Tuesday October 24th 2017

These notes from October 24th 2017 from all attendees; calls to action and links provided by me.
This page is updated by 3pm each Wednesday.
Notes from 9/12 ~ from 9/19 ~ from 9/26 ~ from 10/3 ~ (no meeting 10/10) ~ from 10/17.

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 was away at a meeting related to the wildfires. A staffer took notes for Senator Cantwell. Tommy’s email: tommy_bauer@cantwell.senate.gov
Senator Cantwell: Email ~ P: (202) 224-3441 ~ F: (202) 228-0514


This week’s rally. Next week’s rally is about challenges to funding for women’s health care.

Immigration

Help for People Worried about Coming into the US

Contact AirportLawyer.org if you have concerns about entering the country: they can pair you up with someone who can give you legal help.
About CAIR, represented by our speaker at the rally:
CAIRcoalition.org: The Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights Coalition strives to ensure equal justice for all immigrant men, women, and children at risk of detention and deportation in the DC metropolitan area and beyond.

Using IDs in airports

“Washington has an extension for REAL ID enforcement, allowing Federal agencies to accept driver’s licenses and identification cards from Washington at Federal facilities, nuclear power plants and federally regulated commercial aircraft until October 10, 2018.” DHS.gov.
Please check with the DHS before you fly: this administration’s rulings change quickly, and this is not intended as legal advice.

Chalk the Vote!

November 7th is the final day to vote. Please write “Vote!” or “Ask Your Friends to Vote!” or “Let’s Vote!” or similar in chalk on sidewalks in your area: then take a photo and post it on social media using the hashtag #ChalktheVote.

Signature Gathering at Huskies Game on Saturday

Saturday from 10am-1pm, Seattle Indivisible is gathering signatures for De-escalate Washington: Facebook event.
From SI: Join us at Husky Stadium and gather signatures from UW fans before they go take on the UCLA bruins. There will be booths, signs, free food and free parking for all volunteers! Thank you Solid Ground for sponsoring this event!!!

About De-escalate Washington petition: “This measure would require law enforcement to receive violence de-escalation, mental-health, and first-aid training, and provide first-aid; and change standards for use of deadly force, adding a “good faith” standard and independent investigation.”
This is important because “Trump (is) to lift military gear ban for local police” from CNN.

Health Care

The Bipartisan Health Care Stabilization Act

The bipartisan bill that has been worked on by Senators Murray and Alexander is ready for the vote in the Senate. More details in the CBO report. Senator Murray and Senator Alexander’s health care act has 24 cosponsors: 12 from each party. They are waiting for McConnell to take it to the floor. From McConnell: “What I’m waiting is to hear from President Trump what kind of health-care bill he might sign,”: WaPo. If it was in the House, they could do a discharge petition and get it onto the floor. There may be a similar process in the Senate. Not sure.

There is a copper (catastrophic) plan in the act. We knew that there would be compromises; but the act comes with ‘guardrails’, and Senator Murray made sure to strongly consider people with pre-existing conditions.

CHIP

Children’s Health Insurance Program is a Federal program for people who “earned too much money to qualify for Medicaid but too little to afford private health insurance premiums”. Congress “missed its Oct. 1 deadline to fund CHIP, which covers 8.3 million children nationwide with low-cost health insurance.” PBS.org. We (Washington State) recently received $10m as a short term fix for this. It takes $64m a year.

Teen Asking for an Abortion at Detention Center

Is Senator Murray helping the lady trying to get an abortion in the detention center?
The teen had an abortion. This is an article relating to it: Reuters.com

Freedom of Speech on College Campuses

Senator Murray is the ranking member of the Health Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. This means that she is the senior member of the Democratic contingents in it. There will be a hearing in the HELP Committee on Thursday the 26th at 10am EST (1pm PST?) about freedom of speech – in light of the incident regarding Richard Spencer’s recent white-supremacist speech: HELP.Senate.gov. Senator Murray has invited Richard Cohen to speak. “A graduate of Columbia University and the University of Virginia School of Law, (he practiced) … law in Washington, D.C., for seven years. Under his guidance, the SPLC won a series of landmark lawsuits against some of the nation’s most violent white supremacist organizations.” SPLcenter.org

The Budget

Reconciliation Process

For the Federal budget, the Republicans are using the Budget Reconciliation Process. Elizabeth MacDonough, as the Parliamentarian of the US Senate decides whether legislation can go through this process. The process requires a CBO score, 51 votes in the Senate, and they have a 6 month window to get it done with or without amendments.
“Reconciliation is a legislative process of the United States Congress that allows expedited passage of certain budgetary legislation on spending, revenues, and the federal debt limit with a simple majority vote in both the House (218 votes) and Senate (51 votes).” It was a reaction to Nixon’s presidency in 1974: wikipedia.org.

$1.5 Trillion Tax Cut

The budget would give huge tax cuts: NYT. The tax cuts rely on trickle down economics, the laffer curve to strengthen the economy: thereby stopping a runaway Federal deficit. Obviously that won’t work…

We need to contact our senators about how the proposed slashes to medicaid, medicare, parks, etc. could personally affect us:
Senator Murray
In DC: Phone: (202) 224-2621 / Toll Free: (866) 481-9186 ~ Fax: (202) 224-0238 All contact info / email
In Seattle: 2988 Jackson Federal Building, 915 2nd Avenue, Seattle WA 98174

Senator Cantwell
In DC: Phone: (202) 224-3441 ~ Fax: (202) 228-0514 All contact info / email
In Seattle: 915 Second Avenue, Suite 3206, Seattle WA 98174

The Environment

Disaster Funding: Including Wildfires in WA

Our senators have pressured for funding for disaster relief – particularly for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands: WaPo.
“Congress gave final approval Tuesday to a $36.5 billion emergency spending plan to pay for ongoing relief from recent natural disasters…Aid for Puerto Rico dominated the latest round of emergency funding. More than 80 percent of the island still is without power more than a month after the storm, and concerns are growing that a failure to restore electricity and provide basic services to residents could cause a mass exodus to the mainland United States … The spending deal includes … $576.5 million to address wildfires in the West”:
WaPo

Drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Can Senator Cantwell do anything about the drilling in ANWR? There was also a question about the Federal government building a road to transport the fuel. We don’t know.
‘“The notion that we, tonight, after 60-plus years, would give up what is a biologically important area, a critical habitat for polar bears, a breeding ground for caribou, migratory birds and over 200 species — for what? For oil we don’t need?” Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), the ranking member of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, said Thursday.’ TheHill.

Bristol Bay Salmon

“Within hours of meeting with a mining company CEO, the new head of the US Environmental Protection Agency directed his staff to withdraw a plan to protect the watershed of Bristol Bay, Alaska, one of the most valuable wild salmon fisheries on Earth” CNN.com

Zinke’s Appointment of 2 People to Fix PR’s Electrical Grid

Wow. We requested that Senator Cantwell push back on the passing of Federal funds to Zinke’s neighbors. At 9:30 EST, “The top Democrat on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee”… (Senator Cantwell)… “is calling for a federal probe into a $300 million contract given to the Montana-based Whitefish Energy firm to help repair Puerto Rico’s smashed electricity grid.” WashingtonExaminer.com. This is awesome!
Background: “Whitefish Energy is based in Whitefish, Mont., the home town of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.” WaPo.

Investigations into the Iranian Deal and Clinton

Republicans open investigations into Clinton uranium deal and Obama DOJ: ABCnews.Go.com – can the senators please protest this so that we can look at this administration’s ties with Russia?

Trump Interviewing the NY AGs

There needs to be separation of powers to keep our checks and balances in the USA. ‘”What’s most alarming about the President interviewing these particular candidates for US attorney positions is that these chief federal prosecutors are going to decide whether to indict Trump campaign advisers or staff if there’s collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians proven and possibly consider criminal charges against the President himself,”‘ CNN.com

Presidential Emoluments Violations

What are our senators doing about the emoluments clause that our president is violating? Both senators cosponsor this: S.65 – Presidential Conflicts of Interest Act of 2017 Senator Cantwell cosponsors this – to require future presidents to “disclose federal income tax returns for the three most recent taxable years”: S. 26

Senator Flake Quits

Senator Flake – whilst habitually voting along party lines – now quits because of them, not voting against them: CNN.com

A Question about Nominees

To find out about who is being nominated to head them – and be able to apply pressure to stop the nominations, check out individual committees: Senate.gov

Senators’ Newsletters / Ongoing News

The main way that the senators communicate with us is on Twitter.
Senator Murray: Twitter ~ Subscribe to newsletter ~ TeamPatty
Senator Cantwell: Twitter ~ Subscribe to newsletter

What Can our Senators do to Stop the Bad Legislation?

Sometimes it is back room deals, sometimes wide-spreading legislation; and sometimes it is focused legislation. Senator Murray recently cosponsored legislation involving the muslim ban: goldrushcam.com

Limited Government

Trump Has Many Cabinet Positions Unfilled

“No president in modern history has fallen so far behind in naming heads of agencies, assistant secretaries, ambassadors”: CNN.com

The State Dept is Eliminating Staff

In September, Tillerson announced plans to trim the State Department’s budget by close to 30 percent and cut 1,300 jobs,” It appears that Tillotson is doing this to remove obstacles to getting oil from foreign countries. AlJazeera.com

Net Neutrality

We don’t know when Ajit Pai will move on revoking net neutrality. He only just got reconfirmed, which could be slowing things down at the FCC. The vote on abolishing net neutrality could be soon. More about net neutrality. Please sign this petition: BattleForTheNet.com

Jimmy Carter supports Trump: CNN.com