On April 10, Representative Jeff Fortenberry for the fourth time, voted for the budget plan of failed Vice-Presidential nominee Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI). The Fortenberry/Ryan budget is bad for seniors, the middle class and the poor.
The Fortenberry/Ryan budget would end the Medicare guarantee to senior citizens and convert it into a voucher program. It would bring back pre-existing condition clauses and require senior citizens to purchase private health insurance policies. Needless to say, this would significantly increase the amount of out of pocket medical expenses paid by senior citizens. Mr. Fortenberry has yet to explain to Nebraska's senior citizens how they could afford comprehensive health insurance with the return of pre-existing condition clauses.
This regressive budget plan would completely repeal the Affordable Care Act without replacing it. Total repeal of the ACA would cancel approximately 15 million insurance policies. What this means is that Fortenberry has now voted over 50 times to cancel millions of insurance policies.
Approximately 69% of the budget cuts in the Fortenberry budget come from programs for the poor. These cuts come in the following categories: Medicaid; health care; food assistance; college grants; school lunches, and the EITC;. At the same time this budget reduces the top income tax rate for individuals from 39.6% to 25% and also reduces the top corporate tax rate from 35% to 25%.
While this budget won't become law this year, it tells us a lot about Mr. Fortenberry's values and what he stands for. As the Catholic Bishops said about this budget plan in 2012: the federal budget must protect the poor, and the Ryan budget "fails to meet these moral criteria."
It is obvious that Jeff Fortenberry isnt' working for Nebraska and doesn't share our values. It's time for change in Washington, D.C. The voters in Nebraska Congressional District 1 deserve better. When I'm elected, I will be a fighter for the middle class, senior citizens and farmers.
April 2, Omaha, NE - Congressman Lee Terry has been forced to apologize for a tasteless joke made during a congressional hearing. This controversy comes less than six months after another gaffe, where Congressman Terry refused to give up his salary during the government shutdown citing his "nice house and kids in college."
See some of the coverage of Congressman Terry's insensitive joke below:
KMTV: Rep. Terry's Questionable Joke at GM Hearing
"Perhaps by coincidence today was April Fool's Day, but tonight hardly anyone is laughing at Congressman Lee Terry's attempt at a joke. A joke he is now apologizing for"
"Terry has apologized but that hasn't stopped people from weighing in. The comments continue to spark outrage online" [KMTV Action 3 News, 4/1/14
Omaha World Herald: Lee Terry's Ignition Switch Joke at GM Recall Hearing Falls Flat
"Rep. Lee Terry doesn't need political enemies - he just keeps shooting himself in the foot. Omaha's Republican congressman arrived in the middle of Tuesday's hearing on the faulty GM ignition switches that have been linked to 13 deaths.
"I'm sorry for being late, but my plane was canceled for mechanical reasons. Probably an ignition switch - US Air," Terry said." [Omaha World Herald, 4/2/14]
Nebraska Watchdog: GOP's Terry apologies again - and this gaffe's on camera
"For the second time in six months GOP Congressman Lee Terry is apologizing: this time for what he said before TV camera and a national audience."
"Before he apologized, Terry's office released a YouTube video of his comments. But that video has since been taken down. However, other videos have already surfaced."
"Nebraskan's expect their leaders to conduct themselves with integrity," said state Sen. Brad Ashford. "This remark was in the poorest taste and unbecoming of a member of Congress." [Nebraska Watchdog, 4/1/14]
US News: Rep. Lee Terry Makes Awkward Joke at GM Hearing
"As Congress took time Tuesday to get to the bottom of why General Motors took so long to recall vehicles with faulty ignition switches, Rep. Lee Terry, R-Neb., gave an awkward excuse for why he was late to the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing.
"I'm sorry for being late, but my plane was canceled for mechanical reasons," he said. "Probably an ignition switch."
CNN Politics: Rep. Terry was late to hearing, and his excuse necessitated an apology
"Rep. Lee Terry of Nebraska had to issue an apology Tuesday after remarks he made explaining his late arrival to a hearing on the botched General Motors recall."
"Terry is familiar with not being able to take back off-the-cuff comments. The congressman found himself the subject of criticism during the partial government shutdown in October of 2013.
When asked if he planned to take his paycheck, Terry told reporters at the time "dang straight," then elaborated, saying, "Giving our paycheck away when you still worked and earned it? That's just not going to fly."
LINCOLN - In the legislature yesterday Republicans blocked efforts to raise the minimum wage for hard working Nebraskans. LB 943 would have raised the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9.00 over the next 3 years. The last vote on the minimum wage was in 2007. Republicans also refused to increase the minimum wage paid to those who work for tips, that wage is $2.13 and has not been increased for 23 years.
"The war on hard working families by the Republican Governor and Republican Legislators should serve as a wakeup call to voters as we go into the November statewide election" said Dan Marvin, Executive Director of the Nebraska Democratic Party. "First they deny expanded health care coverage for 54,000 Nebraskans and now they fail to advance an increase in the minimum wage, while at the same time Republicans campaign to reduce taxes on
"Voters this fall will have a clear choice on the direction of the state, do we move forward together or continue the failed 'trickle-down' policies that are leaving 10's of thousands of Nebraskans further and further behind" said Vince Powers, Chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party.
LINCOLN--In the State Legislature yesterday, only eight out of the 49 Senators voted against the final budget bill (LB 905). This bill provided for: 25 million dollars in ongoing property tax relief, 10 million dollars in job training, 3.7 million in early childhood education, and 5 million dollars to help the developmentally disabled.
While a large majority of Senators supported property tax relief and expanding jobs and opportunities for Nebraskans, Senators Bloomfield, Brasch, Garrett, Hansen, Janssen, Kintner, McCoy and Pirsch showed how out of touch they are with Nebraskans.
"It is important for Nebraskans to see how out of touch and extreme these eight senators are, six of these eight are on the ballot in May, their votes against jobs and property tax relief are issues that voters need to be aware of" said Dan Marvin executive director of the Nebraska Democratic Party.
The six Senators on the May ballot are: Beau McCoy for Governor, Charlie Janssen for Auditor, Pete Pirsch for Attorney General, Lydia Brasch in LD 16, Tommy L. Garrett for LD 3 and Bill Kintner in LD 2.
Lincoln-At the Republican Senate debate last night, all four Republican Senate candidates supported the elimination of the minimum wage.
With a clear majority of Nebraskan's supporting an increase in the minimum wage, last night's debate showed how extreme and out of touch the leading Republican Senate candidates are with Nebraskans. All four echoed Shane Osborn when talking about the minimum wage saying "I think we should eliminate it."
Earlier at a State Legislative hearing, waitress Sonia Bentley talked about the minimum wage saying "We're not complaining about the hard work, but when a person works two full-time jobs and can still not even manage to get by, there's an injustice being committed."
Speaking about the debate, Nebraska Democratic Party Chair Vince Powers, said "the four Republican candidates have proven, with their extreme views on the minimum wage, that they are out of touch with Nebraskans"
LINCOLN– At his campaign kick-off event yesterday, Dennis Crawford - Nebraska Candidate for the House of Representatives, CD 1 - announced a major improvement to the Affordable Care Act. Crawford has labeled the plan "Medicare Plus".
"Medicare Plus", would allow a consumer to select Medicare to be his/her health insurance carrier in the insurance exchanges. Therefore, Medicare would compete with the likes of Blue Cross Blue Shield and Conventry in the exchanges. The "Medicare Plus" plan would create a needed dose of competition in the heavily concentrated Nebraska insurance market.
"My plan, "Medicare Plus", would keep healthcare costs affordable for working families in Nebraska by providing more options and creating additional market competition," stated Crawford.
According to the American Medical Association, Nebraska has the 8th least competitive market for health insurance in the county. The "Medicare Plus" plan provides an additional option in the exchanges. This plan would give consumers more choices and force the private health insurance companies to provide better service and lower premiums.
For more information or comment contact Dennis Crawford- 402-890-2527, or firstname.lastname@example.org
LINCOLN - Today State Sen. Annette Dubas announced her withdrawal from the Nebraska Governor's race.
"The Nebraska Democratic Party is disappointed to hear Senator Annette Dubas will no longer be a candidate in the 2014 race for governor," said Vince Powers, Nebraska Democratic Party State Chair. "However, we respect and support Senator Dubas' decision to focus on her family and work in the Legislature. Dubas was a dynamic candidate who inspired many Nebraskans across the state. The NDP is proud of the leadership Senator Dubas showed during her campaign and continues to show in the state legislature. Thanks to the energy and issues brought forth by Sen. Dubas, the Nebraska Democratic Party is stronger and more enthusiastic than ever to continue our work to elect Democrats in 2014."
LINCOLN – On Thursday the U.S. House of Representatives voted to cut food stamp funding by about $40 billion over the next 10 years. The vote was 217-210, with only 15 GOP representatives voting against the cuts. Among those voting in favor of the cuts was Rep. Lee Terry and Rep. Adrian Smith.
In Nebraska there are more than 180,000 people, including children of low-income working parents, that rely on this funding to put food on their table. Nationwide the cuts will cause 3.8 million people to lose this important benefit.
“Reps. Terry and Smith have once again sided with the far-right wing of their party, rather than standing with the people of Nebraska,” said Jim Rogers, Executive Director of the Nebraska Democratic Party. “This vote shows a blatant disregard for Nebraskans that utilize these benefits. It is time Rep. Terry and Smith be held accountable for their votes.”
LINCOLN -- This week Democrats on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce released new reports showing how the Affordable Care Act is already benefitting Americans. While the Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted for the 38th time to repeal or dismantle the Affordable Care Act yesterday, President Obama explained in remarks earlier today - and these reports show - how middle class families are benefiting. Millions are receiving rebate checks from their insurance companies, children are benefitting from being able to stay on their parents’ insurance plan until they are 26, seniors are saving hundreds of dollars per person on prescription drug costs, and individuals are now benefiting from free preventive care services.
Nebraska Democratic Party State Chair Vince Powers released the following statement on the Affordable Care Act and House Republicans’ attempts to repeal it:
“During a week in which the Republican-controlled House voted for the 38th time to get rid of the Affordable Care Act, they can’t hide from the fact that millions of Americans are already benefiting from the law. Instead of working with President Obama and Democrats to make sure this historic health insurance reform provides better benefits and lowers costs, Republicans chose yet again to turn back the clock on middle class families.
“Make no mistake, Republicans’ real goal is to return to the days of letting seniors pay more for prescription drugs, forcing kids off of their parents insurance plans before they turn 26, and denying people coverage because of a pre-existing condition. It’s time Republicans stop playing partisan games and start working on legislation that will actually help working Americans. They need to stop standing with insurance companies and start standing with Nebraskans.”
You can read the House Energy & Commerce Democratic reports here.
LINCOLN – The Nebraska Democratic Party released the following statement in support of President Obama’s plan to combat climate change:
“As Nebraskans, we know we are stewards of the earth and have a moral obligation to leave our children a planet that’s not polluted or damaged. We applaud President Obama’s plan announced today that takes an all-of-the-above approach to begin to slow the effects of climate change.
“We know that no single step can reverse the effects of climate change, which is why we need a comprehensive approach to meet this challenge head-on. The President’s plan will cut carbon pollution in America, prepare the United States for the impacts of climate change, and will help us lead international efforts to address global climate change. It will do so in a way that helps develop homegrown energy, protect our children’s health, and foster innovation among America’s entrepreneurs.
“Nebraskans know that this is one of the major challenges of our time and that now is the time to act. Under the President’s leadership, we have increased the efficiency of our cars and household appliances. The President’s plan will build on those successes to help Nebraska families cut energy waste and lower their gas and utility bills. In Nebraska, we look forward to working with the President to meet the challenge of climate change in a way that advances our economy, our environment and public health. We applaud the President for speaking out on this important issue, and recommit ourselves to advancing efforts to slow down climate change for the sake of our planet and future generations.”