Thursday, August 11, 2011

News from the Southeast Asian Resource Action Center

A few interesting pieces came from Washington D.C.-based Southeast Asian Resource Action Center this week:

New Legislation Would Protect Disabled and Elderly Refugees from Losing SSI -- Congressman Jim McDermott (D-WA) and Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) have introduced a new bill, H.R. 2763, intended to protect thousands of elderly and disabled refugees who are at risk of losing their Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Without the passage of H.R. 2763, thousands of refugees are set to lose their SSI benefits on October 1, 2011. While SEARAC continues to seek a long-term solution to protect elderly and disabled refugees from losing their SSI, we applaud the bi-partisan leadership on this emergency measure.

Aftermath of the Debt Ceiling Debates -- Earlier this week, President Obama signed into law the Budget Control Act (BCA), which raises the debt ceiling by at least $2.1 trillion and promises to cut nearly $1 trillion over the next 10 years. The legislation includes immediate cuts to discretionary funding, impacting social services and programs that support low-income and underserved communities. The legislation also creates a bi-partisan joint Congressional committee charged with recommending an additional $1.5 trillion cuts to reduce the deficit by November 23rd. If the committee fails to agree on deficit reduction cuts, a "trigger" would lead to across-the-board draconian spending cuts. While the trigger is meant to provide incentive to reach a bi-partisan compromise, we cannot assume that Congress will actually agree to a balanced deficit reduction that includes both spending cuts and additional revenues. As we continue to face a fragile economy, cutting essential programs that protect low-income people is the last thing that we should do.

SEARAC Now Accepting Fall Internship Applications – SEARAC is looking for interns for the fall semester! Are you looking to learn more about policy, research, legislative advocacy, and communications? Ideal interns have superior writing skills and an interest in and knowledge of the Southeast Asian American community. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and no later than August 26th.

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