Navigation

PSN In the News

Concerns raised about black access to stimulus funding

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 opportunity pot.

Democrats propose oversight processes for stimulus, TARP funds

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.

OR's Big Idea: Protect Stimulus Dollars with Contractor Reform


Salem, OR - Representatives of some national "good government" groups will be in Salem today for the first hearing on two bills that would tighten requirements for who gets government contracts and how they use the money. The Oregon legislation could be used by other states that are looking for ways to track job creation and increase accountability.

In fact, Oregon has some ideas that other states may soon be anxious to copy. This morning, a House committee in Salem discusses two bills that propose turning up the heat on government contractors by setting quality standards and tracking their progress. With billions of dollars of federal stimulus money at stake — and a president who says it must be used to create jobs — states are scrambling to figure out how to meet federal requirements.

Stimulus transparency a work in progress — Federal spending Web site basic; state's improving

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.

Health Care Reform Round Table on Laura Flanders's GritTV

PSN's Health Care Policy Specialist Adam Thompson participates in a round table discussion on Laura Flanders's GritTv to discuss the prospects for comprehensive health care reform on the eve of President Obama's Health Care Summit.

Tracking the recession: Stimulus holds states accountable

“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 policymakers.

Obama's labor secretary pick backs enforcement

President Obama's pick for secretary of labor, Rep. Hilda Solis, could help shape a new approach to immigration control that emphasizes the robust enforcement of labor laws.

Where the Bush administration stepped up workplace immigration enforcement, sweeping up migrant workers and not always going after the employers who illegally hire them, the Obama administration is expected to take a different tack.

Immigrant advocates hope that strengthening compliance with workplace health and safety laws and wage and hour standards - which Solis promised in her hearing before the labor committee in January - will protect workers in general and could reduce the likelihood that some employers will seek to profit by hiring undocumented workers.

Alex Aronson, The Bus Project

Alex Aronson is hard to pin down for an interview. He's on a bus when I finally reach him by phone, and he is returning from an excursion to Oregon's state Capitol. "What are you up to?" I ask. "Well," he says, "I'm covered in gold body paint and shiny gold clothing." The only thing missing from his homage to the golden pioneer perched atop Oregon's Capitol is an ax. Aronson explains that his was confiscated when he went into the house chamber to watch the swearing-in of the state legislators--among them, founder and president of the Oregon-based Bus Project, Jefferson Smith.

Hypocrisy is running north of the border

News item #1: As of Nov. 30, 13 states had enacted 19 employment laws related to immigrants since Jan. 1, 2008, according to a December report issued by the National Conference of State Legislatures. The laws covered hiring unauthorized workers, employment verification, unemployment benefits and so forth.
Advertisement

The states: Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Maryland, Missouri, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and, of course, Mississippi.

Ending the 'Voter Fraud' Debate

If you've been following the presidential campaign the last few weeks, you've probably caught a glimpse of John McCain going on one of his well-rehearsed rants about the community organizing group ACORN and how its voter registration campaigns may amount to "one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country."