Thanks for all you do,
The Daily Kos team
Thanks for all you do,
The Daily Kos team
Sometimes I want to ask the extremist Republicans in the House: “What planet are you living on?” While our country still struggles to recover from its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, why in the world do House Republicans spend so much time on votes to undermine a woman’s right to choose? While our nation’s seniors are facing a real and growing retirement crisis and 14 million of them rely on Social Security to stay out of poverty, why in the world are House Republicans so determined to slash our seniors’ safety net? While our kids and grandkids are getting crushed with ever-increasing levels of student loan debt and our commitments to higher education continue to shrink, why in the world are House Republicans prioritizing tax loopholes for our largest corporations? The mixed-up, backwards, and flat-out offensive priorities of the House Republicans already have too much representation in Washington. But now three House Republicans from Montana, Colorado and West Virginia are running for the Senate this November and working to bring their radical agenda with them. Our friends Mark Udall, John Walsh, and Natalie Tennant need your help to fight back against their House Republican opponents – and the millions of dollars in attack ads coming their way from shadowy special interests. Make a donation to Mark, John, and Natalie’s campaigns right now. There is a long list of terrifying things that these three House Republicans believe in, but let me just name a few:
I know these policies sound crazy to you and me. But Karl Rove, the Koch Brothers, and their powerful allies will spend zillions of dollars in the next eight months to tear down our candidates and bring the House Republicans’ agenda to the Senate. Like you, I’m frustrated about the status quo, but I’m deeply concerned it can get even worse. Mark, John and Natalie need your help. Can I count on you? Make a donation to their campaigns right now and help us protect the Democratic majority in the Senate. Thank you for being a part of this, Elizabeth
Ever since the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 in the Hobby Lobby case in favor of corporations and against the rights of women to control their own health care decisions, legislators have gone to work to reverse the ruling and keep bosses out of the bedroom. Today, Senate Democrats Patty Murray of Washington and Mark Udall of Colorado introduced legislation, which has become known as the “Not My Bosses’ Business Act,” that would prevent for-profit businesses from dropping birth control coverage by clarifying that no federal law allows companies to refuse to follow Obamacare’s contraception mandate.
Unfortunately, a minority of Senators–all Republicans–voted to block the bill from going forward. But despite Republican obstruction, conservatives know that they are out-of-touch politically on this issue. Unexpectedly, three Republican Senators, Lisa Murkowski (AK), Mark Kirk (IL), and Susan Collins (ME), joined Democrats in voting for the bill.
Additionally, Republicans are planning to offer their own legislation in response to Hobby Lobby–but it really is just a plot to convince people they support birth control. ThinkProgress’s Tara Culp-Ressler reports:
According to Republican leadership, the GOP-sponsored bill will state that “no employer can block any employee from legal access to her FDA-approved contraceptives.” However, that wouldn’t actually do anything to change the current reproductive rights landscape. The Hobby Lobby case wasn’t about the legality of birth control; it related to whether for-profit companies should have the right to drop insurance coverage for contraception, a move that would require women to pay for the full cost of their birth control out of pocket.
These games aside, Mitch McConnell’s recent comments at a small business while campaigning in Kentucky basically declaring workplace sexism to be a thing of the past do a better job of summarizing the conservative thinking on issues related to women’s health and economic rights. “I could be wrong, but most of the barriers have been lowered,” McConnell said. “We’ve come a long way in pay equity, and there are a ton of women CEOs now running major companies.” He added that he doesn’t think that women deserve “preferential treatment.”
As we have written before, the Supreme Court decision on Hobby Lobby was a case of judicial activism. For many years, the high court has maintained a balance between protecting religious liberty and maintaining the rule of law in a pluralistic society. Hobby Lobby, however, upended that balance: the rights of the employer now trump the rights of the employee and that is a slippery slope. The majority decision, written by Justice Samuel Alito, is sadly unsurprising, given that he and Chief Justice John Roberts are considered to be the two most business-friendly justices ever.
BOTTOM LINE: A minority of Senators may have blocked the “Not My Boss’s Business Act”, but today’s vote was just the first step in the effort to ensure that bosses cannot impose their religious beliefs on women’s health care decisions. Conservatives are out of touch on this issue. Now we must make sure that the legislators who stand in the way of allowing women to have control over their own health care decisions are held accountable for their choice.
Thousands of low income Black Detroit residents have already had their water shut off, risking both public health and personal safety. What’s worse — the city plans to resume shut-offs tomorrow.1
Just weeks ago, under pressure from organizers in Detroit and thousands of supporters online, Governor Rick Snyder’s hand-picked Emergency Manager returned control of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) to the duly-elected mayor.2 While a small victory for local control, the move was ultimately a political ploy to provide cover for Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr. Mayor Duggan’s “10 Point Plan” does little more than offer better customer service while continuing the inhumane and unjust practice of shutting off water.3
The solution is the Water Affordability Program (WAP) passed by the city council back in 2005. The WAP would provide relief to thousands and create a safety net that allows low income residents to pay on a sliding scale, based on their income. A 3-judge panel is holding a hearing on August 29th during which they could order the WAP back into effect and end the shutoffs once and for all.
While Detroiters suffer under policies implemented by an unelected emergency manager, corporations are protected and speculators are circling. Individuals with as little as $33 owed have had their water shut off without warning while the Palmer Park Golf Course which owes $437,714 still has water.4 The initial round of shutoffs were a tactic to make the city’s water rights a more attractive target to potential private investors. 5
Even with authority tenuously returned to the Mayor, his plan offers little hope to residents whose rates have risen 119% in the past decade.6 Under this scheme, relief is only available after putting down a large lump sum payment and there is no promise that the emergency manager will not seize back control and change the rules yet again.
The Water Affordability Program would provide relief to all residents living under 175% of the federal poverty line and reign in the out-of-control rates DWSD has charged.7 The WAP is the best way to restore water to thousands of residents in Detroit at reasonable rates.
Water is a basic human right and denying access to water poses a dire threat to public health. To make matters worse, earlier this month there were historic floods in Detroit. A state of emergency was declared. The flooding has caused millions of gallons of sewage to back up into waterways and basements. 8 How are you supposed to clean sewage from your basement when the city has shut off your water?
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Aimée, Rashad, Arisha, Matt, Johnny and the entire ColorOfChange.org team.
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1. “Duggan, DWSD to release updated plan on water shutoffs Thursday; moratorium extended until Aug. 25,” Metro Times, 8/4/14,
2.”Detroit’s drought of democracy,” New York Times, 7/29/14,
3.”Orr Dumps ‘Hot Mess’ of Water Shut-offs in Duggan’s Lap,” People’s Water Board, 7/29/14
4. “Detroit water department now sending shut-off crews to commercial customers,” Detroit Free Press, 7/14/14
5.”Detroit shuts off water to thousands of broke residents,” Think Progress, 6/20/14,
6. See reference 3.
7. See reference 3.
8. “Snyder declares flood disaster for southeast Michigan,” Detroit Free Press, 8/20/14,
We’ve written about how a number of cities and states around the country have proactively worked to raise their minimum wage, benefiting millions of hard-working Americans. There are other areas, meanwhile, where the debate over whether or not to raise the wage has become a political focal point. Iowa is a perfect example: in the deadlocked race for U.S. Senate between Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley and Republican state senator Joni Ernst, the contrast between the candidates couldn’t be clearer. Braley proudly supports an increase in the minimum wage, while Joni Ernst has stated she does not support a federal minimum wage at all and that “$7.25 is appropriate for Iowa.”
A new report and poll from CAP Action outlines just how out of touch Ernst is for Iowans and in helping create an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy few. While 300,000 Iowans would see their wages go up and 80 percent of Iowa voters say they could not support their household on Iowa’s minimum wage, Ernst continues to call a federal minimum wage increase “ridiculous.” This extreme position would hurt hardworking Iowans and the overall economy. Here are just a few reasons why, from the report:
In addition to the report, CAP Action also releases a poll of Iowa voters on how they feel about these issues. Here are some key findings that illustrate how out of touch Ernst is with Iowans:
BOTTOM LINE: Ernst’s radical position on the minimum wage threatens the economic security of Iowans. At a time when too many families in Iowa and across the country are still recovering from the Great Recession, we need elected officials who will act to rebuild the economy so that it once again works for everyone, not just the wealthy few.