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Spending Package Would be Groundbreaking Expansion of Social Safety Net

Critics in the United States who argue about the cost of the $3.5 trillion reconciliation package pending in the US Congress, which would expand government investment in the country’s broken social safety net and protections for workers, are missing…
US President Joe Biden speaks on how his Build Back Better agenda will lower prescription drug prices, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on August 12, 2021.
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Proposed Plan Could Improve Medicine Access for Millions

Last week, the administration of US President Joe Biden released a much-anticipated policy agenda for addressing exorbitant prescription drug costs in the United States. Congress and the White House should seize this opportunity to implement reforms…
President Joe Biden speaks about how his Build Back Better agenda will lower prescription drug prices, in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC, on August 12, 2021.
News

Hospital Should Halt Medically Unnecessary Surgeries

Protesters picketed Weill-Cornell, a private institution that is part of the New York Presbyterian Hospital system, earlier this month, demanding the hospital cease medically unnecessary surgeries on children born with intersex traits, and investigate…
Demonstrators gather for an #EndIntersexSurgery protest outside Weill-Cornell hospital in New York City in August 2021. 
News

Restoring “Ability to Repay” Rule Would Help Protect Human Rights in the US

Millions of people in the US do not have enough money to cover basic needs and may be forced to turn to so-called payday lenders – short-term, small-dollar lenders who charge interest rates that can exceed 390 percent – to survive. Borrowers often…
A manager of a financial services counts cash being paid to a client as part of a loan in Ballwin, Missouri on August 9, 2018
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Federal Rule Allowing Payday Lenders to Avoid Interest Rate Limits Overturned

The US House of Representatives last week joined the Senate in voting to overturn a federal regulation that allowed payday and other small-dollar and short-term lenders to skirt limits on what interest rates they could charge for loans. This is a major…
The window of a payday loan store
News

Solutions to Identity Verification Errors Urgently Needed to Help Those Facing Hardship

Lucy* (not her real name), a 29-year-old grocery delivery worker and mother of two in the US city of Houston, Texas, was under enormous financial strain when we interviewed her in May. She said her income had dropped steeply during the pandemic; she…
Workers in Texas may apply for unemployment benefits on the Texas Workforce Commission website.
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Proposed Law Could Improve Health Care for Millions of People

Last week, members of the United States House of Representatives reintroduced a bill to lower prescription drug costs. Congress now has the chance to provide relief for millions of people in the US struggling to afford vital medicines. For many in…
File photo showing pharmaceuticals. 
News

Order Overturns Federal Rule Eliminating Speed Limits in Hog Plants

In a major victory for meatpacking workers, a United States district court in Minnesota on Wednesday found that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) had violated federal law with a 2019 rule eliminating slaughter line speed limits in hog processing…
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News

Congress Should Address Gap in Magnitsky Act

Since 2017, the United States has sanctioned 150 people and entities for corruption under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act. The list of those targeted ranges widely – from the daughter of the former president of Uzbekistan to an…
Business Trap Corruption Graphic
News

Biden Should Back Bill to Address US Role in Global Deforestation

A bill to prevent agricultural goods grown on illegally deforested land from entering the US market will be introduced in the US Congress, Senator Brian Schatz announced today. Beef, palm oil, soy, cocoa, and their derivatives are found in products…
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Special License for Billionaire Dan Gertler Undercuts Magnitsky Sanctions

A coalition of Democratic Republic of Congo and international nongovernmental organizations, including Human Rights Watch, have written to US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Secretary of State Antony Blinken and urged them to revoke a decision by…
Israeli billionaire Dan Gertler walks through the Katanga Mining Ltd. copper and cobalt mine complex in Kolwezi, Democratic Republic of Congo, August 1, 2012.
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Lifting the Permit Cap Would Make Thousands Eligible for Financial Assistance

New York City’s roughly 20,000 street vendors have suffered enormously this past year, as the Covid-19 pandemic compounded perennial challenges such as the lack of a social safety net in the United States for immigrant workers and…
Street vendors and supporters march across Brooklyn Bridge during a rally in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, November 12, 2020.
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Biden Administration Should Strengthen Regulations, Oversight

Fifty years ago today, then-United States President Richard Nixon signed the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act, a bill that set the stage for many of the basic protections to which US workers are legally entitled today. In January 2020, the…
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News

Extended Eviction Moratorium, Rent Assistance Crucial to Protect Right to Housing

With negotiations concerning a new economic stimulus stalled, millions of renters in the United States face a grim deadline. On December 31, the national eviction moratorium expires. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued the…
A rental sign is posted in front of an apartment complex in Phoenix, Arizona, July 14, 2020. 
News

Voters Decided on Measures Affecting Workers’ Rights

The US elections took place amid a recession, record unemployment, and rising poverty. The economy was the top issue for voters in the election; one in two voters said that economic inequality was very important in their decision about who to support…
Envelopes containing ballots are shown at a San Francisco Department of Elections voting center in San Francisco, California, November 1, 2020. 
News

Stalled Negotiations Threaten Rights, Economic Recovery

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused unemployment in the United States to reach its highest levels since the Great Depression. Yet in the first months of the crisis, poverty fell to historic lows and total income, made up of wages and government support,…
People line up outside a grocery store in the Sunset Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York, May 11, 2020.
News

Regulations Sought to Prevent Debt Traps

The United States Consumer Finance Protection Bureau announced this week it would reject rules that aimed to prevent predatory practices by so-called payday and other small-dollar lenders. The regulations would have required lenders to take the basic…
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American Bar Association Highlights Rise in ‘User Fees’ on People Living in Poverty

A new report by the American Bar Association (ABA) shows how growing privatization in the US criminal legal system and the financial burden created by “user fees” is effectively criminalizing poverty. The report, “Privatization of Services in the…
Women walk along a corridor at the Los Angeles County women's jail.
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US Should Emulate Germany’s Workers-First Response

The meatpacking industry in Germany, like the meatpacking industry in the United States, has recently seen outbreaks of Covid-19 at multiple facilities across the country, and hundreds of migrant workers from Eastern Europe have become infected. But…
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News

As the Bronx Shows, Greater Exposure Puts Marginalized Communities at Higher Risk

People exposed to air pollution – often because they live in low-income, industrial, or polluted urban neighborhoods – are at greater risk of becoming seriously ill or dying from Covid-19. But instead of addressing this link, the Trump…
Traffic making its way into Manhattan from Brooklyn over the Williamsburg Bridge, New York City, March 28, 2019.