People from all over the Seattle area meet with the senators’ staffers at the Federal Building in Seattle 12:30-1:30 every Tuesday.
These notes from October 3rd 2017 from all attendees; calls to action and links provided by me. This page is updated by 3pm Wednesday.
No meeting as such on October 10th because Kate and Tommy were busy. I nonetheless took letters in to both senators’ offices, requesting that they promote the enrollment period for ACA on their social media outlets and in emails that they send out – and their web sites. I also made sure to tell the staffers that this was my main concern.
These notes from October 3rd 2017 from all attendees; calls to action and links provided by me.
There will be no meeting next week, but we are welcome as always to bring in letters and ask questions of the staff. Tommy and Kate will be away. The next organized meeting will be the following Tuesday at 12:30, the 17th.
The NRA rate Congresspeople by how they vote on gun control legislation. WA MoCs:
U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, D-Renton: C-
U.S. Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Longiew: A
U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Issaquah: B-
U.S. Rep. Derek Kilmer, D-Gig Harbor: B
U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane: A
U.S. Rep. Denny Heck, D-Olympia: C+
U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-WA: F
U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-WA: F
Senator Cantwell’s statement re. the Vegas shooting:
“My heart breaks for the victims and the families affected by the senseless violence that took place last night in Las Vegas. I thank the police officers, first responders, and everyone who bravely stepped forward to protect lives.
“I refuse to accept today’s tragedy or last month’s school shooting outside Spokane, Washington as our new normal. Once again, families are forced to bury their loved ones. We must come together as a country to face this challenge.
“Now is the time to turn our thoughts and prayers into action. We must take common sense steps to end gun violence. We must put an end to this endless cycle of grief and agony.” cantwell.senate.gov
Senator Murray’s statement:
“Yet again, Americans awoke today to news of a horrific, senseless shooting that left so many innocent people dead and forced our first responders to risk their lives and run head first into chaos. As a mother and grandmother myself, my heart hurts for the many parents who just got the call that their child is among the victims. These calls are far too familiar to families in every corner of our country, including my home state of Washington, where community after community has been turned upside down by violence. That includes Freeman High School in Spokane County, where families are still dealing with the aftermath of a deadly shooting that happened barely two weeks ago.
“No parent should have to worry whether their child will return home safe from a day at school. No child should have to worry about whether their parent will return home safe from a night at a concert. And none of us should fall back on justifications, blame, or tweeted thoughts and prayers and think we’ve done enough to keep our families, friends, and neighbors safe.
“Like so many people, I refuse to believe the politics are too tough to come together to enact common sense policies and do whatever we possibly can to keep our children safe—or that we should sit by as innocent Americans suffer rampant gun violence that is unmatched in any other country in the world. Many people may read this and say now is not the time to talk about gun safety, but like so many moms and dads in our country, I want to know – if not now, when?” murray.senate.gov
Gun Silencer Bill
Concealed Weapon Bill
This bill has passed the House, but is unlikely to pass the Senate.
“Twenty-seven states and DC deny permits to people convicted of misdemeanor crimes of violence from carrying concealed guns in public. S.446 would allow people with these violent criminal convictions to carry across the country, even if they are barred from possessing guns at all in a given state.” everytownresearch.org
It is in the Senate Judiciary Committee. Republican Members of the Committee on the Judiciary.
Social Media Actions
Immigrants and Permanent Residents
“The department will begin collecting the information on Oct. 18… Green card holders and naturalized citizens will also have their social media information collected” NYT
There are concerns about S. 1693, SESTA: Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act of 2017. It aims to make web site owners liable for information that third parties put on their sites. The concern is that although it is purportedly to stop sex trafficking, it would enable the prosecution of people posting things of a political nature. It is in the Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, and it is being amended. It should not restrict our first amendment rights. Please contact Senator Thune, the Committee Head; or Senator Cantwell, who is on the committee with concerns, and detail how you feel it would affect our first amendment rights.
An article about it: theHill.
email Thune Phone: (202) 224-2321 Fax: (202) 228-5429
email Cantwell Phone: (202) 224-3441 Fax: (202) 228-0514
How disaster response is supposed to work: PDF & the situation in Puerto Rico: PDF, from Leslie.
Senator Cantwell is the ranking member on the Finance Commitee, therefore important in paying for solutions in PR. Her statement:
“I’ve called on the administration to create a position at the White House to make sure every agency, not just FEMA, but every agency is working to help us coordinate what will be a very long response to Puerto Rico,” More: cantwell.senate.gov. The president needs a bill to sign. Although there was a huge amount of money put forward for the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey which FEMA can use, ask Senator Cantwell to write one quickly: and include the other affected areas. According to NPR “$15.25 billion measure (was) approved by Congress … Harvey is projected to cost as much as $180 billion.”
Gerrymandering Court Case
There is a key case about gerrymandering going through the Supreme Court. “The key vote, Justice Anthony Kennedy, gave little indication which way he’ll side during the often lively session that saw a familiar partisan split.” CNN. It will determine how redistricting is done ongoing.
Senator Murray is working with Senator Alexander to strengthen the health care markets. They have already had 4 hearings. Here are actions to take. “The deal is also expected to allow for low-cost health care plans, dubbed “copper” plans” politico.com. (Copper relates to the traditional silver and gold health planconcept.) The issue is that they have to get other MoCs to sign onto their plan.
We need an individual mandate so that the healthy subsidize the sick and they are not overly burdened: and essential health benefits.
The CHIP (Children’s health Insurance Program) payments are due to start to run out because Congress has not passed the legislation: WaPo. The payments are in a 2 year cycle. It is in the Finance Committee. Senator Cantwell is on the committee.
Senators Wyden and Hatch are drafting a bill: “The federal government and the states have historically shared the cost of CHIP, with Washington paying approximately 70 percent of the cost in a typical state. The Affordable Care Act increased the federal share by 23 percentage points, with the result that the federal government has been paying the entire cost in 11 states.
The Senate and House bills would continue the 23 percentage point bonus in 2018 and 2019, cut it in half in 2020 and eliminate it in 2021 and 2022. NYTimes.
“The Senate Finance Committee today (Wednesday) passed bipartisan legislation to extend funding” spokesman.com.
ACA Signup Reminder
Funding and outreach for the Affordable Care Act has been cut. Please help spread the word about the open enrollment period so that more people have a chance to access affordable health insurance on the federal and state exchanges for 2018. Join the Indivisible ACA Signup Project on Facebook and help spread the word, or see www.thunderclap.it to remind people to sign up between November 1st and December 15th. In addition, HHS is planning on shutting the site down for 12 hours most Sundays: TheHill.
Here is a tracker for how the administration has undercut ACA.
Please tell Secretary Price that you don’t appreciate the cut in budget notifying people about the – now limited time – signups. His email: Secretary@HHS.gov Phone Number: 202-690-7000.
We have asked the senators to promote signups in their regular emails, Facebook pages, Tweets and web sites. Please ask your Representative to as well. Find your Rep.
20 week Abortion Ban Bill
There was a vote on Tuesday on HR 36, which bans abortions after 20 weeks. It will now go to the Senate. Rep. Herrera Beutler, Jaime [R-WA-3] is a co-sponsor.
How all WA Reps voted:
No D DelBene, Suzan WA 1st
No D Larsen, Rick WA 2nd
Aye R Herrera Beutler, Jaime WA 3rd
Aye R Newhouse, Dan WA 4th
Aye R McMorris Rodgers, Cathy WA 5th
No D Kilmer, Derek WA 6th
No D Jayapal, Pramila WA 7th
Aye R Reichert, David WA 8th
No D Smith, Adam WA 9th
No D Heck, Denny WA 10th
Pai is now confirmed as the Chairman of the United States Federal Communications Commission. He is in for 5 years. He will probably threaten net neutrality soon. Actions you can take.
4 democrats voted for him: Manchin (D-WV), McCaskill (D-MO) Peters (D-MI), and Tester (D-MT) senate.gov.
The Budget: and ANWR
“the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee to come up with $1 billion in savings over 10 years” – and so they will make up the shortfall by drilling for fossil fuels in Alaska. bloomberg.com Senator Murkowski is the Chairman of the Committee, and Senator Cantwell is the ranking member, the most senior democrat. Indivisible’s Trump’s Tax Scam Toolkit.
Zinke’s Use of Charter Flights
Senator Cantwell supports an investigation into Zinke’s use of public funds to take charter flights: WaPo.
Stopping Mueller Getting Fired
Senators Tillis & Coons have introduced bipartisan legislation to stop Trump being able to directly fire Trump: S.1741.
Please ask Senator 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 any senator. Email Senator Grassley Phone: 202-224-3744 Fax: 202-224-6020. Please also pressure other members of the committee to move this forward.
To thank them:
email Tillis: Phone: (202) 224-6342 Fax: (202) 228-2563
email Coons: Phone: (202) 224-5042