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Thursday
Sep112014

U.S. Citizens Being Denied their Right to Vote

By Brennan Center at NYU. School of Law

The Texas photo ID trial is continuing this week in U.S. District Court in Corpus Christi. The Brennan Center is part of a legal team representing several groups who argued the ID requirement violates the Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution by making it harder for minorities to vote.

As many as 1.2 million eligible Texas voters do not possess acceptable ID. Hispanic and black voters are more likely to lack an ID than whites, according to expert testimony.

The judge also heard from several affected voters. Sammie Louis Bates, a low-income senior who is a lifelong voter, said she kept “running into the wall of needing her birth certificate,” which cost $42 — an amount she could not afford on a monthly income of just a few hundred dollars.

“I had to put $42 where it would do the most good,” she said. “We couldn’t eat the birth certificate, and we couldn’t pay rent with the birth certificate.”

The trial comes as many Americans face an ever-shifting voting landscape. Texas is one of seven states with ongoing litigation challenging voting restrictions ahead of the November election.

Read more on major lawsuits at the Brennan Center’s Election 2014 resources.


Friday
Sep052014

Low Pay is Not OK

By Thom Hartmann

Yesterday, fast-food workers in more than 150 cities went on strike to demand a living wage and the right to unionize. For the first time, home health workers also joined the protests to fight for higher pay. According to organizers, almost 500 people were arrested around the country for civil disobedience like blocking intersections.

The protests are being called the largest coordinated action by the low-wage workers movement so far, stemming from the original "Fight for 15" movement that started just two years ago. Protesters in cities from New York City to San Diego stood together chanting "Low Pay is Not O.K.," and workers as far away as Denmark joined protests to show their solidarity.

In a relatively short time, a few hundred low-wage workers in New York City sparks an international movement, and it doesn't appear to be going away any time soon. Although some cities and towns throughout the United States have increased their minimum wage, millions of workers are still struggling to make ends meet on the federal minimum of $7.25. And, despite strong regulations and recent rulings against it, many employers are still blocking workers' attempts to form a union.

Kaya Moody, a protester in Detroit, said, "We always get the 'Do you really think you deserve $15 an hour as a fast food worker?' We get that a lot, and I just feel like, who doesn't deserve $15 an hour, you know? It's a living wage."

These low-wage workers have recognized that if they want the right to organize and a living wage, they're going to have to fight for it. However, yesterday's massive strike proves they're not backing down from the challenge.

Latoya Caldwell, a Wendy's worker in Kansas City, Missouri, said, "We're a movement now. We know this is going to be a long fight, but we're going to fight it [un]till we win."

In the richest nation on earth, no one who works full time should be living in poverty, and every worker should have the power to bargain collectively. The best way to protect our right to unionize is to use it, and low-wage workers all around the world are showing us how it's done.

Friday
Aug292014

Advancing Health through Innovation: Call to Employers

Washington, D.C. – On Tuesday, September 16 at 1:30PM ET, chief executives of some of the nation’s largest companies will release a report on ways to advance the nation’s health through innovation.

Members of the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) CEO Council on Health and Innovation include:

Dominic Barton, Managing Director, McKinsey & Company
Mark Bertolini, Chairman, CEO, and President, Aetna
Alex Gorsky, Chairman and CEO, Johnson & Johnson
Muhtar Kent (Co-chair), Chairman and CEO, The Coca-Cola Company
Lowell C. McAdam (Co-chair), Chairman and CEO, Verizon Communications
Brian T. Moynihan, CEO, Bank of America Corporation
Patrick Soon-Shiong, MD (Co-chair), Chairman and CEO, Institute for Advanced Health
Scott P. Serota, President and CEO, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association
Gregory D. Wasson, President and CEO, Walgreen Co.

American companies and their employees bear about 45 percent of the nation’s health expenditures. The report by the CEO Council will detail the companies’ most successful strategies for improving health and health care. In addition, the report will issue a call to employers to join their commitment to improve the health of individuals and communities and improve the health care system.

Several CEO Council members will attend and discuss the report, including Muhtar Kent of The Coca-Cola Company, Lowell McAdam of Verizon Communications, Patrick Soon-Shiong of the Institute for Advanced Health, and Mark Bertolini of Aetna.

Additional participants include: Trent Haywood, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association; Shubham Singhal, Director and Leader, Healthcare Systems and Services Practice, McKinsey & Company; Senator Tom Daschle, Former Senate Majority Leader and Co-Chair, Health Project, Bipartisan Policy Center; Jason Grumet, CEO and President, Bipartisan Policy Center; and Janet Marchibroda, Executive Director, CEO Council on Health and Innovation, Bipartisan Policy Center.


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Wednesday
Jul162014

Which is Worse - Government or Corporate Bureaucracy?

From Thom Hartmann

Libertarians have been saying for a long, long time that if we just get rid of government, everything will run a whole lot better. But if you get rid of government, corporations step in to fill the gap left by government. And the truth is, corporate bureaucracy, the kind of bureaucracy people have to deal with every day when they try to do something as simple as pay their credit card bill is just as bad - or even worse - than any government bureaucracy.

If you don't believe me, do yourself a favor and listen to Ryan Block's now-viral experience with Comcast customer service. All Block wanted to do was cancel his cable account and get on with his life, but the Comcast retention agent he was speaking to just wouldn't take "no" for answer." The conversation kept going on just like that for another eight minutes!

The amazing thing about this is that it's not amazing at all. I'm guessing pretty much everybody in America has had an experience like this with their cable company, bank, phone company, or some other giant, monopolistic entity. I know I have.


Tuesday
Jul082014

WA CD-3 Congresswoman Herrera Beutler: Moderate or Disengaged?

During the time she has been in Congress, Representative Herrera Beutler has had little success in legislating. She has cosponsored the following handful of bills which have become law. The vast majority of cosponsored bills (see below) are non controversial.

The congresswomen has been described as a moderate; however, it seems that she has made a conscious decision to engage in few, if any, courageous decisions that will benefit the majority of her constituents.

In 2011, Herrera Beutler chose not to cosponsor the Prematurity Research Expansion and Education for Mothers who deliver Infants Early Reauthorization Act or the PREEMIE Reauthorization Act. However, after her child was born, she joined a "bipartisan group of lawmakers to advance care for children with complex medical conditions".

The Associated Press reports that her child "was born prematurely in July 2013 with Potter’s Syndrome, a kidney and lung condition that’s typically fatal. She received dialysis treatments at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, Calif., and will eventually need a kidney transplant."

H.R. 3187 (112th): March of Dimes Commemorative Coin Act of 2012

Sponsor: Rep. Bob Dold [R-IL10, 2011-2013]

Introduced: Oct 13, 2011

Signed by the President: Dec 18, 2012

H.R. 2453 (112th): Mark Twain Commemorative Coin Act

Sponsor: Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer [R-MO3]

Introduced: Jul 07, 2011

Signed by the President: Dec 04, 2012

H.R. 2139 (112th): Lions Clubs International Century of Service Commemorative Coin Act

Sponsor: Rep. Peter Roskam [R-IL6]

Introduced: Jun 03, 2011

Signed by the President: Oct 05, 2012

H.R. 1905 (112th): Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012

Sponsor: Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen [R-FL27]

Introduced: May 13, 2011

Signed by the President: Aug 10, 2012

H.R. 2527 (112th): National Baseball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act

Sponsor: Rep. Richard Hanna [R-NY22]

Introduced: Jul 14, 2011

Signed by the President: Aug 03, 2012

H.R. 886 (112th): United States Marshals Service 225th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act

Sponsor: Rep. Steve Womack [R-AR3]

Introduced: Mar 02, 2011

Signed by the President: Apr 02, 2012

H.R. 3421 (112th): Fallen Heroes of 9/11 Act

Sponsor: Rep. Bill Shuster [R-PA9]

Introduced: Nov 14, 2011

Signed by the President: Dec 23, 2011

H.R. 674 (112th): To amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the imposition of 3 percent withholding on certain payments made to vendors by government entities, to modify the calculation of modified adjusted gross income for purposes of determin

Sponsor: Rep. Walter “Wally” Herger [R-CA2, 1987-2013]

Introduced: Feb 11, 2011

Signed by the President: Nov 21, 2011

H.R. 4 (112th): Comprehensive 1099 Taxpayer Protection and Repayment of Exchange Subsidy Overpayments Act of 2011

Sponsor: Rep. Daniel Lungren [R-CA3, 2005-2013]

Introduced: Jan 12, 2011

Signed by the President: Apr 14, 2011

H.R. 3370: Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014

Sponsor: Rep. Michael Grimm [R-NY11]

Introduced: Oct 29, 2013

Signed by the President: Mar 21, 2014

H.R. 3658: Monuments Men Recognition Act of 2014

Sponsor: Rep. Kay Granger [R-TX12]

Introduced: Dec 05, 2013

Signed by the President: Jun 09, 2014

H.R. 685: American Fighter Aces Congressional Gold Medal Act

Sponsor: Rep. Sam Johnson [R-TX3]

Introduced: Feb 14, 2013

Signed by the President: May 23, 2014

H.R. 324: To grant the Congressional Gold Medal, collectively, to the First Special Service Force, in recognition of its superior service during World War II.

Sponsor: Rep. Jeff Miller [R-FL1]

Introduced: Jan 18, 2013

Signed by the President: Jul 12, 2013

H.R. 360: To award posthumously a Congressional Gold Medal to Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley to commemorate the lives they lost 50 years ago in the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, where these 4 littl

Sponsor: Rep. Terri Sewell [D-AL7]

Introduced: Jan 23, 2013

Signed by the President: May 24, 2013

H.R. 1036: To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 103 Center Street West in Eatonville, Washington, as the “National Park Ranger Margaret Anderson Post Office”.

Sponsor: Rep. David Reichert [R-WA8]

Introduced: Mar 07, 2013

Signed by the President: Jun 09, 2014

H.R. 1209: To award a Congressional Gold Medal to the World War II members of the “Doolittle Tokyo Raiders”, for outstanding heroism, valor, skill, and service to the United States in conducting the bombings of Tokyo.

Sponsor: Rep. Pete Olson [R-TX22]

Introduced: Mar 15, 2013

Signed by the President: May 23, 2014

H.R. 2019: Gabriella Miller Kids First Research Act

Sponsor: Rep. Gregg Harper [R-MS3]

Introduced: May 16, 2013

Signed by the President: Apr 03, 2014

On 7/28/2011— H.R. 2679 was introduced with 63 Democratic and Republican cosponsors. Congresswoman Herrera Beutler did not join as a cosponsor.

Prematurity Research Expansion and Education for Mothers who deliver Infants Early Reauthorization Act or the PREEMIE Reauthorization Act - Amends the Public Health Service Act to require the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), acting through the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to expand, intensify, and coordinate NIH activities with respect to research on the causes of preterm labor and delivery, tools to detect, prevent, or reduce prevalence of preterm labor and delivery, and the care and treatment of preterm infants.

Establishes within NIH a multicenter clinical program to investigate problems in clinical obstetrics, improve the care and outcomes of neonates, and enhance the understanding of DNA and proteins as they relate to the underlying processes that lead to preterm birth.

Requires the Director to award grants for planning, establishing, improving, and providing basic operating support for transdisciplinary research centers for prematurity.

Requires the Secretary, acting through the Surgeon General, to establish and implement a national science-based provider and consumer education campaign on promoting healthy pregnancies and preventing preterm birth.

Reauthorizes provisions related to research on prematurity and preterm births and sets forth specific areas for such research.

Requires the Director of the Office for the Advancement of Telehealth to award grants to establish demonstration projects for: (1) obstetrical services for high risk women of child bearing age remotely using telehealth; and (2) educational activities regarding risk factors for preterm birth.

Expands a demonstration project to inform health care providers and the public and improve treatment and outcome for babies born preterm.

Requires the Secretary to establish the Advisory Committee on Infant Mortality.

Requires a study on hospital readmissions of preterm births.

From GovTrack.us

Tuesday
Jul012014

Yearning for Democracy

HONG KONG — Huge crowds of people held one of the largest marches in Hong Kong’s history on Tuesday to demand greater democracy, defying intermittent tropical downpours and Beijing’s dwindling tolerance for challenges to its control.

Monday
Jun302014

New Blueprint to Strengthen American Democracy

Press Release from Bipartisan Policy Center

Washington, D.C. - A bipartisan commission of former members of Congress, cabinet secretaries, governors, local leaders, and advocates unveiled a new blueprint to strengthen American democracy today. In a time of deep ideological divide in Washington and around the country, the commission’s more than 60 recommendations aim to increase confidence in U.S. elections, restore congressional debate and deliberation, and embrace Americans’ enthusiasm for public service.

The Bipartisan Policy Center’s Commission on Political Reform is co-chaired by former Senate Majority Leaders Tom Daschle and Trent Lott, former Senator Olympia Snowe, former Secretary Dan Glickman, and former Governor Dirk Kempthorne, and includes 24 other leaders from diverse professional and political backgrounds.

“With such deeply held contrasting principles, we as a country must ask: ‘Can our democracy function effectively in such a partisan era?’ We believe the answer is yes,” said the co-chairs in the report. “We come here today with the hope that our democracy will once again be able to respond to national challenges, despite our ideological differences.”

The report, Governing in a Polarized America: A Blueprint to Strengthen our Democracy, proposes redistricting commissions that have bipartisan support from the legislature and the electorate. The report also calls on states to increase the number of voters who cast ballots in primary elections from 20 to 35 percent of eligible voters by 2026, to create a common congressional primary date in June, to conduct more open primaries, and to eliminate low-turnout methods of candidate selection, like caucuses and conventions.

Through these reforms, the plan would tackle the sense of distrust that permeates the electoral process and reverberates into legislating in Washington.

Congressional gridlock is weakening America. The commission offers several reforms to encourage Congress to govern despite the sharp divisions between the parties. These include concurrent five-day work weeks for the House and Senate, a strengthened role for congressional committees, and a biennial budget process. To reorient the rules, procedures, and precedents of the body to improve deliberation, the commission calls for guaranteed consideration of a minimum of ten amendments offered by the majority and the minority and eliminates the filibuster on motions to proceed.

“The polarization in the United States runs deeply through its institutions, affects the ways Americans elect political leaders and how the institutions of government operate, and even puts in danger Americans’ deep-seated desire to serve their nation,” according to the report. “Engagement by the American people will be necessary to encourage policymakers to solve problems,” continued the co-chairs.

To engage more people in civic life, the commission encourages all Americans ages 18 to 28 to commit to one year of service that could be met by serving in programs like Americorps and the Peace Corps, running for political office, or serving in appointed office. The federal government must leverage additional resources to increase the supply of available positions in successful government-service programs that currently turn away countless applicants.

The administration should also open political appointments to the widest possible pool of applicants and not impose undue burdens on those seeking positions in public office. For federal appointees, only the top policymaking roles in the various departments and agencies should require confirmation by the Senate. To ensure that efforts are made to foster young leaders in politics, ample training and resources should be provided to young candidates running competitive races at the local, state, and federal level.

“We present a series of ideas that can generate true bipartisan support while remaining mindful of the political divisions that define the country and the political imperatives that influence the decisions of elected leaders,” writes the commission. “Taken together, these recommendations have the potential to transform the nation’s politics and civic life. The result will be a stronger, more united country that is better equipped to meet the challenges of our times.”

Monday
Jun302014

Can Eva Longoria Start a Latino Political Movement?

Press Release published by the Washington Post

Building on record-breaking fundraising numbers, an expanded donor base and a historically high number of Latino voters in the 2012 presidential election, a progressive Latino group is set to officially begin efforts to expand the reach of Latino voters and candidates in the 2014 cycle and beyond.

Founded by actress and advocate Eva Longoria and Henry R. Munoz III, a businessman and finance chairman of the Democratic National Committee, the Latino Victory Project includes the Latino Victory PAC, a political arm that will back a slate of candidates who embody “a pro-Latino agenda and values” on issues such as immigration reform, the environment, the economy and health care.

“We want to build political power within the Latino community and institutionalize what happened in 2012. There needs to be a movement right now,” Longoria said. “We can really exercise the potential, because people see the demographic shift and are now saying, ‘Hi, Mr. Garcia. Hi, Mrs. Lopez.’ We want to make sure the names on the ballot reflect that power.”

To that end, the PAC will back a slate of seven Latino candidates — Reps. Joe Garcia (Fla.), Pete Gallegos (Tex.) and Raul Ruiz (Calif.); Amanda Renteria, who is running for Congress in California; and Nevada Assemblywoman Lucy Flores, who is running for lieutenant governor; Texas state Sen. Leticia Van De Putte, who also is running for lieutenant governor; and Angel Taveras, the mayor of Providence, R.I., who is running for governor.

Charlie Crist, who is running for his old job as governor of Latino-heavy Florida, also will receive the group’s support.

Although 11 million Latinos cast ballots in the 2012 election, about 12 million stayed away, and Latinos still vote at a lower rate than any other group. That same year, Latino elected officials did make gains nationwide, in state legislatures and in Congress, with a record 31 now serving in Congress, according to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.

Yet their representation in Congress is below 17 percent, the make-up of Latinos in the general population.

“The disparity is so stark and that’s why we have to begin developing the pipeline now, not only for 2014 but laying groundwork that will take us to 2016 and then to 2020,” said Cristobal Alex, president of the Latino Victory Project. “That is the year for us when Latinos will be in a position to influence the Oval Office. Our vision for 2020 is that we will have a record number of Latino voters to help influence redistricting and to help drive and influence policy for the balance of the century. This will take some time.”

But, Longoria pointed out, Latinas remain especially under-represented.No Hispanic woman has ever been elected to the U.S. Senate, nine currently serve in the House, and Republican Susana Martinez of New Mexico is the only Latina in the United States to be elected governor.

“It’s bad for Latinos overall, but Latinas are almost nonexistent in the political world,” she said. “It is my personal mission to make sure that Latinas are in the pipeline.”

The stepped-up emphasis on candidates and turnout come as both parties are clamoring for female voters and as the American electorate is on the cusp of a massive demographic shift, with non-whites set to become the majority by 2050, and Latinos, who could be 30 percent of the population if current trends continue, accounting for much of the growth.

More immediately, Democrats face an uphill climb in rallying the young, black and brown voters who made up the winning coalition for President Obama, with key Senate races being fought in red states, and few issues resonating viscerally with voters in the way that the Affordable Care Act has for Republicans.

But Republicans face their own challenges in broadening their appeal beyond the older, whiter more Southern demographic that powered a GOP wave election in 2010 and remains crucial to the party’s chances in November.

In addition to backing its own candidates, the Latino Victory Project will spend $20 million to target Republican candidates who face a sizable Latino electorate, yet oppose comprehensive immigration reform.

The group grew out of the Futuro Fund, which raised $30 million for Obama’s reelection and created a new cadre of high- and low-dollar donors, with 150,000 Latinos contributing.

Among the specific initiatives is a program called “The Firsts,” which will focus on Latinos who are the first in their families and communities to reach educational and professional milestones, a designation that often falls to the eldest daughter, who Alex said is often the “CEO in the family.”

“By 2016, we want 100,000 of the firsts,” Alex said. “And they will elevate the first Lucy Flores, the first Leticia Van De Putte.”

Indeed, sparking the kind of movement Longoria envisions means engaging Latinas.

“Women definitely make the household decisions, economic decisions, educational decisions, and in turn, that correlates with the political decisions,” she said.

For Flores, running in Nevada and generating buzz in the Beltway as Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D) eyes the playing field for 2016, the support of a high-profile group with Longoria’s imprimatur is likely to expand her reach.

“One of the tough things about being a woman and a woman of color is that the infrastructure isn’t always there, and especially someone like me, who doesn’t come from a political family,” sid Flores, who campaigned for Obama with Longoria in 2012. “Having the Latino Victory Project provides support and structure. I think that the way it’s going to be most beneficial is that it’s going to provide a platform in Nevada and nationally to get my name out there and really help the momentum and the fundraising that the campaign needs.”

Longoria has nearly 7 million Twitter followers and has used her Twitter feed to promote “Devious Maids,” a show on Lifetime that she produces, and also to promote politics. She recently retweeted Van De Putte, whom she has supported in Texas in the past.

But she’s aware that Hollywood doesn’t always play in Texas, where Van de Putte, a longshot, lags in fundraising and in the polls.

“I am very, very careful about not falling into the ‘What does that Hollywood actress think?’ trap,” she said. “But I remember somebody coming up to me during the president election and saying that they didn’t know who Newt Gingrich was until I said his name on Twitter. So the reach that I have is very different from the candidate.”

Texas, with its 38 electoral votes, remains the biggest political prize for Democrats, yet the Lone Star state has remained solidly red. The state’s brightest stars are Latinos, among them Sen. Ted Cruz; George P. Bush, who is running for Texas land commissioner; and twin brothers Joaquin Castro, a congressman, and Julian, who is mayor of San Antonio.

In Texas, Democrats don’t have a solid lock on Latinos; 40 percent backed Gov. Rick Perry in 2010.

Van de Putte, said in the long term, the PAC’s efforts will help lay the groundwork for a more sustained effort among Latino voters that could also boost her chances in November.

“This helps me make contact with Latinos who don’t know that Leticia Van de Putte is actually Leticia San Miguel Van de Putte,” she said. “I’m going to need that core support from Latinos and to up that participation rate.”

Thursday
May082014

Voting Rights Update

From the Brennan Center for Justce

Arizona/Kansas – A federal judge this week refused to suspend his order restricting registration rules in Arizona and Kansas. The Brennan Center and other voting rights groups are appealing the ruling to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. If the order goes into effect, voters in both states will need to provide proof of citizenship when signing up using a federal registration form. The Center represents the League of Women Voters U.S. and its state affiliates in the case.

Arkansas – A state judge twice ruled a voter ID law unconstitutional. The state Supreme Court stayed the decision, however, meaning the requirement will be in effect for the May 20 primary. The litigation is expected to continue this summer.

California – A county judge Wednesday ordered the state to restore voting rights to tens of thousands of Californians who had been “illegally stripped” of their rights two years ago.

Missouri – Early voting supporters claimed they turned in more 300,000 signatures — nearly double what is required — for a ballot initiative establishing early voting. Republican lawmakers are also pushing an early-voting initiative, but their version includes fewer early voting days. Both plans could appear on the November ballot, and if they’re both approved, the one that receives the most votes would become law.

Nevada – A state court judge this week rewrote the description of a ballot initiative to amend Nevada’s constitution to require a photo ID to vote. Opponents had challenged the language, arguing it “failed to inform voters of possible costs and didn’t specify the types of identification that would be necessary,” the Associated Press reported.

Ohio – The ACLU and several other groups challenged Ohio’s curbs on early voting and same-day registration, arguing the restrictions violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act because they discriminate against minorities. “In 2012, 157,000 Ohioans cast ballots during early voting hours eliminated by the Ohio GOP,” wrote The Nation’s Ari Berman. “Blacks in Ohio were far more likely than whites to vote early in 2008 and 2012.” There also may have been a partisan motive in choosing which voters to educate about the new rules, according to documents revealed this week by Salon. Emails show officials in the secretary of state’s office discussed sending voter education materials only to GOP-aligned groups and excluded minority groups.

Pennsylvania – A state court judge last week declined to reconsider his January ruling striking down the state’s photo ID law. If the governor appeals, the suit will head next to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

More information at brennancenter@nyu.edu

Tuesday
Apr292014

Unified Solutions. National Impact.

From the Bipartisan Policy Center

A healthy, civil debate among those with differing viewpoints is the engine of our democracy. In the face of growing polarization, BPC remains steadfast in its mission to demonstrate the possibility and power of bipartisan solutions.

Download the Bipartisan Policy Center’s (BPC) 2013 Annual Report to see highlights of their recent work and accomplishments:

http://bipartisanpolicy.org/2013-annual-report?_cldee=cmlnaHQyYmhlYXJkQGdtYWlsLmNvbQ%3d%3d&utm_source=ClickDimensions&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=2013%20Annual%20Report

BPC exists to advance the debate by digging deeper and pressing further and faster than is often possible inside government. They then provide space for policymakers to engage in ideas that stray from single-party orthodoxy. Their efforts demonstrate what can be accomplished when experts and passionate advocates are brought together in an environment that enables constructive deliberation.