Tag Archives: Capitol Hill

Urge Washington to Protect LGBT Employees

U.S. LGBT employment discrimination law. Sexua...

U.S. LGBT employment discrimination law (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In twenty-nine states, you can be fired for being gay. You can be fired in thirty-four states for being transgender.

One member of Congress, Steve King (R-IA), recently suggested a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” style policy, where lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people stay closeted at work, so their bosses “won’t know who to discriminate against.”

In the face of offensive right-wing rhetoric like this, there are two things we can push for: the White House must make sure federal contractors aren’t discriminating, and the Senate must hold hearings on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.

Tell our leaders in Washington there can be no excuses for inaction on vital workplace protections. Now is the time for a full-fledged federal response.

The President can expand the reach of non-discrimination policies by telling all companies that do business with the federal government that they can’t discriminate against LGBT employees. Such an order would bring these companies’ policies in line with the best practices of major American businesses.

We also need to break the logjam on Capitol Hill that has left the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) languishing. The bill, which has the support of a supermajority of Americans and the Administration, affirms the idea that employees should be judged on performance, not personal characteristics. Nothing should matter at work except how you do your job.

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Filed under Activism, If You Were Gay, National, Stupid Is As Stupid Does

Senate Kills Wildly Popular Buffett Rule

President Barack Obama and Warren Buffett in t...

President Barack Obama and Warren Buffett in the Oval Office, July 14, 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Democrats in the Senate failed to get the sixty votes they needed to move forward with a measure that would set a 30% tax on millionaires and billionaires.

The Buffett Rule, proposed last year by President Barack Obama, grew out of the argument that wealthy people should pay a higher share of their income in taxes than those in the middle class. Its name comes from the fact that billionaire investor Warren Buffett pays a lower effective tax rate than his secretary.

The Senate result was expected; passage in the Republican-controlled House also was unlikely.

The partisan battle has spilled from Capitol Hill to the Presidential campaign trail, with Republican candidate Mitt Romney opposing the measure.

In a CNN/ORC International poll released Monday, 72% said they favor the bill while 27% oppose it.

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Filed under Economy, Politics

Obama Unveils Plan for Leaner Military

President Barack Obama waves goodbye after gre...

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President Obama unveiled his plan for a leaner military Thursday in a Pentagon briefing. He said U.S. armed forces will retain the ability to fight terrorism and face threats.

“The tide of war is receding,” Pres. Obama said. “But the question that this strategy answers is what kind of military will we need after the long wars of the last decade are over. And today, we’re moving forward, from a position of strength.”

The strategy is the result of months of study at the Pentagon. It reflects balancing act by Pres. Obama as he faces a more austere budget climate.

Republicans on Capitol Hill and Republican Presidential candidates oppose the plan, citing concern about paring back the military. Conservative analysts say the plan steps away from the U.S. commitment to be able to wage two major wars.

There is no overt mention in the Pentagon’s strategy document that the U.S. is stopping its policy of being ready to fight two ground wars simultaneously.

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Filed under Economy, National, Politics

Donald Rumsfeld Raises Funds for Allen “Vile” West

Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense of the U...

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Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld will be a “special guest” at a fundraiser for Tea Party-backed Representative Allen West (R-FL) next week in Washington, D.C.

A flyer distributed by West’s reelection campaign prominently displays Rumsfeld’s name as the feature guest at a $500-per-plate breakfast on October 27 on Capitol Hill.

Sec. Rumsfeld is offering West’s supporters an incentive to pay the host-level price of $2,500: Anyone who does so will get a free, signed copy of Rumsfeld’s latest book.

Sec. Rumsfeld and Rep. West know each other from their days in the military. Rep. West’s twenty-plus years of active duty service in the Army overlapped with Sec. Rumsfeld’s time in the Pentagon during his years under President George W. Bush.

The freshman lawmaker has landed in hot water several times in recent months for his harsh rhetoric against Democrats, most notably Democratic National Committee Chairwoman and fellow Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

In July, he called her “vile” and “not a lady” in a vitriolic email sent to her and party leaders. He unloaded on her again in September during a radio interview in which he was asked to say the first thing that came to mind at the mention of her name. “I need a bucket,” he said.

West has also referred to himself as “the modern day Harriet Tubman” and compared being gay to liking chocolate chip ice cream.

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Filed under Politics