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Quick Hit
by Aricka Flowers
4:35pm
Fri Oct 11, 2013

Number Of The Day: $20.8 Million

Organizing for Action (OFA) has reportedly raised $20.8 million in its first three quarters of existence.

The organization was born out of the president's re-election campaign with the intent of "organizing to create jobs and strengthen the middle class, fix our broken immigration system, fight climate change, prevent gun violence, get the facts out about Obamacare, protect women’s rights, ensure marriage equality and push forward on even more issues," according to the OFA web site.

Quick Hit
by Aricka Flowers
5:11pm
Thu Oct 10, 2013

House GOP Offers Deal That Temporarily Raises Debt Ceiling, But Keeps Govt Closed (UPDATED)

House Republicans have unveiled a plan to temporarily hike the debt ceiling for six weeks, while the government would remain closed until a deal is reached with the White House on a long-term budget package.

“It is our hope that the president will look at this as an opportunity and a good-faith effort on our part to move halfway, halfway to what he’s demanded in order to have these conversations begin,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH,8) said of the proposal.

Under the plan, the new debt ceiling deadline would be November 22 and Boehner says there is no guarantee that the country would not be back at another impasse on the debt ceiling after the short-term extension is up.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
2:50pm
Thu Oct 10, 2013

Alderwomen, Health Care Advocates Urge City To Keep Breast Cancer Screening Program Open

A Chicago program that works to provide free mammograms to uninsured women may be at risk of being privatized or closed following the state's decision to terminate the city health department's grant funding for the effort over alleged mismanagement and quality of care concerns.

During a Thursday press conference at City Hall, a number of Chicago's African-American alderwomen, breast health advocates and unionized workers said it's crucial for the city to invest in the program in order to keep the program running and operated in-house.

Officials with the Public Health Organization, which has members who are patients and workers of the city’s Breast Health Program, said the city should continue funding the program while it invests in correcting the mismanagement and quality of care issues, which prompted the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to pull the $296,000 in Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program funds back in April.

The city's Breast Health Program program serves thousands of women each year, and it is specifically focused on working to reduce the breast cancer mortality rate among African-American women in Chicago, a rate that is 62 percent higher than white women in the city. The health advocates at Thursday's gathering said they are particularly worried that if the Breast Health Program ends, four mammography sites located in low-income, minority communities would close.

Quick Hit
by Ellyn Fortino
3:12pm
Mon Oct 7, 2013

Census Bureau: Poverty Rate Remains High In Illinois

Recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau show that Illinois' poverty rate continued to hover near 15 percent last year.

According to the new American Community Survey data, 14.7 percent Illinoisans, or 1.85 million people, were living in poverty in 2012. That's not much of a statistical change from 2011, when 15 percent of people, or 1.88 million, were in poverty.

At the national level, the poverty rate also remained fixed last year at 15 percent, impacting some 46.5 million Americans.

"Both nationally and in Illinois, more people were working over the course of the year, and that didn't translate into decreased poverty," said Amy Terpstra, associate director of the Heartland Alliance's Social IMPACT Research Center.

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