Tag Archives: House Appropriations Committee

And then they left town….

Gun violence by state “A House panel on Thursday rejected multiple efforts by Democrats to eliminate a budget amendment that has frozen nearly all government research into gun violence for 17 years.

During a markup of next year’s health spending bill, Republicans blocked two amendments that would have allowed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to study gun-related deaths. Neither had a recorded vote. 

Eliminating the provision has become a priority for Democrats since the June 12 attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., that killed 49 people — the nation’s deadliest mass shooting. 

The provision, known as the Dickey Amendment for former Rep. Jay Dickey (R-Ark.), was first enacted in 1996 after groups including the National Rifle Association (NRA) accused federal agencies of trying to advance gun control.”  [The Hill]

Nevada Representative Mark Amodei (R-NV2) is a member of the House Appropriations Committee but is not a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health, Human Services, and related agencies.

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Filed under Amodei, Congress, Gun Issues, Nevada politics, Republicans

Can’t Sleep In The Beds They Make, May Not Be Able To Sleep In Their Own Either

The median hourly wage of a housekeeper or maid in Nevada’s “traveler accommodation” sector is $15.71.  [DETR] We know what medians are — half the wage earners are above this level, the other half below.  So, if our median wage earning housekeeper works 40 hours per week, for 50 weeks per year the gross earnings would be $31,420.  The actual median annual income is reported as $32,680. [DETR] Again, we know that half are earning below this amount.  Let’s compare these numbers to the living wage required in the community most likely to employ housekeepers — Las Vegas.

A single person with no dependents would need to earn $20,036 to make the living wage level in Las Vegas.  A person supporting one child would need annual earnings of $43,001. [MITedu] The median annual earnings of a housekeeper in Las Vegas obviously don’t reach this level.  Why are we looking at these numbers?

Because — the Economic Policy Institute released a report yesterday demonstrating that people working in the accommodations sector can’t afford to sleep in the beds they’re making.  At one point, back in the 1960’s and 1970’s a housekeeper could afford a room, but the current wage stagnation in the sector now means that the housekeeper can only afford 78% of the average room cost ($106/day).   Once more, why does this matter?

It’s not like the Department of Labor hasn’t been trying to tell us, ” A review of 64 studies on minimum wage increases found no discernible effect on employment,” but the myth remains that raising minimum wages cuts jobs is still recited like a mantra among business interests in spite of every solid study to the contrary — and there’s another study rejecting the mythology this morning.

“In April, the Paychex/IHS survey, which looks at employment in small businesses, found that the state with the highest percentage of annual job growth was Washington — the state with the highest minimum wage in the nation, $9.32 an hour. The metropolitan area with the highest percentage of annual job growth was San Francisco — the city with the highest minimum wage in the nation, at $10.74.” [WaPo]

Harold Meyerson’s analysis repeats what advocates of increasing minimum wages have been saying all along:

“What critics of a higher minimum wage ignore is that, by putting more money into the pockets of the working poor — a group that necessarily spends nearly all its income on such locally provided basics as rent, food, transport and child care — an adequate minimum wage increases a community’s level of sales and thereby creates more jobs.” [WaPo]

But, but, but… sputter the opponents of any increase in the minimum wage, Singapore has no minimum wage and look how well those people are doing.  Easy now. That evidence comes with some significant caveats.  First, their budget provides public funds to subsidize private company worker’s pay, and secondly the Singapore government is the largest shareholder in Singaporean companies, to the tune of some 54% ownership. [AXW]  I’m not at all assured that U.S. companies would be eager to adopt a system in which in exchange for wage subsidies the company would agree to make the government a major shareholder.

Another reason for looking at minimum wage and living wage issues is the recent action by the House Appropriations Committee which would slash HUD funding for housing assistance.

“The House Appropriations Committee this week approved a fiscal year 2015 funding bill covering the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that makes disproportionately deep cuts in housing assistance for low-income families.” [CBPP]

Here’s a graphic representation of what this would mean for low income families.

Housing cutsNot to put too fine a point to it, but the House appears determined to cut programs for low income families while they are singularly unresponsive to any and all calls for closing tax loopholes and gimmicks for the upper 0.01% or eliminating subsidies for the Oil and Gas Giants.

Meanwhile, the housekeepers cleaning up after the Memorial Day weekend revelers in Nevada, continue to try to make financial ends meet, as the House of Representatives pursues more ways to make life even more difficult for struggling American families.  If this pursuit continues our housekeepers may not only be unable to rent a motel room — they may not be able to sleep in their own beds.

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Filed under Economy, Nevada economy

There’s Much More Than Just Obamacare in the House Hostage Note

Ransom Note

What do the following two statements have in common? Hint: Both press releases from the Nevada Republican representatives in Congress would give a person the distinct impression that the House GOP wants to hold the debt ceiling hostage in order to get a one year delay in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Flashback: 9/20/13 “The coming 10 days will give the American people a clear view on who stands with the middle class, small business owners, and seniors, among others, in opposition to the implementation of the ACA and ongoing fiscal practices that undermine the economy.” [Rep. Mark Amodei]

Flashback: 9/20/13: “During the August work period, I heard from constituents throughout the district who made their wishes clear: keep the government open and alleviate the burdens placed on them, their families, and their businesses by the flawed health care law. The CR passed today by the House reflects those priorities – it keeps the government open, controls spending, and defunds an unworkable law. The House has heard the voice of the American public and it is now time for the Senate to act.”  [Rep. Joe Heck]

However, according to the House Appropriations Committee that’s not the only hostage being held at knife point:

“In return for a one-year suspension of the debt ceiling, House Republicans are demanding a yearlong delay of Obamacare, Rep. Paul Ryan’s tax reform plan, the Keystone XL pipeline, more offshore oil drilling, more drilling on federally protected lands, rewriting of ash coal regulations, a suspension of the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to regulate carbon emissions, more power over the regulatory process in general, reform of the federal employee retirement program, an overhaul of the Dodd-Frank financial regulations, more power over the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s budget, repeal of the Social Services Block Grant, more means-testing in Medicare, repeal of the Public Health trust fund, and more.”  [WaPo/NtlRev] [NtlRev] (emphasis added)

In short, what the House Republicans are demanding isn’t JUST a delay in the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, but the adoption of their entire Tea Party Agenda — without delay — and all this for a one year extension of the debt ceiling.

All of this makes the statement of Representative Dina Titus (D-NV1) much more sensible:

“With just days remaining before the end of the fiscal year, Republicans continue to put politics ahead of the economy by risking a government shutdown for the sake of their flawed ideological principles. This continuing resolution is not a real plan to fund the government; it is a destructive attempt to deny health care to those who need it the most. It’s time for Republicans to get serious, stop playing political games, and finally start working for the American people.”

Right, this hostage taking is anything but a ‘real plan.’  The House GOP is essentially saying that unless they get everything on their agenda they will gleefully try to blame the Senate and the Administration for their own obstructionism.  Further, this isn’t an exercise in Checks and Balance government — this situation IS a prime example of a willful minority throwing a tantrum unless they get everything they want when they want it.

There’s more considered opinion  from Rep. Stephen Horsford:

“Not only does this irresponsible continuing resolution lock in deep and irresponsible sequester cuts, it also will raise Nevadans’ health costs and deny them the health coverage they need.

“It’s time for all parties to come together to find a way to stop sequester cuts and find a responsible compromise that funds our vital social programs. Nevadans cannot afford to be caught in the political games of the Tea Party. We cannot afford to continue lurching from fiscal crisis to fiscal crisis. We should work to reduce our deficits and debt in a fair and responsible way.”

Rep. Horsford adds the sequestration cuts to the mix and correctly observes that this is, in almost every categorization possible, part of “the political games of the Tea Party.”

The Tea Party Faithless are perfectly happy to make health care insurance less readily available to millions of Americans, content to brush aside the potential calamity of a  national default on our credit obligations on international markets, and all merely to advance an agenda devoid of proposals for realistic solutions to both immediate and long term problems.

We do, if fact, now understand that the GOP has become the party of the selfish, the self-centered, the polluters, the exploiters, and the Big Banks and hedge funds … it’s all in the Hostage Note.

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Filed under financial regulation, Medicare, Nevada politics, Republicans