NCDP Clips July 1, 2013

NC drops federal jobless benefits, McCrory flips on abortion campaign promise, federal student loan rate doubles, all eyes turn to U.S. House on immigration reform, gay marriage’s decade of change, a recap on recent Democrat wins, NC Senate race ranks No. 6 of seats likely to switch parties, Republicans target Hillary Clinton’s age ahead of 2016


Asheville Citizen-Times: NC becomes 1st state to drop federal jobless funds
With changes to its unemployment law taking effect this weekend, North Carolina not only is cutting benefits for those who file new claims, it will become the first state disqualified from a federal compensation program for the long-term jobless. State officials adopted the package of benefit cuts and increased taxes for businesses in February, a plan designed to accelerate repayment of a $2.5 billion federal debt.

MSNBC: North Carolina axes benefits for long-term unemployed
Starting next week, North Carolina—which has the fifth highest jobless rate in the country—will become the only state in the union with no safety net for the long-term jobless. Thanks to reforms in the state’s unemployment insurance laws, North Carolina’s 71,000-plus long-term unemployed residents will lose access to the federally funded Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) program.

Charlotte Observer: North Carolina will become first state to forfeit federal long-term unemployment benefits
Federal extended unemployment benefits end for more than 70,000 jobless North Carolinians on Sunday as the state becomes the first in the nation to opt out of the federal long-term compensation program. A state unemployment overhaul that takes effect this weekend disqualifies North Carolina from receiving the federal benefits intended for those unemployed longer than 26 weeks. Federal law cuts off aid to states that don’t maintain their current benefit system.

Huffington Post: North Carolina Dropped From Federal Unemployment Program
With changes to its unemployment law taking effect this weekend, North Carolina not only is cutting benefits for those who file new claims, it will become the first state disqualified from a federal compensation program for the long-term jobless. The changes go into effect Sunday for North Carolina, which has the country’s fifth-worst jobless rate. The cuts on those who make unemployment claims on or after that day will disqualify the state from receiving federally funded Emergency Unemployment Compensation. That money kicks in after the state’s period of unemployment compensation – now shortened from up to six months to no more than five – runs out.

The Washington Post: With changes to its unemployment law, NC becomes 1st state to drop federal jobless funds
With changes to its unemployment law taking effect this weekend, North Carolina not only is cutting benefits for those who file new claims, it will become the first state disqualified from a federal compensation program for the long-term jobless. State officials adopted the package of benefit cuts and increased taxes for businesses in February, a plan designed to accelerate repayment of a $2.5 billion federal debt.

WRAL: 170K long-term jobless in NC face benefits cutoff
The decision of North Carolina lawmakers to cut the amount and length of state unemployment benefits is taking effect, and that means about 170,000 long-term jobless are losing their last checks.


Dome: McCrory favors pistol permits, abortion curriculum
McCrory said he wants county sheriffs to continue to issue pistol permits rather than leave background checks to the federal database system. He’s also in favor of requiring middle-school students be taught that abortion is a risk factor for premature births. His remarks prompted NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina to issue a statement Saturday criticizing McCrory for his stance on SB 132, the classroom abortion bill. During the campaign for office, McCrory flatly said he would not support any new restrictions on abortion. NARAL calls it a restriction on accurate information about abortion.“By signing this bill, Governor McCrory will be going back on his campaign promise and sending a message that he can’t be trusted to stick to his word,” Suzanne Buckley, executive director of the state NARAL chapter, said in the statement.


Charlotte Observer: For Tillis and his donors, an interest in bills
Moments before the N.C. House began debating a contentious abortion-related bill last week, Speaker Thom Tillis exited for the campaign trail. The leading Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate traveled to Charlotte for a campaign fundraiser where donors paid as much as $2,600 to meet him.


Washington Post: Key federal student loan rate doubles
The interest rate on a key federal student loan doubled Monday, as expected, but it is unclear whether Congress will allow the increase to stand before the new school year gets under way. Federal law has set the rate for new subsidized Stafford loans at 6.8 percent, up from 3.4 percent. The subsidy means that these loans, for undergraduates with demonstrated financial need, do not accrue interest while the students are in school. It is estimated that the rate hike would add about $1,000 in interest over the life of a loan for many borrowers.

The Wall Street Journal: What’s Really ‘Immoral’ About Student Loans
Unless Congress acts, interest rates for government subsidized student loans will double to 6.8% from 3.4% on July 1. In May, House Republicans passed a bill that would index rates on new loans to the rate on 10-year Treasurys (currently about 2.6%), plus 2.5 percentage points, with an 8.5% cap. But with little Democratic support in the Senate, that bill is dead in the water. Most Democrats want to lock the current 3.4% rate in place for two more years while Congress debates a "fairer" solution. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has even proposed letting students borrow directly from the government at the same ultra-low rate that banks currently get on short-term loans from the Federal Reserve—0.75%. She calls the Republican proposal "immoral."

News & Observer: Hold the line on student loans
Both of North Carolina’s senators, Republican Richard Burr and Democrat Kay Hagan, are involved in attempts to maintain low interest rates on federal student loans, but on Monday, some of the loan rates will double. That’s bad for students and bad for the country. Obviously, the last thing students in need of loans can afford in these still-tough economic times is a jacking-up of interest rates, something that will plunge more of them into deeper debt. That debt is life-changing for some, driving them out of careers such as public school teaching into other endeavors that will pay them more to enable them to pay off loans.

The Hill: Sen. Warren spars with student lender Sallie Mae over loan rates
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has picked a fight with the nation’s largest private student loan provider. The liberal favorite and staunch consumer advocate spent much of the past week sparring with Sallie Mae, contending the lender enjoys sizeable government perks while sticking it to students with high interest rates.


Politico: Schumer predicts House will pass Senate immigration bill
Sen. Chuck Schumer predicted on Sunday that despite contrary statements from Speaker John Boehner, the House will vote on the Senate bill. "In fact, I believe that by the end of this year, the House will pass the Senate bill," Schumer said on "Fox News Sunday." On Thursday, the Republican speaker from Ohio said he would not give the Senate immigration bill a vote on the House floor. Instead, the House will draft it’s own legislation, likely moving only small pieces that do address border security but not a pathway to citizenship.

The Daily Beast: House Republicans Brace for Crazy-Making Intraparty Immigration Fight
Everyone pretty much agrees that the House will essentially ignore the Senate’s work and put forth a wholly different bill, or, more precisely, a series of four narrowly tailored bills focused on individual policy pieces that the House deems important (read: border enforcement). Then you “wrap those together,” says the aide, and it’s off to a joint conference with the Senate. “In conference,” observes GOP leadership staffer turned strategist John Feehery, “anything goes.” But to get even that far, the House first needs to pass something. “How they get this done is a matter of great speculation,” says Feehery. “It’s hard to pass anything out of the House.”

Politico: No tea party recess on immigration
The tea party has a message for Republican senators who voted Thursday for the immigration bill and congressmen who might: Welcome home. Activists are promising to spend the congressional recess reminding lawmakers who support the Gang of Eight legislation what the base is capable of. Think loud town halls, jammed phone lines and primary challenges down the road — echoes of Obamacare three years ago.


National Journal: Will, Grace, and a Decade of Change on Gay Rights
The Democratic Party openly embraces gay marriage in its platform, while Republican leaders desperately want to avoid an issue that’s now a political loser for them. The stunning shift in American attitudes toward gays and same-sex marriage, which culminated in a pair of Supreme Court rulings on Wednesday invalidating DOMA and effectively killing an anti-same-sex-marriage ballot initiative in California, has been fueled by the rising influence of a younger, more accepting generation. That generation has been influenced in part by an increasing willingness of gays and lesbians to publicly declare their sexual orientation and by the rise of a popular culture in which gay characters on television and in movies are commonplace.

New Republic: The Gay-Marriage Victory Is Bigger Than You Think
The Court struck down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, and it ducked the legality of California’s Proposition 8 by ruling that its proponents lacked standing to defend the law. At first glance, it’s a pretty good outcome—and it’s even better on closer look. Many people predicted that the vote of Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote the decision in the DOMA case, could be won only by appealing to his conservative tendencies: DOMA, they expected him to argue, was an unconstitutional violation of states’ rights. But Kennedy went bigger than expected in Windsor, the DOMA case, by rooting his argument in equal protection and not just federalism.

New York Daily News: How the landmark DOMA decision written by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy perfectly echoes America’s evolving relationship with its gay and lesbian citizens
The most talented politician in America is a Kennedy. But this Kennedy wears a black robe to work. Anthony Kennedy is an associate justice on the Supreme Court, and the swing vote between the court’s conservative and liberal factions. Legal analysts generally denigrate his skill as a jurist; his opinions tend to be stronger on rhetoric than clarity. But legal analysts miss the point. As a judicial politician, he has a genius for finding the center of the court and the country and propelling both in his preferred direction. That is a skill every bit as important as pure legal acumen. And this week, when he led the court in striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, we saw Kennedy nimbly detect, grasp, and express a remarkable reorientation of American’s moral compass.

The New Yorker: Adieu, DOMA!
The Supreme Court’s embrace of gay rights last week had an almost serene majesty. The obvious correctness of the Court’s judgment, its curt dismissal of a monstrous injustice, had a grandeur that requires little elaboration. Polls show that about fifty-five per cent of the American people now support same-sex marriage. Roughly the same percentage of the nine Justices seem to feel the same way. (The Justices rarely stray too far from public opinion.) And, as with the public, the trends on the Court are all heading in a clear direction. Twelve states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriage today; thanks to the Court’s decision last week in the Proposition 8 case, California will almost certainly soon join the list.

Los Angeles Times: The DOMA decision ripple effect
Supporters of equality for gays and lesbians are exulting in Wednesday’s rulings by the Supreme Court, and we share in their celebration. Although the court did not rule, as we had hoped, that all prohibitions on same-sex marriage violate the Constitution, its invalidation of part of the Defense of Marriage Act dramatically advances the cause of marriage equality. As much as we would approve of such a decision, Wednesday’s ruling doesn’t require states to allow same-sex marriages. But it could increase the pressure on states to do so, not just because of its symbolic weight but because states that legalize same-sex marriage in the future will be making it possible for their citizens to receive material benefits from the federal government.,0,4607110.story

Politico: Office of Personnel Management: Benefits now available to same-sex spouses
The same-sex spouses of federal employees can begin applying for benefits including health insurance and retirement accounts immediately, the Obama administration said Friday, two days after the Supreme Court overturned a key provision of the Defense of Marriage Act. I n a statement Friday, the president applauded the expansion of access to federal benefits. “This is a critical first step toward implementing this week’s landmark Supreme Court decision declaring that all married couples — gay and straight — should be treated equally under federal law,” he said. “Thousands of gays and lesbians serve our country every day in the federal government. They, and their spouses and children, deserve the same respect and protection as every other family.

Huffington Post: Brian Sims, Pennsylvania Lawmaker, Silenced On DOMA By Colleagues Citing ‘God’s Law’
An openly gay lawmaker was silenced by colleagues on the Pennsylvania House floor Thursday when he attempted to speak about the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. State Rep. Brian Sims (D-Philadelphia) took to the House floor on Thursday to discuss the high court’s landmark ruling, marriages legalized by states to be unconstitutional. However, as WHYY News and report, Sims’ remarks were blocked by several state lawmakers using a procedural maneuver.

Politico: Pelosi sees national gay marriage in five years
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi says gay marriage could be the law of the land in five years.“Well, I would certainly hope so,” Pelosi said in an interview aired Sunday on NBC’s "Meet the Press." “Course I’ve been in this – shall we say – crusade for a long time. And to see the pace with which it has accelerated in the past few years is very encouraging. Let’s hope it’s even sooner than that.” The Democratic congresswoman from California said changing the law won’t compromise anyone’s religion.


Politico: CBO: GOP abortion bill would raise deficit
Nearly every single House Republican voted last week to increase government spending and push the nation further into debt — all to limit abortion access for some women. The official budget scorekeeper of Congress says the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban abortions after 20 weeks, would increase Medicaid costs by as much as $400 million. The bill from Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), received a lot of media attention and angered some House Republicans, who had no idea why the party was voting on abortion restrictions when it is trying to make inroads with female voters.


Washington Post: The GOP’s ongoing lack of interest in reform
Next week, the federal student loan rate is likely to double, thanks to legislative inaction. Democrats are working to pass a bill that would fix interest rates at 3.4 percent —reversing the increase — but the odds for Republican support (especially in the House) — are low, despite the extent to which this small step could go a long way toward improving the GOP’s standing with young people.


Politico: Democrats’ week of living confidently
This is what Democrats hoped it would feel like to be back on the right side of history. Over the last week, four foundational aspirations of the modern Democratic Party converged in four days of unexpected triumph. The Supreme Court struck down a law barring federal recognition of same-sex marriages. President Barack Obama announced aggressive new emissions regulations to fight climate change. The Senate passed a dramatic immigration reform plan with a supermajority vote. And a Texas legislator’s filibuster over abortion access turned into a national media sensation, energizing the left. In every instance, Democrats feel they carried the day on an issue essential to the progressive identity – equal rights for gay couples, protecting the environment from global warming, tolerance of immigrants in general and Latinos in particular, and forceful commitment to women’s abortion rights.


Dome: NC Senate race stills ranks No. 6
House Speaker Thom Tillis’ entry into the U.S. Senate race didn’t move the needle in terms of competitiveness, according to one ranking. The Washington Post’s Fix politics blog ranks the race No. 6 on its list of seats most likely to switch parties. It’s the same place the North Carolina race placed a month earlier and not even the most competitive race with an incumbent.

Politico: After big loss, Martha Coakley eyes comeback
The state’s Democratic attorney general, who lost the 2010 Senate race to former Sen. Scott Brown in a historic upset, is seriously considering running for governor. She would be the first woman in the state’s 2014 governor race, and her standing has improved in recent polls, according to the report. A Coakley-Brown rematch isn’t entirely out of the question. Brown joined a law firm last month, and state Republicans have signaled he has no plans to run, but the ex-lawmaker has yet to make a public statement.


Politico: Nancy Pelosi: Hillary Clinton ‘would win’ in 2016
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, one of Hillary Clinton’s biggest cheerleaders, says if Clinton were to run for president in 2016, she’d win and be the best-prepared president “in decades.” The California Democrat in an interview with USA Today said that she believes the party is coalescing behind Clinton, and there’s a “great deal of excitement” about the prospect of her candidacy in 2016. “When she, if Hillary Clinton, Secretary Clinton were to run, and we think if she ran, she would win, I believe she’d be the best-prepared person to enter the White House in decades, in decades, with all due respect to her husband, present company and other presidents,” Pelosi said, ticking off Clinton’s résumé as first lady, senator and secretary of state. “So to be commander in chief, she’s well prepared. … She’s just great.”

New York Times: Republicans Paint Clinton as Old News for 2016 Presidential Election The 2016 election may be far off, but one theme is becoming clear: Republican strategists and presidential hopefuls, in ways subtle and overt, are eager to focus a spotlight on Mrs. Clinton’s age. The former secretary of state will be 69 by the next presidential election, a generation removed from most of the possible Republican candidates.


Micah Beasley, Press Secretary
North Carolina Democratic Party
Twitter: @Micah4NC