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Americans for Democratic Action

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Americans for Democratic Action

1625 K. Street NW Suite 102 Washington, DC 20006 202-785-5980

Mission: ADA is America’s most experienced independent liberal lobbying organization. In the spirit of the New Deal and ADA founders Eleanor Roosevelt, renowned economist John Kenneth Galbraith, and former Senator and Vice President Hubert Humphrey we lobby through coalition partnerships, through direct advocacy, and through the media

S. 627: Budget Control Act of 2011

Democrats switched defense cuts for tax increases in the debt deal reported last night. The deal averted a government default by paving the way for a boost in federal borrowing authority. Included in the immediate “down payment” on deficit reduction is $350 billion in Pentagon reductions over 10 years (albeit paired with $650 billion in domestic cuts). And the threatened $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts built into the deal to ensure future compromise would be shared equally between domestic and security programs. Democrats also succeeded in shielding Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare benefits (though not providers) and other unspecified “programs for low-income families” from the automatic cuts.

Nonetheless, liberals are understandably outraged that the deal includes not one penny of increased revenue from even the richest American individuals and corporations. Commentators bemoan the intransigent Members of Congress, who were willing to risk financial disaster in order to protect the nation’s wealthiest citizens from shared sacrafice.

“It’s not a deal that ADA can support or urge progressive and liberal Members of Congress to support.” said Michael J. Wilson, ADA’s National Director. “This deal is a long way from shared sacrifice – it is actually sacrificing the nation’s ability to deal with the critical economic challenges facing America at a time when we can least afford it.”

H.J.Res. 2: Proposing a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution of the United States.

The balanced budget amendment offered here would be an impractical and ahistorical constraint on the federal government, requiring a two-thirds majority for tax increases and restricting spending through a number of mechanisms. It would hinder the government’s ability to respond quickly to disasters and emergencies, and impede its function as a counter-cyclical actor during economic downturns– that is, spending money when no one else will. While all debt levels must be kept within a reasonable range, it is factually wrong to equate the federal government with a household, business or even state government when it comes to budgeting. Among other differences, the federal government has no separate capital budget, produces its own currency, issues debt that is the bedrock of the international economy and is essentially charged with maintaining planet-wide order and stability. A simple-minded balanced budget straight jacket is incompatible with these unique attributes and responsibilities.

H.R. 1906: Fairness in Federal Contracting Act of 2011

This act would prohibit the executive from requiring disclosure of political contributions by government contractors. This disclosure requirement is an attempt by the Obama Administration to counteract in a small way recent judicial decisions dismantling campaign finance laws. In Citizens United, the Supreme Court sanctioned the creation of political action committees which could collect unlimited, anonymous contributions from wealthy individuals and multinational corporations. It’s reasonable to require corporations that want to do business with the federal government to disclose their efforts to influence who holds office.

H.R. 910: Energy Tax Prevention Act of 2011

Amends the Clean Air Act to prohibit the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from promulgating any regulation concerning, taking action relating to, or taking into consideration the emission of a greenhouse gas to address climate change. This is an attempt by climate-change deniers to prevent the EPA from doing its job of protecting our environment. Far from being a tax or drag on the economy, EPA regulations that recognized the true cost of carbon emissions and thereby spurred a full-blown national energy transformation would boost the economy and create well-paid, un-exportable jobs, much like the construction of the interstate highway system and space program of earlier decades.

H.R. 96: Internet Freedom Act

This misnamed bill is perhaps the worst offender on a whole list of intentionally misleading Republican legislative proposals. This anti-net-neutrality bill prohibits the Federal Communications Commission from “regulating” the distribution of web content–which actually means, stopping the FCC from implementing rules that would protect freedom of speech and commerce on the Internet by requiring all content to be treated equally in the distribution process. This legislation would essentially take power away from individuals, such as bloggers and small businesses, and allow premium Internet access only to bigger businesses and their content. This would destroy the net’s unique ability to level the playing field of ideas and bestow prominence based on the quality of communication rather than the wealth of the communicator.

H.R. 87: To repeal the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

The Dodd-Frank reform act combats the risky and corrupt business practices that helped bring on the Great Recession. Far from creating jobs, repealing it would lead to more financial scandal, business failure and economic catastrophe–devastating communities, wiping out life savings and throwing millions out of work. Its opponents falsely claim it invites more federal bailouts of big banks; what the legislation actually calls for is not bailouts, but the gradual selling off of failed financial institutions assets (similar to FDIC procedure for smaller failed banks), with additional procedures built in to avoid systemic economic disruption.

H.R. 2: Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act

Repeal of health care reform would return the American people to the tender mercies of the insurance industry, deny millions of sick children health coverage, throw millions of young adults off their parents policies, and raise drug prices on seniors. Far from killing jobs, health care reform increases funding for community health clinics and medical education, creating more of the kind of high-skill, high-wage jobs that our economy needs.

S.J.Res. 18: A joint resolution prohibiting the deployment, establishment, or maintenance of a presence of units and members of the United States Armed Forces on …

A joint resolution prohibiting the deployment, establishment, or maintenance of a presence of units and members of the United States Armed Forces on the ground in Libya, and for other purposes. Congressional oversight of America’s military commitments is not only guaranteed by the Constitution but essential to building broad national consensus for overseas involvements. Senator Webb, a Vietnam veteran and acknowledged expert on defense issues, has provided essential leadership on this issue. This resolution not only accurately reflects public disinclination to be pulled further into the Libya conflict, but also serves the larger, ongoing aim of defining clear limits to Presidential war-making power.

S. 940: Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act

When nursing-home care, child nutrition and college tuition aid are on the chopping block in the cause of deficit reduction, it is illogical and immoral for the federal government to continue to subsidize the most profitable industry in the history of the world.

S. 294: Foundations for Success Act of 2011

To combat the root causes of the growing achievement gap, the Foundations for Success Act would establish a grant program to provide childcare and early education to every child from the age of six weeks until kindergarten. Studies show that as much as half of the gap in achievement scores is attributable to cognitive and behavioral problems already evident by the age of five. To secure a better future for our children and our nation, which has fallen to 18th place in high school graduation rates among industrialized countries, we must make necessary investments in pre-school education.

H.R. 1124: Fairness in Taxation Act of 2011

It would create additional tax brackets at the top of the income ladder, fairly taxing the richest Americans. The government’s debt problem can’t be effectively addressed if half of the problem is deliberately ignored. Rather than wringing dollars from already underfunded social programs, efforts like this should be pursued to demand a fair contribution to the public good from the most fortunate among us.

H.R. 589: Emergency Unemployment Compensation Expansion Act of 2011

As long as the Great Recession lingers and millions remain out of work, it is the duty of the federal government is to ensure that the families of the unemployed can continue to feed, clothe and house themselves. Unemployment benefits also benefit whole neighborhoods and communities by ensuring there is income to support small business and local government. It is the most efficient and sure-fire way of creating demand in a demand-starved economy.

H.R. 2028: Private Student Loan Bankruptcy Fairness Act of 2011

This bill would amend the federal bankruptcy code to allow qualified educational loans to be discharged in bankruptcy, just like most other debt. Currently, banks benefit from an exception that prevents bankruptcy courts from lifting the load of student-loan debt from bankrupt students and graduates. Lenders to students should bear the same risk of default as any other lenders and adjust their lending standards accordingly, not have a permanent claim on young people trying to get a fresh start on life.

H.R. 1116: Respect for Marriage Act

ADA stood with Rep. Nadler as he introduced this long overdue piece of legislation which would repeal the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act. Not only would this act allow the welcome process of state adoption of marriage equality laws to proceed without the threat of federal interference, but bring federal law into harmony with national public opinion, which increasingly embraces full civil rights for LGBT citizens.

H.R. 3: No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act

Roe v Wade provides for a woman’s choice in matters regarding reproductive health. Congress should not seek to limit choice arbitrarily; it should remain a private, personal decision. In addition, poor women should not be denied this important health care service simply because of cost. It should be part of a comprehensive health care package to which all Americans have access.

H.R. 191: Public Option Deficit Reduction Act

ADA stands with its’ President Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) in fighting for truly universal healthcare. This is in line with our institutional goals of economic and social equality.

S. 3992 (111th): Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act of 2010

ADA is proud to express its’ full support and endorsement of S. 3992, a.k.a. The DREAM Act. It puts into place a much needed process for minors who, through no fault of their own, have found themselves in a socially disadvantaged position. It provides a path for citizenship, gained in earnest, through national service and scholarly pursuits. The DREAM Act is a crucial instrument in continuing to realize the American Dream for millions of intelligent and productive young men and women across our great nation. It is a bold and conscientious piece of legislation which serves to strengthen our Republic.

(This bill failed to be passed during the two-year Congress in which it was introduced.)
H.R. 12 (111th): Paycheck Fairness Act

ADA is proud to support the Paycheck Fairness Act. Decades ago one of ADA’s founders, Eleanor Roosevelt, once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Today’s bill is a denial of such consent and represents one milestone of many in the economic, legal, and social struggle of American women. The disparity in compensation grows more grotesque and unfair for women of color. So, while there are many such milestones which have yet to be built on the road to economic equality, we are proud to lend our support to this bill which reflects our values.

(This bill failed to be passed during the two-year Congress in which it was introduced.)
S. 182 (111th): Paycheck Fairness Act

ADA is proud to support the Paycheck Fairness Act. Decades ago one of ADA’s founders, Eleanor Roosevelt, once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Today’s bill is a denial of such consent and represents one milestone of many in the economic, legal, and social struggle of American women. The disparity in compensation grows more grotesque and unfair for women of color. So, while there are many such milestones which have yet to be built on the road to economic equality, we are proud to lend our support to this bill which reflects our values.

(This bill failed to be passed during the two-year Congress in which it was introduced.)

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