Articles & Op-Eds

Support H.R. 1843: REPEAL HIV Discrimination Act

January 16, 2014

America needs to stop criminalizing its citizens. A good place to start would be HIV/AIDS. This month Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.), a ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, introduced legislation aimed at ending the stigma, discrimination and stereotypes that negatively impact Americans living with HIV/AIDS. The Repeal Existing Policies that Encourage and Allow Legal (REPEAL) HIV Discrimination Act would require an interagency review of federal and state laws that criminalizes certain… Continue Reading

What We Need in Congress is a California Caucus

January 16, 2014

The California congressional delegation ranges from among the most liberal -- think Barbara Lee or Maxine Waters -- to the most conservative -- think Darrell Issa or Buck McKeon. The conservative faction seems to spend most of its time voting to rescind the Affordable Care Act, while the liberal side mostly sits and stews in its own juices since they aren't allowed to filibuster in the House. No wonder the two sides sincerely despise each other. That's too bad, because if they could wor… Continue Reading

60 Words and a War Without End: The Untold Story of the Most Dangerous Sentence in U.S. History

January 15, 2014

Excerpt from Buzzfeed's longform article on the passage and ramifications of the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force: Barbara Lee, a 55-year-old congresswoman with short black hair and the worn-through voice of a lifelong activist, had stayed silent during the first caucus. There had been enough people talking, and as a second-term congresswoman from the liberal California San Francisco Bay Area, she was still relatively junior. But now, as support for the resolution seemed to … Continue Reading

Buzzfeed: 60 Words and a War Without End

January 15, 2014

Sunrise was still nearly an hour off when Nazih al-Ruqai climbed into his black Hyundai SUV outside a mosque in northern Tripoli and turned the key. The lanky 49-year-old had left the house barely 30 minutes earlier for a quick trip to the mosque on a Saturday. It was Oct. 5, 2013, and after more than two decades in exile, he had settled into a predictable existence of prayer and worship. The homecoming hadn't always been so smooth. Ruqai, who is better known in the jihadi world as Abu Anas al-… Continue Reading

Buzzfeed: 60 Words and a War Without End

January 15, 2014

Sunrise was still nearly an hour off when Nazih al-Ruqai climbed into his black Hyundai SUV outside a mosque in northern Tripoli and turned the key. The lanky 49-year-old had left the house barely 30 minutes earlier for a quick trip to the mosque on a Saturday. It was Oct. 5, 2013, and after more than two decades in exile, he had settled into a predictable existence of prayer and worship. The homecoming hadn't always been so smooth. Ruqai, who is better known in the jihadi world as Abu Anas al-… Continue Reading

Congressional vote blocks Berkeley post office sale

January 15, 2014

The Renaissance Revival structure on Berkeley's Allston Way is among the buildings the Postal Service has put up for sale as it struggles with deficits. Berkeley's hopes of keeping its century-old post office off the auction block have gotten a boost in Congress, where a bipartisan House bill urges the Postal Service to refrain from selling historic buildings, including Berkeley's, while the U.S. inspector general investigates whether the agency is violating preservation laws. The … Continue Reading

US House passes bipartisan $1.1 trillion spending bill

January 15, 2014

Party leaders pushed a massive $1.1 trillion spending bill for this year through the House on Wednesday, shunning the turmoil of recent budget clashes with a compromise financing everything from airports to war costs and brimming with victories and concessions for both parties. The huge bill furnishes the fine print - 1,582 pages of it - for the bipartisan pact approved in December that set overall spending levels for the next couple of years. With that decision behind them, the measure sailed … Continue Reading

Global Post: US House passes bipartisan $1.1 trillion spending bill (Foreign?)

January 14, 2014

The US House of Representatives on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a $1.1 trillion spending bill for fiscal year 2014, capping months-long negotiations and marking a truce in three years of fiscal battles plaguing Washington. The measure, which funds federal government under the budget framework hammered out by Democrats and Republicans last month, passed 359-67, in a strong show of bipartisanship that belies the intense bickering that has marked recent debates over how -- and how much -- to … Continue Reading

Berkeley: Congress offers hope to post office activists

January 14, 2014

BERKELEY -- Activists working for more than a year to save the historic downtown post office got good news Monday when they learned that the 2014 omnibus Appropriations Bill and its accompanying report provide support for saving the beleaguered United States Postal Service. The bill, focused primarily on funding $1.1 trillion for government services, mandates continuation of six-day mail delivery and prohibits further closing of rural post offices. And a committee report that accompanies the bi… Continue Reading

Global Post: US House passes bipartisan $1.1 trillion spending bill (Foreign?)

January 14, 2014

The US House of Representatives on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a $1.1 trillion spending bill for fiscal year 2014, capping months-long negotiations and marking a truce in three years of fiscal battles plaguing Washington. The measure, which funds federal government under the budget framework hammered out by Democrats and Republicans last month, passed 359-67, in a strong show of bipartisanship that belies the intense bickering that has marked recent debates over how -- and how much -- to … Continue Reading

House Passes $1.1T Omnibus Spending Bill: Here are the 166 Republicans Who Voted For It

January 14, 2014

The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed with overwhelming support a massive $1.1 trillion "omnibus" spending bill to fund government operations until Sept. 30. The bill passed 359-67. Sixty-four Republicans and three Democrats voted against the bill. The three Democrats were Reps. Raul Grijalva (Ariz.), Rush Holt (N.J.) and Mike McIntyre (N.C.). Approving the bill "is showing the American people we actually are capable of working in a bipartisan manner," said Oklahoma Republican … Continue Reading

House Passes Omnibus Budget

January 14, 2014

By a bipartisan vote of 359-67, the House of Representatives passed an omnibus budget bill Wednesday that will fund the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year. Despite vocal opposition from outside conservative groups like the Club for Growth and Heritage Action, only 64 Republicans voted against the bill. The bill, which built on the Murray-Ryan compromise in December, represents an increase in government discretionary spending over the sequestration but still is lower than the bud… Continue Reading

Washington Post: Nancy Pelosi's kitchen cabinet

January 14, 2014

The decision by Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) to retire after this year adds him to a fast-growing list of lawmakers who are opting not to run again for office. His decision not only further depletes the ranks of liberal Democrats in the House, but also robs House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) of one of her closest friends and top lieutenants. That got us thinking: Who besides Miller is still within Pelosi's close inner circle these days? Based on conversations with her closest ai… Continue Reading

Ellison book highlights his faith and race in America

January 12, 2014

WASHINGTON - Early in his new memoir, "My Country, 'Tis of Thee," Rep. Keith Ellison prints the lyrics of an 1843 abolitionist version of the titular song, one lamenting slavery in America and heralding the day it would end. He wrote that he draws as much inspiration from that version of the song as the more famous one, and that, taken together, they paint a picture of an imperfect country making progress toward liberty and equality. In his book, on sale on Tuesday, Ellison looks to fit both h… Continue Reading

Ellison book highlights his faith and race in America

January 12, 2014

WASHINGTON - Early in his new memoir, "My Country, 'Tis of Thee," Rep. Keith Ellison prints the lyrics of an 1843 abolitionist version of the titular song, one lamenting slavery in America and heralding the day it would end. He wrote that he draws as much inspiration from that version of the song as the more famous one, and that, taken together, they paint a picture of an imperfect country making progress toward liberty and equality. In his book, on sale on Tuesday, Ellison looks to fit both h… Continue Reading

50 Years Later, an Opportunity Agenda for Congress

January 10, 2014

She was a young, single mother and full of hope for the future - for herself, for her two children. But like many who aspire to climb to the middle class - or who are already there but wish to remain - hope sometimes needs a helping hand. For Barbara Lee, now a U.S. congresswoman, that helping hand came in the form of food assistance and California's Medicaid program, known as MediCal. These programs allowed her to go to college and put her on her path to becoming the successful leader she is t… Continue Reading

Haiti, Unfinished and Forsaken

January 10, 2014

Four years after the earthquake, Haiti is a fragile, largely forgotten country. It's possible that some natural or man-made crisis this year could push it back into the headlines. But sustained attention, with the kind of support from outside that Haiti still needs to rebuild and become more self-sufficient, is mostly gone. The United Nations says as much in a recently published Humanitarian Action Plan for Haiti that strives for an ambitious and hopeful tone but mostly sounds forlorn. It notes… Continue Reading

What the Congressional Black Caucus Will Be Working on in 2014

January 09, 2014

The political scene will heat up in 2014. Not only will this year bring midterm elections but also there are many interesting political battles to come. An extension of unemployment insurance is already early session drama and Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida has made it a point to offer a conservative agenda in the war on poverty. Equally important to communities of color will be what the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) will be working on in 2014. Many of the issues that faced communities of color… Continue Reading

We Must Finish the Anti-Poverty Work of LBJ

January 09, 2014

Unemployment insurance, the minimum wage, and income inequality may be the issues of the day, but they have roots 50 years ago and before. These issues, of how we provide a safety net and create opportunity for the poor and working poor to achieve the American dream, were the framework that President Lyndon B. Johnson used when he declared an "unconditional War on Poverty" 50 years ago in his January 8, 1964 State of the Union address. I was thrilled to welcome Mrs. Lynda Johnson Robb, President… Continue Reading

Anniversary of War on Poverty Splits GOP, Democrats

January 09, 2014

Democrats may have taken up income inequality as their election-year campaign platform, but Republicans appear determined to not let their counterparts own the subject. To the annoyance of some Democrats, six members of the conservative Republican Study Committee held a news conference Wednesday to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the "war on poverty" and to call for a different tactic to address indigence in this nation - one that is leaner on direct aid and more robust in job creation. "W… Continue Reading

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