It’s an election year and we are quickly approaching the time when working families will have the opportunity to go to the polls and vote against a whole host of extreme candidates who support policies that limit rights, make it even harder to afford a middle-class life and pad the pockets of their corporate buddies. One of the “Worst Candidates for Working Families in the 2014 Elections” is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
1. He opposes wage increases, prevailing wage laws and black lung benefits. He also refuses to support legislation to secure pensions for mine workers and retirees. [Courier-Journal, 8/27/14; The Nation, 6/20/14; The Associated Press, 7/3/14; S. 468, introduced 3/6/13]
2. McConnell has voted against laws that would help stop outsourcing and has even voted for tax breaks that reward corporations for exporting America’s jobs overseas. [Senate Vote 181, 7/19/12; CNN, 7/19/12; The Wall Street Journal, 9/26/10; Senate Vote 63, 3/17/05; The Washington Post, 3/20/05]
3. He said that the government should cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid—programs the working class depend on. [The Wall Street Journal, 1/6/13]
4. McConnell is out of touch with Kentucky’s working families, who are seeing their incomes fall behind the cost of living. He’s worth more than $27 million but blocked and voted against legislation to raise the minimum wage. [The Washington Post, 4/30/14; Washington Post candidate wealth profile, 2010; S. 2223, Vote 117, 4/30/14]
5. He supported massive tax breaks for the wealthy while voting against funding to keep teachers in the classroom. He sponsored legislation to permanently reduce the estate tax for the wealthy and extend the Bush‐era tax breaks for the richest Americans and opposed legislation that would give aid to states facing financial trouble to keep teachers in the classroom. [The Washington Post, 9/13/10; Chicago Sun-Times, Editorial, 2/5/10; H.R. 1586, Vote 224, 8/4/10]
6. Instead of helping jobless workers get back on their feet, McConnell blocked legislation extending unemployment insurance benefits. [Politico, 2/6/14]
7. While 40 million Americans are being crushed by student loan debt, he blocked the “Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act” that would have enabled millions of Americans with expensive student loans to refinance into more manageable payments. [S. 2432, Vote 185, 6/11/14; The Huffington Post, 6/11/14]
8. McConnell has consistently voted against laws that would make it easier for Kentucky workers to get good pay, decent benefits and real job security. [Lexington Herald-Leader, 6/21/07; Senate Vote 227, 6/27/07; Senate Vote 243, 12/28/12; Congressional Record, 12/28/12; CQ, 12/28/12]
9. McConnell blocked and voted against the Paycheck Fairness Act, a Democratic bill aimed at narrowing the pay gap between men and women. [Politico, 4/9/14; S. 2199, Vote 103, 4/9/14]
10. Many Americans believe that Washington is broken and too many politicians are playing political games instead of coming together to solve problems for working people. McConnell called himself a “Proud Guardian of Gridlock.” [Political Transcript Wire, 2/2/06]
11. According to the Washington Post, “Mitch McConnell raised the art of obstructionism to new levels. When McConnell and his united GOP troops couldn’t stop things from getting through the Senate, they made sure the Democrats paid a heavy price for winning.” [The Washington Post, 1/30/11]
Text MYVOTE to 30644 for important updates on the election.
Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW
Tags: aflcio, alison grimes, Bring Jobs Home, Jobs, Kentucky, labor, Medicaid, Medicare, minimum wage, Mitch McConnell, outsourcing, Retirement, social security, union
Gov. McCrory recently rejected the federal plan to expand Medicaid and left 319,000 North Carolinians without health care in the process. But is Medicaid expansion really that bad? Take a look at some common myths, and the facts, below:
MYTH: Now that the Affordable Care Act is law, there’s no need to expand North Carolina’s Medicaid program.
FACT: Quite the opposite, actually. Medicaid expansion and the Affordable Care Act are meant to work in tandem and one doesn’t negate the other. The purpose of expansion is to give individuals who can’t afford coverage under the ACA a shot at obtaining health care; without it, over 300,000 North Carolinians are without health care.
MYTH: Expansion will bankrupt the state!
FACT: Not at all. Contrary to popular belief, expansion won’t drain the state of its resources. In fact, North Carolina is losing out on nearly 5 million federal dollars a day by not expanding its Medicaid program. Additionally, Medicaid spending has decreased by 11 percent since 2008.
MYTH: Medicaid is a welfare system for those who don’t work, and the expansion plan is no different.
FACT: In reality, Medicaid expansion was conceived with hardworking people like you in mind. If Medicaid were expanded in North Carolina, it would include individuals with incomes at or below 138% of the federal poverty level. Currently, 65% of Medicaid recipients come from working families.
MYTH: The majority of North Carolinians are against expanding Medicaid.
FACT: Actually, the majority of North Carolinians—58% to be exact—are in favor of expanding the social health care program.
Photo courtesy of NatalieMaynor via Flickr.
Tags: Medicaid, medicaid expansion, North Carolina
As part of the ongoing Upworthy series, Workonomics, there will be an UpChat this Thursday to discuss how Walmart’s low wages mean that taxpayers end up subsidizing those workers to the tune of $6,000 per employee each year. Wages and benefits are so low for the country’s largest employer that many of the company’s workers are forced to take part in Medicaid, housing assistance, child care subsidies, food stamps and other government lifelines. Meanwhile, the Walton family, who owns the company, has more wealth than the bottom 40% of the country combined.
All you need to participate this Thursday, June 5, at 2 p.m. EDT is a Twitter account. Learn more details on how to participate in the UpChat and find the conversation on Twitter by looking up the hashtags #UpChat and #WalmartEconomy.
Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW
Tags: food stamps, Medicaid, minimum wage, taxes, upworthy, Walmart, Walton Family
Yesterday, we came out to support the NC State AFL-CIO for the second annual Pots and Spoons protest to mark the beginning of the short session for North Carolina’s Legislature.
The last two years have been marked by a regressive voter suppression law, cuts in education spending, and the rejection of Medicaid Expansion that would benefit close to half a million of our most vulnerable workers.
Hundreds of supporters were joined by union members, teachers, and lots of Moral Monday activists who are all calling on the legislature to change course and stop the attacks on North Carolina workers.
This protest was modeled after cacerolazos, protests that are common among peoples’ movements in South America and Spain. People bring a pot and a spoon and bang loudly to get the attention of politicians and decision-makers.
Legislators were entering their chambers with a chorus of clanking metal from the growing coalition of North Carolina progressives who are fighting back against legislators who are determined to roll back a century of progress.
As we gathered across from the legislative building on Wednesday, we were proud to stand with our coalition partners during this legislative session to remind these officials who they are supposed to represent.
Join the Moral Movement for North Carolina’s working families – text VOTENC to 30644.
Photo by NC AFL-CIO ON Flickr
Tags: Education, Health Care, Medicaid, moral monday, North Carolina, voting rights
House Republican leaders passed Rep. Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) budget this week by a vote of 219 to 205, with no Democrats voting in favor. The Ryan budget is chock full of so many terrible ideas that it’s hard to single out the biggest stinkers, but here goes.
1. Raising the Medicare Eligibility Age from 65 to 67. Not only would raising the eligibility age shift costs to 65- and 66-year-olds and to seniors who still qualify for Medicare benefits, but it would actually *increase* overall costs throughout the health care system. Worst. Idea. Ever.
2. Giving Corporations More Tax Breaks for Outsourcing Jobs. The Ryan budget calls for a “territorial tax system,” which would eliminate U.S. taxes on the offshore profits of companies that send jobs overseas. Second worst idea ever.
3. Costing 4 Million Jobs. And that’s only in two years! According to the Economic Policy Institute, the Ryan budget would cost 1.1 million jobs in 2015 and 3 million jobs in 2016. Millions more jobs would be lost in subsequent years.
4. Giving Millionaires a $200,000 Tax Cut. The Ryan budget would cut the top marginal income tax rate from 39.6% to 25%, giving people who make more than $1 million per year tax cuts averaging between $200,000 and $330,000.
5. Turning Medicare into a Voucher Program. The Ryan budget once again proposes to end the Medicare guarantee, which would raise premiums for seniors who choose traditional Medicare and leave traditional Medicare to “wither on the vine” as private plans capture the healthiest seniors.
6. Gutting Education. The Ryan budget would slash funding for kindergarten to 12th grade education by$89 billion and higher education by $260 billion over 10 years, making college less affordable and increasingstudent indebtedness by $47 billion.
7. Gutting Investment in Transportation. The Ryan budget would slash transportation investments by$52 billion in 2015, costing jobs and making America less competitive.
8. Gutting Medicaid. The Ryan budget would cut Medicaid funding by $732 billion over 10 years by turning Medicaid into a block grant program. It would further cut Medicaid funding by repealing the Affordable Care Act, for a total cut to Medicaid of some $1.5 trillion.
9. Slashing Tax Rates for Profitable Corporations. The Ryan budget would slash the corporate tax rate from 35% to 25%, squandering $1.2 trillion to $1.5 trillion in tax revenue over 10 years.
Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW
Tags: Corporate Accountability, Medicaid, Medicare, outsourcing, Paul Ryan, taxes
New Hampshire officially expanded its Medicaid program this week, enabling about 50,000 more people in the Granite State to afford health coverage.
Democratic Governor Maggie Hassan signed the bill into law on Thursday, enacting a bipartisan compromise plan that would use federal Medicaid funds to buy private coverage for adults making less than 138 percent of the federal poverty limit, rather than providing state-funded health insurance.
When the Supreme Court declared the Affordable Care Act constitutional in July 2012, they left the option open for states to reject the federal funds that would be used to expand their Medicaid programs. As of now, 25 states and the District of Columbia have accepted the expansion in full. 21 states, all with Republican governors or Republican-controlled legislatures, have formally rejected Medicaid expansion.
New Hampshire was one of six states where the final call had not yet been made on Medicaid expansion.
On the same day, legislators in Maine granted final passage to a bill that would expand Medicaid to about 70,000 low-income Mainers. The bill now goes to Republican Governor Paul LePage for his signature or veto.
LePage has expressed opposition to Medicaid in the past, calling it “sinful” just a few weeks ago. But many of his fellow Republicans don’t share this view:
Despite the references to different numbers and analyses, many lawmakers have conceded that support or opposition of the bill is as ideological as it is pragmatic.
The bill approved by the Legislature was crafted by moderate Republican Sens. Roger Katz of Augusta and Tom Saviello of Wilton as a compromise, designed to bring more Republicans on board.
Assistant State Majority Leader Anne Haskell (D-Portland) also pointed out that 10 other Republican governors, including Govs. John Kasich (R-OH) and Jan Brewer (R-AZ) have accepted expansion.
The last time a Medicaid expansion bill hit Gov. LePage’s desk in July 2013, he vetoed. Now, with more Republicans on board, we hope he makes a different choice.
Send a message: Tell Gov. LePage to accept federal Medicaid funds.
Photo by Governor Maggie Hassan on Facebook
Tags: Affordable Care Act, Health Care, Maggie Hassan, Maine, Medicaid, New Hampshire, Paul LePage
Today the Virginia legislature began a special session partially aimed at solving its ongoing Medicaid expansion issue which, despite the numerous positive implications, has received in quite a bit of push-back from the GOP.
A favorable vote on Medicaid expansion could provide more than 190,000 Virginians with health care; unfortunately the GOP doesn’t seem to care as it continues to oppose the much-needed expansion.
Despite GOP push-back, Gov. McAuliffe and the Democratic-controlled Senate support the idea of expansion.
Still, the discord has slowed progress on a new budget, creating a deadlock during the 60-day regular session that ended March 8.
“We’re not going to do Medicaid expansion in the budget,” Kirk Cox, majority leader of the House of Delegates, said last week.
If the GOP doesn’t budge, a government shutdown looms ahead for the state.
The Governor has been campaigning across the state and even proposed a two year pilot expansion of the program, with the option to end it if it’s unsuccessful.
If you live in Virginia, call your representative and help us expand Medicaid for those Virginians who need it.
Photo courtesy of DonkeyHotey via Flickr.
Tags: Health Care, Medicaid, Terry McAuliffe, Virginia
The following is a guest post from Working America member Kayleigh Metviner
Volunteers, supporters, and media gathered at Working America’s Pittsburgh office on Tuesday morning to call for an economically just and fiscally responsible state budget, in contrast to the budget proposal anticipated from Governor Tom Corbett (R-PA) later in the day.
With over 500,000 members in Pennsylvania, Working America is a formidable force in the state, and we are overwhelmingly in support of a state budget that focuses more resources on public education, higher education, and social services.
Our members know that money doesn’t materialize out of thin air, so their calls for well-funded education and social services are accompanied by practical and equitable solutions: closing the Delaware tax loophole that deprives Pennsylvanians of hundreds of millions of dollars a year and expanding Medicaid.
Expanding Medicaid will not only allow more Pennsylvanians to access health care, it also has the potential to lower overall health care costs. On top of this, it will be 100 percent funded by the federal government for the first three years, and that rate would modestly and gradually decrease to 90 percent during years after that. Lowered costs from expanded Medicaid, combined with increased revenues from corporations paying their fair share of taxes will enable our state to fulfill its commitment to our public schools.
Several Working America volunteers read community member comments aloud at the press conference. One member urged Governor Corbett to “budget with greater consideration for education support instead of corporate tax breaks/” Another wrote: “Please, stop the practice of subsidizing large corporations with taxpayer money when programs and research to help the vulnerable are so needed.”
We want to thank those who shared their stories and urge all Pennsylvanians to continue spreading the word about the real possibilities for economic justice right here, right now.
Text JOBS to 30644 to join Working America’s movement for economic justice in Pennsylvania.
Tags: Corporate Accountability, Delaware tax loophole, Education, good jobs, Health Care, Jobs, Medicaid, Pennsylvania, public education, Tom Corbett
The most under-reported fact about our health care system in 2014 is this: 5 million Americans don’t have access to affordable health coverage simply because their governors (or majority of legislators) refuse to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
Medicaid expansion would cost the states nothing for the first three years, and after that time the federal government would pick up an overwhelming majority of the costs. Yet, when asked, these politicians frequently cite cost as the prohibiting factor to Medicaid expansion. That’s because the real reason would–and should–be embarrassing: they want to be seen as “tough” toward President Obama and the new health care law, and rejecting Medicaid expansion is the best and easiest way to do that.
These politicians include Rick Perry, governor of Texas, where nearly one out of four people don’t have health insurance. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett is another: 700,000 Pennsylvanians are denied affordable coverage because of his opposition to expanding Medicaid.
Working America members in Pennsylvania have been active in pressuring Gov. Corbett and the legislature to change their tune. In December, our longtime member Georgeanne Koehler wrote a heartfelt letter to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in favor of Medicaid expansion, citing her 50 years in the health care industry. “I learned early on that when an illness attacks us it doesn’t care anything about us, not our race, religion, gender or politics,” she wrote in the letter, which she dedicated to her late brother.
John Miklos, a member hailing from Uptown, followed up with a December 26 letter titled “Corbett is wrong not to expand Medicaid.” John described several different common scenarios where the average working person would benefit from expansion. ”These scenarios are not imaginary,” he wrote, “People I know well live them every day.”
James Barum, another active Working America member in Pittsburgh, followed up these letters with a personal story of his own. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette published his letter, “Health care needs,” in Thursday’s paper. We’ve included the letter in its entirety:
Health care needs
On the subject of the Dec. 27 letter “Corbett is wrong not to expand Medicaid,” I thought that I would share a personal experience that may give readers pause on this issue.
A friend of mine works in the service industry brewing coffee. One day, when I was in line at that café to buy a drink, I saw her begin to cry while working. She was working furiously, making lattes and trying her best to meet each customer’s needs.
Somewhere in the chaos, a manager and I stopped her. In the break room, I spoke with her about what had occurred.
While picking up a tray, she felt a sharp pain shoot through her back. She always had issues with her back, and this happens to her occasionally, but never this bad. I asked if she had health insurance or could see a doctor, and she said, “No, I don’t, I’ll just have to tough it out.”
This saddened me, but when I heard about Gov. Tom Corbett’s reluctance to expand Medicaid, that sadness turned to anger — anger at the injustice of a friend who works so hard to serve others but cannot get her home state to serve her basic need for health care.
My friend and thousands just like her would qualify for Medicaid if our governor had the courage to put his constituent’s peace of mind above political games.
Nothing will get done if readers don’t give him the “encouragement” he needs.
Take action now: Tell Pennsylvania Gov. Corbett to accept federal funds for Medicaid.
Photo by @Fox43 on Twitter
Tags: Affordable Care Act, Health Care, Medicaid, Pennsylvania, Rick Perry, Texas, Tom Corbett
On Feb. 8, the Moral Monday movement, which showed massive momentum in 2013, will return with its biggest event yet, the Moral March on Raleigh. While the state of North Carolina has been moving in a more Democratic direction in recent years in presidential elections, with Barack Obama winning the state in 2008 and coming just two percentage points of winning it again in 2012, extremist Republicans have taken control of the governor’s mansion and the state Assembly.
The Moral March on Raleigh will call out North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, state House Speaker Thom Tillis (R) and state Senate Leader Phil Berger (R) and their extreme policies, which have included attacks on voting rights, education, the environment, health care and women’s rights. Organizers expect tens of thousands of North Carolinians to stand up for their rights and fight back against these extreme policies on Feb. 8.
The Moral Monday movement was organized by the Rev. William Barber II, head of the North Carolina NAACP, which staged protests in Raleigh and throughout the state last year. The events were launched in conjunction with another organization headed by Barber, the Historic Thousands on Jones Street (HKonJ) People’s Assembly Coalition, and have been supported by more than 150 other organizations. The 13 Moral Monday events in Raleigh in 2013 led to nearly 1,000 arrests for civil disobedience, while events in dozens of other cities around the state helped raise awareness about the strange games afoot in the state capital.
For more details about the March, visit the HKonJ website.
The Moral Monday movement has put forth the People’s Moral Agenda, which includes the following principles and policy goals:
- Economic sustainability, alleviating poverty and expanding labor rights.
- Fully funded constitutional education.
- Health care for all—protecting Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, women’s health and the Affordable Health Care Act.
- Addressing disparities in the criminal justice system.
- Protecting/expanding voting rights and civil rights.
- Environmental justice.
- Fair and just immigration reform.
- Equal protection under the law regardless of race, income, gender or sexual orientation.
The Moral Monday movement also has a goal of raising awareness about Art Pope, the extreme financier behind much of the pro-corporate, anti-working family policies that have passed recently in North Carolina. Pope is often referred to as the state’s version of the Koch brothers.
Reposted from AFL-CIO NOW
Tags: Affordable Care Act, Art Pope, Health Care, Jobs, Medicaid, moral monday, North Carolina, Pat McCrory, Phil Berger, social security, Tom Tillis, voting rights, women