Snark: to annoy or irritate

"Snark" has been in English language dictionaries since at least 1906, and Lewis Carroll used the word to describe a mythological animal in his poem, The Hunting of the Snark (1874). Most recently, the word has come to characterize snappish, sarcastic, or mean-spirited comments or actions directed at those who annoy or irritate us.

At first, this blog was just going be a place to gripe, but because it's more satisfying to take action than it is to merely complain, now most of the posts/reposts suggest ways to get involved in solving problems.


There was an error in this gadget

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Yay! New York Passes Marriage Equality Act


A message from Democracy for America:
What a historic day!

I'm thrilled that today, thanks to your voice and the hard work of Governor Cuomo and so many committed organizations and elected officials, 
New York has become the latest state to pass marriage equality.

Last night, the New York legislature stood up for equality for all New Yorkers and spoke loudly in support of the simple proposition that every New Yorker should be able to marry the person they love.
But our work is not done.

Even once our LGBT friends and family are legally able to marry here in New York, the Defense of Marriage Act will prohibit them from enjoying over 1,000 federal rights and privileges that are afforded straight married couples. 
While it won't be easy, we can overturn DOMA – but we need thousands of grassroots activists like you to stand up and demand repeal.
Click here to join me and Democracy For America in urging Congress to repeal this regressive and discriminatory law. For only once every legally married couple in the United States is treated equally under federal law can we fulfill the true meaning of marriage equality.

The Defense of Marriage Act is truly damaging. Every day, thousands of legally married LGBT men and women around the country are unable to take advantage of rights and privileges – from hospital visitation to inheritance rights to health benefits – that straight married couples take for granted.

Like DFA member Florence P. of Brushton, NY who sent in her story of how DOMA has impacted her:
My late partner and I were as close to a legal married couple as we could get in the state of New York. We were together for 32 1/2 years, hoping to one day marry in our state. She died in 2006. I am not considered to be her widow. I am not considered to be legally related to her at all even though we shared our lives completely for over 32 years. It's time to repeal DOMA.

I agree with Florence. We must end this unjust policy. 
But much like the historic vote last night in New York, it's going to take a lot of hard work and our collective grassroots advocacy. And I believe it's going to take telling more stories like Florence's.
If you've been impacted by DOMA, click here to sign the petition and tell us your story at repealDOMA.com. It's imperative that we begin to tell the stories of the Americans hurt every day by the injustice of DOMA, so that we can put faces and names to this discriminatory policy. Only then will we truly be able to start changing hearts and minds, both among my colleagues in Congress and around the country.

We did it with "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and we'll do it with DOMA. The time to start is now.

Thank you for standing with me and DFA for equality for all Americans.

--Senator Kirsten Gillibrand


Democracy for America relies on you and the people-power of more than one million members to fund the grassroots organizing and training that delivers progressive change on the issues that matter. Please Contribute Today and support our mission.

Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics in Animals


An outbreak in Germany this month of an antibiotic resistant E. coli strain killed 35 people and infected thousands — serving as a tragic reminder of the necessity of effective antibiotics.1

Yet antibiotics continue to decline in effectiveness — and overuse of antibiotics in the livestock industry is a major reason. Alarmingly, up to 70% of all antibiotics sold in the U.S. are used on industrial farms in healthy food animals.2
This massive overprescription is breeding new strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria like E. coli and MRSA, a type of staph infection that now kills more people in the U.S. every year than AIDS.3
The trend is frightening. But last week, Senator Dianne Feinstein introduced the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act to phase out the rampant overuse by the livestock industry of medically important antibiotics in healthy animals. An identical measure was introduced in the House earlier this year, by Rep. Louise Slaughter, Congress' only microbiologist. Congress should pass this bill without delay.

Livestock producers use antibiotics in food and water to promote faster animal growth, what industry calls "nutritional efficiency," but the practice is also used as a way to compensate for the effects of extreme overcrowding and unsanitary conditions in factory farms.
Despite the mounting examples of the dangers of the overuse of antibiotic in the mass-production of poultry, hogs, and livestock, industry groups like the National Pork Producers Council have successfully fought regulation for years.
The FDA has largely failed to stand up to industry. Last year the FDA issued a "draft guidance," a non-binding set of guidelines, for the feeding of antibiotics to food animals. Despite hearing from tens of thousands of CREDO members and other food safety groups, FDA has failed to finalize the guidance to date, let alone issue actual regulations to stop this dangerous practice.
It's up to congress to take action, and halt the overuse of antibiotics in food that is both endangering human life, and allowing industry to maintain cruel conditions for animals.
Thank you for fighting for safe and healthy food.
Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager CREDO Action from Working Assets

1. "Scientists fear the over-use of antibiotics in medicine and farming may have led to the deadly E.coli outbreak," The Daily Mail, June 7, 2011.
2. "
Most U.S. Antibiotics Fed to Healthy Livestock," Scientific American, January 10, 2001
3. "
When Food Kills," New York Times, June 11, 2011

Protect Clinics from Extremists


Clinic Stays Open Protestors
Two anti-abortion extremist groups – Operation Rescue and Operation Rescue/Operation Save America – are mobilizing supporters across the country against women's health centers in Germantown, MD and Orlando, Florida.
OR/OSA is mobilizing supporters nationwide to"unsheath[ing] the sword of victory" against the "abortion industry" in Orlando, Florida from July 16-23. This is the same group that has threatened doctors  with WANTED-style posters and has even harassed doctors at their homes in Charlotte, North Carolina. We are concerned the group will use similar posters and tactics against the doctors and clinics in Orlando.
We are helping the doctors and clinics in Charlotte and we are determined to help those in Orlando – but we need your help! Please make a tax-deductible contribution today!
What's more, Operation Rescue announced the "Summer of Mercy 2.0" against Dr. LeRoy Carhart at the Germantown Reproductive Health Clinic in Maryland from July 31-August 6. The first "Summer of Mercy" was in Wichita in 1991 where extremists tried to shut down Dr. George Tiller's clinic.
Dr. Carhart, who worked with Dr. Tiller before he was assassinated in Wichita, is now the #1 focus of Operation Rescue nationwide. Given the violent history of Wichita, it is shocking that Operation Rescue would employ some of the same tactics and even the same name in its campaign against Dr. Carhart. We are determined to protect brave doctors like Dr. Carhart and to keep the Germantown clinics safe and accessible to women seeking abortion services.
Please help the Feminist Majority Foundation do everything we can to help the embattled clinics, healthcare workers and doctors this summer. Our organizers and legal teams are traveling to Florida and Maryland to prepare clinics in advance of the sieges.
And with your help, we'll provide on-the-ground support during the anticipated anti-abortion actions.
Without clinics and dedicated doctors and health care workers, there simply is no choice.
For Women's Lives,
Kathy SpillarKathy Spillar
Executive Vice President

Feminist Majority Foundation - Equality around the world

Tell Congress to Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act



AAUW Action Network
Upset about Wal-Mart v. Dukes? Tell Congress to Pass the Paycheck Fairness Act!


As one of our e-advocates, we're sure you’ve heard about the disappointing Supreme Court ruling in the Wal-Mart v. Dukes class action sex-discrimination case. This narrow, 5-4 decision makes it harder for women and other workers to systemically challenge unequal treatment in the workplace. AAUW will continue to be on the cutting edge of future legislation or efforts to remedy the new, problematic standards created by the Supreme Court.
But what can you do right now to prevent this sort of sex discrimination in the first place? You can work to strengthen our nation's fair pay laws by advocating for the Paycheck Fairness Act!
The Paycheck Fairness Act would update the 48-year old Equal Pay Act. It would help close the wage gap by improving enforcement, closing loopholes, strengthening remedies for mistreated workers like Betty Dukes, Edith Arana, and thousands of other women employees at Wal-Mart, and prohibit retaliation against workers who inquire about employers' wage practices or disclose their own wages.
When Wal-Mart, the nation's largest employer, discriminates, when Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and universities and Costco and other large employers discriminate, it hurts women and it stunts the economy. We must change a system which seems to engender pay discrimination.
Take action NOW to support the Paycheck Fairness Act and help to prevent discrimination in the workplace! To do so, click the "Take Action" link above. Then, follow the instructions on the next page to send your message.
Another way you can take action is by donating to AAUW's Legal Advocacy Fund (LAF)! LAF helped support the women of Wal-Mart in this important case and seeks out and supports other sex discrimination cases which have the potential to make a difference for all women. You can donate here.
Double your impact! Tweet, Facebook, and forward this action alert to friends and family. 

Follow AAUW on Twitter, and read our award-winning AAUW Dialog Blog for discussion, information, and advocacy for women and girls! 
General AAUW questions? Please contact connect@aauw.org or call 800/326-2289 between 10 am and 5 pm Eastern, Monday through Friday.

Recall the Right


The extreme right-wing group Club For Growth is already on the air in Wisconsin with attack ads against at least one Democratic challenger to one of the incumbent Republican senators in the recall elections. Daily Kos blogger Vega, who lives just over the border in Minnesota but in the same media market as Wisconsin's 10th Senate District, wrote of this early spending:
"After 30 years of tax policy favoring them, the richest Americans have almost all the money in the country, and they are willing to wield it like a sledgehammer to kill a fly. That is how important Wisconsin is to the right wing. They don't want any of their gains to be rolled back and they are willing to spend whatever it takes to keep them. They don't want even a temporary setback in their march to domination."
Vega's absolutely right. And this is just the beginning. 

PFAW has a plan to win the persuadable, likely Wisconsin voters we need for the big victories in August. This past Tuesday night, our political director Randy Borntrager, along with the SEIU's Michelle Ringuette and PFAW president Michael Keegan, held a strategy telebriefing for hundreds of PFAW members. We'll have plenty more ways for activists to get involved on the horizon. 

For now, please take a moment to find out more about PFAW's Wisconsin Recall the Right campaign at
www.RecallTheRight.org

-- Ben Betz, Online Strategy Manager 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Scott Walker vs. Planned Parenthood

A message from Democracy for America:
This is it, folks. DFA's campaign to recall six anti-union, anti-middle class Wisconsin Republican Senators is almost ready to go and it's the biggest campaign we've ever run.

We're going to be on the air with new hard-hitting television, radio and web ads against these six Republicans for their votes to destroy unions and middle-class families.

We're going to be on the ground with a massive canvassing operation that will knock on 137,523 doors in 40 days. DFA Deputy Field Director Nick Passanante is on the ground right now hiring staff for our biggest-ever ground campaign.

And we're going to be on the phones. That's right, we're bringing back our hugely successful Call Out The Vote program with our friends at the PCCC -- plugging in thousands of volunteers from across the country to make calls to voters in Wisconsin.

We're putting together a grassroots campaign because people-power is the only thing that can beat big corporate money -- it's the only thing that ever has. But we can't do it without you.
Please contribute $10 right now to fuel our biggest campaign ever and fight back in the war on working families.
These six Republican senators reminded us last week exactly what's at stake when they voted lockstep with right-wing Gov. Scott Walker to defund Planned Parenthood -- another attack in the Republican war on middle class families.

Wisconsin isn't the only state where right-wing Republicans have launched all-out war on middle class families and we're working right now to organize volunteers in New Hampshire, New Jersey, Ohio and all across the country. But Wisconsin is the first state where we have a chance to go to the polls and recall Republicans.

The Wisconsin recall is our biggest campaign ever -- and it's only the beginning. Join us now and send a clear message to Republicans across the country -- attack the middle class and you lose.
Contribute $10 now to send a message to Republicans everywhere.

On the air, on the ground and on the phone -- that's real people power. Please contribute today and we'll win this fight together.

Thank you for everything you do.

-Jim Dean, Chair
Democracy for America

War on Women


Stop War on Women



As Vice President Biden's debt ceiling negotiations with Democratic and Republican Congressional leaders enters a critical phase, it's time that feminists speak out and be heard. Click here to:
Right now, the Republicans are holding the lifting of the nation's debt ceiling hostage unless they win two trillion dollars in budget cuts at the same time. These are the same Republicans who made no big deal out of President Bush II's lifting of the debt ceiling, principally to finance the Iraq war and give tax cuts to the wealthy (or as Bush II said, his base: the haves and the have mores). This revenue slashing did not create jobs – it just created massive debt.
Tell the Republicans they can't balance the budget on the backs of women and children. It simply cannot all come from programs for women, children, health care, education. Nor are ideological cuts to domestic and global reproductive health really spending cuts. Every dollar of spending that enables a woman to plan her family SAVES the government four dollars in spending.
Nor can balancing the budget come from cutting Medicaid for the poor and the middle class. Yes, the middle class. Remember, Medicaid pays for the cost of 2/3rds of the people (mostly women) in nursing homes, most of whom were middle class. Medicaid also covers disabled children and adults, many of whom have parents who are in the middle class or working poor, but simply cannot afford health care costs. It's NOT time to throw tens of thousands of seniors out of nursing homes and it is NOT time to deny services to disabled children or adults.
And as far as Medicare goes, the government should be allowed to negotiate cheaper drug prices. We will not stand for eliminating persons under 55 years of age from Medicare coverage.
Some politicians want us to think cutting Defense spending or repealing the tax cuts are politically impossible. But polls show the majority of Americans support doing these things rather than cutting crucial services. It's time to be heard – before it's too late.

For women's lives and the nation's future,


Ellie Smeal Signature


Eleanor Smeal
President
Feminist Majority


1600 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 801, Arlington, VA 22209 | 703.522.2214 | femmaj@feminist.org

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Social Security Matters for Women


A message from the American Association of University Women (AAUW):
Tell Your Members of Congress that Slashing Benefits is Not an Option. Click here to
Take Action!
The American Association of University Women emphatically opposes slashing or means-testing benefits, raising the retirement age, toying with risky privatization schemes, or raiding the program in a misguided attempt to reduce the deficit. In AAUW's 2011-2013 Public Policy Program, we support strengthening Social Security while enacting common-sense reforms and improvements.
Social Security matters for women and girls. The program, which has over 70 years of successes, is one of our nation's best anti-poverty programs and provides critical benefits to millions children, disabled workers, surviving spouses, and retirees. Without Social Security, it is estimated that over half of elderly women would live in poverty -- after all, older women frequently don't have 401(k) accounts or sufficient retirement savings, have contended with a lifetime of pay inequities, and generally outlive their spouses and men in the workforce.
If you've been paying into the program, Social Security is there to help pay for necessary services and accommodations if you become disabled, just as it is for millions of Americans today. Social Security survivors' benefits are still the largest and most generous life insurance program in the country, insuring 98% of American children against the loss of a parent and caretaker. In short, Social Security is a national commitment through which we care for one another across generations.
Send this message to Congress. Tell your Senators and Representatives that Social Security matters for you, that it matters for your children and their children, and that it matters for all women and girls.
Take Action!
To send a message to congress, click the "Take Action" like above. Then, you'll be able to add your own story to the draft email provided.
Double your impact! Tweet, Facebook, and forward this action alert to friends and family.

Follow AAUW on Twitter, and read our award-winning AAUW Dialog Blog for discussion, information, and advocacy for women and girls!
General AAUW questions? Please contact connect@aauw.org or call 800/326-2289 between 10 am and 5 pm Eastern, Monday through Friday.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

End the War!

End the WarA message from CREDO Action: The media are reporting that President Obama will make a decision Wednesday on the scope and schedule for a withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan starting in July. We need to make sure President Obama knows we expect him to live up to his commitment to make the withdrawal substantial.

President Obama previously told reporters that he was "confident that the withdrawal will be significant,"1 but did not express the same confidence a few weeks ago in a closed-door meeting with House Democrats.
After that meeting, Rep. Jim McGovern said:
"I don't feel we got an assurance that there would be a substantial and significant drawdown of American forces in July."2
Last month, the House narrowly defeated an amendment to a defense funding bill that would have required the president to issue a timeline for withdrawal from Afghanistan. That the amendment came so close to passing is seen as a sign of growing discontent with the war.
But with more than 100,000 soldiers in Afghanistan, news reports suggest that the Pentagon is pushing back on a substantial withdrawal starting in July. In fact, key military figures are supporting only the return home of the 30,000 "surge" troops that President Obama sent to Afghanistan just 18 months ago in a major escalation of the war. And these 30,000 wouldn't come home in July of this year or even July of next year — Gen. David Petraeus is endorsing a plan to withdraw only 30,000 surge troops and not until the end of 2012.3
The American people overwhelmingly want us to bring the occupation of Afghanistan to an end. But we cannot afford to be a silent majority.
Now is the time to add your voice to a growing chorus that is asking President Obama to demonstrate leadership and set us on course for a speedy end to the war. And the best way for President Obama to do that is to announce that we'll begin a significant reduction of our troop levels when he begins the withdrawal in July.
Thank you for working to end the war in Afghanistan.
Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets
Notes:
1 President Obama's interview with the Associated Press, April 16, 2011.
2"House Democrats talk debt limit, Afghanistan with Obama," Felicia Sonmez and Paul Kane, Washington Post, June 2, 2011.
3"Obama Will Announce Afghanistan Troop Decision on Wednesday," Marc Ambinder,National Journal, June 20, 2011.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Wal-Mart vs. Women






AAUW Profoundly Disappointed in U.S. Supreme Court Ruling on Wal-Mart v. Dukes
WASHINGTON – The American Association of University Women (AAUW) is deeply critical of today’s U.S. Supreme Court’s sharply divided decision inWal-Mart v. Dukes. Although the high court did not rule on the merits of the case, this misguided decision prevents the women of Wal-Mart from taking on America’s largest private employer as a nationwide class-action group, leaving each woman to file her claim individually or perhaps in smaller, reformulated class-action groups.

The Supreme Court chose to ignore more than 40 years of established jurisprudence and severely restricted the ability of workers to fight discrimination together in a class action. Essentially, the court’s extremely conservative decision gave great weight to the mere presence of a corporate anti-discrimination policy, even though it seems that the policy was routinely not followed. This decision appears to give a red light for future employee class-action cases and a green light for employers to continue to use highly subjective pay and sex discrimination practices.

“The Supreme Court says the Wal-Mart case is ‘simply too large.’ Maybe that’s because—from the corner office to the corner store—gender discrimination is widespread,” said AAUW Executive Director Linda D. Hallman, CAE. “The court ignored most of the evidence, a disturbing development for other fair pay and discrimination cases. What a missed opportunity to warm up the chilly climate many women still experience in the workplace.”

Edith Arana, a named plaintiff in the case, and her attorney Arcelia Hurtado, executive director of Equal Rights Advocates, spoke at the AAUW National Convention this past Saturday, June 18, at the Renaissance, Washington D.C. Hotel. The women spoke as part of A Conversation on Justice, a session on workplace gender discrimination.
While the ruling does not determine whether Wal-Mart is guilty of gender discrimination, it will have far-reaching effects on class certification in workplace discrimination lawsuits. AAUW strongly believes in protecting the rights of Americans to bring appropriate class-action suits against discriminatory employers. Such cases ensure that all affected workers can right the wrongs against them and stand together in the face of corporate misconduct. Sometimes, class actions are the only way to force a company to change its unfair practices. Class actions also serve as powerful deterrents to keep other employers from engaging in the same practices.

“Wal-Mart is not off the hook. Nothing in this opinion changes the legitimate and timely claims of women workers at Wal-Mart,” said AAUW Director of Public Policy and Government Relations Lisa Maatz. “The Supreme Court has been wrong before—just ask Lilly Ledbetter. AAUW will be looking at all the angles in this case, and we still have a range of options available to right yet another Supreme Court wrong. This case is not over any more than the fight for pay equity is over.”

AAUW’s Legal Advocacy Fund provided case support and signed an amicus brief for the plaintiffs in the case. Thanks to AAUW funds, lead plaintiff Betty Dukes and the other named plaintiffs, including Edith Arana, were able to come to Washington, D.C., to attend oral arguments at the Supreme Court in March.

AAUW’s strategic case support program provides financial and organizational backing for a select number of cases that have the potential to provide significant protection for all women. The funds come directly from the generous contributions of AAUW members who support the Legal Advocacy Fund.

“AAUW’s resolve will not be shaken by this decision, and this case is not over,” said Hallman. “We will continue to stand 100 percent behind the women of Wal-Mart as they pursue what’s only simple fairness.”
 
###
The American Association of University Women (AAUW) advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research. Since 1881, AAUW has been one of the nation’s leading voices promoting education and equity for women and girls. AAUW has a nationwide network of more than 100,000 members and donors, 1,000 branches, and 500 college/university institutional partners. Since our founding 130 years ago, members have examined and taken positions on the fundamental issues of the day—educational, social, economic, and political. AAUW’s commitment to educational equity is reflected in our public policy advocacy, community programs, leadership development, conventions and conferences, national partnerships, and international connections.


Thursday, June 16, 2011

Economy Explained in 135 Seconds








A message from MoveOn.org:
Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich said he could explain the problems with the economy in less than 2 minutes, 15 seconds—and he did it (with illustrations to boot). It’s great! 

The response to this video online has been just phenomenal—it really seems to have struck a chord—so we're sending it out to every single MoveOn member today.

You've got to check it out, and then pass it on to your friends and family.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Saudi Women Ready for the Challenge

Support Saudi Women Now!
This is a message from Feminist Majority. And please, spare us the inane comments about women drivers.

This Friday, June 17, women in Saudi Arabia will risk arrest by doing something you and I probably do every day: driving their own car.
Help them win the right to go wherever they choose, on their own, by emailing key Saudi and US decision makers now.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has a long history of female oppression. Saudi women cannot vote. They cannot leave the country without the approval of a male guardian. Less than 15 percent of the kingdom's workforce is female. In the neighboring United Arab Emirates, by comparison, women make up more than half of the labor force.
Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world where women are not allowed to drive.

Tell the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. that limiting women's mobility is a human rights violation. 
When IT security consultant Manal Al Sharif posted a YouTube video of herself behind the wheel last month, her punishment came swiftly. She was arrested and held for five days. Her detention was later extended by another four days for "further investigation" – even though her five-year-old child was in the hospital, and even though police had all the evidence they could have wanted: not only did the video show Al Sharif driving, but it showed her explaining why she was breaking the driving ban!
Make sure Manal Al Sharif didn't go to jail in vain. Stand up for Saudi women by sending a message to Saudi and US key decision makers now. 
The Women2Drive movement is organizing the June 17 act of civil disobedience. Stay up to date by following Women2Drive on 
Facebook and Twitter



Please join us in showing that the whole world will be watching when Saudi women exercise their right to drive.

For equality and justice,
Ellie SmealEleanor Smeal
President



P.S. Here are some more ways to support Women2Drive:
*Take a video of yourself behind the wheel (safely, of course) and honk to show your support for Saudi women! Send your video to honkforsaudiwomen@gmail.com. The videos are posted to their YouTube channel athttp://www.youtube.com/user/HonkforSaudiWomen.


*Attend the Washington, DC Women's Drive to Drive Rally at the Saudi Embassy in onWednesdayLocation: Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia
601 New Hampshire Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20037Time: ‎12:00-4:00 PM Wednesday, June 15th




1600 Wilson Boulevard, Suite 801, Arlington, VA 22209 | 703.522.2214 | femmaj@feminist.org

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Thank the Defenders of Medicaid

Thank Jay Rockefeller for defending Medicaid

A message from CREDO Action:
Democrats have been vocal in their opposition to the Republican attacks on Medicare. But even as recently as this week, major media outlets were speculating about whether Democrats would agree to severe cuts to Medicaid as part of a compromise with Republicans on raising the debt ceiling.
Fortunately, Democratic senators are working to put that fear to rest.
On Thursday, Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller, a leading defender of Medicaid, announced that thirty-six other senators joined him in sending a letter to President Obama vowing to oppose the Republican attacks on Medicaid.
Republican extremists in the House and the Senate have consistently pursued a strategy of hostage-taking around "must-pass" bills. When it came to this year's continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown, the Democrats caved and gave up far too much.
And now, the Republicans are trying the same strategy around raising the debt ceiling, which is necessary to avoid the U.S. Treasury defaulting on our debts.
The stakes in this fight are much higher than the fight over the continuing resolution. And predictably the Republicans are making extreme and irresponsible demands. Democrats cannot continue to cave, and the first step is drawing a line in the sand and declaring some things off limits.
The Rockefeller letter has the effect of declaring off limits the Republican proposals to turn Medicaid into block grants or to arbitrarily limit federal spending on Medicaid.
Sen. Rockefeller and the 36 Democrats who co-signed his letter to President Obama were forceful in their defense of the program, writing (emphasis added):
Since 1965, the federal government has helped states pay for the basic health care and long-term services low-income Americans need. A cap on federal funding or block grant would undermine this federal commitment. We are unwilling to allow the federal government to walk away from Medicaid's 68 million beneficiaries, the providers that serve them and the urban and rural communities in which they live.
Medicaid, which covers 68 million beneficiaries, is a cornerstone of our health care system. Besides covering poor children and their parents, pregnant woman, and the disabled, Medicaid is also a major source of health care funding for seniors — paying, for example, for the nursing care of two-thirds of nursing home residents.
To be sure, this fight is not over. But, this is a promising start. Ever since New York Democrat Kathy Hochul improbably won a recent special election in a conservative district by running a campaign centered on defending Medicare, we have seen Democrats increasingly willing to take cuts to Medicare off the table. But Medicaid has always been more politically vulnerable than Medicare.
This letter is a meaningful signal that Democrats are strengthening their resolve to defend Medicaid. And we should make sure they know we support them picking this fight.
Thank you for defending our social safety net.
Matt Lockshin, Campaign Manager CREDO Action from Working Assets
P.S. Click here to read the letter Sen. Rockefeller and 36 other Senate Democrats sent to President Obama.