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4/3/19 

Contact Federal Government Officials


1.       NATIONAL SECURITY:  A whistleblower has shared the news that at least 25 officials in the Trump administration received a security clearance in spite of having failed to qualify: 
https://www.apnews.com/1759ac2858ee4aafb041f91cbd6d86e9   Since the GOP prides itself on being the party that prizes national security, let’s be in touch with our Republican MoCs to ask why they find this startling news acceptable and what they plan to do about it.

2.      DISABILITY RIGHTS: The previous Congress never took the opportunity to pass the bipartisan Disability Integration Act (H.R. 555/S. 117) although it had widespread support (https://bit.ly/2UffXHx).  The bill would ensure that people who qualify for long-term support services get the help that they need through community-based services and programs, rather than having to resort to institutionalization (http://www.disabilityintegrationact.org/). Right now, ADAPT is focusing their efforts on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, contacting each member by the end of the month to ask that they cosponsor the bill. Let's join them this month in calling on each member to cosponsor the Disability Integration Act.

3.     IMMIGRANT CHILDREN:  “Last week, the Department of Homeland Security called on Congress to effectively eliminate the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA). This is another outrageous effort by the administration to deport or turn away immigrant children without first ensuring their safety. Eliminating the law will make it nearly impossible for children and families fleeing persecution and violence to find a safe haven.”  https://www.theyoungcenter.org/stories/2019/4/2/we-cannot-let-dhs-secretary-end-critical-protections-for-immigrant-children  Let’s make sure our MoCs hear from that we want them to make sure this protection continues. 

4.      PROPOSED WORK REQUIREMENT FOR FOOD STAMPS: The White House has once again proposed cutting SNAP benefits to hundreds of thousands of Americans this year by imposing a work requirement, regardless of local job market realities and heedless of the many challenges faced by disadvantaged and marginalized people who might seem able-bodied otherwise. https://www.npr.org/2019/04/01/707681965/more-than-750-000-could-lose-food-stamps-under-trump-administration-proposal  This is another example of bad policy driven by simplistic know-nothing-ism, and we should demand that our MoCs speak out against it now and, if the Administration implements it, follow through on Democrats' promise to sue. 

5.     HEALTHCARE LEGISLATION:  Even though the Republicans have had nearly ten years to come up with a solid healthcare plan, they have not.  They have spent the years bad-mouthing and trying to dismantle the ACA, which many of their constituents like because it is not Obamacare.  Now, it appears that they will not be addressing this in the near future as well, putting it off until after the 2020 election.  https://www.cnbc.com/2019/04/02/trump-extends-obamacare-replacement-timeline-relieves-pressure-on-gop.html  Let’s let our MoCs know that while it may be more convenient for the GOP to wait until then, there are Americans who need better now.  Let’s ask what they are doing. 

6.    VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT:  The reauthorizing bill (H.R.1585) of the 1994 law seeks to add provisions that protect women against gun violence. It has been approved by all committees and placed on the Union Calendar in the House, which means it will get a vote soon. However, the NRA is urging legislators not to extend the Violence Against Women Act because of new red flag provisions that would prevent spouses with a history of domestic abuse from obtaining guns. https://thehill.com/homenews/house/436529-gop-on-defensive-over-dem-votes-on-policies-geared-toward-women. According to a study from the Journal of the American Medical Association domestic violence incidents with a firearm are 12 times more likely to result in death. Let’s tell our MoCs that we support these common-sense red flag provisions and that we believe that people with a history of domestic violence absolutely should not have the right to gun ownership.  We can also sign this petition from Everytown to let our legislators know we don't agree with the NRA. We want them to vote YES! 

7.      SUPPORT LEGAL IMMIGRATION: The Agricultural Worker Program Act (H.R. 641/S. 175) would allow farmworkers who have worked in the field for at least 100 days in the past two years to apply for a card that will allow them to work legally in the U.S. Let read more at NBC Bay AreaLet's contact our MoCs and ask them to co-sponsor and support these bills that would help so many. 

8.     DISASTER AID: Not content with failed earlier attempts to cut off all aid to hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico, Trump is now having his usual hysterics because Congress failed to pass a GOP disaster assistance bill that both Democrats and the governor of PR regarded as insufficient although they did not, as Trump claims, oppose aid to the flooded farm states.  Pretending that PR aid would deplete assistance to the Midwest and South, he attacked the “crazed and incompetent” mayor of San Juan—one of his favorite targets—tweeting, inaccurately, that “Puerto Rico got far more money than Texas & Florida combined” after the 2017 hurricanes: 
https://thehill.com/homenews/administration/436857-trump-slams-puerto-rico-after-disaster-aid-bill-stalls and https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/04/02/trumps-new-puerto-rico-hate-tweets-rest-very-ugly-premise/  Let’s tell the White House what we think of Trump’s ugly, racist tweets, and, more urgently, let’s make sure our MoCs don’t fall into Trump’s trap of pitting mainland disaster victims against suffering Puerto Ricans.

9.      GUN CONTROL LAWS: New Zealand's government has introduced legislation that would ban most semi-automatic firearms, including the types of weapons used in shootings last month at two Christchurch mosques that killed 50 people. The bill's introduction on Monday marks the next step in passing gun control reform announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern following the March 15 attacks. Days after the shooting, Ardern vowed that "every semi-automatic weapon used in the terrorist attack last Friday" would be banned. New Zealand immediately imposed some gun control measures on March 21. Police Minister Stuart Nash says the bill under consideration now, which is a broader ban, would go into effect on April 12 if it passes. That legislation reportedly has support across party lines.  https://www.npr.org/2019/04/01/708679715/new-zealand-introduces-gun-reform-bill-expected-to-become-law-within-weeks  According to Wikipedia the first shooting that occurred in a school in the USA was in 1840, the last gun incident in a school was March 22, 2019. 
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_school_shootings_in_the_United_States.   Let’s ask our MOCs why it is taking us so long to protect our children and why isn’t this a bipartisan issue. 

10.  REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS: The Trump administration may think that they are decreasing abortions by instituting the global gag rule, which prevents the U.S. from contributing funding to any women’s health centers that provide abortion. However, studies have shown that these funding cuts have actually increased abortion rates in Asia and Latin America because women are not getting the family planning services they need. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/global-abortion-rates-increase-when-the-us-cuts-funding-to-womens-health-clinics-2019-04-02. S.368/H.R.1055, The Global Health Empowerment Rights Act would permanently repeal the global gag rule. The bill has bipartisan support. Let’s tell our MoCs to work on getting this bill passed.  

11.   DOMESTIC TERRORISM:  It is becoming common knowledge that domestic terrorism is fact of life and it is increasing.  https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/01/homegrown-terrorists-2018-were-almost-all-right-wing/581284/  The problem is such that Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) plans to reintroduce his anti-domestic terrorism bill:  https://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/durbin-set-to-reintroduce-his-anti-domestic-terrorism-bill-heres-how-it-would-work  Nonetheless, the Trump administration’s Dept. of Homeland Security has quietly disbanded its domestic terrorism unit and reassigned staff.  https://thehill.com/policy/national-security/436882-dhs-breaks-up-group-of-intelligence-analysts-focused-on-domestic  Let’s tell our MoCs that this does not sit well with us.  Let’s also ask the House Committee on Homeland Security to hold a hearing on this matter:  https://homeland.house.gov/about/committee-membership

Elections

1.       APRIL ELECTIONS: “So far in April, there are 29 elections scheduled. If one of these is in your district, make sure you vote! For everyone else, please share this with your network to spread the word in order to increase awareness and turnout!”  Let’s check this out:  https://politicalcharge.org/2019/03/28/elections-in-april-2019/

2.      POSTCARDS TO VOTERS: Campaign 150: Stephanie Cleveland and Mukesh Parna for Frisco Texas City Council is still open. Let's request 5 addresses today for this May 4 election.

Other Actions

1.       IMMIGRATION RIGHTS: An immigrant advocate who was stopped by ICE when transporting two undocumented residents was able to use his legal rights training to prevent the people he was with from being arrested. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/man-stopped-ice-uses-know-your-rights-training-prevents-immigrants-n988026. The Immigrant Legal Resource Center has red cards that detail the rights and protections all residents of the country have under the U.S. Constitution, whether or not they are documented, which are essential to know for those who may be stopped by ICE agents. These cards can be ordered in different languages and distributed to members of the community, or downloaded for printing here. Let’s make sure to distribute these to the people in our communities so that they know their basic rights.

2.      IMMIGRATION DAY: April 18th is National Immigrant Resilience Day (NIRD), and United We Dream is calling on educators, educational institutions, and students to join in to support undocumented immigrants. Participants will receive a toolkit where they can learn how to best share the idea that immigrants deserve education, not deportation. Let's sign up and check out all the resources available at the United We Dream NIRD page.

3.      LEGISLATIVE PROCESS 101 – “Motion to Recommit” is a legislative tool available to the minority party that House Republicans have been using recently "to thwart passage of progressive priorities." Good to know!  Let’s check out this explainer:  https://indivisible.org/resource/legislative-process-101-motion-recommit.

4.      NO FOSSIL FUEL MONEY PLEDGE: Over 1300 politicians at all levels including nine 2020 Presidential candidates and a number of MoCs, and  have taken a pledge not to accept contributions from the “oil, gas and coal industry and instead prioritize the health of our families, climate, and democracy over fossil fuel industry profits.” http://nofossilfuelmoney.org. Let’s check here and see if our MoCs and favorite candidates have taken the pledge. We can thank them if they have and urge them to sign if they haven’t.

5.      EVALUATING DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES:  If we want to see where the Democratic Presidential Candidates stand on Court packing, changing the Electoral College and other challenges facing our Democracy, we can read this this Washington Post article with several helpful charts that clarify where each one stands. 
https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/policy-2020/voting-changes/  If we have a .gov/.mil email or are Amazon Prime subscribers, this article shows us how we can access the site for free. (The free .edu subscription mentioned is now a reduced rate:  http://money.com/money/4671856/get-free-subscription-to-the-washington-post/)

State Actions

1.       MOST:  ENSURE THAT THE POPULAR VOTE WINNER BECOMES PRESIDENT:  One way to make sure that the Presidential candidate who gets the most votes actually  wins is to support the National Popular Vote Bill, which guarantees the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and DC by awarding  them the electoral votes from the participating states. Already passed in 15 states, the bill takes effect when passed by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes -- enough to elect a President (270 of 538) and needs just 86 more votes to do so.  We can send an email to our state legislators asking them to support the National Popular Vote Bill. https://www.nationalpopularvote.com/write  We can also use this link send a letter to the editors of our local papers. https://www.nationalpopularvote.com/send-letter-editor-newspapers-your-state
We can also learn more at this website:  https://www.nationalpopularvote.com/.  

2.      FL: IMMIGRATION: State Senator Joe Gruters has introduced a bill (SB 168) which would prohibit sanctuary cities and require law enforcement agencies to work with ICE and identify people who may not have legal citizenship (https://bit.ly/2FDMYmw). It would also require correctional facilities to detain any person who ICE requests to be held (https://bit.ly/2I7bfVd). Let's contact our state senators and ask them to oppose this harmful bill.

3.      IL: SUPPORT HOT MEALS FOR HUNGRY ILLINOISANS: An Illinois state bill, HB3343, would allow state SNAP beneficiaries to use food stamps at fast food restaurants. Let's read more at WDBJ7.com. Let's contact our Illinois state assembly representatives in support of this SNAP expansion bill.

4.      MI: AUTO INSURANCE: The Michigan Catastrophic Claims Association (MCCA), a place which has actively fought back against transparency, has announced that they will be increasing their annual fee, which Michigan drivers are required to pay, in order to cover the cost of unlimited benefits for injured drivers (https://bit.ly/2YHA6EG). However, it is not clear how the fee is calculated, and the MCCA has not been forthright with that information. Let's join MI Resistance in calling Director of Insurance and Financial Services Anita Fox and asking her to demand that the MCCA disclose how its money is spent. We can use this call script: Hi, I’m a Michigan voter and I’m calling Director Fox to ask her to reject the MCCA’s request for an increase to the statutory fee until the MCCA makes clear to the public why there is a 3.9 billion debt when the fund contains over $20 billion in public money. Please reject the MCCA increase until they provide justification and full disclosure. Thank you. 

Marches/events/webinars/Tweetstorms to attend/organize

1.       NOBODY IS ABOVE THE LAW PROTESTS ON APRIL 4:  We are on stand-by around the country for protests (organized through MoveOn.org) at 5pm on Thursday, April 4th. The finalization of these protests will be determined on Wednesday and will depend on how Attorney General William Barr responds to Rep. Jerry Nadler’s April 2nddeadline of releasing the Mueller report. Let’s sign-up here for an event near us so we can receive updates about how things will proceed:  https://act.moveon.org/event/mueller-firing-rapid-response-events/search/

2.      FREE ONLINE REDISTRICTING TRAINING:  This Thursday night, April 4, All on The Line  begins a free three-part Spring Training series called "Decoding the Process." Each Thursday night at 8pm EST, we'll get a crash course on redistricting until we’re empowered to make change happen in our communities. We can find out more and sign up for the three free Thursday night training sessions here:  https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_uPiad4szQum24RUF6qY72g

3.     CAMPAIGN ORGANIZING TRAINING:  A pilot project between the Midwest Academy and DemLabs uses a new approach using the academy's 'Strategy Chart'. This core element of the Academy's training that teaches organizers to plan their campaigns strategically. The online training was designed with existing content and is delivered through Prezi's free online platform. It allows students to proceed at their own pace and jump to any part of the training.   We can take the online course here:  

4.      WORKPLACE HARASSMENT: This Thursday, April 6th, UltraViolet will be hosting a webinar training, focusing on a new workplace anti-harassment bill that is being introduced in Congress. The webinar will discuss the bill, and how we can help pressure our MoC to support it. Let's sign up here, or if we can't make it, we can have the recording sent to us.

Reading/Watching

1.       U.S. Border Patrol Accused of Forcing Migrant Families Sleeping Outside to Wake up and Stand Every Three Hours - https://www.newsweek.com/us-border-patrol-accused-forcing-migrant-families-sleeping-outside-wake-stand-1382858

2.      The ‘Hidden’ Crisis of Rural Homelessness - https://www.thenation.com/article/rural-homelessness-housing/

3.      Stepping Inside the Fox Hole:  The Media Echo-Chamber of Fox News - https://navigatorresearch.org/stepping-inside-the-fox-hole/

4.      Arizona volunteers form ‘underground’ network to house migrants released by ICE - https://www.pri.org/stories/2019-03-26/arizona-volunteers-form-underground-railroad-house-migrants-dumped-ice


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