 1913, clad in a white cape astride a white horse, lawyer Inez Milholland led the great woman suffrage parade down Pennsylvania Avenue in the nation’s capital. Behind her stretched a long line with nine bands, four mounted brigades, three heralds, about twenty-four floats, and more than 5,000 marchers.

Women from countries that had enfranchised women held the place of honor in the first section of the procession [picture]. Then came the “Pioneers” who had been struggling for so many decades to secure women’s right to vote. The next sections celebrated working women, who were grouped by occupation and wearing appropriate garb—nurses in uniform [picture], women farmers, homemakers, women doctors and pharmacists, actresses, librarians, college women in academic gowns. Harriet Hifton of the Library of Congress Copyright Division led the librarians’ contingent. The state delegations followed, and finally the separate section for male supporters of women’s suffrage. All had come from around the country to “march in a spirit of protest against the present political organization of society, from which women are excluded.”

The procession began late, but all went well for the first few blocks [picture]. Soon, however, the crowds, mostly men in town for the following day’s inauguration of Woodrow Wilson, surged into the street making it almost impossible for the marchers to pass [picture]. Occasionally only a single file could move forward. Women were jeered, tripped, grabbed, shoved, and many heard “indecent epithets” and “barnyard conversation.”5 Instead of protecting the parade, the police “seemed to enjoy all the ribald jokes and laughter and part participated in them.”6 One policeman explained that they should stay at home where they belonged. The men in the procession heard shouts of “Henpecko” and “Where are your skirts?” As one witness explained, “There was a sort of spirit of levity connected with the crowd. They did not regard the affair very seriously.”

For more: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/awhhtml/aw01e/aw01e.html

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100 years after suffrage march, activists walk in tradition of Inez Milholland

Wednesday, February 27, 6:20 PM By Lonnae O’Neal Parker – washingtonpost

At the 100th anniversary of Washington’s Women’s Suffrage Parade on Sunday, participants will march in the bold tradition of suffragette Inez Milholland — even if they, and most of America, have never heard of her. Of all the images and people invoked during this centennial celebration, perhaps the least remembered is the one woman said to have died for the cause.

Milholland, 27, sitting astride a white horse, in white, flowing, Joan of Arc robes is the most iconic image of that 1913 march. When she died three years later, she was hailed as a martyr of the women’s suffrage movement. That she is barely remembered today is part of the challenge and frustration for those who advocate for greater attention to women’s history and for those trying to build a national women’s history museum on the Mall.

The march, sponsored by Delta Sigma Theta sorority and including the National Women’s History Museum, the Sewall-Belmont House Museum and the National Organization for Women, retraces the original 5,000-person march down Pennsylvania Avenue. It will feature women in period costumes and focus broadly on women’s equality.

For more: http://goo.gl/1trK9

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Rainbow_flag_and_blue_skies

“It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. (Applause.) Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law –- (applause) — for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. (Applause.) Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. (Applause.) Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity — (applause) — until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. (Applause.) Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia, to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for and cherished and always safe from harm.

That is our generation’s task — to make these words, these rights, these values of life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness real for every American. Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life. It does not mean we all define liberty in exactly the same way or follow the same precise path to happiness. Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time, but it does require us to act in our time. (Applause.) “

1/21/13 President Barack Obama

Obama administration urges U.S. Supreme Court to strike down DOMA

‘Gay and lesbian people have been subject to a significant history of discrimination in this country’

February 22, 2013 lgbtqnation Staff Reports

The Obama administration on Friday filed a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, arguing why it considers the federal Defense of Marriage Act to be unconstitutional.

Filed in United States v. Windsor, a case challenging Section 3 of DOMA, the administration said “gay and lesbian people have been subject to a significant history of discrimination in this country,” and argued that laws targeting individuals based on their sexual orientation should face additional scrutiny by courts reviewing them.

In the brief, Solicitor General Donald Verrilli asked the court to uphold a federal appeals court ruling that found DOMA to be unconstitutional:

Section 3 of DOMA violates the fundamental constitutional guarantee of equal protection. The law denies to tens of thousands of same-sex couples who are legally married under state law an array of important federal benefits that are available to legally married opposite-sex couples. Because this discrimination cannot be justified as substantially furthering any important governmental interest, Section 3 is unconstitutional.

This case deals with Edith Windsor, who was forced to pay $363,000 in estate taxes in 2009 upon the death of her spouse, Thea Spyer. The two had lived as a couple for 44 years and married in Canada in 2007. Because her decades-long partner was a woman, the federal government did not recognize the same-sex marriage in legal terms, even though their home state of New York did.

Section 3 of DOMA, which bars legally married same-sex couples from any federal benefits or programs based on marriage, has been found unconstitutional in eight federal courts, including the First and Second Circuit Court of Appeals, on issues including bankruptcy, public employee benefits, estate taxes, and immigration.

The brief also mentions Proposition 8, California’s ban on same-sex marriage, and similar measures in other states as evidence of continued discrimination against gays and lesbians.

For more: http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2013/02/obama-administration-urges-u-s-surpeme-court-to-strike-down-doma/

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High court strikes down federal marriage provision

6/26/13 By MARK SHERMAN | Associated Press – 3 mins 4 secs ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that legally married same-sex couples should get the same federal benefits as heterosexual couples.

The court invalidated a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that has prevented married gay couples from receiving a range of tax, health and retirement benefits that are generally available to married people. The vote was 5-4.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion.

Same-sex marriage has been adopted by 12 states and the District of Columbia. Another 18,000 couples were married in California during a brief period when same-sex unions were legal there.

The court has yet to release its decision on California’s ban on same-sex marriage.

“Under DOMA, same-sex married couples have their lives burdened, by reason of government decree, in visible and public ways,” Kennedy said.

“DOMA’s principal effect is to identify a subset of state-sanctioned marriages and make them unequal,” he said.

He was joined by the court’s four liberal justices.

Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Samuel Alito, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas dissented.

For more: http://news.yahoo.com/high-court-strikes-down-federal-marriage-provision-140557846.html

.Rainbow spectrum

Obama Administration Works Quickly to Fully Implement the Court’s Decision
6/26/13 U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the US will give visa applications of gay and lesbian spouses in the same manner as heterosexual couples.
6/28/13 US Office of Personnel Management extends federal rights and benefits to married gay and lesbian federal employees and their families
8/29/13 Treasury and IRS Announce That All Legal Same-Sex Marriages Will Be Recognized For Federal Tax Purposes 
8/29/13 Social Security Announces the Processing of claims for same-sex couples

Forward For Equality_sml


3/1/13 Sequestration Occurring Very High

02/22/2013

Greenspan: Odds of Sequester ‘Very High’

February 18, 2013 By Jon Street – cnsnews

(CNSNews.com) Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said he thinks the odds of sequestration occurring are “very high” while adding that it’s “very difficult” to think through a scenario in which across-the-board, dramatic government spending cuts, also known as the sequester, will not happen.

Greenspan called sequestration a “pretty much expected” event while concluding that if the stock markets can hold up through it, the effect would be “rather minor.”

During a CNBC interview on Friday, Greenspan was asked, “If [sequestration] does, in fact, take effect on March 1 and those spending cuts take place, what kind of an impact would you expect on the broad economy?”

Greenspan responded, “Well, I think the odds of it occurring are very high. In fact, and I find it very difficult to even think through a scenario in which it doesn’t happen. The effect is not going to be horrendous, but it’s going to be marked.”

“At the moment, I think the critical issue is how does it affect the stock market, and he reason for that is the stock market is the really key player in the game of economic growth at the moment, because there are two factors about stock prices, which I think, are important to understand. The first is that the so-called equity premium that is, the rate of return that equity is required is a very high number – close to the highest number probably in American history,” he said.

For more: http://cnsnews.com/news/article/greenspan-odds-sequester-very-high

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I don’t understand the Republican position on the sequester

2/25/13 Posted by Ezra Klein on February 25, 2013 at 2:13 pm

As I understand it, the GOP has five basic goals in the budget talks:

1) Cut the deficit.
2) Cut entitlement spending.
3) Protect defense spending, and possibly even increase it.
4) Simplify the tax code by cleaning out deductions and loopholes.
5) Lower tax rates.

The White House is willing to cut a deal with Republicans that will accomplish 1, 2, 3 and 4. But Republicans don’t want that deal. They’d prefer the sequester to that deal. That means they will get less on 1, basically nothing 2, 4, and 5, and they will actively hurt themselves on 3. So, rather than accomplishing four of their five goals, they’re accomplishing part of one. Some trade.

I’ve asked some Republicans sources to explain their thinking to me. But none of the answers quite seems to add up.

For more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/02/25/i-dont-understand-the-republican-position-on-the-sequester/

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A Balanced Plan to Avert the Sequester and Reduce the Deficit


President Obama believes that our guiding focus must be growing the economy and strengthening the middle class. That’s his North Star, and it’s why he won’t accept cuts that force the middle class to bear the burden of deficit reduction.

The President has put forward a specific plan that will avoid sequestration’s harmful budget cuts and reduce the deficit in a balanced way — by cutting spending, finding savings in entitlement programs and closing tax loopholes.

Both parties have already come together to cut the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion and today the deficit is coming down at the fastest pace since then end of World War II.

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President Obama’s plan builds on this progress and would cut the deficit by another $1.5 trillion, bringing it below its historic average.

Learn More: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/02/21/balanced-plan-avert-sequester-and-reduce-deficit

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A Balanced Plan to Avert the Sequester and Reduce the Deficit

Jennifer Palmieri February 21, 2013  01:10 PM EST

In eight days, harmful automatic cuts are slated to take effect, threatening hundreds of thousands of jobs, and cutting vital services for children, seniors, people with mental illness and our men and women in uniform.

Only Congress can avoid this self-inflicted wound to our economy and middle class families, and the only thing standing in the way of a solution today is Congressional Republicans’ refusal to even consider closing tax loopholes that benefit wealthy Americans and well-connected corporations. The President and Congressional Democrats have put forward solutions to avoid these cuts and allow time for both sides to work on a long-term, balanced solution to our deficit challenges.

The President is serious about cutting spending, reforming entitlements and the tax code to reduce the deficit in a balanced way.  The question is, will Congressional Republicans come to the table to get something done?

Let’s take a moment to look what we’ve done so far: The President has already reduced the deficit by over $2.5 trillion, cutting spending by over $1.4 trillion, bringing domestic discretionary spending to its lowest level as a share of the economy since the Eisenhower era [see below]. As a result of these savings, together with a strengthening economy, the deficit is coming down at the fastest pace of anytime in American history other than the demobilization from World War II.

And he’s laid out a specific plan to do more. His proposal resolves the sequester and reduces our deficit by over $4 trillion dollars in a balanced way- by cutting spending, finding savings in entitlement programs and asking the wealthiest to pay their fair share.As a result the deficit would be cut below its historic average and the debt would fall as a share of the economy over the next decade.  Just two months ago Speaker Boehner said there was $800 billion in deficit reduction that could be achieved by only closing loopholes and reducing tax expenditures.  So we know we can get this done. Let’s be clear: the President’s proposal to Speaker Boehner is still on the table. Here it is again

We can’t just cut our way to prosperity. Even as we look for ways to reduce deficits over the long term, we must grow the economy in a way that strengthens the middle class and everyone willing to work hard to get into it.

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For more: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/02/21/balanced-plan-avert-sequester-and-reduce-deficit-balanced-way

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“Congress might allow a series of automatic, severe budget cuts to take place that will do the exact opposite. It won’t help the economy, won’t create jobs, will visit hardship on a whole lot of people.

Here’s what’s at stake. Over the last few years, both parties have worked together to reduce our deficits by more than $2.5 trillion. More than two-thirds of that was through some pretty tough spending cuts. The rest of it was through raising taxes — tax rates on the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans. And together, when you take the spending cuts and the increased tax rates on the top 1 percent, it puts us more than halfway towards the goal of $4 trillion in deficit reduction that economists say we need to stabilize our finances.

Now, Congress, back in 2011, also passed a law saying that if both parties couldn’t agree on a plan to reach that $4 trillion goal, about a trillion dollars of additional, arbitrary budget cuts would start to take effect this year. And by the way, the whole design of these arbitrary cuts was to make them so unattractive and unappealing that Democrats and Republicans would actually get together and find a good compromise of sensible cuts as well as closing tax loopholes and so forth. And so this was all designed to say we can’t do these bad cuts; let’s do something smarter. That was the whole point of this so-called sequestration.

Unfortunately, Congress didn’t compromise. They haven’t come together and done their jobs, and so as a consequence, we’ve got these automatic, brutal spending cuts that are poised to happen next Friday.

Now, if Congress allows this meat-cleaver approach to take place, it will jeopardize our military readiness; it will eviscerate job-creating investments in education and energy and medical research. It won’t consider whether we’re cutting some bloated program that has outlived its usefulness, or a vital service that Americans depend on every single day. It doesn’t make those distinctions.”

President Obama February 19, 2013 

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White House’s state-by-state reports (.pdf) of sequester damage

1. Alabama     2. Alaska     3. Arizona      4. Arkansas

5. California      6. Colorado     7. Connecticut

8. Delaware     9. District of Columbia     10. Florida

11. Georgia      12. Hawaii      13. Idaho

14. Illinois       15. Indiana      16. Iowa

17. Kansas      18. Kentucky       19. Louisiana

20. Maine     21. Maryland     22. Massachusetts

23. Michigan     24. Minnesota      25. Mississippi

26. Missouri     27. Montana     28. Nebraska

29. Nevada     30. New Hampshire     31. New Jersey

32. New Mexico     33. New York     34. North Carolina

35. North Dakota     36. Ohio      37. Oklahoma

38. Oregon     39. Pennsylvania     40. Rhode Island

41. South Carolina     42. South Dakota

43. Tennessee      44. Texas      45. Utah

46. Vermont     47. Virginia      48. Washington

49. West Virginia     50. Wisconsin     51. Wyoming

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Judges urge Congress to avoid more sequestration cuts

August 15, 2013 By Mark Sherman, washingtonpost

Top federal judges in 49 states are urging lawmakers to avoid another round of automatic spending cuts that they say would have a “devastating and long-lasting impact” on the federal courts.

The unusual letter from the chief judges of trial courts in every state but Nevada says that the $350 million reduction in the judiciary’s lower budget for this year has dramatically slowed court proceedings and jeopardized public safety. The judges say there are fewer probation and other law enforcement officers to deal with record numbers of convicts who have been released from prison or given alternative sentences.

The letter was sent this week to congressional leaders in both parties in the House and the Senate. Congress is not in session in August.

“We had to let people know that we’ve cut so far past the fat and so far past the muscle that we’re into the bone,” Chief Judge Loretta Preska of the U.S. District Court in Manhattan said Thursday.

For more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/judges-urge-congress-to-avoid-more-sequestration-cuts/2013/08/15/64c4c30c-05f4-11e3-a07f-49ddc7417125_story.html

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Contact your legislator Contact your Congress person to TELL THEM TO START WORKING WITH PRESIDENT OBAMA TO STOP THE SEQUESTER!!

U.S. Senators
U.S. Representatives
Tweet a Message to Your Representatives

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Pres. Obama’s 2012 Achievements Despite A Polarized Congress

01/22/2013

Executive Order — Establishing the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force
November 2012

Presidential Memorandum — Emergency Leave Transfer Program for Federal Employees Adversely Affected by Hurricane Sandy
November 2012

Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act of 2012
November 2012

Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2013
September 2012

Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act 
July 2012

Veteran Skills to Jobs Act
July 2012

Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act 
July 2012

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals
June 2012

National Flood Insurance Program Extension
May 2012

Export-Import Bank Reauthorization Act of 2012
May 2012

Post-Deployment/Mobilization Respite Absence Program Modification
May 2012

Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act 
April 2012

Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act of 2012
April 2012

Presidential Memorandum — Establishing Policies for Addressing Domestic Violence in the Federal Workforce
April 2012

Executive Order — National Defense Resources Preparedness
March 2012

Presidental Proclamation — United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement
March 2012

Providing the Quileute Indian Tribe Tsunami and Flood Protection
February 2012

Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012
February 2012

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Risk-Based Security Screening for Members of The Armed Forces Act

January 2012

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It’s official: The 112th Congress was the most polarized ever

January 17, 2013 Posted by Dylan Matthews – washingtonpost

Stats geeks, rejoice: The newest DW-NOMINATE figures are out! DW-NOMINATE, devised by political scientists Keith Poole (now at the University of Georgia) and Howard Rosenthal (now at NYU), is the industry standard system for measuring how members of the House and Senate compare to each other ideologically.

The approach uses roll-call votes to plot members across two left-to-right axes: one for economic issues, and one for social/racial/regional issues. The latter is primarily of interest for analyzing civil rights politics and the movement of segregationist Democrats into the Republican party in the 1960s and ’70s, so for looking at contemporary politics, analysts tend to focus on the first, or economic, dimension.

Yesterday, the DW-NOMINATE team released scores for the 112th Congress, which started in January 2011 and just wrapped up at the start of this month. They confirm what the team has found for years: the parties are moving further and further apart. The most straightforward way to measure polarization using DW-NOMINATE is to calculate the average score of each party in each chamber, and then calculate the difference between the two parties’ means. The further apart the means are, the more polarized the body.

The House is more polarized than the Senate, which makes sense. The fact that senators need to win over whole states means that Democrats in right-leaning states (e.g. Ben Nelson) have to tack right and Republicans in left-leaning states (e.g. Scott Brown) have to tack left, which reduces the ideological uniformity of each party’s caucus. That’s especially true among Democrats, as the Senate is highly geographically biased against liberal urban areas and in favor of conservative rural areas, meaning that Democrats have to appeal heavily to the latter regions to get a majority. But both bodies saw polarization jump up sharply.

For more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/01/17/its-official-the-112th-congress-was-the-most-polarized-ever/

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With the polarized Congress we currently have there are going to be times in the next four years where President Obama will need our help to speak up and add their own voices to the debate to help move legislation through to achieve the CHANGES America desires on gun control, immigration, rights for LGBT citizens and other important issues.

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“You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country’s course.  You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time — not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals.”

1/21/13 President Barack Obama

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Reducing Gun Violence

01/09/2013

1994-2004 Assault Weapons Ban - data

Recent US Mass Shootings2012 Aurora shootingColumbine High School massacreFort Hood shootingOikos University shootingSandy Hook Elementary School shooting2011 Seal Beach shooting,  2011 Tucson shootingVirginia Tech massacreWisconsin Sikh temple shooting

List of US School Shootings

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A Message from President Obama about Your Petition on Reducing Gun Violence

Bruce Reed December 21, 2012 06:00 AM EST

Ed. Note: Today, the White House responded to a number of petitions on We the People asking the Administration to take action to reduce gun violence in our country. The response is below and can be viewed on We the People here.

In the days since the tragedy in Newtown, Americans from all over the country have called for action to deter mass shootings and reduce gun violence. Hundreds of thousands of you have signed petitions on We the People.

I’m writing you today to thank you for speaking up, to update you on an important development, and to encourage you to continue engaging with the White House on this critical issue.

First, you should know that President Obama is paying close to attention to the public response to this tragedy. In fact, he sat down to record a message specifically for those of you who have joined the conversation using We the People. Watch it now:

On Wednesday, the President outlined a series of first steps we can take to begin the work of ending this cycle of violence. This is what he said:

We know this is a complex issue that stirs deeply held passions and political divides. And as I said on Sunday night, there’s no law or set of laws that can prevent every senseless act of violence in our society. We’re going to need to work on making access to mental health care at least as easy as access to a gun. We’re going to need to look more closely at a culture that all too often glorifies guns and violence. And any actions we must take must begin inside the home and inside our hearts.

But the fact that this problem is complex can no longer be an excuse for doing nothing. The fact that we can’t prevent every act of violence doesn’t mean we can’t steadily reduce the violence, and prevent the very worst violence.

Vice President Biden has been asked to work with members of the Administration, Congress, and the general public to come up with a set of concrete policy proposals by next month — proposals the President intends to push swiftly. The President asked the Vice President to lead this effort in part because he wrote and passed the 1994 Crime Bill that helped law enforcement bring down the rate of violent crime in America. That bill included the assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004.

As the Vice President’s Chief of Staff, I’m going to do everything I can to ensure we run a process that includes perspectives from all sides of the issue, which is why I wanted to respond to your petition myself. Two decades ago, as domestic policy adviser in the Clinton White House, I first worked with Joe Biden as he fought to enact the Crime Bill, the assault weapons ban, and the Brady Bill. I will never forget what a key role the voices of concerned citizens like you played in that vital process.

The President called on Congress to pass important legislation “banning the sale of military-style assault weapons,” “banning the sale of high-capacity ammunition clips,” and “requiring background checks before all gun purchases, so that criminals can’t take advantage of legal loopholes to buy a gun from somebody who won’t take the responsibility of doing a background check at all.”

An issue this serious and complex isn’t going to be resolved with a single legislative proposal or policy prescription. And let’s be clear, any action we take will respect the Second Amendment. As the President said:

Look, like the majority of Americans, I believe that the Second Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms. This country has a strong tradition of gun ownership that’s been handed down from generation to generation. Obviously across the country there are regional differences. There are differences between how people feel in urban areas and rural areas. And the fact is the vast majority of gun owners in America are responsible — they buy their guns legally and they use them safely, whether for hunting or sport shooting, collection or protection.

But you know what, I am also betting that the majority — the vast majority — of responsible, law-abiding gun owners would be some of the first to say that we should be able to keep an irresponsible, law-breaking few from buying a weapon of war. I’m willing to bet that they don’t think that using a gun and using common sense are incompatible ideas — that an unbalanced man shouldn’t be able to get his hands on a military-style assault rifle so easily; that in this age of technology, we should be able to check someone’s criminal records before he or she can check out at a gun show; that if we work harder to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people, there would be fewer atrocities like the one in Newtown — or any of the lesser-known tragedies that visit small towns and big cities all across America every day.

The President said it best: “Ultimately if this effort is to succeed it’s going to require the help of the American people — it’s going to require all of you. If we’re going to change things, it’s going to take a wave of Americans — mothers and fathers, daughters and sons, pastors, law enforcement, mental health professionals — and, yes, gun owners — standing up and saying ‘enough’ on behalf of our kids.”

So let’s continue this conversation and get something meaningful done. If you have additional ideas and are interested in further engagement with the White House on this issue, please let us know and share your thoughts here:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/share-your-thoughts-reducing-gun-violence

Thank you for speaking out and staying involved.

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Gun Violence Reduction Task Forcee

President Obama asked Vice President Biden to lead this effort in part because he wrote and passed the 1994 Crime Bill that helped law enforcement bring down the rate of violent crime in America. That bill included the assault weapons ban, which expired in 2004.

On January 9th and 10th Vice President Biden’s meets with victims groups, gun safety organizations, advocates for sportsmen and women, gun ownership groups and representatives of the entertainment and video game industries on how to prevent shooting massacres, and limit gun violence.

Other White House representatives also held meetings:

* Secretary Duncan meets with representatives from parent, teacher, and education groups.
* Secretary Sebelius meets with mental health and disability advocates.
* Senior White House staff meets with a variety of stakeholders, including medical groups, community organizations, child and family advocates, business owners, faith leaders, and others.

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MEASURES CONGRESS SHOULD PASS RIGHT NOW:

“The most important changes we can make depend on congressional action. They need to bring these proposals up for a vote.”

—President Obama

 

President Obama is asking Congress to urgently introduce legislation to:

* Eliminate loopholes and require background checks for all gun sales

* Reinstate the prohibition on high-capacity magazines

* Renew and strengthen the ban on assault weapons

* Create serious penalties for gun traffickers

* Get armor-piercing bullets off the streets by prohibiting the possession and transfer of this dangerous ammunition

* Keep 15,000 cops on the street

* Further research on gun violence

* Help schools develop and implement comprehensive emergency management plans

* Remove restrictions that require ATF to authorize importation of dangerous weapons simply because of their age\

Source: http://www.barackobama.com/gun-reform/

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Supreme Court rules on ‘straw purchaser’ law

6/16/14 10 minutes ago By SAM HANANEL – Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — A divided Supreme Court sided with gun control groups and the Obama administration Monday, ruling that the federal ban on “straw” purchases of guns can be enforced even if the ultimate buyer is legally allowed to own a gun.

The justices ruled 5-4 that the law applied to a Virginia man who bought a gun with the intention of transferring it to a relative in Pennsylvania who was not prohibited from owning firearms.

The ruling settles a split among appeals courts over federal gun laws intended to prevent sham buyers from obtaining guns for the sole purpose of giving them to another person. The laws were part of Congress’ effort to make sure firearms did not get into the hands of unlawful recipients.

Writing for the majority, Justice Elena Kagan said the federal government’s elaborate system of background checks and record-keeping requirements help law enforcement investigate crimes by tracing guns to their buyers. Those provisions would mean little, she said, if a would-be gun buyer could evade them by simply getting another person to buy the gun and fill out the paperwork.

Kagan’s opinion was joined by Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is often considered the court’s swing vote, as well as liberal Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor.

In dissent, Justice Antonin Scalia said the language of the law does not support making it a crime for one lawful gun owner to buy a gun for another lawful gun owner. He was joined by the court’s other conservatives — Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito.

The case began after Bruce James Abramski, Jr. bought a Glock 19 handgun in Collinsville, Virginia, in 2009 and later transferred it to his uncle in Easton, Pennsylvania. Abramski, a former police officer, had assured the Virginia dealer he was the “actual buyer” of the weapon even though he had already offered to buy the gun for his uncle using a police discount.

Abramski purchased the gun three days after his uncle had written him a check for $400 with “Glock 19 handgun” written in the memo line. During the transaction, he answered “yes” on a federal form asking “Are you the actual transferee buyer of the firearm(s) listed on this form? Warning: You are not the actual buyer if you are acquiring the firearm(s) on behalf of another person. If you are not the actual buyer, the dealer cannot transfer the firearm(s) to you.”

Police later arrested Abramski after they thought he was involved in a bank robbery in Rocky Mount, Virginia. No charges were ever filed on the bank robbery, but officials charged him with making false statements about the purchase of the gun.

A federal district judge rejected Abramski’s argument that he was not a straw purchaser because his uncle was eligible to buy firearms and the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed.

The Obama administration had argued that accepting Abramski’s defense would impair the ability of law enforcement officials to trace firearms involved in crimes and keep weapons away from people who are not eligible to buy them. The administration said that even if the purchase is made on behalf of someone eligible to buy a firearm, the purpose of the law is frustrated since Congress requires the gun dealers — not purchasers — to run federal background checks on people buying guns.

For more: http://news.yahoo.com/supreme-court-rules-straw-purchaser-law-140713053–finance.html

Gun-Free Establishment

Companies with a gun-free policy:

 

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