Around Washington for Monday, Oct. 7, 2013

by jordan blum

jblum@theadvocate.com

Washington Bureau writer Jordan Blum
Washington Bureau writer Jordan Blum

The foundation’s political arm, Heritage Action for America, announced it spent $400,000 on ads to target vulnerable Democratic senators in Louisiana, Arkansas, North Carolina and Alaska.

The ads criticize the senators for siding with President Barack Obama and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., on the health-care law.

“Why won’t Mary Landrieu stop the shutdown and defund Obamacare,” the ad asks.

Landrieu is a supporter of the health care law, and she has repeatedly criticized the tea party faction of Republicans for causing the shutdown and refusing to pass or even vote on a needed budget stopgap that does not have any Obamacare “poison pill” language.

Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, is challenging Landrieu for her re-election effort in 2014. Landrieu supporters are calling it “Bill Cassidy’s government shutdown” for refusing to support a “clean” budget stopgap to reopen government.

Landrieu recognizes organization

Landrieu recently honored the Crossroads NOLA organization as her selection for Louisiana’s 2013 Angels in Adoption award winner.

Landrieu co-chairs both the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute and the Senate Caucus on Foster Youth.

Crossroads NOLA is being honored for its commitment to improving outcomes for foster youth and ensuring that these already vulnerable children do not grow up in crowded group homes or with negligent parents.

CCAI will honor Crossroads NOLA, along with 144 other Angels selected by other members of Congress, at an awards ceremony and gala event in Washington, D.C., this week.

“Crossroads NOLA is a true angel for the more than 460 foster youth in southeast Louisiana,” Landrieu said in the announcement. “By working with Louisiana’s faith community to recruit and certify suitable foster families, as well as support families through the foster care and adoption process, Crossroads NOLA is helping more children grow up in loving, protective homes.”

“Because we work closely with foster parents, we know they are the ones truly making a difference in the lives of vulnerable children in Louisiana,” said Crossroads NOLA Executive Director Anna Palmer.

“Children need and deserve permanent, loving families. It is our hope that collaboration between the faith community and the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services will result in an abundance of loving, highly qualified foster and adoptive families for the children of southeast Louisiana.”

Justice Department sues housing authority

The Justice Department filed a lawsuit against the Ruston Housing Authority that alleges a pattern of discrimination against African-American tenants in violation of the federal Fair Housing Act.

The lawsuit contends the Ruston Housing Authority maintained a racially segregated housing authority for low-income residents by steering and assigning applicants to its five housing complexes based on race, rather than in order of their placement on the housing authority’s waiting list.

The complaint also alleges that the housing authority’s discriminatory assignment practices have harmed dozens of applicants and tenants who were assigned to segregated housing or delayed housing because of their race.

“Access to housing free from racial discrimination is everyone’s right, including those who seek public housing assistance,” said Jocelyn Samuels, acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The department will continue its vigorous enforcement of the Fair Housing Act.”

Compiled by Jordan Blum, chief of The Advocate’s Washington bureau. His email address is jblum@theadvocate.com.