Tuesday 5th December 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 11/28: notes. Other Tuesdays’ notes.

These notes from December 5th 2017 from all attendees; calls to action and links provided by me.
New information in the meeting is black.

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

The Federal Budget

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.

Burner App

This app is for “for calling, texting and picture messaging. Stay safe and anonymous when you give out your number.” BurnerApp.com. You can use it to call a MoC without them knowing where you are calling from.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

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

There was a debate on CNN at 6pm on Nov. 28th, Sens. Cantwell and Sanders vs. Cruz and Scott: RealClearPolitics.com: 1hr18.

Senator Murray’s press release about the bill: Murray.Senate.gov. Video: 4:53.

Republicans Want to Move Fast

Republicans wanted to avoid a conference committee. Sen. McConnell and Drumpf 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.

The Process

November 16th, the House bill passed the House.
December 2nd, The Senate bill passed the Senate.
Conference committee to make a bill that works for both the House and the Senate Republican members.
New bill will be voted on by the House and Senate.
President will sign it into law.
(The other alternative had been that the House voted on the Senate bill; but Ryan couldn’t get enough votes over the weekend to pass it in the House.)

It is Pro forma
It will be a Pro forma conference, a formality in other words. Democrats will be on the conference committee, but can’t go to the meetings.

The Byrd Bath Challenge!
Senator Murray brought in the Byrd bath challenge to stop riders in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act: like removing the Johnson Amendment, etc.
The Byrd Rule bans “extraneous matter” (riders) from bills: House.gov.
The reference to the fetus in the bill actually referred to being able to pay into college savings with a tax advantage for a child at that time of life:

Paygo
Because the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act affects revenues and entitlements and is running through the reconciliation process, the republicans have to slash ‘entitlements’ to balance the budget when the bill kicks in and strips from the budget. They may have to strip $20bn from Medicaid, or more. They are hoping that we will be oblivious to paygo in 2018 so that they can get elected back in – especially Reps, who are all up for the vote then.
Paygo: “A budget rule requiring that new legislation affecting revenues and spending on entitlement programs, taken as a whole, does not increase projected budget deficits.” from TaxPolicyCenter.org. Paul Ryan’s quote about his ambition to slash ‘entitlements’ (our social safety net): Video: 4:52.

Folks protesting the tax bill at Reichert’s on Monday

The rally was in Issaquah. A delegation went in and spoke to his staffers. He voted against it in the House – so far.

How To Fix It

The corporate tax rate would be locked in for 10 years if the tax bill gets through, because it went through Congress, so it’s locked in. It would go from 35%-20% / 22%. The only way to fix the tax scam if we take control of Congress in 2018 would be to get an act of Congress to change it. To get it in without the president’s signature would take a two third majority (a super majority) in the Senate and the House; which wouldn’t happen with the proportion of republicans to democrats. Article 1 Section 7 of the Constitution outlines that.

Mulvaney’s Quote

“Elections have consequences”: STLToday.com.

Stopping Mueller Getting Fired

There is concern about Mueller getting fired because he is getting close to Trump and his family. Our Senators cannot cosponsor it because only the Judiciary Committee can right now.

There are 2 bipartisan efforts to stop Mueller being fired:

Senators Tillis & Coons have introduced bipartisan legislation to stop Trump being able to directly fire Mueller: 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

Immigration and Residency

The DREAM Act and Travel Ban

We need help with the DREAM Act: S. 1615 – especially in the Senate. Senator Cantwell’s tweet supports them: “We need to give the 17,000 Dreamers in Washington state the certainty they need to continue to live out the American dream.” Twitter. We asked that our Senators don’t vote for a continuing resolution (for 2 weeks of budget continuation) unless we pass the Dreamer Act. The vote for continuing resolution is on Friday. It is not a lot of notice for a shutdown. If they had to shutdown the government it would show everyone what the government is doing:the Republicans are holding everything up. Even though they have control of the government (the majority in the House and Senate, and they head all of the committees), they can’t get anything done.
The 22nd of December is when they are expecting a solution for Dreamers.

TPS

Temporary Protected Status is being rolled back.
“On November 20, 2017, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke announced her decision to terminate the Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Haiti … the designation terminates on July 22, 2019… (and for) for Nicaragua and Honduras.”
Congress are trying to separate the issues with TPS and the dreamers to make laws on both. One thing that they can do is to legislate on restricting funding for deportations. The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security gives TPS status to countries. It’s given in 18 month extensions.

Drumpf’s Private Police

“Drumpf White House … plans for private spies to counter ‘deep state’ enemies” .. (there is a) … “possibility that the effort would be used to create an intelligence apparatus to justify the Drumpf administration’s political agenda.” : TheIntercept.com .
8.2 million undocumented people could be deported; 1.2 million next year alone. At the moment, ICE has one person per 1.2 removed by police. They don’t need more money. They have little to do. We don’t need to increase their funding. ICE is casting a wider net: HufffPost.

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 are now out of committee, and will be part of a bill. They extend the caregivers’ allowance period. It was originally put in place for those who cared for September 11th victims.
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.

Senator Murray speaking with fellow Congresspeople in support of the Veteran’s Caregiver’s Act: YouTube video: 1:25:43

Net Neutrality

The FCC vote will be on December 14th (next Thursday). 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.
In 2015, the net was classified as a utility by the FCC: NYTimes. Congress was Republican, so there were no robust protections put in place then, so the FCC are open to act as they please. Senator Cantwell’s letter to Drumpf about net neutrality: Cantwell.Senate.gov. There will be lots of lawsuits against the FCC.

Senator Murray has signed a letter by Sen. Hassan to ask Ajit Pai to look into the bots. Sen. Hassan’s press release.

Protest!

There are protests across the country on Thursday December 7th. Join one for an hour or so. Sign up! VerizonProtests.com/.

Bear’s Ears

Senator Cantwell is working on a lawsuit to protect Bear’s Ears. “Senator Maria Cantwell, the top Democrat on the Senate energy committee, tweeted that former President Teddy Roosevelt, a conservationist, would “roll over in his grave” if he saw Zinke’s “attacks” on public lands.” from: Reuters.com. Senator Murray’s statement: “President Drumpf is taking an unprecedented step—this time, by trying to roll back public land protections and gut the time-honored Antiquities Act– as a gift to Big Oil and other multi-national corporations.” more: Murray.Senate.gov.

Health Care

Alexander-Murray Health Care Bill

The Senate Tax Cuts Bill removes the health insurance mandate. The mandate is necessary to keep costs down because without it, healthy and the young will not sign up, which drives up costs for the disabled, elderly and the sick. Without the mandate, the bipartisan bill will not work. She said it is like trying to put a fire out with penicillin. Senator Collins is in support of it the health care bill.

CHIP

CHIP funding ran out at the end of September. We (Washington State) recently received $10m as a short term fix for this. It takes $64m a year.
CHIP is in the Finance Committee. Senator Cantwell is a member. They have to vote on it to get it to the floor. It is worth contacting Senator Cantwell about this: and the republican members of the committee.

The CHC Also Needs Funding

The Community Health Clinics fund also needs to have its funding renewed.
“Often situated in medically underserved areas, the health centers provide care to some 26 million of the nation’s most vulnerable people. They’re required to take any patient who seeks care, regardless of whether they can pay.” TheHill.

An Act to Fix This

S.1899 – Community Health Investment, Modernization, and Excellence Act of 2017.
This act seeks to fund the program for five years. The CHIME Act is in the HELP Committee: and Senator Murray is the ranking (head of the democrats) member on the committee. Please ask her to get it voted on, out of committee and onto the floor. It has 9 democrat cosponsors and 8 republican.

Opioid Crisis

Senator Murray was in a meeting of the Appropriations subcommittee on Tuesday looking at the opioids crisis: “Despite White House’s own Council of Economic Advisors estimating cost of opioid crisis at over $500 billion, President Drumpf has repeatedly failed to support adequate resources for hospitals, communities, states”: Murray.Senate.gov.

Puerto Rico Funding

“Republican-controlled House voted 353-69 to approve $36.5 billion in emergency relief”: Reuters.com. It is not enough.