Tag Archives: Patty Murray

In ‘Crisis Moment’ for Abortion Rights, Biden Weighs Declaring Public Health Emergency

“This is a five-alarm fire,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren, “and we cannot wait to respond.”

By Jake Johnson  Published 6-16-2022 by Common Dreams

Demonstration in front of SCOTUS May 3 2022 Photo: Janni Rye/Wikimedia Commons/CC

With the right-wing U.S. Supreme Court expected to overturn Roe v. Wade as soon as this month, President Joe Biden is reportedly weighing a number of executive orders to protect abortion rights at the federal level—including declaration of a national public health emergency—as progressive lawmakers and rights groups push him to act.

The New York Times, citing unnamed administration officials, reported Thursday that “some of the ideas under consideration include declaring a national public health emergency, readying the Justice Department to fight any attempt by states to criminalize travel for the purpose of obtaining an abortion, and asserting that Food and Drug Administration regulations granting approval to abortion medications preempt any state bans.” Continue reading

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Senate Dems Employ Obscure Law in Effort to Reverse Trump Rollback of Methane Emissions Standards

While lawmakers are also using the Congressional Review Act to challenge one other policy change, it could be used to target dozens of deregulatory actions from Trump’s presidency.

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 3-26-2021

Natural gas flares from a flare-head at the Orvis State well on the Evanson family farm in McKenzie County, North Dakota. Photo: Tim Evanson/flickr/CC

Four members of the Democrat-controlled Senate this week introduced a resolution that would use an “obscure but powerful” federal law to reverse the Trump administration’s weakening of Obama-era rules on fossil fuel companies’ emissions of the potent greenhouse gas methane.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) along with Sens. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), and Angus King (I-Maine)—who caucuses with the Democrats—led a larger group of lawmakers Thursday in introducing a resolution of disapproval, under the Congressional Review Act (CRA), to reinstate Obama-era methane rules. Continue reading

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Saudi Arabia, Belarus Among Countries Joining US-Led Coalition Claiming Women Have ‘No International Right to Abortion’

“This administration doesn’t seem content to stop until it has fully trampled on the rights, autonomy, and dignity of women and girls everywhere.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 10-22-2020

Protest against changes in abortion law in Poland,. Photo: Zorro2212/Wikimedia Commons/CC

Further distancing itself from longtime U.S. allies regarding reproductive rights, the Trump administration on Thursday joined 32 countries in signing a declaration claiming that pregnant people have “no international right to abortion.”

Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attended the virtual signing ceremony for the so-called “Geneva Consensus Declaration” after the administration formed an international coalition comprised of countries where abortion care is banned or severely restricted, to counter the United Nations’ support for reproductive rights. Continue reading

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Civil Rights Commission Calls for End to Subminimum Wages for People With Disabilities

“Paying workers with disabilities a subminimum wage is discrimination—plain and simple—and it’s way past time we repeal this outdated policy.”

By Kenny Stancil, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-17-2020

NYC DOT joined the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities in the first ever Disability Pride NYC Parade on Sunday, July 12, 2015. Photo: NYC DOT/flickr/CC

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’ recommendation that Congress repeal Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act—which allows employers to pay employees with disabilities less than the federal minimum wage—was praised Thursday by numerous Democratic lawmakers.

According to the USCCR’s report—titled “Subminimum Wages: Impacts on the Civil Rights of People with Disabilities” (pdf)—there are over 1,500 “sheltered workshops,” separate work centers where employees with disabilities are “not integrated into a broader community or work setting,” in the U.S. that employ over 100,000 people. Continue reading

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Democrats Demand Trump Reverse ‘Irresponsible’ Order as States Lose Access to Crucial Covid-19 Data

“The Trump administration’s mismanagement of the Covid-19 response and refusal to heed public health expertise continue to put the country in a dangerous position.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-19-2020

TMD testing for COVID-19 on 6-15-2020. Photo: TMD

Democratic lawmakers in the House and Senate are demanding that the Trump administration immediately reverse an order requiring hospitals to send Covid-19 patient information directly to a Health and Human Services database instead of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a change that threw the data-collection process into chaos as states struggle to cope with soaring infections.

NPR reported Friday that “hospital data in Kansas and Missouri is suddenly incomplete or missing” following the Trump administration’s directive, which took effect on July 15 to the dismay of experts and local officials who previously relied on the CDC system to track the coronavirus and allocate resources. Continue reading

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‘People, Poor Disabled People in Particular, Are Going to Die’: Trump Takes Axe to Medicaid

“Trump wants to destroy Medicaid while claiming to save it. This fiendish scheme is an Orwellian fable conjured up by the most shameless pack of liars to ever occupy our government.”

By Jake Johnson, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-30-2020

CMS Administrator Seema Verma with President Donald Trump in 2018. Photo: White House

The Trump administration on Thursday unveiled a plan allowing states to convert federal Medicaid funding into block grants, a longstanding conservative goal that critics warn could have deadly consequences for millions of vulnerable people who rely on the healthcare program as a major source of income.

Seema Verma, head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), announced the so-called “Healthy Adult Opportunity” initiative in a statement claiming the policy will “improve health outcomes and care” for low-income people. Continue reading

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Trump Labor Dept Slammed for ‘Wholly Inadequate’ Overtime Pay Rule That ‘Leaves Behind Millions of Workers’

“Once again, President Trump has sided with the interests of corporate executives over those of working people.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 9-24-2019

President Donald Trump speaks at the Shell Pennsylvania Petrochemicals Complex in Monaca, Pennsylvania on Aug. 13, 2019.. Screenshot: YouTube

Labor rights advocates and progressive economists slammed the Trump administration after the Department of Labor announced Tuesday a final rule on overtime pay to replace a bolder Obama-era proposal blocked by a federal court in Texas.

“While the administration may be trumpeting this rule as a good thing for workers, that is a ruse,” said Heidi Shierholz, director of policy at the Economic Policy Institute (EPI). “In reality, the rule leaves behind millions of workers who would have received overtime protections under the much stronger rule, published in 2016, that Trump administration abandoned.” Continue reading

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Senators Call for Disclosure of Perks and Fees Paid to Health Benefits Brokers

By Marshall Allen  Published 5-24-2019 by ProPublica

Health benefits brokers would have to reveal the fees and other enticements they’ve received from the insurance industry under bipartisan legislation proposed Thursday in the U.S. Senate.

The brokers are supposed to independently help employers select benefits for their workers. But a ProPublica investigation in February found that the insurance industry often uses undisclosed money and gifts to influence which plans the brokers favor. The payments and perks include healthy commissions, six-figure bonuses and exotic island vacations. Critics call the compensation a “classic conflict of interest” that drives up costs. Continue reading

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Senators Demand Federal Limits for Toxic Chemicals in Drinking Water Amid Reports of ‘Unconscionable’ Inaction by Trump’s EPA

“We now face a serious challenge: aggressively addressing the health and environmental threats connected with PFAS.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 2-1-2019

Twenty senators are calling for federal limits on a pair of chemicals linked to various cancers and other health issues. (Photo: Peter Werkman/Flickr/cc)

In response to reports this week that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) doesn’t plan to impose drinking water limits on two toxic chemicals linked to various forms of cancer and other health issues, 20 senators on Friday sent a letter to acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler imploring him to craft nationwide restrictions.

The chemicals in question are PFOA and PFOS, which belong to a group called PFASPolitico reported Tuesday that Wheeler had signed off on an unreleased plan that would leave the pair off the list of materials regulated under the Safe Drinking Water Act. Continue reading

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The ‘Shameful’ Answer to #WheresMitch? Not Ending Shutdown, But Voting on Extremist Anti-Choice Bill

“If Senator McConnell is able to push through an anti-abortion bill to score political points, he surely should be able to schedule a vote on the House of Representatives’ bills to reopen the government.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 1-17-2019

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has refused to hold a vote in recent weeks on bills that would reopen the government, but on Thursday called a vote on a extreme anti-choice bill. Photo: Gage Skidmore/flickr

Freshman members of Congress and others who have been demanding to know the whereabouts of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in recent days got their answer on Thursday, as McConnell held a Senate vote not on whether to reopen the government, but on a bill that would restrict abortion rights for low-income women.

The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act (S.109) would have permanently restricted federal funds from going to abortion care, codifying the Hyde Amendment so the Senate doesn’t have to pass it—as it has since 1976—in annual appropriations bills.The legislation would have also banned abortion care in federally funded medical facilities and barred healthcare plans subsidized under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) from covering abortions. Continue reading

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