Political Notes week of Dec. 14, 2006



Schwartz Gets Nod for Ways & Means Committee

U.S. Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-District 13) was appointed by the House Democratic leadership to the influential Committee on Ways and Means.

The committee deals with taxes and revenue-raising, and has an oversight role on federal programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

"We have our work cut out for us, from lowering the tax burden on middle-class families to ensuring Social Security's long-term solvency and tackling the nation's health-care crisis," said Schwartz in a press release.

She was one of two lawmakers statewide — and the only Democrat — to be appointed.

The same day, freshman Congressmen Patrick Murphy (D-District 8) and Joe Sestak (D-District 7) — who each used their military credentials to bolster their campaigns –were appointed to serve on the House Armed Services Committee.

"This is an opportunity for me to put my experience as a soldier to work," said Murphy, in a press release. He expected the committee to have a vital role in the exit strategy from Iraq.

Shuls Asked to Switch Lights

Two national Jewish organizations have come up with a bright idea for how to lower the wattage and in that way combat global warming, an effort they hope will have particular resonance this time of year.

"A Light Among the Nations" — launched by the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs — is asking synagogues and congregants to switch from regular light bulbs to compact fluorescent ones, which can last as much as eight times longer.

"Change is hard, but changing a light bulb is easy," said Barbara Lerman-Golumb, executive director of COEJL.

She claimed that so far, the program has helped sell roughly 500,000 bulbs to 500 congregations, including 34 in Pennsylvania, which means that 18,000 less tons of carbon dioxide entered the atmosphere.



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