Tag Archives: Congressman Jim McGovern

More 🎵🎹🇺🇸 to our ears – thanks, Jim!💚

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Go, Congressman McGovern, go!

From Jim McGovern’s office:

Congressman McGovern: GOP Health Bill a Reverse Robin Hood! – Stealing from Working Class to give tax cut to Billionaires!

Today Congressman Jim McGovern led floor debate for House Democrats as Republicans began the process for consideration of the American Health Care Act (AHCA).

Congressman McGovern – who was the top Democrat at the more than 12-hour markup of the bill last night – called out Republicans for rushing the bill to a vote without any hearings or input from experts.

Congressman McGovern also called out Republicans for refusing to even tell members of Congress what is in the bill, which has constantly been changing as President Trump and Republican leadership have scrambled to get their members to support the bill.

Congressman McGovern’s Floor Speech – Excerpts Below:

“Republican Leadership and the White House are huddled behind closed doors as we speak, making deals that will have very real, very serious, very dangerous consequences for millions and millions of Americans.

“According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office analysis – and this is truly incredible – this bill would actually result in more people being uninsured than if the Affordable Care Act were simply repealed. Let that sink in for a minute.

“In fact, Americans aged 50-64 will pay premiums five times higher than what others pay for health coverage, no matter how healthy they are. This bill is an age tax, plain and simple. And Republicans are cutting $880 billion from Medicaid! That’s a 25 percent cut in funding.

“This ‘reverse Robin Hood’ will steal from the working class and give to the wealthy. Under the Republican plan, 2.8 Billion dollars – that’s billion with a B – in tax breaks will go the 400 richest families in America each year.

“Now my colleagues on the other side of the aisle seem to be rushing this through in hopes that no one will figure out that it’s a tax break for the rich masquerading as a healthcare bill.

“Let me just remind my colleagues again that we’re talking about people’s lives here. I’m pretty sure the middle-class Americans who Republicans claim to be helping would be okay with delaying this reckless bill for a little while to give us a chance to find out what the impacts will be!

“Don’t jam a disastrous bill through the House with patched-up fixes. Wait for a revised CBO score. Listen to what members of your own conference are saying. Or better yet, don’t do this at all. Let’s go back to the drawing board. It’s clear Republicans never really had a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. Don’t pretend you did and then make our most vulnerable pay the consequences.”

******

Full Text of Congressman McGovern’s Remarks:

“We aren’t here to debate the Republican health care repeal plan. We aren’t here to debate that, because Republican Leadership and the White House are huddled behind closed doors as we speak, making deals that will have very real, very serious, very dangerous consequences for millions and millions of Americans. Instead, we’re here to debate a martial law rule that will allow Republicans to rush their bill with its brand-new backroom deals to the floor today without any proper deliberation.

“As a matter of fact, it would let them rush any bill to the floor today – or any day through Monday.

“It’s a blanket martial law rule that lasts past the weekend – not specific to their health care bill, and not even specific to the topic of health care! What other bills could they be contemplating considering? We saw the Buffalo Bribe is already in the manager’s amendment, but this rule lets them bring up any other bill before the public has a chance to know what it is. Something on the Russia investigation, perhaps? I’ve seen a lot on that in the news lately. Or maybe we’ll give President Trump’s friend Putin a Congressional Gold Medal. It’s the least the Republicans could do after his help with the election!

“But let’s talk about what we have learned so far in the press. We first learned from news reports last night that Republicans were considering changes to the bill that would kill the Essential Health Benefits in current law.

“Let me say that again. Essential – as in “absolutely necessary; extremely important” as defined by the dictionary.

“And sure enough, we reported out this martial law rule in the dark of night, which will allow Republicans to bring the new and unimproved version of the bill – again, now with even more backroom deals – to the Rules Committee later today, or in the dead of night, and take it straight to the House Floor.

“Apparently, there’s no time for it to even sit for one day so members can read it, let alone get analysis from the non-partisan experts at CBO.

“Are they hoping that if they move quickly enough, no one will figure out what they’re up to?

“Well let me lay it out for everyone: essential health benefits require insurance plans to cover basic, essential benefits such as: emergency services, maternity care, mental health care and substance abuse treatment, pediatric services, and prescription drugs.

“The New York Times this morning pointed out that this late-breaking Republican proposal could lead to plans that cover aromatherapy, but not chemotherapy. Really? Are Republicans seriously contemplating making a change this massive without hearings? Without a markup? No CBO estimate of the impact? No chance to read the bill??? I’ve seen a lot in my years here, but this is truly unbelievable. You guys take my breath away.

“And that’s not even considering the already-dangerous bill we were supposed to be down here considering right now. Let me just make clear what that bill actually is.

“First, it is a massive tax cut for millionaires and billionaires, paid for by taking health insurance away from 24 million people. Period.

“Anyone who takes five minutes to look at any unbiased analysis of the bill knows that this is true. Massive tax cuts for the well-off, at the expense of 24 million people. Let me paint a picture of how big that number is: 24 million people is basically the entire population of the country of Australia. It is more people than live in the states of Kansas, New Mexico, Nebraska, West Virginia, Idaho, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, North Dakota, Alaska, Vermont, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia – combined.

“You know how I know the bill is a tax giveaway for the wealthy, and not a health care bill?

“Because according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office analysis – and this is truly incredible – it would actually result in more people being uninsured than if the Affordable Care Act were simply repealed. Let that sink in for a minute.

“Second, their bill will cause people to pay more out of pocket dollars, for lower quality health insurance. That’s right, Republicans are asking people to pay more for less coverage. In particular, lower-income and older Americans will see their costs skyrocket – those people who can least afford to pay more.

“Third point, and this is a big one: the bill guts Medicaid and Medicare.

“Don’t take it from me: the AARP said, and I quote, ‘This bill would weaken Medicare’s fiscal sustainability, dramatically increase health care costs for Americans aged 50-64, and put at risk the health care of millions of children and adults with disabilities, and poor seniors who depend on the Medicaid program for long-term services and supports and other benefits.’

“In fact, Americans aged 50-64 will pay premiums five times higher than what others pay for health coverage, no matter how healthy they are. This bill is an age tax, plain and simple. And Republicans are cutting $880 billion from Medicaid! That’s a 25 percent cut in funding.

“All this, to give tax cuts to the rich and to corporations. The bill must look like a cruel joke to the most vulnerable among us.

“Representative Mo Brooks, a member of the Republican Conference, said just the other night, and I quote, ‘Quite frankly, I’m persuaded that this republican healthcare bill, long term, is a detriment to the future of the United States of America.’

“Finally, even before imposing martial law last night, this process was horrendous. The Republican majority rushed their bill through the committee process without any hearings. None. Zero. Just holding marathon markups where no Democratic amendments were accepted. None. Not one. They didn’t even wait for a CBO score!

“Then, when a score finally came, it showed that the bill would kick 24 million people off their insurance. Did they stop then? No! Of course Not!

“Yesterday, in the Rules Committee, we rushed ahead with a cobbled-together managers amendment – I’m sorry, four cobbled-together managers amendments, since the originals had errors – and again, no CBO score on the updated bill. Didn’t my colleagues learn their lesson from last week?

“And even worse – the main manager’s amendment, which we received just 36 hours before our meeting, is so full of backroom deals like the Buffalo Bribe, a cynical and likely unconstitutional agreement with wavering New York Republicans who know the republican healthcare plan would devastate New York.

“And now, they’re saying ‘Don’t Worry. If you don’t like this bill, it’s just step one of three. You’ll get another chance to vote on Healthcare during step three.’ Never mind that they can’t give us the full slate of bills that are part of this mysterious step three.

“Or maybe I should just take Republican Senator Cotton’s word for it. He said, and I quote, ‘There is no three-step plan. That is just political talk. It’s just politicians engaging in spin.’

“Republican Senator Ted Cruz, from my colleague’s state of Texas, called the third prong of this three-bucket strategy, and I quote “the sucker’s bucket.” That’s your own member calling you a sucker if you vote for this!

“We heard testimony all day yesterday, and well into the night, about how disastrous this bill would be for hard working Americans. We heard about how countless major health organizations oppose this plan from the American Medical Association, to American Hospital Association, to the National Rural Health Association, to the AARP, to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, to the National Alliance on Mental Illness – and I could go on and on and on.

“This ‘reverse Robin Hood’ will steal from the working class and give to the wealthy. Under the Republican plan, 2.8 Billion dollars – that’s billion with a B – in tax breaks will go the 400 richest families in America each year.

“Now my colleagues on the other side of the aisle seem to be rushing this through in hopes that no one will figure out that it’s a tax break for the rich masquerading as a healthcare bill. And now, we find ourselves on the floor debating a martial-law rule that will take this reckless process from ‘light-speed’ to ‘warp-speed.’

“Let me just remind my colleagues again that we’re talking about people’s lives here. I’m pretty sure the middle-class Americans who Republicans claim to be helping would be okay with delaying this reckless bill for a little while to give us a chance to find out what the impacts will be!

“This process is beyond the pale. I’m honestly still stunned that we’re even here debating a martial law rule on legislation of this magnitude when changes to people’s basic essential health benefits are being contemplated without so much as a single hearing, let alone a CBO score. And again – we have no real clue what Republicans will be bringing to the floor later today.

“Now – I’m just going off of what I read in the news, since we haven’t gotten any actual updates from the other side of the aisle.

“This rule would allow them to bring anything to the floor today. Or tomorrow. Or Saturday. Or Sunday. Or Monday. Literally anything.

“Will there be a new bill? Who knows! Will it even be on health care? Beats me!

“What mystery changes are they contemplating that are so broad they can’t even narrow their martial law authority down to the topic of healthcare?

“Please, I would ask my colleagues to slow down! Be thoughtful – this is not a game. You don’t get extra points for being fast. This health care repeal affects millions upon millions of Americans.

“Don’t jam a disastrous bill through the House with patched-up fixes. Wait for a revised CBO score. Listen to what members of your own conference are saying. Or better yet, don’t do this at all. Let’s go back to the drawing board. It’s clear Republicans never really had a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. Don’t pretend you did and then make our most vulnerable pay the consequences.

“This is a sad day. This is a sad day for this institution, but it is an even sadder day for the American people.”

🎵🎵🎵🎹🇺🇸 to our ears! … Congressman McGovern Leads House Democrats in Opposing GOP Health Bill at Final Committee Markup Before Vote

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Go, Jim, go!

From Jim’s office:

McGovern Slams GOP Move to Rush Health Bill Vote Without CBO Score

Congressman Jim McGovern, the top Democrat at today’s House Rules Committee markup of the American Health Care Act, criticized Republicans for rushing the bill to the House floor for a vote tomorrow without any analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) on the costs of the new version of the bill.

The CBO estimated that the first version of the bill would result in 24 million Americans losing healthcare.

Joining Congressman McGovern at today’s hearing was fellow Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal (D-MA), who is the Ranking Member of the House Ways and Means Committee. Both McGovern and Neal spoke about how Massachusetts has been a leader in healthcare reform and how the Republican bill would threaten healthcare access for Massachusetts families.

Below are excerpts from Congressman McGovern’s opening statement as prepared for delivery:

TAX CUT FOR WEALTHY, MILLIONS LOSE COVERAGE

“You know how I know this bill is a tax giveaway for the wealthy, and not a health care bill? Because according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office analysis – and this is truly incredible – it would actually result in more people being uninsured than if the Affordable Care Act were simply repealed. Let that sink in for a minute.

“Second, this bill will cause people to pay more out of pocket dollars, for lower quality health insurance. You’re asking people to pay more for less coverage. In particular, lower-income and older Americans will see their costs skyrocket – those people who can least afford to pay more.

“This bill guts Medicaid and Medicare. Americans aged 50-64 will pay premiums five times higher than what others pay for health coverage, no matter how healthy they are. This bill is an age tax, plain and simple. And you’re cutting $880 billion from Medicaid! That’s a 25 percent cut in funding. All this, to give tax cuts to the rich and to corporations? The bill must look like a cruel joke to the most vulnerable among us.”

GOP STEAMROLLING VOTE ON TRUMPCARE

“The Republican Majority rushed their bill through the committee process without any hearings, just holding marathon markups where no Democratic amendments were accepted. They didn’t even wait for a CBO score. Then when the score finally came, it showed the bill would kick 24 million people off their insurance. Did they stop then? No, of course not.

“We’re still full steam ahead, only now we have a cobbled-together manager’s amendment – I’m sorry, four cobbled-together manager’s amendments, since the originals had errors – and again no CBO score. Didn’t you learn your lesson last week? And even worse, this manager’s amendment, which we received just 36 hours ago, is full of backroom deals like the Buffalo Bribe, a cynical agreement with wavering New York Republicans who know the Republican healthcare plan would devastate New York.

“And now they’re saying, ‘don’t worry if you don’t like this bill, it’s just step one of three – you’ll get another chance to vote on health care during step three,’ never mind that they can’t give us the full slate of bills that are part of this mysterious ‘step three.’ Or maybe I should just take Senator Cotton’s word for it – he said, quote, ‘there is no three-step plan. That is just political talk. It’s just politicians engaging in spin,’ end quote. Ted Cruz called the third prong of this ‘three-bucket’ strategy quote, ‘the sucker’s bucket,” end quote. The sucker’s bucket.

“Please, slow down! Think about what you’re doing. Don’t jam this disastrous bill through the House with patched-up fixes. Wait for a revised CBO score. Listen to what members of your own conference are saying. Or better yet, don’t do this at all. It’s clear you never really had a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. Don’t pretend you did and then make our most vulnerable pay the consequences.”

*****

Full Text of Congressman McGovern’s Opening Statement:

“First, let me just lay out what the bill actually is. It is a massive tax cut for millionaires and billionaires, paid for by taking health insurance away from 24 million people. Period.

“Anyone who takes five minutes to look at any unbiased analysis of the bill knows that this is true. Massive tax cuts for the well-off, at the expense of 24 million people. Let me paint a picture of how big that number is: 24 million people is basically the entire population of the country of Australia. It is more people than live in the states of Kansas, New Mexico, Nebraska, West Virginia, Idaho, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, North Dakota, Alaska, Vermont, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia – combined.

“You know how I know this bill is a tax giveaway for the wealthy, and not a health care bill? Because according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office analysis – and this is truly incredible – it would actually result in more people being uninsured than if the Affordable Care Act were simply repealed. Let that sink in for a minute.

“Second, this bill will cause people to pay more out of pocket dollars, for lower quality health insurance. You’re asking people to pay more for less coverage. In particular, lower-income and older Americans will see their costs skyrocket – those people who can least afford to pay more.

“Third point, and this is a big one: this bill guts Medicaid and Medicare. Don’t take it from me: the AARP said, and I quote, “This bill would weaken Medicare’s fiscal sustainability, dramatically increase health care costs for Americans aged 50-64, and put at risk the health care of millions of children and adults with disabilities, and poor seniors who depend on the Medicaid program for long-term services and supports and other benefits.”

“In fact, Americans aged 50-64 will pay premiums five times higher than what others pay for health coverage, no matter how healthy they are. This bill is an age tax, plain and simple. And you’re cutting $880 billion from Medicaid! That’s a 25 percent cut in funding. All this, to give tax cuts to the rich and to corporations? The bill must look like a cruel joke to the most vulnerable among us.

“Representative Mo Brooks, a member of the Republican Conference, said just last night, quote, “Quite frankly, I’m persuaded that this Republican healthcare bill…long-term, is a detriment to the future of the United States of America.”

“Finally, this process is horrendous. The Republican Majority rushed their bill through the committee process without any hearings, just holding marathon markups where no Democratic amendments were accepted. They didn’t even wait for a CBO score. Then when the score finally came, it showed the bill would kick 24 million people off their insurance. Did they stop then? No, of course not.

“We’re still full steam ahead, only now we have a cobbled-together manager’s amendment – I’m sorry, four cobbled-together manager’s amendments, since the originals had errors – and again no CBO score. Didn’t you learn your lesson last week? And even worse, this manager’s amendment, which we received just 36 hours ago, is full of backroom deals like the Buffalo Bribe, a cynical agreement with wavering New York Republicans who know the Republican healthcare plan would devastate New York.

“And now they’re saying, “don’t worry if you don’t like this bill, it’s just step one of three – you’ll get another chance to vote on health care during step three,” never mind that they can’t give us the full slate of bills that are part of this mysterious “step three.” Or maybe I should just take Senator Cotton’s word for it – he said, quote, “there is no three-step plan. That is just political talk. It’s just politicians engaging in spin,” end quote. Ted Cruz called the third prong of this “three-bucket” strategy quote, “the sucker’s bucket,” end quote. The sucker’s bucket.

“Please, slow down! Think about what you’re doing. Don’t jam this disastrous bill through the House with patched-up fixes. Wait for a revised CBO score. Listen to what members of your own conference are saying. Or better yet, don’t do this at all. It’s clear you never really had a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act. Don’t pretend you did and then make our most vulnerable pay the consequences.”

Go, Jim, go!🎼💐

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Jim joins Meals on Wheels in Webster to help deliver nutritious meals to local elderly folks!💙

From Jim’s office:

Congressman Jim McGovern Joins Meals on Wheels to Help Deliver Nutritious Meals to Central Mass. Seniors!

Today U.S. Congressman Jim McGovern, a leading anti-hunger champion, joined local Meals on Wheels volunteers in Webster to help deliver meals to Central Massachusetts seniors in need.

The local chapter of Meals on Wheels serves nearly 500 seniors in 13 different communities in Central Massachusetts.

Today’s meal delivery to seniors with Congressman McGovern is part of his continued effort to raise awareness about the difference the program makes and fight back against the proposed funding cuts in President Trump’s budget that would hurt Meals on Wheels.

“America is the richest country in the world, but every year nearly 6 million seniors struggle with hunger. Thanks to Meals on Wheels and local organizations like Tri-Valley Inc., we’re helping to change that,” Congressman McGovern said. “Senior hunger is a problem we can solve, but not without these great organizations. President Trump’s budget would recklessly cut $3 billion from community development block grants that help fund Meals on Wheels.”

He continued: “We need strong investments to help fight senior hunger. Not only is it the right thing to do, it’s also cost effective, because keeping seniors in their homes with access to nutritious food is less expensive than providing nursing-home care.”

McGovern concluded: “We need to ensure that seniors aren’t falling through the cracks and that they aren’t going hungry. I am grateful to our local leaders and volunteers with Meals on Wheels and proud to support the work they do to help seniors in need.”

Joining Congressman McGovern for today’s Meals on Wheels delivery were members of Tri-Valley Inc., a non-profit serving seniors in Central Massachusetts, and local volunteers.

“Helping our Central Massachusetts seniors stay independent and get the nutritious meals they need is one of Tri-Valley’s top priorities. We are proud to work with Congressman McGovern and Meals on Wheels to serve our local communities and help to stop senior hunger,” Tri-Valley Inc. Executive Director and CEO Marilyn L. Travinski said.

Meals on Wheels America is the oldest and largest national organization supporting the more than 5,000 community-based senior nutrition programs across the country that are dedicated to addressing senior hunger and isolation. This network exists in virtually every community in America and, along with more than two million volunteers, delivers the nutritious meals, friendly visits and safety checks that enable America’s seniors to live nourished lives with independence and dignity. By providing funding, leadership, research, education and advocacy support, Meals on Wheels America empowers its local member programs to strengthen their communities, one senior at a time.

🇺🇸🎵🇺🇸🎶🇺🇸🎵

But first …

*******

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Congressman McGovern leads Democrats calling on GOP House Budget Committee Chair to protect anti-hunger programs

Congressman Jim McGovern, the Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee Nutrition Subcommittee, led last week a group of 18 House Democrats on the Agriculture Committee calling on House Budget Committee Chairman Diane Black (R-TN) and Ranking Member John Yarmuth (D-KY) to protect funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the top anti-hunger program in the country, and to reject attempts to change the structure of SNAP or place additional burdens on those looking to access SNAP benefits.

SNAP currently serves about 43 million Americans in both urban and rural areas, and its entitlement structure allows the program to expand during times of economic hardship and contract as conditions improve. SNAP provides the most vulnerable Americans with a modest nutrition assistance benefit — on average, just $1.40 per person, per meal — to supplement their food budgets. And among those households that can work, the vast majority do in the year before or after receiving benefits.”

In the letter, McGovern and House Democrats write that “SNAP is our nation’s best chance to alleviate hunger across our country. Each year, SNAP provides millions of children, seniors, veterans, and other vulnerable adults with food assistance,” the lawmakers write in the letter. “It is an efficient and effective program that helps families lift themselves out of poverty, and cuts extreme poverty almost in half.

“SNAP improves health, educational, and economic outcomes, and increases the incomes of working families. Recent innovations in the program have encouraged healthier eating and have increased SNAP participants’ consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. An increase in SNAP benefits would likely only improve these outcomes, with recent research confirming that just a $30 increase in monthly SNAP benefits for households could lead to healthier eating and lower rates of food insecurity.”

McGovern and House Democrats write that “Far too many Americans continue to struggle with food insecurity in the United States, and we must preserve the dignity and health of the most vulnerable among us through the basic and reliable food assistance provided by SNAP. We strongly urge you to maintain the entitlement structure of SNAP and reject any attempts to further cut funding or place additional burdens on those looking to access these modest benefits.”

RECENT HEARINGS

During the 114th Congress, the House Agriculture Committee undertook a thorough review of SNAP, holding 18 hearings, hearing more than 30 hours of testimony from over 60 experts which resulted in 830 pages of official hearing record. Both conservative and liberal experts testified that:

· SNAP benefits should not be cut and the current benefits are inadequate;

· SNAP does not discourage program participants from working;

· Case management and job training programs can help to move people out of poverty and

· These efforts require a well-funded, multi-year commitment.

COST SAVINGS

In the letter the lawmakers highlight how the success of SNAP will create new cost savings:

· Between 2007 and 2012, SNAP caseloads and spending grew as a result of the most recent economic recession, but that was to be expected.

· As the economic recovery continues, SNAP participation has declined in recent years.

· As a result of this decline and other factors like low food inflation, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that SNAP will save over $92 billion over 10 years.

FOOD ASSISTANCE CUT OFF IN STATES

However, the lawmakers point out that the recent decrease in SNAP participation is due in part to the return of the three-month time limit in 20 states for non-disabled childless adults who are working less than 20 hours a week.

The lawmakers write that “this time limit has resulted in over a million people losing SNAP benefits in 2016 alone—not based on whether they still need assistance, but because of arbitrary time limits. Further, states are not required to provide job training slots, so some of these vulnerable people lose food assistance even if they are looking for work, but cannot find a job. That is a problem Congress should be trying to fix, not worsen.”

Joining Congressman McGovern were the following House Agriculture Committee Democrats: Representatives Marcia Fudge (OH-11), Tim Walz (MN-01), Rick Nolan (MN-08), David Scott (GA-13), Filemon Vela (TX-34), Alma Adams (NC-12), Jimmy Pannetta (CA-20), Darren Soto (FL-09), Anne McLane Kuster (NH-02), Cheri Bustos (IL-17), Tom O’Halleran (AZ-01), Dwight Evans (PA-02), Stacey Plaskett (VI), Al Lawson (FL-05), Jim Costa (CA-16), Michelle Lujan Grisham (NM-01), and Lisa Blunt Rochester (DE)

Full Text of Letter to the House Budget Committee on Protecting SNAP:

Dear Chairman Black and Ranking Member Yarmuth:

As Members of the Committee on Agriculture, we write to provide additional views to the Committee’s Budget Views and Estimates letter that was considered and adopted by the Committee on March 1, 2017. We appreciate the opportunity to provide these additional views.

One of our Committee’s most significant areas of jurisdiction is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as food stamps. SNAP is our nation’s best chance to alleviate hunger across our country. It provides our most vulnerable neighbors with a modest nutrition assistance benefit—on average, just $1.40 per person, per meal—to supplement their food budgets. The program currently serves about 43 million Americans in both urban and rural areas, and its entitlement structure allows the program to expand during times of economic hardship and contract as conditions improve. Among those households that can work, the vast majority do in the year before or after receiving benefits.

During the 114th Congress, the House Agriculture Committee undertook a thorough review of SNAP. We held 18 hearings and heard more than 30 hours of testimony from over 60 experts which resulted in 830 pages of official hearing record. We learned from experts—conservative and liberal—that SNAP benefits should not be cut, and that current benefits are inadequate. We also learned that SNAP does not discourage work, and that case management and job training programs can be successful in helping to move people out of poverty, but those efforts require a well-funded, multi-year commitment.

Each year, SNAP provides millions of children, seniors, veterans, and other vulnerable adults with food assistance. It is an efficient and effective program that helps families lift themselves out of poverty, and cuts extreme poverty almost in half. SNAP improves health, educational, and economic outcomes, and increases the incomes of working families. Recent innovations in the program have encouraged healthier eating and have increased SNAP participants’ consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. An increase in SNAP benefits would likely only improve these outcomes, with recent research confirming that just a $30 increase in monthly SNAP benefits for households could lead to healthier eating and lower rates of food insecurity.

Between 2007 and 2012, SNAP caseloads and spending grew as a result of the most recent economic recession, but that was to be expected. Indeed, the program worked as it was intended and expanded to respond quickly and effectively to an economic downturn.

As our economy continues to recover, SNAP participation has declined during the past several years.

Because of this decline in SNAP participation and other factors like low food inflation, recent projections from the Congressional Budget Office estimate that SNAP will save over $92 billion over 10 years as compared to baseline projections used to write the 2014 Farm Bill. We caution the Committee, however, that some of the caseload decline is attributable to the return of the three-month time limit in 20 states for non-disabled childless adults who are working less than 20 hours a week. Indeed, this time limit has resulted in over a million people losing SNAP benefits in 2016 alone—not based on whether they still need assistance, but because of arbitrary time limits. Further, states are not required to provide job training slots, so some of these vulnerable people lose food assistance even if they are looking for work, but cannot find a job. That is a problem Congress should be trying to fix, not worsen.

Far too many Americans continue to struggle with food insecurity in the United States, and we must preserve the dignity and health of the most vulnerable among us through the basic and reliable food assistance provided by SNAP.

We strongly urge you to maintain the entitlement structure of SNAP and reject any attempts to further cut funding or place additional burdens on those looking to access these modest benefits.

Thank you for considering our additional views. We look forward to working with you and with Members of the Committee on the Budget on this critical issue.

Sincerely,

More music to our ears!🎶🎶🇺🇸 … Congressman Jim McGovern Calls on Attorney General Sessions to Resign

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Jim in Worcester, at an event …

editor’s note: We’ve made some sentences bold. – R.T.

U.S. Congressman Jim McGovern, a senior House Democrat and leading voice calling for a full investigation into the ties between the Trump White House and Russia, called on Attorney General Jeff Sessions to resign following revelations that Sessions lied under oath to the Senate Judiciary Committee about his contacts with Russia during the 2016 election.

It is now clear that Attorney General Jeff Sessions lied under oath to Congress about his contact with Russian officials during the 2016 campaign. During his Senate confirmation hearing, he said ‘I have been called a surrogate at a time or two in that campaign and I did not have communications with the Russians.’ We now know that statement is not true.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions was already unfit to investigate the ties between the Trump White House and Russia because of his senior role on the 2016 Trump campaign. With this new evidence that he lied about his own contact with Russian officials during the campaign, it is clear that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is not fit to serve as the top law enforcement officer of our country and must resign now.

“Americans deserve the truth about the full extent of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election and attack on our democracy. We need a full and independent, bipartisan commission to investigate the political, personal and financial connections of President Trump to the Russians. The time for action is now.”

*******

And …

House Democrats Call on GOP to Investigate White House Aide Kellyanne Conway’s Promotion of Trump Business

But first:

******
editor’s note: from Congressman Jim McGovern’s office. I’ve made some sentences bold. – R.T.:

Congressman Jim McGovern, a senior House Democrat, joined 26 of his fellow lawmakers on a letter to House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) demanding a full investigation of potential ethics violations concerning Kellyanne Conway’s recent public comments encouraging Americans to purchase items from the fashion line produced by President Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump. The letter was led by Congressman Mark Pocan (D-WI).

In an interview from the White House Press Briefing room, Conway, who is a Counselor to President Donald Trump, appears to have violated Office of Government Ethics laws by promoting Ivanka Trump’s brand on Fox News.

According to the Office of Government Ethics, “An employee shall not use his public office for his own private, for the endorsement of any product, service of enterprise, or for the gain of friends, relatives, or person with the employee is affiliated in a nongovernmental capacity.”

Congressman McGovern and his fellow lawmakers are calling on Chairman Chaffetz to “examine potential ethics violations concerning Kellyanne Conway’s recent public comments encouraging Americans to purchase items from the fashion line produced by President Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump.”

“Across the government, federal employees are expected to be held to a high standard of ethics. As a federal employee, Kellyanne Conway appears to have clearly violated these standards with her recent comments,” the lawmakers wrote. “It is especially troubling that Kellyanne Conway appears to have used her position of power in the White House to directly enrich the Trump family through Ivanka Trump’s fashion line. Such a blatant disregard for federal law and ethics standards set for public servants undermines public faith in our government.”

McGovern and House Democrats criticized Chaffetz for failing to exercise any oversight of the Trump White House up to this point. “To date, you have shown little inclination to conduct even basic oversight of President Trump or his top advisers. Appearing last night on CNN, you stated repeatedly that you would not request information about the President’s massive conflicts of interest, referring to such oversight efforts as a ‘fishing expedition.’ However, you did promise to investigate future incidents when ‘something goes awry,’ as it clearly has here.”

“We encourage you to examine the blatant and inappropriate remarks made by Kellyanne Conway immediately and ensure members of the Trump Administration do not continue to use their positions of power to enrich members of the Trump family.”

Joining McGovern and Pocan on the letter are Representatives Brendan F. Boyle (PA-13), Katherine Clark (MA-05), Steve Cohen (TN-09), Val Demings (Fl-10), Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11), Theodore E. Deutch (FL-21), Alcee Hastings (FL-20), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Henry C. “Hank” Johnson, Jr. (GA-04), Marcy Kaptur (OH-09), Rick Larsen (WA-02), Brenda L. Lawrence (MI-14), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Ted W. Lieu (CA-33), Zoe Lofgren (CA-19), Gwen S. Moore (WI-04), Richard M. Nolan (MN-08), Jared Polis (CO-02), David Price (NC-04), John Sarbanes (MD-03), Jan Schakowsky (IL-09), Darren Soto (FL-09), Mark Takano (CA-41), Bennie G. Thompson (MS-02), and Nydia Velázquez (NY-07).

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Full Text of the Letter from House Democrats to Chairman Chaffetz:

February 9, 2017

Chairman Jason Chaffetz
House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
2157 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Chairman Chaffetz:

We are writing to request the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform examine potential ethics violations concerning Kellyanne Conway’s recent public comments encouraging Americans to purchase items from the fashion line produced by President Trump’s daughter, Ivanka Trump. Kellyanne Conway, Counselor to President Trump, is a federal employee and appears to have clearly violated federal ethics laws delineated by the Office of Government Ethics.

According to the Office of Government Ethics, “An employee shall not use his public office for his own private gain, for the endorsement of any product, service or enterprise, or for the private gain of friends, relatives, or persons with whom the employee is affiliated in a nongovernmental capacity.” In a February 9, 2017, interview from the White House press briefing room with the Fox News Channel, Kellyanne Conway urged Americans to “go buy Ivanka’s stuff…It’s a wonderful line. I own some of it…I fully—I’m going to give a free commercial here. Go buy it today, everybody. You can find it online.”

Across the government, federal employees are expected to be held to a high standard of ethics. As a federal employee, Kellyanne Conway appears to have clearly violated these standards with her recent comments. It is especially troubling that Kellyanne Conway appears to have used her position of power in the White House to directly enrich the Trump family through Ivanka Trump’s fashion line. Such a blatant disregard for federal law and ethics standards set for public servants undermines public faith in our government.

To date, you have shown little inclination to conduct even basic oversight of President Trump or his top advisers. Appearing last night on CNN, you stated repeatedly that you would not request information about the President’s massive conflicts of interest, referring to such oversight efforts as a “fishing expedition.” However, you did promise to investigate future incidents when “something goes awry,” as it clearly has here.

We encourage you to examine the blatant and inappropriate remarks made by Kellyanne Conway immediately and ensure members of the Trump Administration do not continue to use their positions of power to enrich members of the Trump family.

Sincerely,

From Congressman Jim McGovern …

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Worcester shows pink! … Jim joined the Million!!!!! Women March in D.C. this past weekend! Go, Jim, go!

McGovern Introduces Bill to Overturn Citizens United and Get Money Out of Politics

House, Senate Bills Push Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens United

Days after the seven year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the Citizens United case, Congressman Jim McGovern (MA-02) and Representatives Ted Deutch (FL-22) and Jamie Raskin (MD-08) joined Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Michael Bennet (D-CO) in re-introducing the Democracy for All Amendment.

This constitutional amendment would help to reverse the concentration of political influence held by large corporations and the wealthy capable of spending millions of dollars in American elections. To help get big money out of politics and restore democratic power to the American people, this amendment would affirm the right of the people to pass state and federal laws regulating spending in elections.

Congressman McGovern has been a leading voice in Congress calling to get money out of politics and introduced a similar measure to overturn Citizens United in 2011.

“There’s too much money in our politics. It is a corrupting force. It undermines our democracy and drowns out the voices of the people,” Congressman McGovern said. “The Democracy for All Amendment empowers Congress and state legislatures with the ability to limit spending in political campaigns in their respective states. It will help return power to the people and take it out of the hands of special interests. Citizens United was a dreadful decision that has done great harm to our democracy. This is a way to begin to take back our country.

“The Supreme Court’s disastrous Citizens United decision reserved meaningful political participation for the rich and wealthy special interests,” said Congressman Deutch. “At every turn and on nearly every issue, from gun safety to climate change, unlimited political spending ensures that Congress is tuned in to the needs of special interests and tunes out the voices of the American people. It’s time to get money out of politics to guard our elections against a dangerous threat that erodes the faith of the American people in our democratic institutions.

“The 2016 election was supposed to be a call to ‘drain the swamp’ — because so many Americans are fed up with business as usual in Washington, where moneyed special interests drown out the voices of regular Americans,” said Senator Udall. “But instead of reform, President Trump has set out rewarding Wall Street insiders and billionaire donors with cabinet and other key positions in the new administration, and the ultra-wealthy and well-connected look to have more power than ever in determining the future of our democracy. Each year, because of Citizens United and subsequent decisions, the door has opened wider for rich special interests and corporations to pour unlimited sums of money into our elections and root themselves in our government.

“The only real way we can put our democracy back in the hands of all Americans, instead of a privileged, powerful few, is to amend the Constitution. Our Democracy for All Amendment restores the authority of the American people – through Congress and the states – to regulate campaign finance, so that our elections aren’t put up for sale to the highest bidder. Millions of people across the country and over a dozen state legislatures, including New Mexico’s, have voiced support for a constitutional amendment, and we must keep pressing forward to ensure a government that is of, by, and for the people.

“Coloradans want commonsense reforms to fix our broken campaign finance system and bring some semblance of sanity to our politics. This constitutional amendment would do that by establishing the authority of Congress and the states to pass reasonable campaign finance rules,” Senator Michael Bennet said. “In order to get Washington working and restore faith in our democracy, we must end the flood of unlimited secret money that’s drowning out the voices of Colorado families.

“Seven years ago, five justices overturned two centuries of jurisprudence to determine that private business corporations enjoy the political free speech rights of the people,” said Congressman Raskin. “Today, after hundreds of millions of dollars in dark money have been spent by CEOs in the name of their unwitting shareholders and billionaires act as our new political bosses and cabinet secretaries, we can see what plutocracy looks like. I’m proud to support the Democracy for All Amendment to rebuild the wall of separation between massive corporate and private wealth and public elections.

“Americans may be divided about many things, but they are united in their belief that the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. FEC decision was a disaster,” said Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen. “They know that the political system is rigged, and that Citizens United-enabled spending by corporations and the super-rich is a big part of the problem. It is past time to overturn this decision and get big money out of politics. Public Citizen thanks Rep. Ted Deutch and other sponsors of the Democracy for All amendment for their leadership in advancing this vital initiative.

“Common Cause commends Congressman Deutch, Senator Udall, and many other members of Congress for their leadership in championing the Democracy for All Amendment to help reduce the influence of big money in politics,” said Aaron Scherb, Director of Legislative Affairs at Common Cause. “The Democracy for All Amendment would help ensure that the voices of all Americans can be heard in our democracy even if they can’t hire a lobbyist, make a large campaign contribution, or start a super PAC.

“After the election, it’s clearer than ever that we need money in politics reform,” said Marge Baker, Executive Vice President of People For the American Way. “Super PAC spending during the 2016 cycle was nearly double what it was in the last presidential election. The voices of everyday Americans can’t be heard when wealthy special interests can tilt our elections to fit their interests. We applaud Senator Udall, Representative Deutch, Representative McGovern, Representative Raskin, and the other congressional champions who continue to push for needed reforms like the Democracy For All Amendment.

“We applaud Members of Congress for re-introducing the Democracy For All Amendment to ensure that big money interests will no longer be able to dominate our elections and our government, drowning out the voices of ordinary citizens,” said John Bonifaz, President of Free Speech For People. “To advance the promise of political equality for all and to reclaim our democracy, Congress must pass this constitutional amendment and send it to the states for ratification.

“Americans across the political spectrum know we must have the 28th Amendment so that people, not money and global corporations, govern America,” said Jeff Clements, President of American Promise. “At American Promise, we applaud this progress in Congress and urge cross-partisan support for this effort.”

FROM CONGRESSMAN JIM MCGOVERN’S OFFICE – 1/20 …

But first:

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“Today, Donald Trump was sworn in as president. I have the highest respect for the office of the presidency, but in all candor I don’t have an awful lot of respect for the man who took the oath of office today. He has said far too much that deeply troubles me.

“This is a man who attacked President Obama, the first African-American elected to the presidency, by questioning whether or not he was even a citizen of our country. But it’s not just that – it’s his disparaging comments about women and immigrants. It’s his talk about creating a Muslim registry. It’s his embrace of torture. It’s his talk about using nuclear weapons. And it’s his surrounding himself with people who embrace policies that are bigoted and racist.

“I hope for the best, and I hope that there are areas where we can find commonality, but I am reminded of the words of Maya Angelou who said when somebody shows you who they are – believe them the first time.

“I have two posters that I treasure deeply in my office honoring Rosa Parks, the great civil rights leader. The first one says “No.” That’s what she said when they told her to get to the back of the bus. No. We need to be prepared to say no to policies that we think are going to hurt this country. We need to say no if Donald Trump tries to weaken voting rights or civil rights. We need to say no if he tries to privatize Medicare or Social Security.

“I have a second Rosa Parks poster that says ‘The only tired I was, was tired of giving in.’ On Monday we honored the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. He didn’t just have a dream, he got up every day and worked to make that dream a reality. He didn’t just agonize, he organized. He didn’t just talk the talk, he marched, protested, and even engaged in acts of nonviolent civil disobedience. And he made a difference and he moved this country forward. We need to be inspired by Dr. King’s example, and we need a renewed activism in this country to combat what might be coming down the road.

“So tomorrow my wife, Lisa, and my daughter, Molly and I will participate in the woman’s march here in Washington, D.C. and my son, Patrick will participate in Boston, and I hope that you will participate in one of the marches going on across Massachusetts and across the country. It is important that we make clear to President Trump that we will not acquiesce in the face of policies that we deplore. Politics is not about rolling over, politics is about standing up and fighting for what you believe in.

“These are challenging times no doubt but it is important that we not despair. I have hope. I have hope that we can get through this. I have hope that we can get through this because of the calls and notes and emails that I have received from so many of you urging me to fight and promising that you will fight alongside me.

“I’m looking toward the future as an opportunity to be able to shape the direction that our country will move in and to do all we can to make this the country what we want it to be. I’m a dad and I want my kids to have a good future. The stakes have never been higher. Let me remind you of the words of Barack Obama – keep hope alive.”

Congressman Jim McGovern Pledges to Fight GOP Repeal of Affordable Care Act

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From Jim’s office:

Today Congressman Jim McGovern, a senior House Democrat, led debate for Democrats against S.Con.Res. 3, the Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Resolution, the House Republican bill to begin the process of repealing of the Affordable Care Act.

“For nearly seven years my Republican friends have railed against the Affordable Care Act. Their well-funded allies have spent billions of dollars distorting the ACA and lying to the American people about what it actually does. And for nearly seven years, there has not been a single comprehensive health care bill brought to the floor by Republicans as a replacement for the Affordable Care Act. Not one!

“We have voted over 60 times to repeal the ACA on the House Floor. I’d be the first to admit the ACA is not perfect. We want to work in a bipartisan way to strengthen it, to make it better. But my colleagues don’t want to do that. They are determined to just vote for an outright repeal and that is going to hurt countless people in this country.”

“The Donald Trumps of the world certainly don’t have to worry about health care if the Affordable Care Act is repealed. If someone in their family gets really sick – they’ll just sell some stocks or close down another American factory, or not pay their workers – as our President-elect has been known to do on many, many occasions.

“As someone who represents Massachusetts, this is especially personal because Medicaid is one of the best tools we have in the fight against opioid addiction, providing real care for the addiction and the underlying conditions that drive the opioid epidemic in our communities. Repealing Medicaid expansion under the ACA would rip coverage away from an estimated 1.6 million newly insured individuals with substance use disorders.

In Congressman McGovern’s closing remarks, he spoke directly to Republicans, “It is a cruel thing to do to take away people’s health care. We believe that health care ought to be a right, I know you don’t. We believe health care protections ought to be in law, you believe they ought to be up to the insurance companies. But this is a lousy thing to do. We’re gonna fight you on this. This is a fight worth having. Protecting people’s health care is something we should all be dedicated to and we’re going to fight you on this.”

*****

Full Text of Congressman McGovern’s Floor Speech:

“For nearly seven years my Republican friends have railed against the Affordable Care Act. Their well-funded allies have spent billions of dollars distorting the ACA and lying to the American people about what it actually does. And for nearly seven years, there has not been a single comprehensive health care bill brought to the floor by Republicans as a replacement for the Affordable Care Act. Not one!

“We have voted over 60 times to repeal the ACA on the House Floor! I’d be the first to admit the ACA is not perfect. But rather than work together to tweak it, to make it better, all we get from them are repeal bills, repeal bills, repeal bills. And let me again point out – not once, not once was a replacement bill offered.

“Not only do Republicans not have a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act and protect access to health care for more than 20 million Americans who gained coverage, they can’t even agree on a timeline for when they’ll pass their replacement.

· President-elect Trump says repeal and replace will be done on the same day and he wants it to happen now.

· Rep. Steve Scalise said Republicans will replace the ACA over the course of the next few months.

· Sen. John Thune said it could take two or three years for the replacement to be implemented.

· Rep. Chris Collins said Republicans have six months to work out the replacement plan.

· Sen. Mitch McConnell refused to even give a timeline, just saying it would happen.

“While Republicans fight for each other over timelines, I think it’s appropriate to ask: If they did have a replacement, what would that replacement be?

“And what, specifically, would they replace the ACA with?

“Well, President-elect Donald Trump has the answer! When asked what we should replace Obamacare with he said, and I quote, “Something terrific.” When pressed for details and more specificity, he said “Something that people will really, really, really like.”

“You can’t make this stuff up! It would be laughable if it weren’t so tragic.

“It’s tragic because what Republicans are trying to do is take health care protections away from millions and millions of families.

“No one in Congress has to worry about health care if the Affordable Care Act is repealed. And the Donald Trumps of the world certainly don’t have to worry about health care if the Affordable Care Act is repealed. If someone in their family gets really sick – they’ll just sell some stocks or close down another American factory, or not pay their workers – as our President-elect has been known to do on many, many occasions.

“But for millions of Americans it will be a different story. Repealing the ACA would mean over 30 million Americans would lose coverage, including nearly 4 million children; more than 52 million individuals with pre-existing conditions could have coverage rescinded or see their premiums dramatically increased; millions of young adults would be unable to stay on their parents’ plans until they are 26; over 14 million individuals enrolled in Medicaid under the expansion would lose coverage; and nearly 140 million individuals with private insurance would lose access to preventive services without co-pays or deductibles.

“And millions of seniors would see their prescription drug prices increase because it would re-open the so-called doughnut hole that the ACA has begun to close.

“Republicans want to slash Medicaid, a health care program that does a lot of good and enables mothers to work their way out of poverty by providing affordable coverage for their children.

“And as someone who represents Massachusetts, this is especially personal because Medicaid is one of the best tools we have in the fight against opioid addiction, providing real care for the addiction and the underlying conditions that drive the opioid epidemic in our communities. Repealing Medicaid expansion under the ACA would rip coverage away from an estimated 1.6 million newly insured individuals with substance use disorders.

“That’s what’s at stake – and that’s what my Republican colleagues are so happy, so giddy, and so excited to do. It is sad. It is pathetic.

“But – they’re moving forward anyway – with no replacement in sight. I suppose they can roll out their oldies but goodies – like health savings accounts or their other healthcare prescription – take two tax breaks and call me in the morning.

“But that doesn’t do it.

“We have a complicated health care system, no doubt. I wish it were simpler. That’s why I’ve always favored a single-payer system and that is why I favor a public option.

“But the problem with our system before Obamacare was that it left all the decisions up to the insurance companies. Do you remember the days when insurance companies could charge women more for health insurance because they said “being a woman was a pre-existing condition?”

“They can’t do that anymore. Why? Not because of my Republican friends. They can’t do it anymore because we passed the ACA.

“It is a cruel thing to do to take away people’s health care. I will say to my Republican colleagues that they need to know that we will fight you every step of the way on this. There are some battles on behalf of the American people that are worth having and worth fighting and this is one of them, making sure that their health care protections remain intact. I came to Congress to help people, not make their lives more miserable.”

“This is a sad day because what we are doing here by voting for this budget is setting in motion a process to deny millions of people health care protections. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to do that.

Is the Affordable Care Act perfect? No. We’re the first to admit that and we want to work in a bipartisan way to strengthen it, to make it better. But my colleagues don’t want to do that. They are determined to just vote for an outright repeal and that is going to hurt countless people in this country. People who have benefitted from no pre-existing conditions. People who have benefitted by being able to keep their kids on their insurance until they are 26. Senior citizens who have benefitted from closing the doughnut hole. I could go on and on and on. All of that is about to be eliminated.

We’re told that there will be a replacement. Someday. Somehow. For six years, over six years, you have been talking about the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and replacement and you haven’t brought one bill to the floor. Not one.

“Now, we believe that health care ought to be a right, I know you don’t. We believe health care protections ought to be in law, you believe they ought to be up to the insurance companies. But this is a lousy thing to do. And as I said in my opening statement, we’re gonna fight you on this. This is a fight worth having. Protecting people’s health care is something we should all be dedicated to and we’re going to fight you on this.”

******

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pic: R.T.

Peter Stefan of Graham, Putnam and Mahoney Funeral Home in Main South often helps seniors pay for their prescription meds. Our system is broken! Americans deserve single-payer health care! An expanded version of Medicare is the ticket to a healthier U.S.A! – R. Tirella

Jim McGovern – always in style! … and … Worcester happenings!!

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Jim at an event in the district

McGovern: Trump Must Back Bipartisan Russian Hacking Investigation

Calls on Trump to end Twitter Sideshow on Russian Hacking

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editor’s note: I’ve made some sentences bold. – R.T.

Congressman Jim McGovern, a senior House Democrat and leading national voice on U.S.-Russia relations, spoke yesterday on the House Floor about the Capitol Hill hearing with U.S. intelligence officials and the Russian hacking done during the 2016 presidential election to influence the outcome.

“American democracy was attacked in 2016 by Russian hackers seeking to tip our presidential election in favor of Donald Trump. That’s not me speaking. That is the CIA, FBI, and the 14 other United States intelligence agencies which have reached a clear consensus on the matter. Yet even in the face of the overwhelming evidence, President-elect Trump has continued to sow seeds of confusion by publicly attacking and trying to discredit our country’s intelligence agencies and the brave men and women who risk their lives every day to keep us safe.

“Today, intelligence officials are testifying before the Senate on this matter. In one of his most alarming actions yet, President-elect Trump has said he would rather trust the words of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, an accused sex offender, holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in the UK, than the consensus of the directors of U.S. intelligence agencies. This is not normal behavior by a president-elect, let alone a president.

We cannot allow it to become normal.

America faces serious threats across the globe and we cannot afford to have a Commander-in-Chief at war with the very intelligence agencies responsible for keeping our country safe. Whatever his motivation, President-elect Trump must clearly and unequivocally join Republicans and Democrats seeking answers. We need a bipartisan independent commission to uncover the truth about the Russian hacking and we need all of our leaders to support it.

It’s time Mr. Trump’s Twitter sideshow comes to an end. It only confirms what many of us feared during the campaign – that he is temperamentally unfit to be President. We must be united in protecting the integrity of our elections against Russian and all foreign influence.”

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Full Text of Congressman McGovern’s Speech:

“Before I speak on today’s legislation, I want to express my continued deep concern and uneasiness about the Russian hacking to influence the outcome of the 2016 Presidential Election – and the deeply troubling response from our President-elect.

“American democracy was attacked in 2016 by Russian hackers seeking to tip our presidential election in favor of Donald Trump. That’s not me speaking. That is the CIA, FBI, and the 14 other United States intelligence agencies which have reached a clear consensus on the matter. Yet even in the face of the overwhelming evidence, President-elect Trump has continued to sow seeds of confusion by publicly attacking and trying to discredit our country’s intelligence agencies and the brave men and women who risk their lives every day to keep us safe.

“Today, intelligence officials are testifying before the Senate on this matter. In one of his most alarming actions yet, President-elect Trump has said he would rather trust the words of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, an accused sex offender, holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in the UK, than the consensus of the directors of U.S. intelligence agencies.

“When Speaker Ryan was asked about Julian Assange, he called him ‘a sycophant for Russia’ who ‘leaks, steals data, and compromises national security.’ Yet America’s next president puts more faith in him than in the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies he will soon oversee.

“This is not normal behavior by a president-elect, let alone a president. We cannot allow it to become normal. I appeal to my fellow members of Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, and especially the Republican leadership, to reach out to the President-elect and ensure that there is a clear understanding about how damaging these statements and actions are to America’s credibility, to our national security, and to the morale and responsibilities of our intelligence agencies. I appeal to my colleagues to get him help now.

“America faces serious threats across the globe and we cannot afford to have a Commander-In-Chief at war with the very intelligence agencies responsible for keeping our country safe. Whatever his motivation, President-elect Trump must clearly and unequivocally join Republicans and Democrats seeking answers. We need a bipartisan independent commission to uncover the truth about the Russian hacking and we need all of our leaders to support it. It’s time Mr. Trump’s Twitter sideshow comes to an end. It only confirms what many of us feared during the campaign – that he is temperamentally unfit to be President. We must be united in protecting the integrity of our elections against Russian and all foreign influence.”

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WORCESTER HAPPENINGS:

Opioid Awareness Forum

Monday, January 9

6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

Worcester Technical High School
1 Skyline Drive

Panel Discussion:

District Attorney Joseph D. Early, Jr.

City Manager Edward Augustus

Worcester Police Chief Steven Sargent

State Representative James O’Day

Susan Hillis, Dir. Of Treatment, AdCare Hospital

Joanne Peterson, founder, Learn to Cope

Rebecca Zwicker, Recovery Community Speaker

Moderated by Worcester Public Schools Safety Director Robert Pezzella

Question & Answer Period

Community Resource and Information Tables

This is a unique opportunity for Worcester Public School parents to hear
directly from public safety and elected officials regarding current state and local efforts to combat the opioid epidemic and to get substance abuse and prevention information from treatment experts.

No registration necessary

FREE AND OPEN TO ALL

Light Refreshments

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LGBTQ+YOU

(Ages 12-15)

A multi-gender group for teens who identify as transgender, bisexual, lesbian, gay, intersex, queer, or who are questioning their gender and sexual identities.

We will explore, develop and discuss:

* Expression of sexual and gender identities

* Self-esteem and coping strategies

* Where and how to find support from peers and the community

When: Every Thursday, 5 p.m. – 6 p.m.

Start date: January 26

Location: 81 Plantation St.

Rolling admission: members are accepted throughout the series.

For more information contact:
Megan Vaillancourt 508-849-5600 x335