Contact Federal Government Officials
1. A conference committee has been meeting this week to reach an agreement on funding for the Department of Homeland Security in this year's budget (https://bit.ly/2Sib7sl, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/28/us/politics/trump-congress-border-wall.html). The seventeen-member committee must negotiate a deal by Friday, February 15th in order to avoid another shutdown. The Republicans on the panel are Representatives Granger, Fleischmann, Graves and Palazzo; Senators Shelby, John Hoeven of North Dakota, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Roy Blunt of Missouri. The Democrats are Representatives Lowey, Roybal-Allard, Lee, Cuellar, Aguilar and David Price of North Carolina; Senators Durbin, Leahy and Tester. If our MoC are on the conference committee, let's be sure to contact them and ask that there be no additional funding for a border wall, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), or Customs and Border Patrol (CBP). We can also continue contacting all three of our MoC and telling them not to fund a border wall, and to avoid another government shutdown. Suit Up Maine gives us "17 Reasons to Oppose the Wall": https://www.suitupmaine.org/17-reasons-to-oppose-wall/
2. This week marks the first hearings for H.R.1: For the People Act of 2019 (https://bit.ly/2DY0X79). The legislation includes money in politics and corruption reform and would significantly expand voting rights. Let's read more about the bill at Indivisible, then let's check to see if our representatives have cosponsored the bill yet. If they have, we can thank them, but if they haven't, let's encourage them to do so.
3. Puerto Rico is still hurting. It is struggling under its burden of debt, and never received enough disaster funding in the wake of Hurricane Maria. Just this week," The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), a Washington D.C.-based think tank, analyzed statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to find that Puerto Ricans enrolled in the Nutrition Assistance for Puerto Rico (NAP) — the island's version of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — will begin to face deep food aid cuts in March unless the program receives more funding." The Governor of PR, Ricardo Rosselló, has sent a letter to Congress urging "swift Congressional action on H.R. 268," which asks for "additional disaster supplemental relief for Puerto Rico." https://www.cbsnews.com/news/without-more-federal-funds-1-4-million-puerto-ricans-will-face-food-aid-cuts-study-finds/ Let's call our Senators and Representatives and back him up. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens too.
4. Now that William Barr has squeaked by the Senate Judiciary Committee, his nomination for U.S. Attorney General moves on to the whole Senate for a vote. https://www.npr.org/2019/02/07/692313480/william-barr-attorney-general-nominee-gets-nod-from-key-senate-committee Let’s tell our senators, again, that we do not support this nomination. Indivisible can help us: https://act.indivisible.org/call/senators-oppose-barr-ag/
5. Trump bragged in his State of the Union speech about his success at deregulation; now the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), until recently headed by Mick Mulvaney, now by Kathy Kraninger, wants to rescind the 2017 Payday Lending Rule designed to protect people taking short-term, high-interest, or “payday,” loans: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/newsroom/consumer-financial-protection-bureau-releases-notices-proposed-rulemaking-payday-lending/ These loans typically have annual interest rates between 300 and 400 percent, and payday lenders target low-income communities. As part of this change, the CFPB also wants to move the compliance date for the old rule from this August to November 2020:
https://www.consumerreports.org/consumer-financial-protection-bureau/cfpb-bids-to-relax-payday-loan-regulation/ The delay is subject to a 30-day comment period; the rule change is subject to a 90-day comment period. We can comment on both here: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/policy-compliance/notice-opportunities-comment/open-notices/?topics=small-dollar-loans
6. Responding to threats made at the State of the Union address Congress is proceeding to investigate Trump’s financial entanglements and possible Russia ties. https://www.apnews.com/e2290887dbcb4830a1a294abfc0447a2
Let’s thank House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, (202-225-4176), for taking a strong stand. Let’s also contact our Republican MoCs and let them know we support these investigations, and that we believe, as Rep. Schiff does that Congress’s “job involves making sure that the policy of the United States is being driven by the national interest, not by any financial entanglement, financial leverage or other form of compromise.”
7. Even though it is hard to imagine someone who is a climate change denier and a coal lobbyist running the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), that is right where we are with Andrew Wheeler facing a Senate confirmation vote soon. Let’s use this info from Suite Up Maine to help us understand why we need to tell our Senators that this is not the right person for the job: https://www.suitupmaine.org/oppose-wheeler-epa-administrator/
8. Recent data from the Government Accountability Office has revealed that Trump’s trips to Mar-a-Lago cost taxpayers $1/million per day. http://time.com/5521886/trump-trips-mar-a-lago-cost/. Let’s ask our MoCs what they plan to do about this wasteful spending and also remind them of this fact should any of them start to talk about cutting food stamps, social security or other public benefits.
9. “In very broad strokes, the Green New Deal legislation [the House Resolution is yet unnumbered] laid out by Ocasio-Cortez and Markey sets goals for some drastic measures to cut carbon emissions across the economy, from electricity generation to transportation to agriculture. In the process, it aims to create jobs and boost the economy.” https://www.npr.org/2019/02/07/691997301/rep-alexandria-ocasio-cortez-releases-green-new-deal-outline and https://ocasio-cortez.house.gov/sites/ocasio-cortez.house.gov/files/Resolution%20on%20a%20Green%20New%20Deal.pdf Let’ make sure our representatives know that we see this as a responsible way to take on our share of the climate change burden. We can also sign this: https://actionnetwork.org/petitions/tell-congress-support-sen-markey-rep-ocasio-cortezs-resolution-for-a-green-new-deal
10. New Mexico is withdrawing its National Guard from the border saying that they are not needed and that Trump is fear-mongering and turning this into a charade, https://www.npr.org/2019/02/06/691937342/n-m-governor-pulls-national-guard-from-border-citing-a-charade-at-federal-level Nogales, AZ is asking the feds to remove the razor wire as unnecessary in their city and has been called a stunt by the Trump administration: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/national-security/arizona-city-officials-want-border-wall-s-razor-wire-removed-n968651 The mayor of El Paso disagrees with Trump’s assertion that his city always was a dangerous city until the wall was erected. https://news.vice.com/en_us/article/43zxj9/trump-said-el-paso-was-a-crime-ridden-disaster-before-the-border-wall-the-mayor-says-hes-wrong Let’s ask our MoCs to listen to the state and local officials who question the border and its efficacy.
1. It’s been said the “all politics are local” and much of what happens in our communities is affected by local politics. While Republicans and Koch-backed groups like ALEC and the Tea Party have known this for years and filled up many such offices uncontested, the tide is starting to turn as more Democrats step up to turn their communities Blue. Now Emily’s List has a tool to help us get started. If we are curious about which local offices we could currently run for, we can check out this new tool from Emily’s List. When we enter our address, we will get a list of local offices open for candidates: https://wherecanirun.emilyslist.org/
2. Imagery made by ice-penetrating radar on a new generation of satellites reveals a growing hole underneath a massive Antarctic glacier, confirming scientists' fears that melting is proceeding at a rapid pace: https://www.upi.com/Science_News/2019/01/31/Melting-Antarctic-glacier-could-increase-global-sea-levels-8-feet/8371548945557/ A sea level rise of even less than 2 feet would bring unacceptable damage: https://www.businessinsider.com/cities-exposed-to-rising-sea-levels-2014-4/?IR=T&r=SG and this new discovery in the Antarctic threatens a rise of up to 8 feet! With the need to address climate change so dire, we need to support bold action like the Green New Deal starting now. Let’s see how we can volunteer to help: https://www.sunrisemovement.org/volunteer/
3. The group Swing Left has announced its 2020 “Super State” strategy to win back the White House, the US Senate, and state houses, and to keep the majority in the US House. The plan is explained here: https://swingleft.org/p/super-state-strategy. Let’s take a look, and let’s sign up to help.
4. New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has ordered the majority of National Guard troops deployed at her state's Southern border to withdraw, condemning what she called a "charade of border fear-mongering." Let's read more at NPR. Let's send notes of thanks and support to Gov. Grisham or on Twitter: @GovMLG
5. “Yesterday, the city of Sandusky in Ohio (population 24,800) decided to stop observing Columbus Day as a national holiday and instead give the city workers Election Day off as a holiday. Their city manager, Eric Wobser, said this: “We are swapping them to prioritize Voting Day as a day off so that our employees can vote.” https://politicalcharge.org/2019/02/07/one-way-to-make-election-day-a-holiday/ Let’s see what we can do to get our village, town, city to make this same decision.
6. If we are looking for state and local political information , we can check out Equal/Vote Local’s BlueWave Database: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1FRXKvZ8KSJC5Q0TUYC9R6jKvHCeaWnqa92-TBS8VJWM We can click on our state or territory link to find information on candidates, their social media, actions we can join, and voting information. As it is still a work in progress, Equal is expanding the data they are collecting and we can help by contributing information to email@example.com. Information on candidates is especially welcomed.
1. NY: While Washington seems uninterested or unable to uncover Trumps tax returns, the New York state legislature may well do it. https://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/ny-edit-tax-returns-20190206-story.html Let’s call our MoCs and let them know that we support this move to have these returns released.
2. OK: Under Oklahoma state House Bill 2214 teachers who walk out of class would have their pay stopped until they returned and those on emergency certifications would have their credentials permanently revoked. Let's read more at News9/Oklahoma City. Let's tell our OK state representatives, particularly if they are on the Education Committee, that we oppose this extreme bill. Let's continue to support our teachers.
3. UT: In November, Utah residents voted to expand Medicaid by passing Prop 3, but lawmakers are now pushing a bill (SB 96) to repeal the expansion and impose greater limits on who qualifies for Medicaid coverage (https://bit.ly/2DgQouA, https://bit.ly/2BnX0XP). The bill has passed the Senate and is likely to pass the House as well. Let's contact Governor Herbert and ask him to enact Proposition 3 immediately, and veto this bill, which goes against the will of Utah voters, when it comes to his desk: Address: The Office of Governor Gary R. Herbert 350 North State Street, Suite 200 PO Box 142220 Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-2220 or phone: 801-538-1000
Marches/events/webinars/Tweetstorms to attend/organize
1. Sunday, February 10, we can attend the Where Are The Children Protest Rally hosted by Together We Will - Long Island and Immigrant Justice Now. The rally will be at 12:30 PM (EST) at Rt 110 and Jericho Tpke Huntington on Long Island. We can find more information here: https://www.facebook.com/events/403628937054400
2. 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.
1. My White Friend Asked Me on Facebook to Explain White Privilege. I Decided to Be Honest -
2. You Were Gaslighted Last Night At Trump's State Of The Union -
3. More Than 80% of Americans Want Undocumented Immigrants to Have the ‘Chance to Become U.S. Citizens’ -
4. 2018 Fourth Warmest Year in Continued Warming Trend, According to NASA, NOAA - https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2841/2018-fourth-warmest-year-in-continued-warming-trend-according-to-nasa-noaa/