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Congressman McGovern Announces Bipartisan Cuba Working Group One Year After President Obama Announced New Policy

Democrats and Republicans Join Forces to Advance U.S.-Cuba Relations
With this week marking one year since President Obama announced a new U.S. policy toward Cuba, Congressman Jim McGovern joined Republicans and Democrats today in a letter to Speaker Ryan and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi to announce a new bipartisan coalition to build on that historic progress and advance U.S.-Cuba relations.
McGovern has been a leading voice in Congress in the push for normalizing U.S.-Cuba relations, joining Secretary Kerry at the U.S. Embassy opening in Havana last summer, and this bipartisan Cuba Working Group will address a wide range of issues with growing support from both parties in Congress.
“Americans are ready for a 21st century approach to Cuba and one year after President Obama’s historic announcement of the new U.S.-Cuba policy, I am proud to join my colleagues in this bipartisan push to build on that progress,” Congressman Jim McGovern said. “Standing with Secretary Kerry at the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Havana last summer, I was inspired to see Americans and Cubans of all backgrounds united and ready to end the outdated and ineffective Cold War policy that divided us for so many years.
“With our two nations working together, we can create new opportunities for American businesses, increase travel and exchange, and support efforts in Cuba to advance political and economic reforms and promote human rights,” McGovern added. “Working with Democrats and Republicans in this bipartisan group, I look forward to addressing these and many other issues as we seize this moment and continue to advance U.S.-Cuba relations.”
In the letter to Speaker Paul Ryan and Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi announcing the group’s formation, the steering committee members said:
“Increasingly, the American people are indicating their desire for a new, more pragmatic approach to Cuba. More people are traveling from the U.S. to Cuba, more businesses are looking for opportunity on the island, and more sectors are eager for trade. The bi-partisan Cuba Working Group will promote a U.S.-Cuba policy that reflects the interests of the American people in engagement with Cuba.”

The letter concludes, “Our goal is to raise the level of understanding inside of Congress for the need to build a new policy framework for U.S.-Cuban relations.”
In addition to Congressman McGovern, the bipartisan Cuba Working Group steering committee members include: Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Rick Crawford (R-AR), Tom Emmer (R-MN), Reid Ribble (R-WI), Kathy Castor (D-CA), Sam Farr (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Ted Poe (R-TX), and Rosa Delauro (D-CT). 
Members of the Cuba Working Group are supporters of one or more key pieces of legislation introduced in 2015, with Republicans as the lead sponsors. Taken together, these bills repeal economic and travel restrictions and would effectively eliminate the U.S. embargo on Cuba: 
·         The Cuba Trade Act of 2015  would allow U.S. businesses in the private sector to trade with Cuba without restrictions;

·         The Cuba Digital and Telecommunications Advancement Act (Cuba DATA Act) would allow U.S. telecommunications and internet companies to provide services to the island;

·         The Cuba Agriculture Exports Act would allow for U.S. investment in privately owned Cuban agriculture businesses;

·         The Freedom to Travel to Cuba Act of 2015 would allow all U.S. citizens to travel to Cuba.

Senate committees have passed significant legislation to lift the travel ban on Cuba and widen trade with bipartisan support. The House of Representatives has been more reticent to move U.S. policy forward, making this Cuba working group even more important.
Increasing trade, travel and investment in Cuba will not only open new markets and create jobs in both countries, but promote human rights and better hemispheric relations.
Public opinion polls over the past year have shown an increasing support to end the Cuban trade embargo and change course on U.S.-Cuba relations. The most recent Pew poll showed 73% of the American people, including 59% of Republicans favor ending the trade embargo.

The bi-partisan Congressional Working Group will now take leadership to match the growing public support for a new U.S. policy towards Cuba.

Yummy Christmas stocking stuffers for your pup!

ICT_Yum Yums-edited
Chef Joey says: Treasure the pups! Christmas day and every day!

Holiday Doggy Yum Yums!

Recipes and photos by Chef Joey

Chef Joey’s Vinny was a rescue, then adopted … by Joey! Lucky dog! Today he is “King Vinny,” thanks to Joey’s love!


Simple and easy!

You’ll need:

cupcake pans

cupcake papers

32 oz plain or vanilla yogurt

1 cup peanut butter

Melt the peanut butter in a sauce pan, stirring constantly, or melt it in a microwave-safe bowl.

Mix the yogurt in together.

Pour the mixture into the cupcake papers and freeze!

Take the treats out at least 15 minutes before giving it to the pups. They last about 6 months properly stored in an airtight container.


2½ cups whole wheat flour or oats – you can even combine the two

1 tsp salt

1 Egg

½ cup hot broth (chicken, beef, or veggie)

Anything else like chopped eggs, liver powder, shredded cheese, bacon bits or even wheat germ.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Mix ingredients together and form a ball when well mixed (about 2-3 minutes).

Roll the dough out and pick up your Christmas cookie cutters!

Place on lightly greased cookie sheet or parchment paper and bake for 30 minutes.

Let them cool completely before feeding them to your pet – and remember make smaller sizes for smaller doggies!

Store in a zip lock or other air tight container to avoid mold. You can even freeze them for longevity!

Chef Joey’s Abby was also adopted by Joey after she was found on the road, thrown out of a car window! Her broken bones, her fear … Joey made it all better – healed Abby!


1/2 cup canned pumpkin

4 tbsp molasses

4 Tbsp water

2 tbsp vegetable oil

2 cups whole wheat flour

¼ tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon (your choice – doesn’t need it but it is safe for dogs)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and mix pumpkin, molasses, vegetable oil, and water together in a bowl.

Add the flour, baking soda and powder and cinnamon if you are using it and mix until soft.

Scoop out spoonfuls on a lightly greased cookie sheet or place on parchment paper, then flatten them out with a fork.

Bake 25 minutes or so until hard.

Let cool and store in an airtight container as well!

Remember your pets can snack on health foods like baby carrots, celery or cherry tomatoes.

Grapes, raisins and onions are among some danger foods for pets – and always look for a sign of allergies. You will save money and your pet will thank you for the healthy snacks!

Merry Christmas to all the pups out there!

Congressman Jim McGovern on SNAP report

Jim McGovern Applauds White House Hunger Report Highlighting Importance of SNAP in Helping Hungry Families
In 2014, at least 4.7 million people, including 2.1 million children, were lifted out of poverty due to SNAP benefits. 

Congressman Jim McGovern, one of the leading voices in Congress calling for action to address hunger, applauded yesterday the release by the White House of a new report on hunger highlighting how SNAP improves food security and life outcomes for families, with long-term benefits for health, education, and economic well-being. At the same time, far too many families remain food insecure, and strengthening SNAP benefits would help to address this.
“Today’s White House report confirms that SNAP works. It is one of the most effective federal programs in reducing hunger and food insecurity and it has a lasting positive effect on vulnerable populations, especially children.
“Today’s report also confirms what we have heard repeatedly in the House Agriculture Committee this year: The majority of those on SNAP are children, elderly and the disabled. And as the economy continues to recover, more families are working, but there are still far too many who are earning so little that they qualify for SNAP. It’s deeply troubling that wages haven’t kept up with the cost of meeting basic needs.This report also shows that the current SNAP benefit is too low. It runs out before the end of the month and families are forced to cobble together enough to eat.
“Ensuring that children have enough healthy food to eat early in their life through SNAP is one of the best investments we can make in future health, well-being and economic self-sufficiency. I am grateful to the White House and USDA Secretary Vilsack for their leadership on hunger, both with this report and their work to strengthen critical programs like school meals that help families in need.
“As Congress finishes this year and looks to 2016, I urge all of my colleagues to read this report and think twice before cutting SNAP or turning it into a block grant program. These would be harmful policy changes that would significantly undermine the program. Instead we should be focused on strengthening SNAP. Hunger is a solvable problem and we must work together to strengthen critical anti-hunger programs like SNAP that so many American families rely on.”
Key Findings of White House Hunger Report:

The White House report draws on a growing body of high-quality research about food insecurity and SNAP, finding that:
1. SNAP plays an important role in reducing both poverty and food insecurity in the United States—especially among children.
In 2014,at least 4.7 million people, including 2.1 million children, were lifted out of poverty due to SNAP benefits. 
Overall, research indicates that rates of food insecurity are up to 30 percent lower among households that receive SNAP compared to what they otherwise would be—with impacts for children that are at least this large. 
A recent study shows that the temporary increase in SNAP benefits implemented under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act resulted in 530,000 fewer households experiencing food insecurity.
2. SNAP’s positive impact on children begins even before birth and lasts well beyond their childhood years, including improving health, education, and economic outcomes.
Maternal receipt of Food Stamps during pregnancy reduces the incidence of low birth-weight by between 5 and 23 percent.
Among adults who grew up in disadvantaged households when the Food Stamp Program was first being introduced, access to Food Stamps before birth and in early childhood led to significant reductions in the likelihood of being obese (16 percentage points) and significant increases (18 percentage points) in the likelihood of completing high school. 

Early exposure to food stamps also led to reductions in metabolic syndrome (a cluster of conditions associated with heart disease and diabetes) and increased economic self-sufficiency among disadvantaged women.
3. While SNAP allows families to put more food on the table, current benefit levels are often not sufficient to sustain them through the end of the month, resulting in substantial consequences.
New research has linked diminished food budgets at the end of each month to high-cost consequences, including:
a drop-off in caloric intake, with estimates of this decline ranging from 10 to 25 percent over the course of the month;
an increase in the rate of hospital admissions due to low blood sugar among low-income adults (a 27 percent increase between the first and last week of the month);
an increase in the rate of disciplinary actions among school children in SNAP households (an 11 percent increase between the first and last week of the month);
diminished student performance on standardized tests, with performance improving only gradually again after the next month’s benefits are received.
4. The Administration has developed several initiatives to improve food security and nutrition, particularly of vulnerable children.
The most recent revision to the WIC food package, which provides supplemental nutrition to low-income women, infants, and children, added a cash value voucher (CVV) to allow participants to purchase fruits and vegetables on top of the basket of goods historically provided by the program, representing a substantial increase in the value of the package.

The Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), offered nationwide starting in 2014, allows schools in high-poverty areas to offer free breakfast and lunch to all students. CEP has improved access to healthy meals in eligible schools, while eliminating the administrative burden associated with collecting and processing household applications for subsidized school meals.

The Administration has also worked diligently to expand access for low-income children to nutritious food during the summer months when school meals are unavailable and the risk of food insecurity is heightened.
In 2014, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) delivered 23 million more summer meals than in 2009.
Congressman McGovern has been a strong supporter of the Administration’s successful implementation of the Summer Electronic Benefits Transfer for Children (SEBTC) pilots, which provide additional food assistance to low-income families with children during the summer months.. These pilots were found to reduce very low food security among children by 26 percent.  The President’s 2016 Budget proposed a significant expansion of this effort.

Halloween is fast approaching … All the kiddies will be prowlin’ for toys …

… and treats and parties!
Lilac looking for fun! – 10/18/2015


Please help the FRIENDLY HOUSE on Wall Street make this harvest and holiday season special for Worcester’s inner-city children!

Donate toys and CANDY for:

The Friendly House’s Annual Halloween Party
October 30

4 pm – 7 pm 

All donations can be brought to the Friendly House. All candy must be wrapped.

If you plan on taking your family to the Halloween party:
Children 12 years and younger must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
From 4-4:30 pm on that day the Friendly House party will be open to the younger children (4 years and under)

Be there! HELP OUT!

Friendly House will begin registration for Thanksgiving Baskets TOMORROW, Monday, October 19!  
They are in need of:

canned fruits and vegetables
canned gravy

canned cranberry sauce

boxes and bags of stuffing

boxes of rice and rice mixes

Friendly House’s Annual Christmas Party will be Sunday, December 20

2 pm – 4 pm for children 12 and under. They must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.  

The Friendly House is in need of new toys for kids of all ages!

THANK YOU!!!!!!!

The Broadway Restaurant at 100 Water St., Worcester, has homemade pumpkin ice cream!


Broadway Homemade Pumpkin Ice Cream Special (they make it at the Broadway! Ask to watch – FUN): BUY 3, GET 1 FREE!

Visit this Worcester culinary icon today!