Super PAC bows out of U.S. Senate race

A far-reaching trade agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership pulls in 12 different countries and has earned the support of Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards.

Edwards made his announcement recently alongside a bipartisan group of governors attending the National Governors Association’s summer conference. The group included  Gov. Terry Branstad of Iowa, Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia, Gov. Brian Sandoval of Nevada and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds of Iowa.

“Louisiana is a trade powerhouse,” said Edwards. “We have built a thriving international commerce and trade economy and have one of the largest port complexes in the world. The TPP will directly impact Louisiana businesses and open the pathway for improved commerce and trade between the United States and our Pacific Rim partners.”

In 2015, Louisiana exported over $49 billion worth of goods and continues to rank among the top 10 exporting states in the nation. According to the U.S. International Trade Administration, $17.5 billion in Louisiana products were exported to TPP countries in 2014, equaling 27 percent of all Louisiana goods exports.

In addition to the United States, there are 11 Trans-Pacific Partnership countries, including Australia, Brunei Daraussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

The text of the trade agreement needs to be signed and ratified by all 12 participating countries.

The trade deal eliminates more than 18,000 tariffs on goods made and grown in the United States, including a 40 percent tariff on poultry, a 7 percent tariff on oysters, a 25 percent tariff on paint and a 33 percent tariff on soybean products.Abraham gets vets bill to presidentA bill by freshman Congressman Ralph Abraham,R-Alto, to provide veterans with a cost of living adjustment is pending approval by President Barack Obama.

The full House of Representatives and full Senate both passed Abraham’s HR 5588, the “Veterans’ Compensation COLA Act of 2016,” last week. Obama is expected to endorse the resolution.

It directs the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to increase the following on Dec. 1:— The rates of veterans’ disability compensation— Additional compensation for dependents— The clothing allowance for certain disabled veterans,— Dependency and indemnity compensation for surviving spousesThe amount of the increase will not be known until the end of the year, but it will track what’s provided under Title II of the Social Security Act.

Veterans depend on Congress to act each year to provide them with benefits adjustments. Abraham, however, is pushing to make veterans’ COLA adjustments automatic, thereby removing the need for Congress to act annually.

His bill HR 677, the “American Heroes COLA Act,” would grant veterans a benefit adjustment each year Social Security recipients receive an adjustment.

HR 677 passed the House in February, but the Senate has not acted on it.

“Veterans deserve the peace of mind that comes with knowing a COLA will come annually, rather than hoping Congress can break its gridlock to provide for them,” Abraham said.Expanded Medicaid program reaches benchmark Officials with the Louisiana Department of Health say the state’s expanded Medicaid program has now enrolled 250,000 new adult participants.

The program, known as “Healthy Louisiana,” kicked off its enrollment process on June 1 and began its new coverage offerings on July 1.

Dr. Rebekah Gee, the department’s secretary, said the expansion will eventually bring health insurance coverage to an estimated 375,000 Louisianans. In the first month and a half of enrollment, she said an average of 2,500 residents per day have signed up for Medicaid coverage.

Expanded Medicaid coverage is available for adults ages 19 to 64 with a household income of up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or $33,534 for a family of four.

Applicants must meet citizenship requirements and cannot already be covered by Medicaid or Medicare.  Residents who think they may be eligible can apply in person, by phone or online at healthy.la.gov. They Said It“Our officers do not stand above, below, or outside of our communities. They are part of our communities.”— United States Attorney Kenneth Allen Polite, Jr., on the killing of law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge

“The completely unjustified attack on law enforcement officials is an attack on us all and a move toward anarchy. These attacks take aim at the foundation of our social contract—that we join together for our common safety.”— State House Speaker Pro Tem Walt Leger, on the shootings

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