130 Labor Councils and Area Labor Federations Have Endorsed HR 676 – Its Time for AFL-CIO and CTW Leaders to Get On Board

Two More Labor Councils Endorse HR 676. Total Now 130.

In Grand Forks, North Dakota, the Northern Valley Labor Council AFL-CIO of Western Minnesota and Eastern North Dakota has endorsed HR 676, single payer health care legislation introduced by Congressman John Conyers (D-MI), reports Mark Froemke, President of the West Minnesota Area Labor Council.  The Council voted at its June 9th meeting.

In Portland, Oregon, the Northwest Oregon Labor Council voted June 22nd to endorse HR 676 and to submit a resolution to the National AFL-CIO Convention calling for an endorsement of HR 676.

United Food and Commercial Workers Local 555 Secretary-Treasurer Jeff Anderson, a member of the Executive Board of the Northwest Oregon Council, helped in bringing forward the resolution to the Executive Board and to the Council.  Other supporting unions included IBEW Local 48, the Machinists, and CWA, reports Margaret Butler, CWA Local 7901 council delegate.

One hundred and thirty Labor Councils and Area Labor Federations have now endorsed HR 676.

County Grassroots Speaks to TeamObama


Photo: Bernice Mason (left), Tina and Randy Shannon of PDA, and Peter Lesser of Organizing for America.

Obama’s New Project
Hears County Activists on
Tough Battles Ahead

By Carl Davidson
Beaver County Blue

About 25 people gathered at the Center Township Volunteer Fire Dept in Beaver County on the evening of July 16, sat down in a circle of folding chairs, and got involved in a new initiative from the Obama administration, a ‘listening tour’ to hear out local activists on current political battles.

The event was pulled together by the new nationwide project of the Democratic National Committee, Organizing for America (OFA), and local Democratic Party leaders. Peter Lesser, OFA Field Organizer for Western PA, and former Obama campaign organizer in Chester, PA, led the session. He was introduced by Rocco Giammaria from the Center Township Democratic Committee, and leader of the Obama campaign in Pennsylvania. Dr. Mike Sisk, Beaver County Democratic Chairman, and Tony Amadio, Chairman of the Beaver County Commissioners also participated in the meeting.

If the meeting’s aim was to get a cross section of the hopes and frustrations of local Obama campaign activists, the organizers got what they wanted, and then some.
Continue reading County Grassroots Speaks to TeamObama

US Congress “Public Option” Healthcare Compromise with Insurance Companies Does not Live Up to Promises to American People

Kucinich Amendment May Save Health Reform

By Joshua Holland, AlterNet
Posted on July 17, 2009, Printed on July 17, 2009

No time today for a lengthy analysis of the Tri-Committee health bill. My quick-and-dirty take is this.Those who think the bill is a wonderful progressive victory with a robust public option are wrong, and, on the flip side, the charge that it’s a “bailout for the insurance industry” is totally divorced from what the bill would actually do if passed. 

It is the most progressive, comprehensive and significant health care legislation to come down the pike since Medicare was passed in 1965. If it were enacted as written, it’d go a long way to solving a lot of our problems (but by no means all) and wouldn’t break the bank in the process. (I’ll have more next week on the good, the bad and the ugly in the new bill.)  

But it also fails some of the basic criteria that most progressives have long said is a red-line that can’t be crossed. First and foremost, it doesn’t have a public option that can compete with private insurers and result in significant cost savings.   

It has a public plan in which — as far as the statute goes (it can be expanded in 2015 but there’s no mandate to do so) — only 9-10 million people will be eligible to enroll by 2019. Similarly, the publicly-administered exchanges are projected to cover about 30 million by that year. (These relatively small insurance pools will be able to bargain in concert with Medicare to some degree, so their power will be magnified, but still…) 

Continue reading US Congress “Public Option” Healthcare Compromise with Insurance Companies Does not Live Up to Promises to American People

PA 4th CD Congressman Jason Altmire Votes to Deny Pennsylvania the Right to Establish a Statewide Single Payer Healthcare System

House Committee Allows States to Create Single-Payer Healthcare

By David Swanson
July 17, 2009

Kucinich amendment receives bi-partisan support

[EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a victory for single-payer advocates. Our job in the ensuing weeks will be to ensure that this amendment does not get stripped from the final legislation.] 

On Friday morning at 9:45 a.m. ET in the House Committee on Education and Labor, the committee members voted 25 to 19 to pass Congressman Dennis Kucinich’s amendment to the healthcare reform bill. This amendment, if it survives the full House, the Senate, the conference, and the President, will not alter the federal legislation except to allow states to create single-payer healthcare systems if they choose to. If this change to the bill makes news, it will pass the Senate, because there is no legitimate argument against it, and the support for it is bipartisan. 

Continue reading PA 4th CD Congressman Jason Altmire Votes to Deny Pennsylvania the Right to Establish a Statewide Single Payer Healthcare System

Glenn Greenwald on Goldman Sachs “Blowout Profits”

Monday July 13, 2009 06:14 EDT
from Salon.com

The events preceding Goldman Sachs’ new “blowout profits”


Remember all of this — the $700 billion bank bailout, the AIG scandal, dark and scary threats of imminent global meltdown if there wasn’t full-scale capitulation by the citizenry to the immense transfer of public wealth to the private investment banking sector?  Such distant, hazy memories:  so many exciting celebrity deaths and riveting celebrity resignations ago.  If sequences of events like these don’t cause mass citizen outrage, then it’s hard to imagine what will:

Continue reading Glenn Greenwald on Goldman Sachs “Blowout Profits”

PA 12th CD Congressman John Murtha Endorses HR 676 – the National Healthcare Act

Labor Delegation Persuades Cong. John Murtha To Co-Sponsor HR 676

Johnstown, Pennsylvania.   After meeting with western Pennsylvania labor leaders on June 29,  Representative John Murtha agreed to sign on as a co-sponsor of HR 676, national single payer health care legislation introduced by Congressman John Conyers (D-MI).  Eighty-five House members, in addition to Conyers, now have their names on HR 676.

Murtha, who has represented Pennsylvania’s 12th CD since 1974, is the eighth most senior member of the House of Representatives, and chairs the Defense subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee. He joins PA 14th CD Congressman Mike Doyle as the second co-sponsor of HR 676 from western Pennsylvania.

Those who met with Murtha came from the Greater Westmoreland County Labor Council in Greensburg and the Johnstown Regional Central Labor Council.  The group included Ed Grystar, Harriet Ellenberger and Rosemary Trump, all Executive Board members of the Westmoreland Council, and Terry Havener of the Johnstown Council.  Also in the delegation was Father Bernard Survil, a Catholic priest active in labor affairs.

Ed Grystar said, after learning that Murtha has signed on as a co-sponsor, “The fact that Murtha, from a relatively conservative middle of the road district, signed on as a co-sponsor signifies that the grass roots movement for single payer is growing and opportunities exist to get others from similar districts to sign on.”

In addition to Murtha, Congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY) also signed on to HR 676 on July 9.  Weiner is a member of the Energy & Commerce Committee which is one of three committees writing the House bill.