the Senate ~~ #Midterm2014Matters ~~ CONGRESS 7/29 ~~ 98 days left ~~ the House


demsVrepub

The Senate stands adjourned until Tuesday, July 29, 2014, at 10:00am.

Following any leader remarks, the Senate will be in a period of morning business until 12:00 noon, with senators permitted to speak therein for up to 10 minutes each, with the Republicans controlling the first half and the Majority controlling the final half.

At 12:00 noon, the Senate will proceed to Executive Session to consider Executive Calendar #952, Robert Alan McDonald, to be Secretary for Veterans Affairs.

The Senate will recess from 12:30 until 2:15pm to allow for the weekly caucus meetings.

At 2:45pm, there will a roll call vote on confirmation of the McDonald nomination, followed by several voice votes to confirm the Andre, Hoza, and Polaschik nominations.

Upon disposition of the Polaschik nomination, the Senate will turn to the consideration of the Highway and Transportation Funding Act. Senators should expect 5 roll call votes in the evening in relation to the Wyden, Carper-Corker-Boxer, Lee, and Toomey amendments and on passage of H.R.5021, as amended, if amended. Senators will be notified when those votes are scheduled.

2:45pm—1 roll call vote, 3 voice votes

  1. Confirmation of Executive Calendar #952, Robert Alan McDonald, of Ohio, to be Secretary of Veterans Affairs (roll call vote)
  2. Confirmation of Executive Calendar #530, Larry Edward Andrea, Jr., of Virginia, to be Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania (voice vote expected)
  3. Confirmation of Executive Calendar #543, Michael Stephen Hoza, of Washington, to be Ambassador to the Republic of Cameroon (voice vote expected)
  4. Confirmation of Executive Calendar #899, Joan A. Polaschik, of Virginia, to be Ambassador to the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria (voice vote expected)

TBD—5 roll call votes

  1. Wyden amendment #3582 (text of Finance-reported bill)
  2. Carper-Corker-Boxer amendment #3583 (Date Change and Finance Committee-reported financing provisions, with the exception of pension smoothing provisions)
  3. Lee amendment #3584 (devolution/text of S.1702)
  4. Toomey amendment #3585 (Exemptions – Damaged Road/Bridge reconstruction)
  5. Passage of H.R.5021, Highway and Transportation Funding Act, as amended, if amended

2:46pm The Senate began a 15 minute roll call vote on confirmation of Executive Calendar #952, Robert Alan McDonald, of Ohio, to be Secretary of Veterans Affairs;

Confirmed: 97-0

===================================================

Last Floor Action:
11:28:38 P.M. – The House adjourned.

The next meeting is scheduled for 10:00 a.m. on July 29, 2014.

10:00:29 A.M.

===================================================

USDA


Require that meat produced from animals fed antibiotics be labeled accordingly.

  • Petitioning USDA, Tom Vilsack

This petition will be delivered to:

United States Department of Agriculture
USDA, Tom Vilsack
Food Safety and Inspection Service
FSIS, Alfred Almanza

Require that meat produced from animals fed antibiotics be labeled accordingly.

    1. Dave Molidor
    2. Petition by

      Dave Molidor

      Rohnert Park, CA

Most antibiotics sold in this country are fed to farmed animals rather than to treat human disease.

These antibiotics are mixed in with the food and water fed to the pigs, cows, and chickens who become the meat we eat. Often these animals are not even sick. Meat companies give low doses of antibiotics to farmed animals because it makes them grow bigger and faster on less food. These animals are also kept in confined and filthy conditions – conditions that would make them very sick if they were not all given these antibiotics preventatively.

Unfortunately, this extensive use of low dose antibiotics is helping to breed resistance in bacteria – leading to the existence of “superbugs.”  These superbugs create infections in people that cannot be treated by the antibiotics—and this problem is potentially the leading health crisis in the U.S.

Consumers who want to avoid meat produced with antibiotics have no way to identify such products. 

Although some companies use the label “antibiotic free,” the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) does not regulate that term. Consumers therefore have no way of knowing whether the meat they buy is truly produced with or without large amounts of antibiotics.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) has recently asked the USDA to require labels on meat and poultry products to clarify whether those animals were fed antibiotics or not. Consumers should have a say in what goes in their meat.

As a father of a toddler and a newborn, I know how important it is that families know what they’re putting on the table for their kids. Consumers have a right to make informed choices, and it’s the job of our government regulatory agencies to help us by properly labeling food that could be harmful.

Please join me in urging the USDA to require that meat produced from animals fed antibiotics be labeled accordingly. Contact the USDA and ask them to adopt ALDF’s proposal!

Faster, Easier Cures for Hepatitis C


07/28/2014 09:50 AM EDT

 

Advances in drug treatments approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are giving the 3.2 million Americans with chronic hepatitis C a chance at a longer, healthier life. That’s welcome news for baby boomers, a generation that makes up three of four adults with the hepatitis C virus.
Today is World Hepatitis Day. Read the Consumer Update to learn more about new treatments.

FDA Logo

Why is Walgreens Moving to Switzerland?


campaignForAmericaLgo

CAMPAIGN FOR AMERICA’S FUTURE — http://www.ourfuture.org

Walgreens is an American success story.  Or, at least, they used to be.

In 1904, Charles Walgreen traveled from his small-town home in Dixon, Illin
ois, to Chicago and opened a pharmacy and soda fountain.

In the decades that followed, Walgreens grew with the city and the nation.
(Even if you could no longer buy a slice of pie from Myrtle Walgreen’s kitc
hen.) Today they are the largest drug retailer in America.

Walgreens should be a proud American company. But they don’t want to be.

They think they’d be better off if they were Swiss.

But they’re not moving anything.

It’s a gimmick. They call it “inversion.”

It’s a trick that companies use to skip out on their taxes by declaring the
mselves a foreign company. That leaves the burden on Americans and American
companies.

Walgreens is counting on the American people staying in the dark until it’s
too late. That’s where you come in.

We need your help to expose this scam, pressure Walgreens to do the right
thing and shut down the tax loophole that allows this to happen. Can you he
lp with a $10 donation to support this campaign?

https://secure.actblue.com/contribute/page/stopwalgreens

The Campaign For America’s Future has helped turn back the tide on these so=
rts of scams before

The State of Social Security and Medicare


By

What You Need To Know From The Latest Social Security Trustees Annual Report

The latest annual report from the trustees for Social Security and Medicare came out today. It provided some very good news on the health care front: the report extended Medicare’s solvency by four years from 2026 to 2030. This improved financial health can be attributed in part to the Affordable Care Act, which is helping to reduce costs. Just a few years ago, before the Affordable Care Act was fully implemented, the trustees predicted that the Medicare trust fund would run out by 2016. Another reason to be thankful for the ACA.

On the Social Security front, some news reports are focusing on the financial shortfall that the program faces in the next 75 years. But it is both expected and manageable. Here are the four key takeaways, from a post by Center for American Progress experts Rebecca Vallas and Christian E. Weller:

1. Social Security can continue to pay all promised benefits for the next two decades. As was the case in last year’s report, the Trustees continue to estimate that Social Security will be able to pay all scheduled retirement, disability, and survivorship benefits through 2033. Social Security has two trust funds: one for the retirement and survivorship benefit programs, and one for the much smaller Disability Insurance (DI) program (although experts generally consider the two funds together due to the interrelated nature of Social Security’s programs). Individually, the Old Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) trust fund is projected to deplete its reserves in 2035, and the DI trust fund will do so in 2016. After 2033, the Trustees project that Social Security income from payroll taxes will be sufficient to cover 77 percent of promised benefits after 2033, unless policymakers implement changes before then.

2. Social Security’s shortfall is modest. The Trustees project that the entire Social Security shortfall for the next 75 years will be about 1 percent of GDP, or 2.88 percent of taxable payroll. The bulk of this shortfall, 2.55 percent of payroll or 88.5 percent of the entire shortfall, is attributed to OASI. The Trustees have long projected both the OASI and DI shortfalls. While an aging population is frequently discussed as the driving factor, recent analysis by Monique Morrissey at the Economic Policy Institute finds that as much as half of the shortfall is attributable to rising inequality and wage growth that has lagged behind gains in productivity.

3. The fact that action will soon be needed to address Disability Insurance’s finances has long been expected. As with last year’s report, this year the Trustees continue to project that the DI trust fund will be exhausted in 2016—something that has been expected for nearly 20 years.

4. A routine step would ensure that Social Security can pay all benefits in full through 2033. Rebalancing—an adjustment in the share of payroll taxes allocated to each of the trust funds—has occurred in a bipartisan manner 11 times in the program’s history to account for demographic shifts or other changes. About half the time funds have been reallocated toward OASI, and about half the time toward DI.

BOTTOM LINE: The trustees for Social Security and Medicare brought the good news that Medicare’s financial health is better than expected. And the predictions it makes for Social Security are both expected and manageable–permitting our elected officials can take action to strengthen this program that is a bedrock of economic security for working Americans.

Weekend On The Wage


By

Things Many Of Us Take For Granted Are Not Feasible For Those On A Minimum Wage Budget

For most of us, the weekend means taking some time to relax and do something fun after a full week of work. Maybe it’s going out to dinner, seeing a movie, watching a child’s soccer game, or traveling to visit friends or family. But for full-time minimum wage workers, there’s little if any room to afford such activities. After housing and tax expenses, full-time workers earning the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour have just $77 per week on average left for other expenses. Take a look at some of the graphics below to see how many of the things we take for granted are simply not feasible on that budget. And ask yourself, where would you cut?

CAP-movie-Budget

CAP-applebees-Budget
CAP-soccer-Budget
CAP-baseball-Budget
CAP-fair-Budget
CAP-babysitter-Budget

Workers who make the minimum wage have little, if any, leeway in how they spend their money each week. $7.25 an hour is not enough to live on—much less enough to invest back into the community. In solidarity with these workers, leaders and activists around the country are taking the #LiveTheWage challenge, attempting to live on $77 for one week in an effort to highlight the critical need to raise the federal minimum wage. Check out Governor Ted Strickland talking and tweeting about his experience so far.

BOTTOM LINE: It’s been over five years since the last increase to the federal minimum wage. If we raise the wage to $10.10, it would lift 4.6 million Americans out of poverty and would raise the wages of 28 million Americans by a total of $35 billion dollars. That means more than just a long-awaited paycheck increase — it means more people able to go to the state fair, watch their kid’s soccer game, or see a movie every once in a while.