Tuesday June 26 2018

Updated 3pm Wednesday. 6/26/18 notes from visiting WA’s senators’ staffers. Maru’s rally vid: 30:23. Deep dive questions
6/19 notes & rally vid: 33.01. FAQs & Archive. The Facebook page. Online info about our senators.
By Holly Brewer and Loren Bast.

Please note: no meeting on the 3rd; we met for coffee instead 12.30-1.30 at the Federal Building.
The next meeting with the staffers will be on the 10th.

Met with



Kate Baumgartner, Sen. Murray’s Seattle Director ~ Main P: (202) 224-2621 / (866) 481-9186 ~ F: (202) 224-0238
Tommy Bauer, Sen. Cantwell’s Seattle Outreach Director ~ Main P: (202) 224-3441 ~ F: (202) 228-0514

Maru’s Rally

The rally vid: 30.23 & Komo news.
The ACLU also had an emergency rally about the Supreme Court allowing the Muslim Ban to take effect. the vote was 5-4. The ban: NYTimes.com. There are more legal challenges coming.


The countries affected by the ban.

Sen. Murray Received Money from GEO Group

“Sen. Patty Murray got campaign money from company running Tacoma center where undocumented immigrants are held”: SeattleTimes.com: “Murray’s 2016 re-election campaign received … $5,000 from the Florida-based political-action committee for The GEO Group, the nation’s largest private-prison firm,” For context, Sen. Murrray’s campaign raised $13.5m by 2016: OpenSecrets.org.
About how private prisons’ stocks are faring: Observer.com.

There is a firm line between the campaign arm of team Murray and Murray as a senator to prevent conflicts of interest. This means that staffers cannot talk about election issues in any way. This is from the Senate ethics committee: Ethics.Senate.gov.
To comment on this, contact the campaign arm of Patty Murray’s team: the site & campmail@pattymurray.com.

Homeland Security Bill

S.Rept 115-283: Dept of Homeland Security Appropriations Bill, 2019
Sen. Murray voted for an appropriations bill that funds DHS in committee: because most of the legislation is good – and it now needs to go through markup and go to the Senate and House – and their scrutiny.

Land and Water Conservation Fund

The Land and Water Conservation Fund needs to be extended in September or we lose it.

“Launched by Congress in 1964, the LWCF program protects open spaces and provides money for parks, trails and wildlife habitats without using tax dollars.
Instead, it uses money paid by energy companies, offshore drilling royalties and natural gas leases.”: Tri-CityHerald.com.

Separating Families at the Southern Border

Sen. Murray is the top Democrat on the Appropriations subcommittee that funds HHS.
In Appropriations, it is the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Committee: Appropriations.Senate.gov.

Who We Can Contact

Ask for hearings about this immediately in the judiciary committee.
Contact Chuck Grassley, head of the Senate Judiciary Committee:
Email: https://www.grassley.senate.gov/constituents/questions-and-comments.
In DC: Call: (202) 224-3744 or Fax: (202) 224-6020

Contact Republicans in the committee

Join us in Marching to Show our Disgust!

Families Belong Together Rally: 6/30 Saturday 11 AM – 2 PM at Federal Detention Center, 2425 S 200th St, SeaTac, Washington 98198 – a few steps from the SeaTac train station. National action. https://www.facebook.com/events/1805746032846977/.

Solidarity Day at NWDC: 7/1 Sunday 1:30 PM – 4 PM at Federal Detention Center. Regular monthly event. https://www.facebook.com/events/276798272867272/.

Families Will Stay Separated

“(Azar) told the Senate Finance Committee that if lawmakers find a legislative fix to a court ruling that bars children from being held in detention centers for longer than 20 days, then the families could be reunited immediately.”: WaPo.com. In other words, the parents are facing criminal charges for coming into the country: and their children will need to be in prison as well if the family wants to be together. This is caused by the ‘zero tolerance’ policy of this administration: PolitiFact.com.

The Flores Rule
“A 2015 court order, based on a document called the Flores settlement, prevents the government from keeping migrant children in detention for more than 20 days.”: NPR.org.

Feinstein’s Bill

S. 3036: Keep Families Together Act
“The bill prohibits federal agencies from removing a child without legal immigration status from their parent or legal guardian within 100 miles of the U.S. border.”: Columbian.com … 48 Democrat senators have cosponsored the bill.

Lawsuit to End This

Led by AG Ferguson of WA, 17 states and DC are suing to end the family separations: Independent.co.uk.

Letter From 48 Senators to the Senate Judiciary Committee

6/22/18: ‘The Trump Administration’s ‘zero-tolerance’ policy “is responsible for hundreds of children being forcibly separated from their families, falsely labeled ‘unaccompanied alien children,’ and transferred to the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement,” the senators wrote in a letter to Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley. “This cruel treatment of children and families arriving to the United States demands immediate and direct Congressional oversight.”’. More: Murray.Senate.gov.

6/22/18: “HHS has … failed to provide estimates of additional funding that will likely be needed to provide adequate care for the children in its custody,” Murray said in a letter to Azar.”: RollCall.com.
Azar’s email address: Secretary@HHS.gov Call: 202-690-7000

Sen. Murray’s Reactions to The Policy

5/10/18: “Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) and Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) sent a letter to United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar urging him to immediately fire Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) Director Scott Lloyd”: DeLauro.House.gov.

6/12/18: at 6.25 Sen. Murray expresses her anger about this to Azar in a hearing about prescription prices: YouTube.com.

6/20/18: Senator Murray on President Trump’s Executive Order on Family Separation Policy: “It’s not enough. We are not going to say everything is OK, and we are not going to stay quiet”

6/21/18: Senator Murray Demands Answers From Trump Health Secretary Azar on Safety, Reunification of Separated Children

6/22/18: Senator Murray, Cantwell Call for Senate Hearings on Trump Administration’s Treatment of Migrant Children
Links to these: Murray.Senate.gov.

We Want Our Senators to go to Detention Centers

Members of Congress who have gone to detention centers bring public attention to the problem. Senator Cantwell is looking into it. Senator Murray’s staff have been. Trump’s executive order is not enough. More: CNN.com and NBCNews.com.

Some other MoCs who have: Sen. Booker & Sen. Warren & Sen. Merkeley & Rep. Jayapal.

Booker’s Bill

Booker, Senators Introduce Bill Targeting Family Detention, Inhumane Conditions of Immigration Detention Centers, Flawed Detention Processing System: Booker.Senate.gov. Sen. Murray is a cosponsor.

Previous Information

The vileness of the Trump administration sunk to even lower depths last week, as thousands of immigrant babies and children were separated from their families at the border between Texas and Mexico. The children were housed in converted Walmart stores, tents, and behind cages (chain-link fences) while their parents were sent to federal jails awaiting trial. These immigrants included asylum seekers, who the administration claims they are allowing to stay united; however, the ACLU has filed class-action suits claiming the contrary: ACLU.org.

6/20 Executive Order Stopping the Separations

6/20/18, Trump signed an executive order putting an end to the separations: but the order is likely to encounter its own challenges: Time.com. It’s unknown how quickly the separation policy will be enacted; how many families will ultimately be affected; and if families currently separated will be allowed to reunite.

For-Profit Detention Centers

“Private prison lobbyists have focused on persuading Congress to maintain a federal quota that requires the detention of a certain number of immigrants at all times.”: Slate.com.

‘due to a surge in illegal border crossings and the Justice Department’s “zero-tolerance” policy — designed to discourage illegal border crossings — the agency needed to acquire access to more than 1,600 beds in Bureau of Prisons Facilities… (including) 209 beds in SeaTac;’ KomoNews.com.

Nielsen says it is Nothing to do With Her

Nielsen, Secretary of the HHS says that toddlers being taken away from their families and handed to DHS are their problem: Twitter.com.
Nielsen being mocked by resisters at a Mexican restaurant last week: Twitter.com.

Trump Yelled at HHS Secretary

In May: “Kirstjen Nielsen, the homeland security secretary, told colleagues she was close to resigning after President Trump berated her on Wednesday in front of the entire cabinet for what he said was her failure to adequately secure the nation’s borders”: NYTimes.com.

The most damaging thing that families can go through is when they don’t know when they will see each other: Vox.com. We need CPS to be able to arrive unannounced so that we know that the children are cared for.

How do we Protest Families Being Separated?

The abuse is caused by policy – even though the border guards are the ones separating families. We are reporting against the federal government. We need to contact Republican senators.

Guns in Central America from the US

People leave central America as a result of guns from the USA infiltrating their communities.

An article about this: “a “straw buyer.” “I developed a group of customers,” he said … “And it dawned on me one day that they were all Hondurans; and that they all seemed to want the same type of guns; and they all seemed to want more and more.” By the time he was caught, Crumpler had resold roughly a thousand guns, including Glocks and AR-15 assault rifles. He eventually agreed to coöperate with American authorities in exchange for a two-and-a-half-year prison sentence.”: NewYorker.com.

US Pulls out of Human Rights Council

‘The US has pulled out of the United Nations Human Rights Council, calling it a “cesspool of political bias”.’: BBC.com.

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy is Retiring From the Supreme Court

Upcoming fight Over Women’s Rights

With Kennedy leaving, we now need enough Congresspeople to vote for a progressive or moderate judge to fill his seat. More: NYTimes.com.

The interview with Sen. Cantwell about this on Hardball:

We Need Republicans in our Corner

Email Sen. Murkowski (AK) DC: P: (202) 224-6665 F: (202)-224-5301
Email staffer Madeline Lefton, Legislative Assistant ~ Newspapers in AK to write letters to: PDF.
Email Sen. Collins (ME) DC: P: (202) 224-2523 F: (202) 224-2693
Email staffer Michael DiRoma, Tax Counsel

Minibus Appropriations Bill

HR. 5895: Energy and Water, Legislative Branch, Military Construction and Veteran Affairs Appropriations Act, 2019
Sen. Murray and Cantwell voted for the minibus appropriations bill on Monday: Senate.gov. It passed the Senate 86/5. Now the House and Senate bills need to be reconciled. It includes cleanup for Hanford; and VA caregiver program. Sen. Murray has been pushing for the caregiver program for years. Her statement about the bill passing: Murray.Senate.gov.

This Appropriations Process

“leadership has prioritized moving smaller spending bills as they try to avoid needing to pass either a short-term continuing resolution (CR) or an omnibus, which would roll the 12 individual appropriations bills into one mammoth piece of legislation.”: TheHill.com:

“Monday’s minibus includes approximately $146.6 billion in spending, an increase of roughly $5.7 billion from 2018, and represents a quarter of the 12 annual appropriations bills. The bills fund the Department of Veterans Affairs, energy infrastructure including nuclear safety issues, as well as the Senate and several legislative bodies such as the Government Accountability Office.”

Sen. Murray’s Opioid Bill

It is in HR.6: Substance use-disorder prevention that promotes opioid recovery and treatment for patients and communities Act. A summary: EnergyCommerce.House.gov.

Sen. Murray’s opioid bill is through the House (396/14): and headed to the Senate. It is one of many bills that have been consolidated into HR. 6: and it is bipartisan. “Friday, June 22, the House combined all passed opioid bills and those additional opioid bills (not yet voted on) into one package – HR 6 – and passed HR 6 (396 Yeas, 14 Nays).”: Lexology.com. The roll call: Clerk.House.gov.

S. 2680: Opioid Crisis Response Act (OCRA)
Sen. Murray’s and Sen. Lamar Alexander’s bipartisan Opioid Crisis Response Act was passed unanimously out of the HELP Committee and is notable for its patient/family/community-centered health focus, compared to the administration’s law enforcement approach.
Sen. Murray’s statement: HELP.Senate.gov. Video of her speech in committee: YouTube.com. Committee hearing 4/24: HELP.Senate.gov.

Funding For OCRA

There is $3.3bn allocated for it from the omnibus bill: TheHill.com. This is not enough. The Council of Economic Advisors said that in 2015 it would take $504billion to fully solve the problem. Their Nov. 2017 report: WhiteHouse.gov. There is $100bn allocated for treatment of those with HIV / AIDS, for context.

Summary: Murray.Senate.gov

Tuesday, There was a Markup of the Labor Appropriations Bill

HR. 3358: Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018

Audio of the markup of the Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2019: Appropriations.Senate.gov.

Nomination of Wilkie as VA Secretary

Will he privatize Veterans Affairs? We don’t know. Sen. Murray is against it. His confirmation hearing is on Wednesday. Sen. Murray has not managed to meet with him. The hearing: Veterans.Senate.gov.

‘His testimony addresses the issue of outsourcing veterans’ health care to the private sector — a priority for the Trump administration — delicately. He will tell senators that on his visits to VA hospitals as acting secretary, “I experienced what can never be duplicated in the private sector — the communal aspect of VA. What does that mean? It means that when our veterans walk into any of VA facility they converse with men and women who speak the unique language of military service.”’: WaPo.com.

Sen. Murray will work hard to protect our veterans. She has a staff member specifically working on veteran’s affairs: and Washington State veterans work hard to be heard. She is the first female on the Veteran’s Committee in the Senate. Her father was a World War II veteran and a Purple Heart recipient. When he got Multiple Sclerosis and was unable to work, the VA helped them. Also, when she was at WAZU, she did an internship at the psychiatric ward of the VA and saw Vietnam vets being treated: Murray.Senate.gov. More about her work for veterans: Murray.Senate.gov.

She is on the Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies subcommittee and the Veteran’s Affairs Committee.

How do the Parties Speak to each Other?

They find common ground. “in November 2012, Senator Patty Murray asked her House counterpart, Paul Ryan, to meet for breakfast in the Senate Dining Room. It was a bit like an awkward first date. … For Ryan, sports became their very language”: Elle.com.

There is bipartisan legislation. Not everything is polarizing: the opioid bill, for example. Also, Sen. Murray frequently works with other female senators.

Members of Congress do talk about the detention crisis and other issues.

We Want the Press to Cover All of the Bad Things

This administration is closing parks, polluting and hurting people: and all the rest. Our senators cannot influence the press, of course: but to promote awareness, they can write op-eds like this: From Sen. Murray in USA Today: “Republicans tried again and again over the past year to pass bills that would raise health care costs, leave millions fewer covered, and gut protections for women, seniors, and people with pre-existing conditions. They raised 2018 premiums by injecting uncertainty into health care markets and by intentionally making it harder for people to learn about coverage options and enroll.”: USAToday.com.

Sen. Murray has a Medium page: Medium.com.

Tariffs

Sen. Murray’s staffer, Kate works with constituents in the Seattle area. She has colleagues in the senator’s office – as does Tommy – throughout the state. They all report that there are problems that result from tariffs being placed on agricultural products that we want to export; and that we need help in harvesting to get the products to market. Information about agricultural products from here: NetState.com.

Sen. Cantwell

In Committee
‘“Mr. Secretary, I want you to hear me. Apples and cherries are getting hurt,” Senator Cantwell said. “Now, seafood, which again is also on short margin, is going to be in the same spot…. [W]hen we have trade wars it impacts the Washington economy in a major way.”’: KPQ.com.

We Will Lose Jobs
WAStateWire.com.

H-2A Visa Program

About the Temporary Agricultural Workers program: USCIS.gov. This is a bipartisan issue: because it affects every state.

Sen. Cantwell With Azar About Basic Health Care

Sen. Cantwell spoke with Azar on Tuesday about prescription costs – and how we can bargain them down. He is all about choices through a ‘competitive marketplace’ (through private for-profit companies) as opposed to ‘national price fixing’. Sen. Cantwell starts at 1:25:45: C-Span.org.

About Sen. Cantwell’s basic health care plan: PDF.

Propaganda From the WH

This is from an email last week from the White House: bending the ‘separating families’ rhetoric to nonsense extremes:

We want our senators to call out propaganda sent to our personal emails. Yes, those of us who receive the emails signed up: the point is that this is being broadcast and we need to call it out.

The Farm Bill

In the Program, 43 million Rely on Food Stamps

“The lion’s share of the farm bill’s funding is devoted to programs such as food stamps, or the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Total benefits paid out last year by SNAP exceeded $63 billion and went to more than 42 million participants. The House Farm Bill cuts the funding for SNAP by 30 per cent. More: WaPo.com.

CNBC.com.

They have to pass the Farm bill this legislative session before they do rescissions. There are limited days left this session. Senate’s proposed calendar: Senate.gov.

The Farm Bill 2018 and SNAP

One of the anticipated legislative priorities in the House for the Spring session is the Farm Bill, which goes up for renewal every 5 years. It is due by September 30th. For more information about the Farm Bill and its history, see FRAC.org. The SNAP Program is within the Farm Bill.

Due Process

Trump wants to strip away due process for undocumented immigrants: YouTube.com.

We Want our Senators to be Enraged

Sen. Cantwell was caustic in this video about a rider on a water bill: Youtube.com.
She nailed down on Zuckerberg recently: RealClearPloitics.com.

Senator Murray on President Trump’s Executive Order on Family Separation Policy: “It’s not enough. We are not going to say everything is OK, and we are not going to stay quiet”: Murray.Senate.gov.

6, 000 people called and emailed Sen. Murray’s office last week about family separations. Very few were for family separation. People never call or email to support policy. They always contact senators to complain.

Red Hen Action

When people who believe in human rights protest people who are speaking propaganda and lies – like Sarah Huckabee Sanders, they are seen as unfair. Whereas the same people think that Trump telling people to beat people up is okay. Michelle Goldberg’s opinion piece about this: NYTimes.com.

This is what Maxine Waters said: ‘”Let’s make sure we show up wherever we have to show up,” the California Democrat said. “And if you see anybody from that Cabinet in a restaurant, in a department store, at a gasoline station, you get out and you create a crowd.

“And you push back on them. And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere. We’ve got to get the children connected to their parents.”‘: ChicagoTribune.com.

Get out the Vote!

Are our senators afraid of the political situation? Yes. We need to canvass in red districts and flip them back to get control.
Go canvassing: WA-Democrats.org.
Phone bank for Lisa Brown to flip CD 5 in eastern WA: OpenVPB.com
Have a party and write postcards to remind people to vote: https://postcardstovoters.org/, or to text people to remind them to vote: TextTheVote.com.

Interest Rates on Student Loans

The vote on rates for student loans is in July. The rates now are almost 6 percent. Both senators have voted to lower rates and allow refinancing.
More about this: TheHill.com.

Attacks on Medicaid and Medicare