FPL put on this press conference
Alaska Democratic Sen. Mark Begich and several religious leaders gathered on the steps of a Capitol Hill church Monday afternoon to decry — in moral terms — House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) proposed fiscal 2012 budget, which will be voted on by the House at the end of this week.
Begich, a first-term lawmaker and former Anchorage mayor who was recently tapped by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to serve on the Democratic leadership team, was joined Monday at the Church of the Reformation on East Capitol Street by the Rev. Derrick Harkins, pastor of the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church; Rabbi Jack Moline of the Agudas Achim Congregation in Alexandria; and Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of a Catholic social justice lobbying group.
The four made a familiar Democratic case against the Republican budget plan – that it unfairly burdens those who rely on the government’s social welfare safety net and does not include tax increases for the wealthiest earners – but couched their argument in moral terms.
“The women, children and seniors who would suffer most from Paul Ryan’s cowardly budget plan are not responsible for our deficit,” Campbell said. “It’s wrong to make them bear the burden while the wealthiest Americans and powerful special interests that wrecked our economy continue to exploit our society without consequence.”
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FPL compiled quotes from faith leaders opposing government shutdown over Planned Parenthood funding
Nine Democratic female senators held a news conference Friday to slam Republicans for their insistence that funding for Planned Parenthood be stripped from a stopgap spending bill to keep the government running.
“These cuts are biased, politically motivated, they hurt women, and we the women in the Senate will not let it happen,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat. “What’s at stake isn’t the amount of cuts, it’s the ability of American women — poor American women — to get health care service.”
Added fellow California Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer: “To think that this government could shut down because there’s a group of people over in the House — Republicans — who are so extreme that they would stop women’s health programs is extraordinary.”
“The concerns regarding Planned Parenthood are misguided. It is clearly understood that there is no federal funding for abortion — end of discussion,” said the Rev. Derrick Harkins, pastor of Nineteenth Street Baptist Church in Washington.
“Threatening to shut down the government over funding for Planned Parenthood is a distraction that won’t balance the budget or prevent the tragedy of abortion,” added Steve Schneck, director of the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies at the Catholic University of America in Washington.
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FPL partnered with Catholics United to host this news conference
Ohio Governor John Kasich has signed Senate Bill 5 into law, which limits the bargaining rights of 350,000 public workers.
Labor unions already are planning to put the bill up for a statewide referendum in November. Teaming with the Ohio Democratic Party, union members will market their campaign as “We are Ohio” in order to stop the pending limitations on collective bargaining.
In order to give voters the final say on the issue, SB 5 opponents will need to gather more than 231,000 petition signatures within a 90-day window of time. Union workers report intense interest in helping.
Ohioans of faith may prove to be a swing vote for both sides courting the community that regularly attends church. At a news conference Thursday, Kurt Bateman of Catholics United joined other faith leaders opposed to SB 5 in vowing to fight for the bill’s defeat.
“I’ve been online with a number of people who’ve already said, ‘Where do I get my petition,” Bateman said. “People will come to this out of their heart, and I think that there’s a lot of faithful folks in the state of Ohio who understand that these basic rights are endemic to our faith.”
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FPL helped organize this press call featuring Interfaith Worker Justice and NAACP
An interfaith coalition of religious leaders, joined by labor and civil rights groups, is organizing a day of protest and witness on next Monday’s 31st anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. The Interfaith Worker Justice committee is leading the effort and organized a press call this afternoon. Specifically, the groups are calling attention to the need to defend workers’ rights in the face of political attacks unleashed on organized labor in recent months. Dr. King was shot in Memphis, where he had gone to stand with striking garbage workers.
Rev. Nelson Rivers III, vice president for stakeholder relations at the NAACP said, “In the context of our time, we face increased attacks by right-wing groups…engaged in a gigantic effort to turn back the clock.” Rivers noted that the NAACP has long stood with organized labor defending workers’ rights. He said many local NAACP chapters are organizing special events for Monday’s protests, including “Teach-ins” at several universities.
Mario Ramirez, a union organizer in Wisconsin, spoke about the recent attacks by Gov. Scott Walker and the GOP-led legislature on public sector unions in his state. Ramirez, who works at a manufacturing company, said he and his colleagues in the Voces de la Frontera Worker Center, stood in solidarity with the public employees in Wisconsin.
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FPL worked with Sister Mary Ellen Howard on this op-ed
A year ago this week, Congress passed landmark health care reform that stands as one of the most important achievements since President Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare into law more than four decades ago. This first anniversary will provoke fresh debate over a law many Americans still remain confused about, even as its benefits are already taking effect.
As a Sister of Mercy and executive director of the St. Frances Cabrini Clinic in Detroit, the oldest free clinic in the country, I’m on the front lines of our national health care crisis every day. Our doors are open to a steady stream of this city’s sick and most vulnerable who lack insurance.
I know that the more than 50 million uninsured Americans are not statistics. They are mothers, children and grandparents who deserve to be treated with dignity. In the wealthiest nation in the world, it’s a moral scandal that our broken health care system has left behind so many for so long.
This is why I’m hopeful that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is charting a new course. Because of this law, fewer patients will face dire circumstances. Insurance companies can no longer deny coverage to children with pre-existing conditions. This means a young girl with cancer or another serious illness can’t be denied the care she needs.
In addition, new health plans must cover preventive services such as blood-pressure checkups and routine vaccinations without co-payments. This is an important victory; costly and life-threatening conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and other illnesses are often preventable, but research shows most of us avoid preventive care when it’s not covered. And over the next several years, 795,000 uninsured citizens of Michigan will gain coverage.
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