Incredibly, the Senate will actually hold hearings about updating our chemical safety laws this week. Congress last updated chemical safety legislation in 1976. Anything happen since 1976? Why, yes! Over 80,000 chemicals used in manufacturing weren't around in 1976, and thus have never been safety-tested. But word on the street is that the Senate will settle for a weak bill, so both Breast Cancer Action and Consumers Union help you demand a strong chemical safety bill. What would such a bill look like? Such a bill would make chemical corporations prove their chemicals are safe before they put those chemicals in household products, provide extra protection for "hot spot" areas drowning in unsafe chemical exposure, and allow states or localities to pass stronger safety standards, among other things. After all, cancer-causing chemicals are in our homes and our bodies now, so the Senate really needs to get cracking. (If the House would deign to get cracking afterward, that would be awfully nice.)
Meanwhile, if you missed previous opportunities to tell Congress to increase Social Security benefits, both Bold Progressives and CREDO still help you do that. Apparently the House Ways and Means Committee wants your input on reforming Medicare and Social Security, and what's their very first suggestion? Cutting Social Security benefits by linking cost-of-living increases to the dread "chained CPI." This zombie just keeps on coming, but we keep on firing: "chained CPI" tends to undercalculate inflation by assuming that people will automatically switch to cheaper products once certain products get too expensive. And guess who almost never has that option? Seniors, who already live on fixed and very small incomes and who don't exactly have a cornucopia of "options" if medical issues crop up (and they will crop up). But the Harkin and Begich bills in the Senate (S. 567 and S. 308, respectively) would link cost-of-living increases to a Consumer Price Index for Elderly Consumers (or CPIEC) -- an index the Department of Labor would still have to create, but we'll fight that battle when it's time.