Tag Archives: congress

Multi-industry letter regarding immigration reform

The Business Council of New York State signed on to a multi-industry letter that was sent yesterday to leaders of The U.S. House of Representatives encouraging Congress to bring meaningful reforms to the nation’s immigration system.  The Business Council supports immigration reform to meet the needs of citizens and businesses and improve economic competitiveness.

The letter encourages Congress to reform an outdated system and that by enacting immigration reform now, it will “accelerate U.S. economic growth” at a time when the nation is still struggling to recover economically.

It also points out that problems with the immigration system “have grown and multiplied,” hampering “current and future productivity, ingenuity, and competitiveness” in key sectors of our economy, including agriculture, housing, manufacturing, tourism, engineering, and technology.

Read the full letter on The Business Council of New York State website.

Independent Health offers doctor-payment model for Medicare

Dr. Thomas Foels, chief medical officer of Independent Health (Buffalo), recently went before a congressional subcommittee to lay out what he programs he believes would “remove the annual threat of looming provider cuts by permanently repealing  [the current “Sustainable Growth Rate” formula] and replacing it with a system that incentivizes quality care, not simply volume of service.”

Buffalo News reporter Jerry Zremski opined that Congress may have found ” anew way to pay doctors under Medicare.

H-1B lottery; visa cap likely to be hit this week

Kent Hoover, the Washington bureau chief for the New York Business Journal, wrote about the petitions for the H-1B visas now being accepted by the federal government. As we reported last week, high-tech companies say the 65,000 cap Congress placed on the visas is too low to meet the high demand for high-skilled workers. That’s an issue of particular importance here in New York where employers say there is a severe shortage of highly-skilled workers.

Click here to read Hoover’s report.

NAM: Budgets must be rooted in pro growth policies

National Association of Manufacturers logo

$1 Trillion in Tax Increases Won’t Fix Fiscal Problems

National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) Senior Vice President of Policy and Government Relations Aric Newhouse issued a statement regarding the ongoing budget debate in the U.S. Senate.

“A pro-growth budget is essential to our success as a nation. After years of stalled recovery, every fiscal decision we make should be rooted in growing our economy. A budget that attempts to fix our fiscal woes through tax increases is misguided and wrong. Unfortunately, the budget proposal before the Senate would do exactly that. The tax increases in this budget are a regressive step that will hurt manufacturers and the economy, while ignoring the underlying cause of our problems – unsustainable entitlement programs. We will see job creators put plans on investment, hiring and growth on hold, resulting in a less competitive America.

Manufacturers have released a Growth Agenda that shows policymakers the path to a manufacturing resurgence. Rather than $1 trillion in tax increases, they need comprehensive tax reform that will result in a simpler, fairer code to drive growth in the U.S. If Washington budgets with growth as its ultimate goal, manufacturing, and our economy, will be strengthened.”


Manufacturers urge lawmakers to help businesses grow

On The Hill’s blog, On The Money, Vicki Needham reported that “manufacturers say businesses are holding back on hiring because they are frustrated about the nation’s fiscal situation and its regulatory environment.” That from Chad Moutray, chief economist for the National Association of Manufacturers.  His comments followed the release of the February jobs report which showed an addition of 14,000 in manufacturing. Good, but not good enough.

Click here to read Needham’s report.


Zogby’s Obama weekly report card – Grade F

This is taken from John Zoby’s Weekly Report Card Featured in Paul Bedard’s “Washington Secrets”
Published weekly in The Washington Examiner

“I am not an ideologue. I call it as I see it. The week President Obama just finished sucked. The Obama administration created the fiscal cliff, has used it as a bludgeon, has ‘Chicken Littled’ about its impact, and now says it is only a bump, not a cliff. Their message now is, ‘never mind.’ Add to that the White House is threatening a venerable journalist like Bob Woodward? This is, no matter how you cut it, a failure in leadership and disingenuous, to boot. Meanwhile, Congress sucks, too. There are no heroes this week. No problems solved. This is not zero-sum. This is zero.”

John Zogby

Other News Releases available at – http://www.zogbyanalytics.com

Contact Independent Pollster John Zogby
[email protected]

Odds against him, Obama still betting on big deal

Jim Kuhnhenn, reporter for the Associated Press, writes that the “fiscal deadline [is] all but blown.” President Obama says he will wait until the very last second to sign the sequester order – ever hopeful a deal can be struck. However, according to The New York Times, Speaker John Boehner says “the revenue issue is now closed.” New York stands to lose hundreds of millions of dollars and the loss of many jobs. Syracuse.com reporter Mark Weiner wrote a very good piece about how the sequestration will affect New York.

Click here to read Kuhnhenn’s article.

Click here to read the Times article, written by Ashley Parker.

New York: Click here to read Weiner’s story.


How will the budget impass in Congress hurt New York

We’re just days away from across-the-board cuts of nearly $1 trillion. Those budget cuts will go into effect on Friday, unless President Obama and Congress can agree on a so-called “grand bargain.”

Jimmy Vielkind, reporter for the Times Union, takes a look at how much New York would lose in funding and which employees who could, at least temporarily, lose their jobs.

Click here to read Vielkind’s report.

Congress eyes NY’s Medicaid overbilling

House panel: Medicaid is a $54B mess

New York’s Medicaid system needs audit to study waste, abuse, draft report says

James M. Odato of the Times Union reported on  many of the problems identified in “a system that allowed itself to be gamed,” so said one congressman. Here’s his story:

A congressional panel on Tuesday proposed an independent audit of New York’s sprawling Medicaid system to look into waste, abuse and inefficiencies, including the operations of the state Medicaid Inspector General‘s Office.

The U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform published a draft report that called New York’s $54 billion system bloated and lacking in accountability. A top-to-bottom examination is needed for a state that had turned the word Medicaid into a verb, the document said.

“New York state’s long-standing attitude of ‘if it moves, Medicaid it’ has resulted in the state inappropriately spending tens of billions of federal tax dollars over the past few decades,” the report said. “Although the committee’s oversight efforts during the last Congress focused on problems in the Medicaid program across the country, time and time again, the committee discovered that the worst abuses of the program consistently occurred in New York.”

The committee met Tuesday to discuss the report, and labeled it a draft for final action next week to allow New York officials more time to comment.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-California, chairman of the panel, credited whistleblowers for exposing many of the problems identified in “a system that allowed itself to be gamed.”

Ranking Democrat Elijah Cummings of Maryland said the report “goes a long way in … placing a spotlight on the situation,” but noted that more time is needed for polishing.

The committee blasted federal agencies last year for allowing New York to overbill the federal government $15 billion over two decades for services to developmentally disabled Medicaid recipients. The new report, like the prior one, drew from news stories that have questioned the state’s program. Medicaid is supposed to cover medical services to low-income patients.

“I can’t believe the Republican majority in Congress would allege such a thing,” said Comptroller Tom DiNapoli, who has pledged to examine New York’s Medicaid costs. “I’ll take a look at the report.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo‘s aides would not respond at length to the report’s findings and direction. “These issues occurred under previous administrations and most, if not all, of these issues have since been corrected,” said Richard Azzopardi, a Cuomo spokesman.

Congress approves $51 billion in aid for Hurricane Sandy victims

Good news for all those affected by Hurricane Sandy, which devastated sections of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Raymond Hernandez of The New York Times has the story:

WASHINGTON — Congress gave final approval on Monday to an emergency aid package of nearly $51 billion to help millions of victims of Hurricane Sandy, ending the legislation’s long and complicated odyssey.

By a 62-to-36 vote, the Senate approved the measure, with 9 Republicans joining 53 Democrats to support it. The House recently passed the bill, 241 to 180, after initially refusing to act on it amid objections from fiscal conservatives over its size and its impact on the federal deficit.

The newly adopted aid package comes on top of nearly $10 billion that Congress approved this month to support the recovery efforts in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and other states that were battered by the hurricane in late October.

The money will provide aid to people whose homes were damaged or destroyed, as well as to business owners who had heavy losses. It will also pay for replenishing shorelines, repairing subway and commuter rail systems, fixing bridges and tunnels, and reimbursing local governments for emergency spending.

President Obama praised the vote, saying, “I commend Congress for giving families and businesses the help they deserve, and I will sign this bill into law as soon as it hits my desk.”

Click here to read more.