We’re backed up on a bunch of press releases so I’ll leave four of them this weekend for your reading enjoyment. As we close in on November, campaign and governmental spin doctors will be cranking them out relentlessly. The first is from Democratic Congressional candidate Jim Himes whose campaign received a boost on Saturday from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. The second release is from Congressman Christopher Shays, followed by another from Himes and, finally, a joint effort from Republican State Senators John McKinney and Rob Russo.
If Russo’s Democratic opponent Anthony Musto wants to get in on the Engelbert Humperdinck action, fill us up.
Jim Himes release:
PELOSI SAYS HIMES WILL GET ECONOMY BACK ON TRACK
House Speaker praises Himes, says voters in Connecticut have an “extraordinary opportunity”
STAMFORD, CT: Today, Jim Himes, Democratic Candidate for Congress in the Fourth Congressional District, appeared with Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi at the home of Richard and Susanne Gonzalez in Stamford, CT to highlight the need to change the economic direction of the country. Speaker Pelosi, Jim Himes, and Richard and Susanne Gonzalez issued the following statements:
– Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi: “This year, Democrats have an extraordinary opportunity to bring change for families in Connecticut’s 4th District by replacing Congressman Shays and electing Jim Himes. He understands the needs of middle class families, having been raised by a single mother, and attended public schools. Jim Himes is committed to creating jobs, rebuilding our housing market, making health care more affordable, and fighting for energy independence.”
– Jim Himes: “I’m running for Congress to ensure that our economy once again offers hope and opportunity to every American. Between rising costs, the healthcare crisis, and the unstable housing market, families in our district know that our economy is in bad shape. I will bring new energy and ideas to Congress to fight for the change that our families need.”
– Richard Gonzalez: “Jim knows this economy is not working for families like ours, and he has ideas for getting us back on track. I’m supporting him because I think we need new energy in Congress.”
– Susanne Gonzalez: “Listening to Jim gives me hope. Jim knows that families like ours need a Congressman who can get us the help we need to cope with a struggling economy and uncertain future.”
Chris Shays release:
Shays Joins Bipartisan Effort to Urge President to Release LIHEAP Funds
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Christopher Shays (CT-4) joined 22 of his New England colleagues in writing to President George Bush on Wednesday, requesting he release emergency funds from the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to New England.
“As gas and home heating prices continue to rise, consumers are beginning to question how they will afford to heat their home,” said Shays. “Releasing this emergency funding will benefit many individuals across our state who are feeling the squeeze of record high energy prices. But the key will be a long-term energy policy to decrease U.S. dependence on foreign oil, protect the environment, increase supply, build a market for renewable energy and promote energy conservation.”
Shays is the lead cosponsor of Congressman Peter Welch’s (VT-At Large) legislation to double the funding of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) in Fiscal Year 2008 (FY 08) from $2.57 billion to $5.1 billion.
The bipartisan legislation H.R. 6427, the Warm in Winter and Cool in Summer Act, will provide Connecticut with an additional $59.8 million in LIHEAP funding for FY 08.
Shays also has introduced H.R. 1945, the Energy For Our Future Act, a comprehensive bipartisan energy reform bill which has three principal goals for our national energy policy: improving the fuel efficiency of passenger vehicles; incentivizing the purchase of energy-efficient appliances; and repealing extraneous tax breaks for industries that are very profitable and have plenty of incentive to develop additional supply.
Last month, Shays introduced H.R. 6784, the Home Heating Oil Assistance Act, which helps middle and lower income families with their home heating bills this winter.
The Home Heating Oil Assistance Act would allow for a refundable tax credit of up to $500, or 33 percent of the amount of the residential heating costs, whichever is lower. The eligibility threshold would be $200,300 in the case of a joint return, $182,400 in the case of a head of a household and $164,550 in the case of an individual who is not married.
Jim Himes release:
SHAYS’ TRUE STANCE ON SOCIAL SECURITY
Republican continues to support privatizing social security
BRIDGEPORT, CT: On Wednesday, September 9, Republican Christopher Shays issued a press release claiming that he does not support privatizing social security. The Himes campaign issued the following response:
“Chris Shays worked hand in hand with George Bush when Bush wanted to privatize social security,” said Michael Sachse, Himes’ Communication Director. “Just because George Bush and Chris Shays try not to talk about privatizing Social Security any more doesn’t mean they think it’s a bad idea. Chris Shays’ recent statements make it clear that he still supports privatizing Social Security.”
– “I believe Americans should be able to invest a portion of their Social Security contribution in a broad-based index of the stock markets, improving the return on workers’ investments, regardless of short-term market fluctuations, and helping maintain the solvency of the Social Security system” (1/20/05, Westport Minuteman)
– Recent statements show Chris Shays still thinks he was right and voters were wrong. In July, Shays distanced himself from “advocates of existing Social Security” and claimed that private markets are “absolutely” the best place for people to have “their Social Security retirement” – not just additional funds. (WNPR, “Where We Live,” 7/11/08) *
– In August, Shays again claimed that retirement savings should be invested in private accounts rather than in Social Security: “Having people invest in their country is a better way to get a return on your investment than treasury bills that are invested in the Social Security fund.” (8/13/08, WTNH News)
* TRANSCRIPT OF SHAYS ON “WHERE WE LIVE,” 7/11/08:
HOST: Given what a lot of Americans are seeing happen with the markets right now, do you think it’s the safest place for people to have their Social Security retirement?
SHAYS: Oh yeah. Oh absolutely. Because in the long run – unless you think your country’s going down the drain, and that we’re going to be a second-rate nation – but the bottom line is in the long run, yes, it goes up…
So what the advocates of the existing Social Security want is that we should invest in what we have, treasury bills, which pay the lowest interest rate. You would go to jail if you were a fiduciary of an account and you suggested to a young person that they invest all their money in treasury bills. You would have them invest in your country and in the businesses in your country.
McKinney, Russo release:
Senators McKinney, Russo Call Upon Speaker Pelosi to Increase Heating Assistance
Call for additional federal funding for LIHEAP comes as House Speaker comes to Connecticut
State Senators John McKinney, R-Fairfield, and Robert D. Russo, R-Bridgeport, today are calling upon House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Congress to immediately enact legislation that would increase LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) funding in Connecticut . At a press conference today in Bridgeport the senators said that the rising cost of energy is the number one issue facing residents of Connecticut and with the winter months approaching, they are extremely concerned that people will not be able to afford to heat their homes.
“The time to act is now,” said Sen. McKinney. “Lower income families and people on fixed incomes are in need of assistance and while there has been a lot of talk coming out of Washington there’s been very little action. We are looking at a potential crisis not only here in Connecticut but throughout the nation, with Congress now back in session it is imperative that legislation increasing LIHEAP is adopted immediately.”
In a letter to Speaker Pelosi who is in Connecticut today, the Senators said that “Congress has failed to act on legislation that would provide a sizeable increase in LIHEAP funding. It is critical to the citizens of Connecticut that Congress act on bills currently before them to ensure that our residents don’t freeze during this time of soaring energy prices.”
Connecticut expects to receive $41 million in LIHEAP funding. Legislative committees on Appropriations, Energy and Technology, and Human Services have already determined that this is not enough to pay for benefits already guaranteed. The Senators said that even with an additional $35 million coming from the state’s Energy Contingency Account, another $36.3 million from the federal government is still needed to fully fund energy assistance programs. Without full funding Connecticut may be forced to close the entire program or portions of the program early.
“Our most vulnerable citizens in urban areas like Bridgeport are depending on Congress and the Administration to move beyond partisanship and act on the very reasonable legislative proposals before them,” said Sen. Russo
Last month, the Connecticut General Assembly authorized a substantial funding increase to the Connecticut Energy Assistance Program. The CEAP program provides low income elderly and vulnerable households with protection during the winter season. The Connecticut Legislature has committed to spend $113.9 million on heating assistance.
“We will continue to work with Governor Rell in supporting our congressional delegation’s efforts to increase energy assistance for Connecticut residents through proposals like Congressman Shays’ Warm Winter and Cool Summer Act. Low- and middle-income families in the Greater Bridgeport area cannot afford for Congressional leaders to fail them,” said Sen. McKinney.