Welch announces plan to fight health care reform repeal

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first_img Click here for video of Tuesday’s reporter roundtable. Later Tuesday, Welch plans to speak at the year’s first meeting of the Democratic Caucus to urge his colleagues to support his proposed amendments. As of Tuesday at noon, 30 House members had signed on to the effort. On his way to Washington to begin his third term in Congress, Representative Peter Welch announced a new strategy Tuesday to fight efforts to repeal the new health care reform law. With Republicans poised to hold a vote on repealing health care reform next week, Welch will introduce four amendments to the repeal bill, which would protect the following provisions of the law: The elimination of lifetime limits on careCoverage of individuals up to age 26 on their parents’ health care plansA ban on discrimination against those with preexisting conditionsFree preventive care for seniorscenter_img ‘It’s time to get beyond the rhetoric of the election and recognize that repealing this law would hammer middle class families and bust the budget,’ Welch said. ‘Repeal would once again allow insurance companies to discriminate against those with preexisting conditions, impose lifetime limits on coverage, take away free preventive care for seniors and remove those under the age of 26 from their parents’ health plans. Every member of the House should have to vote on each of these important provisions.’ Welch, who will be sworn in to the 112th Congress on Wednesday, told reporters he will seek to find bipartisan solutions to creating jobs and reducing the deficit. But he said he plans to vigorously oppose any efforts to roll back the signature accomplishments of the 111th Congress, including health care reform, Wall Street reform, credit card consumer protections and increased student financial aid. During a press roundtable at Burlington International Airport, Welch told reporters he was returning to Washington early to round up support for amendments he will propose that would allow all members of the House to vote up-or-down on signature provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.last_img

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Panama and Costa Rica Fight Crime along Shared Border

first_imgBy Roberto López Dubois/Diálogo February 10, 2017 A line of tourist buses wait to cross from Costa Rica to Panama at the Paso Canoas border crossing. The majority of passengers are traveling to shop at Panamanian shopping centers. On the other side of the border, an endless line of trucks are stuck waiting along the Inter-American Highway while drivers fill out legal paperwork to continue their journey. Their vehicles are loaded with merchandise destined for Central American countries. High-traffic area Paso Canoas is a hot and humid place where immigration and customs posts operate among 200 shops that sell food, clothing, appliances, fragrances, and other merchandise on both sides of the border. Thousands of tourists, transportation workers, and merchants visit the area daily. According to figures provided by the Office of the Comptroller of Panama, nearly 300,000 people enter via the land border between Panama and Costa Rica each year. Nearly 210,000 do so through Paso Canoas in the Pacific region. The organization stated there is no official statistic from the Paso Canoas Chamber of Commerce on the amount of money exchanged through that border crossing, which has the heaviest flow of commercial goods and passengers. But they estimate that it is in the tens of millions of dollars per year. New security forces For years, the regular police in both countries took charge of security duties in the area, but due to the activities of organized criminal networks, both countries have trained special forces on maintaining security along their borders. In Panama, border security is in the hands of the National Border Service (SENAFRONT, per its Spanish acronym), while in Costa Rica, it is managed by the Border Police Directorate (PFCR, per its Spanish acronym). Both entities face a daunting task, as this area is plagued by gangs devoted to drug trafficking, arms smuggling, human trafficking and contraband. At present, the border security forces of both countries continually exchange information and hold periodic coordinating meetings to be more effective in their work. They do not allow criminals to go into hiding on either side of the border. There are two other checkpoints between both countries – Río Sereno and Guabito – where the flow is much lighter than at Paso Canoas. However, the authorities in both countries reached an accord to build a new bridge over the Sixaola River which borders both nations. This bridge will bring a heavier flow of people into the Guabito area. In light of this, both countries’ security forces will begin a pilot program to achieve a better level of coordination that keeps criminals from fleeing justice by crossing from country to country. “The section of the Sixaola River that flows into the sea is an area that some people use to move drugs between countries and trick the system,” Commissioner Allan Obando Flores, director of PFCR, confirmed to Diálogo. “PFCR and SENAFRONT units, and the offices of the attorney general in both countries are working together, and they will exchange information as needed to bring cases to trial.” Less formal mechanisms are also being considered for other cases, including the use of shared technology. More resources “SENAFRONT is currently working on building new infrastructure and assigning new units to the region,” said Commissioner Christian Hayer, commander of SENAFRONT, to Diálogo. “We now have a training course for new units that will allow us to increase the number of personnel in Chiriquí, as we want to significantly bolster our units due to the number of border crossings that exist.” Both security chiefs agreed that the main threats they face are those caused by organized crime — drug trafficking and human trafficking — as well as the immigration issue, which has garnered attention over the last year with the migration of undocumented persons from Brazil to the United States. Panamanian authorities estimate that there are 200 illegal border crossings in the area. In addition, people own land on both sides of the border, including some commercial properties that have entry ways on the Panamanian and Costa Rican sides. All of this complicates the work of our security organizations, whose agents also must patrol forested and mountainous areas and large stretches of land reserved for various crops, such as bananas, plantains, and oil palms, among others. The fight against organized crime, in all of its manifestations, is very complicated, and in the border area between Panama and Costa Rica, the situation is made even more difficult by the large number of people who live there and who travel through the area every day. However, authorities in both countries are working in a coordinated manner to fight criminal activity in the area in a more effective manner.last_img

Advocacy is the key to sales

first_imgSix years ago, a now $16 billion bank began to acquire nearly 75 branches in the Western U.S. from one of the nation’s largest banks. Initially, there was a lot of deposit runoff (25 percent), which was accounted for in the purchase price. Once the transaction dust settled, nearly half of the acquired accounts were gone, but deposits were up 25 percent. The bank’s CEO and his team concluded that the lost accounts were zero or low-balance accounts, part of a past culture that compensated bank employees on the number of accounts opened.Recently, the bank’s CEO opined on this dynamic in The Wall Street Journal. “Our philosophy is to do what is best for the client. If they need a new account, then open it; but, if they have too many accounts, it’s OK to close them and get to the mix of services the customer desires.” Doing what’s best for the customer—or member—and what he desires as a governing principle for a business model. Sound familiar?Sales is a fascinating phenomenon in credit unions. We want members to buy, but we don’t want to pressure the sale. We want to deepen relationships (measured by added products), but we don’t want to overwhelm members with a never-ending cross-sell. We want to pull members to a better deal, but not push so much that they leave. So, what’s a credit union to do? Advocate for the member. continue reading » ShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblrlast_img

NEWS SCAN: Army lab inventoried, suspected plague in Libya, food safety bill advances

first_img Army lab inventory finds many unrecorded vials of pathogensArmy investigators revealed today that pathogen inventories at the US Army Medical Research of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) in Ft. Detrick, Md., turned up 9,200 more vials than records indicated, the Frederick (Md.) News-Post reported. In early February the Army said it was suspending most select-agent work at the lab as part of a security review in the wake of events surrounding the death of former employee Bruce E. Ivins, who federal officials believe was involved in the 2001 anthrax attacks. In its report today, the Army said it searched 335 refrigerators and freezers and found that some of the excess samples were decades old and left over from previous research projects. Some of the vials contained agents that cause anthrax and Ebola infections, as well as Rift Valley fever. About half of the samples had no further research purpose and were destroyed. An Army official told the News-Post that all research at the lab has been resumed.[Jun 17 Frederick News-Post story] Libya asks WHO’s help in probing suspected plague outbreakHealth officials in Libya have asked the World Health Organization (WHO) for help in evaluating a suspected plague outbreak in the northeastern part of the country, not far from the border with Egypt, BBC News reported today. One death has been reported, and several more illnesses are suspected. If tests confirm the plague infections, the outbreak would be the first in that part of Libya in 25 years. The plague bacterium, Yersinia pestis, primarily circulates among rodents and their fleas but occasionally spreads to humans. It is transmitted mainly by flea bites, direct contact, or inhalation of contaminated respiratory droplets.[Jun 17 BBC story] House committee approves wide-ranging food safety legislationThe US House Committee on Energy and Commerce today approved a sweeping food safety bill that would give the Food and Drug Administration more authority and resources, sending the bill to the full House, Reuters reported. Measures in the Food Safety Enhancement Act of 2009 include safety rules for fresh produce, increased inspections at food facilities, improved food traceability, stronger inspection of imported food, expansion of lab testing capacity, and a fee-based food facility registry to generate food safety revenue. Food safety and consumer groups such as the Center for Science in the Public Interest have voiced strong support for the bill.[May 17 Reuters story][May 26 House committee summary of bill]center_img Jun 17, 2009last_img

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