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5/7/20

NATIONAL ISSUES


Contact all Federal Members of Congress
(includes contact info and links to social media)

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Or use StampsLicked to have messages hand-delivered to our own legislators:  https://stampslicked.org/



VOTE AGAINST CONFIRMATION OF JUDGE JUSTIN WALKER AND INVESTIGATE UNETHICAL ACTIONS BY SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL TO FURTHER PACK FEDERAL COURTS: A group called Demand Justice has filed a legal complaint and asked the courts to investigate the sudden retirement of a judge on the DC Court of Appeals leaving Trump an opening to nominate young conservative judge while he and the Republican Senate is still in power.  https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/04/us/politics/senate-confirmation-justin-walker.html?. Despite the ongoing investigation into the allegations that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell acted unethically in persuading the former judge on the court to retire, the confirmation hearing is still scheduled to begin in a couple of days. Let’s tell our Senators to vote against this confirmation, especially in light of the circumstances surrounding this supposed sudden opening on the court. 

NO PAYROLL TAX CUT IN NEXT CORONAVIRUS RELIEF BILL: Trump is insisting that a payroll tax cut is a “must-have” in the next, as yet unwritten, coronavirus relief bill; this tax, paid by both employees and employers, is essential to the long-term health of Social Security and Medicare:  https://thehill.com/policy/finance/496286-battle-brewing-over-how-to-get-more-relief-money-to-americans  We have long known that Republicans would love to see these “entitlement” programs fail; Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin know that a payroll tax cut offers a way to kill two birds with one stone:  such a cut would put billions into the pockets of some businesses while simultaneously decimating Social Security just at the moment when it is most critical to the aging population.  What it would not do is put significant money in the hands of the individual consumers on whom Trump is counting to save the economy: https://www.forbes.com/sites/robertfarrington/2020/05/04/the-winners-and-losers-of-trumps-payroll-tax-cut-proposal/#4d5dfffb3a16  Even some Republicans are balking.  Let’s make it clear to our MoCs that NO payroll tax cut is our “must-have.”

NATIVE AMERICANS AND COVID:  Navajo Nation is one of the worst hotspots for COVID-19 in the entire United States, and poverty and underlying health conditions make many Native Americans particularly vulnerable to this disease. But tribes are being forced to deal with far too much red tape to get the resources they've been allocated to fight the pandemic, and they already weren't given as much funding as they needed.  https://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/495887-underfunded-native-nations-battle-coronavirus-outbreaks When medical supplies were requested for Native Americans in Washington state, body bags were sent instead.  https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/native-american-health-center-asked-covid-19-supplies-they-got-n1200246 Let's contact our members of Congress and tell them we want them to help break down the obstacles to tribal governments getting the support they've been appropriated and to fight for more funding for their efforts in future coronavirus relief bills.

CALL THE HOUSE TO DEMAND PROTECTION FOR ESSENTIAL WORKERS: Essential workers are on the frontlines of this pandemic, with many working in high-risk conditions without appropriate equipment, safety standards, or job protections. These workers put their lives on the line every day, and we must do all we can to protect their health and financial security. Fortunately,  Senator Elizabeth Warren has a plan to ensure our workers get what they need: 1) Truly  universal paid sick leave and family and medical leave, health and safety protections, including personal protective equipment (PPE) provided by employers at no cost to workers, 2) Protections for collective bargaining agreements & whistleblowers with safety concerns.care security to ensure all essential workers get the care they need during this crisis, regardless of their immigration status.3) Robust funding to help struggling child care providers during this pandemic and reliable, safe, healthy, and high-quality child care for essential workers.  https://www.businessinsider.com/elizabeth-warren-plan-essential-workers-coronavirus-higher-wages-sick-leave-2020-4  When we click this link, we can get key talking points and be connected to our Representatives to demand the House pass protection for essential workers:  https://elizabethwarren.com/action/essential-workers/call-for-bor

NO LIABILITY PROTECTION FOR BUSINESSES:  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has announced his opposition to what he calls “a blue state bailout”—leaving coronavirus hot spots like NY and NJ, if they happen to be led by Democrats, to adopt extreme austerity measures to compensate for public health costs; now, he has announced that liability protection for businesses constitutes a Republican “red line” in plans for a third coronavirus relief package: https://www.usnews.com/news/economy/articles/2020-05-05/liability-protection-looms-over-next-coronavirus-stimulus-package Such protections from liability would leave vulnerable workers—like those Trump has forced back to work in meat processing plants—with no recourse if their employers fail to ensure workplace safety.  We must make our opposition to liability protection for employers known by our MoCs in no uncertain terms.  And we might make our views known, too, to the US Chamber of Commerce, which shares McConnell’s view: https://www.npr.org/sections/coronavirus-live-updates/2020/05/05/850720292/u-s-chamber-of-commerce-businesses-are-worried-about-getting-sued-as-they-reopen; the Chamber can be contacted at 202-659-6000 or 1615 H Street, NW, Washington DC 20062-2000

RACIAL DISPARITIES/COVID-19: Senator Kamala Harris and Representative Robin Kelly have introduced the COVID-19 Racial and Ethnic Disparities Task Force Act to both chambers of Congress (https://bit.ly/35Jke8Q). The legislation would "require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to establish an interagency task force of policy experts, community leaders, and government officials to make data-driven recommendations to federal agencies about directing crucial resources—like testing kits, testing supplies, and personal protective equipment (PPE)—to communities with racial and ethnic disparities in COVID-19 infection, hospitalization and death rates," (https://bit.ly/3cczHk3). The bill has not yet been numbered, but let's take the time to read through it, then tell our MoC that we want them to cosponsor and support this crucial legislation.

VOTE BY MAIL:  “If the federal and state governments do not prepare to hold general elections amid the coronavirus pandemic, the United States government could be forced to rely on rules of succession that have never been used, in circumstances the framers never imagined.”  https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/what-if-coronavirus-cancels-election-answer-will-make-you-want-ncna1195791  We’ve relied on vote-by-mail for our military since after the Civil War.  https://www.businessinsider.com/trump-voting-by-mail-bad-but-troops-vote-that-way-2020-4  Let’s remind our MoCs (federal and state) that it is time to move to this safer way of voting. 

#FREEBLACKMAMAS:  National Bail Out is a collective of organizations, including Color of ChangeDream DefendersThe Movement for Black Lives, and others, who focus on pretrial detention and mass incarceration. They provide fellowship and run projects such as the annual Mama's Bail Out Day, which posts bail for mothers who would otherwise be separated from their children on Mother's Day. For those of us who are able, let's be sure to help get these moms home to their families this Mother's Day: bit.ly/freeblackmamas2020

ICE IS BRINGING COVID TO SMALL TOWNS: ICE’s policy of transferring detainees to detention centers in the rural south is bringing increased incidences of COVID and overwhelming the medical support structures in these communities. https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2020/05/05/coronavirus-ice-detention-rural-communities-186688. This is one more reason to tell our MoCs and state legislators to speak out publicly on releasing all ICE detainees that do not have violent criminal records, rather than randomly transferring them to sensitive and vulnerable rural areas.

HHS WHISTLEBLOWER: Dr. Rick Bright, former director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), released a statement claiming that he was removed from his positions at the Department of Health and Human Services and "involuntarily transferred," after resisting pressure to promote widespread use of hydroxychloroquine (https://bit.ly/2Lib1el). Dr. Bright is requesting that the Inspector General of the HHS investigate "the manner in which this Administration has politicized the work of BARDA and has pressured [him] and other conscientious scientists to fund companies with political connections as well as efforts that lack scientific merit," (https://cnn.it/2W8xOiR).Acting HHS Inspector General Christi Grimm is also set to be replaced after publishing a report that detailed shortages of personal protective equipment throughout the U.S. Let's contact the office of the Inspector General, and ask them to begin an investigation ASAP: Office of the Inspector General, 330 Independence Avenue, S.W.; Washington, D.C. 20201, Phone Number: (202) 619-3148.

THE LINCOLN PROJECT’S LATEST VIDEO: A prominent and motley crew of Never Trumper Republicans called The Lincoln Project have released their latest anti-Trump video titled “Mourning in America” and in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, Trump went on a Tweet rage about it: https://www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/trump-s-twitter-rant-against-lincoln-project-s-mourning-america-ncna1200881   Let’s share the video via social media to keep it front and center and under the skin of our unfit leader:  https://lincolnproject.us/news/mourning-america/

ELECTION/VOTING

REMINDER:   Regularly check your voter registration status. States are purging voters routinely--you don't want to get caught off guard. Take 1 minute and check right now: I Will Vote  Then, check how to vote by mail in your state. Many rules have changed due to the pandemic and you may be able to vote with a mailed ballot. Find your state's latest voting rules here: How to Vote By Mail in Every State

CALIFORNIA SPECIAL ELECTION:  The New York Times has declared Tuesday's special election for the House seat in California's 25th District to be a "microcosm of the country's politics amid the health crisis" and "an early test of Trump's sway." Trump is pushing hard for the Republican, conservative defense contractor Mike Garcia, while everyone from Hillary to Elizabeth Warren to Barack Obama is backing Democratic Assemblywoman Christy Smith (https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/05/us/politics/california-christy-smith-mike-garcia-trump.html). We have an opportunity to send a message to the country - let's make sure it's the right one by volunteering to make phone calls or text for Christy Smith here.

HELP UNSEAT A GOP SENATOR:  A new poll came out in Iowa suggesting that Senator Joni Ernst may be more vulnerable than previously thought. Ernst, who has marched in lockstep with Mitch McConnell in backing Trump and cutting taxes for the wealthy, has only a 37% approval rating, and led the Democratic frontrunner by only one point.  https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/495937-poll-ernst-lead-evaporates-in-iowa-senate-race  Let's take action to help unseat Joni Ernst. We can donate to a fund for the Democratic nominee being selected June 2nd here.

VOTE BY MAIL FLORIDA. Postcards to Voters' volunteers continue to write to Florida registered Democrats to encourage them to enroll in Vote By Mail. The campaign continues with St. Lucie County (Port St. Lucie area) on the Southeast coast. Let's request 5 addresses today to help with this effort. #MailTheVoteFL

NEBRASKA PRIMARY: TUES. MAY 12. Nebraska is forging ahead with plans to hold the nation’s first in-person election in more than a month, despite health concerns about the coronavirus pandemic and allegations that political motivations are fueling opposition to an all-mail approach. We can read more at TimeIf we are Nebraska voters, let's make a plan to vote as safely as we can.

WEST VIRGINIA PRIMARY: JUNE 9. The West Virginia primary originally schedule for May 12 has been postponed to June 9. Over one million registered voters in West Virginia have or will be receiving absentee ballot applications in the mail, allowing them the opportunity to apply to vote by mail in this year’s primary election. We can read more at WV Metro News. If we are West Virginia voters, let's make a plan to return our ballots quickly after we receive them.

CALIFORNIA SPECIAL ELECTION. In-person voting kicked off Saturday, May 2 for the May 12 special election in California's 25th District to fill Katie Hill's seat. The district includes parts of northern LA County including Santa Clarita, Palmdale and Lancaster, as well as parts of Ventura County near Simi Valley. Postcard to Voters' volunteers wrote to get out the vote for Democrat Christy Smith (Campaign 198). We can read more at abc7If we are voters in this district, let's make a plan to vote as safely as we can.

WISCONSIN SPECIAL ELECTION. The Wisconsin Elections Commission reports that more than 44% of people who requested absentee ballots for a May 12 special congressional election in northern Wisconsin have returned them. (Source: WMTV nbc15) Postcards to Voters' volunteers wrote to Democratic voters in this district with Campaign 199: Tricia Zunker for Congress. If we are Wisconsin 7th congressional district voters, let's mark and return our absentee ballots today or make a plan to vote as safely as we can on Tuesday, May 12.   

TURN PA BLUE POSTCARD KIT: Turn PA Blue, https://turnpablue.org/ , needs us to write postcards to Pennsylvania voters and get them to sign up for mail-in ballots. Let’s order our kits today and help flip PA blue! https://turn-pa-blue.myshopify.com/products/turn-pa-blue-postcard-kit-package-of-50

STATE/LOCAL

MA--SUBMIT COMMENTS TO THE RE-OPENING TASK FORCE, ADVOCATING FOR EXTREME CAUTION: Massachusetts has put together a task force, which is collecting feedback to develop a plan to “re-open” the state. Let’s make sure to tell them it would be extremely dangerous and premature to reopen business before, at the very least, 14 consecutive days of downward trending infection and death rates and insist that they make public health, their primary consideration, not the economy. We can submit comments on this form

MI—NO GUNS IN THE STATE CAPITOL: “Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer wants to bar weapons from being brought into the state Capitol after anti-lockdown protesters showed up with firearms, she told NBC News in a wide-ranging interview.”  https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/michigan-gov-whitmer-wants-ban-guns-capitol-after-armed-anti-n1200296  Let’s let our state MoCs know that we agree with Governor Whitmer.  Guns are not allowed in our courts nor in the U.S. Congress.  They are not necessary in our state Capitol building either. 

RALLIES/GATHERINGS/TRAININGS/GROUP ACTIONS/TWEETSTORMS

SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGIES WEBINAR:  Today, May 7 at 5pm ET - “With no opportunity for in-person campaign activities, the ability to connect with your base over social media is more valuable than ever.  Ampersand Strategies President Josh Nanberg talks to Beth Becker, founder of Becker Digital Strategies, about social media strategy for nonprofit, advocacy, and political clients.”  We can sign up here for this free webinar.

REPRODUCTIVE ACCESS IN THE COVID AGE WEBINAR: “Please join The Women's March and #VOTEPROCHOICE for a webinar discussing the fight for reproductive freedom in this time. An expert panel will cover the status of COVID abortion bans in various states, the upcoming Supreme Court ruling in June and more. Additionally, the panel will provide solutions for those working to access services and other practical actions we can all take.” The webinar is today, May 7 at 8pm ET.   They highly encourage candidates, current officeholders (especially those in the six states with current abortion bans AL, IA, OH, OK, TN + TX), and all others who are concerned about ensuring fair access to reproductive health services.  We can RSVP here:  https://bit.ly/WMReproWebinar

GET TRAINED IN VIRTUAL FUNDRAISING: If we are running for office, working on a campaign, or building our local party’s or organization’s infrastructure, we need to raise money, but how can we do this when we can’t meet in person? The National Democratic Training Committee is here to help! We can join them on Friday, May 8th from 1pm-2pm EST for a free virtual live training on “Fundraising When You Can’t Meet in Person”.  During this fundraising session, their trainer will train us on effective best practices to raise money when we can’t meet in person and answer our questions. An email with directions and login information will be sent out by prior to the virtual live training. We can sign up for this Virtual Fundraising Live Training On Zoom, Friday May 8, 2020 from 1:00pm - 2:00pm (ET) here:  https://traindemocrats.org/event/fundraising-when-you-cant-meet-in-person-05-08-2020/

ACLU SMART JUSTICE CAMPAIGN WEBINAR:  The ACLU Smart Justice campaign has decided to host a digital day of action titled “Uniting for Pretrial Reform” in May. It will be online, and it will be throughout the day on May 27th. Some of the sessions include a Q&A with ACLU staff, a tele-townhall with multiple legislators (on the topic of pretrial reform), a storytelling panel in the afternoon, and throughout the day there will be multiples ways to engage our elected officials.  Here’s a registration link to sign up! https://zoom.us/webinar/register/1415859446055/WN_Wb92iZkTRGmkTJlHepNcIg  We want to make sure that people feel their voices can be heard even during this new normal phase we currently we find ourselves in and that we advocate for the most vulnerable of us.  

MASS POOR PEOPLE’S ASSEMBLY & MORAL MARCH ON WASHINGTON: “The Mass Poor People’s Assembly & Moral March on Washington is going digital! On June 20th, we will hold the largest digital and social media gathering of poor and low-wealth people, moral and religious leaders, advocates, and people of conscience in this nation’s history. A global pandemic is exposing even more the already existing crisis of systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, the war economy and militarism, and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism. On June 20, the 140 million poor and low-wealth people across this nation will be heard!”  We can sign up here:  https://actionnetwork.org/forms/rsvp-for-june-20-2020-mass-poor-peoples-assembly-moral-march-on-washington

READING/WATCHING/LISTENING

Everything We Know About Covid-19 Antibody Tests (So Far) - https://www.wired.com/story/everything-we-know-about-covid-19-antibody-tests-so-far/

Colorado’s Vote By Mail System Could Save the 2020 Election. Why Aren’t More States Using It? -  https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/political-commentary/vote-by-mail-like-colorado-992376/



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We can stay up to date on Congress by checking out their schedules. a) The House publishes a weekly schedule at The Weekly Leader (published and dated Friday) as well as daily schedules at The Daily Leader. b) The Senate updates their schedule daily at the Senate Floor Schedule





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