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Stratford Eye on the Beltway: Himes' Office Returned $2.4M to Constituents in '11

Blumenthal support GMO labeling bill; Murphy supports Stafford Loan bill.

LIEBERMAN: The senator recently announced the support of 20 new co-sponsors of the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act, which would allow same-sex domestic partners of federal employees living together in a committed relationship to be eligible for health benefits, long-term care, Family and Medical Leave and federal retirement benefits, among others. 

“This legislation is about equality for the gay community, pure and simple,” Lieberman said in a press release. “I am pleased that so many of my colleagues are showing their support, as are a growing number of civil rights groups, labor groups and businesses. We want to attract the best people to serve in the federal government and one way to do that is by offering their families the same benefits as their heterosexual colleagues, as businesses across the country are already doing.”

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BLUMENTHAL:  The senator was a surprise panelist at the Westport Inn on Sunday and spoke in favor of the GMO labeling bill, HB 5117. He was joined by state representatives , , Jonathan Steinberg, Dick Roy, and .

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DELAURO:  During a visit with seniors at Ashlar Village in Wallingford on Tuesday, the congresswoman highlighted the threats posed by the recently passed House Majority budget to Medicare and health care for seniors.

“It used to be there was a bipartisan consensus on protecting Medicare,” she said in a press release. “But this House budget ends the Medicare guarantee for tomorrow’s seniors. If it passes, Medicare as we know it will not be available for everyone born after 1957. Costs will be dramatically shifted onto future Medicare beneficiaries. Medicare’s income-related premiums, including Part B and Part D, will increase. And the eligibility age will be raised to 67. In other words, instead of working to control surging health care costs, this planned budget just shifts them onto seniors and families, who are already struggling to get by on a fixed income at a time of increasing food and gas prices.”

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HIMES: The congressman announced on Tuesday that his office helped return $2,416,032.75 to constituents in 2011 who were owed Social Security checks, veterans’ benefits, tax refunds and other payments or refunds from the federal government.

"Helping constituents cut through the red tape of the federal government is one of my most important duties as a representative,” he said in a press release. “These successes mean precious dollars saved, healthcare services paid for, and veterans’ medals delivered to those who fought to defend our country. I strongly encourage anyone who is having difficulty navigating the federal government to contact my office right away.”

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MURPHY:  Along with State Rep. Joseph Courtney, Murphy showed support for a bill that would extend a 3.4 percent interest rate cut for the Stafford Loan program for at least a year, according to CT News Junkie.

Murphy said that because of the rising tuition costs, students are putting off college longer, thus, decreasing the amount of 25-year-old U.S. residents who possess a college degree.

“Eye on the Beltway” is a new feature on your local Patch that looks each day at the activities of elected officials in our nation’s capitol from your town and other parts of southwestern Connecticut.

Those officials are:

  • Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT)
  • Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT)
  • Rep. Rosa DeLauro (CT-3), a Democrat representing Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Branford, Derby, Durham, East Haven, Guilford, Hamden, Middlefield, Middletown, Milford, Naugatuck, New Haven, North Branford, North Haven, Orange, Prospect, Seymour, Shelton, Stratford, Wallingford, Waterbury, West Haven and Woodbridge.
  • Rep. Jim Himes (CT-4), a Democrat representing Bridgeport, Darien, Easton, Fairfield, Greenwich, Monroe, New Canaan, Norwalk, Oxford, Redding, Ridgefield, Shelton (part), Stamford, Trumbull, Weston, Westport and Wilton.
  • Rep. Chris Murphy (CT-5), a Democrat representing Avon, Bethel, Bethlehem, Bridgewater, Brookfield, Burlington, Canaan, Canton, Cheshire, Cornwall, Danbury, Farmington, Goshen, Harwinton, Kent, Litchfield, Meriden, Middlebury, Morris, New Britain, New Fairfield, New Milford, Newtown, Norfolk, North Canaan, Plainville, Plymouth, Roxbury, Salisbury, Sharon, Sherman, Simsbury, Southbury, Thomaston, Torrington (part), Warren, Washington, Waterbury (part), Watertown, Wolcott and Woodbury.

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