Saturday, September 30, 2023

VOA News: Explainer: Government Shutdown

VOA News: Explainer: Government Shutdown

How can the world's largest economy be facing a government shutdown and be unable to pay its workers? 

Well, that's the question many inside and outside the United States are asking.

The new fiscal year begins October 1st.

Prior to that, Congress must pass appropriation bills to fund federal government programs and keep the country running. 

But a group of Republican lawmakers has threatened to oppose any bill that does not also address their political priorities including deep spending cuts, increased border security, reducing Aid to Ukraine, and even the impeachment of President Joe Biden.

Since the anti-deficiency ACT prohibits government spending without authorization by Congress, failure to pass these bills before a September 30th deadline would result in a partial government shutdown.

During a shutdown, the federal government ceases all non-mandatory spending.

Many federal employees, who are not considered essential workers, are furloughed. 

This stops many day-to-day functions including food and safety inspection, running national parks, and processing benefits and grants.

Essential programs and services, such as defense, border security, air traffic control, and energy maintenance, can often continue running under contingency plans.

But even those will be affected in their ability to pay workers and plan ahead.

Aside from directly affecting thousands of federal employees, a shutdown will dent growth of the economy by about 0.2 percent weekly until the shutdown ends.

The last government shutdown lasted five weeks and cost an estimated three billion dollars in GDP because affected services include everything from Visa applications to reviews of foreign investment. 

The impact would be felt globally.

While shutdowns lasting more than one business day were relatively rare until the 1990s, the past decade has seen two extended shutdowns with the longest again the most recent lasting 35 days.

(Punctuation added by uscitizenpod. Contact your US reps and express your opinion

(Thanks to the staff of VOA News for their outstanding reportage!) 

USCIS 100:23. Name your U.S. Representative. Question 23 Audio (MP3, 422.83 KB)

  • Answers will vary. [Residents of territories with nonvoting Delegates or Resident Commissioners may provide the name of that Delegate or Commissioner. Also acceptable is any statement that the territory has no (voting) Representatives in Congress.]

Friday, September 29, 2023

Feinstein Leaves Behind Feminist Legacy, Colleagues Say

Guardian News: A look back at the political career of the Dianne Feinstein 

VOA News: Feinstein Leaves Behind Feminist Legacy, Colleagues Say 

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein died on Thursday night at 90, her family confirmed. She was the oldest member of Congress. Feinstein's peers in the Senate say she will be remembered as a trailblazer and an exemplar of perseverance whose many firsts paved the way for generations of women to take charge in politics and society. (read more)

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Defending Democracy

VOA News: Vowing to Defend Democracy, Biden Hits Hard at Trump 

US President Joe Biden sharpened his attacks against Donald Trump on Thursday, delivering a forceful assertion that the former president and Republican front-runner represents an existential threat to the country’s democratic values and institutions. White House Bureau Chief Patsy Widakuswara has this report.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

A Tribute to Former Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton

 Share America: A Tribute to Former Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton 

The 67th U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, delivers farewell remarks at the Department of State.

USCIS 100:35. What does the President’s Cabinet do? Question 35 Audio (MP3, 164.24 KB)

  • advises the President

USCIS 100:36. What are two Cabinet-level positions? Question 36 Audio (MP3, 1.02 MB)

  • Secretary of Agriculture
  • Secretary of Commerce
  • Secretary of Defense
  • Secretary of Education
  • Secretary of Energy
  • Secretary of Health and Human Services
  • Secretary of Homeland Security
  • Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
  • Secretary of the Interior
  • Secretary of Labor
  • Secretary of State
  • Secretary of Transportation
  • Secretary of the Treasury
  • Secretary of Veterans Affairs
  • Attorney General
  • Vice President

Tuesday, September 26, 2023

President Biden joins the UAW picket line in Wayne County, Michigan

wh: President Biden joins the UAW picket line in Wayne County, Michigan

President Biden joins the picket line and stand in solidarity with the men and women of United Auto Workers (UAW) as they fight for a fair share of the value they helped create.

Monday, September 25, 2023

What's up with the Proposed USCIS Naturalization Test Redesign?

uscitizenpod: What's up with the Proposed USCIS Naturalization Test Redesign?

In late September, DHS and USCIS released new resources about the Naturalization Test Redesign.  This prompted updated commentary from VOA News, ILRC, Bill Bliss, and other stakeholders.  In order to address and clarify to redesign process, USCIS will be hosting NIICE: National Immigrant Integration & Citizenship Education Conference, October 18-19, in Washington D.C. Plus resources to contact CONGRESS about the potential Government shutdown.  And a QUICK CITIZENSHIP QUIZ that connects the Constitution, the Fed Code, and Adult Education.

7/19/2023 Naturalization Test Redesign Resources (DHS, USCIS) 

9/19/2023: Citizenship Test Changes Might Require Better English Skills, VOA

“Possible changes to the naturalization interview would make civics questions multiple choice to “reflect current best practices in test design,” USCIS said in a document explaining the update to the test. Schmelzer said that would make the test harder for immigrants who may not have a great understanding of American history or English.” Article includes audio and quiz.  You can watch a sub-titled video of VOA Learning English Podcast for Wednesday September 20, 2023. The Citizenship story starts at 11:08.  Appropriate for intermediate ESL adult learners. 

09/20/2023 USCIS Naturalization Test Redesign – Flaws in Design and Transparency, ILRC

  • ILRC attorneys and guest speaker Bill Bliss gave an overview of the USCIS naturalization test redesign announced in December 2022. Educators of low-literacy adults believe that these changes would make the test significantly more difficult for applicants. This is a free webinar. Click 9/20 USCIS Naturalization Test Redesign; create account; checkout; go to your account to view the recording.      Note: webinar resources include slides (note: slide 31 “Register comments” for email addresses), “English and US History & Government Tests” (from ILRC Naturalization & US Citizenship, and recent articles by Bill Bliss.
  • transcript of Bill Bliss’s interview was posted as Medium: 9/22 USCIS Naturalization Test Redesign — Flaws in Design and Transparency.

10/17/2023 to 10/18/2023 NIICE: National Immigrant Integration & Citizenship Education Conference: THE ROAD TO ACCESS AND INCLUSION, USCIS Headquarters, Camp Springs, MD

  • USCIS, in partnership with the White House Task Force on New Americans (TFNA) and the Interagency Naturalization Working Group (NWG), is bringing together professionals with equities in immigrant integration and citizenship education from both the public and private sectors.
  • The conference is free; however, participants are responsible for transportation and lodging. The conference will take place October 17-18 with optional pre-conference activities on October 16. Virtual and in-person attendance options are available.  Please CAREULLY review the registration info under the NIICE website information and registration tabs. Please refer questions to:

Resources to Contact CONGRESS about the Potential Government Shutdown

uscitizenpod: National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week Civics Quiz

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Constitution and Citizenship Week 7


uscitizenpod: Constitution and Citizenship Week 2023 Interview

Kuldeep and I did a quick practice interview for the Milipitas Adult School during our Constitution and Citizenship Week celebration.  Students also learned more the connection between the Constitution, Citizenship, and the laws that support Adult Education by practicing the National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week Civics Quiz 

Download the scripts:
  • Interview C4 | Constitution Week Quiz pdf
  • National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week Civics Quiz pdf
Learn more: 

LINCS: Civics Resources for Constitution and Citizenship Week

uscitizenpod: U.S. Citizenship Resources for Constitution and Citizenship Week

Friday, September 22, 2023

Constitution and Citizenship Week 6


Learn more: 

LINCS: Civics Resources for Constitution and Citizenship Week

uscitizenpod: U.S. Citizenship Resources for Constitution and Citizenship Week