Notes from January 30th 2018 from all attendees; calls to action and links provided by me. Rally vid: 32:23.
FAQs here. New information is black. This page updated 3pm each Wednesday. From 1/23: notes & rally: 19:42
Two new friends from Edmonds joined us this week. Welcome!
The Threat of Mueller Being Fired
The way that authoritarians have traditionally undercut investigations and attacks on them is to chip away at the lower levels of authority pressuring them, not an obvious attack (in this case it would be Mueller): therefore it is deeply disturbing that McCabe is leaving.
Sanctions Against Russia
Drumpf is not implementing sanctions against the Russians. What can we do about that? “The Drumpf administration said on Monday it would not immediately impose additional sanctions on Russia”: Reuters. Opinion: McCabe leaving is a smokescreen to make us forget about that. “Don’t be too distracted by the Nunes memo scheme, the most important news of the night is Drumpf’s refusal to implement new sanctions on Moscow needed to deter its ongoing influence operations.”: Evan McMullin, Twitter.com.
Please sign up to rally in rapid response if Mueller gets fired. That would be a Constitutional crisis, and millions across the country would be rallying too. Sign up here: MoveOn.org. In Seattle, people will rally at Cal Anderson Park. Please see MoveOn.org for more information.
Health Care in WA
Health Care For All
There is bill HB 1026 in the State House and SB 5701 in the State Senate. SB 5701 would implement a payroll tax of 8.5% – but currently, people can pay up to 30% of their income: so it is a big improvement. Drumpf is planning on making huge cuts to benefits this year; so we need to protect ourselves.
The idea behind single payer health care is that the State pays for everyone’s health care; and that gives them much more power to bargain down costs.
There is a single payer bill: SB 5957.
Last week, we asked the senators to meet with The WA Dreamers Coalition and talk about why they voted for the Continuing Resolution – and didn’t vote against it unless they had a clean dream act. Sen. Cantwell met with them on Saturday; and Sen. Murray will soon. We also need to protect our TPS residents.
The vote for a Continuing Resolution to fund the government for 3 weeks passed 81-18 (Sen. McCain is sick).
It does not include or mandate passing the Dream Act, protection for our DACA residents – S 1615 & HR 3440: although these are the clean dream bills that Sen. McConnell agreed to bring to the floor before the next CR / budget bill. This bill is applicable through February 8th. Why push for these particular bills? TheHill.com.
What Would Happen if the Government Shut Down?
Non-essential services would be shut down: some Members of Congress would temporarily lay staff off, parks would close, etc. “Government Shutdown: Explained with Examples”: theBalance.com / USAtoday.
It took 9 months for the VA to catch up with appointments after a previous government shutdown. The effects of the 2013 government shutdown on veteran’s benefits: USAToday.com.
Clean Dream Act
What is a clean dream act? Nat’l Immigrant Law Center: PDF.
The Dream Act: S 1615 in the Senate & HR 3440 in the House.
Why Are Our Senators Not Cosponsors?
The senators are unable to cosponsor S. 1615 until another Republican cosponsors it – they are on the list to do so – but to keep it bipartisan every time a Democrat cosponsors it, a Republican has to – kind of like when you need a date for a dance. It has 3 out of 7 Republican cosponsors – Murkowski, Gardner & Flake. Please still tell the senators how the Dream Act personally affects you so that they can use your stories on the Senate floor.
The CR Coming up on Feb. 8th
We want no Continuing Resolution unless there is the passage of a bill to protect Mueller’s investigation. Bills for this: S. 1735 & S. 1741. In the House, there is HR. 3771. Our senators are not cosponsors on either bill. The bills are all in the Judiciary Committee.
GOP Senate Judiciary Committee members
GOP House Judiciary Committee members
Sen. Murray’s tweet: “Democrats and Republicans need to send a clear message to President Drumpf: firing Special Counsel Mueller or any other attempt by this Administration to undermine the Russia investigation is unacceptable. #ProtectMueller”: twitter.com.
Our senators need to do everything they can to protect our democracy as it pertains to McCabe.
Needed Health Care Funding
CHIP has been funded in the last CR for 6 years; but these programs lost funding at the same time as CHIP did.
Health Care Centers
Community Health Centers run out of funding in April. This means that small clinics in rural areas will close, leaving people there with no care. We want that funding in the Continuing Resolution Bill coming up by February 8th. We also lost funding for the diabetes program for natives; the program of health care visitors visiting moms and kids; and the health training program.
“the nation’s health centers are funded with $1.5 billion from discretionary funds … However, this fund expired September 30, 2017 leaving America’s 1,400+ health center organizations to face a 70% cutback in program funding, if Congress doesn’t act.”: NACHC.org
Teaching Health Care Centers
Teaching Health Care Centers: BHW.HRSA.gov. Sen. Murray’s tweet about this: “Your daily reminder that Republicans could have fully-funded our community & teaching health centers last week—or when funding for these vital centers lapsed last September—but chose instead to play politics with families’ health care. Again.”: Twitter.com.
Special Diabetes Programs for Indians
About the Special Diabetes Program for Indians: IHS.gov.
“In the face of drastic budget cuts to the Special Diabetes Programs for Indians, Navajo President Russell Begaye called on Congress and federal agencies to prioritize Indian health and allocate funding for essential programs Jan. 17.”: NhoNews.com.
Health Care Visitors for Mothers and Children
“Now that Congress has acted on CHIP, we urge a similar bipartisan approach to the other pressing child health issues that remain unresolved, such as the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program (MIECHV), which serves at-risk pregnant women and parents with young children”: AAPPublications.org. More about MIECHV: MCHB.HRSA.gov.
The Abortion Vote
It had seemed like the bill banning abortions after 20 weeks’ gestation S. 2311 would drag on all week, but it finished yesterday 51-46. They needed 60 votes. More: NYTimes.com. How senators voted: Senate.gov.
Sen. Murray on the bill. 5:09 video: Key excerpts: Murray.Senate.gov.
The State of the Union
Senator Murray was joined by Seattle resident & #MeToo activist Leah Griffin, a sexual assault survivor whose story inspired legislation to expand access to trained sexual assault nurse examiners. She had alerted Sen. Murray that the only hospital that had a rape kit in Seattle was Harborview. Murray.Senate.gov.
Sen. Cantwell’s guest to SOTU was Maru Mora-Villalpando to who is facing deportation proceedings. Video of Mora-Villalpando about it: KomoNews.com. 2 min.
“The Environmental Protection Agency said in a surprise announcement Friday that it is putting on hold a plan to do away with Obama-era proposals to restrict mining at a southwest Alaska watershed.” NPR.org. 5 million protesting fishermen won. The strongest contingent: FishermenForBristolBay.org.
They are still taking permit applications, though. Still look for ways to be heard to protect Bristol Bay.
You can help: Support WildSalmon.org.
Sen. Cantwell is working for faster and better airport security using dogs, and a centralized training facility in the Northwest. SeaTac is tenth fastest growing airport in the country. Cantwell.Senate.gov.
Mexico Paying for ‘the Wall’
We want to see a report on what efforts Drumpf has made to get Mexico to pay for the wall that he wants. Clearly he has made no attempt to get the funds from Mexico. That would make it easier for Democrats to stop any payments for the wall. We also want to see documentation on the history of Melania’s residency status and its legal implications.
Nunes needs to be fired
“On Monday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) moved to release a memo written by his staff that cherry-picks facts, ignores others and smears the FBI and the Justice Department — all while potentially revealing intelligence sources and methods.” WaPo opinion: Adam Schiff, ranking (second in seniority) Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.
We Need Secure Elections
Bipartisan secure elections acts:
S. 2261: Secure Elections Act – in the Rules and Administration Committee.
S. 1989: Honest Ads Act – in the Rules and Administration Committee.
Sen. Murray is a cosponsor.
S. 2313: Defending Elections from Threats by Establishing Redlines Act of 2018 – in the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee.
Attacks on the Dodd-Frank Act
The Scary Bill in 2017
The passage of the Financial CHOICE Act, which passed on October 6th 2017: HR. 10.
“drew the ire of Democrats who argued that Republicans were giving a handout to Wall Street while putting everyday investors at risk.” NYTimes.com.
“Bill to Erase Some Dodd-Frank Banking Rules Passes in House”: NYTimes.com
The New Scary Bill
Now Sen. Crapo has introduced a bi-partisan bill to loosen regulations: S. 2155. He is chairman of the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. It is in committee.
“The bill would allow hundreds of smaller banks to avoid certain elements of federal oversight, including stress tests, which measure a bank’s ability to withstand a severe economic downturn. Under current law, banks with assets of $50 billion or more are considered “systemically important financial institutions” and therefore governed by stricter rules. The bill would raise that threshold to institutions with assets of $250 billion or more, leaving fewer than 10 big banks in the United States subject to the stricter oversight.”: NYTimes.com.
Nick Mulvaney is all about Protecting Corporations
Mr. Mulvaney is the White House Budget Director.
“Mr. Mulvaney made clear that under his direction, the consumer bureau would be more reluctant to target companies without overwhelming evidence of wrongdoing and suggested that the effect on a business should be weighed more heavily when considering cracking down on potential consumer abuses.”: NYTimes.com. Sen. Cantwell is all about protecting consumers. She cosponsored S. 881 – 21st Century Glass-Steagall Act of 2017, which protects us.
Our senators recently signed a letter to protect independence of Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: AugustaFreePress.com.
The Redistricting Ruling in PA
“the Pennsylvania Supreme Court … (ruled that) … the state’s congressional map was unconstitutionally gerrymandered.”: RollingStone.com.
Eric Holder has formed a Democratic Redistributing Committee to fix it across the country. This is really excellent for the mid-terms, because Democrats will be fairly represented. If the district lines are not redrawn by a certain date the courts will redistribute them. In Washington State, we don’t have it so bad because we have a bipartisan committee that does it. If your Congressional District is redistributed you may just have to post your ballot in a different dropbox. There would be no other difference.
The Voting Rights Act just passed the Senate in WA
“It would do away with the state’s at-large voting system in local elections, which Democrats say dilutes the voting power of minorities and denies them a chance to elect a representative of their own,”: NBCNews.com. It has stalled in the Senate and got through the House before, so this is wonderful. The election of Sen. Dhingra in LD 45 (Redmond and east) in November’s special election tipped the balance of power, and so it got through.
HB 1800 & SB 6002.
On Pharmaceutical Costs
The video on pharmaceutical costs: YouTube.com. Watch it!
The Amendment Both Senators Voted Against in 2017
“Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell reportedly joined 11 other party colleagues last week in opposing an amendment to the budget reconciliation bill to allow pharmacies, wholesalers and individuals to import medicines.”
“The amendment failed with 46 votes.”
“In her Senate career, Murray has received $515,089 in campaign contributions from pharmaceutical manufacturers, according to the watchdog group Center for Responsive Politics. Cantwell has received $74,750.”: King5.com.
A Hearing in the HELP Committee
Sen. Murray is the ranking member on The Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. This means that she is the second most powerful: the leading Democrat (in the minority) senator.
A HELP Committee hearing on pharmaceutical prices from October 2017: HELP.Senate.gov.
Sen. Murray’s Letter Challenging Drug Prices
“Senator Patty Murray … sent a letter … demanding answers regarding the initial proposed pricing scheme for Marathon Pharmaceuticals’ recently approved steroid for use in patients with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD).”: HELP.Senate.gov.
The Bill That Sen. Cantwell Endorses
Many Bills to Reduce Prices Have Failed
“Clearly, drug makers are opening their checkbooks to those they see as having power.”: King5.com.
Where Do Our Senators Get Their Campaign Funds?
Sen. Murray: OpenSecrets.org: the Center for Responsive Politics
Sen. Cantwell: OpenSecrets.org: the Center for Responsive Politics
ICE Tracking License Plates
“ICE is about to start tracking license plates across the US”: TheVerge.com. We don’t yet know how we can respond to this.