Banana Republicans

— by CAP Action War Room

The Latest House GOP Meltdown Has Been A Long Time Coming, And It’s Not Just About Them

The same tumultuous group that led the Republican Party to control the House of Representatives is now at the center of the latest and most public display of Republican dysfunction, or as Rep. Peter King (R-NY) calls it, “a banana republic.” Amidst absurd infighting in the House over Planned Parenthood funding, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) was more or less forced to announce his future resignation, leaving the GOP needing to find the next Speaker. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) was the favorite to replace Boehner, until he unexpectedly and dramatically dropped out yesterday afternoon, leading members of Congress to openly weep and pronounce their caucus has hit “rock bottom.”

The media frenzy surrounding these events has focused on intrigue like it is an episode of “House of Cards.” Was there something behind why McCarthy took himself out of the running? Will Paul Ryan step up and run for speaker despite repeatedly pledging not to? But here’s what is much more important: this self-inflicted leadership breakdown is just one more chapter in a story of House Republican recklessness – and their own caucus hasn’t been the only victim. House GOP dysfunction has resulted in a string of harmful policies and American families have paid the price. Here are just a few examples:

  • The GOP orchestrated the reckless government shutdown in 2013 which had a devastating impact on our economy. Republican leaders bowed to the will of their extreme right wing to shut down the government over the Affordable Care Act. The shutdown lost Americans at least 120,000 jobs, prevented sick Americans from enrolling in clinical trials, forced Head Start programs for children to shut down, stalled veterans’ disability claims, delayed $4 billion in tax returns for Americans, and severely hurt small businesses. Overall, S&P estimates that the Republicans cost the United States economy a whopping $24 billion with their shutdown.
  • The GOP has repeatedly used the debt ceiling to manufacture crises. In order to maintain the full faith and credit of the United States and avoid global economic collapse, Congress needs to raise the debt ceiling from time to time. Yet, GOP leaders have repeatedly joined with their unyielding Tea Party caucus to manipulate these once run-of-the-mill debt ceiling increases for their own gain. In 2011, the GOP threatened to force the United States into a default – to “crash the global economy,” as Time put it – which was only averted after both sides agreed to $1.2 trillion in economically damaging sequestration cuts. This behavior led to a U.S. credit rating downgrade. In 2013, the GOP used this brinksmanship again to attempt to make cuts to programs like Social Security, Medicare, and the SNAP food program, again putting the credit-worthiness of the United States in jeopardy.
  • The GOP also used a manufactured crisis to force sequestration cuts that are still hurting the economy today. The Republican-induced sequester disproportionately hurt low-income and middle class families. It led to significant cuts to funding for education, small business, and health research. Sequestration overall will cause approximately 1.8 million people to lose their jobs.

Clearly, the GOP’s inability to control their own party has already caused a lot of damage to our economy and the well-being of American taxpayers. And yet, as their conference devolves again into chaos, they have no inclination to change their backwards policies or irresponsible behavior. They have no plans to avert the upcoming shutdown or increase the debt ceiling, even though the United States could default on its obligations if Congress doesn’t act by November 5th. House Republicans are not only distracted by their internal pandemonium, going into the upcoming budget negotiations they remain committed to the backwards, policy ideas and reckless political strategy that have caused so many problems for themselves, but more importantly for the American people.

BOTTOM LINE: The GOP’s current state of disarray has been a long time coming. The party’s leadership gave in to a minority of its members who are devoted to pushing devastating cuts to working-and middle-class families in pursuit of rigid and impractical ideological principles. The result has been a government in a state of perpetual dysfunction. And while House Republicans may be paying the price with negative news coverage, it is American families who pay the real price of their extreme policies.

This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe. Like CAP Action on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

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Posted in Culture War, Debt/Deficit, Economy, GOP, Health Care, House, Medicare, Sequester, Social Safety Net, Social Security

This Document Reveals Why The House Of Representatives Is In Complete Chaos

CREDIT: AP PHOTO/MANUEL BALCE CENETA Congressman David Brat, a key member of the House Freedom Caucus

The House of Representative is in chaos. John Boehner announced his intention to step down as Speaker at the end of the month. There doesn’t appear to be anyone to take his place. The leading candidate, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, abruptly withdrew from the race yesterday. Another popular choice, Paul Ryan, says he’s not interested.What happened? How did we get to this point? One document, produced by the House Freedom Caucus, holds all the answers. Framed as a questionnaire the document effectively makes it impossible for any candidate to both: (1) Get elected speaker, and (2) Not send the entire country (and maybe the world) over a cliff.

Why the Freedom Caucus has so much power

The House Freedom Caucus, a relatively new group of about 40 Republicans loosely associated with the Tea Party, has an extraordinary amount of power in this process. Any potential speaker needs the support of 218 Republicans on the floor of the House. There are currently 247 Republicans in the House. That’s a large majority but without the Freedom Caucus, no candidate can get to 218.

What the Freedom Caucus says they want

The Freedom Caucus says they are just fighting for arcane rule changes that will enhance “democracy” in the House. On CNN yesterday, David Brat, a prominent member of the Freedom Caucus outlined his criteria for a new speaker. (You may remember Brat for his surprise victory over Eric Cantor, the man many assumed would replace Boehner as speaker.)

Anyone that ensures a fair process for all sides. That’s what we are all looking for, right… We’ve shown principle. We are waiting for leadership candidates to put in writing moves that ensure you have a democratic process within our own conference. That is what everyone is waiting to see. And it’s got to be in writing, ahead of time for that to be credible.

Sounds perfectly reasonable, right?

What the Freedom Caucus actually wants

Yesterday, Politico published the House Freedom Caucus “questionnaire which it described as pushing for “House rule changes.” The document does do that. But it also does a lot more. It seeks substantive commitments from the next speaker that would effectively send the entire country into a tailspin.

For example, the document seeks a commitment from the next speaker to tie any increase in the debt ceiling to cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.


The United States will reach the debt limit on November 5. If the limit is not raised prior to that point, the United States could default on its obligations. This could have disasterous effects on the economy of the United States and the entire world. In 2013, a Treasury Department report found “default could result in recession comparable to or worse than 2008 financial crisis.”

Cutting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid is extremely unpopular, even among Republicans. These programs are sacrosanct to most Democratic members of Congress. There is effectively no chance that President Obama or Senate Democrats — both of whom would need to support such legislation — would agree to “structural entitlement reforms” in the next month under these kind of conditions.

The House Freedom Caucus essentially wants to make it impossible for the next speaker to raise the debt ceiling. But that is just the beginning.

The House Freedom Caucus also wants the next speaker to commit to numerous conditions on any agreement to avoid a government shutdown:


The government will run out of money on December 11. Unless additional funding is approved before that date, the government will shut down.

The House Freedom Caucus wants the next speaker to commit to not funding the government at all unless President Obama (and Senate Democrats) agree to defund Obamacare, Planned Parenthood and a host of other priorities. This is essentially the Ted Cruz strategy which prompted at 16-day shutdown in 2013. They’re demanding to have this now be enshrined as the official policy of the Speaker of The House.

The House Freedom Caucus wants the next speaker to commit to oppose any “omnibus” bill that would keep the government running. Rather, funding for each aspect of government could only be approved by separate bills. This would allow the Republicans to attempt to finance certain favored aspects of government (the military), while shuttering ones they view as largely unnecessary (education, health).

Why McCarthy thinks the House might be ungovernable

For McCarthy, the document helps explain why he dropped out of the race. If he doesn’t agree to the demands of the House Freedom Caucus, he cannot secure enough votes to become speaker. But if he does agree to their demands, he will unable to pass legislation that is necessary to avoid disastrous consequences for the country.

McCarthy said that, even if he managed to get elected speaker, he doesn’t see how he would be able to have enough votes to extend the debt ceiling and keep the government open.

Asked by the National Review if he thought the House was governable, McCarthy said, “I don’t know. Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom.”

Why no one wants to be speaker

Top Republicans are calling Paul Ryan and begging him to be speaker. But thus far, he hasn’t agreed to run. None of the candidates currently running appear to have substantial support.

The agenda of the House Freedom Caucus makes a difficult job effectively impossible. Agreeing to their demands means presiding over a period of unprecedented dysfunction in the United States.

Even if a candidate was able to become speaker without formally agreeing to the Freedom Caucus’ most extreme requirements, one would still have to deal with the group — and a larger group of House Republicans sympathetic to them — in order to get anything done.

This is why Boehner wanted out and why no one really wants to take his place.

This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe.

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Posted in Congressional Activity, Economy, Debt/Deficit, Budget-Federal, Social Security, Medicare, GOP, Immigration, Medicaid, Social Safety Net, Culture War, Obamacare

After Years of Backroom Secrecy, Public Will Finally Get to See Full TPP Text

Legislative clock starts ticking as Obama administration prepares to release text of pro-corporate trade deal

— by Deirdre Fulton, Common Dreams staff writer

Protesters have long decried the lack of transparency around TPP negotiations. (Photo: SumofUs/flickr/cc)

After being shrouded in secrecy for years, the full contents of the 12-nation Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) will soon be brought into the sunlight.

According to Kevin Collier at Daily Dot, U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman has said the text will be made available to the public at large in approximately 30 days—on or around November 7.

“[We] look forward to having it released as soon as possible,” Froman said in a press call Wednesday that was embargoed until Thursday morning. “We’re shooting to do it within the 30 days following the completion of the negotiations.”

Under the terms of the Fast Track legislation passed earlier this year, lawmakers will not be able to amend or filibuster the pro-corporate “trade” deal that was completed this week.

President Barack Obama must wait at least 90 days after formally notifying Congress of the deal before he can sign it and send it to Capitol Hill, and the full text of the agreement must be made public for at least 60 of those days. Congress gets to spend the first 30 days of that time privately reviewing the documents and consulting with the administration.

As Kelsey Snell wrote for the Washington Post, that 60-day public comment window “will provide critical insight into how much popular support the deal may receive. A poor reception during the public phase could make it difficult for Obama to rally support when it comes time for Congress to vote.”

Snell continued:

The next step will be for the U.S. International Trade Commission to conduct a full economic review of the deal. The agency has up to 105 days to complete that work but the process could take much less time.

Once the implementing bill is introduced in the House and the Senate, Congress has a maximum of 90 days to approve or disapprove the trade deal but can move much more quickly.

However, Public Citizen’s Lori Wallach has pointed out (pdf) that 2016 election politics may imperil the deal. “The intense national battle over trade authority was just a preview of the massive opposition the TPP will face given that Democratic and GOP members of Congress and the public soon will be able to see the specific TPP terms that threaten their interests,” she said (pdf) on Monday.

This work from “Common Dreams” is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

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Posted in Congressional Activity, Trade

Democrats Release New Video and Fact Sheet: “Couldn’t Be More Plain”

Oct 6, 2015 | Press Release from Rep. Elija Cummings, Ranking Member on Select Committee on Benghazi

WASHINGTON— Today, Democrats on the Select Committee on Benghazi released a new video and fact sheet rebutting claims made by Chairman Trey Gowdy that the Committee is not focused on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  The new video and fact sheet come after Republican Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy admitted on national television that the purpose of the Select Committee has always been to damage Hillary Clinton’s bid for President.

View the supporting dates and shows when Chairman Gowdy mentioned Clinton here.


How the Benghazi Committee Targeted Hillary Clinton

Gowdy Cancelled All Planned Hearings Other Than Hillary Clinton’s After NYT Email Story

  • Before the New York Times broke its story on March 2 about Hillary’s Clinton’s emails, Gowdy had sent to Committee Members an investigative plan that set out monthly hearings  with all the different agencies involved in preparing for and responding to the attacks in Benghazi, including the State Department, the Defense Department, and the Intelligence Community.
  • After the New York Times’ email story broke on March 2, however, Gowdy completely abandoned this plan and began focusing almost exclusively on Hillary Clinton.
  • Since then, Gowdy has not held any of the hearings on his schedule, and his upcoming hearing with Hillary Clinton is the only hearing now scheduled.
  • For example, Gowdy abandoned the hearing he had planned for April with former Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary Leon Panetta.
  • The Committee has never held even one public hearing with anyone from the Department of Defense.  The Committee has held only one hearing with an intelligence official, but it was with the CIA’s head of Legislative Affairs regarding the status of document production.

Gowdy Dropped Key Interviews with Top Defense and Intelligence Leaders

  • Gowdy also abandoned plans he had made in February to start conducting interviews of the following top defense and intelligence leaders in April:  former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, former CIA Director David Petraeus, General Martin Dempsey, and former Director of the National Counterterrorism Center Matt Olsen.
  • He never invited any of these defense or intelligence leaders for interviews.
  • Gowdy then announced that he planned to start conducting the following interviews in June:  former Defense Secretary Panetta, General Martin Dempsey, and General Carter Ham.
  • Those interviews were also abandoned.

Gowdy Scheduled New Interviews and Depositions of Hillary Clinton’s Associates 

Gowdy Stepped Up Aggressive Press Campaign Against Hillary Clinton

  • Since March, Gowdy’s press releases have focused almost entirely on Secretary Clinton.
  • Over the past nine months, he has issued 22 press releases related to Secretary Clinton (including one on Sidney Blumenthal’s emails with Clinton), but only 5 press releases on any other topic during that period.
  • Of the 5 non-Clinton press releases, three (1, 2, 3) are about the State Department’s compliance with document production, one marks the anniversary of 9/11, and one is Gowdy’s interim progress report.
  • The only documents Gowdy has publicly released over the past 17 months were Clinton’s emails with Sidney Blumenthal, and Gowdy did this unilaterally with no debate or vote by the Select Committee.
  • At the same time, he has blocked the public release of Blumenthal’s deposition transcript, which would reveal all the questions Republicans asked about Hillary Clinton and other issues that have nothing to do with Benghazi.
  • Almost immediately after the interview with Cheryl Mills, Republicans began leaking inaccurate information to damage Clinton with unsubstantiated or previously debunked allegations, while refusing to release the complete transcript.
  • Gowdy refused to investigate or condemn a leak that made more unsubstantiated allegations against Clinton despite the fact that Politico was forced to correct a front-page story that relied on apparently doctored information about an email produced to the Select Committee.

Gowdy’s Taxpayer-Funded Political Campaign Against Clinton

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Posted in 2016 Election, Congressional Activity, GOP, House

New Report Outlines How To Stop Prescription Drug Prices From Skyrocketing

— by CAP Action War Room


Almost half of all Americans, and 90 percent of all seniors, take a prescribed drug every month. Meanwhile, U.S. spending on prescription drugs increased 13 percent last year to a record $374 billion. Prescription drugs save lives and can sometimes prevent costlier, more invasive treatments. But a drug can only be lifesaving if patients can afford it, and skyrocketing prescription drug prices are putting a strain on families, businesses, and state and federal budgets.

But a new report from the Center for American Progress outlines several reforms that could control the rapidly rising prices, bring transparency to the pharmaceutical industry, and encourage innovation. Within the report’s proposed package are six major policy recommendations that focus on consumer education and paying for value. Here’s a brief look at those six ideas:

  • Commission an independent organization to evaluate new drugs. The FDA only tests whether a drug is safe and works better than a placebo, not whether it’s better than other drugs. Yet pharmaceutical companies often claim new drugs are “innovative” and charge ever-higher prices even if the drug is no more effective than existing treatments. Much like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 5-star safety rating system, the report recommends establishing an independent organization to provide consumer-friendly ratings of drugs to tell patients whether a drug provides minor, significant, or no added benefits when compared to medications already on the market.
  • Provide more transparency on research and development costs. The amount of money pharmaceutical companies spend on research and development pales in comparison to average marketing budgets, and drug companies have the highest profits in the entire health sector. Requiring companies to disclose how much they spend on research and development and forcing those who do not meet the required budget threshold to pay into a fund to support the National Institute of Health, which conducts much of the research that leads to new drugs, would help incentivize companies to invest more in the development of better medications.
  • Protect consumers by capping cost-sharing. CAP’s report recommends setting monthly limits on out-of-pocket spending on prescription medication and capping cost sharing–the share of costs that individuals pay themselves—for drugs at $3,250 annually. The proposals would also give insurers greater flexibility in designing their official lists of medications.
  • Incentivize drug companies to set fair prices. Over the next 10 years, more than $1.1 trillion in taxpayer dollars will go to pharmaceutical companies for name-brand drugs – in addition to federal tax credits and funding for research and development. The amount of taxpayer dollars going to new drugs is straining state and federal budgets. Under CAP’s recommendation, an independent organization would set voluntary price ranges based on a drug’s added benefit to patients. Drug companies would be forced to publicly justify setting a price outside the designated range, and if the drug’s patent came from federally funded research, competitors will be allowed to create generic versions of the medication.
  • Change Medicare’s payment policy for physician-administered drugs. Under Medicare’s current system, physicians get an added administrative fee of 6 percent of a drug’s price, which incentivizes them to over-prescribe costly treatments. Changing that system to a flat fee that would cover overhead costs would change their incentive structure and cut costs. CAP recommends that Medicare test several alternatives, including a flat fee, and then expand the most successful to the full Medicare program.
  • Adapt Medicaid drug rebates based on the comparative effectiveness of drugs. The Medicaid Drug Rebate Program requires manufacturers to pay a minimum rebate to states and the federal government as a condition for Medicaid covering their drugs. Instead of setting a default rebate amount, rebates should vary based on a drug’s comparative effectiveness.

BOTTOM LINE: The current rate of prescription drug spending growth is unsustainable. But by enacting these reforms and shifting the focus to consumer education and the value of medication, lawmakers can control the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs and ease the strain on families, businesses, state and federal budgets.

This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe.

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Posted in Health Care, Prescription Drugs

NSDP Central Cmtee Mtg Notice

Nevada State Democratic Party
State Central Committee Meeting
Saturday, September 26

Western Nevada College
2201 W. College Parkway
Carson City, NV 89703
Cedar Building | Marlette Hall

Nevada State Democratic Party Office
6233 S. Dean Martin Drive | Las Vegas, NV 89118

Rural NV Democratic Caucus: 10:00 a.m.
NSDP Committee Meetings: 10:30 a.m.
NSDP Executive Board Mtg: 11:30 a.m.
NSDP Central Committee: 1:00 p.m.

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Posted in Democratic Party, NSDP, NSDP-C/C Mtg

Hair Force of One

The Mis-Education Of The Republican Party
— by CAP Action War Room

The GOP presidential field needs an education, but for the moment their only teacher is Donald TDebaterump. With President Ronald Reagan’s Air Force One casting a shadow over them, eleven GOP candidates spent three hours debating largely about Donald Trump and failing to address the many key issues facing working families. On education, raising wages, and health care, the GOP candidates said close to nothing, instead doubling down on attacks on immigrants, women’s health, working families, and the Iran nuclear deal. Over three grueling hours of television, the Republican candidates mentioned “middle class” just three times, “health care” twice, and “students” just once.

What the GOP Candidates Failed to Mention:

Ensuring Access to an Affordable, Quality Education. Families are finding it harder and harder to access an affordable, quality education. Between 2000 and 2011, the cost of higher education grew three times faster than overall inflation and students are being saddled with debt. However, the Republican candidates were silent on whether they would support measures such as allowing Americans to refinance their student loans and restoring public investment in education. Not only did Republicans ignore the plight of students seeking a higher education, they also ignored the needs of our youngest learners. High-quality public preschool programs range from $6,500 to $11,000 across the country—putting them out of reach for many families. But on solutions like providing universal pre-school, the Republicans were mum.
Raising Wages for Working Families. Higher wages are what working families need most. Instead of seeing their incomes improve, middle class households saw their incomes fall 2 percent between 2000 and 2011. However, the Republican presidential contenders overwhelmingly failed to offer, or support, real solutions that would improve incomes for families, such as raising the minimum wage or reforming overtime rules.

A Plan to Improve Access to Health Care. On a day when new data became available showing that the number of Americans lacking health insurance dropped by more than eight million people in 2014, Republicans once again attacked the Affordable Care Act (ACA) but offered no alternatives. Before the implementation of the ACA, health care costs were skyrocketing. From 2002 to 2012, health care costs paid by a family of four with an average employer-sponsored PPO plan rose by 85 percent. The ACA, however, has helped control rising health care costs. At the same time, the ACA has improved access to health care. Overall, 15.8 million people have gained coverage since the ACA’s marketplaces opened. Republicans, however, have offered no ideas on how to keep improving upon the successes of the ACA, instead continuing to call for repealing the ACA.

What the GOP Candidates Did Say:

Follow Trump’s Lead on Immigration. Trump’s extreme rhetoric on immigration is often credited with putting immigration right at the center of the GOP presidential primary. But at the debate on Wednesday night, several Republican candidates went out of their way to show that they stand with Trump on his extreme positions.

  • Trump doubled down on his claim that birthright citizenship isn’t settled in the Constitution, saying, “Well, first of all, the — the 14th Amendment says very, very clearly to a lot of great legal scholars — not television scholars, but legal scholars — that it is wrong.” Trump wasn’t alone–Rand Paul, the author of a constitutional amendment to repeal birthright citizenship, restated his support for ending it.
  • Trump again raised his plan to build a wall between the United States and Mexico to deter illegal immigration, even though the border is more secure than ever. The other GOP candidates, however, raced to outdo Trump: Chris Christie jumped at the opportunity to say that he would push to establish “more than just a wall,” pledging “electronics” and “drones,” while Ben Carson said he would turn off the “spigot that dispenses all the goodies so we don’t have people coming in here.”

Defund Planned Parenthood. During the debate, the GOP candidates spent much of their air time attacking women’s health. In rushing to declare that they support defunding Planned Parenthood, they ignored the fact that Planned Parenthood provides critical health care services for millions of women.

  • Jeb Bush believes “that Planned Parenthood should[n’t] get a penny from the federal government.” This is not a surprising statement from a man who previously said he was “not sure we need a half billion for women’s health issues.” However, Planned Parenthood helps millions of women—in 2013 alone it served more than 2.7 million patients and provided 10.6 million services, including the treatment of chronic diseases and authorization for hospital care.
  • Ted Cruz called Planned Parenthood a “criminal enterprise” and says he’s “proud to stand for life.” But 90 percent of Planned Parenthood’s activity is preventive care. Defunding Planned Parenthood would limit women’s access to lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control, and more.

Give Tax Breaks to the Wealthy Few. Several GOP candidates talked about their tax plans and records on taxes at the debate, but their rhetoric was the same rehash of tired Republican talking points: cut taxes on the wealthy to boost the economy. That didn’t work before, and it won’t work again.

  • Bush promoted the $19 billion in tax cuts he pushed as Governor of Florida, but analysis of his time in Florida show that he catered his tax cuts to the wealthy. What’s more, Bush’s tax plan, just released last week, would be a massive giveaway to the wealthiest Americans, would blow a hole in the deficit, and give Bush a personal tax savings of $774,000.
  • Walker claimed that under his watch, Wisconsin passed $4.7 billion in tax cuts “to help working families, family farmers, small business owners and senior citizens,” but the richest 20 percent reaped a full half of the benefits of his income tax package — all while Wisconsin ranked 44th in the country in middle class income growth under Walker.
  • John Kasich boasted about having the “largest amount tax cuts of any sitting governor,” but he neglected to mention that his so-called “tax cuts” benefited wealthy Ohioans. Under Kasich’s tax proposals, the average tax bill went up for the bottom 60 percent of taxpayers, while the top one percent of taxpayers saw an average tax cut of nearly $12k.

Tear Up the Iran Deal. Last night, many of the GOP candidates offered much of the same, similar-sounding bluster we have heard on the campaign trail: tear up the Iran deal on “day one.” Their empty rhetoric presented no real leadership, just more partisan attacks on a tough-minded deal.

  • Cruz claimed that the Iran deal “will only accelerate Iran’s acquiring nuclear weapons.” He continued to say that if elected, he would “rip to shreds this catastrophic Iranian nuclear deal.” Far from being a bad deal, the agreement cuts off all pathways to an Iranian nuclear weapon and is verifiable through rigorous international inspections of Iran’s nuclear supply chain and facilities. This accord proves that American diplomacy — and not war — can bring meaningful change to make our homeland and the world safer and more secure.
  • Walker casually remarked, “I’d love to play cards with this guy because Barack Obama folds on everything with Iran.” That is simply not true. The Iran deal is the result of years of tough-minded American diplomacy and a comprehensive strategy. The deal is backed by our partners and allies across the world, but conservative GOP candidates are putting politics over patriotism.

BOTTOM LINE: The eleven GOP candidates had an opportunity last night to offer real solutions to the key issues they face. But on education, working families, and health care, the GOP candidates came up empty. Instead, they spent their stage time fighting with each other and catering to the most extreme wing of the Republican Party. What we need are real leaders ready to tackle the problems facing working families, not panderers who are alienating entire communities of Americans.

This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe.

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Posted in 2016 Election, Debate, GOP

Married on Sunday; Fired on Monday!

A majority of states still do not clearly protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender, or LGBT, people from discrimination in employment.  As many as 28% of LGBT people report being denied career advancement because of their sexual orientation, and 1 in 4 transgender people report being fired from a job they already have simply because of their transgender status.  YouTube celebrity Hartbeat explains why all Americans deserve the same protections from discrimination in the workplace.  Watch the whiteboard video:

This video is part of a special series, LGBT Nondiscrimination Explained.

This material [the article above] was created by the Center for American Progress Action Fund. It was created for the Progress Report, the daily e-mail publication of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Click here to subscribe.

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Posted in LGBT, Marriage Equalities

State Senator Ruben Kihuen’s Statement on Govenor Scott Walker’s Attack on Worker’s Rights

Ruben Kihuen, State Senator and Candidate for U.S. Congress in Nevada’s 4th District, released the following statement regarding Governor Scott Walker’s plan attacking worker’s rights released today in Las Vegas:

“Governor Walker’s assault on worker’s rights as an attempt to jump start his failing Presidential campaign is just a sad attempt to pander to the Tea Party instead of offering real solutions. He may earn the support of people like my opponent Congressman Hardy who think unions are ‘somewhere between a mob and a gang’ while he attacks labor in Las Vegas today but he will only underscore with voters just how wrong his ideas are for America. We need leaders in Congress and the White House who will fight on behalf of working families, not against them.”

State Senator Ruben Kihuen is running as a Democrat in Nevada’s 4th Congressional District. Ruben has a proven record of real results for working families. Born in Mexico, Ruben and his family immigrated to the United States in search of a better life. He worked his way through college and after graduation was inspired to “pay it forward” by working with other students at College of Southern Nevada. In the legislature, Ruben helped craft landmark bi-partisan bills increasing funding for our schools and making college more affordable, and he beat back a reckless Republican agenda attempting to dismantle worker’s rights, restrict women’s health care and repeal LGBTQ protections. Ruben is running for Congress to ensure everyone has a fair shot at the American Dream.

To Learn more about Ruben Kihuen and his campaign for Congress, visit or follow Ruben on Facebook or Twitter.

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Posted in 2016 Election, GOP

Is O’Malley an Environmental Champion?

The former Maryland governor’s record is inconsistently green, at best.

— by Alissa Weinman

Commanding the backing of only 2 percent of Democrats in national polls, Martin O’Malley isn’t exactly a big contender in his quest to become the party’s presidential nominee. But like the rest of the growing number of hopefuls, the former Maryland governor is building his campaign around a narrative.

O’Malley wants you to see him as the climate hawk. His website conspicuously boasts the candidate’s “new climate leadership,” and he’s rolled out an ambitious set of climate-friendly policy proposals.

For example, he wants to completely transition the United States to renewable energy by 2050, a half-century ahead of the Obama administration’s target. He opposes the Keystone XL pipeline and arctic drilling ventures, and he’s vowed to create a Clean Energy Jobs Corps that would retrofit buildings for energy efficiency, expand forests, and employ thousands.

O’Malley, who stepped down in January after two terms, is clearly eying the green vote. Too bad his record is inconsistently green, at best.

Hillary or Bernie, an OtherWords cartoon by Khalil Bendib

My home state of Maryland had plenty of environmental mishaps under O’Malley’s watch. It’s now trailing in the race toward a fossil-free future.

Maryland only ranks No. 16 on Clean Tech’s Leadership Index, which evaluates states based on their embrace of alternative sources of energy, the strength of their renewable-energy policies, and how much related research and investment happens within their borders. Maryland’s even behind New Mexico and Michigan, two GOP-led states that are home to some of the nation’s dirtiest power plants.

O’Malley also backtracked on his promise to ban fracking. In a sudden reversal at the end of his term, he claimed that the economic benefits that come with fracking are worth the risk, given strong regulations.

Not everything O’Malley spearheaded was harmful to the environment. Under his leadership, the imperiled Chesapeake Bay began to rebound, along with its blue crab populations. He also pushed legislation to promote Maryland’s offshore wind power industry.

In fact, I became an environmentalist because of the changes I witnessed in Maryland during O’Malley’s governorship. And I couldn’t agree more with his assessment that “there is no future for humankind without a livable climate.” That’s what makes his mixed record harder to swallow.

Polls indicate that voters are increasingly thinking like me. Americans no longer see the environment overall or climate change in particular as a marginal issue. That’s especially true for young people, whose votes will be key in a tight race.

Even though O’Malley is clearly a long shot for the White House, his emphasis on the environment could help shape other candidates’ platforms. But to do that, his campaign will have to glow a lot greener than his governorship.

Alissa Weinman, a recent graduate of the College of Wooster, was a Next Leaders climate policy intern at the Institute for Policy Studies in the summer of 2015.
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