Contact Federal Government Officials
- Yesterday, the Senate voted to reject (45-55) the repeal without replacing the ACA. Seven Republicans voted against the measure — Senators Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Susan Collins of Maine, Dean Heller of Nevada, John McCain of Arizona, Rob Portman of Ohio, Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/senate-set-vote-straight-repeal-obamacare-n786691 Let’s look again at the flow chart to see where we are in the process: https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/7/24/16019984/obamacare-repeal-republican-flow-chart The next big Senate event is the vote-a-rama to push a "skinny repeal": http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/what-s-next-health-care-vote-rama-end-game-n786776 KEEP CALLING. We all deserve better healthcare and legislation-making than this.
- Protect Our Care is gathering stories to email to Senate healthcare staffers. We can tell our story via video, photo, text. We can submit our stories here: https://script.google.com/macros/s/AKfycbzUoQztRS8wit3vfdhV5Cd6xevw-c-aEXKZDvKD1yvwED3OdtR_/exec
- Again, we know it is purely distraction, but despite that fact that in early July Gen. Mattis, defense secretary, moved to delay the admission of openly transgendered persons into the military for further study and the fact that he is currently on vacation, and that thousands of transgendered persons are already serving, yesterday, Trump tweeted that they would no longer “accept or allow” them to serve due to the burden of the cost and disruption . http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/343847-trump-calls-for-ban-on-transgender-individuals-in-military This announcement serves as a huge set back for transgender rights, and does not detail what will happen to those service members who have already come out as transgender. This discriminatory policy is cruel and stigmatizing, and even Republicans have condemned it. But words aren’t enough. Let’s contact our reps and tell them to add language to the “security-bus” spending bill to overturn the ban, then let's make sure the White House, Secretary of Defense, and our members of Congress understand that banning openly transgender individuals is unacceptable and ask how they plan to handle other expensive or disruptive situations among our service members. White House: https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/ Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis: Secretary of Defense 1000 Defense Pentagon Washington, DC 20301-1000 703-571-3343
- The head of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement unit in charge of deportations has directed his officers to take action against EVERY undocumented immigrant they cross paths with, including those with zero criminal history. Congress has traditionally used its annual spending bill to instruct the Secretary of Homeland Security to prioritize the deportation of convicted immigrants based on the severity of their crimes… but that language was left out of the omnibus spending bill for the current fiscal year, paving the way for broader enforcement. https://www.propublica.org/article/ice-officers-told-to-take-action-against-all-undocumented-immigrants But we’re about to enter a new fiscal year, and congressional Republicans are busily trying to finalize the language for new spending bills. Let’s contact our members of Congress and ask them to restore this instruction, so that our friends and neighbors will be a little less vulnerable to Trump’s deportation machine.
- The Republicans have made it clear that their priority is cutting taxes for the wealthy, and they’ll happily hurt regular Americans to do it. With the Resistance having beaten #Wealthcare, they’re focusing explicitly on a new package to make the 1% pay less. But to do it, they’re going to have to pass reconciliation instructions in the next budget so that Democrats can’t block them in the Senate. http://www.npr.org/2017/07/19/537959833/heres-whats-in-the-house-republican-budget-and-why-it-matters Their budget proposal is bad enough on its own, and our reps should oppose it. But they also need to know we’re onto their game, and that as far as we’re concerned if they vote yes on the budget they’re voting yes on whatever package of tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires the GOP comes up with. Let’s call them and tell them so.
- Now that both the Senate and the House have passed the Russian sanctions bill, Trump is in a tough spot between wanting to please Congress and wanting to please Russia, but he can’t have it both ways. http://www.newsweek.com/trump-hillary-clinton-hostage-congress-moscows-reaction-sanctions-641974 Let’s encourage Trump to side with Congress: https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact
- From Indivisible: There are many things to deplore in Trump's proposed budget, but here's one item that stands out because of the funding splurge he wants. "Call your MoCs today and let them know that no budget that includes increases to Trump’s deportation force or any funding for Trump’s mass deportation agenda should get their support, even if that means withholding the votes needed to avert a government shutdown. Tell them you want a federal budget that invests in families, not fear." Here's more information on this part of Trump's budget request: https://www.indivisibleguide.com/resource/defund-trumps-mass-deportation-machine/
- The Trump administration is working on undoing an overtime pay rule which was initially set to go into effect December 2016 http://reut.rs/2tZfWFX Under the new rule, the maximum salary one could receive in order to qualify for legally mandated overtime pay would have increased to $47,000, double the current threshold. The current salary limit for mandated overtime pay is simply not sufficient; it does not account for different costs of living across the country, and has not been adjusted for inflation since the threshold was set, in 2004. The Labor Department has just put out a Request For Information, where we can share our thoughts on the current minimum salary threshold; all comments will be due by September 25th. Let's be sure to read through the Department of Labor's eleven concerns with a very critical eye, then share our thoughts by leaving a comment https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=WHD-2017-0002-0001
- Religious extremist Amy Coney Barrett is a judicial nominee for the US Court of Appeals. http://www.wisconsingazette.com/news/group-asks-trump-to-withdraw-wisconsin-judicial-nominee-who-says/article_edb9c39a-6ff6-11e7-8fb7-5f13d109a205.html The Alliance for Justice (AFJ) is calling for Trump to withdraw this nomination after Barrett declared that the bible takes precedent over the Constitution. Let's join the AFJ in asking the White House to withdraw Barrett's nomination and also let our Senators know that, if the nomination goes ahead, we oppose Barrett for US Court of Appeals.
10. Republicans are trying to rush through defense appropriations as part of a “security-bus” spending bill this week in spite of the fact that it exceeds budget caps, ignores crucial issues like putting checks on Trump’s war powers, and spends more than a billion dollars on Trump’s wall. (https://www.defensenews.com/congress/2017/07/26/congresss-defense-budgeting-headed-toward-colossal-crack-up/) The progressive national policy advocacy group Win Without War is organizing people to e-mail Congress in support of amendments to Defense appropriations defunding the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force, curbing our involvement in Saudi bombing of civilians in Yemen, and stopping any spending on the wall. We can send those e-mails here: http://act.winwithoutwar.org/letter/act-now-congress-voting-war-week/.
- ALL: From one of our own: The MA Supreme Judicial Court has ruled that state and local court officials & police CANNOT cooperate with ICE by complying with immigrant detainers when criminal charges have not been filed. http://www.wbur.org/news/2017/07/24/sjc-ruling-sreynoun-lunn-case Let’s advance this same kind of program in our own states.
- TX: The Texas Senate okay'd transgender bathroom-restriction bill SB3. https://www.dallasnews.com/news/texas-legislature/2017/07/25/follow-live-texas-senate-debates-called-bathroom-bill Now this bill goes to the Texas House. If we are Texans, let's contact our Texas state house representative to let them know that we oppose SB3.
- UT: This Saturday, July 29, Utah's largest unions will join with political advocates to stage a march in downtown Salt Lake City in support of public education. http://www.sltrib.com/home/5549228-155/responding-to-policies-from-trump-and The event is scheduled to begin at the downtown City Library, 210 E. 400 South, at 10 a.m. before moving across the street to the City and County Building. If we are Utahn's for public education and we can fit this march in our plans, let's try to attend.
- AL: Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice and current US Senatorial candidate Roy Moore says that "Islam is a false religion." http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/alabama-candidate-u-s-senate-islam-false-religion-article-1.3354486 The primary election is scheduled for Aug. 15 and the primary run-off will be on Sept. 26. The final election to fill the Senatorial seat vacated by AG Jeff Sessions will take place on a December 12, 2017 special election. We can read about all of the candidates at ballotopedia: https://ballotpedia.org/United_States_Senate_special_election_in_Alabama,_2017 Let's show up for the primary and the election and vote for someone other than Roy Moore.
- MI: LGBTQ activists have called on the Michigan Civil Rights Commission to clarify what is meant by the word “sex” in the State’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act that lists attributes people can’t discriminate for – like race, religion and sex. They want it to now include sexual orientation and gender identity. http://michiganradio.org/post/lgbtq-activists-call-clarity-state-s-civil-rights-law A period of public comment is now open until Aug. 15. MI residents can email comments to MCRC-Comments@michigan.gov.
- Here, we can find more actions we can take to stand with our trans friends and neighbors here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Vb_0FK4T_mcKLP2BJkxtd-FiTOnUHyaYCzxhRwNh_Xw/edit?usp=sharing
- If we participated in the Tony the Democrat postcard writing campaign for Kevin Cavanaugh in the State Senate of New Hampshire, Cavanaugh pulled off an upset: http://amp.wmur.com/article/democrat-cavanaugh-pulls-upset-in-state-senate-special-election/10360495 Let’s pat ourselves on the back and keep writing! There are other elections coming up! We can all join in here: https://goo.gl/mqgwvx
- Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) is recovering from her second surgery for stage 4 kidney cancer. She went to the senate on Tuesday, July 25th and voted NO to protect the health insurance of 20+ million people. She did not get a standing ovation or time to make a speech with Television coverage. She made a speech against the health care bill on June 27 before her own cancer surgery. https://www.attn.com/stories/18493/other-senator-fighting-cancer-who-voted-against-tuesdays-motion Let's send a note of thanks and/or a card to wish her well in her battle c/o her Hawaii Office, 300 Ala Moana Blvd. Rm. 3-106, Honolulu, HI 96850
- From one of our own: The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) organization apparently condones Trump’s words and behavior at their annual Jamboree earlier this week. Their silence concerns many. However, it seems that the president of the BSA, Randal Stephenson who is also the chairman of AT&T, has been courting the Trump administration for a merger with Time Warner. https://qz.com/1038359/boy-scouts-president-randall-stephenson-has-been-lobbying-donald-trump-to-approve-the-att-time-warner-merger/ Let’s continue our pressure on the BSA to do the right thing for our youth. Contact BCA by on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/theboyscoutsofamerica/ or emailing them: firstname.lastname@example.org or tweeting them @boyscouts or writing to them: PO Box 152079, Irving, TX 75015-2079
- Here’s yet another way we can help the #resistance: Rapid Resist is a non-profit stopping Trump's agenda by helping organizers in conservative areas by text-banking. We can sign up here and be assigned to a group. Every time that group has a live target, you'll get a notification to start texting people to recruit! We can sign up here: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfZeZzukCxzvvDTDALdPk_NGqkbn5c1JLuFnC31f9tOSq7UpA/viewform
- "Indiana has purged nearly a half-million registered voters from its rolls since Election Day. The purge is part of a massive effort to update the state's voter rolls after years of improper maintenance and neglect, Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson said. Since the November elections, 481,235 registered voters have been taken off the list." http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/329659-indiana-purges-nearly-half-a-million-from-voter-rolls This article is from April but a great reminder to all of us to check that we are still registered to vote in our own states. If we missed voting in an election, let’s check that we are still registered and if not, register again before the 2018 elections. Let’s remind our friends and family. We need all of our voices and use our votes. If we have family in Indiana, let’s advise them to check out their voter registration.
- From one of our own: Last week, the Department of Homeland Security sent private contractors to the National Butterfly Center (NBC), where they began to survey the land and to clear trees to build Trump's border wall--all without the permission of the NBC, which is located on privately-owned property. Trump's border wall threatens 30 million square feet of vegetation along a 38-mile swath of land that includes the National Butterfly Center, the 2,000+-acre Santa Ana Wildlife Refuge, and the Bentsen-Rio Grande Valley State Park. Support the National Butterfly Center's legal defense fund by following the link below and making a donation. No donation is too small to help protect the wildlife that calls this land home https://www.generosity.com/community-fundraising/stop-trump-s-border-wall
- Let’s sign VoteVets.org petition supporting the rights of the transgendered to serve in the American military: http://action.votevets.org/page/s/trans-ban
- Sen. Stabenow (D-MI) wants us to join her in telling Senate Republicans to vote no on anything that takes health insurance away from anyone: https://stabenow.bsd.net/page/s/Tell-Senate-Republicans-To-Vote-No
Marches/events to attend/organize
- Saturday, July 29, all over the country, there are “Our Lives are on the Line” rallies being planned in opposition to the health care bill. Let’s see if there is one near us and attend, or if not, let’s plan one: http://ourlivesontheline.org/
- The Skinny on the GOP’s Last Resort on Health Care: ‘Skinny Repeal’: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/the-gops-last-resort-on-health-care-skinny-repeal-w494379
- If we’ve been wondering what the Magnitsky Act and Russian adoptions have to do with the current state of affairs with Russia (and Trump’s campaign) here is financier Bill Browder’s written testimony for his Wednesday appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee and he walks through the history (and his personal connection to Magnitsky) of how we got to today and who the players are in the Don Trump Jr., Kushner, Manafort meeting in Trump Tower: https://www.theatlantic.com/amp/article/534864/
- Photos that bear witness to modern slavery: https://www.ted.com/talks/lisa_kristine_glimpses_of_modern_day_slavery