Tuesday 28th November 2017

People from all over the Seattle area meet with our Senators’ staffers at the Federal Building in Seattle 12:30-1:30 every Tuesday.
It is extremely helpful to hear from those who work professionally in politics – and other Indivisibles. We also rally 11:45-12:30.
This page is updated by 3pm each Wednesday. From 11/21: notes & a rainy rally: FB vid: 18.13. Other Tuesdays’ notes.

These notes from November 28th 2017 from all attendees; calls to action and links provided by me.
New information in the meeting is black. No rally this week because we had the Not One Penny rally on Monday.

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


No rally this week: some of the participants in the meeting getting Chrismassy early!

The Budget

HR 1 / S 1: Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. JCT estimate interim CBO score.

The Bill’s Out of Committee

They voted exclusively by party lines – including Sen. Johnson. The vote was 11-10.
“Among those who voted the bill out of committee were Mr. Johnson and Mr. Corker, both of whom had said on Monday they would oppose the legislation without changes to address their individual concerns. Mr. Johnson wants more favorable treatment for pass-through businesses and Mr. Corker wants assurances the $1.5 trillion tax bill won’t add to the deficit.” NYTimes. The next step once the bill is on the Senate floor is voterama: “Debate on budget reconciliation bills is limited to 20 hours”: The Atlantic.

Debate on CNN at 6 on Tuesday night, Sens. Cantwell and Sanders vs. Cruz and Scott: RealClearPolitics.com: 1hr18.

Republicans Want to Move Fast

If a budget is not passed soon, there will be a government shutdown and Federal employees will be placed on unpaid leave. The budget expires December 8th. They could extend the budget by 2 weeks. Republicans want to avoid a conference committee. Sen. McConnell and Trump are fighting: so disagreements could cause more problems. They also want to avoid a democrat getting in in Alabama and making the vote more difficult to get – there would then be 51 republicans and 49 democrats, so they would have to win over one more republican than they have to now. The Alabama special election (which will fill Jeff Sessions’ empty seat) could see a Democrat getting in. It is on December 12th. More on Jones vs. Moore in AL: WHNT.com. Have a postcard party to encourage Democrats to vote soon! OneThingYouCanDo.com.

Drilling in ANWR

Drilling in ANWR is on the table in the budget. It is one of the things keeping Senator Murkowski (AK) onboard. The administration seeks to offset deficits that would be caused by the huge tax cuts by drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge: NYTimes.

Drilling in the Arctic “would raise $1.092 billion for the federal government over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.” theHill.com.

ANWR: + $1,100,000,000
Budget: – $1,500,000,000,000

Shut it Down!

Participants demanded that the senators shut down the Federal budget rather than voting for it if unacceptable things – such as removing the individual mandate for health insurance is included in the budget bill. If the mandate is removed, only the sick will apply for health insurance: and premiums would sky rocket, and become unaffordable for 13 million people. How the bill would affect Trump’s cabinet: AmericanProgressAction.org

How This Tax Bill Would Affect Us

Easy narratives to pass on to Senators so that they can share stories on the Senate floor:
how teachers would be affected by not being able to deduct the cost of school supplies;
tell how the elderly and the sick and parents of the disabled would’t be able to get deductions for health costs;
students could no longer deduct their student loan repayments;
millions of people wouldn’t be able to pay for housing once those deductions went away;
millions would lose their health care as costs rose and the mandate went away. The mandate going away means that only the sick will sign up – to the young and healthy will go without. The health insurers will have to raise rates for those with coverage. That affects all of us. In addition, financial controls introduced by the Dodd-Frank Act (further down this page, headline CFPB) are being attacked.

Monday National Rally Against the Budget


Kate Baumgartner (right) accepting our thank you letter to Sen. Murray for standing up for us.
Facebook videos of the rally: 26.29 3.00 43.30

Other photos from the rally:

HELP Committee

Senator Murray is the ranking (second highest, most senior in the Democrats) member in the HELP committee.

Wednesday: Nomination Hearing of Azar for HHS

Tough quote from Azar: “Azar said, ‘we have to balance a woman’s choice of insurance with the conscience of employers and others in terms of insurance'” Twitter.
The HELP committee will vote on Alex Azar’s nomination (from the pharmaceutical industry) this week. He would be taking over from Price to run Health and Human Services. Price resigned over the scandal of him using private planes on the public dollar. More: CNN. The HHS has a budget of $1.112 trillion. Sen. Murray’s speech at the hearing: YouTube: 7.30. More about Azar: NPR.
The hearing: HELP.Senate.gov.

Tuesday: Hearing on Simplifying FAFSA

There was a hearing about simplifying the Free Application for Federal Student Aid program.
“Here’s Why Some of the Neediest Lose Out”: Time.com.”Both Democrats and Republicans in the Senate expressed their willingness — and intention — to develop bipartisan reauthorization legislation. “This committee has a record of bipartisan solutions to big, complex problems,” said Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, the panel’s top Democrat, on Tuesday. “And I’m confident we can find a bipartisan path forward to tackle these issues head-on.”” Chronicle.com.
The hearing: HELP.Senate.gov.

Veteran’s Affairs Committee

“Working with her colleagues, Sen. Murray was able to secure provisions to improve several VA programs supporting veterans in the spending proposal,” More: Murray.Senate.gov. The provisions will be in a bill going through the Veterans’ committee soon.
Sen. Murray is “the daughter of a World War II veteran and the first woman to chair the Veterans’ Affairs Committee” Murray.Senate.gov. She is on the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies subcommittee and the Veteran’s Affairs Committee. She can no longer chair a committee because the republicans are in the majority; therefore they chair every committee.

Fee Hike for 17 National Parks

The comment period time to comment on the extreme fee hikes has been extended by a month, until December 22nd: NPS.gov.
Facts – and please comment – here.

Net Neutrality

The FCC vote will be on December 14th. Senators on both side of the aisle are against the repeal of net neutrality: and there may be legislation coming up to stop it. I couldn’t find any. There are many things we can do: contact members of the FCC, join the national rally on December 7th, and more.

The FCC produces fake comments. The Chairman has said he is only looking for quality comments, in other words comments citing legal challenges to removing net neutrality. There is a lawsuit against the fake comments: “Jason Prechtel … has filed a lawsuit against the FCC”: WaPo. The judge is a trump appointee.

CFPB

On “Friday … former CFPB Director Richard Cordray abruptly resigned.”: Politico.com. A judge has allowed Trump to appoint the head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Mick Mulvaney. “Congress created the CFPB as part of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law in the wake of the Great Recession. The CFPB has the mission of protecting consumers from financial fraud, which led to the crash.” Sen. Warren is leading protests against this: PeoplesWorld.org.

Disgusting Pocahontas Comment

The comment that Trump made on Monday, talking to veterans and running down Sen. Warren: ‘”I just want to thank you because you are very, very special people. You were here long before any of us were here,” Trump said. “Although, we have a representative in Congress who has been here a long time … longer than you — they call her Pocahontas!”
He then turned to one of the code talkers behind him, put his left hand on the man’s shoulder and said: “But you know what, I like you. You are special people.”‘ CNN.com.


This is disgusting because:
he was racist – saying that Sen. Warren was native and he didn’t like her.
he is commander in chief, and so he should be respectful of his troops
he was disrespectful of the Senate, saying that Sen.Warren is not a patriot.

We ask that our Senators make a strong statement to call out how inappropriate and disgusting this was.

Haitians

“Trump administration to end provisional residency protection for 60,000 Haitians”: WaPo. They have given them 18 months to leave. They will not renew their Temporary Protection Status. About TPS: USCIS.gov.
There are 2 bills to protect them: S. 2144 – SECURE Act (no republican cosponsors) in the Senate; and HR. 4384 – ASPIRE-TPS Act of 2017 (2 republican cosponsors) in the House.

Avoiding a Nuclear Strike With N. Korea

There are many Senators aiming to avoid a nuclear strike with north Korea, including Corker: USAToday. Here is a bill introduced by Markey, with all democrat cosponsors and one independent: S. 200.

We don’t know how the 2020 census can be run without a census director.

There is concern that this is all based on racism: and these views and this legislation has been worked on since the John Birch Society.