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12/17/18 

Contact Federal Government Officials


Find elected officials: https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials

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1.   This week in Congress:  The House will consider three (3) bills this week that have rolled over from last week's schedule.  The Majority Leader's Schedule has not been updated but we can see these on GovTrack.us.  On Monday, the Senate will resume consideration of the House message to accompany S756/HR2748, the Save Our Seas Act of 2018. Related bill S3508 was signed into law in October. We can check the Senate calendar daily for updates on what's is coming the next day.

2.   Today is the last day for public comments on the proposed deregulation of methane gases instigated by the EPA.  https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-interior-methane/trump-administration-eases-rule-on-methane-leaks-on-public-land-idUSKCN1LY2N7  We can learn more and find the comment link here:  https://demwritepress.com/2018/12/13/comment-now-fight-proposed-deregulation-of-methane-emissions/

3.   From one of our own:  Public comments are also needed on these issues: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1qqwGadkh3dU0UnlN-r7-ZeJzucggPcZT/view  

4.   The Keep It In the Ground Act of 2017, HR 2242/S 750 would prevent offshore drilling in the Arctic Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Gulf of Mexico, or any other area of the Outer Continental Shelf. The bill has been slow to gain co-sponsorship, with only 24 Representatives and 7 Senators signed on. Missing from the list are a number of presidential hopefuls like Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) (202-225-4831), Kamala Harris (D-CA) (202-224-3553) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) (202-224-3224) as well as House speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) (202 225-0100), and Senate Minority Leader, Charles Schumer (D-NY) (202-224-6542). Let’s urge our MoCs to co-sponsor this legislation. We can also consider reaching out to the people listed above to gain their support. For talking points about the dangers of offshore drilling, we can check out this article from the Natural Resources Defense Council.

5.   Republican legislators have made it clear that they do not want to see the government shut down over the president’s demand for a border wall, and 57% of Americans agree; yet, the president is still insisting on shutting down the government if he doesn’t get his way. https://thehill.com/policy/finance/421488-trump-finds-himself-isolated-in-shutdown-fight. Perhaps some of his stubbornness might be an attempt to distract us from the explosive new developments in the Mueller investigation this week. In both cases, the message to our MoCs must be crystal clear: Do NOT agree to any more funding for the wall and protect the Mueller investigation by passing S. 1741/HR 3771, The Special Counsel Integrity Act.

6.   The 2018 Farm Bill (H.R. 2) has passed the House and Senate, with the final version stripped of its attacks on the environment and SNAP recipients: 
https://www.politico.com/story/2018/12/12/house-passes-farm-bill-1060916 Unfortunately, House Republicans, along with five Democrats, inserted a provision which would block any resolutions that would end U.S. support for Saudi Arabia in Yemen for the rest of the Congressional year (https://thehill.com/policy/defense/421044-house-gop-blocks-lawmakers-from-forcing-yemen-war-votes-for-rest-of-year).  The bill is currently at the point where the differences between the House and Senate versions are being resolved.  Let’s contact all our MoCs and tell them how we feel about this despicable, underhanded addition to the bill and ask that it be removed.

7.   The family of Jakelin Caal Maquin – the seven-year-old Guatemalan girl who died in CBP custody – had called for a transparent and neutral investigation of what happened: https://thehill.com/latino/421567-family-of-migrant-girl-who-died-in-federal-custody-disputes-official-account-of-her  Let’s join her family by asking our MoC for the same and also let Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen know that we await her resignation: https://www.dhs.gov/dhs-mailing-address Let’s also sign this:  https://secure.everyaction.com/HsJBqtt0r0mXNJzYK34gvA2

8.   After months of negotiation, the House and Senate have passed legislation (S. 3749) that will overhaul the Congressional Accountability Act in regards to claims of sexual harassment (https://www.politico.com/story/2018/12/13/senate-passes-harassment-legislation-1062299). While the final version of the bill was less robust than when first introduced, it is still a significant step forward. We can read more about what the bill does here, then let's contact our MoC and thank them for passing this bipartisan legislation. We can also contact the White House and tweet at Trump (@realDonaldTrump) to ask that he sign the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995 Reform Act ASAP.

9.   The House and Senate have also passed the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act (H.R. 1318), which would track pregnancy-related, also known as maternal deaths in the U.S., "in order to improve the quality of maternal care, disseminate findings, and implement recommendations." Maternal deaths have been on the rise in the U.S., with mortality rates being especially high among black mothers, whereas the maternal mortality rate in other developed countries has been declining (https://www.propublica.org/article/landmark-maternal-health-legislation-clears-major-hurdle). Let's learn more about this health crisis through ProPublica and NPR's Lost Mothers series here, then let's contact the White HOuse and tweet at Trump (@realDonaldTrump) to ask that he sign this bill immediately.

10.  15 Democratic senators have introduced a bill, S. 3744, aimed at protecting user data online. While the bill does not go as far as other privacy legislation that has been proposed this year, it does have industry support (https://cnet.co/2QWNlRb). Let's read more about S. 3744, S. 2188, and H.R. 6864https://www.cnet.com/news/senator-introduces-privacy-law-draft-that-could-put-ceos-in-jail-for-data-breaches/ and https://delbene.house.gov/news/documentsingle.aspx?DocumentID=2395Then, let's contact our MoC about the bills that we want to see them pass to help preserve user privacy online.

11.  When a Texas District Court judge ruled on Friday that the Affordable Care Act's individual mandate is unconstitutional and that because the mandate is "essential" to the rest of the law, the entire law is therefore invalid, he did not issue an injunction that would instantly disable the Act; ACA registration continued through yesterday, as planned, and policies are unaffected: https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/421511-federal-judge-in-texas-strikes-down-obamacare  Beyond intervening as this ruling heads for the Supreme Court, let’s urge our newly-elected MoCs--and their leaders, Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi--to use this as an occasion to reconsider and reframe healthcare legislation so that healthcare is available to all.

12. “On Tuesday the Trump administration offered more than 150,000 acres of public lands for fossil-fuel extraction near some of Utah's most iconic landscapes, including Arches and Canyonlands national parks. Dozens of Utahns gathered at the state Capitol to protest the lease sale, which included lands within 10 miles of internationally known protected areas. In addition to Arches and Canyonlands, the Bureau of Land Management leased public lands for fracking near Bears Ears, Canyons of the Ancients and Hovenweep national monuments and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. 
 https://www.ecowatch.com/fracking-utah-national-parks-2623200218.html  Trump continues to pass out our land to all his oil friends as though they were his personal property. He ignores the wishes of the people of this country. Let’s call tweet, email and write our Reps and ask for laws that prevent an administration from independently leasing our lands without consent from the people of the state in question. 

13.  “The Council on American Islamic Relations, California Chapter  (CAIR-CA) is urging all Americans to contact their congressional representatives to demand that Shaima Swileh, a Yemeni national who currently lives in Egypt, be granted a "Muslim Ban" waiver to allow her to be with her two year-old son Abdullah Hassan, who is currently being kept alive by life support at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital in Oakland.”  We can also sign this:  https://www.oneclickpolitics.com/messages/edit?promo_id=5001

14. “The vast majority of Americans support net neutrality, but a handful of House Democrats are holding out support. Why? They’ve all taken tens of thousands of dollars in “campaign donations” from powerful Internet service providers like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon. Now, Congress has just a few more days to save the Internet as we know it and we need these Democrats are on our side.”  We can use this link to tell them to side with us:  https://www.demsagainstthe.net/

15. Guns Down America reminds us that, “Russian agent Maria Butina infiltrated the NRA  and there's no telling what influence she may have had on our election.” If we agree that the NRA needs to testify about what they knew and when, we can sign this petition asking Congress to subpoena the NRA and probe their connection to Russia and our 2016 elections:  https://secure.everyaction.com/qYKjD6GnTU2huMkwlumgaQ2

Election/Voting

Other Actions

1.   Ever wonder what happens to the phone messages and letters we send to our MoCs? Here’s an exceptionally candid view from a former intern. It’s quite the eye-opener. His best advice: “write or call your elected representatives as part of an organized group effort, not as an individual on an ad hoc basis. Better yet, be the one to organize the group!” Let’s take a quick read, here:  https://www.quora.com/Is-there-any-point-in-writing-to-a-congressperson-Are-letters-or-calls-they-receive-actually-likely-to-affect-their-choices/answer/Greg-Beuke

2.    Let’s send postcards of thanks to former US Attorney General Eric Holder and to NJ Governor Phil Murphy for opposing a plan for extreme partisan gerrymandering by New Jersey Democratic legislators. https://www.nj.com//politics/2018/12/jersey-democrats-cancel-vote-on-controversial-redistricting-plan.html They put democracy above party, and their efforts seem to be working. We need more of that from our leaders.  Contact: Eric Holder, Covington & Burling, One CityCenter, 850 Tenth St, NW, Washington, DC 20001-4956 and Gov Phil Murphy, P.O. Box 001, Trenton, NJ 08625

3.   “The Council on American Islamic Relations, California Chapter  (CAIR-CA) is urging all Americans to contact their congressional representatives to demand that Shaima Swileh, a Yemeni national who currently lives in Egypt, be granted a "Muslim Ban" waiver to allow her to be with her two year-old son Abdullah Hassan, who is currently being kept alive by life support at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital in Oakland.”  We can also sign this:  https://www.oneclickpolitics.com/messages/edit?promo_id=5001

4.   Cyntoia Brown is currently serving a 51-year life sentence for a killing committed when she was a 16-year-old sex trafficking victim. Fearing that the 43-year-old man who had solicited her for sex was going to kill her, Ms. Brown argued that she acted in self-defense when she shot him. Her case did not prevail, she was convicted of murder and robbery and sentenced to life in prison. Although Tennessee no longer sentences juveniles to life sentences, Ms. Brown will not be eligible for parole, until she is 67, unless Governor Bill Haslam grants her clemency before he leaves office in January. If we feel that this sentence is too severe, and that Ms. Brown, who is now 30 and has already served several years, should be released, we can check this Bustle article for several ways to raise awareness about her case, including contacting Governor Haslam on her behalf. After reading the article, we can choose the actions that seem appropriate to us and raise our voices in Cyntoia’s defense:  https://www.bustle.com/p/how-to-help-cyntoia-brown-get-clemency-as-she-faces-51-years-in-prison-15516516

State Actions

1.    DC:  In a sign of the times in DC, where profit seems to be all, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) is taking proposals from private contractors that would make its Silver Line extension the first subway line in the United States to be under a private contract; a fight is being waged by unions, among others, about who owns and runs “public” transit in DC—and elsewhere: 
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/dec/15/public-transit-system-in-washington-dc-struggles-with-privatization Those of us who live in the Washington metro area can make our voices heard: WMATA CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld at 202-637-1328 or 600 5th St. NW, DC 20001.

2.    GA: George House Speaker David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge, District 7)) said he has “serious concerns” about anti-LGBTQ “religious freedom” legislation and he undercut the main argument other GOP lawmakers have made in support of it. Said Ralston, “The states that have passed it, or have talked about it in the last few years, have not had good experiences. And I don’t want Georgia to have that experience.”  We can read more at Project Q Atlanta.  Let's contact Ralston to thank him for standing up for diversity. We can also contact our own GA state representatives to tell them to stand with Ralson on this issue.

3.    MI:  In a very abbreviated timeline, tomorrow is the last day for public comment on “planned multi-use utility tunnel in the Straits of Mackinac and the remaining life of Line 5 in the Straits.”  The documents can be viewed on the mipetroleumpipelines.com website.  Comments regarding the draft documents can be left by phone at 833-367-6713 or by email to DNR-StraitsTunnelComment@michigan.gov More information here:  https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2018/12/14/proposed-line-5-tunnel-deal-appears-preempt-promised-nessel-lawsuit/2313156002/ and here:  https://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-350-86469-485439--,00.html

4.   MI:  As the GOP-controlled legislature runs roughshod over democracy during this lame duck session (https://www.bridgemi.com/public-sector/whats-dead-and-whats-still-play-michigans-lame-duck-session), many grassroots organizations and communities across the state are coming together to fight.  We can sign up here to see how we can help:  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScn1ZQD3W2CBSd5089zJD7q7udRrSuLYRfAUs98RwOOhPNrPg/viewform

5.   NJ: Voters should choose their representatives; politicians shouldn’t choose their voters. That goes equally for Democrats as well as Republicans. New Jersey’s Democratic legislators have a plan to grab power for decades through gerrymandering. https://www.nj.com/news/2018/12/obamas-former-attorney-general-speaks-out-against-redistricting-plan-that-could-give-nj-democrats-more-power.html  Let’s stand with former Attorney General Eric Holder, the founder of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, an anti-gerrymandering organization, and tell our NJ reps and governor that voters deserve fair maps, and to oppose the gerrymander amendment to the state constitution. https://openstates.org/

Marches/events/webinars/Tweetstorms to attend/organize

1.    Whether we align ourselves with the Women’s March, or March On, or Women’s March Alliance, or WoMen for All, or with no group at all, we have an opportunity to make history and march once again on January 19, 2019.  Check with your favorite organization or local folks to help or to find out what is happening.

Reading/Watching


2.   Trump vs. Pelosi:  Manspreading and the Patriarchy, Feminist Carol Gilligan Gives a Blow-by-Blow Account of Oval Office Showdown - https://www.newsweek.com/trump-pelosi-border-wall-oval-office-metoo-feminism-manspreading-patriarchy-1257658

3.   Trump Is Helping the Saudis Starve Yemen:  And House Republican leaders are Thwarting Efforts in Congress to Stop Him - https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/12/saudis-starve-yemen-war-powers/578167/





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