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U.S. House votes overwhelmingly for say on Obama's Iraq decisions[caption id="attachment_1244" align="aligncenter" width="1211"] U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about education and the economy while at Los Angeles Trade Technical College in California, July 24, 2014.
Credit: Reuters/Larry Downing[/caption]
>by Patricia Zengerle | WASHINGTON Fri Jul 25, 2014 1:50pm EDT| Re-Post 07/26/2014|(Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly on Friday for a resolution that would bar President Barack Obama from sending U.S. troops for any "sustained combat role" in Iraq without congressional authorization. The House adopted the resolution by a vote of 370-40, reflecting the strong desire by both Republicans and Democrats in the chamber that the White House not act in Iraq without Congress' backing, although it was a largely symbolic vote. To be enacted, the measure would require backing by the U.S. Senate, which is not expected, and even then it would not have the force of law. It was introduced by Massachusetts Democratic Representative Jim McGovern, California Democrat Barbara Lee and Republican Walter Jones of North Carolina. Supporting the law, House members said Congress must reclaim its control over authorizing military force after years in which both Republican and Democratic presidents have claimed their executive powers allow them to deploy troops. "Congress has ceded too much of its power to the executive branch," McGovern said in a House speech before the vote. The United States is ramping up its military presence in Iraq, deploying additional troops, helicopters and drone aircraft in response to security concerns in the face of advances by the Sunni Islamist militants. (Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Dan Grebler)
House panel set for Tuesday vote on Fed transparency bill[caption id="attachment_1241" align="aligncenter" width="1282"] U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen testifies before the Senate Banking Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington July 15, 2014.
Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque[/caption]
>by Michael Flaherty | WASHINGTON Fri Jul 25, 2014 5:51pm EDT| Re-Post 07/26/2014| (Reuters) - The House Financial Services Committee said on Friday that it will vote on a bill next week aimed at bringing more transparency to the Federal Reserve, including the controversial requirement of adopting a rules-based approach to its policy. Fed officials and economists have expressed concern that the legislation threatens to strip independence from the Fed, which sets monetary policy for the United States under the dual mandate of keeping unemployment low and keeping prices stable. The bill, which Fed Chair Janet Yellen has criticized in public testimony, will come up for a House vote on Tuesday, committee chairman and Texas Republican Jeb Hensarling said in a statement. The Republican-sponsored legislation is unlikely to gain any traction in the Democrat-led Senate, but it could come up for a "show" vote in the House before congressional mid-term elections. The bill HR 5018, sponsored by Republicans Bill Huizenga of Michigan and Scott Garrett of New Jersey, would also require the Fed to disclose the salaries of its highest earners, require quarterly testimony from the Chair and cost-based analyses before enacting any regulation. HR 5018 is one of several bills aimed at placing further scrutiny on the Fed, which embarked on extraordinary monetary policy measures in 2008 after the financial crisis. (Reporting by Michael Flaherty; Editing by Ken Wills)
Three Reasons the Hobby Lobby Decision Is Worse for Women of Color[caption id="attachment_1261" align="aligncenter" width="1228"] Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images[/caption] >by Miriam Zoila Pérez |Tuesday, July 1 2014, 3:00 PM EST|Re-Post 07/27/2014 | We won’t know the exact impact of this ruling until we see how many of the eligible corporations (closely-held private companies that most are interpreting based on the IRS definition that they be 50 percent owned by five or less people) actually choose to use this right given to them by the Supreme Court on Monday. Nine out of 10 businesses are estimated to be closely held, and an estimated 52 percent of private sector employees work for closely held companies. So we’re talking about a potential impact on just a few thousand employees, or a few million, depending on how many businesses choose to exercise this right. We know that in addition to Hobby Lobby, there are at least 82 other companies who’ve already been challenging the Affordable Care Act’s birth control mandate. While much proverbial ink has been spilled speculating about the impact this will have, few have talked about how women of color might fare under this ruling. On its face there is nothing about this ruling that singles out women of color. But because of our political and economic realities, women of color often bare the brunt of the negative impacts of restrictions on women’s health anyway. Here are three reasons why women of color may fare worse under this decision: 1. The Cost of Birth Control Those who can’t afford to pay for their birth control out of pocket if their employers deny coverage will face the biggest challenges. Women of color are more likely to be low-income, and also more likely to work a minimum wage job. And as Justice Ginsberg pointed out in her dissent, getting an IUD could cost as much as an entire month’s rent working at the minimum wage. And let’s not forget that contraceptives aren’t only prescribed for preventing pregnancies—they’re also used to manage severe menstrual symptoms and conditions like polycystic ovarian syndrome and endometriosis. Women of color who are already struggling to make ends meet may face increased burdens. That could mean doing things like splitting one pack of pills between two women each month, as Kimberly Inez McGuire reports two Latina women living in South Texas have been doing. Elizabeth Dawes Gay, writing at Ebony, elaborates on how this impacts black women specifically:
“In 2011, more than half of Black people were covered by private (usually employer-sponsored) health insurance, either through their own employer or that of a family member, and 57 million adult women of all races were covered through employer-sponsored insurance. If the behavior of companies like Hobby Lobby becomes the norm rather than the exception, it could impact contraceptive access for millions of people in the U.S. and have a disproportionate impact on Black women who, with lower income and wealth on average, may not be able to afford to pay for their contraception out-of-pocket.”Renee Bracey Sherman also wrote about how this decision could affect Black women. For Asian-American and Pacific Islander women, already low rates of contraceptive use could be even lower if this decision places another economic barrier in their way. 2. The Risks of Unplanned Pregnancy The risks of having to carry an unintended pregnancy to term are much higher for women of color, especially black women. Black women are four times more likely to die during childbirth than white women, which means potentially being unable to prevent a pregnancy due to the financial barriers put in place by their religious employers. And it’s not just death that women of color are at higher risk for during childbirth—it’s also infant mortality, low-infant birth weight and premature delivery—all things that pose significant long-term risks to the mother and child. 3. History Women of color have already had to deal with a long history of reproductive control at the hands of employers and the government. From slave owners’ manipulation of Black women’s reproduction, to non-consensual sterilization of Latinas in public hospitals, to welfare reform and family caps limiting the number of children welfare recipients can have, women of color have long had to fight for the right to control their own reproduction. This case just adds another layer to controlling fertility, this time at the hands of employers. At this point it’s no longer news that those in our communities who are the most vulnerable suffer the most when increased restrictions and barriers are put into place—and pregnancy and reproduction has been a hotbed of these kinds of restrictions over the last few years. As the Obama administration figures out how they might fill the gap left by this ruling (even the majority opinion, written by Justice Alito, offers this as a solution), we have to keep in mind that women of color are once again going to be relying on a safety net to get basic needs met. And that’s a safety net with more and more holes.