Thursday, December 27, 2012

Conyers Introduces the “Protecting Students from Worthless Degrees Act”

Making Programmatic Accreditation or State Licensure a Requirement for Educational Study Programs

(DETROIT) – This afternoon, Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) introduced the Protecting Students from Worthless Degrees Act. Currently, schools are eligible for three major federal financial aid programs totaling more than $160 billion even if they lack state licensing or programmatic accreditation for specific programs they offer (Title IV under the Department of Education, GI Bill under the Department of Veterans Affairs, and Tuition Assistance under the Department of Defense). The Protecting Students from Worthless Degrees Act will address this problem by making programmatic accreditation or state licensure a requirement for programs of study when such licensure or accreditation is needed for students to do the job they were prepared for by these programs. Specifically, the bill requires that programs offered by degree-granting institutions will be eligible for federal education dollars only if their graduates fully qualify to take any examination, be certified or licensed, or meet any other academically-related preconditions that are required for entry into the job market for which the degree is supposed to prepare them. For pre-accredited programs, the bill requires institutions to inform students about the lack of full accreditation, and about the effects on their financial aid, if such accreditation is delayed or deniedRep. Conyers issued this statement following the introduction of the bill:

“Since the first G.I. Bill in 1944, federal educational financial aid programs, including student loans and Pell grants, have given generations of Americans the opportunity to pursue an education beyond high school, and obtain the skills and training needed to succeed in the economy,” said Conyers.

“Such aid has empowered millions of Americans who otherwise would not have been able to afford a postsecondary education and has helped build our nation’s middle class. However, with the rise of for-profit and non-accredited programs, serious concerns are being raised about the educational value that students are getting for their hard-earned benefits and financial aidAs a result, legislative action is urgently needed to ensure that such programs are not funding high-cost, low-quality programs that do not lead to successful outcomes and career opportunities for students and safeguard America’s federal investment in higher education.”

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Conyers Opposes Republican Plan to Protect Millionaires and Cut Social Security Benefits

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) issued the following statement criticizing Speaker Boehner’s refusal to accept a balanced approach to avert the end-of-year automatic spending cuts and tax increases, as well as the Speaker’s decision to include Social Security benefit cuts in these discussions:

“Despite clear evidence that the American people support balancing the deficit by requiring the wealthy to pay their fair share in taxes, Speaker Boehner announced a plan today that would allow millionaires to keep their tax cuts,” said Conyers.

“This so-called ‘Plan B’ is not a balanced approach to deficit reduction and it should be rejected.   

“I resent that Speaker Boehner has chosen to put cuts to Social Security benefits for current and future retirees on the table as a way to resolve the budget crisis.

“The change in the way Social Security calculates yearly cost-of-living-adjustments, called ‘Chained CPI,’ would place an increased  burden on elderly Americans - nearly 70 percent of whom rely on Social Security for more than half of their income and whose benefits average less than $15,000 per year.  Under this proposed policy, benefits would be cut by 0.3 percent annually and would increase over time.  As a result, the older and poorer a beneficiary becomes, the larger the benefit cut.

“The fact that Republicans would seriously consider cutting the current and future Social Security benefits of all Americans to benefit the wealthy few is unconscionable and unacceptable.  We cannot ask our seniors and the most vulnerable to bear the burden of deficit reduction.

“If Congress were to pursue this unwise course of action, we would not only be embracing a deeply unpopular policy, but also ignoring the will of the American people. A recent poll by Hart Associates in the days before the November election found that an overwhelming 84 percent of Americans said they did not want their Social Security benefits cut. 104 House Democrats have also already stated their opposition to including Social Security in any deficit reduction package. 

“Any debt deal that cuts Social Security, Medicare, or Medicaid benefits is unacceptable.”

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Friday, December 14, 2012

Conyers Offers Sympathies to Victims of Newtown Shooting, Calls for Legislation to Reduce Gun Violence

(DETROIT) –Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) issued the following statement today in response to the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut:

“Today, our hearts go out to the victims of the horrific shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.  We offer our condolences to their families,” said Conyers.

“The level of gun violence in this country is unacceptable.  There have been too many tragedies: the shootings in Columbine and Virginia Tech, the shooting of citizens including Congresswoman Giffords in Tucson, the Sikh Temple shootings in Wisconsin, the movie theater shooting in Aurora, and now Newtown.  And there is tragic gun violence on our streets every day.  Every year, on average, almost 100,000 people in America are shot and killed with a firearm.

“In response to this wave of violence, which reaches far beyond this one tragic incident, we must commit ourselves to taking action to review and strengthen our national gun laws as we approach the beginning of a new year and a new Congress.“

The bills that Congressman Conyers has co-sponsored this Congress to protect the country from gun violence include measures to ban high capacity ammunition magazines, require background checks for all gun sales, and prohibit the transfer of multiple firearms to anyone who is prohibited by law from possessing guns or who intends to use the guns unlawfully.

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Conyers: Governor Snyder’s “Right-to-Work” Policy an Affront to Michigan’s Proud Labor History

(WASHINGTON) – Yesterday afternoon, the Republican Majority in the Michigan House of Representatives approved two pieces of legislation drastically limiting collective bargaining rights in the state. House Bill 4003, which was approved 58-51, instituted “right-to-work” for public sector unions. A companion bill, Senate Bill 116, applied the same “right-to-work” limitations to private sector unions. This legislation was approved 58-52.  These bills also included an appropriation, which has the effect of immunizing these bills from being repealed via referendum at a later date.  Late yesterday evening, Governor Rick Snyder signed both of these bills into law. Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) issued the following statement in response:

“This past February, I witnessed Governor Snyder testify on Capitol Hill that so-called ‘right-to-work’ legislation was not the best course for Michigan, and that the proposal was far too divisive. In less than a year, Governor Snyder has pulled a complete about-face,” said Conyers.

“I am appalled by the actions of Governor Snyder and the Republicans in the State Legislature, forcing through inflammatory legislation during the lame duck session.  It is clear that they have ignored the lessons of Michigan’s history. Our state’s economy was built on a foundation of mutual respect between labor and business, not misguided Tea Party ideology that Governor Snyder has recently signed on to.

“The ‘right-to-work’ bills signed into law are an attack on the civil and human rights of the people of this great state and serve as an inspiration to we who believe in creating an economy that works for all.  As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. reminded us, as far back as 1961, the ‘right-to-work’ law, ‘is a law to rob us of our civil rights and job rights.’”

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Conyers: Governor Snyder Putting Divisive Policies Ahead of Michigan’s Working Families

(DETROIT) – Yesterday, Republican leadership in the Michigan State Legislature, alongside Governor Snyder, unexpectedly announced their support of right-to-work legislation. Later in the evening, the Republican controlled Michigan House of Representatives voted to approve the legislation 58-52 and the Republican controlled Michigan Senate passed a similar bill 22-16. Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) issued the following statement in response:

“After promising to govern Michigan as a unifier, and even stating that so-called ‘right-to-work’ legislation was not on his political agenda, Governor Snyder has gone back on his promises and turned his back on Michigan workers,” said Conyers.

“Michigan’s proud history was built by the working men and women of this state, and the labor movement has and continues to play a monumental role in building our middle class. Expanding the middle class to include an increasing number of families in Michigan will require a robust labor movement, not an embattled one.

“I strongly urge Governor Snyder to reject this divisive ‘right-to-work’ measure that was crammed through the State Legislature during the lame duck session. Working families in Michigan are counting on allies in their public officials, not adversaries.”

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Impact of Sequestration on Women, Children and Families

(WASHINGTON) – This afternoon, Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) issued the following statement on the devastating impact that automatic end of year budget cuts, mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011, would have on women, children and families:

“I rise today as the voice for millions of women, children and low income families to urge my colleagues to work towards a balanced approach to deficit reduction that does not include deeper cuts to programs designed to promote and protect the health of women and children,” said Conyers.

“By eliminating nearly one billion dollars in federal funding, if implemented, this 8.2 percent across the board cut would drastically hinder access to critical health care services delivered to mothers and babies in need, stunt the impact and development of prevention initiatives, reduce vital funding for medical research, and disproportionately impact low-income and uninsured families. 

“Additionally, it would significantly reduce funding for critical programs important to the development of children such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) the Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant, the Section 317 Immunization Program, the Children’s Hospital Graduate Medical Education program, the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Visitation Program, the Prevention and Public Health Fund, Safe Motherhood, and the National Institutes Child Health and Human Development.  In Michigan alone these cuts would result in 20,700 mothers and young children being cut from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and over $1 million cut from the Children’s Hospitals Graduate Medical Education program, which the state relies heavily on to train its next generation of pediatricians. 

“Playing a game of chicken with budget sequestration is despicable and we must work toward a fair and plausible resolution of this issue that does not trade away the health and well being of our children.

“Furthermore, children depend on healthy moms and millions of women rely on federally funded programs like Title X Family Planning for basic health and prenatal care.  However, this looming budget sequestration would jeopardize the health of these women by inhibiting access to critical health services, thereby increasing the risk of life-threatening cancer and other diseases that could have been prevented by health screenings offered through Title X services.  In Michigan, 2,700 fewer women will be screened for cancer as a result of the sequestration’s cut of over $712,800 from the Breast and Cervical Cancer Screening Program.

“Lastly, women’s health would not only be impacted, but also women’s economic well-being.  These automatic cuts will create overwhelming job loss at a time when both men and women struggle to find work due to no fault of their own. Moreover, sequestration cuts coupled with the persistent gender wage gap is a recipe for disaster that middle and lower income families cannot afford.  Therefore, I will not casually stand by while my colleagues threaten unbearable sacrifices that disproportionately impact the well being of children, women and their families.  I urge that with compassionate hearts, we work together to alleviate current suffering and pursue a legislative solution that does not target non-defense discretionary programs for additional cuts.”

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Conyers Celebrates Small Business Saturday

(DETROIT) – This Saturday November 24th, marks the second annual Small Business Saturday. Taking place between “Black Friday” and “Cyber Monday,” Small Business Saturday is designed to support small businesses and boost the economies of local communities. Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) released this statement in advance of the weekend events:

“I am proud to support the second annual Small Business Saturday, here in Detroit and across the country,” said Conyers.

“Initiatives like Small Business Saturday underscore our national commitment to rebuilding the cornerstones of America that strengthen our economy: small businesses, entrepreneurs, and a sturdy middle class.

“I wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving holiday, and hope that my fellow Detroiters support our small business community this Saturday. Together we can make Saturday a big day for small businesses.”

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Conyers Applauds Sixth Circuit’s Upholding Affirmative Action in Michigan

“Affirmative Action is a Vital and Active Part of our Social, Economic, and Educational Fabric”

(WASHINGTON) – Yesterday, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit rejected Michigan’s ban on affirmative action in the state - Proposal 2 - which was passed by voters in 2006 as an amendment to the state constitution.  The Court found that Proposal 2 deprives minorities of equal protection of the law by creating a structural burden that minority students would have to shoulder in order to address admissions policies. Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) issued the following statement in response:

“I applaud the Sixth Circuit for rejecting the burdensome consequences of Proposal 2 and would urge the Michigan Attorney General to not further appeal the decision.  Nearly 10 years ago, in Grutter v. Bollinger, the Supreme Court found that the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of ‘equal protection of the laws’ was upheld by the University of Michigan Law School’s affirmative action policy that used race as a factor in order to achieve greater diversity in higher education.  Since that time, however, a misguided and twisted notion has been promoted about the positive impact that affirmative action policies have on admissions standards.

“Yesterday, the Sixth Circuit provided us with an accurate description of how admissions policies at Michigan Universities benefit lobbying by the sons and daughters of alumni of the University,children of donors, and permits other considerations for admissions not based on merit. The Court also rightly distinguished the effect these consideration have on race-conscious admissions policies, by illustrating how instead of lobbying the admissions committees at Michigan universities, a minority student would be required to launch a Herculean lobbying effort - ‘by convincing the Michigan electorate to amend its constitution - an extraordinary expensive process and the most arduous of all the possible channels for change.’

“Currently, the Supreme Court is considering Fisher v. University of Texas, another affirmative action case where a Abigail Fisher, a young Caucasian woman, has argued that she was denied admission to the University of Texas because of their affirmative action policy.  Notwithstanding the merits of Ms. Fisher’s case, I believe the Sixth Circuit, in rejecting Proposal 2, has provided a significant opportunity for the Supreme Court and for the country to discuss misguided notions opposing racial and ethnic considerations in higher education admissions, and to juxtapose these notions  against other non-merit considerations currently in the admissions processes of Michigan universities.”

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Conyers Celebrates National Adoption Day

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) issued the following statement to express support for National Adoption Day, a collective national effort to raise awareness about children waiting for adoption in foster care:

“As many Americans prepare to celebrate this holiday season with their families, we should all recognize that there are more than 4,500 children waiting for adoption in foster care who will not have a permanent family to celebrate with this year,” said Conyers.

“On Saturday, November 17, 2012 communities across the country will seize the opportunity to finalize adoptions and celebrate adoptive families.  For the past 12 years, National Adoption Day has made the dreams of nearly 40,000 children come true by working with courts, judges, attorneys, adoption professionals, child welfare agencies and advocates to finalize adoptions and find homes for children in foster care.  Nationally, almost 400 events are held annually for individuals to help make the dream of belonging to a permanent home a reality.

“Above and beyond these efforts, there is still much work that must be done to assist these children.  Each year, children enter foster care through no fault of their own.  As result, they are separated from siblings and will likely spend at least three birthdays waiting to get adopted.  It is also likely that these same children, 30,000 to be exact, will turn 18 without ever having families to call their own.   

“I want to thank all the current and future adoptive parents who will step forward this National Adoption Day.  Every child deserves a loving, caring and supportive family and home they can call their own.”

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Sunday, November 11, 2012

High court weighs new look at voting rights law

  • Lyndon Baines Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, John McCormack, Emanuel Celler, Luci Johnson, Everett Dirksen, Carl Albert, Carl Hayden
    FILE - In this Aug. 6, 1965, photo, President Lyndon Baines Johnson signs the Voting Rights Act of 1965 in a ceremony in the President's Room near the Senate Chambers on Capitol Hill in Washington. Three years ago, the Supreme Court warned there could be constitutional problems with a landmark civil rights law that has opened voting booths to millions of African-Americans. Now, opponents of a key part of the Voting Rights Act are asking the high court to finish that provision off. Surrounding the president from left directly above his right hand, Vice President Hubert Humphrey; House Speaker John McCormack; Rep. Emanuel Celler, D-N.Y.; first daughter Luci Johnson; and Sen. Everett Dirksen, R-Ill. Behind Humphrey is House Majority Leader Carl Albert of Oklahoma; and behind Celler is Sen. Carl Hayden, D-Ariz. (AP Photo)
WASHINGTON (AP) — Three years ago, the Supreme Court warned there could be constitutional problems with a landmark civil rights law that has opened voting booths to millions of African-Americans. Now, opponents of a key part of the Voting Rights Act are asking the high court to finish off that provision.
The basic question is whether state and local governments that once boasted of their racial discrimination still can be forced in the 21st century to get federal permission before making changes in the way they hold elections.
Some of the governments covered — most of them are in the South — argue they have turned away from racial discrimination over the years. But Congress and lower courts that have looked at recent challenges to the law concluded that a history of discrimination and more recent efforts to harm minority voters justify continuing federal oversight.
The Supreme Court could say as early as Monday whether it will consider ending the Voting Rights Act's advance approval requirement that has been held up as a crown jewel of the civil rights era.
The justices sidestepped this very issue in a case from Texas in 2009. In an opinion joined by eight justices, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote then that the issue of advance approval "is a difficult constitutional question we do not answer today."
Since then, Congress has not addressed potential problems identified by the court. Meanwhile, the law's opponents sensed its vulnerability and filed several new lawsuits.
The advance approval, or preclearance requirement, was adopted in the Voting Rights Act in 1965 to give federal officials a potent tool to defeat persistent efforts to keep blacks from voting.
The provision was a huge success, and Congress periodically has renewed it over the years. The most recent occasion was in 2006, when a Republican-led Congress overwhelmingly approved and President George W. Bush signed a 25-year extension.
The requirement currently applies to the states of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas and Virginia. It also covers certain counties in California, Florida, New York, North Carolina and South Dakota, and some local jurisdictions in Michigan and New Hampshire. Coverage has been triggered by past discrimination not only against blacks, but also against American Indians, Asian-Americans, Alaskan Natives and Hispanics.
Before these locations can change their voting rules, they must get approval either from the U.S. Justice Department's civil rights division or from the federal district court in Washington that the new rules won't discriminate.
Congress compiled a 15,000-page record and documented hundreds of instances of apparent voting discrimination in the states covered by the law dating to 1982, the last time it had been extended.
Among the incidents in the congressional record:
—In 1998, Webster County, Ga., tried to reduce the black population in several school board districts after citizens elected a majority-black school board for the first time.
—In 2001, Kilmichael, Miss., canceled an election when a large number of African-American candidates sought local office following 2000 census results that showed blacks had become the majority in the city.
—In 2004, Waller County, Texas, sought to limit early voting near a historically black college and threatened to prosecute students for illegal voting after two black students said they would run for office.
But in 2009, Roberts indicated the court was troubled about the ongoing need for a law in the face of dramatically improved conditions, including increased minority voter registration and turnout rates. Roberts attributed part of the change to the law itself. "Past success alone, however, is not adequate justification to retain the preclearance requirements," he said.
He also raised concern that the formula by which states are covered relies on data that is now 40 years old. By some measures, states covered by the law were outperforming some that were not.
Jurisdictions required to obtain preclearance were chosen based on whether they had a test restricting the opportunity to register or vote and whether they had a voter registration or turnout rate below 50 percent.
In the federal court of appeals in the District of Columbia, Circuit Judge Stephen Williams objected that the law specifies that these criteria are measured by what happened in elections several decades ago. But writing for a majority that upheld preclearance, Circuit Judge David Tatel said the question is not whether old data is being used, but whether it helps identify jurisdictions with the worst discrimination problems. "If it does, then even though the formula rests on decades-old factors, the statute is rational," Tatel said.
Shelby County, Ala., a well-to-do, mostly white bedroom community near Birmingham, adopted Roberts' arguments in its effort to have the voting rights provision declared unconstitutional, but lost in the lower courts. The county's appeal is among those being weighed by the high court.
Yet just a few years earlier, a city of nearly 12,000 people in Shelby County defied the voting rights law and prompted the intervention of the Bush Justice Department.
Ernest Montgomery became the only black member of the five-person Calera City Council in 2004, winning in a district that was almost 71 percent black. The city redrew its district lines in 2006 after new subdivisions and retail developments sprang up in the area Montgomery represented, and the change left Montgomery's District 2 with a population that was only 23 percent black.
Running against a white opponent in the now mostly white district, Montgomery narrowly lost a re-election bid in 2008. The Justice Department invalidated the election result because the city had failed to obtain advance approval of the new districts.
A lifelong resident of Calera and a church deacon, the 56-year-old Montgomery said he doesn't know whether discrimination was involved in the redistricting decision six years ago. But, he said, discrimination still exists and the law is still needed.
"I think things have gotten a lot more leveled out, but we're not to the point we need," he said.

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Friday, October 19, 2012

Obama defines Romnesia

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Ranking Democrats Demand Answers from Republican Chairman After Felony Arrest for Voter Registration Fraud by RNC Contractor

(DETROIT) – Today, the top Democratic Members on committees responsible for Elections, the Judiciary, and Oversight sent a second letter to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus calling on him to make clear the RNC’s associations with individuals and companies charged with acts of voter registration fraud in states across the country. This letter followed an earlier letter from the three Ranking Members sent to Chairman Priebus on October 02, 2012 in response to allegations of widespread voter registration fraud in Florida by a company tied to Nathan Sproul, a long-time Republican operative who has been dogged by accusations of voter registration fraud dating back at least to 2004.

The second letter comes hours after the Rockingham County Sheriff arrested Colin Small in Harrisonburg, VA, and charged him with 13 counts of voter registration fraud, including eight felony counts. Small reportedly works for PinPoint Staffing, a company hired by the Republican Party of Virginia. He was seen allegedly throwing completed voter registration forms into the trash, a crime in the Commonwealth of Virginia. His apparent employer - Pinpoint Staffing - is tied to the Florida voter registration fraud allegations in which more than 100 suspicious voter registration forms were turned in to local election officials in more than 10 counties. PinPoint is a regular subcontractor of Sproul’s company, Strategic Allied Consulting, to which the RNC has paid $3 million for “voter registration” efforts ahead of the November 6 election. Small, the man arrested in Virginia, has claimed that he is working for the Republican National Committee itself.

Today’s letter calls on the RNC Chairman to declare forthrightly “whether the RNC will cut all ties to PinPoint and all of Mr. Sproul’s various operations.” The Members point out, the RNC has previously claimed to have severed ties with Sproul’s operations after the Florida scandal broke but a spokesman confessed to the Los Angeles Times that “the registration operation that he assembled continued working under the supervision of party officials.”

Citing both the proximity to Election Day, now less than 17 days away, and the history of Americans who have given their lives in the fight for voting rights, from the Revolutionary War to the martyrs of the Civil Rights Movement, the Democratic Members demanded answers and complete transparency from the Republican National Committee.

Democratic Congressional Ranking Members Letter on Voting Fraud to RNC Chairman, 10-19-12 Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Conyers Calls for Protection for Human Rights Advocates in Haiti

(DETROIT)- Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) issued the following statement today in response to recent reports of escalating threats, harassment, and intimidation of human rights advocates and attorneys in Haiti:  

“As a long-time supporter of Haiti in the United States Congress, I am concerned by recent reports that suggest that Haitian attorneys and human rights advocates, including prominent attorney Mario Joesph of theBureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI), are being targeted with political intimidation and threats of physical harm as a result of their legal representation of politically vulnerable individuals and groups,” said Conyers.

“The ability of an attorney to provide legal assistance free of harassment to any client is a critically important component of a well-functioning justice system.  All necessary steps should be taken to protect these attorneys and advocates, who help ensure that all Haitians have equitable access to justice and due process.  My office has contacted the State Department to express my concern about these recent reports.”      

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Monday, October 15, 2012

Conyers Statement on the Passing of Senator Arlen Specter

(DETROIT) – Yesterday, former Senator Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) passed away at age 82 following complications from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Representative John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) released this statement following the news of Senator Specter’s passing:

“I am deeply saddened by the loss of a long-standing public servant for the state of Pennsylvania, Senator Arlen Specter. He was a strong-willed fighter who put the people of Pennsylvania before his party,” said Conyers.

“I was fortunate enough to work with Senator Specter during his three decades of public service in Congress, through our respective roles in the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. From his co-sponsorship of the End Racial Profiling Act and the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, to his leadership in shepherding the Second Chance Act through Congress, Senator Specter was a model statesman and a sharp legal mind.

“Senator Specter will be greatly missed by the people of Pennsylvania and his colleagues in Congress. His legacy of independent-minded reform will continue to shape our Judicial system, and public institutions, for many years to come.”

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Conyers Announces $2 Million Investment Award for Southeast Michigan Community Alliance

(Washington)- Today, the Southeast Michigan Community Alliance received a more than $2 million Economic Development Administration award through the Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge. This money will be used for job creation and to leverage private capital for manufacturing projects. The Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge is a national competition administered by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), U.S Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (ETA), and the Small Business Administration (SBA). Congressman John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich) issued this statement following the award:

“I am happy to announce that the Economic Development Administration has awarded the Southeast Michigan Community Alliance (SEMCA) with a federal grant funded by the Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge to support and advance the creation of manufacturing jobs and small business activities in Southeast Michigan,” said Conyers.

“Through this project, clusters of small and medium sized manufacturing firms and businesses will now have the opportunity to grow, collaborate and better understand their value chains. This will lead to the development of new products for new markets through research and modeling.  This critical investment for the state of Michigan will provide an opportunity for strengthening regional economic development opportunities, creating sustainable jobs, fostering small businesses, and building an advanced skilled manufacturing workforce throughout our state.  I congratulate SEMCA on its receipt of this award.”

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Have His Back: Why You Should Support Barack Obama

By John Conyers, Jr.
In a few weeks, the American people will be presented with a stark choice in the polling booth. This November 6th, Election Day, has become more than just a contest to determine which man will sit in the White House for the next four years. In effect, the outcome of this presidential race will determine which vision for our country's future we pursue for the next generation.
The challenger, Mitt Romney, has put forward a vision that is cobbled together with antiquated ideas and failed policies of the past. As David Axelrod suggested in May, Mr. Romney has the, "foreign policy of the 1980s, the social policy of the 1950s and the economic policies of the 1920s." In constructing his plan for the future, Mr. Romney looks backward towards the top down policies that crashed the American economy and diminished our stature in the global community. On everything from women's healthcare issues, to LGBT rights, to protections afforded to immigrants, Mr. Romney seeks to get in the way of progress.
In contrast, President Obama offers a forward thinking vision that builds on the historic accomplishments achieved in his first term. President Obama's competing plan envisions an inclusive economy built to last, with a thriving middle class and a level playing field. Rather than provide millionaires and billionaires at the top with another budget busting tax cut, President Obama envisions a balanced growth plan that strengthens our social programs and fosters innovation in fields such as advanced manufacturing. And, rather than turn the clock back on women, gay and lesbian individuals, or the underprivileged, President Obama seeks to embolden and advance their hard fought rights.
Indeed, a Romney presidency would do much more than just look backwards for guidance. His presidency would actively undo most of the historic reforms that President Obama worked tirelessly for. Specifically, here is what is most at stake this election:
  • The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act - Commonly called "Obamacare," Mr. Romney has repeatedly pledged to repeal this near-universal health care legislation on the first day of his presidency. In doing so, Mr. Romney would rid tens of millions of people of their health insurance, revert to the broken status quo wherein preexisting conditions are not covered, and young adults up to age 26 would not be able to stay on their parent's health care plan.
  • Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act - Mr. Romney has also vowed to repeal this critical reform legislation, returning Wall Street back to the Wild West era of too-big-to-fail instability and reckless speculation on the taxpayer's dime.
  • DREAM Act Executive Order - Granting relief for children and young adults who were brought into the country illegally as children. Mr. Romney has vowed to put these young people, American in every way but name, back into the shadows.

The list goes on, but in the end Mr. Romney's vision for the future all boils down to the same failed approaches of the Bush years. President Obama has spent four years fighting for the middle class, and rescuing our economy from the worst malaise since the Great Depression. Too much progress has been made to turn our backs on a president who has delivered historic changes to our social, economic, and foreign policies. Join me in standing with President Obama at to keep marching forward.
Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Conyers Praises Pennsylvania Court’s Voter ID Ruling

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Judge Robert Simpson of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania partially blocked the state of Pennsylvania’s voter ID law. Specifically, the court struck down two provisions of the law that required voters to show their IDs within six days or appear before the county board of elections.  Although the injunction applies to the election this November, the Judge stated that future hearings would be scheduled on the merits of the case brought by the plaintiffs. Further, election officials may still ask to see an individual’s ID, but an ID will not be required to cast a regular ballot. Ranking Member John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) released this statement following the court’s decision:

“I applaud Judge Simpson for granting a preliminary injunction in part on the state’s voter ID law, blocking the requirement that a voter must show a photo identification before casting a ballot in this November election. This ruling recognizes that voter ID laws discourage and disenfranchise citizens from engaging in the right to vote,” said Conyers.

“This particular voter ID law was not common sense nor would it have deterred voter fraud that Pennsylvania lawmakers purported to exist. The law would have burdened minority, disabled, youth, elderly, and veterans populations, many of whom are less able to procure the required identification prior to Election Day. While effectively restricting access to the polls for innumerable Pennsylvania citizens, the law favored gun owners and the employed by including narrow exceptions to the photo identification requirement.

“The right to vote is at the heart of democracy in America, and serves as the cornerstone of all of our Constitutional freedoms. It is my hope that other states will come to recognize that voter ID laws are nothing short of voter suppression and a direct offense against our fundamental right to vote.”

Voting is beautiful, be beautiful ~ vote.©