‘You Are Accountable to Your People’

first_imgPanel discussants, Congressman David Price, chairman of the House Democracy Partnership (HDP), Congressman Markwayne Mullin, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Congresswoman Diana DeGette, Congresswoman Alma Adams, House Chief Clerk Cheryl Johnson and House Parliamentarian Tom Wickham.US Congressional delegation urge Liberian lawmakers to make public their ‘Yea or Nay’ votesVisiting members of the United States Congress, from the House Democratic Partnership (HDP), have advised their Liberian counterparts, especially those from the House of Representatives, to be accountable to their respective constituents by showing their ‘yea or nay’ votes on whatever bills they acted on.The US congressmen and women described transparency as “very key to accountability” as well as democracy and governance.The congressional delegation made the statement during a panel discussion on Tuesday, October 8, in a Community Media Forum, organized by the Liberia Media Development Program (LMD). in collaboration with the Liberia Media Initiative (LMDI) on the theme, “Representative Democracy and Governance.”The Panel discussants were Congressman David Price, chairman of the House Democracy Partnership (HDP), Congressman Markwayne Mullin, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Congresswoman Diana DeGette, Congresswoman Alma Adams, House Chief Clerk Cheryl Johnson and House Parliamentarian Tom Wickham.The purpose of the Panel Discussion and Community Media Forum was to provide a forum for constructive, engaging and contemporary discussion on representative governance, the role of legislators (US and Liberian) to create dialogue, new thinking and solution with and between members of parliament (MP’s), civil society representatives, media leaders and citizens, using media to amplify to a broader audience (citizens).Price said the US Congress bipartisan HDP Committee has been working with the Liberian legislature for 12 years, both respectively and responsively, and has observed that there are challenges at the Legislature, which need to be addressed.Rep. Price stated that despite the challenges, there is one common interest, which is Article 1 of the Constitution.Article 1 of the 1986 Liberian constitution says: “All persons are born equally free and independent, and have certain natural inherent and inalienable rights, among which are the right of enjoying and defending life, and liberty of pursuing maintaining and security of the persons and of acquiring, possessing and protecting properties.Price called on lawmakers to be accountable to their people (constituents) about their votes or what they vote on, must speak for their constituents, and that there are plenty of ways constituents can let their lawmakers know of their concerns.“You represent the value of your people in the House of Representatives, and therefore, you are accountable to them,” Congresswoman Markwayne Mullin said.The purpose of the Panel Discussion and Community Media Forum was to provide a forum for constructive, engaging and contemporary discussion on representative governance, among other issues.Congresswoman Lee, the first African American woman to be elected from North Carolina, said representative democracy means to speak for those who do not have a voice, while accountability is important in representation.Congresswoman DeGette, who said it is her first HDP visit and to Liberia, disclosed that has been in Congress for 23 years and is willing to contribute to building Liberia’s democracy.She said she went to law school to help people and, as a criminal defense lawyer, she helped lots of people, but got into politics to make laws that oversees everybody.Rep. Degette said that she works and listens to her constituents and is accountable to them on whatever decision she made in the House of Representatives.Congresswoman Alma Adams said she is the 100th woman elected in Congress and that Liberia needs more women in the Legislature. A retired professor, after 40 years in the classroom, she said she believes in representative governance and democracy as well as transparency and accountability.Chief Clerk Cheryl Johnson said since 1789, the record of Congress is still kept. She said whenever a vote is taken in the House of Representatives, it is posted on the US Congress website within at most 10 minutes for the public glare as part of an accountable system to the American people.She said that every member of the House is a servant and is accountable to their constituents.Parliamentarian Tom Wickham spoke of being responsible to interpret the rules of the House of Representatives to every member and serves as the referee.He said that he has been at the House for 24 years and served six different Speakers.Representative J. Marvin Cole of Bong County District #3 and Nimba County District #8 Representative Larry P. Younquoi were the two Liberian lawmakers that interacted with the US congressional delegation during the panel discussion.Prior to the Community Media Forum, the 19-member congressional delegation met the leadership of the legislature and there were breakout sessions, which attracted lots of people to Tuesday’s discussion.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Mortgage relief bill advances

first_imgThat bill would allow judges to order mortgage lenders to ease terms for homeowners in bankruptcy proceedings. Currently, mortgage lenders can foreclose against a homeowner in default 90 days after the filing of bankruptcy. Legislation similar to both bills is pending in the Senate. Mortgage lenders would be “terrified” of getting wrapped up in bankruptcy proceedings, said Brian Gardner, a research analyst with investment firm Keefe, Bruyette & Woods. The House vote was the latest congressional reaction to a mortgage crisis touched off this spring by a blowup in high-priced home loans for risky borrowers, which has thrown a pall over the economy. An estimated 2 million to 2.5 million adjustable-rate mortgages – worth some $600 billion – will jump from low initial “teaser” rates to higher rates this year and next. Steep pre-payment penalties have made it difficult for some to get out of their mortgages, and some overstretched homeowners can’t afford to refinance or sell their homes. Foreclosures are at record highs and late payments are spiking. Lenders have been forced out of business and investors have taken huge financial hits. WASHINGTON – Financial relief for homeowners facing foreclosure or in bankruptcy advanced in the House on Thursday as the House approved legislation to help financially strapped homeowners. The bill, passed by a 386-to-27 vote, would give a tax break to homeowners who have mortgage debt forgiven as part of a foreclosure or a reworking of a loan. The value of that forgiveness, which is now taxable as income, would become tax-exempt. While the measure is anticipated to reduce the taxes of some strapped homeowners by a total of $650 million, it also looks to help offset that by limiting a tax break available on the sale of second homes. Another measure, narrowly approved by a House Judiciary subcommittee and opposed by Republicans on the panel, has been sent to the full Judiciary Committee. It would revise the bankruptcy code to help homeowners facing default and foreclosure, biting into already hard-hit profits at mortgage lenders. The House last month passed legislation to expand backing of mortgages by the Federal Housing Administration, which now insures some 3.7 million loans in the event of default, with a view to helping struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure. “Families dealing with the pain of a foreclosure should not have the double whammy of a large tax bill,” Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said of the tax-relief measure he sponsored. To help offset the $650 million in tax revenue, the legislation also makes it harder to get breaks on capital gains taxes for the sale of second homes. The White House supports the tax measure but wants the mortgage relief to be in effect for three years, not permanent, as approved by the House. President George W. Bush is opposed to limiting tax breaks on the sale of second homes. The Mortgage Bankers Association expressed strong support for the tax-relief bill, but fiercely criticized the bankruptcy measure. “Lenders will have no choice but to move to foreclosure right away to ensure that they are not covered by the onerous provisions of this bill,” the group said in a statement. “In the longer term, investors and speculators who overpaid for homes at the height of the housing bubble will have an incentive to file for bankruptcy, walk away from the loan and property, and reap an undeserved windfall.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Tottenham make enquiry for France Under-21 international

first_img 1 Tottenham have made enquiries to FC Utrecht over the availability of striker Sebastien Haller, according to reports in Holland.The French striker, 21, has been in fine form this season, netting 21 goals in 31 games for the Dutch side.And now, according to Voetbal International, Spurs have made contact with the Eredivisie side about the possibility of luring Haller to north London this summer.However, Mauricio Pochettino’s side face competition from Ajax for the £8m-rated forward, while Inter Milan are understood to be among a number of Serie A clubs in the race to land the player.Norwich and Sunderland both tried to sign Haller in January but failed to match Utrecht’s valuation of the former Auxerre man. getty center_img Sebastien Haller celebrates scoring for France Under-21s last_img read more

End of the Third World

first_imgWith the rise of China, India and Brazil, it is time to drop the use of the term “Third World” to categorize developing countries, according to the head of the World Bank.Speaking at Washington’s Wilson Center, Robert Zoellick said: “For decades, students of security and international politics have debated the emergence of a multi polar system. Its time we recognize the new economic parallel. If 1989 saw the end of the Second World with Communisms demise, then 2009 saw the end of what was known as the Third World: We are now in a new, fast-evolving multi polar world economy — in which some developing countries are emerging as economic powers; others are moving towards becoming additional poles of growth; and some are struggling to attain their potential within this new system — where North and South, East and West, are now points on a compass, not economic destinies.”  Related Itemslast_img read more