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2/1/19 

Contact Federal Government Officials


1.    The bipartisan committee to come up with border security is now working to find a solution.  https://www.npr.org/2019/01/30/689932941/border-security-talks-begin-on-capitol-hill  Let’s make sure that our MoCs know that while we are all for increased border security in terms of technology, that we are equally concerned that the legislation includes increased immigration funding to handle the backlog of asylum cases (so this does not happen:  https://www.cbsnews.com/news/immigration-court-ice-agents-hundreds-of-immigrants-fake-court-dates-2019-01-30-live-updates/ or this:  https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-immigration-mexico/u-s-sends-first-central-american-asylum-seeker-to-mexico-under-new-policy-idUSKCN1PN2HZ) and to properly take in those seeking asylum at the border.  We need to make sure that refugees and their families are treated humanely and with compassion.

2.   Aside from his false twitter claims that “the Wall is being built,” Trump on Thursday asserted that the Republicans on the Homeland Security Committee were “wasting their time” since the Democrats initial proposal did not include new money for his Wall. To which Speaker Nancy Pelosi responded “What did he say today? It doesn’t matter what Congress does? Really, a president who wants Congress to become completely irrelevant in how we meet the needs of the American people?”:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-cites-an-increase-in-mexicos-murder-rate-as-he-insists-a-border-wall-will-be-built/2019/01/31/8f3d2f5a-2549-11e9-ad53-824486280311_story.html or  https://www.rollcall.com/news/whitehouse/lets-just-call-them-walls-from-now-on-trump-says  The members of the congressional committee charged with finding a compromise on border security are listed here: https://www.cnn.com/2019/01/28/politics/dhs-bill-conference-committee-list/index.html  We might let them know that we, the people, want a compromise not a Wall, that we want representation not autocracy.

3.   Representative John Larson (D-CT-1) has introduced the Social Security 2100 Act (H.R. 860), which would improve benefits paid out by Social Security, and be paid for by increasing taxes for wages over $400,00 and by increasing the payroll tax rate (https://reut.rs/2HJwldz). The bill was introduced with 200 cosponsors, and is expected to pass the House, while facing a much larger challenge in the Senate. Let's contact our representatives and either thank them for cosponsoring the legislation, or ask them to support the bill; cosponsors can be found here. Then, let's contact our senators and tell them that supporting and expanding Social Security is essential in fighting poverty among our older generations as well as among children (we can read more about that here), and we want them to support the Social Security 2100 Act when it makes its way over to the Senate.

4.   Effectively saying that making Election Day a national holiday would give more votes to Democrats, Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY) came out against HR 1, the House bill of anti-corruption/election reforms.  https://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/427683-mcconnell-blasts-house-bill-that-makes-election-day-a-federal-holiday  Let’s remind our MoCs that we support all legislation that would give more Americans the opportunity to vote. 

5.   Some of us have been living in the midst of extremely cold temperature due to the polar vortex which is a result of climate change and the melting of the Arctic.  https://insideclimatenews.org/news/27092017/polar-vortex-cold-snap-arctic-ice-loss-global-warming-climate-change  Let’s make sure our MoCs know that we understand  climate change and are counting on them to make sure our country does all things possible to do our share to stop the damage.

6.   Not a single Republican has sponsored a bill to give back pay to low-wage federal contractors https://www.federaltimes.com/management/pay-benefits/2019/01/16/senators-seek-to-guarantee-back-pay-for-low-wage-contractors/,  Instead three Republican Senators introduced a bill to fully repeal the estate tax on the richest Americans. https://thehill.com/policy/finance/427328-senate-republicans-reintroduce-bill-to-repeal-the-estate-tax. Let’s express our outrage at the GOP’s continued attempts to perpetuate income inequality and their total disregard for the economic realities of a large percentage of Americans. Let’s also ask them to support and pass S162,, the Fair Compensation for Low-Wage Contractor Employees Act.

7.   Some GOP Senators are finally set to rebuke Trump for his total disregard of the work conducted by his national security team, which has found that North Korea, ISIS, and Russia are still threats. https://thehill.com/homenews/senate/427773-gop-poised-to-rebuke-trump. Let’s remind our Senators that the our national intelligence has also found that, contrary to Trump’s claims, Iran is complying with the nuclear deal signed during the Obama administration, and ask them what can be done to make sure that Trump doesn’t further wreck that deal through U.S. sanctions.

8.   HR 1, "the very first bill introduced in the Democratically-controlled House, is a democracy reform package, focused on voter empowerment and access, getting big money out of politics, and cracking down on corruption."  On issue after issue, the key to making progress is electing representatives with the vision and will to push the right agenda. That's why we need to support HR1, the House of Representatives' bill to take electoral influence away from billionaires, corporations, and dark money PACs, and return it to the people.    It's already got a lot of cosponsors, but let's make sure our House Members know we want them to sign on if they haven't. We can also let our House reps know that we want it to "remain a bold, progressive, comprehensive democracy package" and not get watered down. We can read more about the bill, courtesy of Indivisible, here:  https://indivisible.org/resource/hr-1-strengthening-our-democracy 

9.   From one of our own:  A new report from the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services estimates that thousands of children were being separated from their parents for at least one year before the administration announced their separation policy to the public.   https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/5687807-Oei-BL-18-00511.html . HHS officials failed to keep records of the identities of these children and failed to track them because they say they were not legally required to do so before the June 2018 court order. “We don’t have any information on the children that were released prior to the court order “, according to the assistant Inspector General for HHS.   https://news.vice.com/en_us/article/a3bweb/the-trump-administration-lost-track-of-thousands-of-migrant-children-separated-from-their-parents  Common sense and humanity should have informed this administration that these children should have been identified and tracked, not a court order. Where are the children now? How old are they? Are they with relatives? Are they in detention centers? Were these children old enough to even know their own names?  The human rights of thousands of children were violated by this administration and we demand answers. We demand accountability. We demand justice.  We must demand that Secretary Nielsen explain where these children are and demand that our members of Congress Investigate. Immigrant Justice Now put together an action for you to text your members of Congress and ask them to demand answers. There is also a link to a pledge that you and your legislators can sign onto demanding Immigrant Justice Now:

10. U.S. land managers will move forward in March with the sale of oil and gas leases that include land near Chaco Culture National Historical Park and other sites sacred to Native American tribes. We can read more at AP News.  The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) website will be accepting our protest comments from Feb. 11 to Feb. 20 here. Let's get ready to submit our public comments in opposition to these sales and mark Feb. 11 on our calendars so we don't forget. Let's compose our comments today so we can cut and paste them then. Let's spread the word to other environmental protectors. Our collective voices can make a difference on this issue.

11.  The Equality Act is a comprehensive LGBTQ civil rights bill which is a priority for the U.S. House’s new pro-equality leadership and is expected to be re-introduced soon. The Equality Act was first introduced in July 2015. A recent study found that seven in 10 Americans (71%) support laws like the Equality Act, which protect the LGBTQ community against discrimination in employment, public accommodations and housing. Let's read more at Human Rights Campaign (HRC.org). Let's tell our representatives that we want them to support the Equality Act.

12. Senator “Grassley [R-IA] -- the former chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee -- introduced the Special Counsel Transparency Act with Democrat Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut Monday. The bill would require any Special Counsel to produce a report to Congress at the conclusion of an investigation or within two weeks of a removal, transfer or resignation. That report would be required to include all factual findings and underlying evidence.”  http://www.kmaland.com/news/grassley-introduces-legislation-requiring-special-counsel-report-to-congress/article_0437e594-23be-11e9-bf95-9f0e653002c0.html  Let’s tell all our senators that this is the kind of protection and transparency we have been wanting. 

Election/Voting

1.    Volunteer Postcarders are currently working on the address list for Postcards to Voters' Campaign 143: Eric Coleman for Tennessee State Senate. Let's write 5 cards today for this important March 12 special election.

Other Actions

1.    Now that the Midterms are over, customers are not buying Postcards To Voters (P2V) two special "Talking Be a Voter" designs at the rate they were and Amazon is getting ready to charge storage fees. If we can, let's purchase a set (50) or two of these cards for $9 per set including shipping. Let's help P2V avoid extra costs. Let's check out the designs and consider purchasing for our future needs now:  A) Talking Hens design, and  B) Talking Breakfast design

2.   Many of us have been enjoying Political Charge to keep up with the political news and learn more about what is going on.  Let’s take Political Charge’s survey to help them evaluate what they are doing and how to continue:  https://politicalcharge.org/2019/01/30/1-year-anniversary-reader-survey/ 

3.   A careful New York Times reader, Kimberly Probolus, has pointed out the extreme gender imbalance in their publication of Letters to the Editor. Far more letters written by men are published then ones by women and the submissions skew more heavily to male writers. Acknowledging this imbalance, the Times has pledged to address it, starting by providing this link to their submissions guide for women and anyone else who feels underrepresented. If this describes us, or someone we would like to share this information with, we can access the guidelines here. https://help.nytimes.com/hc/en-us/articles/115014925288-How-to-submit-a-letter-to-the-editor  For help composing our letters, we can check out this  guide from The Public Health Institute:  http://www.phi.org/resources/?resource=tips-for-writing-effective-letters-to-the-editor   
We can read more about this issue and The Times’ response, including a pledge to more active outreach here:  https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/31/opinion/letters/letters-to-editor-new-york-times-women.html

State Actions

1.    MOST:  The National Popular Vote interstate compact (https://www.nationalpopularvote.com/) will guarantee the presidency to the candidate who wins the popular vote nationwide. Under our current system, each state gives 100% of its electoral votes to the winner of the popular vote within the state. The result? A)  Presidential candidates only concern themselves with battleground states, and ignore the concerns of citizens in states where they are certain to win or lose, B) Presidents shower favor, in the form of federal grants and other benefits, more heavily on battleground states, and C) Five of our 45 presidents, including W. Bush and Trump, have become president without winning the popular vote—that is, without the support of the majority of American voters.  How will the National Popular Vote interstate compact change this? Each state that passes the compact promises to throw its electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The compact will take effect when the electoral votes of the states that have enacted the compact total 270—the number of electoral votes needed to elect a president. Every vote in every state will matter in every presidential election.  More info here: 
https://www.nationalpopularvote.com/written-explanation, and here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q0rOKo9BWEU   So far, the compact has passed in 12 states, totaling 172 electoral votes.  Let’s use this tool to urge our state legislators to pass the National Popular Vote compact:  

2.   NH: An automatic voter registration bill is going forward in the state legislature. If it passes, it will break down barriers to voter registration in New Hampshire.  
https://www.brennancenter.org/blog/breakthrough-voting-rights-new-hampshire If we’re in NH, let’s tell our state legislators, https://openstates.org/, to co-sponsor the automatic voter registration bill filed by State Senator Melanie Levesque (D).

3.   VA: Even though Republicans in the VA State House voted on party lines to block bringing up the ERA for consideration, for the rest of this legislative session, https://wtvr.com/2019/01/22/adding-fuel-to-the-fire-virginia-house-committee-blocks-equal-rights-amendment/, the speaker can still bring it up for a floor vote.  Let’s tell House caucus leaders that Virginians want ERA passed THIS session! We should call Republican Delegate Todd Gilbert 804-698-1015 and Dem Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn (804) 698-1041 and ask for an ERA floor vote!

4.   WA: With the support of eighty state and nationwide organizations, legislation (H.B. 1706/S.B. 5753) has been introduced in both the House and Senate which would end subminimum wages for people with disabilities. We can read more about subminimum wages and find more information on the legislation here. Then, let's contact our state legislators and ask them to cosponsor and support these important bills.

Marches/events/webinars/Tweetstorms to attend/organize

1.    Healthcare-Now informs us that next week Medicare for All legislation will be introduced to the House of Representatives, and activists across the country will coordinate a grassroots uprising to bring a majority of Representatives on board the bill. If we want help lobbying our representative, we can join this webinar, hosted by Healthcare-NOW and Progressive Democrats of America on Saturday, February 2 at 2PM, which will provide a step-by-step guide to running our own grassroots lobbying campaign to move our legislator on single-payer healthcare. We can find out more and sign up here:  https://actionnetwork.org/events/medicare-for-all-webinar/

Reading/Watching

1.    Memorandum Reveals United States Government Planned to “Traumatize” Migrant Children - http://liblog.law.stanford.edu/2019/01/memorandum-reveals-united-states-government-planned-to-traumatize-migrant-children/

2.   Mueller says Russians are using his discovery materials in disinformation effort - https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/justice-department/mueller-says-russians-using-his-discovery-materials-disinformation-effort-n964811

3.   Who buys a trafficked child for sex? Otherwise ordinary men - https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/nation-now/2018/01/30/sex-trafficking-column/1073459001

4.   Which Democrats Are Running In 2020 — And Which Still Might - https://www.npr.org/2019/01/31/689980506/which-democrats-are-running-in-2020-and-which-still-might




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