The bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform voted this morning on a plan to reduce the federal deficit by $828 billion or cutting it in half by the year 2015. Eleven of 18 members or 61 percent voted yes on the plan, which fell short of the 14 votes required for the proposal to be definitely voted on by the House and Senate.
Voting for the plan were three Democrats. Most surprisingly was progressive Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL). Durbin said he was opposed to many elements of the plan and would not vote as is for final passage. But he thought, "politicians on the left and right have to acknowledge the deficit crisis our nation faces," so he wanted to process to proceed, "to begin the debate."
The plan, introduced by commission co-chairs Alan Simpson (R-WY) and Erksine Bowles (D-NC), would disproportionately cut programs whose recipients are primarily women, such as Social Security and Medicare, while it cuts corporate taxes.
Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL) voted no on the proposal and criticized it for its "alarming redistribution of wealth that is shrinking the middle class." She also presented her plan that would reduce the deficit without hurting the middle class or the vulnerable.
Women's rights groups, including the National Organization for Women, OWL the Voice of Midlife and Older Women, and the Feminist Majority expressed their outrage when the initial proposal was introduced in mid November.
The plan was moderated because of such criticism. For example, the plan would raise the age of eligibility for collecting social security - but now includes hardship waivers, proposed by commission member Senator Durbin, for seniors whose jobs require physical labor. The waivers, it is estimated, would affect some 20 percent of seniors.
Media Resources: Feminist Majority 12/3/10; Washington Post 12/2/10, CNN 12/3/10; NPR 12/3/10
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .