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Entries in AUFC (29)

Wednesday
Mar262014

AUFC - The "Give America a Raise" Bus Tour Comes to the Granite State 

Link: http://www.raiseto1010.com/newhampwrapup

With Too Many Working Granite Staters Struggling to Survive on $15,000 a Year,
New Hampshire Faith Leaders, Labor Leaders, Low-Wage Workers Join Stop Along 11-State Tour Sponsored by Americans United for Change, Call on Senator Kelly 
Ayotte to Vote to Raise the Minimum Wage to $10.10


[Click Here to See More Pics from the Nashua Tour Stop]


[LEFT: Click for Vine at Ayotte’s Office; RIGHT: Video of Pastor Kinney’s remarks]


www.Raiseto1010.com

#RaiseTheWage

Washington DC – Americans agree: No one who works should live in poverty. Yet that’s exactly what’s happening to workers around the country earning the current minimum wage. While the federal minimum wage has stayed the same since 2009, the price of food, gas, utilities, and basic necessities certainly has not with inflation, making it nearly impossible to live anywhere in America on $7.25 an hour or $15,000 a year.  It’s long past time for Congress to give America a raise.  And to help drive the point home, Americans United for Change has hit the road with the 11-State “Give America a Raise” Bus Tour supporting President Obama’s plan to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour.  The latest stop: Nashua, NH outside the public library.  With the backdrop of 45’ long, 16 ton anti-poverty billboard on wheels and with invaluable support from New Hampshire Citizen Alliance for Action, Granite State Progress, and AFSCME, Americans United was joined by Obama administration official Laura Fortman, Gail Kinney, pastor of the South Danbury United Church of Christ and a local low-wage worker, who urged Senator Kelly Ayotte to help hard working Granite Staters climb out of poverty and one rung closer to the middle class over by voting to boost minimum wage.  The tour will end outside the U.S. Capitol on April 3. 

According to MIT, the living wage in Nashua is $21,422 a year to be able to afford housing, medical care, transportation and food. If full-time New Hampshire workers made $10.10 an hour, they’d earn $21,008 a year.   A new report out today from the Center for American Progress Action Fund finds that raising the minimum wage would increase wages for 113,000 workers in New Hampshire by $143,575,000 if the minimum wage is raised to $10.10, and that this wage increase would generate $90,883,000 of economic activity in the Granite State.

Brad Woodhouse, President, Americans United for Change: “After the recession, the economy is starting to pick up. Businesses are doing better. The stock market is doing better, but wages for 30 years, overall for most workers, have been flat.  It’s been more than five years since New Hampshire minimum wage workers have gotten a raise – workers that include child care providers, janitors, and nursing assistants and who are 35 years old on average.  It was hard enough to live on $15,000 a year in 2009, and it’s near impossible in 2014. What stands today in the way of stronger economy built from the middle out are Tea Party Republicans in Congress who only seem to care about voting for minimum tax responsibility for huge corporations that outsource jobs. Raising the minimum wage would provide a needed boost not just for the millions of struggling low-wage American workers that can barely survive on $7.25, but for the U.S. economy as a whole. Now the last time I heard anything from Senator Ayotte on the minimum wage was when a constituent asked her about it at a town hall meeting and her answer- if you can even call it an answer since she didn’t say what she would or wouldn’t vote for – is that she’d rather work to create jobs. Then her big job creation idea was to repeal a tax on medical devices. Enough said.  Let’s be clear Senator Ayotte:  A bill to raise the minimum wage is a bill to create jobs.   It will create jobs because it puts more money in the pockets of workers who will quickly inject it back into the economy.   Millions of people with more money to spend on goods and services means businesses will need to hire more workers to meet the demand.  Decades worth of research done after previous minimum wage increases shows nothing but net economic benefits as a result, which is why so many successful business leaders and over 600 economists including seven Nobel Laureates are calling on Congress to raise it again now.”

 

Laura Fortman, U.S. Labor Department's Principal Deputy Administrator, Wage and Hour Division: “Workers have seen a real significant decline in the purchasing power of the minimum wage for more than 45 years.  Real people have experienced this. We’re not just talking about teenagers. The average age of a minimum wage worker is 35. We’re talking about working adults – the people who drive our kids to school on the bus, serve us our food in restaurants, the people who clean our schools and our places of business, assist us in hospitals.”

Gail Kinney, pastor of the South Danbury United Church of Christ: “Every low wage worker in this state and in this country who work full time yet remains trapped in poverty is left behind in our economy and is being treated in our economic system as the last and the least. We as a nation can do better than this. It is not only a moral imperative; it is an economic imperative.  We MUST do better than this if we are to preserve our democracy and repair the destructive and explosive economic divide in our nation between the haves and the have nots. Whether you are 16 or 66, if you’re on your feet all day or night cooking or serving so-called fast food; or stocking grocery shelves; or running a cash register; or cleaning bed pans or hotel rooms; or caring for two-year-olds or for someone’s grandmother – that all work has dignity and value. That work deserves respect. And that work, in this day and age, is worth more to our society than $7.25 per hour.  When we find ourselves, as religious leaders, repeatedly having to minister to individuals in our own pews who are frightened – and worse – by their inability to “make it” despite working as hard and as many hours as they possibly can – it’s time to raise the wage.”

Anita Mendes, a low-wage worker from the Mondandock region: "The things that are different in my life are that I have less social ability. I can’t go and meet somebody for lunch. That means, for me, that I don’t get to say hello, I don’t get to check in, I don’t get the emotional support.  On Sunday, when I went to my Quaker meeting, I didn’t just think about getting from my house to the Quaker meeting, but what can I do in between? I loaded the laundry, brought the grocery list, and made all of those stops so that I could save my gas.  Yes I dry my clothes at the laundry; I don’t dry them all the way. I take them half-wet home, hang them up on a clothesline… If we had a bigger minimum wage, I might be able to afford those last three quarters."

§  FACT SHEET: The Economic Case for Increasing the Minimum Wage: State by State Impact

§  Economic Policy Institute: ‘Raising the Federal Minimum Wage to $10.10 Would Lift Wages for Millions and Provide a Modest Economic Boost’

§  Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: Proposal to Strengthen Minimum Wage Would Help Low-Wage Workers, With Little Impact on Employment

§  National Employment Law Project: ‘The Most Rigorous Research Shows Minimum Wage Increases Do Not Reduce Employment’

§  Center for American Progress Action Fund: ‘Raising the Minimum Wage Would Help, Not Hurt, Our Economy’

§  Think Progress: ‘A $10.10 Minimum Wage Would Make A DVD At Walmart Cost One Cent More’

§  Think Progress: ‘Real World Evidence That Increasing The Minimum Wage Doesn’t Cost Jobs’

§  New York Times: ‘The Clear Benefits of a Higher Wage’

Monday
Mar242014

AUFC - MARCH 25, 9:30AM: The "Give America a Raise" Bus Tour Comes to Nashua, NH 

With Too Many Working Granite Staters Struggling to Survive on $15,000 a Year,
Obama Administration Official Laura Fortman to Join New Hampshire Faith Leader and Low-Wage Workers in Stop Along the 11-State Tour, Appeal to Senator Kelly 
Ayotte  to Vote to Raise the Minimum Wage to $10.10

 

www.Raiseto1010.com

#RaiseTheWage

Washington DC – Americans agree: No one who works should live in poverty. Yet that’s exactly what’s happening to workers around the country earning the current minimum wage. While the federal minimum wage has stayed the same since 2009, the price of food, gas, utilities, and basic necessities has, with inflation, made it nearly impossible to live anywhere in America on $7.25 an hour or $15,000 a year.  It’s long past time for Congress to give America a raise.  And to help drive the point home, Americans United for Change has hit the road with the 11-State “Give America a Raise” Bus Tour supporting President Obama’s plan to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 to $10.10 an hour.  Next stop: Nashua, NH in front of the Nashua Public Library on Tuesday, March 25 at 9:30 AM ET.  With the backdrop of 45’ long, 16 ton anti-poverty billboard on wheels, Americans United will be joined by Obama administration official Laura Fortman, Gail Kinney, pastor of the South Danbury United Church of Christ and a local low-wage worker, to call on Senator Kelly Ayotte to help hard working Granite Staters climb out of poverty and one rung closer to the middle class over by voting to boost minimum wage.  The tour will end at a rally outside the U.S. Capitol on April 3. 

It’s been more than five years since these workers have gotten a raise – workers that include child care providers, janitors, and nursing assistants and who are 35 years old on average.  It was hard enough to live on $15,000 a year in 2009, and it’s near impossible in 2014.  All that stands in the way of stronger economy built from the middle out are Tea Party Republicans in Congress who only seem to care about voting for minimum tax responsibility for huge corporations that outsource jobs. Raising the minimum wage would provide a needed boost not just for the millions of struggling low-wage American workers that can barely survive on $7.25, but for the U.S. economy as a whole.  It will create jobs because it puts more money in the pockets of workers who will quickly inject it back into the economy. Millions of people with more money to spend on goods and services means businesses will need to hire more workers to meet the demand.  Decades’ worth of research done after previous minimum wage increases shows nothing but net economic benefits as a result, which is why so many successful business leaders and over 600 economists including seven Nobel Laureates are calling on Congress to raise it again now.

President Obama’s opportunity agenda will be on full display Tuesday in Nashua, New Hampshire. To fulfill the promise of President Obama’s opportunity agenda, we need to keep creating jobs and give American workers the skills and training they need to succeed in those jobs, but we also have to do everything in our power to ensure those job’s reward an honest day’s work with a fair day’s pay. No one who works a full-time job should have to live in poverty.

According to MIT, the living wage in Nashua is $21,422 a year be able to afford housing, medical care, transportation and food. If full-time New Hampshire workers made $10.10 an hour, they’d earn $21,008 a year.

WHAT:         11-STATE ‘GIVE AMERICA A RAISE’ BUS TOUR STOP IN NASHUA, NH

WHO:           Laura Fortman, U.S. Labor Department's Principal Deputy Administrator, Wage and Hour Division

Brad Woodhouse, President, Americans United for Change

Gail Kinney, pastor of the South Danbury United Church of Christ

Anita Mendes, low-wage worker

WHERE:       Nashua Public Library, 2 Court St, Nashua, NH

WHEN:         Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 9:30 AM ET

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

 

§  FACT SHEET: The Economic Case for Increasing the Minimum Wage: State by State Impact

§  Economic Policy Institute: ‘Raising the Federal Minimum Wage to $10.10 Would Lift Wages for Millions and Provide a Modest Economic Boost’

§  Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: Proposal to Strengthen Minimum Wage Would Help Low-Wage Workers, With Little Impact on Employment

§  National Employment Law Project: ‘The Most Rigorous Research Shows Minimum Wage Increases Do Not Reduce Employment’

§  Center for American Progress Action Fund: ‘Raising the Minimum Wage Would Help, Not Hurt, Our Economy’

§  Think Progress: ‘A $10.10 Minimum Wage Would Make A DVD At Walmart Cost One Cent More’

§  Think Progress: ‘Real World Evidence That Increasing The Minimum Wage Doesn’t Cost Jobs’

§  New York Times: ‘The Clear Benefits of a Higher Wage’

Wednesday
Mar122014

AUFC - The Hill: Dems see healthcare opening on Medicaid 

Key Point: “Every incremental gain in the push to expand Medicaid is cheered by Democrats, who view the state-level victories as furthering the primary goal of ObamaCare, which is to extend coverage to as many of the uninsured as possible.

“Lives will be saved, health will be improved, and insurance premiums will come down in New Hampshire as a direct result of what the state Senate did today, and they should be proud,” Americans United for Change president Brad Woodhouse said in a statement on Thursday after the Granite State’s GOP-controlled Senate sent a bill to the Democratic governor to accept additional federal funds for the program.”

 

The Hill: Dems see healthcare opening on Medicaid

States run by Republican governors and legislatures are slowly adopting the Medicaid expansion under ObamaCare, boosting Democratic hopes they can run on the issue in the midterm elections.

Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) has launched a petition on her website urging Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-La.) to agree to the expansion, which she argues would bring health insurance to more people who cannot afford it.

The issue is giving Landrieu a chance to run not only against her GOP opponent Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who opposes the extension, but against Jindall as well. She argues the expansion would close “the Jindal Gap.”

“Our governor may not like the president, but this is not about the president,” she writes. “It's about providing health coverage for 240,000 Louisianans who work 40 or 50 hours a week, but still make too little to qualify for assistance in the new marketplace — and too much to qualify for Louisiana’s current Medicaid.”

Democrats have seen a number of states embrace the Medicaid expansion, including a number run by Republican governors, including Chris Christie (N.J.), Susanna Martinez (N.M.), Brian Sandoval (Nev.) and Jan Brewer (Az.).

In total, 25 states and the District of Columbia have said they will either expand Medicaid outright or work with the administration to design a more politically-palatable workaround.

An additional five states – Utah, Missouri, New Hampshire, Arkansas and Pennsylvania — are considering some sort of expansion, and a sixth, Virginia, is reconsidering its initial rejection now that a Democratic governor has been elected.

Every incremental gain in the push to expand Medicaid is cheered by Democrats, who view the state-level victories as furthering the primary goal of ObamaCare, which is to extend coverage to as many of the uninsured as possible.

“Lives will be saved, health will be improved, and insurance premiums will come down in New Hampshire as a direct result of what the state Senate did today, and they should be proud,” Americans United for Change president Brad Woodhouse said in a statement on Thursday after the Granite State’s GOP-controlled Senate sent a bill to the Democratic governor to accept additional federal funds for the program.

Republicans downplay any benefits to Democrats from the strategy.

“To me, ObamaCare is 1,000 times bigger than the Medicaid issue,” said GOP strategist Matt Mackowiak, who described Medicaid is a peripheral issue.

“It’s kind of like when you’re drowning, you grab for anything you can,” he continued. “So they’re pulling out minimum wage, equal pay, violence against women, and their other go-to issues. But to me, ObamaCare is so much bigger than all that.”

But polls show widespread support for the Medicaid expansion, even in some parts of the Deep South, where governors and statehouses have rejected the possibility outright.

While Republicans have already begun hammering Landrieu and fellow vulnerable Democratic Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Mark Pryor (Ark.), Kay Hagan (N.C.), and Mark Begich (Alaska) for supporting ObamaCare, Democrats believe they have an opening on the issue to potentially neutralize that advantage.

Landrieu’s race is perhaps the case study for how this will unfold.

Republicans have zeroed-in on the Louisiana Democrat as one of their primary targets in the 2014 election cycle, and Landrieu has responded by seeking to create as much space as possible between herself and the unpopular healthcare law.

She’s become one of the most vocal Democratic critics of the botched ObamaCare rollout, and has sponsored legislation to delay the individual mandate and to allow consumers to keep their old healthcare plans, even if they don’t meet the minimum requirements under the law.

But Landrieu is equally as vocal about her support for Medicaid expansion under the law.

While the polling in Louisiana is sparse, a Pew study released last year showed that 63 percent in the state support an expansion.

The fight is already playing out among outside groups in Louisiana.

Americans for Prosperity, the group backed by the billionaire Koch brothers, is making opposition to the expansion a top priority through a “Stop the Madness” ad campaign.

The liberal nonprofit group MoveOn, meanwhile, has launched a campaign targeting some of the highest profile Republican governors in the country, including Jindal, over their continued opposition to expanding Medicaid under ObamaCare.

Some other Democrats on the vulnerable list are also embracing the Medicaid issue.

In New Hampshire, Shaheen lauded he legislature’s work this week to advance a bill, and in Virginia, Warner is pressuring the legislature to work with Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-Va.) on an expansion, while accusing the GOP in the state of “putting a right ideological agenda over the well-being of their constituents.”

The fight is also playing out nationally.

Last month, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius lashed out at the governors in four Southern states that have some of the highest levels of uninsured: North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and Texas, among others, for “playing politics with people’s lives” by refusing to expand Medicaid under ObamaCare.


Read more: http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/health-reform-implementation/200239-dems-see-healthcare-opening-on-medicaid#ixzz2vZHLJWia
Follow us: @thehill on Twitter | TheHill on Facebook

Friday
Mar072014

AUFC Lauds NH Senate for Voting to Expand Medicaid

www.americansunitedforchange.org

Clearing Path for 50,000 Granite Staters to Finally Access Quality, Affordable Health Care

Washington DC – Hailing it as a major victory for New Hampshire’s health and economy, Americans United for Change praised the New Hampshire Senate for passing the bipartisan Health Protection Program (SB 413), legislation to accept available federal resources to cover the around 50,000 workers in the state who are not impoverished enough to qualify for Medicaid and earn too much to qualify for subsidies to get private insurance in the new health law’s Exchange.  With bipartisan support, the SB 413 cleared the Republican-controlled Senate by an 18-5 margin and is now on all-but-certain path to becoming law as it now goes before a Democratic-controlled state House and a supportive Governor. 

This week Americans United for Change aired radio ads in Manchester and Concord appealing to Senators to support a healthier New Hampshire and taking to task State Sens. Andy Sanborn (R-District-09) and John Reagan (R-District-17) for their vocal, Tea Party-influenced opposition.  Listen to ‘No Way to Live’ here: http://www.americansunitedforchange.org/press/releases/with_vote_set_in_nh_state_senate_on_medicaid_expansion_new_ad_says_uninsure/

Brad Woodhouse, President, Americans United for Change: “Lives will be saved, health will be improved, and insurance premiums will come down in New Hampshire as a direct result of what the state Senate did today, and they should be proud.  The Senate listened to the chorus of Granite State hospitals, doctors, nurses, families, small business owners and the clear majority of voters who understand the economic and health benefits for the state in accepting these federal resources, including hundreds of new health sector jobs and less cost shifting onto the insured to make up for uncompensated care. A healthier New Hampshire means a wealthier New Hampshire.”

A new survey out this week from New England College showed that two-thirds (66 percent) of New Hampshire residents support SB413, while just 25 percent opposes it and 10 percent said they are unsure.  Until the bitter end, Tea Party beholden lawmakers like Sens. Sanborn and Reagan repeated their poor ‘sticker shock’ excuse for why they opposed SB 413, despite the fact that the first three years are totally paid for by the federal government; and the additional spending starting in 2017 would amount to less than 3 percent more than what New Hampshire would have spent on Medicaid anyways in the absence of the health law.  The economic and health benefits for New Hampshire of accepting Medicaid resources far outweigh the marginal added costs years down the road.

Thursday
Mar062014

AUFC - Washington Post: 'DEMS PUSH NH REPUBLICANS ON MEDICAID EXPANSION' 

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2014/03/04/morning-plum-why-republicans-have-the-advantage-in-2014/

March 4 at 8:56 am
BY GREG SARGENT

* DEMS PUSH REPUBLICANS ON MEDICAID EXPANSION: The Dem-allied Americans United for Change is up with new radio ads hitting state legislators in New Hampshire in advance of this week’s vote on the state’s version of the Medicaid expansion. AUFC recently launched ads in Nebraska pushing for the same.

Some conservatives are vowing to hold GOP lawmakers who vote to expand coverage to their own constituents accountable with a primary. With AFP organizing against the expansion in other states, it’s clear that this aspect of Obamacare will continue to draw attention from outside groups.

 

Listen to the ads here: http://www.americansunitedforchange.org/press/releases/with_vote_set_in_nh_state_senate_on_medicaid_expansion_new_ad_says_uninsure/

 

SEE ALSO:   http://new-futures.org/blog/new-hampshire-medicaid-expansion

 

Thousands in Need of Treatment Could Benefit From Thursday’s Senate Vote 

By Joe Gallagher, 3 hours ago

Of the 113,000 New Hampshire residents estimated to need treatment for alcohol and other drug disorders, only 6,000 per year receive needed treatment through state-funded programs—that leaves a population in New Hampshire without access to state-funded programs larger than 2014 Superbowl attendance.

Tomorrow the State Senate will vote on a bill that could extend substance abuse disorder coverage to thousands in the Granite State. If this bill passes, the House of Representatives will vote on it and Governor Hassan will sign it into law.

 

“Expanding Medicaid will support this treatment-first approach by providing thousands of people with substance and alcohol treatment coverage for the first time, improving lives while strengthening our economy and public safety,” Hassan said at her State of the State address.

New Hampshire drug and alcohol problems don’t seem to be going away. Just a few months ago, Lt. Maureen Tessier attributed the spike in Manchester crime to drug addiction—especially heroin—which has emerged as the low-cost alternative to OxyContin and Percocet in New Hampshire. A Manchester drug-sweep followed in February, netting 30 for drug-related crimes.

“We cannot arrest away this drug problem; it’s an underlying addiction problem,” Chief David Mara said. “We don’t have the resources as law enforcement to fight the addiction problem. What we can do is try to get these people off the streets and hopefully once they are in the corrections facility, or once they get involved with the court, hopefully they will be able to get some treatment.”

The Senate vote on Thursday will do exactly that, according to Linda Saunders Paquette, Executive Director of New Futures.

“Accepting federal funds would allow NH General Fund dollars currently spent on treatment to be reallocated across disciplines for prevention, recovery supports, and other related services aimed at reducing crime associated with substance abuse. Expanding these resources can address the underlying cause of cyclical drug-related crime and incarceration in our state.”

“You can put bars and barbed wire around somebody with addiction; without appropriate treatment and supports, they will not recover from their addiction.”

The recovery community has been vocal in framing New Hampshire substance abuse problems as a health issue rather than a criminal justice issue. Recovery advocates have urged the Senate to invest in expanding treatment to addicts, instead of “quarantining” them in prison.

Prison and jail inmates are seven times likelier to have a substance use disorder than the general population. Over 90% of parole revocations in New Hampshire are due to condition violations involving parolees who used drugs or alcohol. If the Senate votes “yes” on Thursday, many in the newly covered population would be on probation, parole, or participating in drug or mental health courts.