On Monday, U.S. Rep. André Carson, D-Indiana, announced via Twitter his intention to introduce a resolution expressing Congress’ unambiguous feelings about discrimination against the LGBTQ community. Connecticut’s U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd District, immediately retweeted him.

Turns out, DeLauro will be cosponsoring Carson’s resolution, “expressing the Sense of Congress that gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people should be protected from discrimination under the law.”

“I am proud to cosponsor Representative Carson’s resolution because people should be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of who they love and regardless of where they live,” DeLauro said via email Monday evening. “Quite simply, it is unjust for anyone to discriminate against LGBT Americans. Doing so would stand in opposition to the values on which America was founded.”

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Carson’s resolution comes on the heels of a controversy surrounding a law that would allow businesses in Indiana to turn gay and lesbian people away at the door for “religious” reasons.

“In the wake of the backlash of Indiana’s misguided law, it is clear that the vast majority of Americans oppose this type of discrimination,” Carson said in a release Monday.  It is long past time for Congress to ensure that all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity, know that they are valued members of our society. From housing to employment to education, they deserve to live their lives like any other American, free from intolerance because of who they are.

Though he signed the law in its original form, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence “fixed” the law after the controversy erupted, clarifying that “religious freedom” could not be used as an excuse for discrimination.

At the time, Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy placed a ban on travel to Indiana, calling the law “disturbing, disgraceful and outright discriminatory.” Malloy later lifted the ban after Pence altered the original law.

During a press call Monday, House Democratic leader Steve Israel, D-N.Y., said Congress had a responsibility to respond.

“When intolerance occurs anywhere, everyone has an obligation to take a stand, and Congress doesn’t get a waiver on that,” he said, as was reported at The Hill.

Courtney Combats Student Loans

A bill intended to allow borrowers to refinance their student loans got a push last week from its sponsor, U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District.

“Student debt has risen astronomically in recent years, burdening young adults with hefty monthly payments as soon as they begin their careers,” Courtney said in a release. “This massive debt — which exceeds $1.3 trillion nationwide — hampers our economic recovery by preventing young people from buying homes, starting businesses, and saving for retirement,” Courtney said.”

The bill, H.R. 1434, called “the Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing Act,” would allow student loan debt to be refinanced for lower rates and to reduce monthly payments. Undergraduate loan issued before July 1, 2015, could be refinanced to a 3.8 percent annual interest rate; graduate loans could get a rate of 5.4 percent and parent loans, withdrawn for a child’s education, could get a rate of 6.4 percent.

Courtney’s release, citing the Congressional Budget Office, said that some $460 billion worth of loans, about half of the outstanding loan volume for federal student loans, would be refinanced under this bill.

An event last week announcing the bill included Courtney, Real Estate professionals and Evan Preston, state director of consumer advocate group ConnPIRG.

“With Connecticut’s student debt burden standing at the sixth highest in the nation, providing refinancing to student borrowers and their families is an urgently needed common-sense step to strengthen consumer protections,” Preston said.

“In Connecticut, where our housing market recovery is critical to boosting economic growth, I hear almost every day from constituents struggling with student debt. My bill would provide immediate relief for more than 309,000 borrowers in Connecticut, reducing monthly payments and reducing pressure on family budgets. A college-educated workforce is critical for our economy, and we must act to ensure that students can afford to earn a college degree,” Courtney said.

The bill has more than 100 cosponsors in the House, and was co-introduced in the Senate by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

Jordan Fenster lives with his family in Fairfield County. He can be reached by or @JordanFenster on Twitter.

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