REP. BECERRA VOTES AGAINST BUDGET THAT PRIVATIZES MEDICARE AND MAKES PERMANENT TAX CUTS FOR THE WEALTHIEST AMERICANS
On April 15, the Republican majority in the House of Representatives voted to pass a Fiscal Year 2012 budget that ends Medicare as we know it while cutting taxes for the richest Americans. And that's not all it does. Here are the takeaway facts and figures from the fallout that would result if this budget became the law of the land:
Ranking Member Xavier Becerra Opening Statement at Social Security Subcommittee Hearing on E-Verify
April 14, 2011
Mr. Chairman, thank you for calling this hearing to examine the impact that the electronic employment eligibility verification system has on the Social Security Administration and on US workers.
The Social Security Administration has played a critical role in the verification of our workforce since 1997, when the Basic Pilot program began, which is now known as E-Verify.
Even though immigration enforcement is not part of SSA's core mission, SSA has played an important part in E-Verify. This is because most workers checked through E-Verify are U.S. citizens, and SSA's databases are the only comprehensive source of information on U.S. citizens.
Today, the majority of employees who are checked through E-Verify are cleared fairly quickly. However, some workers are not. And in fact, some of these non-match cases are the result of errors in SSA and immigration databases, or breakdowns in the process used to resolve erroneous rejections by E-Verify.
Our witnesses today will describe what happens to workers when they receive a "tentative non-confirmation" that the information submitted by their employer doesn't match information contained on government databases.
This requires newly-hired individuals to take additional steps to verify their employment eligibility in order to keep their job. A recent Government Accountability Office report concluded that individuals often face significant difficulty in resolving non-confirmations.
This is not a trivial matter, because the inability to resolve an erroneous non-confirmation can lead to the loss of a job.
In addition, I am deeply troubled to learn that many employers do not comply with E-Verify program rules designed to prevent discrimination or abuse of the system. For example, some employers do not give their workers a chance to correct their records or inform them of their rights, and instead simply fire them.
In this weakened economy, one job lost due to mechanical or technical error, or employer non-compliance with E-Verify requirements, is one job too many.
Mr. Chairman, at this time I'd like to submit into the record the stories of Americans who have suffered greatly from problems with E-Verify. These illustrate the kinds of challenges U.S. citizens and legally authorized workers face in keeping their jobs.
Many in this Congress would like to expand the E-Verify system. But we should not do so unless we first address the kinds of problems with the existing system that are identified in today's hearing.
In addition, to meet the needs of this program, should it grow, more resources must be dedicated not only to process queries, but also to increase staff for the inevitable influx of in-person visits to contest erroneous non-confirmations. One estimate finds that as many as 1 million new hires would need to visit an SSA office should this program become mandatory.
I am struggling to reconcile the costs of an expanded E-Verify program with competing priorities in a challenging fiscal environment – particularly when we know that, right now, E-Verify fails to detect unauthorized work, is subject to misuse and identity fraud, and causes U.S. citizens to lose their jobs.
For example, while the volume of queries to E-Verify continues to increase, funding for E-Verify has been reduced in the fiscal year 2011 Continuing Resolution. For E-Verify, the resolution appropriates $103.4 million, which is a reduction of $33.6 million from the $137 million provided in fiscal year 2010. In addition, the Continuing Resolution provides $643 million less for SSA in fiscal year 2011 than what the agency actually received in the prior year – this represents close to a 10 percent cut in what SSA needs to maintain service levels and continue to drive down the disability backlog.
While some have proposed making E-Verify a permanent, mandatory program, the Congressional Budget Office has estimated that this would cost the taxpayers nearly $18 billion over ten years.
As we continue to work to improve this program, the ultimate solution is to reform our broken immigration system.
In places like Arizona where E-Verify is mandatory, some employers have resorted to paying their employees under the table or have simply chosen not to comply with the program. The state has also seen a loss of income-tax revenue – confirming predictions that mandatory E-Verify in the absence of immigration reform simply drives employers into the underground economy.
Chairman Johnson, I look forward to working with you to improve our electronic employment verification system. Thank you again for calling this hearing.
Opening Statement from Ranking Member Xavier Becerra at the Subcommittee on Social Security Hearing on the Role of Social Security Numbers in Identity Theft and Options to Guard Their Privacy on April 13, 2011
Remarks as Prepared
Mr. Chairman, thank you for calling this hearing to focus on the problem of identity theft, the overuse of Social Security numbers by both the government and the private sector, and what we can do to better protect the number and reduce the incidence of identity theft.
Stealing or obtaining Social Security numbers through illegitimate means is a key part of identity fraud, and millions of people are harmed each year due to misappropriation of their identities. This subcommittee is deeply concerned about this problem, and in fact, this is the 18th hearing we have held on identity theft and protection of the Social Security number since January, 2000.
WHO KNEW NPR AND BIG BIRD WERE BEHIND OUR BUDGET DEFICITS?
According to non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates, the main causes of our federal budget deficits projected over the next ten years are the Bush-era tax cuts for the rich, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the economic recession. Yet, instead of focusing on the true causes of our deficits, Congress voted to cut funding for National Public Radio (NPR). After voting against the bill Rep. Becerra said, “The dust is setting and now we can see who House Republicans identify as the culprits of these massive budget deficits: Morning Edition, All Things Considered and A Prairie Home Companion, join Big Bird and Dora the Explorer, community programming and Head Start in the lineup of suspects. Who knew!”
What else has the Republican majority put on the chopping block?
The jobs of 7,000 special education teachers
Job training for 200,000 Americans who are out of work through no fault of their own
$88 million for food safety inspections
Life-saving health services like HIV and cancer screenings for 5 million women in America
Number of jobs independent economists estimate will be lost if this budget becomes law: 700,000 Long-term impact on federal budget deficits: Zero
SHORT TAKES – WASHINGTON, D.C.
REP. BECERRA ON TEMPORARY SPENDING BILLS: “STOP KICKING THE CAN DOWN THE ROAD”
On March 15th, the House of Representatives approved a second temporary continuing budget resolution to fund the government for just three more weeks while making more reckless cuts to programs that work. After voting against the bill Rep. Becerra said: “It’s time for this Congress to start making the tough choices and stop kicking the can down the road. The not-so-new Republican majority is budgeting by baby-steps and that is no way to run the largest economy in the world or the smallest business on Main Street. Today’s vote will not create a single job or fix our long term deficit problem, but it could inject more confusion and uncertainty into our economic recovery. Congress needs to get serious about putting Americans back to work and stop playing Russian roulette with our economy.”
REP. BECERRA TO SPEAKER BOEHNER: ABANDON PLAN TO SHUT DOWN SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION
On March 16th, Congressman Becerra and 125 members of the House Democratic Caucus sent a letter to Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) urging him to restore reasonable funding levels to the Social Security Administration (SSA) in the proposed 2011 budget and avoid shutting down the agency for the equivalent of a month this year. After sending the letter Rep. Becerra—the highest ranking Democrat on the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security—said: “The facts are the facts. The Republican job-destroying spending bill will shut down Social Security offices for up to a month this year. That was the warning the Social Security Administration recently communicated to Congress. And if local Social Security offices are closed for business, nearly 700,000 new retirees, widows, disabled workers and children will be put in a backlog as phones go unanswered and claims go unprocessed. Today we say to Speaker Boehner, restore funding in your budget for the Social Security Administration and cease-and-desist from this plan that would shut it down.”
SHORT TAKES – LOS ANGELES
A YEAR LATER, NEW HEALTH CARE RIGHTS & CHOICES ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE One year ago this month, President Obama signed into law historic rights and choices in health care for America's families. This has meant a world of difference for Maria Gama and her family, who live in our congressional district. Maria's daughter suffers from Type 1 diabetes, requiring daily insulin shots. And because diabetes is considered a ’pre-existing condition,’ Maria's insurer wouldn’t cover her daughter. Maria was forced to pay over $400 out of pocket each month for medication for her daughter. Now, thanks to the Affordable Care Act, Maria has the right to add her daughter to her insurance policy. On the occasion of the one-year anniversary of this transformative law, Rep. Becerra released a video message to outline what the law has accomplished and what lies ahead:
By right, you can no longer be dropped from your health plan when you get sick.
By right, your child or any child born in America can no longer be denied access to a doctor.
You now have a right to keep your children on your health plan until they reach age 26.
If you are a senior with Medicare, you will now pay less for your medications and your Medicare HMO plan.
If you are a small businessman or woman who chooses to cover your employees, you now have a right to receive a significant tax credit to cover the cost of insurance.
You now have a right to receive a rebate from your insurance company if it spends on actual health care for you less than 85 cents of every dollar you paid that insurer in premiums.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a continued effort to bring news and relevant information about our federal government back to his home district in Los Angeles, Representative Xavier Becerra (CA-31), Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus and Ranking Member of the Social Security Subcommittee, brings you “The Becerra Bulletin,” an e-newsletter filled with facts and information meant to stimulate thought and discussion about American economic policy and a host of other issues.
BY THE NUMBERS
‘SO BE IT’ BUDGET DESTROYS JOBS, BASIC SERVICES AND FAILS TO BALANCE THE BUDGET In their first true statement of priorities and with a ‘so be it’ attitude, the new Republican majority passed an ill conceived budget at 4:40am ET on February 19 by a vote of 235 to 189. This regressive budget plan succeeds in destroying jobs and effective government services while failing to tackle our long term deficit problem. What do these cuts mean for America's working families?
Are you or someone you know looking for a job? For the past 16 years Congressman Becerra has worked with local elected officials, city, state and county agencies and the Los Angeles Dodgers to connect job seekers in his district with employment opportunities.
Although times are tough, nearly a hundred employers and employment service providers from around the Los Angeles area will be gathered at the 16th Annual Community Job Fair at Dodger Stadium next Saturday. Job applicants are encouraged to bring a resume and wear business attire as employers will be actively recruiting and conducting on-site interviews.
Admission and parking at the job fair are free. A shuttle service will also be available to transport attendees from the corner of Elysian Park Avenue and Sunset Boulevard to the stadium entrance at no cost.
WHO: Nearly a hundred employers and employment service providers
WHAT: 16th Annual Community Job Fair hosted by the Los Angeles Dodgers
WHERE: Dodger Stadium 1000 Elysian Park Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90012 Free parking available through Elysian Park Ave / Stadium Way entrance Map it >>
WHEN: Saturday, February 26, 2011, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Located just outside California's 31st Congressional District in Pasadena, NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL) is one of the world's leading scientific research facilities. From designing and operating robotic spacecraft to conducting research on our planet's atmosphere, JPL is a cutting edge facility right in our own back yard.
This summer, JPL is seeking 20 talented and hard working high school students from Southern California to participate in exciting research and engineering projects as part of an eight week paid internship program.
The program is designed for high school students, age 16 or older, who have demonstrated a strong interest in and aptitude for science, technology, engineering and/or mathematics (STEM). One of the program's objectives is to encourage pre-college students who have been traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields to consider such fields for their careers.
The internship runs from June 27 to August 19, 2011 and each student will take home a $3,000 taxable stipend.
The application deadline is next Tuesday, February 15 at 11:59 p.m.
JANUARY 28, 2011 WASHINGTON, D.C. – In a continued effort to bring news and relevant information about our federal government back to his home district in Los Angeles, Representative Xavier Becerra (CA-31), Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus and Ranking Member of the Social Security Subcommittee, brings you “The Becerra Bulletin,” an e-newsletter filled with facts and information meant to stimulate thought and discussion about American economic policy and a host of other issues.
BY THE NUMBERS
SOCIAL SECURITY DIDN’T GET US INTO THIS MESS—AND PRIVATIZING IT WON’T GET US OUT The new Republican majority in the House selected Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (WI-1) to deliver their official response to President Obama’s State of the Union address on January 25 and gave him unprecedented power to set the federal budget for the next year. Chairman Ryan has proposed a plan to cut the federal budget deficit called ‘A Roadmap for America’s Future’. This ‘Roadmap’: