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Joseph Lieberman on Jobs

Democratic Jr Senator (CT, retiring 2012), ran for V.P. with Gore, ran for president 2004


My seniority helps me deliver contracts and jobs to CT

Q: What are you going to do about companies sending jobs overseas?

A: The first thing to say is that I built up some seniority, and that helps me deliver contracts and jobs for Electric Boat. I was able to insert in a bill $75 million of design work which will keep hundreds of designers and engineers at Electric Boat working. I am the second in seniority among Democrats on the Public Works Committee. That allows me to return transportation, more transportation and public works money to the state.

Source: 2006 Connecticut Democratic Senate Primary debate , Jul 6, 2006

Raise minimum wage to $7.00

Q: What increases, if any, do you favor in the $5.15 an hour federal minimum wage?

A: It simply isn’t possible to make ends meet at $5.15 an hour in most places in the country. Workers need to make enough to have a decent life. We should raise the minimum wage to $7.

Source: Associated Press policy Q&A, “Minimum Wage” , Jan 25, 2004

For counter-cyclical farm subsides, despite criticism abroad

Q: Would you change the “subsidy mentality” of the farm program to a market-based program?

LIEBERMAN: First, agriculture is a critical part of American economic life and American history. Second, the 2002 farm bill, which I supported, improved the previous program with a series of counter-cyclical subsidies that I think are appropriate. So right now I would say, no. It’s very hypocritical when Europe criticizes us for our farm subsidies when, in fact, they have larger subsidies than we do.

Source: Democratic 2004 Presidential Primary Debate in Iowa , Jan 4, 2004

Fact Check: Claims Bush cost US 3.5M jobs - really only 2.7M

FACTCHECK on Jobs: Democrats persist in getting this wrong.

DEAN: “This president has lost 3 million jobs. 3 millions jobs lost is 3 million too many.”

LIEBERMAN: “Three and half million people have lost their jobs.”

FACTCHECK: In fact, as of November the job loss since President Bush took office in January 2001 stood at 2.26 million, as measured by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Even at the worst point of the job slump last August the job loss was 2.7 million-not 3 million or 3.5 million. Note: Many Democrats like to cite the loss in PRIVATE SECTOR jobs, not TOTAL employment. Focusing only on private-sector jobs ignores the tens of thousands of new government workers hired-including federal airport security workers-and makes the job slump sound worse than it was. But even the loss of PRIVATE-SECTOR jobs under Bush now stands at 2.7 million according to most recent statistics. It did go to 3.2 million at the worst of the slump, which is when many Dems started using the 3-million figure.

Source: (X-ref Dean) FactCheck.org: 2004 Primary Debate in Durham NH , Dec 9, 2003

To stimulate jobs, repeal tax cuts & support trade

Q: What would you do to stimulate job growth in this country?

A: For me it begins with taking back the Bush tax cuts for the highest income Americans and redirecting that money to tax cuts that will reward business for investing and creating jobs. The money will also be used to invest in innovation, education, and job training, which are the keys to future economic growth. I support trade as a way to open up markets around the world. And I will create a pro-manufacturing jobs program.

Source: Concord Monitor / WashingtonPost.com on-line Q&A , Nov 3, 2003

Build on Clinton-Gore record on taxes and jobs

The debate going on is really about whether we want to take the Democratic party back to where it was before Bill Clinton transformed it in 1992, or whether we want to take it forward. And some of my opponents here want to repeal all the tax cuts. That would mean a middle-class tax increase. Bill Clinton was for a middle-class tax cut. Some forget that Bill Clinton was for trade that created jobs. I want to build on the Clinton-Gore record, and create 10 million new jobs in 4 years.
Source: Debate at Pace University in Lower Manhattan , Sep 25, 2003

Lifetime opportunity for training

The way to grow the economy is to invest in people, to invest in innovation, to have the federal government put money in the kind of research that will create the new high-tech and bio-tech industries that will create the millions of new jobs. And one of the ways we do that is having the federal government partner with business, give business tax incentives to invest and grow and create jobs. And then, use public money to give lifetime opportunities for training and retraining to America’s workers.
Source: Debate at Pace University in Lower Manhattan , Sep 25, 2003

Trade creates jobs, despite it being unpopular to unions

Q: As president, what would be the least popular, most right thing you would do?

LIEBERMAN: I know perfectly well after 30 years in public life what you have to say to any crowd to get a round of applause. But if I’m before a labor group and I believe that trade creates jobs, I’m going to say that. That’s what being president is all about: having a clarity of judgment and the courage to stick with it.

Source: Debate at Pace University in Lower Manhattan , Sep 25, 2003

Commitment to labor & working families stressed

Lieberman went to a pre-dawn visit to a bakery, recalling one where his father worked. He sounded sharply populist themes as he greeted construction workers, watched a little football at a pub in Philadelphia and shook hands with workers changing late-night shifts in Michigan. “If the labor movement were a religion, and in some ways it is, Flint, Michigan, would be a holy city. This team is going to work its heart out for the hardworking middle-class families of America,” Lieberman said.
Source: AP Story, NY Times , Sep 4, 2000

For minimum wage; against labor on free trade

His vote in 1996 in favor of overhauling the welfare system lost him friends among liberal Democrats. And his consistent support of international trade measures like NAFTA and favorable trade relations with China runs against the views of organized labor

On the other hand, on other issues of primary importance to the unions like increases in the minimum wage and prohibitions against employers’ hiring permanent replacements for striking workers, Lieberman has taken labor’s side.

Source: David E. Rosenbaum, NY Times, p. A19 , Aug 8, 2000

Small business drives job creation

Lieberman recognizes that America’s small businesses are the principal driver of new job creation. Small businesses employ 53% of the nation’s workforce and generate 51% of the country’s gross domestic product. Through his work on the committee, Lieberman has supported a range of programs and services offered by the Small Business Administration, including Small Business Development Centers, the Small Business Investment Corporation, the 504 loan program, and Women’s Small Business Centers.
Source: Senate web site, “Issues Focus: Budget & Economy” , Aug 7, 2000

Train local workers to reduce dependence on foreign labor

Lieberman today hailed $1.5 million in federal funding designed to help reduce Connecticut’s dependence on foreign labor by training workers in information technology and health care. “For the New Economy to thrive, we must teach new skills to workers charged with undertaking increasingly complex jobs,” Lieberman said. “While it’s important that young people learn these new skills, it’s equally important that traditional workers are given the tools to adapt to their changing working environments.”
Source: Press release, “Bridgeport skills center” , Feb 14, 2000

Voted YES on extending unemployment benefits from 39 weeks to 59 weeks.

Congressional Summary:Revises the formula for Tier-1 amounts a state credits to an applicant's emergency unemployment compensation account. Increases the figures in the formula from 50% to 80% of the total amount of regular compensation ; and from 13 to 20 times the individual's average weekly benefit amount.

Proponent's argument to vote Yes:

Rep. CHARLES RANGEL (D, NY-15): The House, for weeks, has attempted to save the free world from a fiscal disaster. We have bailed out the banks and those who held mortgages. At the same time, we provided for energy extensions, we provided tax breaks for those people that tax provisions have expired. We provided for hurricane relief, for mental health. So over $1 trillion is out there for this House to ease the pain of millions of Americans.

While we were dealing with these gigantic powers, we overlooked the fact that over the last 12 months the number of unemployed workers has jumped by over 2 million, leaving 10 million Americans struggling for work. These are hardworking people that have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.

Rep. JERRY WELLER (R, IL-11): This important legislation provides additional needed assistance to the long-term unemployed. It's important that we pass this legislation today as our last act before we leave for the election campaign.

This legislation focuses the most additional benefits on workers and States where the unemployment rate is highest and where jobs are hardest to find. This program continues the requirement that those benefiting from extended unemployment benefits had to have worked at least 20 weeks. Americans were rightly concerned about proposals to eliminate that work requirement and allow 39 weeks or, under the legislation before us today, as many as 59 weeks of total unemployment benefits to be paid to those who have previously only worked for a few weeks.

Opponent's argument to vote No:None voiced.

Reference: Unemployment Compensation Extension Act; Bill HR.6867 ; vote number 2008-S214 on Nov 20, 2008

Voted YES on overriding presidential veto of Farm Bill.

OnTheIssues.org Explanation:This bill was vetoed twice! Congress passed an identical bill in May, which Pres. Bush vetoed. Congress then discovered that a clerical error. A replacement bill was passed; then vetoed again by the President; and this is its "final" veto override.Congressional Summary:Provides for the continuation of agricultural and other programs of the Department of Agriculture through FY2012. Revises agricultural and related programs, including provisions respecting:
  1. commodity programs;
  2. conservation;
  3. trade;
  4. nutrition;
  5. credit;
  6. rural development;
  7. research and related matters;
  8. forestry;
  9. energy;
  10. horticulture and organic agriculture;
  11. livestock;
  12. crop insurance and disaster assistance;
  13. socially disadvantaged and limited resource producers; and
  14. miscellaneous programs.
President's veto message:I am returning herewith without my approval H.R. 6124. The bill that I vetoed on May 21, 2008, H.R. 2419, did not include the title III (trade) provisions that are in this bill. In passing H.R. 6124, the Congress had an opportunity to improve on H.R. 2419 by modifying certain objectionable, onerous, and fiscally imprudent provisions [but did not].

This bill lacks fiscal discipline. It continues subsidies for the wealthy and increases farm bill spending by more than $20 billion, while using budget gimmicks to hide much of the increase. It is inconsistent with our trade objectives of securing greater market access for American farmers. [Hence] I must veto H.R. 6124.Proponents argument for voting YEA:We had a meeting this morning with the Secretary of Agriculture to talk about implementation. So [despite the two vetoes], the work has been going on within the department of agriculture to get ready for implementation.

This is a good bill. It has wide support in the Congress. It does address all of the issues that have been brought to the Agriculture Committee.

Reference: Veto Override on Food, Conservation, and Energy Act; Bill HR6124 ; vote number 2008-151 on Jun 18, 2008

Voted NO on terminating legal challenges to English-only job rules.

CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: To take $670,000 used by the EEOC in bringing actions against employers that require their employees to speak English, and instead use the money to teach English to adults through the Department of Education's English Literacy/Civics Education State Grant program.

SUPPORTER'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING YES:Sen. ALEXANDER: Let me begin with this story. In March 2007, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued the Salvation Army for allegedly discriminating against two employees in a Boston area thrift store. What had the Salvation Army done to earn this lawsuit from the Federal Government? Well, it had required its employees to speak English on the job. The English rule was clearly posted, and the employees were given a year to learn it. But this lawsuit means that a small business in Missouri would have to hire a lawyer in order to make sure they have a clear business reason to require their employees to speak our common language on the job.

So I have an amendment to bring some common sense to this subject. It would be to take $670,000 used by the EEOC, which it is using to bring actions against employers who require their employees to speak English.OPPONENT'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING NO:Sen. KENNEDY: Let's look at what the law is and what the Alexander amendment provides. The law currently says that if there is a need to speak English on the job, fine; employers can require that. But employers cannot use English-only rules as an excuse when they want to fire minorities who are performing the job correctly. In this fact situation, those employees had performed the job correctly for 5 years.

In addition, this amendment reduces the EEOC's ability to fight all forms of discrimination because it cuts the entire budget. That means race, age, religion, and disability cases will be harmed. I hope the amendment will be defeated.LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Amendment passed, 54-44

Reference: Bill S.Amdt.4222 to S.Con.Res.70 ; vote number 08-S058 on Mar 13, 2008

Voted YES on limiting farm subsidies to people earning under $750,000.

Vote on an amendment to bill H.R. 2419 (Farm, Nutrition, and Bioenergy Act): To improve the adjusted gross income limitation and use the savings to reduce the Federal deficit.

Proponents support voting YES because:

Sen. KLOBUCHAR: The focus of this amendment is to make sure the subsidy and the safety net in the farm bill go to the people whom it will most help; that is, family farmers. The top 20 business recipients in the country have each gotten more than $3 million under this farm bill. Under the current system, a part-time farmer can have an income as high as $2.5 million from outside sources and still qualify for Federal farm benefits. I do not believe we should be handing out payments to multimillionaires, when these payments should be targeted to family farmers. This amendment places reasonable limits on the incomes of those who receive farm payments: If you are a full-time farmer, you can get the subsidies as long as your income does not exceed $750,000. If you are a part-time farmer or farm investor, you can participate in farm programs if your income does not exceed $250,000.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

Sen. CHAMBLISS: I am disheartened that farm program critics continue to try to lead us into believing that there is a vast army receiving benefits to which they are not entitled. Stories about people receiving program benefits continue to make the headlines. But most of the people I know in these situations don't consider themselves wealthy. This debate is not about wealthy landowners and millionaires receiving program benefits. It is really about farmers in general, regardless of their economic situation, receiving program benefits. A few short months ago the debate was about making payments to millionaires and now we are at $750,000 and people want to go even further. This amendment is actually an assault on everyday farmers; but is disguised as an assault on wealthy landowners and millionaires.

Reference: Klobuchar Amendment to Farm, Nutrition, and Bioenergy Act; Bill S.Amdt. 3810 to H.R. 2419 ; vote number 2007-426 on Dec 13, 2007

Voted YES on restricting employer interference in union organizing.

    To enable employees to form & join labor organizations, and to provide for mandatory injunctions for unfair labor practices during organizing efforts. Requires investigation that an employer:
    1. discharged or discriminated against an employee to discourage membership in a labor organization;
    2. threatened to discharge employees in the exercise of guaranteed collective bargaining rights; and
    3. adds to remedies for such violations: back pay plus liquidated damages; and additional civil penalties.

    Proponents support voting YES because:

    The principle at stake here is the freedom that all workers should have to organize for better working conditions & fair wages. There are many employers around the country who honor this freedom. Unfortunately, there are also many employers who do not. These employers attempt to prevent workers from unionizing by using tactics that amount to harassment, if not outright firing. In fact, one in five people who try to organize unions are fired. These tactics are already illegal, but the penalties are so minor, they are not effective deterrents.

    Opponents support voting NO because:

    Democracy itself is placed at risk by this bill. The sanctity of the secret ballot is the backbone of our democratic process. Not one voter signed a card to send us here to Congress. None of us sent our campaign workers out to voters' houses armed with candidate information & a stack of authorization cards. No. We trusted democracy. We trusted the voters to cast their ballots like adults, freely, openly, without intimidation, and we live with the results. But here we are, poised to advance legislation to kill a secret ballot process.

    Let's be clear. Every American has the right to organize. No one is debating that. This is a right we believe in so strongly we have codified it and made it possible for workers to do so through a secret ballot.
    Status: Cloture rejected Cloture vote rejected, 51-48 (3/5ths required)

    Reference: Employee Free Choice Act; Bill H R 800 ; vote number 2007-227 on Jun 26, 2007

    Voted YES on increasing minimum wage to $7.25.

    Increase the federal minimum wage to:
    1. $5.85 an hour, beginning on the 60th day after enactment;
    2. $6.55 an hour, beginning 12 months after that 60th day; and
    3. $7.25 an hour, beginning 24 months after that 60th day.

    Proponents support voting YES because:

    We have waited for over 10 years to have a clean vote on the minimum wage for the poorest workers in this country Low-wage workers had their wages frozen in time, from 10 years ago, but when they go to the supermarket, the food prices are higher; when they put gasoline in the car, the gasoline prices are higher; when they pay the utility bills, the utility bills are higher; when their kids get sick, the medical bills are higher. All of those things are higher. They are living in 2007, but in their wages they are living in 1997.

    Opponents support voting NO because:

    This bill is marked more by what is not in the bill than what is in it. Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. They create two-thirds of our Nation's new jobs, and they represent 98% of the new businesses in the US. What protection does this bill provide them? None whatsoever.

    We can do better. In the interest of sending the President a final measure that provides consideration for small businesses and their workers, the very men and women who are responsible for our economy's recent growth and strength, we must do better.

    Reference: Fair Minimum Wage Act; Bill H.R.2 ; vote number 2007-042 on Feb 1, 2007

    Voted YES on raising the minimum wage to $7.25 rather than $6.25.

    Vote to increase the minimum wage from $5.15 per hour to $7.25 per hour, over a two-year time period, in three incremental stages. Without the amendment, the minimum wage would increase to $6.25 per hour.
    Reference: Amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938; Bill S AMDT 44 to S 256 ; vote number 2005-26 on Mar 7, 2005

    Voted NO on repealing Clinton's ergonomic rules on repetitive stress.

    Vote to pass a resolution to give no enforcement authority to ergonomics rules submitted by the Labor Department during the Clinton Administration. These rules would force businesses to take steps to prevent work-related repetitive stress disorders
    Reference: Bill S J Res 6 ; vote number 2001-15 on Mar 6, 2001

    Voted NO on killing an increase in the minimum wage.

    The Kennedy (D-MA) Amdt would have increased the minimum wage by $1 an hour over two years, to $5.65 an hour beginning Jan. 1, 2001. The Kennedy Amdt would have also provided $9.5 billion in tax cuts over five years.
    Status: Motion to Table Agreed to Y)50; N)48; NV)2
    Reference: Motion to table Kennedy Amdt #2751; Bill S. 625 ; vote number 1999-356 on Nov 9, 1999

    Voted NO on allowing workers to choose between overtime & comp-time.

    This bill would have allowed workers to choose between overtime and compensatory time.
    Status: Cloture Motion Rejected Y)53; N)47
    Reference: Motion to invoke cloture on a Committee amdt to S. 4; Bill S. 4 ; vote number 1997-68 on May 15, 1997

    Voted YES on replacing farm price supports.

    Replaces farm price supports with seven years of annual fixed payments.
    Status: Bill Passed Y)64; N)32; NV)4
    Reference: Agriculture Market Transition Act of 1996; Bill S. 1541 ; vote number 1996-19 on Feb 7, 1996

    Protect overtime pay protections.

    Lieberman signed a letter from 43 Senators to the Secretary of Labor

    To: Labor Secretary Elaine Chao

    Dear Secretary Chao:

    We write to express our serious concerns about the Department's proposed regulation on white collar exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act. These sweeping changes could eliminate overtime pay protections for millions of American workers.

    We urge you not to implement this new regulation that will end overtime protections for those currently eligible. Under current law, the FLSA discourages employers from scheduling overtime by making overtime more expensive. According to a GAO study, employees exempt from overtime pay are twice as likely to work overtime as those covered by the protections. Our citizens are working longer hours than ever before – longer than in any other industrial nation. At least one in five employees now has a work week that exceeds 50 hours. Protecting the 40-hour work week is vital to balancing work responsibilities and family needs. It is certainly not family friendly to require employees to work more hours for less pay.

    Overtime protections clearly make an immense difference in preserving the 40-hour work week. Millions of employees depend on overtime pay to make ends meet and pay their bills for housing, food, and health care. Overtime pay often constitutes 20-25% of their wages. These workers will face an unfair reduction in their take-home pay if they can no longer receive their overtime pay.

    We urge you not to go forward with any regulation that denies overtime pay protections to any of America's currently eligible hard-working men and women.

    Source: Letter from 43 Senators to the Secretary of Labor 03-SEN4 on Jun 30, 2003

    Rated 100% by the AFL-CIO, indicating a pro-union voting record.

    Lieberman scores 100% by the AFL-CIO on union issues

    As the federation of America’s unions, the AFL-CIO includes more than 13 million of America’s workers in 60 member unions working in virtually every part of the economy. The mission of the AFL-CIO is to improve the lives of working families to bring economic justice to the workplace and social justice to our nation. To accomplish this mission we will build and change the American labor movement.

    The following ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.

    Source: AFL-CIO website 03n-AFLCIO on Dec 31, 2003

    Allow an Air Traffic Controller's Union.

    Lieberman co-sponsored allowing an Air Traffic Controller's Union

    OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: Federal Aviation Administration Fair Labor Management Dispute Resolution Act of 2006: Prohibits the FAA from implementing any proposed change to the FAA personnel management system in cases where the services of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service do not lead to an agreement between the Administrator and FAA employees, unless Congress authorizes the change during the 60-day period. Requires binding arbitration if Congress does not enact a bill into law within the 60-day period.

    SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Sen. OBAMA: Because what air traffic controllers do is vital to our safety, I became very concerned by a letter I received from Illinois air traffic controller Michael Hannigan. He wrote that "the air traffic controllers are not being allowed to negotiate in good faith with the FAA."

    What was clear in Michael's plea was the sense that he and his colleagues felt that they were being treated unfairly. I looked into it and came to the conclusion that if we did not restore a fair negotiation procedure, it would threaten agency morale and effectiveness.

    The problem is this: the FAA Administrator currently has the extraordinary authority to impose wages and working conditions on her workers without arbitration. In order to do that, she merely has to declare an impasse in negotiations and if Congress does not stop her from imposing her terms and conditions within 60 days, the Administrator can go ahead and act unilaterally. That authority denies air traffic controllers and all other FAA employees the opportunity to engage in and conclude negotiations in good faith.

    It is in the best interest of the agency and public safety to have management and labor cooperate in contract negotiations.

    EXCERPTS OF BILL:

    LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation; never came to a vote.

    Source: FAA Dispute Resolution Act (S.2201/H.R.4755) 06-S2201 on Jan 26, 2006

    Form unions by card-check instead of secret ballot.

    Lieberman signed H.R.1409&S.560

    Amends the National Labor Relations Act to require the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to certify a bargaining representative without directing an election if a majority of the bargaining unit employees have authorized designation of the representative (card-check) and there is no other individual or labor organization currently certified or recognized as the exclusive representative of any of the employees in the unit.

      Requires that priority be given to any charge that, while employees were seeking representation by a labor organization, an employer:
    1. discharged or otherwise discriminated against an employee to encourage or discourage membership in the labor organization;
    2. threatened to discharge or to otherwise discriminate against an employee in order to interfere with, restrain, or coerce employees in the exercise of guaranteed self-organization or collective bardaining rights; or
    3. engaged in any unfair labor practice that significantly interferes with, restrains, or coerces employees in the exercise of such guaranteed rights.
      Source: Employee Free Choice Act 09-HR1409 on Mar 10, 2009

      Extend unemployment compensation during recession.

      Lieberman co-sponsored extending unemployment compensation during recession

      A bill to provide for a program of temporary extended unemployment compensation. Provides for federal-state agreements under which a state will make temporary extended unemployment compensation payments to individuals who:

      1. have exhausted all rights to regular compensation under state or federal law with respect to a benefit year (excluding any benefit year that ended before one year before the enactment of this Act);
      2. have no rights to regular compensation or extended compensation with respect to a week under such law or any other state or federal unemployment compensation law;
      3. are not receiving compensation for such week under the unemployment compensation law of Canada; and
      4. filed an initial claim for regular compensation on or after one year before the enactment of this Act.
      Source: Emergency Unemployment Extension Act (S.2544&H.R.4934) 2008-S2544 on Jan 22, 2008

      Ban discriminatory compensation; allow 2 years to sue.

      Lieberman signed Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

        Amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to declare that an unlawful employment practice occurs when:
      1. a discriminatory compensation decision or other practice is adopted;
      2. an individual becomes subject to the decision or practice; or
      3. an individual is affected by application of the decision or practice, including each time wages, benefits, or other compensation is paid.
      Allows an aggrieved person to obtain relief, including recovery of back pay, for up to two years preceding the filing of the charge, where the unlawful employment practices that have occurred during the charge filing period are similar or related to practices that occurred outside the time for filing a charge. Applies the preceding provisions to claims of compensation discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

      [Note: A woman named Lilly Ledbetter filed a lawsuit for gender-based discriminatory compensation. The Supreme Court ruled that Ms. Ledbetter could only sue for damages going back 180 days, and the 180 days was calculated from the time her employment contract was initiated, i.e., her hire date. This new law changes the 180-day period to two years, and also calculates the date from the time of each paycheck, rather than the hire date. -- Ed.]

      Source: S.181&H.R.11 2009-S181 on Jan 29, 2009

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      Page last updated: Aug 08, 2014