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: What Will Happen to the 2015 Federal Budget When Congress Returns in September?

Aug 28, 2014 | By Carolyn Burstein, NETWORK Communications Fellow

The Fiscal Times reminds us that Congress has only successfully passed 13 spending bills on time since 2001, and during election years has enacted a federal budget only 25% of the time. So I guess we should not be surprised that everyone is anticipating a “continuing resolution” (CR) as a near inevitability this year with mid-term elections soon upon us and only about 12 days of congressional activity remaining in September before recess.

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The Sad Saga of Congress Isn't Finished Yet

Aug 26, 2014 | By Carolyn Burstein, NETWORK Communications Fellow

Recent Vox reports have included charts proving that Congress is indeed getting worse. One, from a Brookings Institution report, showed the percent of important legislative issues in gridlock in each Congress since 1947 rising from less than 30% to 70%.

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Blog: Can Democracy Survive Voter Suppression Laws and Flood of "Big Money" into Election Coffers? (Second of 2-part Series)

Aug 13, 2014 | By Carolyn Burstein, NETWORK Communications Fellow

(This is the second in a two-part series addressing the question of the title. This article addresses the issue of "big money" in our elections).

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Blog: Can Democracy Survive Voter Suppression Laws and Flood of "Big Money" into Election Coffers? (Part 1 of 2-part Series)

Aug 12, 2014 | By Carolyn Burstein, NETWORK Communications Fellow

It sometimes seems like our once-brave experiment with democracy is today under siege with the proliferation of voter suppression laws being passed by states and localities and the Supreme Court upholding near-unbridled use of money in elections, which has eviscerated campaign reform efforts. But this is neither the first nor last time we must choose democracy and social justice over discrimination and plutocracy. Fortunately, thousands of individuals and groups have joined to wage this struggle.

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Blog: Paul Ryan's Regulatory Reform Proposals

Aug 07, 2014 | By Bethan Johnson, NETWORK Fellow

In recent years, legislation has too frequently forced people to stomach bad policies in order to gain necessary and life-altering improvements. Such can said about Representative Ryan’s proposals in the area of regulatory reform in Expanding Opportunity in America, a mixture of positive anti-poverty suggestions and unnecessary political tactics that have no place in proposals fighting poverty.

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Blog: Paul Ryan’s Criminal Justice Proposals Are Good, Small, Bipartisan Steps to Advance Restorative Justice

Aug 01, 2014 | By Carolyn Burstein

Tucked back in chapter 4 of his Expanding Opportunity in America are Congressman Ryan’s proposals for reforming the criminal justice system, an area that has received little commentary in the press compared to his “Opportunity Grants.” This is a shame because he seems willing to buck several within his party who still cling to the policies of “Let’s get tough on crime,” and the zero tolerance modus operandi used since the late 1980s. Not only does Ryan contradict his earlier votes on some of these issues, but he also places his criminal justice reforms in the context of poverty. Read more

Blog: Paul Ryan: Let's Work Together to Expand the EITC – AND Increase the Minimum Wage – America Needs Both

Jul 31, 2014 | By Laura Peralta-Schulte

It is not often that Sister Simone and Rep. Paul Ryan agree on policy issues, but we do seem to be in agreement on expanding the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).  Where we disagree strongly is that EITC improvement should be enacted as an alternative to raising the minimum wage. Read more

Blog: Paul Ryan's Take on Education Policy Leaves Room for Improvement

Jul 29, 2014 | By Bethan Johnson

In his Expanding Opportunity in America, Congressman Paul Ryan spends a lot of time talking about education policy: actually almost as much as he talks about his “opportunity grant.” Sadly, though, it hasn't received the headlines of his safety net suggestions. This "getting buried" is more than just a disservice: it's a potential danger to Americans, as Ryan's proposed policy changes in education, if enacted, would fundamentally alter the lives of generations of Americans. Read more

Congress Must Not Weaken Protections for Trafficking Victims

Jul 28, 2014 | By Sister Simone Campbell

Earlier today, I sent the following important letter to Members of Congress calling on them to not weaken the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act.

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Blog: Paul Ryan's Opportunity Grant Raises More Questions than Answers

Jul 25, 2014 | By Carolyn Burstein

Congressman Paul Ryan's “Opportunity Grant” is an attempt to re-conceptualize the federal government’s role in providing a safety-net for people in poverty. This first step in a journey towards evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the social safety net leaves much to be desired, but as a discussion draft one can hope there remains room for compromise and change. Read more

Blog: If Paul Ryan Wants a Discussion on the Safety Net, We’re Ready as Long as He Is Willing to Listen

Jul 25, 2014 | By Sister Marge Clark, BVM

Congressman Paul Ryan says he wants to start a conversation about repairing the safety net and helping families get ahead. We at NETWORK look forward to this conversation – and hope the Congressman is sincere in wanting to dialogue. And since conversations need to be two-way, here are some first thoughts that I hope Congressman Ryan will listen to. Read more

Blog: Child Tax Credit Must Support Low-Income Working Families

Jul 23, 2014 | By Marge Clark, BVM

NETWORK stands in strong opposition to this bill (H.R. 4935, the Child Tax Credit Improvement Act of 2014). The CTC, as revised in 2009, should be made permanent, with the indexing suggested in the House bill. But, the less just aspects need to be eliminated. Read more

Blog: Will There Ever Be an End to Corporations Dodging Taxes by Shifting Their Home Bases Overseas?

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

Allen Sloan, a business writer for the Washington Post and hardly a flaming liberal, wrote a long blistering attack in the Post's July 13 edition on the U.S. stampede of "corporate inversions." One might expect a liberal organization to write such an article, but not Allen Sloan! Read more

Low Wages and Real Lives

Jul 18, 2014 | By Simone Campbell, SSS

A couple of months ago I met Robin, a young woman in her mid-twenties, who works for minimum wage in a profitable clothing store chain. We were at the White House for President Obama’s signing of the executive order to raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers. She was excited that a good friend of hers would receive a raise because of this order. Her hope was that eventually she too would be able to get a raise.

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Blog: U.S. Jobs Report in June Shows Both an Improved Economy and the Legacy of the Great Recession

Jul 14, 2014 | By Carolyn Burstein, NETWORK Communications Fellow

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released a surprisingly strong jobs report on July 3 that clearly indicated that employers added jobs at a robust clip in June. While payroll employment jumped by 288,000 in June and unemployment fell to 6.1% (20% lower than a year ago), there was hardly any real growth in the labor force, leaving the percentage of people with a job well below where it was at the start of the Great Recession.

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