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