Tuesday 20th of March 2018

As most Tuesdays, 3/20/18 notes from meeting our senators’ staffers. Rally vids: 24.59 & 4.16. Updated 3pm Weds.
3/13/18: notes & rally vid: 23.46. FAQs & Archive.

Senate : Reps; Dems & their web site / Sen. Murray: & her votes / Sen. Cantwell: & her votes

Met with

Kate Baumgartner, Senator Murray’s Seattle Metropolitan Director.
Email: Kate_baumgartner@murray.senate.gov
Senator Murray: Email ~ P: (202) 224-2621 / Toll Free: (866) 481-9186 ~ F: (202) 224-0238

Tommy Bauer, Senator Cantwell’s Seattle Outreach Director.
Email: tommy_bauer@cantwell.senate.gov
Senator Cantwell: Email ~ P: (202) 224-3441 ~ F: (202) 228-0514
Kate and Tommy

Tyna Ek, leading the rally. The rally vids: 24.59 & 4.16.

Federal Funding

The Omnibus spending bill is in the works this week. The Federal budget runs out at midnight on Friday. It is scheduled to be voted through the House on Thursday morning and the Senate on Thursday afternoon. We don’t know what is in it: presumably there will be funding towards solving the opioid epidemic.

Rep. Ryan looks as if he has the votes in the House. We don’t know about the Senate.

Puerto Rico Emergency Funds

“The U.S. Treasury has delayed a $4.7 billion post-hurricane loan to Puerto Rico and reduced the amount by more than half”: Reuters.com. We hope that the funding will be in the Omnibus spending bill. It has been 6 months since Hurricane Maria.

Pro-choice Funding

Sen. Murray will fight to preserve pro-choice funding in the Omnibus spending bill.

Pro-choice is not pro-abortion. Pro-choice means that women are treated as adults: and make health choices with their doctors, not politicians thousands of miles away. Legislation against pro-choice principles disproportionately affects those of color, and those in rural areas.

The Hyde Amendment

Supporting a woman’s right to choose means supporting women on limited incomes’ right to work with their doctor to choose what is best for their health and their family. The Hyde amendment allows abortion in case of incest, rape or the mother’s impending death. This means that Medicaid cannot cover abortion even when a woman’s health is at risk and her doctor recommends she get an abortion”: PlannedParenthoodAction.org.

Sen. Cantwell on Protecting our Energy Grid

Senator Cantwell’s Opening Statement on the President’s Energy budget for FY19: Cantwell.Senate.gov vid: 6.28.

Cantwell Presses Secretary Perry On Trump Administration’s Failure To Protect Energy Infrastructure: Cantwell.Senate.gov vid: 6.16.

Artificial Intelligence

Tuesday morning, Senators Cantwell and Young describe the future of AI legislative and regulatory policies: WaPo.com vids.

The War in Yemen

We all have concerns about the war in Yemen.

The legislation for our withdrawal is Senate Joint Resolution 54. We want our senators to support it. It is in the Committee on Foreign Relations.

Sen. Murray voted for Sen. Paul’s amendment to the defense spending bill in September to stop attacking Yemen. It didn’t get enough votes. Sen. Paul on the legislation: Paul.Senate.gov. An article about his stance and actions: WashingtonExaminer.com. The final defense spending bill passed 89/8. Both of our senators voted for it: Senate.gov.

After the meeting, the vote was taken 55-44 yeas to nays to table the resolution on Tuesday. Our senators voted against tabling it: Senate.gov. More about the bill: RollCall.com

Preventing the Attack on the ADA

HR. 620: ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017
Sen. Duckworth wants all senators to sign her letter to Schumer and McConnell by Wednesday. The alert was sent to multiple disability organizations last Tuesday morning. They have 41; they need 11 more. Sen. Murray has signed it. Sen. Duckworth on HR. 620: Curbed.com.

After the meeting Tommy, Sen. Cantwell’s staffer notified Steve that Sen. Cantwell has signed the letter now.


Paper Ballots

The Senate Intelligence Committee has produced a report recommending the states use paper ballots in their elections: NYTimes.com. Their report is not binding: it is recommendations.

Money to Fix Voting Systems

Sen. Cantwell is considering legislation to protect our elections – and to get the State Department to spend the $120m dollars it was granted to protect electoral systems: NYTimes.com.

Charlie James, main speaker at our rally

Financial Disregulation

S. 2155: Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act ~ CBO Score: CBO.gov

It has been sent to the House. It passed the Senate 67 / 31 yays to nays. Both of our senators voted against it: Senate.gov. In 2008, banks got $700bn in bailouts: WashingtonTimes.com.

The CBO report: “enacting the bill would increase federal deficits by $671 million over the 2018-2027 period; that increase in the deficit represents an increase in direct spending of $233 million and a decrease in revenues of $439 million. Some of that cost and reduction in revenues would be recovered through collections from financial institutions in years after 2027…

implementing the bill would cost $77 million over the 2018-2027 period.

Pay-as-you-go procedures apply because enacting the legislation would affect direct spending and revenues.”: CBO.gov

Analysis of the bill: Vox.com.

The Tax Scam

There are big issues with the tax scam that the Republicans rammed through.

This issue would affect Washington State farmers:
“Among the problematic portions to emerge so far is what has become known as the “grain glitch.” A late change to the legislation altered a deduction for United States production in a way that permitted farmers to deduct 20 percent of their total sales to cooperatives — agricultural organizations owned by groups of farmers that operate for the benefit of their members.

This allows farmers to deeply reduce their tax bills, but it has caused an uproar among independent agriculture businesses that say they can no longer compete with cooperatives, since farmers would choose to sell to cooperatives to take advantage of the more generous tax break.”: NYTimes.com.

Affordable Housing

S. 548: Affordable Housing Credit Improvement Act of 2017

it “would help create or preserve approximately 1,300,000 affordable homes over a 10-year period – an increase of 400,000 more units than is possible under the current program.”: Cantwell.Senate.gov. The bill allows builders to get a tax credit for building units. It is challenged by the tax cuts builders already get through the tax scam: so it may not make it to the Senate floor. Analysis of Sen. Cantwell’s legislation: RentalHousingAction.org.

Perhaps Sen. Cantwell could insist on the legislation going through in exchange for the Republicans fixing a gaffe in the tax scam: or it may be better for the Republicans to fix their own problem.

Jim Page, at our rally


New Sanctions

“the administration applied new sanctions on five entities and 19 individuals on Thursday, including Russians who posed as Americans and posted content online as part of the IRA’s attempts to sow discord ahead of the presidential contest. They came as the US joined European allies in blaming Russia for a nerve agent attack in Britain, deeming the action a “clear violation” of international law.”: CNN.com.

Previous Sanctions

S. 3364: Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act

Last July, the sanctions imposed by Congress passed 419-3 in the House: Clerk.House.gov and 98-2 in the Senate: Clerk.House.gov and were signed into law by the president. More about the sanctions imposed: CNN.com

They Were Random
“the Treasury Department released an unclassified “oligarchs” list, including 114 senior Russian political figures and 96 business people.
Those named on the list will not immediately face any immediate penalties like asset freezes or visa bans. But the law mandated that the U.S. Treasury and State Departments, and intelligence agencies, compile a list of political figures and business people close to Putin’s government and network, for potential future sanctions.”: Reuters.com.

The list of people potentially targeted to be sanctioned were taken from a list on Forbes magazine: BuzzFeed.com.

Andrew McCabe’s Firing

We want our senators to support him. His firing (as number two in the FBI) is unacceptable. The FBI should not be threatened. About the firing: NYTimes.com.

There are 2 Bipartisan Efforts to Stop Mueller Being Fired

Our senators say that they can’t cosponsor legislation in the Judiciary committee. These bills are in it.

Senators Tillis & Coons have introduced bipartisan legislation to stop Trump being able to directly fire Trump: S.1741.
Senators Graham & Booker’s legislation “would require the judges panel to review any attorney general’s decision to fire a special counsel before that firing could take effect”: More about both here.

Please ask Rep. Grassley to take a vote on S. 1741 to get it out of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary onto the floor. No zip authentication required to email.
email Rep. Grassley Phone: 202-224-3744 Fax: 202-224-6020
To thank them:
email Tillis: Phone: (202) 224-6342 Fax: (202) 228-2563
email Coons: Phone: (202) 224-5042
email Graham: Phone: (202) 224-5972 Fax: (202) 224-3808
email Booker: Phone: (202) 224-3224 Fax: (202) 224-8378

Our Response if Mueller is Fired or Key Witnesses are Excused

There are around 800 groups who will rally if Mueller’s investigation is threatened. Please join us: Act.MoveOn.org.

Honest Ads Act

S. 1989: Honest Ads Act
It is in the Committee on Rules and Administration. It has 16 Democrat and 1 Republican (McCain) cosponsors.
Sen. Murray has cosponsored it; Sen. Cantwell has not. It is important to stop propaganda influencing our elections.
This deals with ads being used as propaganda; not hacked elections systems. Mueller will not look into or fix voting systems either.

Seattle Legislation For This
About Seattle’s Law on Political Ad Transparency: TheStranger.com. The legislation: Library.Municode.com.

Our Senators’ Statements about the Mueller Investigation

Senator Murray
“President should be on notice that firing Mueller is not an option. The same goes for trying to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.”: Twitter vid: 6.07

Sen. Cantwell
Cantwell Statement on Indictments of Russian Nationals For Meddling in the 2016 U.S. Elections: Cantwell.Senate.gov.

“Special Counsel Mueller is providing an invaluable service to this nation, but ultimately we need the Administration to stop excusing Russian subterfuge and use all the tools of the federal government to block these ongoing cyberattacks on our Democracy”: Twitter.com.

Internal Affairs

The State Department and Diplomacy

Our state department has been gutted, and inappropriate people like Ivanka are talking to the North Koreans. We have no control of this.
We want ambassadors to be replaced.

Confirmation Hearings

There are none that stick out right now apart from CIA Director Pompeo for Secretary of State; and Haspel as CIA Director: CNN.com.


Federal Judge Protects the Program

2/13/18 “A federal judge in New York ruled … that the government must restart the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals deportation amnesty”: WashingtonTimes.com.
There does not appear to be support for the DACA program included in the Omnibus spending bill.

Our senators and their colleagues sent a letter recently asking the DHS to expedite the DACA process: Cantwell.Senate.gov.

The rally


Drilling off the Coasts

Zinke’s drilling off the Pacific coast may not happen now: WaPo. Sec. Zinke appears to think that the west coast does not have sufficient fossil fuels off its coastline.

Kinder Morgan Pipeline Extension

The tar sands that the organisation drills for sink, and if there is a leak it will decimate life in the Sound. We are not sure that the Canadians have a good enough response to oil spills. Oil spills would affect tourism and fishing.

Sen. Cantwell Pushing for Oil Spill Clean Up

Sen. Cantwell is totally against the Kinder Morgan pipeline. If the Canadians are going to have it and send oil through our waters, we need a clean up plan for if there is a spill. From 2016: “Sen. Maria Cantwell urges spill protections after Canada pipeline OK’d”: SeattleTimes.com.