Monthly Archives: June 2012

Congress approves deal on transportation, student loans

Washington — In yet another case of brinksmanship, Congress Friday — right on deadline — approved a deal to freeze a low-interest rate on student loans and approved billions of dollars in spending on local transportation projects. All members of the Connecticut congressional delegation voted for the package, the result of a compromise between House Republicans and Senate Democrats that also authorized the federal flood insurance program for another five years. The bill passed 373-52 in the House and 74-19 in the Senate. But some Connecticut lawmakers gave their support to the legislation grudgingly. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd District, said she supported freezing the Stafford loan rate to 3.4 percent. Continue Reading →

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Bysiewicz starts television campaign

Former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz has gotten a jump on her Democratic rival for the Senate, Rep. Chris Murphy, at least when it comes to television advertising. Bysiewicz’s campaign said it will begin to run a 30-second spot called “Proud” in order “to highlight Susan’s record of getting things done.” The ad features a woman who had complications from a mastectomy who credits Bysiewicz for getting a law approved in the state legislature that ended the practice by insurers of sending women home shortly after the surgery. Bysiewicz campaign spokesman Jonathan Ducote said the ad will run on Hartford-based WCTX, CBS Channel 3 and Fox Channel 61, among other stations. The initial ad buy, which cost $200,000, is for two weeks. Continue Reading →

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The communists had nothing to do with latest bonding flap

This time it had nothing to do with communists. A few weeks after scrapping plans to help fund a controversial community center project in New Haven, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy was criticized Friday in connection with a center in Bridgeport. Sen. Andrew W. Roraback, R-Goshen, said his objection doesn’t rest with the administration’s decision to delay funding for the Cardinal Shehan Center — but rather the low-profile manner in which it handled the delay. But the administration fired back that Roraback, who is a candidate for Congress, would have known what was going on if he had spent more time paying attention at commission meetings, and less time engaging in partisan politics. When Friday’s commission meeting opened, Roraback noted that a $2.8 million allocation to enable the Bridgeport center to renovate a Boys and Girls Club facility in the city’s north end was removed from the commission’s June 4 agenda with no discussion. Continue Reading →

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Cash flow battle continues at the Capitol

The regular General Assembly session has been over for almost two months, but the partisan battle over state government’s cash flow continues to percolate at the Capitol. A veteran Republican representative voted against all 22 items on Friday’s State Bond Commission agenda to protest what he called a disturbing trend: The state is approving projects faster than it can release funds to implement them. Deputy House Minority Leader Vincent J. Candelora, R-North Branford, said that the bond panel approved nearly $2 billion worth of capital projects to be financed with bonding and repaid with tax dollars collected in either of the General or Special Transportation funds. But, with the fiscal year set to end Saturday, the state has issued bonds to cover about $1.32 billion of that $2 billion. The legislature agreed in May to suspend $300 million in borrowing for transportation projects to reduce debt costs. Continue Reading →

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State gives $24 million to keep company in Connecticut

Hartford — The fifth recipient of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s “First Five” program obtained $24 million in state aid Thursday with a hint of the genteel blackmail common to economic aid packages: the threat of leaving Connecticut for another state. The state aid will help underwrite a move by CareCentrix, a fast-growing national health care company with $850 million in annual revenues, from East Hartford into two floors of a refurbished high-rise in downtown Hartford. “Basically, this was a bet on the future job potential of this company,” Malloy said. “On a growth basis, I think it’s a pretty good investment.” Eric Reimer
Malloy announced the award in the lobby of 20 Church St., where CareCentrix will occupy 30,000 square feet on the 11th and 12th floors of a  high-rise  popularly known as the Stilts Building. Continue Reading →

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After the ruling, a celebration

Within hours of Thursday morning’s health care ruling, students, health care providers, older citizens and members of the clergy gathered at the Capitol to share their joy. Calling it a historic victory, advocates said they were proud of the Supreme Court’s decision, which they say will change the lives of more than 400,000 people in Connecticut with no access to health care. The group included Rabbi Joseph Ron Fish whose infant son needed cleft palate surgery. After the operation, the rabbi and his wife tried to buy a less costly insurance policy — the couple had been paying $30,000 a year for the family because of their son. That’s when Fish and his wife learned they were “prisoners of our insurance company because our son was described as having a pre-existing condition.” Continue Reading →

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What the health care ruling means to me?

Here is a menu of questions and answers related to Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling.  It addresses some of the law’s provisions that are already up and running, as well as major features of what’s to come. I don’t have health insurance. Under the law, will I have to buy it and what happens if I don’t? Right now, you are not required to have health insurance. Continue Reading →

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Advocates say state can’t slow down in pursuit of health care reform

The ink had barely dried on national health care reform in May 2010 when Connecticut lawmakers adopted a plan to expand coverage for the poor. But while Connecticut has been ahead of the national curve in embracing the reforms, advocates warned that with Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling, Connecticut’s head start in pursuing federal health care dollars is over. Continue Reading →

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Supreme Court decision renews health care fight in Congress

Washington — The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act has done nothing to close the chasm of public and political opinion about the health care overhaul. As hundreds of protesters gathered in front of the high court cheered or jeered the decision, Republicans in Congress voiced renewed commitment to overturn the law that is backed by Connecticut’s Democratic lawmakers. “Today’s Supreme Court decision does not mark an end to the debate, it marks a new start on the road to repeal,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. Saying the Supreme Court’s decision strengthened his resolve to get rid of the ACA, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has scheduled a vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act for the week of July 9. Meanwhile Connecticut’s lawmakers joined other jubilant Democrats who saw their support of the Affordable Care Act vindicated Thursday. Continue Reading →

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High court affirms most of Affordable Care Act in 5-4 ruling

The Supreme Court upheld the linchpin of President Obama’s health care reform this morning, ruling 5-4 that Congress can use its taxing power effectively to compel all Americans to buy health coverage by 2014. Continue Reading →

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Connecticut dairy farmers look to Congress for reform

Washington — Connecticut’s dairy farmers are cautiously optimistic that a new federal safety net will help them survive rising costs and falling prices. “Something needed to be done,” said Melinda Greenbacker, who runs a family dairy farm in Durham. “What we have now just isn’t working.” In a massive farm bill, the Senate last week agreed to toss out the Milk Income Loss Contract program, known as MILC, that gives subsidy payments to dairy farmers when prices are low. MILC would be replaced by a voluntary insurance program that would pay out when the cost of producing milk exceeds the money made from selling it. Continue Reading →

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