By Derrick DePledge
Out of town for a few days, so we thought we would catch up on some things:
*The Progressive Change Campaign Committee endorsed U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz. The Washington, D.C., based group, which has 4,285 members in Hawaii, was among the progressive interests that helped elect U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.
The endorsement triggered another round of infighting among local Democrats after U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa's campaign claimed that the PCCC and other mainland special interest groups are trying to influence the Democratic primary.
*Schatz on Sunday released his campaign's first television advertisement, which focuses on Social Security.
The ad touts Schatz's sponsorship of a bill that would increase Social Security benefits and extend the life of the safety net program by requiring the wealthy to pay more than they do today.
*U.S. Sen. Mazie Hirono has had her first bill passed. The bill, sponsored with U.S. Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev.; U.S. Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.; and U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J.; provides tax relief for people who make charitable donations to support the recovery effort from Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.
President Barack Obama is expected to sign the bill into law. Taxpayers would have make donations after Obama's signature and prior to April 15 to take advantage of the tax break.