Labor and environmental groups joined with the U.S. government on
Thursday to promote high speed Internet access and related technologies
to create green jobs and help lift the United States out of recession.
A state senator who was in the nation's capital this week to lobby
for health care reform says it's time for a "competitive public
product" to give Americans a more affordable alternative to private
Senator Joe Bolkcom, a Democrat from Iowa City, was among a small
group of state legislators who met with White House officials on
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.
Now more than ever, we need a rational and respectful dialogue about
how to fix our country’s broken immigration system. But comments like
Texas Representative Betty Brown’s recent assertion that legal Chinese
American immigrants should adopt Anglophone names that are “easier for
Americans to deal with” represents precisely the kind of divisive
rhetoric that will keep us from such a levelheaded debate.
Brown’s callous suggestion that Chinese American citizens are not
American is symptomatic of the veiled bigotry that underlies much of
the immigration debate across the nation. It also begs the question of
why state legislators across the country would want to associate with
the organization that Brown helped found to propagate racially divisive
In order to comply with new transparency requirements under the
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, state governments across the
country are scrambling to report to the public how they spend recovery
dollars. Unfortunately, no existing state government Web sites that are
accounting for the recovery funds report the number of jobs created by
private contractors. Without such data, the sites are close to
Fortunately, Oregon is leading an effort to require contractors to
report the number of jobs they create, as well as the hours worked and
wages received by their employees. These proposed requirements would
ensure Oregonians' tax money actually goes toward creating quality