Statement of Carolyn W. Colvin, Acting Commissioner of Social Security, on New Payments to Same-Sex Married Couples
“I am pleased to announce that, effective today, Social Security is processing some widow’s and widower’s claims by surviving members of same-sex marriages and paying benefits where they are due. In addition, we are able to pay some one-time lump sum death benefit claims to surviving same-sex spouses. As I stated shortly after the Supreme Court decision on Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, our goal is to treat all Americans with dignity and respect.
DAILY DELANEY DOWNER - Dan Friedman: “Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and 71 other congressional Democrats are asking the agriculture secretary to delay a new law cutting food stamps for hundreds of thousands of Americans. ‘Our states need time to adjust their policies to accommodate this drastic cut and roll out the changes seamlessly,’ the lawmakers say in a letter they plan to send Tuesday to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Gillibrand lined up the lawmakers to sign off on the letter, which asks Vilsack to delay until next fall a provision in the massive farm bill Congress passed this month that cuts $8 billion in food stamp aid.” [Daily News]
First Lady Michelle Obama taped this special video message as part of the “I’m First” project, which lifts up the stories of first-generation college students to inspire future generations. Learn more at http://www.imfirst.org/
By Ned Resnikoff
It’s official: 850,000 households across the country are set to lose an average of $90 per month in food stamp benefits.
The Senate on Tuesday voted 68-32 to send the 2014 Farm Bill – which includes an $8.7 billion cut to food stamps – to President Obama’s desk. Nine Democrats opposed the bill, and 46 members of the Democratic caucus voted for it, joining 22 Republicans.
The House passed the law by a similarly commanding margin last Wednesday. After the House vote, White House press secretary Jay Carney made clear that the president would sign off on the legislation.
By Brian Beutler
By Geoffrey Cowley
The last significant legal challenge to Obamacare suffered a setback today, when a Washington DC District Court rejected it. Plaintiffs backed by the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute are seeking to block health-care subsidies to low- and moderate-income consumers in 34 states where the federal government is either running or facilitating new health-insurance exchanges. They say the law restricts that support to states that operate exchanges on their own. But in a sweeping and closely argued ruling, Judge Paul L. Friedman thrashed that notion, saying that Congress “clearly intended to make premium tax credits available on both state-run and federally-facilitated exchanges.”
The dispute centers on a single phrase in the health care law. As written, it says the federal government will extend tax credits to qualified consumers who buy health coverage through insurance exchanges “established by the state.”
Represented by Michael Carvin, the lawyer who unsuccessfully challenged the Affordable Care Act before the Supreme Court in 2012, the plaintiffs claim that the phrase was no mere drafting glitch. According to their legal complaint, Congress intended to use the consumer subsidies as “carrots” to motivate the states to create their own insurance exchanges. “States rejecting the offer got a stick instead: the imposition of a federally-established, federally-operated exchange in the state, with no subsidies at all.”