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:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/laura-bush-separating-children-from-their-parents-at-the-border-breaks-my-heart/2018/06/17/f2df517a-7287-11e8-9780-b1dd6a09b549_story.html?utm_term=.a7bc535f465c

 

 

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:

https://www.nbcboston.com/news/local/Gov-Charlie-Baker-Wont-Send-National-Guard-to-Border-Citing-Cruel-and-Inhumane-Actions-of-Trump-Administration-485838361.html

 

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

https://www.denverpost.com/2018/06/18/immigrant-family-separation-colorado-stance/

 

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

http://thehill.com/latino/392840-cuomo-will-not-deploy-national-guard-to-border-over-trump-family-separation-policy

 

 

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:

https://www.cbsnews.com/amp/news/dhs-sec-kirstjen-nielsen-denies-family-separation-policy-exists-blames-media/

 

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.)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/06/18/the-grim-desperation-of-kirstjen-nielsen/?utm_term=.f9fb5ba689d1

 

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:

https://www.justice.gov/doj/webform/your-message-department-justice

 

Complaints email for DHS: crcl@dhs.gov,

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
awareness.

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:

Picture

 

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:

https://onethingyoucando.com/2018/02/25/support-the-road-to-2018-which-defends-democratic-senators/

 

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

http://itstimetofight.weebly.com

 

 

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:

http://thehill.com/policy/technology/387985-senate-votes-to-save-net-neutrality-rules

 

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

http://icalledmyreps.weebly.com/net-neutrality.html

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:

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

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:

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

 

 

 

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:

http://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/340143-house-dem-seeks-to-restore-funding-to-the-election-assistance-commission

 

 

Read about the House vote to kill the EAC:

https://www.brennancenter.org/press-release/house-committee-votes-terminate-agency-protects-voting-machines-hacking

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/02/election-assistance-commission-republicans-congress/516462/

 

 

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:

https://bipartisanpolicy.org/blog/why-we-need-the-election-assistance-commission/

 

 

Visit the EAC’s website:

https://www.eac.gov

 

 

Follow the EAC on Twitter:

@EACgov

 

 

 

 

 

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:

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

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:

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/01/03/trump-disbands-voter-fraud-commission-322621

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-signs-order-disbanding-voter-fraud-commission/2018/01/03/ad5f06c6-f0e2-11e7-95e3-eff284e71c8d_story.html?utm_term=.a45d72d26f3d

 

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:

https://veasey.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/veasey-introduces-bill-to-deny-funding-for-trump-s-sham-commission-on

 

See and bookmark the GovTrack page on the bill:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr3029

 

Call Your House Rep · Ethics · Fighting Bigotry, Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, Transphobia... · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms

Call Your House Rep to Oppose HR 620, Which Would Undermine the Rights of the Disabled (Updated For the Week of February 12, 2018)

Update Feb 12, 2018: Congress could vote on HR 620 this week. If you haven’t yet called to oppose it, please do.

This OTYCD post originally appeared in October 2017.

Call your house rep to oppose HR 620, which would alter the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and undermine the rights of the disabled.

The ADA was passed in 1990, under President George H. W. Bush. It required businesses to make accommodations for disabled people, including adding wheelchair ramps and bathroom facilities that can accommodate wheelchairs.

HR 620, the ADA Education and Reform Act, would change the ADA to no longer require businesses to proactively comply with the law. It shifts the burden to disabled customers, who are required to inform the business owner how their rights were violated. Then the wronged disabled people have to wait six months to see if the owner does anything to fix the problems before they can go to court to get them to comply.

You might have noticed that, hey, the law is 27 years old. Shouldn’t pretty much every business that faces the public have brought itself into compliance or sought the necessary waivers? Why yes, yes, they should have. Ages ago. The current law allows businesses to stave off lawsuits if they claim they are making substantial progress toward complying with the ADA. And as you have probably guessed, the government doesn’t generally devote the time or resources needed to nudge businesses to get right with the law.

As of September 7, HR 620 has been reported out of committee. The next step, if it advances, would be a full floor vote in the House. Skopos gives the bill a 17 percent chance of becoming law. Because of where it is in the legislative cycle, we at OTYCD thought the time was right to for an anti-HR 620 action.

As always, before you call, please check the web site and social media accounts of your House rep to see if he or she has said anything about HR 620, and prepare to give thanks or heap scorn. (Politely.)

Sample script: “Dear House Rep (Lastname,) I am (Firstname Lastname from town, zip code). I am calling you to oppose HR 620, which, if passed, would undermine the civil rights of disabled people. Businesses have had 27 years to bring themselves into compliance with the ADA or pursue waivers. Weakening the ADA, which HR 620 would do, would lower the quality of life of millions of aging and disabled Americans. Please oppose this bill and ensure that it does not leave the House of Representatives. Thank you.”

 

See GovTrack’s page on HR 620:

https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/115/hr620

 

Read a piece from the ACLU on the likely effects of HR 620:

https://www.aclu.org/blog/disability-rights/congress-wants-change-americans-disabilities-act-and-undermine-civil-rights

 

Follow the Twitter account of ADAPT, which is all over HR 620-related news and activism:

@NationalADAPT

Call Your House Rep · Ethics · Russian Scandal, Emoluments Clause

Tell Trey Gowdy and the House Oversight Committee to Stay on the Trump-Russia Probe

Tell Trey Gowdy and his colleagues on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to keep pursuing the Trump-Russia probe.

Gowdy, who represents South Carolina, became the Republican chair of the committee after Utah’s Jason Chaffetz announced he would resign from his house seat. Gowdy, who hassled Hillary Clinton with Benghazi investigation after Benghazi investigation, recently announced that, in general, the House committee would not pursue matters that relate to Russian meddling in the 2016 election and whether and how Trump’s campaign might be involved.

His excuse seems to be that special counsel Robert Mueller is on the case and he wants to steer clear and let him handle things. Gowdy also said that the House committee might investigate in specific, narrowly defined instances. While that might sound reasonable on its face, Gowdy’s Democratic counterpart, Elijah Cummings, sharply countered that sentiment with salient points. The Washington Post quoted Cummings as saying:

“It is a known fact that interference in our election will happen again if we do not take serious steps to prevent it,” he said. “The voters did not send us here to sit on the sidelines while our government is getting attacked. Chairman Gowdy is a very talented lawyer, and I believe he and I can work together to investigate this and make reforms to prevent it from happening again.”

Please call your house reps and urge them to continue to investigate #TrumpRussia matters, even though Robert Mueller is on the case. They should sit and figure out how best not to step on Mueller’s toes rather than giving up and stepping aside completely. Tell them you expect them to stay on this.

Important. Is your House Rep a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee? Then it’s extra-important that you call. See the link below, which lists all the current members:

https://oversight.house.gov/subcommittee/full-committee/

 

If your House rep is a Democrat: “Hello House Rep (Lastname), I am (Firstname Lastname, from town, zip code,) and I am calling to ask you to continue to support investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, and investigations into whether Trump and his campaign team colluded with them. I am concerned that the new Republican committee chair, Trey Gowdy, will assume that giving Robert Mueller room to do his work means that the House is off the hook. It is not. Please urge the committee to do the extra, upfront work it needs to do to respect Mueller’s efforts while staying on top of its own responsibilities in this regard. Thank you.

 

If your House rep is a Republican: “Hello House Rep (Lastname), I am (Firstname Lastname, from town, zip code,) and I am calling to ask you to vigorously support House-led investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, and investigations into whether Trump and his campaign team colluded with them. I am concerned that the new Republican committee chair, Trey Gowdy, will assume that giving Robert Mueller room to do his work means that his Congressional committee is off the hook. It is not. Please urge Gowdy and his colleagues to do the extra, upfront work they need to do to respect Mueller’s efforts while staying on top of its own responsibilities in this regard. And if they use that upfront work to hamper and frustrate the work of the House investigators, please call them out early and often. Thank you.

 

Read stories about how Gowdy was chosen to succeed Chaffetz, and stories that quote Gowdy saying that while he is chair, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee will not chase Trump-Russia investigations:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/on-trump-and-russia-oversight-chair-trey-gowdy-says-he-will-stay-in-his-lane/2017/06/23/4d1dfca6-583d-11e7-a204-ad706461fa4f_story.html?utm_term=.8e754a82703a

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/06/23/house-oversight-no-russia-investigation-trey-gowdy-239904

http://theweek.com/speedreads/708011/house-oversight-committee-not-pursue-investigation-trump-russia

http://www.politico.com/story/2017/06/08/trey-gowdy-picked-by-gop-steering-committee-to-chair-house-oversight-panel-239308

 

Read about the partisan shens Gowdy got up to as chairman of the Select Committee on Benghazi:

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-endless-trial-of-trey-gowdys-benghazi-committee-20160114

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/10/how-the-press-can-deal-with-the-benghazi-committee/410251/

 

Action Alerts · Call Your Members of Congress · Call Your State Legislators · House Bills, Federal · Senate Bills, Federal · Separation of Church and State · Stand Up for Civilization · Stand Up for Norms · Use Your Power, Recruit Friends

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.