Bobby Schilling, the Republican candidate for Illinois' 17th Congressional District recently got some advice about what he should pursue in Washington should he defeat the district's incumbent Democrat, Congressman Phil Hare, this November. The idea? A caller to a radio program says Schilling should work to shut down "any progressive agency" created by the federal government, going back to Teddy Roosevelt's presidential administration. Schilling chuckles at the suggestion and then says, "OK, I love you guys, man," to the caller. The Hare campaign posted the clip. Listen:
Presuambly the caller's definition of progressive agencies includes the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Education, both of which are often targets of the insurgent Republican right. How about the Social Security Administation and the Department of Health and Human Services, which administers Medicare? Of course, it was Teddy Roosevelt who pushed through the nation's first food-safety law, providing for federal inspections of meat. Perhaps Schilling's take whether these agencies should stay or go will get flushed out at the next 17th District congressional debate. It's scheduled to air October 27 at 6:30 p.m. on WQPT, a PBS affiliate for the Quad Cities. Which begs a question: would Schilling push to eliminate federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting?
That's how many Illinoisans are scheduled to exhaust their state or
federal unemployment benefits on November 30 if Congress fails to pass
an emergency extension, according to a new briefing paper
(PDF) from the National Employment Law Project. Only California and
Florida have more residents at risk. Remember that the U.S. Senate will
only have seven days to reauthorize the program when they return from
the fall recess. More from NELP:
Any lapse or cuts would strike a
major blow to workers and businesses during the height of the holiday
and retail season, and further federal cut-offs will quickly mount to
millions more early next year—if Congress fails to continue the
An initial analysis of the Put Illinois To Work program reveals that more than 27,000 Illinoisians have worked for 4,280 employers in 71 counties across the state. Funding for the program will dry up at the end of November, meaning job cuts for thousands. Is this the right move with the state's unemployment rate still so high?
A new ad released by Working For Us PAC, which is backed by labor unions including the SEIU Illinois State Council (which sponsors this website), blasts GOP U.S. Senate nominee Mark Kirk for his support of President George W. Bush's economic policies. The spot calls Kirk "Bush's Yes Man" for supporting legislation that "gave tax breaks to big oil" and "tax breaks for companies that shipped jobs overseas," which helped lead to "the worst recession in 50 years." Watch:
U.S. Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) swung into Chicago this morning to join Democratic Senate hopeful Alexi Giannoulias in blasting U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk's flip-flop on climate change legislation. Kirk famously voted in favor of the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill in the summer of 2009, felt pushback from the GOP base, and then assured Republican voters by that fall he would not support a similar bill in the upper chamber. Here's Kerry talking about the (stalled) Senate climate change and energy bill he drafted with Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT), followed by comments from Giannoulias:
Since abandoning cap-and-trade, Kirk has gained financial support from the coal industry and libertarian ideologues at Koch Industries. We should know by November 3 whether it costs him votes outside of his core Republican backers. By bringing Kirk's shift on climate legislation up today, ahead of their second debate tonight (scheduled for 7 p.m. on ABC 7), the Giannoulias campaign seems to betting on exactly that.
The National Employment Law Project (NELP) unveiled a retooled Unemployedworkers.org this morning. The website seeks to serve as an online hub for workers pushing Congress to authorize another round of federal benefits for the long-term unemployed -- those without jobs who have exhausted regular state unemployment compensation.
The last extension of federal unemployment assistance will expire November 30. When federal support for the unemployed was up for debate this past summer, Congress took seven weeks before enacting another round of the program, according to NELP, during which more than 2 million unemployed workers saw their benefits cut off. This time around, if lawmakers fail to pass an extension, around 1 million workers a week will see their benefits cut this winter; approximately 5.1 million people receive assistance through two federal jobless programs, NELP calculates. And this time around, there's a small window for debate: the congressional lame duck session doesn't even start until November 15.
Unemployedworkers.org features a petition to Congress for another round of unemployment insurance and a section devoted to testimonials from jobless workers. Also available on the site are frequently-asked-questions guides, a blog, and other resources.