These notes from November 14th 2017 from all attendees; calls to action and links provided by me.
New information in the meeting is red.
Contact Our Senators – And Others
We need to contact them more: although Senator Cantwell just got a new phone system, so her calls are being forwarded to DC: and the offices were closed for Veterans Day. We should call, email, fax, mail letters, etc.
Our calls are tallied: contact them often in a day because they tally calls, etc. and our opinions about the issues. They note the number of contacts; our name; and zip code. For longer and more detailed information – about how budget cuts would affect us or our work or city, for instance, please email it so that they can copy and paste it and pass it to senators to use in speeches on the floor. They ask permission if they use it.
Mailed letters or postcards take up to 2 weeks because they go through security processes. According to GPO.gov it takes an extra 2 or 3 days unless they have mechanical problems, then it can take longer: this is why MoCs caution us that it can take 2 weeks.
When we send resistbot messages, it prints out like a fax: and if lots of people do it, it can be time consuming: so send them to republicans, lol! It is logged the same as an email or a phone call.
The Proposed Budget
There are estimated to be $1.5 trillion in cuts over 10 years; 14 million people will pay more taxes; an average of $900 per person in Washington. The clearest news sources about how this would affect us: NY Times ~ TaxMarchSeattle.org
Moveon have a system where you can text people to protest the tax scam: sign up here.
Deductions Still – for Corporations!
Rep. DelBene clearly outlines the deductions that corporations get – and individuals don’t: Twitter.com video – 2:38.
Republicans that will vote against the tax bill: those in California, New Jersey, and New York – because they have high SALT taxes, and want to retain their deduction. In the Senate version they get rid of it, but it is in the House version. NY, CA and NJ (and WA) are among the states who could be stung by losing their local tax deductions: ‘“There’s going to be a lot of disappointed people when they look at their tax bill,” one GOP member involved in discussions told HuffPost. “They’re going to think they got screwed.”’: HuffPost.
Talk to Reichert’s district (WA CD-8) about the housing tax deductions being taken away: they would suffer from lost mortgage and housing deductions: when their housing is already pretty unaffordable.
Drilling in ANWR
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: + $1,000,000,000
The proposed budget “would increase deficits over the 2018-2027 period by $1.4 trillion”: CBO:
Debt: – $1,400,000,000,000.
If we drill, it would poorly affect the caribou, who are important to the native people there: ArcticCircle.Uconn.edu. We need to contact Corey Gardner (CO), Michael Bennet (CO), Todd Young (IN), Joe Donnelly (IN) and other senators in mountainous states to tell them our thoughts about this.
“the Energy and Natural Resources Committee … voted on Wednesday to approve legislation that would open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil and gas drilling. … That legislation is to be merged with the tax bill, which Republicans are planning to pass using special procedures that protect against a Democratic filibuster in the Senate. Under that strategy, the drilling measure would share the protection from a filibuster.” NYTimes.
Senator Murkowski is pushing this bill: and she is totally able to stop the democrats blocking it for the next ten years through this legislation. She is planning for a democrat taking the president’s seat in 3 years.
The Byrd Rule
“the Byrd rule states that reconciliation bills … cannot contain “extraneous” provisions.” Bloomberg.com. This means that any hits to the Federal deficit have to be realized 10 years after the legislation takes effect.
Adoption Tax Deduction
Senator Murray has written a medium article about the adoption tax deduction and what it means to families.
Senator Murray is focused on allowing Mueller to have the resources that he needs to investigate this administration. The only people that can cosponsor the bills to protect Mueller are those on the Judiciary Committee.
The bills: S.1741 – Special Counsel Integrity Act &
S.1735 – Special Counsel Independence Protection Act
Please contact the Republican Members of the Judiciary Committee and tell them that you want the investigation to continue.
Drug Costs and New HHS Pick
Senator Murray has concerns about drug costs: and former Eli Lilly & Co. executive Alex Azar is Trump’s pick to lead the Dept. of Health and Human Services. “Azar … has in the past opposed government intervention on drug prices.”: Bloomberg.com
“The former health secretary, Dr. Tom Price, resigned after it was discovered the federal government paid $1 million for his travel on chartered jets.” WashingtonExaminer.com.
Removing the ACA Mandate
“more healthy people would choose not to buy insurance. And the Congressional Budget Office estimates that if that happens, the Treasury would save about $380 billion over 10 years. But also, 13 million fewer people would be insured over a decade, but it would help Republicans pay for tax cuts.”: NPR.org.
There is a hearing about pro-choice coming up soon, too.
Senator Murray had a call on Tuesday with Mark Kreidler, WA’s Insurance Commissioner. His previous statement about Trumpcare: “It also almost guarantees the eventual collapse of our health insurance markets across the country.” Insurance.wa.gov.
Zatezalo for the Mine Safety Agency
“David Zatezalo, a former coal mining executive who faced harsh criticism over his company’s safety record,” is Trump’s pick.
‘“It is disappointing to me that President Trump nominated one of the industry’s worst health and safety offenders to lead this critical agency,” Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.),’ theHill.com. He was confirmed on Wednesday the 15th.
Tim Kelly for Dept of Education post
Kelly ‘called for banning all Muslims from air travel, said that women aren’t interested in science careers and labeled low-income preschool parents “academically and socially needy.”‘ Politico.com. He was pulled from the nomination. Victory!
Sen. Murray’s Bill to Protect Veterans from for-profit Colleges
“An ethics law that prohibits Department of Veterans Affairs employees from receiving money or owning a stake in for-profit colleges that rake in millions in G.I. Bill tuition has ‘illogical and unintended consequences … veteran advocacy groups say suspending the law would make it easier for the for-profit education industry to exploit its biggest cash cow: veterans.'” BusinessInsider.com.
November 1st, Sen. Murray spearheaded a letter with other senators to protest that Veterans need to be protected from predatory colleges: ” In 2016, for-profit colleges received 34 percent of all GI Bill funds, or $1.7 billion”: Murray.Senate.gov.
S.2109, a bill that Senator Murray has cosponsored will be acted upon Thursday the 16th.
We won many seats nationwide last Tuesday: “Democrats score key poll victories in Virginia and New Jersey”: BBC.com. In WA, Manka Dhingra got in in the 45th LD (Redmond, Kirkland, and further east), giving us the majority in the State Senate, and control of all of its committees: WAstateLeg.org.
Doug Jones, AL
The election is December 12th. Please donate if you want to help Doug Jones (D) win in Alabama against Roy Moore (R), who is accused of being a sexual predator.
We can write postcards (like PostcardsToVoters.org), but they are “trying to avoid polarizing the race along party lines, since that would spell doom in one of the reddest states in the country, and that means keeping national progressive groups and personalities on the sidelines.” NBC.News.com
No further movement from Congress right now, even though there is bipartisan support for relief funding: “Puerto Rico requests $94.4 billion”: Reuters.com.
In Washington, our gun laws could be endangered by the HR 38, the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017. It allows people in any state to have a concealed weapon permit.
The topic of our rally today was DACA. Primarily, ICE is after alien criminals – in theory at least. ‘Anyone’ (law-abiding or not) ‘picked up during these sweeps is “collateral damage”‘: theStranger.com. There are 1500 people in the privatized detention center in Tacoma, and the administration wants to militarize the border. 30 organizations signed the resolution delivered to the senators today.
We need a solid legal pathway for DREAMers to become citizens.
The DREAM Act
The senators are unable to cosponsor the DREAM Act, 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.
Comment on Proposed Increase in Some Park Visit Fees
It is proposed that fees increase from $25 to $70 to park at major parks to increase revenues.
Comment here. Written comments can be sent to 1849 C Street, NW, Mail Stop: 2346 Washington, DC 20240.
There is a huge deficit in funding of parks maintenance. They have “a $12 billion deferred maintenance backlog” NPCA.org.
“the National Park Service (NPS) is considering increases to fees at highly visited national parks during peak visitor seasons.” NPS.gov. Fact sheet – PDF
They expect to raise $70m. The deficit is $12bn, so $70m would be a drop in the ocean. Also, there is a proposed slash in parks budget. Go figure… Please comment: if they raise the fees, there is a big risk that people won’t go to them, and this will be used as an excuse to drill on / sell them.
Zinke is expediting fossil fuel drilling next to our parks: NewRepublic.com.
We can donate to parks: NPS.gov.
There is a provision in S. 1460 to enrich our experiences in our parks. The bill is Sen. Murkowski’s energy bill, sponsored only by Sen. Cantwell.
Watch the Ken Burns series about parks: PBS.org.
Net Neutrality and Tribune-Sinclair Merger
There is great concern about net neutrality and the Tribune-Sinclair news merger: Senator Cantwell spearheaded a letter with other senators calling for an impartial investigation: “the senators point out 16 actions and events that suggest a disturbing pattern of a three way quid pro quo involving Sinclair, the Trump Administration, and Chairman Ajit Pai.”: Cantwell.Senate.gov.
It would be great if Congress could pass a bill to counter the FCC’s attack on net neutrality, but we are in the minority so we can’t get it through the Senate and / or House. Once through Congress, legislation is much more long lived than if it comes through the executive branch (like Ajit Pai).
Nuclear War with N. Korea
S. 200 is a bill scheduled for a hearing to protect us. It has all democrat cosponsors.