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Congresswoman Betty McCollum's eNewsletter

November 22, 2010

House Republicans Vote Down Unemployment Benefits for Struggling Americans
Millions of American families are still having a hard time meeting basic needs because of weak employment growth. Congresswoman McCollum voted to pass the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Continuation Act (H.R. 6419), which would extend unemployment insurance for Americans who are still unable to find jobs. If an extension of unemployment benefits is not passed by November 30, two million Americans will immediately lose these critical benefits. Unfortunately, 143 Republican House Members voted against H.R. 6419, arguing its costs should be offset. These are the same Republican Members of Congress who say $700 billion in tax cuts for the richest 2 percent of Americans do not need to be paid for. Last week's unemployment insurance legislation failed on a vote of 258-154 - the measure required bi-partisan support to meet the two-thirds majority threshold to pass.

Republicans Try to Eliminate Funding for National Public Radio
Last Thursday, House Republicans turned a routine procedural vote on a noncontroversial bill into a partisan fight to cut federal funding for National Public Radio (NPR). Republican Members described the funding cut as retribution for NPR's decision to dismiss news analyst Juan Williams for comments he made on Fox News that violated his contract. While the attempt to cut NPR funding failed by a vote of 239-171, this action creates a disconcerting precedent. If NPR can be politically targeted by Congress for cuts based on its management decisions, any private company or nonprofit organization receiving federal contracts or funding can face similar politically motivated retaliation.

Congresswoman McCollum is a long-time supporter of public broadcasting. She is committed to supporting legislation, including appropriations that help NPR and the Public Broadcasting System (PBS).

"This assault on National Public Radio is evidence that Republicans are more focused on narrow partisan attacks than tackling the real issues facing Americans," said Congresswoman McCollum. "I have a message for my Republican colleagues: the political campaign is over. It's time to roll up our sleeves and get to work making a better America by creating jobs, fixing the federal budget, and creating a clean energy future."

Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage Annual Enrollment Period
The Annual Enrollment Period for Medicare Part D and Medicare Advantage plans began and lasts until December 31, 2010. This is the time of the year when Medicare beneficiaries can make changes to their health and prescription drug coverage for next year. Each year, plans change costs and which drugs they cover, so Congresswoman McCollum encourages Medicare recipients to review their coverage to determine if they want to make any changes for 2011.

For information and assistance, call the Senior LinkAge Line here in Minnesota at 1-800-333-2433 or Medicare at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227). Also, the Medicare Plan Finder allows you to compare plans online.

In addition, please feel free to call Congresswoman McCollum's office in St. Paul anytime at 651-224-9191.

Congresswoman McCollum wishes all of the families in Minnesota's Fourth Congressional District a happy Thanksgiving and a safe holiday.