Tag Archive | US Congress

Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act

agency wide capacity building

It has been reported that cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide and accounted for 7.6 million deaths (around 13% of all deaths) in 2008. This year, according to the American Cancer Society, approximately 40,000 Americans will die from breast cancer .

Nationwide, health care costs associated with breast cancer totaled $16.5 billion in 2010 and resulted in $12.1 billion in lost productivity, according to an estimate by the National Cancer Institute.

In response to the growing number of Americans that are dying of breast cancer, legislation was proposed in the House of Representatives and in the Senate to facilitate collaboration in addressing this pressing public health issue.

Doctor with Patient

H.R.1830 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)

The Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act of 2013 was introduced in the US House of Representatives on May 6th, 2013 by Representative Capito and Shelley Moore.

The Act directs the President to establish the Commission to Accelerate the End of Breast Cancer to help end breast cancer by January 1, 2020. The Commission to Accelerate the End of Breast Cancer fills a void in federal research efforts by facilitating collaboration between agencies, disciplines, and sectors, and by highlighting promising research pathways that are not currently prioritized or funded.

Further, the Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act of 2013 directs the Commission to: (1) identify opportunities and ideas within government and the private sector that are key components in achieving the end of breast cancer and which have been overlooked, yet are ripe for collaboration and investment; (2) recommend projects to leverage such opportunities and ideas in the areas of the primary prevention of breast cancer and the causes and prevention of breast cancer metastasis; and (3) ensure that its activities are coordinated with, and do not duplicate the efforts of, programs and laboratories of other government agencies.

The afore-referenced Act, also directs the President to enter into an agreement with the Institute of Medicine for an evaluation of the Commission’s progress. In the Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act of 2013, the Commission terminates on June 1, 2020.

Hurt Woman

865: Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act

U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) cosponsored bipartisan legislation, Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act, to create a national commission dedicated to advancing breast cancer research and ending breast cancer by 2020. In the Senate, efforts to pass the Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act is led by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.). The bill has thirty bipartisan cosponsors in the Senate and a House companion bill has one hundred and ninety-two cosponsors.

Like the House version of the Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act of 2013, it establishes the Commission to Accelerate the End of Breast Cancer to help end breast cancer by January 1, 2020.

The legislation directs the Commission to identify, recommend, and promote initiatives, partnerships, and research within the public and private sectors, basic and applied sciences, and epidemiology that can be turned into strategies to prevent breast cancer and breast cancer metastasis while giving priority to those that are: (1) not prioritized within the public sector, and (2) unlikely to be achieved by the private sector due to technical and financial uncertainty.

It requires the Commission to: (1) submit within six months to the President and to the relevant congressional committees a description of the Commission’s strategic plan; (2) submit an annual report to the President, Congress, and the public; and (3) ensure that its activities are coordinated with, and do not duplicate the efforts of, programs and laboratories of other government agencies.

Further, it directs the President to enter into an agreement with the Institute of Medicine to evaluate the Commission’s progress. The Commission terminates on June 1, 2020.

Sources: www.congress.gov. Congressional Research Service (CRS) created the summary of the Accelerating the End of Breast Cancer Act of 2013. CRS is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress. U.S. Senator Chris Coons’ website.

Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act

On August 8th, 2014, President Barack Obama signed the Sean and David Goldman International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act into law.

The afore-referenced Act ensures compliance with the 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction by countries with which the United States enjoys reciprocal obligations, to establish procedures for the prompt return of children abducted to other countries, and for other purposes.

The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.
Section 2
Expresses the sense of Congress that the United States should set a strong example for 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Convention) countries in the timely location and return of abducted children in the United States whose habitual residence is not the United States.

Section 3 –
Defines specified terms for purposes of this Act.

Title I – Department of State Actions
Section 101 –
Directs the Secretary of State to submit to Congress an Annual Report on International Child Abduction.

Section 102 –
Directs the Secretary to ensure that U.S. diplomatic and consular missions: (1) maintain a consistent reporting standard with respect to abduction or access cases, (2) designate at least one official in each mission to assist U.S. parents who are visiting to resolve such cases, and
(3) monitor cases involving abducted children in their country of location.

Section 103 –
Directs the Secretary to seek to enter into a memorandum of understanding (an agreement between the United States and a country that is not a Convention country to resolve abduction and rights of access cases) with every country that is not a Convention country.

Section 104 –
Directs the Secretary of State to notify the Member of Congress and Senators representing the legal residence of a left-behind parent when that parent reports an abduction to the Central Authority of the United States unless the left-behind parent does not consent to such notification.

Title II – Presidential Actions
Section 201 –
States that it shall be U.S. policy to: (1) promote the best interest of children abducted from the United States by establishing legal rights and procedures for their prompt return, and (2) recognize the international character of the Convention.

Directs the President, upon a determination that the government of a foreign country has failed to resolve an abduction or access case or has engaged in a pattern of noncooperation, to take one or more specified actions to promote resolution or cooperation.

Section 202 –
States that it shall be U.S. policy to: (1) oppose systemic foreign government failures to fulfill obligations pursuant to the Convention or a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the United States and a non-Convention country to resolve abduction and access cases, and (2) promote reciprocity pursuant to and compliance with the Convention or the applicable MOUs.

Directs the President, upon a determination that the government of a foreign country has engaged in a pattern of noncooperation, to take one or more specified actions to promote resolution or cooperation.

Directs the President to:
(1) review annually the status of abduction cases and access cases in each foreign country to determine whether the country’s government has engaged in a pattern of noncooperation during the preceding 12 months or since the last review,

(2) designate each country whose government has engaged in a pattern of noncooperation as a Country With a Pattern of Noncooperation (Country),

(3) target the responsible agencies or instrumentalities, and

(4) notify Congress of such designations.

Section 203 –
Directs the President to request consultation with the government of a country regarding its designation as a Country.

Section 204 –
Directs the President to report to Congress regarding the violations and the actions to be taken with respect to a Country.

Section 205 –
Sets forth presidential actions and waiver authority under this Act.

Section 207 –
Directs the President to ensure publication in the Federal Register of: (1) Country designations, (2) presidential actions, (3) delays in report transmittal, and (4) waivers.

Section 208 –
Terminates any action taken under this Act with respect to a foreign country on the earlier of the following two dates: (1) not later than two years after the effective date of such action unless expressly reauthorized by law, or (2) the date on which the President certifies to Congress that such country has resolved any unresolved abduction case or has taken substantial and verifiable steps to correct the pattern of noncooperation at issue.

Source(s): http://www.govtrack.us

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Fair Employment Act of 2014

Fair Employment Act of 2014

agency wide capacity building

What are some of the factors contributing to long-term unemployment? Some assert that unemployed workers are being discriminated against by prospective employers. In other words, when reviewing applicants some employers are only electing to interview workers that are currently employed. In response to this observed phenomena, in 2011 and again this year, Democratic members of congress introduced legislation to prevent discrimination against unemployed workers.

Representatives Rosa DeLauro’s of Connecticut and Congressman Hank Johnson of Georgia introduced the Fair Employment Opportunity Act of 2011 and 2014, which would prohibit employers and employment agencies from discriminating against unemployed job-seekers by refusing to consider them for employment. According to Representatives Rosa DeLauro’s press release—

Serious Computer Users

“In today’s tough economy, more than 6 million Americans have been out of work for more than six months. But companies across the country have begun to require current employment to be considered for available positions, and these discriminatory practices are eliminating employment opportunities. The Fair Employment Opportunity Act will prevent employers and employment agencies from refusing to consider or offer employment to someone who is unemployed, or including language in any job advertisements or postings that states unemployed individuals are not qualified.

A survey, conducted by the National Employment Law Project (NELP), of four of the top job search websites, CareerBuilder.com, Indeed.com, Monster.com, and CraigsList.com, found over 150 job advertisements that specified applicants must be currently employed. And the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey shows that there are 4.7 unemployed workers for every 1 job opening.”

The legislation, if passed by the House and Senate, would apply to employers with over fifteen (15) employees and would provide protection to job applicants who are discriminated against because they are unemployed. Key provisions of the Fair Employment Opportunity Act of 2011 include but are not limited to:

(a) Employers – It shall be an unlawful practice for an employer to–
1.Refuse to consider for employment or refuse to offer employment to an individual because of the individual’s status as unemployed;
2.Publish in print, on the Internet, or in any other medium, an advertisement or announcement for any job that includes—

– any provision stating or indicating that an individual’s status as unemployed disqualifies the individual for a job; and

– any provision stating or indicating that an employer will not consider an applicant for employment based on that individual’s status as unemployed; and

3.Direct or request that an employment agency take an individual’s status as unemployed into account in screening or referring applicants for employment.

Workplace Woman

Representatives Rosa DeLauro’s press release aptly states that, “In a tough job market, where workers are competing against tens and sometimes hundreds of others for every available job opening, it is unjust for employers to discriminate against those who are unemployed. We have seen ample evidence that unemployed individuals are increasingly falling prey to discriminatory practices reducing their opportunities to be considered for a job. The Fair Employment Opportunity Act of 2011 would prohibit employers and employment agencies from discriminating against unemployed job-seekers, and ensure that all Americans have the same opportunities for employment.

Discrimination against the unemployed – especially the long-term unemployed – in job advertisements and hiring practices flies in the face of what we stand for as a nation: Equal opportunity for all,” said Rep. Johnson. The Fair Employment Opportunity Act will help us level the playing field and get people back to work.”

Sources: Representatives Rosa DeLauro’s website, Representative Johnson’s website, and opencongress.org.

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In the Public Good: Millions of Hungry Children?

child praying

The United States House of Representatives just passed an unconscionable bill cutting $40 billion from the Food Stamps program (also known as SNAP). The United States House of Representatives who voted for these drastic and unconscionable cuts may think allowing millions of children to go to bed hungry in one of the wealthiest nations in the world is acceptable, but we know this is not in the public good.

The truth is: if these cuts make it through the Senate as well, it would leave families across the country struggling to keep food on the table. The cuts would affect over four million people, taking away a vital safety net that help families make ends meet when times are rough or an unexpected crisis hits. It would leave parents struggling to provide for their children, and would mean more people across America going hungry every night.

Take action today: Call on your senator to say NO to these devastating cuts to the food stamp program. Lets be clear, without SNAP, many indigent families assert that their children would “probably would not have food to eat.”

For those of you that read this post and take action to prevent further cuts to SNAP, I thank you for taking action on this very important issue and lending your voice to children who cannot protect themselves.

You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result. ~ Gandhi

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No Child Should Go To Bed Hungry

little girl handing over phone

Because of the particularly challenging economic times confronting our nation, I often write about legislative action which will improve or harm the quality of life for the most vulnerable members of society including but not limited to indigent children and youth. More than one (1) in five (5) children lives in poverty and nearly one (1) in four (4) is at risk of hunger.

Often, I write about pending legislation which impacts indigent children, youth, and families with the goal of encouraging the reader to act to protect vulnerable families. I know that ensuring America’s children and youth are connected to healthy food where they live, learn and play is as important to you as it is to me.

Over twenty-five (25) percent of the children in the US under the age of six live in poverty. The poverty rate among women climbed to 14.5 percent in 2010 from 13.9 percent in 2009, the highest in 17 years. As poverty surged last year to its highest level since 1993, median household income declined, leaving the typical American household earning less in inflation-adjusted dollars than it did in 1997.

One out of every six Americans is now being served by at least one government anti-poverty program. Child homelessness in the United States is now thirty-three (33) percent higher than it was back in 2007. More than 50 million Americans are now on Medicaid, the U.S. government health care program designed principally to help the poor.

According to the USDA, over twenty six (26) million people benefited from SNAP last year. Over 80% of food stamp benefits go to families with children. One in five food stamp households includes an elderly family member, and one in four includes a disabled member. Increasingly, working families must rely on food stamps to supplement their wages in low-paying jobs.

The food stamp program is not a government handout – it is a true safety net program that provides access to food for people who cannot afford to choose between rent, medicine, child care and transportation. And it is efficient: The National Journal recently named SNAP “one of the government’s top successes” and the Government Accountability Office has repeatedly reported on the successes of this important program.

In the month of June, Republican members of Congress attempted to cut $20 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the program formerly known as food stamps, and failed. SNAP is our government’s first line of defense against hunger and malnutrition, and it should be better equipped to accomplish that task, not gutted for the sake of politics. Will you join me and add your name to the petition started by Rep. Jim McGovern telling House Republicans to vote down cuts to food stamps?

As stated by Representative Jim McGovern recently stated, “…any rational person would say that [Republican members of Congress] went too far. Instead, Republican leadership in the House of Representatives, has doubled down on the crazy, and drafted a bill that doubles the cuts to SNAP…” “Hunger shouldn’t be a political issue. We urge you to reject $39 billion in cuts to SNAP, and ensure that the 49 million people who are hungry in America – 17 million of whom are children – aren’t left without life-saving, vital aid..”

My question for the day is as follows: Why should one of the wealthiest nations in the world put children and other vulnerable persons at risk? As stated previously, drastic cuts to SNAP are being considered that would result in millions of Americans loosing SNAP benefits. If Congress cuts funding for this poverty relief program, it will affect millions of children and families, leaving them even more vulnerable to hunger in one of the wealthiest nations in the world.

Will you join me in speaking up for children right now, by asking your member of Congress in the US House of Representative to protect SNAP from any further devastating cuts? If so, please contact your Representative and ask them to not balance the budget on children and youth.

Your elected officials in Washington, DC need to hear from you loud and clear, since the children who rely on SNAP are unable to speak from themselves to our elected officials.

As was recently shared in an action alert from anti-hunger programs, there are a lot of misconceptions about receives SNAP. Lets be clear, without SNAP, many indigent families assert that their children would “probably would not have food to eat.”

For those of you that read this post and take action to prevent further cuts to SNAP, I thank you for taking action on this very important issue and lending your voice to children who cannot protect themselves.

You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result. ~ Gandhi

Source(s): Representative Jim McGovern Action Alert. No Kid Hungry Share Our Strength Action Alert. http://www.congress.org. Feeding America. Action Alert Voices for Americas Children. Action Alert Bread for the World. St. Vincent de Paul Society. National Center on Family Homelessness.
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CIRCLE OF PROTECTION

Scared Child

Bread for the World sends out Action Alerts discussing the “Circle of Protection: A Statement on Why We Need to Protect Programs for the Poor” and encouraging supporters to take action to support funding for programs that serve the most vulnerable members of society.

In the Action Alert, Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World, states that, “Everything we have achieved for poor and hungry people in the last 35 years is under severe threat of budget cuts—nutrition programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and SNAP (formerly food stamps), as well as poverty-focused development assistance.”

It has been reported that more than forty-nine (49) million Americans lack reliable access to the food. Childhood hunger is a growing reality in America. In one of the wealthiest nations in the world, the prevalence of childhood hunger is a national travesty and for many a well-kept secret. Approximately, one (1) in four (4) children in America is food insecure. This is not the time to be cutting very necessary programs for the most vulnerable members of our society.

Statistics on Childhood Hunger in the United States:

According to the USDA, over seventeen (17) million children lived in food insecure (low food security and very low food security) households in 2009. ii

Twenty (20) percent or more of the child population in sixteen (16) states and D.C. are living in food insecure households. The states of Arkansas twenty-four point four (24.4) percent and Texas twenty-three point three (24.3) percent have the highest rates of children in households without consistent access to food.(Cook, John, Child Food Insecurity in the United States: 2006-2008. iii

In 2009, households that had higher rates of food insecurity than the national average included households with children twenty-one point three (21.3) percent, especially households with children headed by single women thirty-six point six (36.6) percent or single men twenty-seven pont eight (27.8) percent, Black non-Hispanic households twenty-four point nine (24.9) percent and Hispanic households twenty-six point nine (26.9) percent.v

These heartbreaking facts about the prevalence and the face of hunger in America and the proposed cuts to very necessary social service programs has drawn the attention of thousands of Christians, people of other faiths, heads of denominations, corporations, and nonprofit organizations and compelled them to take action. These groups have formed what has been termed a “Circle of Protection” around funding for programs that are vital to hungry and poor people both in the United States and abroad. It has been reported that in excess of thirteen thousand (13,000) Americans have signed a memorandum to their members of Congress, supporting the need to reduce deficits but not at the expense of hungry and poor people. The “Circle of Protection” statement reads as follows:

“In the face of historic deficits, the nation faces unavoidable choices about how to balance needs and resources and allocate burdens and sacrifices. These choices are economic, political—and moral.

As Christians, we believe the moral measure of the debate is how the most poor and vulnerable people fare. We look at every budget proposal from the bottom up—how it treats those Jesus called “the least of these” (Matthew 25:45). They do not have powerful lobbies, but they have the most compelling claim on our consciences and common resources. The Christian community has an obligation to help them be heard, to join with others to insist that programs that serve the most vulnerable in our nation and around the world are protected. We know from our experience serving hungry and homeless people that these programs meet basic human needs and protect the lives and dignity of the most vulnerable. We believe that God is calling us to pray, fast, give alms and to speak out for justice.

As Christian leaders, we are committed to fiscal responsibility and shared sacrifice. We are also committed to resist budget cuts that undermine the lives, dignity, and rights of poor and vulnerable people. Therefore, we join with others to form a Circle of Protection around programs that meet the essential needs of hungry and poor people at home and abroad.

1. The nation needs to substantially reduce future deficits, but not at the expense of hungry and poor people.

2. Funding focused on reducing poverty should not be cut. It should be made as effective as possible, but not cut.

3. We urge our leaders to protect and improve poverty-focused development and humanitarian assistance to promote a better, safer world.

4. National leaders must review and consider tax revenues, military spending, and entitlements in the search for ways to share sacrifice and cut deficits.

5. A fundamental task is to create jobs and spur economic growth. Decent jobs at decent wages are the best path out of poverty, and restoring growth is a powerful way to reduce deficits.

6. The budget debate has a central moral dimension. Christians are asking how we protect “the least of these.” “What would Jesus cut?” “How do we share sacrifice?”

7. As believers, we turn to God with prayer and fasting, to ask for guidance as our nation makes decisions about our priorities as a people.

8. God continues to shower our nation and the world with blessings. As Christians, we are rooted in the love of God in Jesus Christ. Our task is to share these blessings with love and justice and with a special priority for those who are poor.

Budgets are moral documents, and how we reduce future deficits are historic and defining moral choices. As Christian leaders, we urge Congress and the administration to give moral priority to programs that protect the life and dignity of poor and vulnerable people in these difficult times, our broken economy, and our wounded world. It is the vocation and obligation of the church to speak and act on behalf of those Jesus called “the least of these.” This is our calling, and we will strive to be faithful in carrying out this mission.”—Circle of Protection

This summer, Bread for the World supporters and others are encouraged to visit or call their senators and representatives at their local offices to urge them to protect funding for programs for hungry people. For further information about shared sacrifice or the “Circle of Protection” visit http://www.circleofprotection.us.

Source(s): http://www.bread.org/go/circle. http://www.circleofprotection.us. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…/circle-of-protection-budget-cuts. ww.christiannewswire.com/news/5693716844.html. http://www.uscatholic.org/…/christian-leaders-call-circle-protection. Sources: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture; U.S. Census Bureau; Feeding America (online); Rhoda Cohen, J. Mabli, F., Potter,Z., Zhoa. Hunger in America 2010. Feeding America. February 2010; Nord, Mark, M. Andrews, S. Carlson. United States Department of Agriculture/Economic Research Service, Household Food Security in the United States, 2008 and 2009; Cook, John. Feeding America. Child Food Insecurity in the United States: 2006-2008; http://www.share.org; ww.feedamerica.org; http://www.nokidhungry.org; and Food Research and Action Center.

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______________________________________________________

iBread for the World Action Alert.

iiRhoda Cohen, J. Mabli, F., Potter,Z., Zhoa. Hunger in America 2010. Feeding America. February 2010.

iiiNord, Mark, M. Andrews, S. Carlson. United States Department of

Agriculture/Economic Research Service, Household Food Security in the United States, 2008.

iv Cook, John. Feeding America. Child Food Insecurity in the United States:2006-2008.

vNord, Mark, M. Andrews, S. Carlson. United States Department of Agriculture/Economic Research Service, Household Food Security in the United States, 2009.

Federal Student Loans: Tell Congress to Keep College Affordable for Students and Working Families

serious woman face

Tell Congress to Keep College Affordable for Students and Working Families. US Senator Elizabeth Warren came out with a bold proposal to have students pay the same interest rate on student loans as the big banks pay on their loans while Congress figures out a long-term solution to the problem.

Senator Warren needs our help to get more attention for it in the halls of Washington, in the media, and across the country. We can win this fight and show that Congress needs to respond to an agenda that works for us—not their big corporate backers—but only if we organize together in our communities, on college campuses, and everywhere our representatives can see us in this crucial month ahead.

On July 1, 2013, student loan rates doubled. In June, the Republican controlled House of Representatives voted to eliminate the fixed-interest loans for students entirely. This was a devastating move which could result in “ballooning financing costs” for new graduates struggling to survive in these particularly difficult economic times.

Stafford Loans are federal student loans made available to college and university students to supplement personal and family resources, scholarships, grants, and work-study. Nearly all students are eligible to receive Stafford loans regardless of credit. Stafford loans may be subsidized by the U.S. Government or unsubsidized depending on the student’s need. Stafford loan interest rates for 2012-2013 are currently unknown.

A 2007 law that reduced the interest rate on Stafford Loans from 6.8 percent to 3.4 percent is was extended by one year. Without legislative action, subsidized Stafford loans returned to the 6.8 percent interest rate on July 1, 2013.

Each year, more than ten (10) million students use subsidized Stafford loans to help pay for college. With rising tuition costs, attending college is very difficult for many students, and the increase in interest rates would cause a college education to be out of reach for many college age people. With that knowledge, we must act to ensure that Congress passes legislation to stop student loan interest rates from doubling this summer.

Stafford Loan Information: Eligibility
You must be a U.S. citizen or national, a U.S. permanent resident, or eligible non-citizen accepted for enrollment or attending a school that participates in the Federal Family Education Loan Program. Additionally:
• You must have submitted a FAFSA to be eligible for a Stafford loan
• For subsidized Stafford, you must have financial need as determined by your school
• You must be enrolled or plan to enroll at least half time

When Stafford loan rates doubled, countless students were affected. “We tell our children to get an education, and we owe it to them to keep that door to higher education to the middle class open.” Stafford loans have provided an opportunity for tens of millions of Americans to attend college.

A whopping 7% Stafford interest rate means that our students will be carrying our nation’s deficit. Meanwhile, banks borrow from the federal reserve at an interest rate of about 0.75%. Something just doesn’t add up. Getting an education shouldn’t mean financial devastation. Ask Congress not to double student interest rates!

For up-to-date information on this issue, check out the Student Loan Network Blog.

Tell your elected officials in Washington, DC to take swift action to pass the legislation to keep college affordable for students and working families.

Source(s): MoveOn Action Alert May 28, 2013. MPRNews On Campus, January 30, 2012. http://www.mndaily.com. http://www.staffordloan.com/stafford-loan-info/.
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