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Ridgefield Eye on the Beltway: Lieberman Wants to Save School Vouchers

Blumenthal criticizes big oil; Himes wants to make the tax season less stressful; Murphy studies child care costs.

LIEBERMAN: An opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal says all the federal government programs President Barack Obama wants to cut can be counted on two hands hand. One of those cuts – ending vouchers for poor students to attend private schools - has proven controversial.

So why kill the vouchers? Because the teachers unions, a major political ally of Democrats, see school choice as a threat. Even the normally pro-Obama Washington Post put the dunce cap on the president this week for working to ax the program. 

Sen. Joe Lieberman (an independent), along with House Speaker John Boehner, reportedly want to keep the program intact.

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BLUMENTHAL: U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal recently decried the profits of oil companies, while expressing sympathies for retailers and consumers.

In a statement, he says he wants to end subsidies, ban the export of oil drilled on federal land and crack down on speculation. However, the senator did not mention any legislation in the press release that would make these things a reality.

“The nation must ensure that oil drilled in America stays in America, eliminate wasteful giveaways, and intensify the crackdown on speculation,” Blumenthal says.

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DELAURO: Approximately 2,000 pounds of “mechanically tenderized” ground beef products were recalled due to possible E. coli contamination. U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro says this is a prime example that products need to have proper labeling.

“Thankfully, thus far there have not been any illnesses associated with this recall, but these products must be labeled to protect American consumers in the future. With summer grilling season approaching and tens of millions of pounds of mechanically tenderized beef products being sold, the Agency must act to protect consumers from this hidden health risk.”

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Himes: The tax season can be stressful and U.S. Rep. Jim Himes wants to help. He’s cosponsoring legislation that would make the IRS’ online Free File Program permanently available. He admits he has an ulterior motive other than just making things easier for taxpayers.

“As we work to reduce government spending, we need to start with efforts like these that take advantage of technology to make the government work more efficiently,” Himes says in a statement. “The IRS’s Free File program makes it that much easier for taxpayers to file their returns hassle-free, with the added bonus of saving our government a significant amount of money.”

MURPHY:  According to a study commissioned by U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy, the annual cost of childcare in Connecticut tops $11,000. He finds that unacceptably high and wants to propose legislation that doubles the existing $5,000 cap on money that can be set aside tax-free to pay for child care.

"This report confirms that child care expenses are breaking the bank for too many families," Murphy says in a statement. "Quality child care in Connecticut costs money, and middle class family budgets are already stretched thin. Families shouldn't be forced to go bankrupt in order to care for their kids, and one of the best ways the government can help is to double the amount of pre-tax money families can put into flexible savings accounts."

“Eye on the Beltway” is a feature on your local Patch that looks each day at the activities of elected officials in our nation’s capitol from your town and other parts of southwestern Connecticut.

Those officials are:

  • Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
  • Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT)
  • Rep. Rosa DeLauro (CT-3), a Democrat representing Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Branford, Derby, Durham, East Haven, Guilford, Hamden, Middlefield, Middletown, Milford, Naugatuck, New Haven, North Branford, North Haven, Orange, Prospect, Seymour, Shelton, Stratford, Wallingford, Waterbury, West Haven and Woodbridge.
  • Rep. Jim Himes (CT-4), a Democrat representing Bridgeport, Darien, Easton, Fairfield, Greenwich, Monroe, New Canaan, Norwalk, Oxford, Redding, Ridgefield, Shelton (part), Stamford, Trumbull, Weston, Westport and Wilton.
  • Rep. Chris Murphy (CT-5), a Democrat representing Avon, Bethel, Bethlehem, Bridgewater, Brookfield, Burlington, Canaan, Canton, Cheshire, Cornwall, Danbury, Farmington, Goshen, Harwinton, Kent, Litchfield, Meriden, Middlebury, Morris, New Britain, New Fairfield, New Milford, Newtown, Norfolk, North Canaan, Plainville, Plymouth, Roxbury, Salisbury, Sharon, Sherman, Simsbury, Southbury, Thomaston, Torrington (part), Warren, Washington, Waterbury (part), Watertown, Wolcott and Woodbury.

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