Thursday, July 26, 2012

Senate Democrats demand halt to foreclosure fund sweep

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Figures released on Monday by the Joint Legislative Budget Committee show Arizona finished the fiscal year with $257 million more than was projected when the Republican budget was passed in May.

This is why Senate Democrats are calling on Governor Brewer and Legislative Republicans to stop the sweep of the $50 million national foreclosure settlement that Republicans wrote into the budget and which she signed.

This money was meant to help struggling homeowners. Instead, Republicans swiped it while funding more private prisons and giving away $440 million in tax cuts for corporations, the rich and special interests.

Sen. Landrum Taylor

Over the past few years Republicans have also cut more than $2.5 billion from our kids' schools and kicked tens of thousands of children off of healthcare.

 Assistant Senate Democratic Leader Leah Landrum Taylor (D-16):

"Now that our state has this small surplus, we call on Governor Brewer and Republicans at the Capitol to finally make the right choice and leave the foreclosure settlement for its intended purpose of helping families that are struggling to keep their homes," said Sen. Landrum Taylor.

Sen. Schapira
  Senate Democratic Leader David Schapira (D-17):

"It was irresponsible to sweep the foreclosure settlement in the first place, but it is now completely unnecessary," said Sen. Schapira. "Many Arizona families are struggling to stay in their homes and we should be helping, not hurting them."

Thursday, July 19, 2012

States rely on waivers while Congress fails to act

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senate Democratic Leader David Schapira released the following statement regarding the U.S. Department of Education's granting Arizona a waiver from complying with aspects of No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which was the 2001 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), was President George W. Bush's signature piece of education reform legislation that made drastic and detrimental changes to ESEA. The fact that more than half the states have requested, and been granted, waivers is indicative of the many flaws within NCLB.

By not correctly identifying the "federal red tape" as requirements imposed by Bush's NCLB, Governor Brewer is trying to hide that fact and put the blame on the Obama administration.

U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan is issuing waivers from NCLB requirements because Congress has failed to act on reform of the NCLB language and reauthorization of ESEA. The Obama Administration has repeatedly called for Congress to reauthorize ESEA and continues to do so.

Sen. Schapira
"While it is laughable for Governor Brewer to claim to know what is best for Arizona schools given that she and her Republican supermajority have slashed school funding by more than $2 billion, I am pleased our teachers and students will not be burdened with the unrealistic requirements of Bush's No Child Left Behind legacy," said Sen. Schapira. 
"I offer thanks and appreciation to President Obama and Secretary Duncan for granting these waivers and doing the right thing for the millions of school children in our country. I also call on Congress to do their job and quickly pass bipartisan legislation reforming and reauthorizing the Elementary and Secondary Education Act to ensure a bright future for our children and our nation."

Monday, July 2, 2012

Sen. Jackson: ACA ruling affirms Indian Health Care Improvement Act

STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Senator Jack C. Jackson, Jr. released the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court's upholding of the Affordable Care Act, which included reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act (IHCIA).

Sen. Jackson
"I was thrilled by the U.S. Supreme Court's affirmation of the Affordable Care Act, not only because it was the right decision for all Americans, but because it also included the permanent reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, which has been crucial to the health of many tribal members," said Sen. Jackson.
"The continuation of the IHCIA represents our nation's commitment to American Indians and Alaska Natives, who disproportionately suffer from medical problems."
The IHCIA permanently authorizes daily health care delivery to nearly 2 million American Indians and Alaska Natives served by the Indian Health Service (IHS), who are in critical need of improved health care services. A snapshot of health conditions highlights the critical need for improving health care in Indian Country; Native people suffer from higher rates of diabetes and related illness, heart disease, and substance abuse than any other group.

The IHCIA authorizes new programs within the Indian Health Services to ensure the Service is more equipped to meet its mission to raise the health status of American Indians and Alaska Natives to the highest level, including:
  • Authorities for new and expanded programs for mental and behavioral health treatment and prevention;
  • Expanded authorities for long-term care services, including home health care, assisted living and community-based care;
  • New authorities for development of health professional shortage demonstration programs;
  • Expanded authorities for funding of patient travel costs;
  • New authorities for demonstration projects for innovative health care facility construction;
  • New authorities for the provision of dialysis services;
  • Improvements in the Contract Health Services program, which pays for referrals;
  • New authorities for facilitation of care for Indian veterans; and
  • New authorities for urban Indian health programs.
The passage of the IHCIA on March 23, 2010 represented a fourteen year-long effort by NCAI, tribal leaders, and advocates to make permanent the legislative commitment by the federal government to deliver health care for American Indian and Alaska Natives. The IHCIA was originally passed in 1976 and last reauthorized in 2000.