Individual blog entries on specific issues can be found by clicking on that issue under the “Issues” tab in the upper right corner. On each issue page you will find a link to  related “Blogs” in the right column.

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Blog: Overseas Contingency Operations and How the Fund Is Currently Used

May 09, 2014 | By Carolyn Burstein, NETWORK Communications Fellow

The Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) fund is money set aside in the DOD portion of the federal budget for expenses such as: crisis response, infrastructure and coalition support for operations in Iraq/Afghanistan, humanitarian assistance in parts of the Middle East and North Africa and embassy security, among other needs abroad.

The OCO fund is the name given to it by the Obama Administration in 2009 when the nomenclature used by President George W. Bush -- the "Global War on Terror" -- was discarded.

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Blog: Senate Republicans Block the Minimum Wage Bill

May 02, 2014 | By Carolyn Burstein, NETWORK Communications Fellow

On April 30, Senate Democrats were unable to advance the Minimum Wage Fairness Act (sometimes referred to as the Harkin/Miller bill), which would raise the federal minimum wage from the current $7.25 an hour in three increments to $10.10 an hour by 2016. The vote in the Senate failed by 54-42 to clear the filibuster threshold. In addition to tying the wage floor to an inflation index, the bill would also raise the so-called “tipped” minimum wage for restaurant servers and other tipped workers to 70% of the standard minimum wage.

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Blog: Economic Inequality and the McCutcheon Decision

Apr 30, 2014 | By Carolyn Burstein, NETWORK Communications Fellow

“Government should prevent an immoderate accumulation of riches.”  James Madison

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Blog: A Holy Week Reflection on our Immigration Lenten Promise

Apr 17, 2014 | By Sister Kayjoy Cooper, ACJ

Sister Kayjoy is one of the Handmaids of the Sacred Heart of Jesus from the greater Philadelphia area. She has been participating in our campaign to "Make Immigration Reform Your Lenten Promise." Read her Holy Week reflection here. Read more

Blog: A New White House Job Training Initiative

Apr 16, 2014 | By Carolyn Burstein, NETWORK Communications Fellow

Today (April 16, 2014), President Obama and Vice-President Biden announced a new initiative that will help close the “skills gap” that prevents people from getting access to high-paying jobs. The announcement, relating to two separate efforts, was made at a community college in Allegheny County, Pennsylvania.

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Blog: Extended Unemployment Compensation

Apr 08, 2014 | By Marge Clark, BVM

On the hundredth day of extreme economic risk experienced by over 2 million Americans and their families, the Senate finally passed an extension of unemployment benefits.

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Guest Blog: Rep. Paul Ryan’s Budget: Housing for People Living in Poverty Gets Worse by Larry Couch

Apr 07, 2014 | By Larry Couch, Interfaith Working Group on Domestic Human Needs

After years of neglect and cuts to the federal budget, a growing number of low-income people face unaffordable housing costs. Federal housing programs have proven effective in enabling millions of low-income households to obtain stable, decent housing, during recent years. However, during the last several years, these programs have suffered major cuts.

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Blog: Faith Responses to the House Budget FY15

Apr 07, 2014 | By Marge Clark, BVM, and Ryan Murphy

The Inter-Religious Working Group on Domestic Human Needs feels compelled to respond to the budget released by the House Budget Committee – headed by Rep. Paul Ryan. Again, we are horrified by the damage it would do to individuals and families struggling to survive economically. These same households have borne the brunt of budget cuts, and sequestration cuts over the last several years. Most safety net programs have seen a 20% reduction in funding, while prices and need continue to escalate.

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Blog: McCutcheon v FEC – A Damaging Supreme Court Decision

Apr 05, 2014 | By Carolyn Burstein, NETWORK Communications Fellow

I believe that the two Supreme Court decisions  McCutcheon v FEC, issued on April 2, 2014, and Citizens United v FEC, issued on January 21, 2010 – have struck at the heart of the framework created by the court’s seminal 1976 Buckley v Valeo decision, which upheld the political campaign reforms enacted by Congress two years earlier in response to the Watergate scandal.

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Blog: The Morality of Competing Budgets

Apr 03, 2014 | By Marge Clark, BVM

The House of Representatives is faced with a moral decision when asked to vote on alternative budget proposals as early as next week. Given that neither proposal will gain any traction in the Senate, both are messaging pieces setting the tone for mid-term elections.

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Blog: A Tax Credit Bill That Would Aid People in Poverty and Cut Corporate Breaks

Apr 01, 2014 | By Carolyn Burstein, NETWORK Communications Fellow

Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) introduced new legislation, called the “21st Century Worker Tax Cut Act,” on March 26, 2014, which would increase the maximum Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for childless workers to about $1400 from $487 currently and reduce the childless worker eligibility age for the credit from 25 to 21.

It would also create a new tax deduction for low-to-middle income families with two earners and at least one child age 12 or less, allowing a 20% deduction on the secondary earner's income.

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Blog: Why Is Extending the Sign-up Time for Health Insurance Causing Such an Outcry?

Mar 27, 2014 | By Carolyn Burstein, NETWORK Communications Fellow

The Obama Administration said on Tuesday, March 25, 2014, that all those who have tried to apply but had difficulty due to a technical problem, special circumstance or a complex case, would be given until mid-April (left relatively vague for now, but dependent on the number of people involved) to enroll in healthcare in the federal marketplace.

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Blog: What Are You Doing to Heed the Message of World Water Day? – March 22, 2014

Mar 21, 2014 | By Carolyn Burstein, NETWORK Communications Fellow

Water is the lifeblood of the planet, vital for reducing the global burden of disease, and critical for socio-economic development, healthy ecosystems and human survival itself. Water is also at the heart of adaptation to climate change and is a key factor in managing risks such as famine, migration, epidemics and inequalities. Access to water supply and sanitation, however, is very unequal, whether this is measured between urban and rural areas or between disadvantaged groups and the general population.

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Blog: A Variety of Reactions to President Obama's 2015 Budget Proposal

Mar 19, 2014 | By Carolyn Burstein, NETWORK Communications Fellow

Blog: A Variety of Reactions to President Obama's 2015 Budget Proposal

In order to better understand some of the components of President Obama’s budget proposal – and to assess its chances of congressional approval – I reviewed some of the media coverage and analysis by other organizations. This is what I found:

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Blog: Safer Deportation Practices

Mar 14, 2014 | By Laura Peralta-Schulte, NETWORK Lobbyist

I was so pleased last night when the President announced he has asked for a review of the administration’s enforcement policies for immigration laws to see if it can be done “more humanely within the confines of the law.” The president stated “his deep concern about the pain too many families feel from the separation that comes from our broken immigration system.” Amen.

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