Contact Federal Government Officials
1. White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney has said we cannot rule out a shutdown again in a few days: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/meet-the-press/white-house-chief-staff-mulvaney-won-t-rule-out-possibility-n969801 Let’s let our MoC know that we have no interest in American workers being held hostage again by Trump’s racism and we certainly have enough information to know we do not need a wall.
2. “Drone footage of new border wall in New Mexico shows that the Trump
administration's border militarization is already damaging ecosystems and wildlife. Trump waived 25 laws that protect clean air, clean water, public lands and endangered wildlife to speed construction of 20 miles of new walls.” https://www.ecowatch.com/trump-border-wall-damage-video-2628369474.html Let’s ask our MoCs why laws that protect us all are being ignored for a bit of a wall that has not real consequence other than political.
3. While the Social Security 2100 Act—https://larson.house.gov/social-security-2100—introduced by Rep. John Larson (D-CT), the newly-minted chairman of the House Social Security subcommittee, may not be perfect, it has been endorsed by groups ranging from the Congressional Progressive Caucus to Social Security Works to a number of unions and organizations focused on disability or aging: https://thehill.com/opinion/finance/427835-a-bill-to-boost-social-security-will-finally-get-a-full-and-fair-hearing Republicans blocked consideration of a bill expanding social security benefits and securing its future the last time one was introduced; let’s make sure our MoCs know that this time, we want them to support social security expansion, not cuts in this vital social safety net.
4. The Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) has long had the responsibility for overseeing the care and safety of unaccompanied minor children who somehow arrive in this country without parents. https://www.acf.hhs.gov/orr/programs/ucs In a hearing last week, held by a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee, Jonathan White, an ORR employee revealed that when he questioned family separation, he was told it was not happening. The rise in the number of children coming into care made him question that answer. “I do not believe separation of children from their parents is in the best interest of the child,” White added. “Neither I nor any career person in ORR would have ever recommended such a policy proposal.” https://news.vice.com/en_us/article/evev87/trump-official-helping-oversee-migrant-shelters-says-he-found-out-about-zero-tolerance-policy-on-tv We’ve reached a crisis level of children separated from parents. Let’s tell our MoCs that we want them to continue working on bringing this out into the open and reuniting families and letting ORR do their regular jobs which already help so many children.
5. “The Senate Judiciary Committee will soon vote on whether to advance William Barr, whom Donald Trump has nominated to replace Jeff Sessions as our next attorney general, the nation's highest law enforcement officer. But if confirmed, William Barr poses a real threat to the rights of women and families, as well as people of color, immigrants, and LGBTQ people.” Let’s join the National Women’s Law Center in opposing Barr’s nomination: https://act.nwlc.org/onlineactions/aipzW_MSk0avb77pkH122A2
6. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) is officially re-introducing a Medicare for All (M4A) bill in the House; it is not the only Medicare expansion bill on the table, but both the Budget and the Ways and Means Committees have committed themselves to considering W4A as well as the other proposals for Medicare expansion this spring: https://www.politico.com/story/2019/01/22/democrats-medicare-for-all-obamacare-1094146 National Nurses United have begun a campaign in support of universal health care, running from now until February 13; we can find “barnstorming” sessions near us here:
https://medicare4all.org/actions/ And we can support Democratic initiatives to take on our nation’s most urgent problems by telling our MoCs that we support universal access to healthcare.
7. "It is horrific and unacceptable that migrant children are being locked up in Trump's Homestead child prison camp, and even more alarming that the for-profit company that runs the camp doesn't conduct background checks for child abuse on their staff.” https://www.cbsnews.com/news/senator-jeff-merkley-congresswoman-judy-chu-call-for-end-to-homestead-unlicensed-unaccompanied-migrant-children-facilities/ Let’s tell our MoCs that children need to be protected so much better than this.
8. The Green New Deal movement has captured the media’s attention with its resolution calling, at long last, for a new and serious response to the intertwined problems of climate change and economic inequality, but, as some have said, “The staying power of the Green New Deal, and its impact on our future, will be determined by what happens next as it is given substance and form”: https://thehill.com/opinion/energy-environment/429246-the-green-new-deal-is-it-sustainable It is up to us to make sure that this resolution sparks real action, on the scale of the Depression-era New Deal, to address the terrifying forecasts of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): https://www.ipcc.ch/2018/10/08/summary-for-policymakers-of-ipcc-special-report-on-global-warming-of-1-5c-approved-by-governments/ Let’s up the pressure on Congress to give this new New Deal the “substance and form” it requires to save the planet; Trump’s $5 billion wall allocation would, for instance, go a long way toward a Green New Deal!
9. From one of our own: Regulations update ending 2/16/2019. - still lots of banking stuff I don't fully understand but the big ones are the changes to payday loans and Volcker Rule and community banks. San Diego border wall, ACA and Snap changes - there were over 300 proposals open for comment this week out of 900 postings - just this week. Meanwhile external regulation trackers are getting better. I may make a shorter document and provide links to the other trackers in the future. Here it is - https://drive.google.com/open?id=14NfDQq8p5TQX9xCaNIowS2L-2C9LxVZs
10. A much-needed drug price negotiation bill, the Medicare Negotiation and Competitive Licensing Act (not yet numbered) was entered into the House and Senate last week. It has over 110 cosponsors on the House bill, the most cosponsors on a drug pricing bill in history. The bill states that if a drug company is charging too much for a drug and they won't alter pricing, the government has the right to revoke the monopoly and allow the drug to be produced by other companies (who, in turn, would pay a royalty). This is crucial to driving down suffocating drug prices in America. We can read more about this bill and some related cost cutting ones here: https://www.jurist.org/news/2019/01/senate-and-house-democrats-introduce-bills-aimed-at-reducing-drug-prices/ We can find out the bill’s background issues here: https://www.sanders.senate.gov/download/final_-medicare-drug-price-negotiation-act-of-2019---summary Not surprisingly Big Pharma is already pressuring co-sponsors to withdraw from this bill, so it’s up to us to speak out by contacting our Representatives and then spreading the word to our friends on a Social Media. If we have a drug pricing story about our medications being too expensive causing us to ration or not buy them, we need to let our Representatives know. If they are co-sponsors, we can tell them to stay strong! They need to see support in their district, because if they don't, they could withdraw. Let’s keep the pressure up and bring sky high drug prices down! When we click on this link, we can access a Social Media Toolkit to help us support the bill: https://www.birddognation.org/endthemonopoly
1. Former Congressman John Dingell (D-MI) died last week. He had served in Congress longer than anyone else in history. https://www.freep.com/story/news/columnists/rochelle-riley/2019/02/10/john-dingell-health-care-civil-rights/2812972002/ Let’s offer condolences to his wife, who took his place in the House of Representatives. We can find her home offices at the bottom of this page: https://debbiedingellforms.house.gov/contact/
2. If we had any doubt of the influence of corporate money on our government, let’s watch this short video from Alexandria Ocasio Cortez testifying at the House Oversight Committee. Then let’s check out how we can get involved with or donate to End Citizens United, an organization that is working toward reversing the Supreme Court decision to allow corporations and billionaires to invest unlimited, untraceable money into our political system.
3. With voter ID laws restricting access to the ballot box, Spread the Vote is working on raising money to obtain IDs for people who do not have the funds to get them, in order to increase the number of people who are able to vote. Let’s consider donating to this effort to put our government back in the hands of the people.
4. An international youth climate strike is happening next month. https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/lesterfeder/europe-climate-change-protests-teens and https://www.ecowatch.com/youth-climate-strike-2627959531.html Let’s ask our local young people how we can support their efforts.
5. The final regulations on GMO labeling released by the USDA will contain many loopholes about what needs to be labelled. https://www.foodbusinessnews.net/articles/13064-usda-announces-gmo-labeling-standard. The Center for Food Safety has obtained commitments from Campbells and Mars to be clear and transparent with their labeling. However, other companies, like Kellogg’s, which has been on record as supporting the rule, are planning to use QR codes to get around the regulations. Many low-income and elderly Americans do not have smartphones, and often those who do may not have a reliable data or wifi connection in a supermarket. Let’s join the Twitter campaign to tell Kellogg’s to forego QR codes and label their GMO products with text or a symbol, as Campbells and Mars are doing. We can tweet them @Kellogg’s and find more information here.
6. The problem of climate change can seem overwhelming, but here's one way to put it in perspective: if we just install renewable energy tech for each piece of fossil-fuel infrastructure as it wears out naturally, we would keep global climate change under 2 degrees Celsius. https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/01/how-much-will-current-fossil-fuel-tech-emit-before-retirement/ So, let's push for renewable energy replacements every time a piece of fossil-fuel infrastructure reaches end-of-life, whether that means a new power plant in our district or our own aging car.
7. For her bat mitzvah project, a young girl named Lana O’Neal is selling these beautiful shirts and donating the proceeds to Immigrant Families together to help repair the damage caused by Trump’s family separation policies:
https://www.bonfire.com/families-belong-together-8/?fbclid=IwAR0o3Lv2GNZ_CtJ0R0K47wAvEnE5OF14N6IrWxTunw14YaxfaTWxcN5px_o Let’s take a look, consider making a purchase, and spread the word.
8. From one of our own: Here is the big monthly issues/addresses list I do for postcarding: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1dpsBnPSHhYHy2iPuOgyeFKDWF-pfgtV78ocfgP40OG4/edit The write-ups are in reverse chronological order, so the newest ones appear at the start of each section. Please use/share/distribute as you see fit.
1. MOST: “In the year since the deadly mass shooting at a Florida high school, more and more states have passed laws making it easier to take guns away from people who may be suicidal or bent on violence against others, and courts are issuing an unprecedented number of seizure orders across the country. Nine states have passed laws over the past year allowing police or household members to seek court orders requiring people deemed threatening to temporarily surrender their guns, bringing the total to 14. Several more are likely to follow in the months ahead. https://www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/more-states-adopting-gun-seizure-laws-after-parkland-tragedy Let’s check out our state and see if this law has been passed; if not, let’s ask our state rep to introduce this bill.
2. MOST: From Act 4 Progress: Chicago and Baltimore States Attorneys announced that they will be taking action to clear past marijuana convictions and expunge the records of thousands of people facing extreme barriers because of past convictions. Tell your District Attorney to do the same. Find your district attorney here: http://bit.ly/2BoxRfK Sign the petition here :http://bit.ly/2GuBunC
3. KY: If we are working for a campaign or planning to, we can check out this 4 day immersive Digital Organizing Training which includes hands-on, in-depth training specifically for electoral campaigning. The workshop is run by digital organizers and trainers Beth Thorpe and Beth Becker and will be held in Louisville from May 28-31. There we can learn about building a digital campaign strategy, mapping engagement paths for our supporters, best practices for building websites, writing email blasts, managing social media and other digital organizing tasks and much more. There will also be follow up up opportunities for mentorship, additional training, and support for the 2020 election cycle here in Kentucky. Women, people of color, LGBTQ, rural folks, are highly encouraged to apply. There will be a few seats made available for allied advocacy organizations. We can find out more and register here: https://actionnetwork.org/forms/kentucky-digital-organizing-bootcamp-for-electoral-campaigns-may-28-31-2018/
Marches/events/webinars/Tweetstorms to attend/organize
1. On Friday, February 22, from 9:00 AM to 2:30 PM (EST) DemLabs is holding a Digital Storytelling workshop in Washington, D.C. Experts will review their storytelling projects and the apps used to create them. The workshop is free, but space is limited. RSVP here.
2. On March 15 there will be Youth Climate Strikes all over the world. Let’s keep an eye on this site for updates of where and when we can attend: https://www.youthclimatestrikeus.org/
1. John Dingell: My last words for America - https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/john-dingell-my-last-words-for-america/2019/02/08/99220186-2bd3-11e9-984d-9b8fba003e81_story.html?utm_term=.82f6bd88fe72
2. Russian-Style Kleptocracy Is Infiltrating America: When the U.S.S.R. collapsed, Washington bet on the global spread of democratic capitalist values—and lost - https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/03/how-kleptocracy-came-to-america/580471/
3. How You Help Trump (by George Lakoff) - https://medium.com/@GeorgeLakoff/how-you-help-trump-9d0139b9d4c9
4. Tax code changes leave Americans asking, 'What happened to my refund?' - https://www.nbcnews.com/business/taxes/tax-code-changes-leave-americans-asking-what-happened-my-refund-n969366