March on House GOP Offices, Pray for End to Shutdown
Pilgrimage with poor workers ratchets up moral pressure as shutdown harms low-income families, seniors, and veterans.
Washington, DC – Today, over 70 prominent religious leaders joined with locked-out federal workers in a pilgrimage, marched on key House GOP offices – including Leadership – and urged an immediate end to the government shutdown. At each office, the group prayed for the Member to do what is right and vote to immediately end the shutdown with a clean and unconditional continuing resolution and to raise the debt ceiling without preconditions.
During the Pilgrimage, faith leaders invited moderate Republicans to join them in challenging their colleagues who are putting political agendas ahead of the common good.
An extreme faction of Congress is recklessly playing politics with the lives of countless Americans: seniors seeing “Meals on Wheels” cut, pregnant women and infants losing vital nutrition support, workers locked out of their jobs as bills pile up, veterans facing benefit cuts, and communities put in peril by the suspension of crucial environmental protection efforts.
“It’s time for irresponsible factions in Congress to stop this reckless behavior and end this shutdown immediately,” said Sr. Simone Campbell, Executive Director of NETWORK, A Catholic Social Justice Lobby. “There is no moral justification for holding struggling families, pregnant women and seniors hostage.”
The marchers also included low-wage workers locked out of their jobs by the shutdown.
USDA Directs States to “Hold November Issuance Files”
Posted on: 9:18 pm, October 14, 2013, by Nineveh Dinha, updated on: 09:20pm, October 14, 2013
States across the country are being told to stop the supplemental nutrition assistance program for the month of November, pending further notice.
That’s according to a letter from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. (See letter below.) Fox 13 obtained a copy from the Crossroads Urban Center in downtown Salt Lake City. Crossroads says if families don’t get food stamps, they’ll turn to the local food pantries, which are already strapped due to the government shutdown. Homeless people Fox 13 talked to, some who use SNAP, say losing food stamps would mean going hungry.
“This is going to create a huge hardship for the people we serve here in our food pantry,” says Bill Tibbits who is the Associate Director at Crossroads Urban Center.
People out on the streets like Richard Phillips says, “It could impact us and it’s going to cause problems because you’re going to come to find out that people are going to steal and do what they have to do to survive.”“People out here are going to go without food,” says Loralee Smith whose been homeless since August and says the uncertainty is making her uneasy about where her next meal will come from. “I’m on food stamps, I don’t know if I’m going to get them, a lot of people are on food stamps and they don’t know if they’re going to get them.”
Others say if SNAP shuts down, they’ll find a way to feed themselves.
“There’s always food pantries to go to, to get food,” says Mason who is homeless and relies on food stamps. However, Crossroads says there’s no way they could handle the increase if food stamps go away.
“We’ll be affected because if people, if a family doesn’t get food stamp benefits, they’re going to come here,” says Tibbits. “Wee can’t, there’s no way we could deal with it.”
The local pantries are already feeling the pinch because WIC, a federal program which provides baby formula and food to families in need has been affected by the shutdown. With SNAP on the chopping block temporarily, Crossroads fears their shelves will soon be empty.
With the ugly government shutdown headed into its third week, Senate leaders are said to be close to a deal that could avert the unimaginable – the default on U.S. debt that could easily drive the world economy into depression.
Even if senators reach a deal today, it is yet unclear whether House Speaker John Boehner will bring it to a vote in the House. Republicans may be plummeting in the polls, but the jihad faction of the Republican House remains unrepentant. Rep. Raul R. Labrador (R-Idaho) denounced Senate Republicans for “pussyfooting around” in the budget battle, scorning them for “always wanting to have a fight the next time.” With Tea Party members threatening a primary challenge for anyone who votes for the potential deal, Boehner will have to bring forth a measure likely to be opposed by a majority of his caucus and relying on Democratic votes to pass.
The House zealots are certifiable, but they set up the age-old good cop/bad cop routine for Senate Republicans. Republicans are plummeting in the polls. Anyone with a clue – which may barely reach a majority in the Republican caucus – knows that forcing a default on U.S. debts is utterly self-destructive folly. But Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell uses the Tea Party’s fulminations to seek more concessions from Democrats.
So before hailing the rescue, it is worth considering what a sensible outcome to this contrived crisis would be.
First, a minimum requirement would be to end the hostage-taking that uses the threat of default to extort concessions. At the least, that would require lifting the debt ceiling to a level that would cover debts that Republicans have already voted for through the end of next year – and after the midterm elections, when voters can make their views known.
Second, a sensible agreement would reopen government for the year, funded at a level somewhere between that proposed by the Republican House and the Democratic Senate. The figure would be far below what is needed to get the economy going, but would at least keep the doors open.
Posted: Thursday, October 10, 2013 3:42 am | Updated: 5:02 am, Thu Oct 10, 2013.
Associated Press |
Republican Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick had been expected to face a tough re-election fight.
Then he sided with GOP leadership and a tea party insisting that a federal spending plan to keep the government open must delay or defund President Barack Obama’s health care law. Now, with the partial government shutdown stretching into its second week, Fitzpatrick’s bid for a second term may be growing even more challenging.
Voters in his suburban Philadelphia district talk of a widening sense of disappointment with their two-term congressman, while Democrats across Pennsylvania and other states claim new momentum in their quest to take back the House majority next fall
“It would have been nice for him to make a decision that wasn’t based on party,” says Daryl Curtis, who for two decades has run a barber shop along Bristol’s sleepy main drag.
For the GOP, the stakes in places like Bristol are high. The fight for control of the House likely will be won and lost in suburban swing districts where most voters favor political moderation and independence over party ideology. Republican success in hanging onto these districts will depend, in part, on how well they explain the shutdown to weary voters _ and how long it lasts.
That’s putting new pressure on Republican moderates who represent such districts, Fitzpatrick included.
After weeks of trying to balance the wishes of his moderate district and House conservatives, he sided with most congressional Republicans in refusing to approve a measure that would have kept the government operating because it also would have continued to pay for the health care law. Democrats, who control the White House and the Senate, refused to delay or destroy the landmark health care law. The impasse resulted in the government shutdown.
Oct 9, 2013 – A group that advocates for public transit riders has raised questions about a proposal to remove buses from the center of Downtown Pittsburgh, saying it puts the interests of a few businesses ahead of "the greater good of the entire community."
The group, Pittsburghers for Public Transit, also is demanding public involvement in any plan to reroute buses, community organizer Helen Gerhardt said Tuesday. "We’re going to make sure that we are very vocal and very involved every step of the way," she said.
The group is concerned about a proposal embraced by Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald and the likely next mayor of Pittsburgh, city Councilman Bill Peduto, to create a bus-free zone in the center of the Golden Triangle. Bus routes would be moved out toward the fringes of Downtown.
Mr. Peduto said he envisions a circular route pattern using wider streets toward the edges of Downtown rather than having buses coming from four different directions and turning around in the middle of town.
Mr. Fitzgerald reiterated Tuesday that planning for such a change is in its very early stages.
"There are some discussions about how to put a plan together but there is no plan," he said. "There will be public participation, absolutely. I think people are getting the wrong idea that this is going to happen imminently and they’ll have no input."
Pittsburghers for Public Transit, which says it has nearly 6,000 supporters who have signed up for email and phone alerts about transit issues, said in an email that "precedence should not be given to the few businesses that have called for removal of bus stops in front of their establishments, when the greater good of the entire community should be our first public priority."
Over the past couple of weeks, it’s become apparent to me and many others that this entire showdown is not over Obamacare. The ACA is a convenient patsy because it is new, untested, and they’ve managed to poison public opinion around it over the past three years.
The real target is Social Security and Medicare. From a political standpoint, waging a war using those programs as hostage would be so wildly unpopular no sane or insane politician would dare choose that route. And so Obamacare has become the convenient stand-in, a cardboard stand-in for their real goals.