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Check Out These Bills That Would Loosen Marijuana Laws, and Call Your MoCs to Support Them

Call your MoCs to support bills that would loosen marijuana regulations, such as H.R. 1227, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017, and S. 1689, the Marijuana Justice Act.

 

As intoxicants go, marijuana is pretty tame. It’s nowhere near as addictive as opioids or meth. Alcohol probably has a worse impact on society, all told, than marijuana does. But our laws don’t reflect reality. It’s classified as a Schedule I drug, which means it’s considered dangerous, with no medical use.

 

Worse still, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is convinced that marijuana is a scourge and wants to go back to a more punitive approach on the federal level just as the states are legalizing medical and recreational use.

 

A law in the House of Representatives could change things for the better. Republican Tom Garrett, who represents Virginia’s 5th District, introduced H.R. 1227 in late February, 2017.

 

Dubbed the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, it would amend the Controlled Substances Act to remove most penalties associated with the drug. Knowingly shipping or moving marijuana to a state where it’s illegal would still be a crime punishable by a fine, a prison term of one year at most, or both. It would also remove marijuana and related psychoactive chemicals from schedule one.

 

According to GovTrack, the bill has a Skopos Labs rating of a 15 percent chance of passage. Unfortunately, it hasn’t gone anywhere since Garrett introduced it early in his first term in Congress.

 

A note: Since we prepped this post, you might have heard about Congressfolk introducing or gaining coverage for more bills that loosen regulations on marijuana.

 

On April 19, New York Senator Chuck Schumer announced he’s preparing a bill that would take marijuana off the federal schedule of controlled substances. This is one of the things that H.R. 1227 would do if passed.

 

The other bill is the Marijuana Justice Act, which was introduced in the Senate (S. 1689) last year by New Jersey Senator Cory Booker and in the House (as H.R. 4815) in January by California Representative Barbara Lee.

 

The Marijuana Justice Act would not only take the substance off the federal schedule, it would attempt to address how non-whites have been disproportionately affected by marijuana laws. (Scroll down to read about it.)

 

Among other things, the bill would allow judges to review sentences for marijuana-related crimes in the interest of making things fairer and more just.

 

Skopos considers H.R. 1485/S.1689 a longer shot than H.R. 1227, giving it a two percent chance of passage. FWIW we at OTYCD would prefer a law that addresses the historic injustices inflicted on people of color.

 

Sample script: “Dear [House Rep/Senator Lastname], I am [Firstname Lastname, from town, state.] I am calling to ask you to support and think about supporting bills that would loosen regulations on marijuana. One is H.R. 1227, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017. Another is H.R. 1485/S.1689, the Marijuana Justice Act. Both would remove marijuana from the federal schedule of controlled substances. The Marijuana Justice Act would go further and address the ways in which marijuana laws have disproportionately punished people of color. Regardless of which you prefer, our marijuana laws are antiquated and do not reflect reality. We cannot go back to the wrong-headed outlook of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who favors a punitive approach. I hope you will look into these bills and consider supporting or cosponsoring one or more of them. Thank you.”

 

 

See the GovTrack page on H.R. 1227, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr1227

 

 

See the GovTrack pages on S. 1689 and H.R. 4815, the Marijuana Justice Act:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/s1689

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr4815

 

 

Visit the GovTrack homepage:

https://www.govtrack.us

 

 

Become a GovTrack Patreon:

https://www.patreon.com/govtrack

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

See a March 2017 Forbes blog post on Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/janetwburns/2017/03/13/a-house-republican-has-revived-bernies-bill-to-end-federal-ban-on-weed/#7803cb30559e

 

 

Read about Democrats’ renewed interest in loosening federal laws on marijuana:

http://www.businessinsider.com/marijuana-justice-act-marijuana-legalization-bill-introduced-in-house-2018-1

 

 

Read about the Marijuana Justice Act in particular:

http://www.businessinsider.com/cory-booker-introduced-a-bill-to-end-the-federal-ban-on-marijuana-2017-8

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Call Your MoCs and Support S. 1342, the Eliminating Federal Tax Subsidies for Stadiums Act

This OTYCD entry originally posted in September 2017.

 

Support S. 1342, the Eliminating Federal Tax Subsidies for Stadiums Act, which would do just that–close a loophole that unwittingly encourages the use of tax dollars to fund sports stadium construction.

 

An article on GovTrack Insider alerted us to this and oh yes, we were all over it. The bill was introduced on June 12. It has a house counterpart in the form of H.R. 811, the No Tax Subsidies for Stadiums Act.

 

We’re going to quote the ‘Context’ section of the story because it’s a case study in unintended consequences:

 

“It all stems from a provision in a 1986 tax reform bill, which accidentally created a loophole which allowed tax avoidance for many bonds used to finance sports stadiums.

 

The provision stated that such bonds could be tax-exempt if they were used for more than 90 percent of a stadium’s construction, under the logic that this would almost never happen. After all, most sports teams were owned by billionaires or multi-millionaires who would help front much of the costs.

 

However, the opposite happened, as taxpayers started paying for way more of stadium costs than they had before. In the 21st century, that taxpayer money has included $431 million towards Yankee Stadium, $205 million for the Chicago Bears, $185 million for the New York Mets, and $164 million for the Cincinnati Bengals.”

 

Talk about perverse incentives, right? Though passing this bill might feel like closing the barn door after team after team of horses have escaped, and GovTrack admits the odds are long even though the bill should get serious public support, it’s worth the fight.

 

A note before giving the sample script: First off, if New Jersey Democrat Cory Booker is your senator, and if Oklahoma Republican Steve Russell is your House rep, call and thank them for sponsoring these bills.

 

Now, the sample script: “Dear (Senator/House Rep Lastname,) I am (Firstname Lastname, of town, zip code). I am calling to ask you to support (S. 1342/ H.R. 811), which would close a loophole that perversely encourages using tax dollars to fund sports stadium construction. Sports team owners are wealthy–some are billionaires. They can, and should, pay to build or improve their own stadiums. The law, as currently written, encourages team owners to chase precious tax dollars that should go to municipal and state needs instead of wants. The bills moving through Congress now will take away that perverse incentive.”

 

 

Read the GovTrack story on the bills that close the stadium funding loophole:

https://govtrackinsider.com/eliminating-taxpayer-subsidies-for-stadiums-act-would-end-taxpayer-tax-support-for-sports-stadiums-94a7ec189c8c

 

 

Read a Brookings Institution story on why the government should stop funding sports stadiums:

https://www.brookings.edu/research/why-the-federal-government-should-stop-spending-billions-on-private-sports-stadiums/#federal-subsidy

 

 

See the GovTrack page on S. 1342, the Eliminating Federal Tax Subsidies for Stadium Act of 2017:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/s1342

 

 

See the GovTrack page on H.R. 811, the No Tax Subsidies for Stadiums Act:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr811

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page or checking the About & Subscribe page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

Like GovTrack on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/govtrack

 

 

Follow GovTrack on Twitter:

@govtrack

 

 

Donate to GovTrack:

https://www.patreon.com/bePatron?c=350193

 

 

 

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Ask Your House Rep to Support H.R. 2884, the COVFEFE Act

This OTYCD entry originally posted in June 2017.

Ask your House rep to support H.R. 2884, the Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically for Engagement Act, aka the COVFEFE act. 

OK, Illinois Democrat Mike Quigley was having a bit of fun when he named his act, but it has a serious and worthy purpose. It would amend the Presidential Records Act of 1978 to specify that a president’s communications over social media count as presidential records.

Amending the law in this manner formally recognizes that Donald Trump’s tweets, be they from his POTUS account or his personal account, are considered presidential communications, and must be documented for posterity. The law could also prevent Trump and future presidents from deleting tweets and might prevent a president from blocking individuals on Twitter.

 

Read GovTrack’s backgrounder on the COVFEFE Act:

https://govtrackinsider.com/the-covfefe-act-would-permanently-archive-all-of-president-trumps-social-media-posts-c77b97d5802b

 

See the GovTrack page on the bill:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr2884

 

Read the text of the COVFEFE Act:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr2884/text

 

 

 

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Ask Your House Rep to Support H.R. 3876, the SWAMP FLIERS Act

Ask your House Rep to support H.R. 3876, the SWAMP FLIERS act, which would prohibit spending federal funds on private aircraft for any senior political appointee who’s traveling for official government business.

California House Rep Ted Lieu introduced the bill in September 2017 after Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price resigned for spending more than $1 million in taxpayer money on private aircraft travel while doing business for the government.

Private jets, military helicopters, and the like are expensive to run–far, far more expensive than commercial flights. While there are situations where private and military  aircraft is the only option available to get the job done, those situations are rare. According to CNN, two secretaries of the interior who served the Obama administration spent $971,000 on non-commercial travel over the course of seven years.

Secretaries of the interior probably have greater need for private and/or military travel options than other cabinet secretaries. The job can require them to go to the off-roadiest of off-road spots–places that American Airlines can’t reach.

Current Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has been less strict with our money than his immediate predecessors. He racked up more than $72,000 in noncommercial travel expenses between March and October 2017. The departure of Price doesn’t appear to have chastened Zinke. As of early October, the inspector general of the department of the interior had opened an investigation into Zinke’s questionable trips.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin triggered a department-level investigation after an Instagram post by his wife raised concern. Between March and October, Mnuchin took seven trips at taxpayers’ expense, at a cost of more than $800,000. The seven were found to be legal, but investigators dinged Mnuchin for the tenuous justifications that he offered for them. It also came out that Mnuchin had requested the use of a military plane for his honeymoon. (Officials turned him down.)

EPA head Scott Pruitt is yet another Trump cabinet member who has taken non-commercial flights in 2017. He took at least four trips between February and September at a cost of $58,000. The department did provide documents that showed that its Office of General Counsel had authorized the travel. In August, the EPA’s Office of the Inspector General announced it would look into Pruitt’s trips to his home state of Oklahoma.

We shouldn’t have to pass a law that stops senior administration appointees from choosing private and military flights when less expensive commercial options are available, but the actions of Price, Zinke, Mnuchin, and Pruitt shows that we do. Lieu’s bill would codify what should be common sense, and what was common sense before Trump was elected.

Lieu’s bill, dubbed the Stop Waste and Misuse by Presidential Flyers Landing Yet Evading Rules and Standards (SWAMP FLIERS), would require affected officials to provide proof that no commercial flight options were available. The bill has a low chance of passage. Since its introduction on September 28, 2017, it hasn’t moved along, and GovTrack’s page cites a Skopos Labs estimate that it has a two percent chance of passage.

But given the nonsense that those three former and current cabinet members got up to in 2017, it seems like a good idea to support this bill.

Sample script: “Dear House Rep (Lastname), I am (Firstname Lastname from town, zip code). I’d like you to support H.R. 3876, the SWAMP FLIERS Act. It was introduced by California House Rep Ted Lieu in September 2017, and it would outlaw using federal funds for official travel by senior political appointees on private aircraft and for other purposes.

 

See the GovTrack page on H.R. 3876:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr3876

 

Read Rep. Lieu’s September 28, 2017 statement about the bill:

https://lieu.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/rep-lieu-statement-introduction-swamp-flyers-act

 

Read a story from The Hill about the introduction of H.R. 3876:

http://thehill.com/blogs/floor-action/house/352913-democrats-unveil-bills-to-ban-cabinet-members-private-jet-travel

 

Read about Price’s resignation and the scandal that led to it:

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/09/tom-price-resigned/541608/

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/09/29/price-has-resigned-as-health-and-human-services-secretary-243315

 

Read the CNN story on the tab for non-commercial travel for interior secretaries under Obama, which includes the 2017 figures for Zinke’s private travel:

http://www.cnn.com/2017/10/09/politics/obama-interior-secretaries-air-travel-cost/index.html

 

Read about Zinke’s problematic travels, which have led to an investigation:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/federal-watchdog-opens-probe-into-travel-by-interior-secretary-ryan-zinke/2017/10/02/3f24fbf8-a7ad-11e7-92d1-58c702d2d975_story.html?utm_term=.3ec542cb3ed0

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/watchdog-says-interior-secretary-ryan-zinke-failed-to-properly-document-travel/2017/11/16/3277bac6-ca3f-11e7-b0cf-7689a9f2d84e_story.html?utm_term=.5fc4165735ab

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/11/16/ryan-zinke-wife-travel-investigation-167054

http://www.cnn.com/2017/11/17/politics/ryan-zinke-travel-investigation/index.html

 

Read about Steve Mnuchin’s non-commercial 2017 travel, which prompted an internal investigation that deemed the trips legal:

Read about the trips that Pruitt took in 2017:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/09/27/epas-pruitt-took-charter-military-flights-that-cost-taxpayers-more-than-58000/?hpid=hp_rhp-more-top-stories_pruitttravels-730pm:homepage/story&utm_term=.d8d5392003ba

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Save This Tool for Contacting Congress

This OTYCD entry originally posted in March 2017.

 

Save this convenient web site that shows you how to contact any member of Congress.

 

The very first post on OTYCD was about how to find your three members of Congress. It’s advocacy 101, yes. Even still, this tool is worth saving.

 

It’s really well-designed and gives a handy overview of EVERYONE in Congress, with their photos, contact info, location, district, social media accounts, plus when they were first elected and when they’re due for re-election.

 

http://contactingcongress.org

 

Special thanks to @theonetruebix for the tip and the site.

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the blue button on the upper right or checking the About & Subscribe page. And tell your friends about the blog!

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Call Your Members of Congress to Support the Presidential Conflicts of Interests Act

This OTYCD entry originally posted in February 2017.

 

Call your members of Congress to support the Presidential Conflicts of Interests Act of 2017.

 

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren introduced it in the senate as S.65; Massachusetts Fifth District representative Katherine Clark introduced it in the house as H.R. 371.

 

If passed, it would reinforce the Emoluments clause of the Constitution by stating that the president and vice president must divest themselves of any assets that could pose a conflict of interest, and place them in a blind trust.

 

The law would also apply to those officials’ spouses and dependent children, but not their grown children or their spouses. It would also impose the same disclosure requirements on the president that are required of members of Congress.

 

In short, it would force Trump to do something that the last several presidents have done voluntarily, because it’s common sense.

 

 

Here is the congress.gov link to S.65, A bill to address financial conflicts of interest of the President and Vice President:

https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/senate-bill/65

 

 

Here is the congress.gov link to H.R. 371, which has pretty much the same title as the senate version:

https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/371

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page or checking the About & Subscribe page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

See this New York Times op-ed from Richard Painter, chief White House ethics lawyer under the Bush administration from 2005 to 2007, on Trump’s stated plans for complying with the Constitution:

 

See this (not very hopeful) Washington Post article about Warren and Clark’s legislative efforts:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/01/09/democrats-introduce-conflicts-of-interest-act-but-are-unlikely-to-get-a-vote/?utm_term=.e4e1d52a6952

 

 

Here is Senator Elizabeth Warren’s press release on the bill. It names all its co-sponsors in the senate and the house. Do you see your members of Congress listed? If so, call and thank them for supporting these bills.

http://www.warren.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=1342

 

 

Call Your Members of Congress · Common-sense Gun Laws · Health Care · House Bills, Federal

Ask Your MoCs to Fund CDC Research Into the Causes of Gun Violence

Ask your MoCs to fund research allowing the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to study the effects of gun violence.

 

This post originally called for asking MoCs to repeal the Dickey Amendment, a 1996 law named for then-House Rep Jay Dickey, a Republican from Arkansas, which stated: “None of the funds made available in this title may be used, in whole or in part, to advocate or promote gun control.”

 

The Dickey amendment effectively stopped the CDC from researching the causes of gun violence and identifying ways to curtail it. It also effectively stopped the CDC from treating its epidemic of gun violence as, well, an epidemic, aka a public health problem.

 

But! The $1.3 trillion “omnibus” bill that Trump signed on Friday, March 23, 2018, contained a clarification in its ancillary materials that said the following: “While appropriations language prohibits the CDC and other agencies from using appropriated funding to advocate or promote gun control, the Secretary of Health and Human Services has stated the CDC has the authority to conduct research on the causes of gun violence.”

 

There’s the good news. The CDC is explicitly free to study what causes gun violence.

 

Now the bad news. The bill that was just passed? The bill that outlined $1.3 trillion in spending? It didn’t include any money for the CDC to research gun violence.

 

 

Time to call your MoCs and ask them to write a bill that gives the CDC money to study this important public health issue.

 

Sample script: “Dear [House Rep/Senator Lastname], I am [Firstname Lastname from town, state]. I am happy that the recently passed omnibus spending bill made it clear that the Center for Disease Control is free to study the causes of gun violence. Unfortunately, the bill did not include any funding for CDC research on this. I am asking you and your colleagues to consult with medical researchers and come up with a bill that would allow the CDC to get started on this important work. Thank you.”

 

 

Subscribe to One Thing You Can Do by clicking the button on the upper right of the page or checking the About & Subscribe page. And tell your friends about the blog!

 

 

 

Read a March 22, 2018 article from The Atlantic that describes gun control measures in the omnibus spending bill:

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/03/congress-guns-fix-nics-baby-steps/556250/

 

 

 

Read a March 23, 2018 Washington Post piece on the same topic:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/03/23/hey-marchers-heres-what-congress-just-did-on-guns-and-what-it-probably-wont-do-anytime-soon/?utm_term=.4728c38dc54c

 

 

Read about HHS Secretary Azar’s openness to letting the CDC resume research on gun violence:

https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2018/feb/15/alex-azar-hhs-signals-open-gun-violence-research/

 

 

Read a June 2016 piece from The Daily Beast on John Oliver demanding the repeal of the Dickey amendment following the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida:

https://www.thedailybeast.com/john-oliver-blasts-the-nra-in-the-wake-of-orlando-repeal-the-dickey-amendment

 

 

Read a February 2018 article from The Atlantic on how the Dickey amendment has hobbled the CDC for decades:

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2018/02/gun-violence-public-health/553430/

 

 

A note: We at OTYCD intend to nurture and encourage the movement sparked by the Margory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting by devoting one post at least every other week to gun safety-related issues.

 

The reason that the NRA has a death grip on Congress, and in particular, GOP Congressfolk, is that NRA members get off their asses and call if there’s a whisper of a muttering of a hint that a law might pass that could impose even the slightest imposition on ownership of guns in America.

 

That’s what the politicians are afraid of. It’s not just that some of them get metric buttloads of money for their campaigns from the NRA. Those who embrace the NRA’s outlook pounce on their phones and berate their representatives the instant they think their beloved guns are under threat.

 

So, yes, it’s on us to shout back.

 

We have to adopt the tactics of those who support the NRA.

 

We have to call our representatives often to make it damn clear that the status quo is unacceptable, and we want common-sense gun safety laws.

 

OTYCD will start out with one weekday post every two weeks, at minimum, that has to do with improving gun safety and pushing back against the NRA.

 

We do this in honor of the Parkland victims, and all victims of mass shootings in America, and everyone who has been fighting to change our laws on firearms all along.

 

If Trump finally bows to the will of Congress and imposes the sanctions against Russia for messing with the 2016 election, we will switch to devoting one post per week to these issues.

 

Honor the victims of the Parkland shooting, and all other shootings, by stepping up and calling your reps about common-sense gun safety laws, and by supporting politicians who have low grades from the NRA, and voting out those who do the NRA’s bidding.

 

#NeverAgain. For the love of all that is right and good, Never Again.

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Learn Whether and When to Freak Out Over Bills Moving Through Congress

This OTYCD entry originally posted in February 2017.

Learn whether and when to freak out over bills moving through Congress.

A while back, various corners of the internet whipped themselves into a minor freakout over H.R. 193, a bill that, if passed, would withdraw the United States from the United Nations.

In this Medium post, former Congressional aide Emily Ellsworth explains why H.R. 193 won’t go anywhere, and shows you how to spot the bills that could become laws.

To summarize her points:

No more than three percent of all bills became laws during the last four Congressional sessions.

Members of Congress introduce bills for lots of reasons, and making law isn’t necessarily one of them. They’re just as likely to offer a bill to:

 

Look productive

Roust their base

Please activists

Generate headlines back home

 

She offers three tools for following legislation that matters to you, and schooling yourself on them before you call your members of Congress about them:

https://www.govtrack.us

https://www.countable.us

https://www.popvox.com

 

Also, when looking at a bill’s prospects to become law, keep these thoughts in mind:

How many times has the bill been introduced before without going anywhere? If the answer is “a whole honking lot,” it’ll probably stall this time too.

Bills get referred to relevant Congressional committees. Do the bill’s sponsors and cosponsors actually sit on the right committee? If not, its chances aren’t that great.

Is the timing right? A bill that has to do with Standing Rock and the pipeline under construction will probably get more traction now than a general environmental bill.

How well does the bill suit the broader plans of the majority party? Congressional leaders will likely prioritize those.

 

…And this is where we at OTYCD feel compelled to admit a possible mistake.

About 10 days ago we wrote a blog post asking you to oppose H.R. 490, a bill that would ban abortion upon detection of a heartbeat. Its sponsor, Iowa Republican Steve King, dubbed it the Heartbeat Protection Act of 2017.

While it is a legitimate bill and King evidently hasn’t introduced something like it in previous sessions of Congress, it’s likely to wither and die. As of February 4, the Govtrack.com site says it has yet to be referred to a committee, and the Govtrack summary of the bill cites Predictgov odds of passage at 4 percent.

We will continue to watch this house bill and other bills of interest, but we admit (and, frankly, hope) H.R. 490 may well go nowhere.

See the Govtrack.com summary of H.R. 490:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr490

See the OTYCD post on H.R. 490:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/01/23/call-your-house-rep-and-oppose-h-r-490-an-abortion-ban-bill/

 

 

 

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Fight the GOP Tax Bill, December 7 Edition (Now With the Names of the Senate Tax Conference Committee)

Keep fighting the GOP tax bill, as you have been doing for the past several weeks. This post contains actions that will work for Thursday, December 7. (Much of this worked the past few days, too. If you saw those posts, you will notice there are updates but not many changes here. Keep calling, keep fighting, recruit your friends and family to do the same, and also do something to assist Doug Jones’s Alabama Senate campaign. Thanks)

First, let’s talk about where we are. If the bill hasn’t traveled to the Rose Garden, we still have time to stop it.

It’s not there yet. We can still stop it.

Now, fighting back.

 

There might be a GOP Tax Scam protest near you. Check this link to find out:

https://notonepenny.org/take-action/#events

 

Moveon.org is leading an effort to encourage constituents to drop by the offices of their members of Congress to speak to them directly about the effects of the GOP tax bill. Learn more at this link:

https://act.moveon.org/survey/taxscamdropby/

 

The Senate has chosen its lineup for the Tax Conference Committee. They will represent the Senate when trying to reconcile the House and Senate versions of the GOP tax bill.

If any of these Republicans are your senators, it is super-extra-important for you to call and make your opposition known.

Orrin Hatch of Utah

Mike Enzi of Wyoming

Lisa Murkowski of Alaska

John Cornyn of Texas

John Thune of South Dakota

Rob Portman of Ohio

Tim Scott of South Carolina

Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania

 

In her December 6 update on fighting the GOP tax bill, Celeste Pewter (@Celeste_Pewter) offered talking points that you can use with friends, family, and co-workers:

8. Here are talking points you can include in any contact you share w/ friends/family/colleagues. Key point is that the impact on the deficit could eventually result in cuts in entitlement programs.

 

Andy Slavitt (@aslavitt) tweeted the following updated analysis of the tax bill situation on December 5:

Here’s what I’ve picked up on tax bill…. 2/

House has named their conference. Tomorrow [December 6] the Senate will name their members. Heard they are deadset on finishing the tax bill by 12/18.3/

Collins gave her vote in good faith for a lot of promises from WH/Ryan/McConnell.4/

The House is now saying no 2 Murray-Alexander, no to reinsurance & maybe to stopping the automatic Medicare cuts.5/

But they want the conference report out and voted on before the CR and all its complexity (DACA, CHIP) needs to be passed (with 60).6/

The current plan is to adopt the Senate approach to the ACA— leave in ending the mandate: see if Collins blinks & one more joins her.7/

One thing I’ve learned is never give up until it’s over and then make them drag you off the field. Then get back on as soon as possible.

 

Celeste Pewter, as always, will have news and actions faster than anyone.

We’ve been telling you for weeks and weeks and weeks to follow her. If for some odd reason you haven’t yet, best get on that:

@Celeste_Pewter

She has the best instructions on what to do today. We’re going to cut and paste her December 4 tweets below. Again, all credit goes to @Celeste_Pewter for this.

 

Names of conference committee members for the slowly coming out. If you’re repped by: Kevin Brady (TX) Devin Nunes (CA) Peter Roskam (IL) Diane Black (TN) Kristi Noem (SD) Take note.

http://thehill.com/policy/finance/363214-ryan-picks-his-negotiating-team-for-tax-cut-bill

 

Yes, I rolled my eyes at this list too. It’s a pretty awful one. But if you’re repped by them, you’re now in a unique position to sound off on GOP House’s efforts for this bill. Take. advantage. of. it.

[Note from us: In other words, Pewter means that if any of these folks named in the tweet or in the Hill story are your House reps, it’s extra-important that you call and make your voice heard.]

Interrupting this string of Celeste Pewter tweets to insert a tweet from Scott Wong that gives the full list of nine House reps chosen for the task. Again, if they represent you, CALL CALL CALL:

NEWS: expected to name the following GOP conferees for tax negotiations: 1. Chairman Kevin Brady (TX) 2. Devin Nunes (CA) 3. Peter Roskam (IL) 4. Diane Black (TN) 5. Kristi Noem (SD) 6. Rob Bishop (UT) 7. Don Young (AK) 8. Greg Walden (OR) 9. John Shimkus (IL)

[Back to Pewter. At 7:30 pm EST she tweeted:]

In other words, yes – the House voted to go to conference. The Senate is expected to vote on the same this week. Your job: continue calling electeds from both chambers on why this tax bill harms you, and push them to strip as many of the egregious amendments as possible.

 

I realize it feels like we’re doing the same thing over and over, but GOP leadership in both chambers are counting on: 1. All the other ongoing issues (e.g. CR demands/potential shutdown), 2. the holidays, distracting you. Keep it up, and let them feel our fury.

 

This last tweet of Pewter’s brings up a good point. 2017 has been exhausting, and it has demanded a lot of you. If you’re feeling frayed, get rest. Coming up with and sticking to a self-care routine is one of the most important things you can do. Literally. We say so right here:

https://onethingyoucando.com/the-most-important-thing-you-can-do/

Don’t skip on rest breaks, folks. We need you here to carry on the fight. Every last one of you. For serious.

 

Another point, just for our friends in Maine: Senator Susan Collins says she voted yes in exchange for specific conditions.

Well, Topher Spiro (@topherspiro) tweeted on December 4:

BREAKING: The 3 big promises got will NOT be done before the final vote on the tax bill. The bill to keep the govt open does NOT include Alexander-Murray, reinsurance, or waiver of Medicare cuts.

And also see this piece from the Daily Beast, which notes that Mitch McConnell gave his colleague Jeff Flake promises that the House of Representatives might torpedo:

https://www.thedailybeast.com/house-republicans-already-shooting-down-tax-bills-promises

If you are a constituent of Collins’s or Flake’s, now is the time to melt their phone lines with requests to ultimately vote no on this sorry mess of a bill.

 

And here also is a string of tweets that the aforementioned Andy Slavitt (@aslavitt) sent on the night of December 4 that sheds light on things:

What’s going on with the tax bill and ACA repeal component? I will catch you up on what I’m hearing shortly. Follow if interested.

Will also include update on CHIP. In I Hiram today where they are preparing to send out cancellation notices. 2/

House & Senate will go into conference (after some drama) to reconcile their bills. For all the other important issues, on health care…3/

The House bill doesn’t touch the ACA, Senate bill does. Two Senators can stop the ACA part from being added. 4/

With Collins promised the [sun], the [moon], and the [stars], all eyes turn from the tax bill to the C.R. 5/

Collins believes she will get all those things in the end of year CR (presuming it is extended from Friday). 6/

The CR is also where there needs to be a clean CHIP for Ds to back. And potentially DACA & a number of other things. 7/

Word is that conference/CR is complicated, entangled with lots of players & could take longer than Trump hopes. Specifically…8/

The Freedom Caucus is unlikely to give Collins her astronomy set and will still want her to vote for ACA mandate repeal. No way. 9/

The tax deal is not done. There’s a good chance this all sees January w right pressure. The ballgame (& Senate) could be different then. end

 

…Yes, folks, you read that right. This could stretch into January. We know, we know, we can sense your muscles tensing from here, but every extra day this gets dragged out is an extra day we have to fight.

 

Here also are several other folks aside from @Celeste_Pewter, @TopherSpiro, and @aslavitt who you should be following on Twitter to stay on top of the GOP tax bill, which is morphing constantly, like a suspect science experiment in a horror movie. Some of these people are old friends from the Trumpcare fights. Some are tax experts.

Ben Wikler @benwikler

Michael Linden @michaelslinden

Seth Hanlon @sethhanlon

Sunjeev Bery @sunjeevbery

Lily Batchelder @lilybatch

Greg Leiserson @gregleiserson

Chad Bolt @chadderr

 

Also, you might want to check the posts we put up over the weekend and make sure you’ve already done everything they recommend. For instance, if you haven’t called your governor yet and asked him or her to make a statement about the GOP tax bill, please do.

 

Links to our recent posts:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/12/06/fight-the-gop-tax-bill-december-6-edition/

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/12/05/fight-the-gop-tax-bill-december-5-edition/

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/12/04/emergency-update-post-fight-the-gop-tax-bill-still-december-4-edition/

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/12/03/emergency-update-post-fight-the-gop-tax-bill-december-3-edition/

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/12/02/emergency-update-post-fight-the-gop-tax-bill-still-over-the-dec-2-3-weekend/

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/12/03/commit-now-to-put-any-tax-benefits-you-might-get-from-the-gop-tax-bill-to-fighting-its-effects/

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/12/02/refresh-review-and-prep-for-2018-gop-tax-bill-related-briefing/

 

Also consider helping Democrat Doug Jones in his run for a seat in the Alabama Senate. There’s no guarantee that Jones will win but if he does, it will reduce the GOP’s numbers in the Senate from 52-48 to 51-49 and create more headaches for McConnell.

Posts on ways to help Doug Jones (we’ve deleted the link to our post on the GOTV postcard campaign because its deadline has passed):

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/12/02/support-doug-jones-the-democratic-candidate-for-alabamas-u-s-senate-seat/

https://onethingyoucando.com/2017/12/02/support-gop4jones-a-movement-by-independents-and-republicans-to-vote-for-democrat-doug-jones-for-alabamas-next-senator/

You can also donate to a GoFundMe that will pay for buses, vans, and gas for getting Alabama voters to the polls on December 12. As of 9 pm EST on December 6, it had raised more than $18,500 toward its $20,000 goal:

https://www.gofundme.com/eliminateroymoore

 

One last note, which we’ve stated before: Even if this bill ultimately implodes and never becomes law, we still need to vote out every Republican that we can in 2018. This whole process has been nothing less than legislative malpractice. They should be punished for aiding and abetting it. Period.

Action Alerts · Call Your Members of Congress · Elections · House Bills, Federal · Senate Bills, Federal · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Uncategorized

Emergency Update Post: Fight the GOP Tax Bill, Still, December 4 Edition

This is an emergency update post on fighting the GOP tax bill from December 2-4, 2017.

So we’ve been telling you to follow @Celeste_Pewter, over and over, for weeks now.

Around noon on December 2, she tweeted a thread of actions that you can take, right now, to fight the GOP tax bill. Yes, it’s passed the Senate, but there’s still time to push back, and we need to push back forcefully and firmly over the next 72 hours.

We are just going to paste her tweets here. We don’t want you to miss any of them. (We didn’t copy over the first as it’s more of a throat-clearer.)

Update, later on December 3: Scroll down for a script from Celeste for calling the governor of your state. The GOP tax bill would remove the SALT deductions, aka State And Local Taxes. Right now, you can deduct them from your federal tax bill. If the GOP has its way, you won’t, and certain blue states will be hit doubly hard by that. Your governor will be alert to this and terrified by it, regardless of her or his party affiliation. It’s worthwhile to call.

Also, here is a Storify link that includes all the tweets below, plus later updates, which you can post to your Facebook page:

https://storify.com/Celeste_pewter/steps-on-how-to-fight-the-tax-bill

And we stress again–if you’re not following @Celeste_Pewter, do it, and follow @roadto2018, which she’s involved with as well.

Read.

Learn.

Act.

NOW.

Thanks.

 

Ok, massive thread coming up. Mute as needed. 1. Yes, it passed the Senate last night. Yes, you should be mad about this. However, this doesn’t mean it’s over. 2. The bill still has to go to conference committee, where they reconcile the House and Senate versions.

3. No, we don’t know if the House is just going to pass the Senate version. It’s possible, but they’ve traditionally been more conservative than the House. Without having a crystal ball in front of me, I believe they’re not going to like the sweeteners in the Senate version.

4. Per CSPAN, the House is going to vote on going to conference on Monday, at approximately 6:00 PM. (This is schedule to change. I’ll update once their calendars update) This means you have about 72 hours to take a stand. So these are your next steps.

5. Begin by calling your Senators, and responding appropriately to however they voted last night. Scripts below for GOP/Dem Senators. Yes, your Dem Senators need to hear from you. Validate what they just did. They worked pretty damn hard against near impossible odds.

6. Then call your House member, and let them know you want them you oppose both versions of the tax bill as it stands. Demand they strip out as many of the egregious amendments as possible.

7. Yes, we’d prefer it if these bills were killed completely. But we need to be prepared that the GOP is desperate, and needs to pass something, anything to run on for 2018. If we can at the VERY LEAST minimize the harm, then it’s still something.
8. Californians, with GOP House members – (Royce, Issa, etc.) – you are critical to this. The tax bill is going to hit California hard, and you need to work that angle for all you have. Do what others can’t do. Work your powers as a constituent.
9. If you’ve called your Senators and your House members, great! Start calling/emailing/Facebooking friends, family, colleagues, and get them to call. Make it easy for them: Give them talking points, numbers and names. The more people you can recruit to call, the better.
10. Grad students and those who will be impacted in specific areas, write OpEds for your local papers, and email them in. You need to drive as much attention to this as possible, and you can also correct misconceptions about the bill(s).

11. Attend a protest in your area. and the team have you covered. If you know of random events taking place, respond to this tweet and hashtag w/ :

13. Use Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, what have you, strictly as a means to share information and empower your followers. It will have zero impact on your electeds. Their social teams will shrug and move on.
14. Yes, calls are best and should be the one mechanism you use this weekend, if possible. I can’t stress how critical and time sensitive this is.

15. Other thing to do: Donate to the Democratic senators who stood AGAINST the tax bill last night, including several who are in very pro-Trump states. If you don’t want scenarios like last night to repeat, we need to hold their seats.

16. But your first donation should be to . There are ten days until the election in Alabama. Any seat removed from the GOP majority will be an achievement for the balance of power. (Google “Douglas Jones Donate” to get resources for this.)

17. Remind everyone that is still ongoing. Get everyone to enroll.

18. Correct misinformation. I’m seeing a lot of misinformation going on about the , from the legislative process, to how much individual taxpayers stand to benefit.

Start here:

19. If you’re an editor/writer who can volunteer your time, reach out to , who is organizing a group to help proof read OpEds before sending them in. That’s it. Get to the phones. If you don’t want our economy to go off a cliff, this weekend is THE weekend to act.
20. One more: please hashtag all of your tweets re: calling your electeds w/ . will boost you. Share tips (e.g. which VM box is full? Who’s picking up?), encourage each other, vent if needed. This is a community. We do this together.
…Got that? Then get on it. And thank you.

And here is the script to use when calling your governor, also courtesy of Celeste:

 

Find the contact info for your governor:

 

https://www.usa.gov/state-governor

 

Here’s a script from Celeste that you can use: