Saturday, December 3, 2011
From The G-Man shared its findings with the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, the New York State Health Department, and elected officials within New York City. To date, no comments have been provided to this news site regarding the findings, and no action has been taken to address the matter. Visit the following link to read the news story:
WASHINGTON, DC – Alan Krueger, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, issued the following statement:
The recent employment report provides further evidence that the economy is continuing to heal from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, but the pace of improvement is still not fast enough given the large job losses from the recession that began in December 2007.
Private sector payrolls increased by 140,000 in November and overall payroll employment rose by 120,000. The unemployment rate fell 0.4 percentage point to 8.6 percent, the lowest unemployment rate since March 2009. About half of the drop in unemployment in the household survey was due to a decline in the labor force (-315,000) and about half to employment growth (+278,000). Despite adverse shocks that have created headwinds for economic growth, the economy has added private sector jobs for 21 straight months, for a total of 2.9 million jobs over that period. Nonetheless, we need faster growth to put more Americans back to work.
While the U.S. economy is healing, the world economy continues to be in a fragile state and all economies are linked through trade and finance. In this environment, the President’s American Jobs Act is the right medicine to sustain and strengthen the recovery. In particular, with 13.3 million Americans still unemployed, and 43 percent of them unemployed for 6 months or longer, it would be a setback for the economy and American families if Congress were to allow extended unemployment benefits to expire at the end of the year. The President’s proposal to extend and expand the payroll tax cut for workers and small businesses also would provide a substantial boost to economic growth and job creation.
Sectors with employment increases in November included retail trade (+50,000), professional and business services (+33,000), leisure and hospitality (+22,000), health care and social assistance (+19,000), and manufacturing (+2,000). The temporary help services industry, which is often a leading indicator of future job growth, increased for the fifth month in a row, by 22,300. Sectors with employment declines included government (-20,000) and construction (-12,000). State and local governments lost 16,000 jobs and have shed 430,000 jobs since February 2010.
The monthly employment and unemployment numbers are volatile and employment estimates are subject to substantial revision. Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.
Friday, December 2, 2011
The Obama administration is concerned with today’s decision by a Moscow court regarding the election monitoring NGO Golos, as well as what appears to be a pattern of harassment directed against this organization. We have communicated our concerns to the Russian government in Moscow and to the Russian Embassy in Washington.
Golos is a well-known and well-regarded Russian independent election monitoring organization that has operated in Russia for over a decade. The data Golos publishes is from Russian observers and Russian citizens around the country. International and domestic observation is a normal part of the democratic process and allowing observers to conduct their work unfettered is critical to electoral transparency. As a participating State of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Russia has agreed that foreign and domestic election observers can enhance the electoral process.
We are proud of our support of Golos, which is intended to strengthen democratic institutions and processes – not influence elections – and we believe that citizens everywhere should have a right to report concerns about their electoral processes. The United States has supported and will continue to support those citizens and non-governmental organizations working for free and fair elections in Russia, as we do globally.
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Carney: 'We Applaud the EU's Determination to Pressure These Regimes to End Their Unacceptable Actions'
These steps signal once again the resolve of the international community to address the assault on the fundamental rights of the Syrian people by the Assad regime, along with the continued failure of the Iranian regime to meet its international obligations.
We applaud the EU’s determination to pressure these regimes to end their unacceptable actions, as well as its readiness to consider further steps going forward. The United States has coordinated closely with the EU on both Syria and Iran, most recently at the US-EU Summit that President Obama hosted, and today’s actions underscore how the United States and our European allies are committed to working together on these shared challenges.
We look forward to continued coordination with both the European Union and other concerned governments to increase the pressure on both Syria and Iran to ensure that their flagrant violations of international norms comes to an end. As always, we will continue to work with our European allies on behalf of international peace and security, and the universal rights of all human beings.
STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY
H.R. 3463 – Termination of Taxpayer Financing of Presidential Election Campaigns and Termination of the Election Assistance Commission
(Rep. Harper, R-Mississippi, and Rep. Cole, R-Oklahoma)
The Administration strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 3463, which would terminate taxpayer financing of Presidential election campaigns and would eliminate the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and transfer its responsibilities primarily to the Federal Election Commission.
H.R. 3463 would terminate the Nation's Presidential election public financing system, expanding the power of corporations and special interests in the Nation's elections. The bill would force many candidates into an endless cycle of fundraising at the expense of engagement with voters on the issues, and would place a premium on access to large donor or special interest support, narrowing the field of otherwise worthy candidates.
In addition, H.R. 3463 would terminate the EAC, which was established after the 2000 Presidential election to improve the administration of elections. The EAC continues to perform crucial statutory responsibilities by serving as a national clearing house of information for election officials and the public.
In addition, EAC continues to administer Federal grants to the States that support necessary investments in reliable voting and elections equipment, issues and periodically reviews Voluntary Voting System Guidelines, accredits voting system test labs, certifies voting equipment, establishes best practices and guidelines on election administration for State and local election officials, and aids implementation of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) and other Federal voting rights statutes.
The EAC has further demonstrated its value with accomplishments such as aiding in the implementation of access programs for disabled voters. As the only Federal entity charged principally with improving the administration of elections, the EAC helps to protect voters' rights and the integrity of elections and plays an important role as part of the Nation's election system infrastructure. These functions are too critical to put at risk by allowing them to be subsumed in an entity for which they are not the primary mission.
STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY
S. 1917 – Middle Class Tax Cut of 2011
The Administration strongly supports passage of S. 1917, which puts more money in the pockets of working and middle class Americans and provides tax cuts for small businesses to help them grow. The President proposed these measures to the Congress as part of the American Jobs Act as a way to create jobs and spur economic growth.
By extending and expanding the payroll tax cut in place this year, the bill would cut in half the amount of payroll tax paid by employees and the self-employed on their wages and salaries for 2012. Approximately 160 million workers would benefit from this tax cut, with the typical family earning $50,000 seeing more than $1,500 in additional take-home pay.
The bill would also cut in half the payroll tax paid by employers on the first $5 million of taxable payroll for 2012. This provision would benefit all businesses, but would target the benefit to the 98 percent of firms with payrolls below the $5 million payroll threshold.
The bill would also completely eliminate the payroll tax paid on added workers and on wage increases for current workers for the first $12.5 million of an employer's increased taxable payroll for the 4th quarter of 2011 and the first $50 million in increased payroll for 2012.
This provision, also targeted to small businesses, would encourage firms to hire additional employees and raise wages for their current employees.
Finally, the bill provides that these tax cuts would have no effect whatsoever on balances in the Social Security Trust Funds.
S. 1917 is fully paid for through a surtax on those Americans making over $1 million per year. What is most important is putting Americans back to work. S. 1917 would meet the test of paying for the extension and expansion of the payroll tax cuts in a way that is fair.
Independent economists have confirmed that these tax cuts for working families and small business entrepreneurs would add hundreds of thousands of jobs to the economy next year. By enacting S. 1917, the Congress and the President can work together to create jobs, and the Administration urges prompt and favorable action.
STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY
S. 1931 – Temporary Tax Holiday and Government Reduction Act
In the American Jobs Act, the President proposed to continue and expand the payroll tax cut in place this year to help provide relief to working families and boost the economy and proposed a payroll tax cut for America's small businesses to help them grow. Passage of S. 1917, the Middle Class Tax Cut Act of 2011, would enact these tax cuts into law and fully pay for them by asking the Nation's wealthiest to contribute a small percentage more.
The Administration recognizes that S. 1931 would at least continue this year's payroll tax cut. However, the Administration opposes S. 1931 because, by contrast to S. 1917, it provides one-third less tax relief for America's workers, does not help America's small businesses, and is paid for by unbalanced cuts that would break a bipartisan deal achieved in August and would undermine the Nation's ability to invest in areas that are key to America's future, to maintain core government functions, and to defend the United States.
If the Congress does nothing, the typical working family earning $50,000 will see its taxes go up by $1,000. Under the American Jobs Act and S. 1917, that family's tax cut would be increased from $1,000 to over $1,500. By contrast, S. 1931 does not expand the current payroll tax cut at all, thus providing one-third less tax relief to 160 million American workers.
In addition, S. 1917 offers relief to America's small businesses by cutting their payroll taxes in half and offering them a complete holiday for adding new payroll. S. 1931 offers none of this relief.
While S. 1917 proposes to fully pay for the tax cuts in a balanced and fair way by asking those earning over a million dollars a year to pay their fair share, S. 1931 would almost entirely pay for the payroll tax cuts by breaking the bipartisan deal achieved in the Budget Control Act.
It would add new cuts on top of the $1 trillion in reductions to defense and non-defense spending under the Budget Control Act and the additional $1.2 trillion in cuts that could automatically go into place because of the failure of the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction.
The additional spending cuts under S. 1931 would mean further reductions in areas like education and energy, reducing core government functions ranging from services for this Nation's veterans to border security, and further cutting back spending on the Nation's defense.
The President is committed to providing tax relief to America's workers and small businesses next year and fully paying for this relief in a way that is fair. The Administration strongly supports S. 1917 and opposes S. 1931.
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Addabbo: 'I Respectfully Request That Governor Cuomo, DEC and Elected Officials Listen and Pay Attention'
Queens, NY -- With our state on the cusp of venturing into uncharted territory with a natural gas drilling technique known as high-volume hydraulic fracturing – also commonly referred to as “hydrofracking” – Governor Andrew Cuomo, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and elected officials need to be well-versed and prepared for the serious ramifications our environment may encounter, and possible changes to our way of life, should hydrofracking fluids contaminate our water supply.
I applaud the DEC’s efforts to host and consider testimony through public hearings in reference to the significant issue of hydrofracking.
Unfortunately, my schedule does not permit me to physically be at the hearings, but I eagerly submit this statement to testify against the process of drilling for natural gas through hydrofracking methods. While I am not opposed to other processes of drilling for natural gas, I am concerned about the mixture of chemicals being used to extract this gas from rock formations using the hydrofracking method.
I do not want Nitrilopropionamide Glycol Ethers, Butoxyethanol, Isothiazolin, Hemicellulase Enzyme, Hydrochloric Acid, Acetic Acid, Alphatic Acid Isopropanol, Alphatic Alcohol Polyglycol Ether Isopropyl Alcohol, Ammonia Persulfate Magnesium Nitrate, Aromatic Hydrocarbon Mesh Sand, Aromatic Ketones Methanol, Boric Acid Mineral Spirits, Boric Oxide Monoethanolamine, Citric Acid Petroleum Distillates, Cristobalite Polyethoxylated Alkanol, Quartz Polyethoxylated Alkanol, Dazomet Polyethylene Glycol Mixture, Diatomaceus Earth Polysaccharide, Ethane-diol Potassium Hydroxide, Ethoxlated Alcohol, Ethoxylated Alcohol Propan, Ethoxylated Octylphenol Propargyl Alcohol, Ethylene Glycol Propylene, Ethylhexanol Sodium Bicarbonate, Ferrous Sulfate Heptahydrate Sodium Chloride, Formaldehyde Sodium Hydroxide, Glutaraldehyde Sucrose, Tetramethylammonium Chloride, or any of the other foreign items found in hydrofracking anywhere near our state’s water supply.
The interchangeable mix of water, sand and hazardous chemicals being used to break up the rock base can contaminate our water supply, a supply that encompasses more than 15 billion gallons of daily water taken from New York State’s lakes, rivers, streams, estuaries and groundwaters.
As evident in neighboring states, the process to extract natural gas is flawed and requires extensive guidance from the DEC and from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). I perceive the concept to drill as soon as possible in New York State is being done in haste when protests and valid testimony are being presented on a daily basis.
Natural gas drilling companies and supporters of this practice have so much to gain from enlisting further input from protestors and impacted individuals from neighboring states where evaluations of methods and testimony can produce alternative environmentally sound drilling techniques.
I have taken instrumental steps at the New York State Senate to advocate for legislation that would allow for New York State to issue permits to natural gas drilling companies only after the EPA has released their comments and guidelines regarding such drilling activity.
In addition, should the State venture on commencing drilling prior to the EPA report, I had introduced legislation where radioactivity in drilling waste would need to be treated before being accepted or discharged by any permit holder. Federal studies have indicated consumed radioactive waste, whether by drinking or eating, can cause cancer and other health problems.
Reports have stated that approximately 40 percent of Pennsylvania’s water is contaminated with the fluids found in the hydrofracking drilling done in that state. Currently, New York State’s treatment plants are not equipped to remove such carcinogens from the chemicals contained within hydrofracking fluids. Therefore, it is my belief that there is no rational reason for New York State to proceed with issuing permits for a harmful procedure. Our state cannot seek to create upstate jobs, but at the same time create a long-term, harmful condition for people throughout the state.
I respectfully request that Governor Cuomo, DEC and elected officials listen and pay attention to the adverse risks known to be present in the hydraulic fracturing techniques. Unless the process is addressed in a way where our water supply is, with absolute certainty, not susceptible to contamination, that our land is free from toxic chemicals, and our quality of life is not disrupted from frivolous neglectful actions, I then wholeheartedly urge the State to proceed with caution. I believe that if any doubt as to the safety of the hydrofracking process exists, we should not proceed to issue any permits.
It is my intent to continue fighting against this natural gas drilling process until all negative aspects are addressed and resolved. Thank you for the opportunity to express my position regarding this important environmental and safety issue.
Photo source: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/158242
Author: Matthew Bowden www.digitallyrefreshing.com
Permission: the Wikimedia OTRS system