Contact Federal Government Officials
- Correction: The publication New Republic is NOT a conservative publication. However, The National Review, which IS a conservative publication has also weighed in on the Trump/Russia scandal: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/449406/donald-trump-jr-russia-meeting-campaign-explanation-naive-dangerous
- Sen. Heitkamp (D-ND) said that Americans are angry because “Health care has been about politics and not health care” https://www.facebook.com/NowThisPolitics/videos/1624974450867372/ Let’s thank her for speaking up on our behalf: https://www.heitkamp.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/contact
- We know we are getting down to the wire with the healthcare bill. It is not right and it is not fair and it does not, as the Constitution dictates, “promote general welfare”. Action Together Connecticut provides us with some guidance to help stop the Senate health care bill: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B0k1qCMVpKZpeGVSTk95bUhYNXM
- Trump asserted that "most people" would have taken the meeting with Russia that his son did: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jul/13/donald-trump-response-to-trump-jr-russia-meeting Let's let him know that this is patently false: We know that meeting with a hostile foreign government during an election is wrong. The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW, Washington DC 20500
- Across the country, kids as young as four years old are being humiliated and going hungry due to unpaid student lunch debts. The U.S. Agriculture Department is requiring districts to adopt policies this month for addressing meal debts and to inform parents at the start of the academic year, and the state of New Mexico has passed a law banning school meal shaming. (https://apnews.com/affc45f314114094b01f1e649811c4ad) As Ashley Ford says, “we have enough money in this country to feed kids. We absolutely do. Every day we don't is another day we fail our humanity.” So let’s follow Ashley’s advice and call our local school boards to ask how student lunch debt is being handled in our communities, and if it’s not being handled right insist that these policies be changed. And let’s call our state legislators and encourage them to follow New Mexico’s lead and make school meal shaming a thing of the past.
- The Republican Party may hold as many as 22 extra seats in Congress because of gerrymandering. (http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/partisan-gerrymandering-has-benefited-gop-analysis-shows-n776436) The Supreme Court is considering whether or not this is constitutional, but we shouldn’t have to wait for judges to tell us this is wrong. Our members of Congress can address it by passing HR 711, the Fairness and Independence in Redistricting Act, which would ensure that district lines are drawn by independent commissions. Let’s join our friend and ally Jen Hoffman in calling our members of Congress and asking them to support this bill.
- The National Defense Authorization Act is currently before the House—as are a series of amendments including a bipartisan amendment from Reps. Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Walter Jones (R-NC) would require the president to explain why troops are being sent to Afghanistan and how long they will be there before he can send more American troops to fight in America’s longest war; Reps. Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Walter Jones (R-NC) have offered an amendment to stop American support for Saudi Arabia’s deadly war in Yemen; and Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) has offered an amendment that would help establish a direct line of communication with Iran. http://www.npr.org/2017/07/10/536505358/house-poised-to-approve-national-defense-authorization-bill We should encourage our representatives to support this.
- A Hawaii judge late Thursday ordered a nationwide loosening of President Donald Trump’s temporary ban on U.S. entry for some travelers from six Muslim-majority countries, ruling the administration’s strict approach contradicted a recent Supreme Court ruling. https://www.wsj.com/amp/articles/hawaii-judge-orders-loosening-of-trump-travel-ban-1500004506 Let’s let the White House know that we support this broader definition of family ties. https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact
- Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight group is tracking and continually updating all Congressional votes so that we can see how often our MoCs vote for or against Trump: https://projects.fivethirtyeight.com/congress-trump-score/ Let’s use this information to thank or chastise our people in Washington.
- “The population of women in US prisons has skyrocketed in the past three decades. The criminal-justice system, designed to hold men, is struggling to keep up—harming some of its most vulnerable inmates in the process.” https://qz.com/1027177/somehow-its-still-legal-for-us-prisons-to-shackle-pregnant-inmates-and-withhold-tampons/ and https://www.facebook.com/NowThisPolitics/videos/1626378894060261/ Let’s tell our MoCs that we want to reduce the negative impact of prison on incarcerated women and their children, and to prepare incarcerated women for a successful reentry into society—and that they should support this bill.
- After a judge ordered it, the Justice Dept. released part of Jeff Sessions SF-86 in which he claimed not to have met with foreign officials: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/07/jeff-sessions-claimed-he-never-met-foreign-officials-on-a-key-security-form/533538/ In yet another breech of ethics by the Trump administration, since we now know that this is not true, it behooves us to contact our MoCs and ask for his removal.
- The Trump administration quickly and quietly pulled the plug on funding for a teen pregnancy program currently in year 3 of what was supposed to be a 5 year project. https://www.revealnews.org/article/trump-administration-suddenly-pulls-plug-on-teen-pregnancy-programs/ We can't change this but we can let Tom Price know that we are not happy. This was under-the-radar in mainstream media so he's probably not expecting blow-back. Let's give it to him: Health and Human Services, 200 Independence Ave SW, Washington DC 20201 or call: 1-877-696-6775.
- Representatives Joseph Kennedy (D-MA) and Bobby Scott (D-VA) have re-introduced the "Do No Harm" bill (HR3222) with 50 Democratic co-sponsors already on board. The bill clarifies that religious freedom cannot be used to hurt others. https://yubanet.com/usa/americans-united-welcomes-introduction-of-do-no-harm-act/ Let's tell our representatives to support this bill if they are not already among the co-sponsors: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/3222/cosponsors?r=1. Please note that the title of the bill does not say "Do Not Harm" and that there was a bill (HR2137) introduced by that name in the House by Brian Mast (R-FL) which is about a different issue. Let's be sure to say "HR3222" when we ask our representative to support it.
- Hmmmmm…… This week the Trump administration approved giving Alaska $48 million to help stabilize Alaska's ACA (Obamacare) marketplace. https://www.adn.com/opinions/2017/07/13/surprise-trump-administration-gives-obamacare-a-boost-in-alaska/ We have to wonder if this is a "gift" to Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) who is currently leaning "no" on Trumpcare. Let’s check in with our MoCs on that.
- The bipartisan Voting Rights Amendment Act of 2017 will restore the “preclearance” requirement of the original Voting Rights Act of 1965, but in a way that will pass muster with the US Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby v. Holder (2013). Essentially, all states will have to have their voting laws and practices reviewed by the federal government if they have a documented history of discriminatory voting violations in the last 15 years. Read about this and other ways that this bill will protect voting rights here: https://sensenbrenner.house.gov/2017/7/reps-sensenbrenner-and-conyers-reintroduce-bipartisan-voting-rights-amendment-act-of-2017 In this era of voter suppression, let’s tell our MoCs that this legislation is a breath of fresh air and we want them to support it.
- From RISE Stronger: Regarding the Pence/Kobach election integrity commission: “The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) asked a federal court to grant a temporary restraining order against the commission, alleging that "voters' personal data will not be secure" and stating that the call for voter records "violated the informational privacy rights of millions of Americans." In a court filing earlier this week, the commission asked states to hold off on providing any voter roll information. Now you can comment. According to a statement posted to the White House website, "Any member of the public wishing to submit written comments for the Commission’s consideration may do so via email at ElectionIntegrityStaff@ovp.eop.gov. Please note that the Commission may post such written comments publicly on our website, including names and contact information that are submitted.”” For additional resources and talking points on the commission and on election integrity, visit the Brennan Center
- “In what seemed like a throwback to an earlier era, female reporters were escorted out of a chamber in the House of Representatives earlier in the week for wearing sleeveless dresses and open-toed shoes… So on Friday, congresswomen stood up for their "right to bare arms," by wearing sleeveless dresses and open-toed shoes. It was the whimsical idea of Congresswoman Jackie Speier of California, who was tired of seeing women being told what to wear.” https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/congresswoman-embrace-sleeveless-friday-to-fight-p/ Let’s take some time to thank Rep. Speier for coordinating this effort: Washington: 2465 Rayburn HOB, Washington, DC 20515 or San Mateo: 55 Bovet Rd, Suite 780, San Mateo, CA 94402
- NJ: Andy Kim is running to replace Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ) in the 3rd Congressional District. MacArthur was the one whose added amendment made the House version of the health care bill palatable to more far-right Republicans so the bill passed. Kim has a much different notion of how to help citizens as evidenced by this video: https://www.facebook.com/AndyKimNJ/videos/1492247454131253/ If you are in NJ, especially in the 3rd District, this is who you want to get behind and have representing you in Washington. Here’s how to help: https://actionnetwork.org/forms/join-andys-campaign
- Green Memes, who makes memes to fuel and inspire the environmental justice movement, has just come out with a free, downloadable organizing guide “designed to help environmental and social change activists kick butt and break through on social media.” The guide, The Most Amazing Online Organizing Guide Ever: a practical handbook for community organizers who want to leverage social media for social change, can be found here: https://goo.gl/zGyedn Let’s use it and share it!
- The 2017 edition of the Kids Count Data Book, by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, is now available. This valuable annual resource provides state trends in child well-being.” In this year’s report, New Hampshire ranked first among states for overall child well-being, moving up one from 2016. Massachusetts and Vermont filled out the top three. Louisiana, New Mexico and Mississippi were the three lowest-ranked states.” We can read and/or download the report here: http://www.aecf.org/m/resourcedoc/aecf-2017kidscountdatabook.pdf Using the data provided here will help us in talking with our MoCs about issues related to children in the U.S.
- Good news! The Hartzler anti-transgender healthcare amendment failed in House this week. http://time.com/4857812/gender-reassignment-surgery-bill-defense-amendment-vicky-hartzler/ Let's take a moment to have faith in the system. Then, back to work.
- From one of our own: There are more ways to resist than to make phone calls, write letters, and march. Here is a list of 198 methods of nonviolent action: https://www.mapm.org/documents/198_nonviolent_methods_2007.pdf
- Those of us on any kind of social media know what "being trolled" means. But when powerful pro-Trump "trolls" like Mike Cernovich, who have many followers, target and attack civil servants in an effort to intimidate and discredit them, it's a danger to our democracy. Let's inform ourselves on these attacks, so that we're aware of what sometimes goes on behind the scenes: https://www.justsecurity.org/42930/trumps-trolls-waging-war-americas-civil-servants/
- Teen Vogue—yes, Teen Vogue—has compiled a well-sourced and highly readable timeline of the Russia-Trump connection. http://www.teenvogue.com/story/donald-trump-and-russia-the-timeline Let’s read it, and, after we pick ourselves up off the floor, let’s share it.
- Let’s add our names with Gabby Gifford’s and “call on Congress to REJECT any legislation that would make it easier for people to carry loaded, concealed weapons in public places, and any bill that would deregulate the sale of silencers in the United States.” https://secure.americansforresponsiblesolutions.org/page/signup/gabby-petition
- We need to be encouraging more citizen to register and vote, but the GOP works hard to suppress votes under the guise that too much voting is fraudulent, which it is not. Let’s join in and tell the Republicans to stop attacking voting rights: https://petitions.signforgood.com/protectthevote
Marches/events to attend/organize
- Today, Saturday, July 15, Democrats “across the country, will be hitting the pavement to talk to our neighbors -- it's our national Resistance Summer Day of Action.” We can sign up here get more information and to sign up to canvass in our communities: https://my.democrats.org/page/s/commit-to-canvass
- The New York Time shows us where every senator stands on the healthcare bill: https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/07/13/us/politics/senate-revised-health-care-whip-count.html
- If we want to catch up on what happened between Putin and Trump in their private meeting last week, and what Trump's actions and statements mean in a larger context, here's a good summary/analysis: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/07/07/trump-handed-putin-a-stunning-victory-215353
- For those of us who are grammar wonks: politics and grammar at the same time! The New Yorker explains their particular punctuation of Donald Jr's name. http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/the-correct-punctuation-of-donald-trump-jrs-name