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NEWS EXTRAS

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ASSIGNMENTS / APPOINTMENTS / ANNOUNCEMENTS

SOURCE:  Office of Senator Mitch McConnell

Senators McConnell, Heller, Capito and Paul Introduce Legislation to Help America’s Rural Communities

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell introduced legislation today to help rural communities harmed by Obama Administration policies that restrict access to rural lending opportunities. Sens. Dean Heller (R-NV), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), and Rand Paul (R-KY) are original cosponsors of the Helping Expand Lending Practices in (HELP) Rural Communities Act, which would provide rural communities with better access to credit opportunities that can help grow their local economies.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) – created by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act of 2010 – permits certain rural lending practices in areas it deems “rural” or “underserved.” However, as many rural communities have noted, the current definition of rural as established by the CFPB excludes a significant number of demonstrably rural areas and neglects to provide rural communities with any input in the process. The CFPB recently put forth a proposal to revise its definition, but once again, it neglected to seek input from rural communities themselves.

The HELP Rural Communities Act would create an appeals process that would allow constituents to petition the CFPB with important local information for reconsideration of their status. This would give rural counties across the country a voice when the CFPB has incorrectly labeled them as “non-rural.” The bill also takes important steps to address the challenges rural communities face by eliminating arbitrary mortgage origination requirements that will ensure that rural communities bordering urban areas are still able to access credit services that are essential to rural small businesses and farmers.

“Under the current, CFPB definition, counties in Kentucky, such as Bath and Trigg, have been labeled as ‘non-rural,’ and are therefore barred from certain rural lending practices that are helpful to farmers and small businesses,” Senator McConnell said. “While I welcome the CFPB’s recent attempts to improve the rural definition, I remain concerned that rural communities – particularly those in Kentucky – have been left without a voice. Our legislation seeks to correct this by putting into statute a process that allows counties that have been improperly designated as ‘non-rural’ to petition the CFPB with additional local information to reconsider their status in order to ensure that rural communities have the access to credit they need to grow their economy. I want to thank Senators Heller, Capito, and Paul for their support and look forward to working with them to get this important legislation passed.”

“I’m proud to join Majority Leader McConnell and Senators Paul and Capito to fight for the housing needs of rural communities in Nevada. Unfortunately, government bureaucrats in Washington are limiting homeowners’ mortgage financing options by incorrectly labeling rural Nevada communities as urban areas,” said Senator Heller. “This legislation will provide important tools for rural communities to fight these terrible decisions coming from Washington, and I look forward to advancing this critical bill in the Senate.”

“When seeking a mortgage, West Virginia’s families depend on the services offered by community banks and credit unions. The CFPB’s regulatory exemption for financial institutions in rural areas unfairly excludes some of West Virginia’s most rural communities. The HELP Rural Communities Act will enable West Virginia’s community banks and credit unions to petition for a rural designation and continue serving the West Virginians who depend on their services the most,” Senator Capito said.

“The HELP Rural Communities Act is a common sense piece of legislation that would help rural communities obtain their housing needs. I vehemently oppose the actions of overzealous bureaucrats who are limiting financing options in our rural communities. I am proud to work with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to expand housing options in rural Kentucky,” Senator Paul said.

Thune and McConnell Reintroduce Bill to Repeal Death Tax

-Permanently abolishes punitive tax on family farms, ranches, businesses-

WASHINGTON, D.C.—U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), member of the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee, today reintroduced legislation to permanently repeal the federal estate tax, better known as the death tax, to finally put an end to a punitive tax on family farms, ranches, and businesses upon the death of an owner. Thune’s bill, the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2015, is identical to legislation introduced in House of Representatives by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas). The House Committee on Ways and Means will be marking up Brady’s companion bill today in committee. Thune also introduced an amendment to the Senate’s Fiscal Year 2016 Budget Resolution to create a deficit neutral reserve fund to eliminate the federal estate tax, or death tax. The Senate is expected to vote on Thune’s amendment later this week.
“Death should not be a taxable event,” said Thune. “For too long the federal government has forced grieving families to pay a tax on their loved one’s life savings that has been built from income already taxed when originally earned. Currently more than 70 percent of family businesses do not survive to the second generation, and 90 percent of family businesses do not survive to the third generation. According to a study by former CBO Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin, repealing the death tax would create 1.5 million additional small business jobs and would shave almost a percentage point off the unemployment rate. This tax punishes farmers and entrepreneurs for a lifetime of hard work. I will continue to work in Congress to see a permanent end to this unfair tax.”
“I am proud to join Senator Thune in introducing the Death Tax Repeal Act, which will finally abolish this unfair, anti-family tax, and I appreciate his leadership on this issue,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “The death tax unduly burdens American families by taxing assets that are handed down from generation to generation, like family farms or small family businesses. It is the federal government’s final insult to tax your family when you have already paid taxes on your property throughout your life. The thought of having to visit the IRS and the undertaker on the same day is an absolute outrage. This is wrong and it’s why I have consistently supported legislation to eliminate this burdensome tax.”
“The death tax unfairly targets hardworking American families, small business owners, and farmers that have already been taxed all their lives,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch. “Fortunately, there is bipartisan support to put an end to this burdensome tax once and for all. It’s time this tax be repealed so that families can pass down what they’ve worked so hard to build over a lifetime to their children.”
Thune’s bill is supported by the American Farm Bureau Federation, Associated Builders and Contractors, National Association of Manufacturers, National Federation of Independent Business, 60 Plus Association, Americans for Tax Reform, Club for Growth, National Black Chamber of Commerce, International Franchise Association, National Taxpayers Union, American Conservative Union, Family Business Coalition, and many others.
Thune’s bill is cosponsored in the Senate by Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Dan Coats (R-Ind.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Mike Enzi (R-Wyo.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Dean Heller (R-Nev.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Mike Lee (R-Utah), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Pat Toomey (R-Penn.), and David Vitter (R-La.).

PHOTO(s) OF THE DAY

SOURCE:  Department of Defense /Defense News Lead Photo

U.S. Marines with Kilo Company, Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, prepare to assault a simulated objective during Exercise Eagle Resolve 2015 at Failaka Island, Kuwait, March 24, 2015. Eagle Resolve is the premiere Arabian Peninsula/gulf region exercise among the United States, Gulf Cooperation Council nations, and international partners. It serves to address regional challenges associated with asymmetric/unconventional warfare in a multi-national environment. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Devin Nichols)

U.S. Marines with Kilo Company, Battalion Landing Team 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, prepare to assault a simulated objective during Exercise Eagle Resolve 2015 at Failaka Island, Kuwait, March 24, 2015. Eagle Resolve is the premiere Arabian Peninsula/gulf region exercise among the United States, Gulf Cooperation Council nations, and international partners. It serves to address regional challenges associated with asymmetric/unconventional warfare in a multi-national environment. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Devin Nichols)

Paratroopers with 3rd Battalion (Airborne), 509th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division conduct an After Action Review after completing  a night live-fire maneuver range March 23, 2015 at Neibar Drop Zone on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. The range was part of Spartan Valkyrie, a week-long command post exercise designed to further validate joint readiness capabilities.  (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Daniel Love)

Paratroopers with 3rd Battalion (Airborne), 509th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division conduct an After Action Review after completing a night live-fire maneuver range March 23, 2015 at Neibar Drop Zone on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. The range was part of Spartan Valkyrie, a week-long command post exercise designed to further validate joint readiness capabilities. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Daniel Love)

Tech. Sgt. Timothy Cotterall, an Air National Guard emergency manager, is decontaminated following attempts to identify multiple biological contaminants in a simulated lab during a Global Dragon training event on March 18, 2015. Held at the Guardian Centers of Georgia, Global Dragon Deployment For Training provides a refresher course for Airmen, allowing them to put their skills to use to identify live chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear agents and materials. Air National Guard emergency management technicians from more than 20 individual units participated in Global Dragon. Cotterall is a member of the 137th Air Refueling Wing in New Jersey. (New York Air National Guard / Staff Sgt. Christopher S. Muncy / released)

Tech. Sgt. Timothy Cotterall, an Air National Guard emergency manager, is decontaminated following attempts to identify multiple biological contaminants in a simulated lab during a Global Dragon training event on March 18, 2015. Held at the Guardian Centers of Georgia, Global Dragon Deployment For Training provides a refresher course for Airmen, allowing them to put their skills to use to identify live chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear agents and materials. Air National Guard emergency management technicians from more than 20 individual units participated in Global Dragon. Cotterall is a member of the 137th Air Refueling Wing in New Jersey. (New York Air National Guard / Staff Sgt. Christopher S. Muncy / released)

150324-N-UF697-009 EAST CHINA SEA (March 24, 2015) A Naval Aircrewman awaits takeoff on an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter, assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25, aboard the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6). Bonhomme Richard is the lead ship of the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and, along with the embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), is currently underway in the 7th Fleet Area of Operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kevin V. Cunningham/Released)

150324-N-UF697-009 EAST CHINA SEA (March 24, 2015) A Naval Aircrewman awaits takeoff on an MH-60S Seahawk helicopter, assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25, aboard the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6). Bonhomme Richard is the lead ship of the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and, along with the embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), is currently underway in the 7th Fleet Area of Operations. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kevin V. Cunningham/Released)

BIGGER THAN HOOPS, L.A. BASED YOUTH-BASKETBALL PROGRAM HONORS OVER 40 MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENT-ATHLETES

By Nickey Woods, M.Ed.

SOURCE:  Blacknews.com

Los Angeles, CA (BlackNews.com) — On Saturday, March 28, 2015, Ryan Silver, president of Earl Watson Elite, is doing something that is not common among youth travel basketball programs. He will be honoring over 40 Earl Watson Elite middle school basketball players that have excelled as student-athletes. What makes this so unique is that he is honoring their success not on the basketball court, but in the classroom!

While monitoring student-athletes’ academic performance is not a requirement for travel basketball programs, Earl Watson Elite parents are accustomed to being asked for their sons report cards. Silver hopes to promote an awareness of the importance of doing well in the classroom as a means to greater future opportunities for the student-athletes in his program. Targeting academic success in middle school, believes Silver, is the best way to prepare student-athletes for academic success in high school, when grades can determine the college trajectory as early as the ninth grade.

“It is very important for student-athletes at a young age to understand the importance of academics. The 40-year plan and life when the ball stops bouncing is something very important in our program,” says Silver.

Earl Watson Elite Middle School Basketball Team - Photo Courtesy:  Blacknews.com

Earl Watson Elite Middle School Basketball Team – Photo Courtesy: Blacknews.com

To help accomplish his goal of honoring the academic achievements of Earl Watson Elite student-athletes, Silver created an academic team consisting of parents and staff with educational backgrounds in order to determine awards criteria and evaluate student transcripts.

The Earl Watson Elite parents have responded to his call for an emphasis on academic excellence as well, with numerous parents submitting report cards for review for Earl Watson Elites inaugural middle school academic awards ceremony. On Saturday evening, 42 Earl Watson Elite middle school basketball players will be honored for their hard work in the classroom. Student-athletes will receive one of four honors: Honorable Mention (3.0 to 3.49), Honor Roll (3.50 to 3.79), High Honors (3.80 to 3.99), and Highest Honors (4.00 and above). Currently, 14 middle school student-athletes have a GPA of 3.80 or better.

Although honoring over 40 athletes is remarkable, Silver hopes to increase the number of student-athletes earning a spot on the Earl Watson Elite Academic Honor Roll in the future. “Academics are the number one focus at Earl Watson Elite. We were blessed to send two kids to Harvard (Tommy McCarthy and Balsa Dragovic), one kid to Cornell (Stone Gettings), and one kid to Lehigh (Kyle Leufroy). We are very proud of these young men and know they will be wildly successful in life.”

Earl Watson Elite strives to be an organization that is about more than basketball. This program is dedicated to building men of character through basketball and helping kids change their lives on and off the court. On May 3rd, 2015, the Earl Watson Elite Basketball Organization will be hosting a fundraising gala to raise funds for programs and initiatives that support its student-athletes. In the past two years, 23 student-athletes who have played for the Earl Watson Elite program have gone on to play for the following colleges and universities: Harvard, Cornell, Lehigh, St. John’s, Arizona State, UC Santa Barbara, Cal State Northridge, Cal Poly Pomona, Florida State, Air Force, UC Davis, and Oregon State. Earl Watson Elite’s High Academic and Community Outreach Programs set this organization apart from other AAU programs and instills in its student-athletes the importance of academic excellence and giving back to the community.

This fundraising gala will honor former UCLA and NBA player (and current San Antonio Spurs Assistant Coach) Earl Watson. Mr. Watson will be receiving the inaugural “Attitude of Gratitude” Award for his work with youth basketball players and providing a vehicle for young men to achieve their own academic and athletic goals. This fundraising event is open to the public.

pitanim

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