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Tuesday December 12th 2017

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COMMENTARY Obama Can’t Do it Alone: Your Vote is Important This November

By Donna Pususta Neste 

I remember the fall of 2008 when I got in the longest line to vote that I had ever seen in Phillips Neighborhood. Everyone was excited. We all knew that the whole country was sick of Bush and the Republicans. Obama won by a landslide and for the first two years of his presidency much was accomplished. However, the Republicans had taken back the House of Representatives in the following mid-term election and because of some very creative gerrymandering, they have owned it ever since. Since 2010 their strategy has been to block everything that benefits those who are struggling to get by, which is most of Phillips Neighborhood. President Obama and the Democrats have introduced bill after bill over the past six years that, if passed, would have put our nation squarely back on its feet again, but nothing moved in Washington because Congress refused to budge.

If you are eligible to vote, please do. This up-coming election is as important as any presidential election, especially for those who rely on food stamps, reduced or no-cost school lunches and summer lunch programs for your children, receive much needed help through the Women, Infants, and Children Program, and/or receive a big tax refund through the Low Income Tax Credit Program, all Federaly funded programs. The Low Income Tax Credit Program pulls more working poor Americans above the poverty line than any program Congress has ever put in place. However, that tax credit and all the above are at risk of being severally reduced or cut all-together, if the wrong people get voted into the House and Senate this election year.

Take, for instance, the recent Ryan Budget that was passed in the House. It was a bill that was dead in the water before it reached the Senate. There was no way the Democratic controlled Senate would have passed a bill that would increase military spending, provide large tax cuts to the richest Americans, and balance the budget. In order to pay for that balanced budget, (an action that seems to take on the importance of life or death for the Republicans whenever there’s a Democrat in the White House), the largess for war and the top 1%, the Ryan Budget proposed deep cuts to the discretionary funds, that include all the above mentioned that benefit many in Phillips Neighborhood. (If the House can’t be taken, the Senate at least needs to stay in the hands of the Democrats). The funds that help low-income people make up only one percent of the Federal Budget. To make cuts to those programs would be like cutting a child’s allowance in order to help pay for the mortgage. So, Ryan went after Medicare, by proposing to make it into a voucher system (a system that killed the Federally funded Aid for Dependent Children Program, part of Clinton’s “Welfare Reform” bill), Social Security, and Obamacare.

If you benefit from any of the above programs, make sure you get yourself to the voting booth this November and vote for the candidates that are more concerned about your well-being than giving billionaires more “tax relief.”

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