Posts Tagged ‘Farm Bill

07
Feb
14

News Of The Day

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Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Congresswoman Marcia Fudge (D-OH) clasp hands as President Barack Obama signs the farm bill into law at Michigan State University in Lansing, Michigan

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NYT: In Signing Farm Bill, Obama Extols Rural Growth

President Obama signed the $956-billion farm bill on Friday at Michigan State University, where he extolled the benefits of a thriving agricultural sector for the nation’s overall economy. In his remarks, Mr. Obama announced a new “Made in Rural America” initiative that he said would help rural businesses market their goods abroad. White House officials also announced five regional forums on rural exports and an “investing in rural America” conference. Mr. Obama directed the White House Rural Council to host sessions in all 50 states to train Department of Agriculture staff members on how to promote rural exports.

The White House released a report Friday from Mr. Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers that said farm income had risen significantly since the president took office in the depths of the recession. The report says that farm income is expected to total $131 billion in 2013, a 46 percent increase since 2008. Most of the increase is attributed to improved productivity, and the report notes that the values of livestock and crops are rising. One of the most contentious elements of the farm bill was the elimination of $5 billion in direct subsidies to farmers for their crops, whether they grew them or not. The subsidies were replaced by an insurance program that will help farmers only when they need it.

More here

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White House: You Can Say This Better Than We Ever Could

JoAnn S., Florida

“I haven’t had insurance in years and my husband had a shared insurance junk-type policy. The day I signed up on Dec 10, I actually cried when the application went through. I got my first premium notice in the mail yesterday and was never so happy to see a bill before.”

Gayla W., New Hampshire

“I lost my job last April. My partner and I both have pre-existing conditions so our only option was to COBRA my employer-provided plan — at a cost of $1,676 a month. It was a good plan, but now we have a comparable plan through the ACA for $87 a month. I can’t describe just how life changing this is for us. We can afford to live again.”

More here

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Fred Kaplan: Barack Obama Isn’t Disengaged: The President’s Foreign Policy Is Just Smarter

There’s a strange notion out there that the dreary outcomes of the two wars this country fought all through the past decade—and the savage sectarian violence erupting across much of the Middle East and surrounding regions today—are due to President Obama’s “disengagement” from the world. It’s a strange notion because the United States is more engaged with the world than at any time in recent memory. There are nuclear talks in Iran (after 34 years of no talking whatsoever), an internationally supervised dismantling of chemical weapons in Syria What many of these critics don’t like about Obama—what they mistakenly, or misleadingly, call “disinterest”—is his disinclination to go to war.

And who can blame him? Obama seems to realize this. He too has an unsentimental outlook on the world. His views have been tempered by Iraq and scorched by Afghanistan. He’s not shy about using military force, but insists, when possible, to grip it tightly. “Escalation” is a suspect term; “uncontrolled escalation,” is an unacceptable one. As evidence, see Libya, Syria, drone strikes, and Stuxnet. One can admire or criticize the actions he’s taken, or not taken, in those crises or with those precision instruments. But they’re all preferable to sending in 100,000 troops in pursuit of a mission that we have no power to accomplish, even with all those men and women in arms. And if going into such conflicts lightly, or not at all, is the emblem of disengagement, let him wear it proudly.

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Tom Joyner: Michelle Obama Discusses Health Care And Black History Month

Michelle Obama just turned 50 and she’s looking great. The First Lady is a prime example of how health can help keep you looking and feeling great. With her Let’s Move campaign, Mrs. Obama wants to help all Americans become more aware of the importance of eating healthy and staying fit. This morning she joined the Tom Joyner Morning Show to talk about the Affordable Care Act, one of the most important pieces of legislation in her husband’s time in the White House. The Affordable Care Act makes it possible for millions of uninsured Americans to have affordable health insurance, but there are still some misconceptions about it. The best way for you to start to get more information about how the ACA can work for you is to head to the website, www.healthcare.gov and check out the options for yourself. Here’s why Mrs. Obama thinks it will be the best move you and your family can make this year.

Michelle Obama: We’re talking about education, because as Barack said in his State of the Union address, you know, what we have to focus on, particularly as we celebrate Black History Month, is not just the progress we’ve made but remember how much more work we have left to do. And we need to focus on increasing opportunity for everybody. And for this administration, it means healthcare through the Affordable Care Act. It means economic mobility. It means helping our young men of color. It means making sure more kids have access to college and it’s affordable. So that’s what we’re going to be focusing on, not just this month, but for the rest of this administration, and making sure that people are signing up for healthcare is critical.

More here (audio at link)

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Derek Thompson: The Spectacular Myth Of Obama’s Part-Time America – In 5 Graphs

If you’ve been paying attention to a certain slice of the financial media—see:ForbesThe Wall Street Journal, CNBC, and Fox News—you know for a fact that Obama and his health care law have tag-teamed with global economic trends to drive America inexorably toward a part-time economy. This is a testable claim. So let’s test it.

The first thing you would expect to see from a Part-Time America is that the number of part-time jobs added would rival the number of full-time jobs added. But in the last year, new full-time jobs outnumbered part-time jobs by 1.8 million to 8,000. For every new part-time job, we’re creating 225 full-time positions.

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Washington Post: Democratic Mayors Who Backed Christie Struggled To Weigh Politics Vs. Local Needs

In September, Adam Schneider, the liberal mayor of the New Jersey shore town of Long Branch, was having trouble with the state utility board. After repeatedly getting the run-around, Schneider decided to instead try his luck with the office of Gov. Chris Christie. “I’m not talking to any more underlings, and I’m not being delegated to,” Schneider said he told Christie’s aides. In the end, he said, it worked. “I got what I needed.”

Schneider’s call came four months after he crossed party lines to endorse the 2013 reelection of Christie (R), whose performance he admired after Hurricane Sandy. Schneider said that the governor never promised him anything but that he believes he has received “enhanced” access to state officials since the endorsement. Schneider’s experience is typical of many Democratic mayors, who made clear that they thought endorsing Christie’s reelection bid likely directly benefited their towns in the pursuit of Sandy recovery aid and other state support.

More here

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Steve Benen: GOP Ignores Bill Signing Invitations

Since early 2011, President Obama hasn’t been able to host many bill-signing ceremonies. After two years in which the White House made arguably historic progress on its agenda in 2009, Congress hasn’t achieved any major legislative accomplishments since Republicans claimed the House majority. But some bills still manage to get through both chambers, and though the farm bill hasn’t always risen to the level of major legislative breakthroughs, Obama and his team nevertheless decided to host a big event in East Lansing, Michigan, today to sign the new $956 billion farm bill into law.

The president won’t be joined today by any Republicans, though it’s not for lack of effort. The White House press secretary, Jay Carney, said that about 50 lawmakers — including many Republicans — had been invited to the bill signing, but that no Republicans had accepted the invitation. […] the fact that every Republican invitee declined the White House’s offer should send a pretty loud signal to those Beltway pundits who still believe Obama would thrive in Washington if only he schmoozed more.

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Dylan Scott: Cruz, Rubio, Other GOPers Urge Court To Stop Obamacare Subsidies

Republican Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, along with other top congressional GOPers, have urged a federal court to block Obamacare subsidies for people who signed up for coverage through HealthCare.gov. The group of eight — which includes Senate Minority Whip John Cornyn, Sens. Orrin Hatch (UT), Mike Lee (UT) and Rob Portman (OH) along with Reps. Dave Camp (MI) and Darrell Issa (CA) –

filed an amicus brief Thursday on behalf of businesses and individuals who sued to stop the subsidies from flowing through the federal website, the Washington Times reported. The case, being heard in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit next month, centers on whether people can receive tax subsidies through the federal website, HealthCare.gov. A federal district judge rejected that argument in January, ruling that subsidies should continue to be delivered through HealthCare.gov, which sent the case to the appeals court.

More here

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Think Progress: Texas Man Pays Off Students’ School Lunch Debts So They Can Keep Eating

After he heard about the children in Utah whose school lunches were thrown out because their parents were behind on payments, Kenny Thompson was worried about the elementary school kids he tutored and mentored in Houston, Texas. So he went in to check whether they were getting the proper nutrition. “I’m like, ‘Wow. I know that’s probably a situation at my school, and the school my son goes to, and the other schools I mentor at.’ So I came in and inquired about it,” Thompson told local station KSDK.

What he found disappointed him: Dozens of students were on “reduced” lunches, receiving cold peanut butter and jelly or cheese sandwiches instead of the full hot meals they used to receive, all because their parents had fallen behind on lunch payments that amounted to mere 40 cents a day. So Thompson took action. He forked over $465 of his own money and zeroed out the balances on over 60 students’ accounts. “These are elementary school kids. They don’t need to be worried about finances. They need to be worried about what grade they got in spelling,” Thompson told station KPRC.

More here

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President Barack Obama signs the farm bill at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich. Watching, from left are, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., Senate Agriculture Committee member Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Senate Agriculture Committee member Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio Rep. Gary Peters, D-Mich. and Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich.

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26
Oct
13

Rise and Shine

A Year Ago Today: The President pretends to be caught in Spider-Man’s web as he greets Nicholas Tamarin, 3, just outside the Oval Office, Oct. 26, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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Steve Benen: The Right’s Realization: Websites Can Be Fixed

The political establishment has obviously been deeply invested this week in exploring the technical problems associated with the Affordable Care Act’s website, and the glitches are now the core Republican message. But there’s always been a serious flaw with the GOP’s strategy.

For one thing, tech troubles don’t reflect on the underlying merits of “Obamacare” itself. For another, as some in the party are starting to realize, website glitches, no matter how severe or systemic, can be fixed …

…. I get the sense that GOP officials, feeling desperate after their party’s standing went into free fall after their government shutdown, saw website glitches as a life-preserver ….  But as the storm subsides, Republicans find themselves adrift with an unhelpful floatation device. They’re not only attacking a health care law that’s far more popular than they are, they’re also relying heavily on a problem with a finite end….

Full post here

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Jonathan Cohn: A Chart That Will Help Dispel Your Obamacare Hysteria

The Obamacare online saga may be reaching the phase where media and political hysteria is out of proportion to the actual problem. A case in point is the controversy over enrollment numbers.

…. I suspect the numbers will come out soon enough …. when they do, enrollment in Obamacare private plans will probably look pretty dismal. Most people will assume that’s primarily because of website problems at healthcare.gov. They will be wrong.

The main reason for low enrollment will be that people don’t sign up for health insurance programs right away. They wait until the last minute. This is true of public insurance and this is true of private insurance. And while you’ve heard people (including me) say this for months, this is one of those cases when numbers tell the story better than words. And there are some numbers very few people have seen.

The numbers are from Massachusetts, the state whose health reforms became the template for the Affordable Care Act’s coverage expansion….

More here

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Michael Tomasky: The Republicans’ Food Stamp Fraud: It’s Not About Austerity

What’s the single worst thing the Obama-era Republicans have done? Tough one, I know.

But spare me a moment here — plus a thousand words down the page — and I think maybe you’ll agree with me that the single worst thing the Obama-era Republicans have done is try to push through a $40 billion cut to the food-stamps program. It’s just unspeakably cruel.

They usually say publicly that it’s about saving money. But sometimes someone—one congressman in particular—lets slip the real reason: They want to punish poor people. The farm bill, which includes the food-stamp program, goes to conference committee next week. That’s where, the cliché has it, the two sides are supposed to “iron out their differences.” The only thing the Democrats on this committee should do with an iron is run it across the Republicans’ scowling faces.

More here

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CBS: President Obama Orders Review Of U.S. Spying As World Leaders Push For New Limits On Surveillance

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, “We wanted to ensure we’re collecting information because we need it and not just because we can.” But Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron pointed the finger back at Snowden, saying the leak of classified information would make it harder for his and other countries to keep citizens safe. He said, “What Snowden is doing, and to an extent what the newspapers are doing in helping him doing what he’s doing, is frankly signaling to people who mean to do us harm how to evade and avoid intelligence and surveillance.”

 The U.S. already has a no-spying agreement with four countries: Great Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Senior officials in the White House tell CBS News they’re giving allies a heads-up on what may come next as a result of Snowden’s leaks. They also say the White House is open to talks with European governments about a no-spying agreement. Germany and France want to be added to the list. And Brazil is leading a push for a United Nations resolution to limit intelligence gathering. If it passes, it will be non-binding.

More here

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Star Tribune: MNsure Signs Up 3,700 So Far For Health Insurance; Another 1,800 Finish Applications

Minnesota’s health insurance exchange on Wednesday released its first data on enrollment, showing that two weeks into its launch more than 3,700 people have signed up for health insurance coverage. MNsure’s executive director, April Todd-Malmlov, said she expects the pace of enrollment to pick up speed with the approach of a Dec. 15 deadline to lock down coverage before it takes effect Jan. 1. Between those who already signed up and those who just need to pick an insurer, 5,569 people in all have completed the application process. MNsure estimates the number of people who will be covered under those plans at 11,684 — since many plans cover more than one person in a family.

Mitch Grussing, a self-employed musician from St. Paul, told the MNsure board Wednesday that he had successfully signed up for coverage through the site. There were a few technical glitches, he said, and he was still waiting for the ability to make his initial payment. But Grussing said he will save about $35 a month on his premium compared with his previous insurance, that his deductible would be cut in half and that he’d be eligible for more office visits. “I would say MNsure has done its job, at least for me,” Grussing said. “I got exactly what I wanted to get out of it.”

More here

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BBC: JP Morgan Settles For $5.1bn With U.S. Housing Regulator

JP Morgan has reached a $5.1bn (£3.2bn) settlement with the US Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) over charges it misled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac during the housing boom. A separate settlement with the US Justice Department is expected to be announced soon.

“This is a significant step to address outstanding mortgage-related issues,” the FHFA said in a statement. It is the biggest settlement ever by a US bank. As part of the agreement with the FHFA, the bank will pay $4bn to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to settle claims that it violated US securities law. It will pay the agencies an additional $1.1bn for misrepresenting the quality of single-family mortgages.

More here

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On This Day:

Bo peers into the Outer Oval Office from the White House Colonnade, Oct. 26, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Obama jokes with Press Secretary Robert Gibbs and personal aide Reggie Love, right, prior to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reception at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami, Fla., Oct. 26, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Obama adjusts Sway Calloway’s hat following an interview for a Live MTV special, in the Blue Room of the White House, Oct. 26, 2012 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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President Obama greets guests at the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee reception at the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami, Fla., Oct. 26, 2009 (Photo by Pete Souza)

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