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Baltimore mourns Rep. Elijah Cummings, who 'Fought for All.' Also on our rundown: Rick Perry headed for door as Energy Secretary; and EPA holds its only hearing on rolling back methane regulations.

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While controversy swirls at the White House, Chicago teachers go on strike and Democratic primary contender retired Admiral Joe Sestak walks 105 miles across New Hampshire.

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Caregivers: OR Budget Cuts Worse than Expected

December 4, 2008

Salem, OR – Fourteen groups that serve Oregon seniors, people with disabilities and low-income families have banded together to protest this week's newly-announced state budget cuts for 2009-2011. Calling themselves the Campaign for Oregon's Seniors and People with Disabilities, they have formed a coalition that includes SEIU, AARP Oregon and the Area Agencies on Aging. Members say offering services to fewer people will set Oregon up for even more economic trouble in the future.

The group predicts that a 15 percent overall cut to human services will mean about 5,800 of the state's most vulnerable residents would go without the help they need to stay healthy and remain living in their homes. Arthur Towers, political director for SEIU Local 503, the caregivers' union, says the cuts as proposed will jeopardize an important safety net.

"We have such a strong adult foster care program; we have such a strong home care program. The proposals that are on the table now will be a huge step backward, after we've worked hard to build a system that makes sense."

The people who provide the care-–both for seniors and children-–also stand to lose if the cuts are approved by the legislature, Tower adds.

"Nearly half the working families who rely on state-subsidized daycare will lose daycare for their children. We really worry about the economic consequences from the loss of more than 10,000 jobs."

Towers says cutting state dollars from human service programs also means federal matching money goes away. That, and the resulting job losses, would make the cuts hit even harder on people. But he points out that the governor's budget proposal is the first step in a long process–-and the legislature will make the final call.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OR