Contact Government Officials
- “President Donald Trump has told advisers he wants to end payments of key Obamacare subsidies, a move that could send the health law's insurance markets into a tailspin, according to several sources familiar with the conversations.” http://www.politico.com/story/2017/05/19/donald-trump-end-payments-obamacare-subsidies-238616 While Trump may think this is a good way to thumb his nose at another Obama entity, it will leave many citizens, patients and doctors alike, in dire straits. Let’s let our MoCs know that we are counting on them to keep us covered and healthy.
- We still need an independent Congressional commission, which will have more autonomy and would produce an extensive report of its findings (which the special prosecutor does not have do), including information about wrongdoing that might not warrant criminal charges. “Director Mueller … cannot take the place of a truly independent, outside commission that is completely free from the Trump Administration’s meddling.” http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/18/what-the-special-counsel-can-and-cant-do-with-his-investigation.html H.R. 356 Protecting Our Democracy Act is a bipartisan bill that would establish an independent commission of 12 non-governmental appointees to fully investigate Russian interference in the election and any ties to the Trump campaign. A discharge petition requires 218 signatures to move the bill out of Committee and onto the House floor for a vote. As of May 18, the motion needed 27 more signatures. Here is the list of signees: http://clerk.house.gov/115/lrc/pd/petitions/DisPet0002.xml Let’s make those calls and get those final signers.
- A bi-partisan Senate bill, S. 1127 to prevent unjust and irrational criminal punishments and House bill HR2435, the Justice Safety Valve Act, have been introduced to counteract DOJ Jeff Session's recent call for harsher prison sentences. http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/senate-moves-forward-with-bill-to-rein-in-jeff-sessions-w482927 Let’s tell our own two senators that we support S.1127 and urge our representative to cosponsor HR2435.
- Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch is asking select key stakeholders for their thoughts on what the Senate should do with Trumpcare, and wants them to submit their comments. (https://twitter.com/TopherSpiro/status/865664030542659584) Seeing as we're all "key stakeholders" in America's health care system, let's make sure he hears from all of us! The email address is email@example.com. and the deadline is tomorrow.
- The Trump campaign is way out of compliance with federal finance laws. The campaign’s filings are plagued by “illegal corporate contributions, donations over the $2,700-per-election limit, anonymous gifts, double-counting, totals that should match but don’t,” according to this in-depth report: https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2017/05/fec-is-on-the-job-with-messy-2016-reporting-by-trump/ . Let’s post this report on social media, and let’s also thank the Reports Analysis Division of the Federal Elections Commission for staying on top of this: 202-694-1000 or Reports Analysis Division, Federal Elections Commission, 999 E Street NW, Washington, DC 20463.
- The 2020 census has the potential to bring the next round of extreme pro-Republican gerrymandering—and one possible way it might happen is through the systematic undercounting of local minority populations: https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-05-18/unreliable-data-can-threaten-democracy . Let’s pressure our MoCs to adequately fund the Census Bureau so that it will have sufficient personnel and resources to properly count all of America’s households.
- Speaking of Trump’s $110 billion defense deal with Saudi Arabia, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT), a member of the Foreign Relations Committee said, “It appears the Trump administration is counting on the country with the worst human rights record in the region to enforce peace and security in the Middle East.” http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/334390-dem-senator-calls-trumps-arms-deal-with-saudis-a-terrible-idea He added that the deal "was negotiated by Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law, who has zero experience in foreign relations generally, or Saudi arms sales specifically." Let’s let our MoCs know, that this does not sit well with us and that we will be watching how they handle this as the situation develops.
- “Unlike criminal court, people fighting deportation in U.S. immigration courts are not guaranteed the right to an attorney. Nonprofits across the country often provide legal services for people who cannot afford to hire a lawyer.” These pro-bono services are the lifeline for many of these people, but the Trump administration has said that these lawyers must officially represent these immigrants, which they cannot afford. Fortunately, a U. S. District Judge has blocked this. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-ruling-idUSKCN18D2NV
- Puerto Rico, which is part of the U.S., but not a state, has non-voting representation in Congress and really need advocacy from other states in order to get heard. Puerto Rico is currently in financial ruins and needs our help. https://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/2017/05/16/statehood-way-out-puerto-ricos-fiscal-crisis Let’s contact all our legislators to urge them to support the stabilization of Puerto Rico's debt crisis and statehood.
- Rep. Al Green (D-TX) on Saturday said that he has been threatened with lynching following his call for President Trump's impeachment." He played some of the disgusting comments at his recent town hall. http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/334417-congressman-threatened-with-lynching-after-calling-for-trumps Let's give him some support and call in or write a note with some thanks and appreciation for him. Contacts here: 2347 Rayburn HOB, Washington, DC 20515 / Phone: (202) 225-7508 or fax: (202) 225-2947 OR 3003 South Loop West, Suite 460, Houston, TX 77054 / Phone: 713-383-9234 or fax: 713-383-9202. We can also comment on his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/repalgreen or tweet him: @RepAlGreen
- Rep. Devin Nunes seems unclear on the nature of his own recusal: http://thehill.com/policy/national-security/334166-nunes-still-viewing-russia-intel-after-recusal-report?rnd=1495149439 Let’s remind him that there was a reason he needed to recuse himself: Longworth House Office Building, Suite 1013, Washington, DC 20515
- Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) wrote a letter to Trump-connected organizations requesting answers about the president’s potential conflicts of interest and 16 fellow Democratic Senators signed the letter. https://www.leahy.senate.gov/press/leahy-leads-letter-to-trump-organization-requesting-answers-on-presidents-compliance-with-constitution Let’s thank the 16 Senators (particularly if we are constituents) for addressing this critical issue that is easy to lose track of amid all the Russia news: 1) Sen.r Patrick Leahy (VT), 437 Russell SOB, Washington, DC, 20510, 2) Sen. Richard Blumenthal (CT), 706 Hart SOB, Washington, DC 20510, 3) Sen. Dianne Feinstein (CA), 331 Hart SOB, Washington, DC 20510, 4) Sen. Ben Cardin (MD), 509 Hart SOB, Washington, DC 20510, 5) Sen. Richard Durbin (IL), 711 Hart SOB, Washington, DC 20510, 6) Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (RI), 530 Hart SOB, Washington, DC 20510, 7) Sen. Al Franken (MN), 309 Hart SOB, Washington, DC 20510, 8) Sen. Christopher Coons (DE), 127A Russell SOB, Washington, DC 20510, 9) Sen. Jack Reed (RI), 728 Hart SOB, Washington, DC 20510, 10) Sen. Ed Markey, 255 Dirksen SOB, Washington, DC 20510, 11) Sen. Thomas Carper (DE), 513 Hart SOB, Washington, DC 20510, 12) Sen. Elizabeth Warren (MA), 317 Hart SOB, Washington, DC 20510, 13) Sen. Tammy Baldwin (WI), 709 Hart SOB, Washington, DC 20510, 14) Sen. Cory Booker (NJ), 359 Dirksen SOB, Washington, DC 20510, 15) Sen. Tom Udall (NM), 531 Hart SOB, Washington, DC 20510, 16) Sen. Jeff Merkley (OR), 313 Hart SOB, Washington, DC 20510, 17) Sen. Chris Van Hollen (MD), 110 Hart SOB, Washington, DC 20510.
- Trump has appointed David Clarke, who often misleadingly dresses in military-looking attire he did not earn, as assistant secretary for the Department of Homeland Security. Clarke, a former Milwaukee Sheriff, has shown that he is in favor of racial profiling, as well as utilizing local police agencies to round up undocumented immigrants. There have also been multiple deaths of inmates at his jail, with circumstances that have been questionable at best: http://bit.ly/2rq9N8w Let's join MomsRising in telling John Kelly, the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, that David Clarke should not have *any* federal power, let alone the authority of the DHS: http://action.momsrising.org/sign/NoSheriffClarke_DHS/ DHS Comment Line: 202-282-8495
- While more states are banning conversion therapy, it's important to bring this to a federal level, so that everyone, regardless of which state they're in, is protected from this harmful practice. http://wapo.st/2psqAq7 http://nbcnews.to/2pgoDdU Let's ask our Representatives to cosponsor and support Rep. Ted Lieu's Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act of 2017 (H.R. 2119). We can also sign CREDO Action's petition: http://bit.ly/2qHRM4C
- Trump and Scott Pruitt's EPA have reversed course on plans to pull chlorpyfiros, a brain-harming insecticide, off the market - putting the health of millions of children and farm workers at risk despite strong scientific evidence that the chemical is unsafe. (https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/15/health/pesticides-epa-chlorpyrifos-scott-pruitt.html) The comment period on this decision will last until June 5th. Let's join the United Farm Workers in telling Pruitt to follow the science and put our health and safety first: http://action.ufw.org/page/s/epa5517comment.
- The Expanded and Improved Medicare for All bill (HR676) could be a success for all Americans. http://www.kansascity.com/opinion/readers-opinion/guest-commentary/article151090452.html This legislation now has 110 co-sponsors. Let's check to make sure our representatives are among them: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/676/cosponsors If our representatives are not on the list, let's contact them and ask them to join their colleagues by supporting HR676 Medicare for All.
- While Trump
was wined and dined by Saudi royalty, the head of his economic advisory
council and CEO of the Blackstone Group, Steve Schwarzman (https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-02-08/steve-schwarzman-explains-why-he-counsels-trump ), struck a $40 billion deal with the
Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund as part of a larger effort by Blackstone
to invest stateside in toll roads, airports and other public works: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-saudi-blackstone-group-idUSKCN18G0OW;
http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/334407-saudi-arabia-trump-ally-set-to-invest-40-billion-in-infrastructure Not only does Trump intend to privatize what once were known as “public works” but he seems determined that his corporate friends profit. We should let the White House know what we think of this plan.
- We've got just a few days left to help Rob Quist turn Montana blue and win the special election for the state's at-large congressional seat! Election Day is on Thursday, and we can help push him over the top against Greg Gianforte. (http://www.businessinsider.com/montana-russia-greg-gianforte-rob-quist-2017-4). You can sign up to help send texts to turn out Montana voters for Rob here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdIcMYKBRPxYJrip-kUfonwN0j8jTm4WH5cDiqO8x4oNupnlw/viewform
- The Women's March organizers are calling on all white women who marched on the January 21st Women's March to join a rapid response task force. The task force focuses on the dangers of systemic racism which function under the guise of protecting us, but which actually cost lives. We can sign up to be part of the rapid response team here: http://bit.ly/2qKREzi
- Donald Trump and Betsy DeVos are set to roll out critical measures to attack public education this week, including a budget that will cut $10 billion in funding from public schools. (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/education/wp/2017/05/18/five-key-questions-about-trumps-education-budget/?utm_term=.9cf5a4db058f) We can join the Alliance to Reclaim Our Schools for a tele-conference briefing on these initiatives and a discussion on how to respond on Wednesday at 4pm. RSVP here: http://myaccount.maestroconference.com/conference/register/68TM85SCAISHWFIB.
- National Gun Violence Awareness Day is Friday, June 2. It is day to “Wear Orange”. Find out more here including why orange and where to find events or how to host one: https://wearorange.org/
- Many of us are familiar with and use Vanessa Otero’s infographic on media bias, but few of us know how she formulated the design. Here’s the backstory: http://www.allgeneralizationsarefalse.com/?p=65 Let’s use this info to be more mindful of the information sources we use to educate ourselves.
- We know that Trump is very insistent on fighting “radical Islamic” terror in our country and, in fact, admonished Saudi Arabia to do their part in ridding the mid-east of terrorism as well: http://fortune.com/2017/05/21/president-donald-trump-middle-east-saudi-arabia-speech/ . We are pretty sure Trump does not realize that homegrown right-wing terror is as big a threat here at home as he does not acknowledge it. http://www.newsweek.com/right-wing-terrorism-us-has-been-constant-threat-adl-report-exclusive-612492 Let’s all tell him and our MoCs some of these facts and ask them to get tough on this type of terror, too.
Petitions to Sign
- Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, who has called Black Lives Matter a terrorist group and has been accused of criminal wrongdoing over repeated abuses and deaths in his jail, is reportedly taking a senior position at the Department of Homeland Security. (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/milwaukee-county-sheriff-david-clarke-assistant-secretary-homeland-security/) But the Department hasn't confirmed he's been offered the job - there still might be time to stop him. Let's join Presente.org and Voces de la Frontera and sign this petition to DHS Secretary John Kelly asking him not to hire Clarke: https://somos.presente.org/petitions/dhs-secretary-kelly-don-t-hire-sheriff-clarke
- Let’s join in with the Courage Campaign to demand an independent commission to find the truth about the Trump-Russia scandal: http://act.couragecampaign.org/sign/independentcommission
- As quick as we are to point out the right’s reliance on far-right, often misleading and/or fake news sources, the left has its equivalents as well. It serves us well to be aware and wary: https://www.vox.com/world/2017/5/19/15561842/trump-russia-louise-mensch
- An excellent and in-depth piece about former FBI Director James Comey and newly appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/05/18/james-comey-trump-special-prosecutor-robert-mueller-fbi-215154
- In case we wondered, the former acting U.S. solicitor general Neal Katyal, who wrote the special-counsel regulations now governing Robert Mueller, explains the kinds of interference Mueller might encounter from Trump, Congress or the DoJ: https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2017/05/19/politics-could-still-block-muellers-investigation-i-know-i-wrote-the-rules/