WASHINGTON — State legislators urged Congress and the White House
on Wednesday to enact comprehensive health care legislation that
includes a public health insurance component by year's end.
Members of the Progressive States Network, a state government
coalition, met with Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and Health and Human
Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to lobby for a public insurance
option. They said that would answer Americans' call to provide health
care coverage for all.
Would you buy a health-insurance policy sold by the U.S. government?
What if it offered good coverage, affordable rates and were available anywhere in the country?
Pushing back against Republican attacks on President Obama's vision
of a public-health plan, a nationwide coalition of state lawmakers,
small-business owners, physicians, community groups and others
Wednesday launched a public-relations campaign aimed at building
support for an option they believe is essential for meaningful health
Wednesday’s lobbying push starts at the top: Former Senate Majority
Leaders Tom Daschle, Bob Dole and Howard Baker announce recommendations
at a noon ET press conference in Washington, as organized by the
Bipartisan Policy Center.
And it moves down to the state level, with the Progressive States
Network fanning out on the Hill and to the White House to make the
Senator Tom Harkin, Democrat of Iowa, has his own event, releasing
a letter from more than 600 state legislators urging Congress and the
administration to enact health care reform by the end of the year. The
letter calls for any reform to include a public health option,
something Mr. Harkin firmly backs himself.
Both Sebelius and Nancy-Ann DeParle, White House director of health
care reform, were set to meet Wednesday afternoon with a group of state
legislators called the Progressive States Network who support a public
option as part of any overhaul plan. The lawmakers said at a press
conference that they will bring along a letter signed by 700
legislators calling for a public health insurance plan as part of
comprehensive health reform.
State Sen. Karen Keiser is headed to the Washington, D.C., for the
second time in a little over a month. This time she is adding her voice
to other state lawmakers calling for health care reform.
The Kent Democrat says she will is joining a group at the White House
Wednesday for a meeting with Health and Human Services Secretary
Kathleen Sebelius. Keiser also is attending a related press event with
Democratic U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa.
The state lawmakers want passage of health care reform by year's end, and they want a public-insurance option.
President Barack Obama's $787 billion federal stimulus package, now
known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, is
designed to jumpstart the nation's failing economy not only through
grants and middle-class tax cuts, but by funding state ''shovel-ready''
construction projects that will hopefully produce thousands of jobs and
small business opportunities, especially in the black community.
Just last week, Pres. Obama unveiled new proposals to allow small
businesses easier access to loans and capital through the US Small
Business Administration in an effort to empower them to take better
advantage of stimulus package opportunities.
But even before North Carolina fully determines how to distribute
its $6.1 billion in federal stimulus funding, questions are being
raised as to how African-Americans can best access their share of the
PORTLAND, Ore. (NNPA) - Rep. Chip Shields (D-Portland) this week
introduced a bipartisan bill that would provide oversight of how
state-chartered banks are spending money disbursed through the Troubled
Assets Relief Program (TARP).
The move comes at the same time another new bill would create a
statewide “stimulus czar” to oversee the influx of money expected from
President Barack Obama’s economic plan.
If passed, Shields’ House Bill 2784 would convene a bipartisan
group of Oregon state senators and representatives, as well as members
of the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services and
representatives of the financial industry, to provide oversight and
evaluate the need for regulation of operations of financial
institutions licensed, certified or chartered in this state that
receive funds from the TARP program.
Ever since Steve Watson had his first job at age 16 picking
asparagus, he's paid his taxes. And he's always wanted to ensure the
government spends his money wisely.
So naturally, when the 53-year-old heard that President Barack
Obama pledged a new era of transparency with his 3-week-old $787
billion stimulus package, Watson was glad he could log online and check
how every dollar was spent.
“State leaders face real change, as promised by President Obama.
States will need to collect data from agencies, from contractors, from
subcontractors, that they have never collected before,” said Nathan
Newman, interim executive director of the Progressive States Network, a
research group based in New York whose members include many state