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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Blogs

Blog: National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA)

May 20, 2014 | By Marge Clark, BVM

The National Defense Authorization Act prioritizes the direction that will be taken by the Pentagon as it puts forward programs and weapons systems, continuing some that are in existence and authorizing the development of new ones.

At this time, when the war in Iraq has ended and the war in Afghanistan is to end by the end of this calendar year, NETWORK feels strongly that it is a time to pull back on some existing practices. Three areas are of particular concern to NETWORK:

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Support Accountability and Transparency in Funding Our Troops

May 19, 2014 | By Marge Clark, BVM

Right now, both the House and Senate are focused on the Defense spending bill for FY 2015. Part of this bill includes a slush fund for the Pentagon, called the Overseas Contingency Operation (OCO) fund, which allows purchases to fill immediate needs in war zones. This is a separate source of funding outside of the normal budget process, which is unique to the Pentagon budget.

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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 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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