Call Your Members of Congress · Call Your Senators · Support Immigrants and Refugees

Call Your MoCs to Support the Keep Families Together Act, S.3036–June 19, 2018 Edition

Call your MoCs to support Dianne Feinstein’s Keep Families Together Act (S.3036), which would stop the Trump administration from separating immigrant families who arrive at American borders. 


So! We ran this yesterday, but things are so damn insane that we’re running it again, and adding some extra scripts from Celeste Pewter, who you should be following on Twitter (@Celeste_Pewter. Scroll down for more ways to support her work.)


But! If you haven’t yet called your Senators to support Feinstein’s bill, do that first. Since yesterday, all 47 Democrats and both Independents in the Senate confirmed their support for S.3036. As of 7:30 pm on June 18, 2018, no Republicans had joined them.


Are your Senators Republican? Then it’s extra-important for them to call.


Now here are the other updates that led to this update:


Since yesterday, all five living First Ladies have decried Team Trump’s family separation policy. Laura Bush lead the charge with this Washington Post Op-Ed:



Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, a Republican, cancelled plans to send National Guard troops from his state to the U.S.-Mexico border because of Team Trump’s policy:


Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, signed an executive action to that effect:


Later that day, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, followed Baker’s lead on deploying National Guard troops:



And yesterday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen held an absolute shitshow of a press conference. Here’s a story on it from CBS:


And here is a piece from Washington Post‘s analytical column, The Fix, on what Nielsen’s been up against. It doesn’t appear to reflect the events of the press conference, however. (At least it didn’t as of 7:30 pm EST on June 18, 2018.)


So! Here are some good and useful scripts from the fundamentally awesome Celeste Pewter to reference if you’ve already called your Senators about this or if you want other avenues to consider.


First, you can ask your governor to follow the leads of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper:



Second, you can contact the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) directly to complain.

When you do this, please be unfailingly polite. You can be forceful and firm AND mannerly. If you can’t manage that, please leave this task be and tackle another one instead–you have many other options for pushing back.

Pewter also notes, and we agree, that calling your Senators is best for getting actual results with regard to ending Team Trump’s policy. Contacting these departments will largely succeed in gumming up their works.


Contact info for the DOJ:

Department Comment Line: 202-353-1555

Department of Justice Main Switchboard: 202-514-2000

Link to the DOJ comments form:


Complaints email for DHS:,

Phone lines for DHS: 202-401-1474; 866-644-8360



And here is a third script from Celeste Pewter, if you’d like to call your MoCs to ask for Nielsen’s resignation. Yesterday, California Senator Kamala Harris called for the DHS secretary to resign  over her garbage performance at the press conference:


It’s time for Secretary Nielsen to resign. The government should be in the business of keeping families together, not tearing them apart. And the government should have a commitment to transparency and accountability. Under her tenure, DHS does not have a track record of either.



Original text of the post follows, which focuses on calling your Senators about Feinstein’s bill. If you haven’t had a chance to do this yet, do it FIRST and then tackle the other stuff listed above:


The Trump administration is pursuing increasingly sick and disgusting acts. Its policy of separating families arriving at the border–even those who are applying for asylum–has sickened damn near everyone, and rightly so.


Team Trump has doubled down on the zero-tolerance policy by wrongly claiming that Democrats are responsible for it (they’re not, it’s a Trump thing), and used passages from the Bible to justify enforcing it. This last is nested fuckery in that a) the Bible has many more passages imploring Christians to do right by immigrants; b) it uses a particular passage that Nazis and slave owners parroted to justify their sick, immoral actions; and c) it points to Bible passages as justification for enforcing a sick, immoral government policy when our government is, you know, secular.


California Senator Dianne Feinstein is attacking the first part of that fetid tangle of nonsense. On June 7, 2018, she introduced S.3036, the Keep Families Together Act. It would only allow separation of families in cases where the children are being abused or trafficked.



Here are some pointed tweets that Feinstein issued on the matter between June 15 and 16:
President Trump was wrong again this morning when he said the law requires children to be taken from their parents at the border. To blame Democrats for this policy is a lie. This is the Trump administration’s policy, period. And President Trump could and should end it NOW!


News reports indicate that nearly 2,000 children have been taken from their parents in six weeks—about 50 per day. This is an immoral, horrific policy. President Trump could stop this on his own. If he won’t, Congress MUST pass our bill to .


UPDATE: 43 senators now support our bill to bar children from being taken from their parents at the border. We still need a Republican senator to join. If you’re represented by a Republican senator, please ask them to cosponsor S.3036.



Celeste Pewter has been on the case as well. Her scripts are below, and she’s urging the importance of following through and calling your MoCs. You should call your Senators and then your House Rep.


First, it’s wise to check both of your Senators’ Twitter feeds to see what they’ve said about Feinstein’s bill. Feinstein has earned the support of 43 Senators so far, none of them Republicans. If you have Democratic Senators, odds are they’ve already signed on. When you call about this, you should thank them. [As noted above, all 47 Democratic Senators and both Independents are officially on board as of 7:30 pm EST. Not one Republican has joined them yet.]


Pewter is also encouraging us to ask our Senators to visit Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facilities, as Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley did recently.


We need to shine a fierce, unrelenting light on this bullshit until Team Trump backs down. Yes, there are multiple Dumpster fires blazing away. Yes, you called to yell about this policy before, not that long ago. But if you haven’t called yet to specifically voice support for the Feinstein bill, please do.


Right now, GovTrack shows the bill with a Skopos prognosis of a three percent chance of being made law. Calling will help increase its odds.


Here’s Celeste Pewter’s calling script for your Senators (again, call them first):


And here is Celeste Pewter’s script for your House rep:
Here is the link to S.3036, the Keep Families Together Act, on GovTrack:
You can monitor #FamiliesBelongTogether on Twitter for news and to retweet to raise

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!

In addition to following Pewter on Twitter (again, her handle is @Celeste_Pewter) you

can support her in other ways.



After you call your elected representatives on these two topics, tweet about the

experience using the #ICalledMyReps hashtag.




Action Alerts · Call Your House Rep · Online Privacy, Net Neutrality · Uncategorized

Call Your House Reps and Ask Them to Support Net Neutrality BEFORE June 11, 2018

Call your House Reps and ask them to support Net Neutrality before June 11, 2018, when the FCC can roll it back. Also, call your state legislators and ask them to pass legislation protect net neutrality, too.


After much struggle, the Senate voted 52-47 in May 2018 to overturn the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and preserve rules upholding net neutrality, which prevent internet service providers from charging more for faster Internet speeds, and prevent them from blocking access to websites.


Unfortunately, the fight isn’t over. The future of net neutrality now rests with the House of Representatives, where it has less support.


That’s where you come in. You need to call your House Rep and make it clear that you want him or her to uphold net neutrality.


Celeste Pewter has been all over this for months now. Here’s her script on the topic. Remember: Congressfolk are back in their home districts until June 5, 2018.



Pewter also points out that it’s important to ask your state legislators to pass legislation that protects and enshrines net neutrality, as Oregon did in April 2018. Here’s her script on that:



In addition to following Pewter on Twitter (again, her handle is @Celeste_Pewter) you can support her in other ways.


After you call your elected representatives on these two topics, tweet about the experience using the #ICalledMyReps hashtag.


Pewter founded The Road to 2018, an organization devoted to defending Democratic Senators who are vulnerable and up for re-election this year. See our post on it:


Subscribe to Pewter’s peerless newsletter, It’s Time To Fight:



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!


More background on net neutrality:


Read stories on the Senate’s vote to uphold net neutrality:


Here also is the I Called My Reps rundown on net neutrality and why we need it:

Call Your House Rep · Health Care · House Bills, Federal · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

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:



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



Visit the GovTrack homepage:



Become a GovTrack Patreon:



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:



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



Read about the Marijuana Justice Act in particular:

Call Your House Rep · Call Your Members of Congress · Call Your Senators · Community Activism · House Bills, Federal · Senate Bills, Federal

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:



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



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



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



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:



Follow GovTrack on Twitter:




Donate to GovTrack:




Call Your House Rep · Elections

Ask Your House Rep to Support Mike Quigley’s Amendment to Fund the Election Assistance Commission

Ask your House Rep to get behind Illinois Democrat Mike Quigley’s amendment to the appropriations bill that would restore funds to the Election Assistance Commission (EAC).


The Republicans have tried to kill the EAC for several years now, but finally succeeded in February, voting to zero out its funding by the end of 2018–even as it was becoming increasingly clear that Russia meddled with the 2016 presidential election. The EAC is an independent body that serves state and local election officials and sets security standards for voting machines.


Yes, you read that right. The House, specifically the House Administration Committee, voted 6-3 to kill the EAC. (You get one guess about how many Republicans and Democrats the committee has.)


Quigley’s amendment would allocate $9.2 million to the commission.


Is your House Rep Mike Quigley? Then call and thank him and tell him you’ve got his back in 2018.


Otherwise try this sample script: “Dear House Rep (Lastname), I am (Firstname Lastname from town, zip code), and I am asking you to back the amendment that your colleague, Illinois Democrat Mike Quigley, added to the appropriations bill on June 29 that would restore funding to the Election Assistance Commission. The EAC is the only independent body of its kind, providing help to state and local election officials and setting security standards for voting machines. We need the EAC now more than ever, given what we now know about Russian interference in the 2016 election. Please support Quigley’s effort to allocate $9.2 million for the EAC.



Read about Quigley’s amendment here:



Read about the House vote to kill the EAC:



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!



Read about why we need the EAC:



Visit the EAC’s website:



Follow the EAC on Twitter:







Call Your House Rep · House Bills, Federal · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

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:


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


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


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


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:


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


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:

Call Your House Rep · Elections · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

Ask Your House Rep to Support H.R. 3029, Which Would Bar Spending Your Money on Trump’s Efforts to Suppress the Vote (GOOD UPDATE JAN 3, 2018)

This OTYCD entry originally posted in September 2017.

Ask your House Rep to support H.R. 3029, which would make sure that no taxpayer dollars are used to fund the Presidential Commission on Election Integrity–aka Trump’s voting rights suppression campaign.

Good update: On January 3, 2018, Trump disbanded his Presidential Commission on Election Integrity, citing the many lawsuits that have frustrated its aims. While this is good news, we need to continue to watch the situation. Trump’s announcement only killed the commission, not his appetite for pursuing debunked claims of voter fraud. He and Kris Kobach, the now-dead panel’s vice chairman, are kicking things over to the Department of Homeland Security.

See this Kobach quote from a Politico story on the death of the panel:

“The Kansas official said he expects officials from Immigration and Customs Enforcement and political appointees overseeing that agency to take over the commission’s work and begin efforts to match state voter rolls to federal databases of noncitizens. He insisted he was not disappointed with the president’s decision.”

So, celebrate, but remain vigilant.

Read stories about the panel’s demise:


Original text follows:

Marc Veasey, a Democrat who represents the newly-drawn 33rd District in Texas, introduced H.R. 3029 on June 22–not long before Kris Kobach requested sensitive data on voters from all 50 states on behalf of Trump’s commission. The bill’s title is pretty straightforward and a tad dull: To prevent Federal funds from being used to carry out Executive Order 13799.

Yeah, OK, it has no chance of becoming law. Trump would have to sign it, and that’s not gonna happen. But still, it’s worth backing Veasey’s bill as one more way to protest the blatant move to suppress voting rights that the commission represents.

If your House Rep is Veasey, call and thank him for putting this bill forward.

Sample script: “Dear House Rep (Lastname), I am (Firstname Lastname, from town, zip code). I am calling to ask you to support H.R. 3029, which would prevent the use of taxpayer funds for the Presidential Commission on Election Integrity. The commission, which Trump created through Executive Order 13799, is already creating havoc through the recent request for all 50 states to surrender sensitive information on voters to the government. While I realize there’s not much chance the bill will become law, I feel it’s important to support it as an act of protest against Trump’s specious efforts to suppress the vote.”


See House Rep Veasey’s press release about the H.R. 3029:


See and bookmark the GovTrack page on the bill: