Updated 3pm Wednesday. 9/11/18 notes from visiting WA’s senators’ staffers. Rally vid: 29.15.
9/4/18: notes. FAQs & Archive. Online info about our senators.
By Holly Brewer, Loren Bast and Janet Kierstead.
We will be meeting in the Eagle room next to the cafeteria on the second floor for the forseeable future:
They are doing lighting renovation in the other rooms.
Kate Baumgartner (seated, left) Sen. Murray’s Seattle Director
Louise O’Rourke (seated, center) Sen. Cantwell‘s King County Outreach Director
Kimi, Sen. Cantwell’s staffer (seated, right) – they loved the Handmaid’s Tale photos!
At the rally, we protested the nomination of Kavanaugh for the Supreme Court.
Rally vid: 29.15.
Senate Has Short Recess
Energy & Water Appropriations
S. 1609: Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018
“A final spending bill for next year puts the Hanford nuclear reservation budget at $2.4 billion, well above the amount proposed by the Trump administration….Differing spending bills passed by the House and Senate were combined by a conference committee to come up with the spending plan, which will go back to both bodies for approval….The spending plan also includes Department of Energy money for work at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland.” Tri-CityHerald.com
There will soon be appropriations for projects like the port in Everett’s south terminal wharf. AJOT.com
Opioid Crisis Response Act
S. 2680: Opioid Crisis Response Act (OCRA)
The bipartisan OCRA bill (8 cosponsors as of today from each party) is combining aspects of different bills and coming out of the Finance Committee. The Senate will vote on it next week.
“The fact that so many senators across so many committees were able to put aside political differences to reach an agreement on this legislation, especially given our current political environment, speaks to the seriousness and pervasiveness of opioid and substance use disorders,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said. Finance.Senate.gov
The Kavanaugh Nomination
The Next Step
Committee markup is the next step of the Kavanaugh nomination. It is scheduled for this Thursday. After they vote if it goes through, it will go to the Senate floor. October 8, the Supreme Court starts session. Sen. McConnell wants the new justice to be in office then, so he wants the vote to be very soon.
Sen. Hirono Asking About Native Rights
Sen. Hirano pointed out that Kavanagh’s previous rulings regarding native rights has negative implications for the natives in Alaska: This will affect how Sen. Murkowski feels about the nomination, as her recent write-in election victory was strongly supported by Alaskan natives.
Saving us from an Extreme Supreme Court
See “Court-packing, Democrats’ nuclear option for the Supreme Court, explained” at Vox.com .
Sen. Murray’s overall rejection of the Kavanaugh nomination is because 45 has clearly said that he will put in place a nominee who rejects contraception, abortion and health care for those with pre-existing conditions, as well as someone who will neglect the environment and do everything in deference to corporations.
Sen. Murray on Kavanaugh’s potential to attack people’s health care if they have pre-existing conditions. She will reiterate her objections to Kavanaugh’s nomination later this week.
Sen. Murray on the potential for Kavanaugh to attack women’s health care rights.
Sen. Cantwell makes a strong statement against the nomination: “No one is above the law – especially the president.” PBS.Twimg.com Thank you, Sen. Cantwell!
Kate spoke recently at the SI planned parenthood rally – thank you, Kate! 🙂
The Administration Shortened Funding Periods for Planned Parenthood
“The Trump administration … shortened funding periods for the Title X grants given to organizations that provide family planning services from three years to seven months.” Fortune.com
Senate Democrats Are Suing to get the Documents
9/11/18: “Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) told reporters that Democrats would file a ‘legal action’ later this week to try to force the Trump administration to comply with a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that senators filed last month for Kavanaugh’s records.” TheHill.com
Leaked Bush-era Documents
“Leaked Kavanaugh Documents Discuss Abortion and Affirmative Action.” NYTimes.com
Allegations of Perjury
“By releasing new documents (pdf) previously marked ‘committee confidential’ late on Tuesday, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) doubled down on accusations that U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh committed perjury in his 2006 confirmation hearing for his seat on a federal appeals court.” CommonDreams.org
Please call, fax or email those who are on the fence – or for Kavanaugh!
Tribal Social Security Fairness Act
S. 1309: Tribal Social Security Fairness Act
“Bipartisan legislation introduced by U.S. Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and John Thune (R-SD) to correct a long-standing inequity in the Social Security Act that prevents elected tribal leaders from contributing to and accessing Social Security benefits passed the U.S. Senate and will head to the President’s desk to be signed into law.” NativeNewsOnline.net
Sen. Cantwell’s Actions on This
“Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the top Democrat on the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, joined Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and bipartisan colleagues to unveil a new federal plan for addressing wildfires. Senator Cantwell highlighted projects in Washington state, including in Stevens County and Walla Walla, to show the benefits of science-driven approaches to reducing the risks from wildfires using new local coordination, technology, and funding.” Cantwell.Senate.gov
“Some highlights of the legislation include establishing a contingency fund for use in severe fire years through 2027, funding over $100 million for fire prevention projects and working with utility companies to better prevent trees from touching power lines and starting fires.” Krem.com
Statements on the 9/11 Anniversary
Sen. Murray: “On this day, we pause to not only remember the lives of our fellow Americans lost to tragedy seventeen years ago, but also to honor the enduring legacy of the countless people, including the many brave first-responders, whose impact providing aid and comfort in the minutes, hours, days, and weeks after that horrific attack will never be forgotten. At one of our nation’s darkest hours we saw the best of who we are, with people from all walks of life joining together to do whatever was needed to help neighbors thousands of miles away in distress. It is that sense of country and shared pride – that no matter the challenge, we’re all in this together – that allowed us to move past that awful day, and fuels our hope that by working together, our nation’s future can be better than our past. As our country continues to grow and heal, may we never forget the lessons of compassion and community we took from that fateful day, and what the strength of the American spirit can achieve when we stand united.
In 2009, Congress designated September 11th as a National Day of Service and Remembrance. To find opportunities to get involved in your community, please visit www.serve.gov.” Murray.Senate.gov
LWCF Helped to Save Thousands of Acres of Forest
S. 569: Land and Water Conservation Authorization and Funding Act
“Washington’s congressional delegates, land management agency officials and local political leaders celebrated the Columbia Land Trust’s decade of work to conserve 20,000 acres of forestland near Mount St. Helens.” Columbian.com
Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., also used the event to discuss her work to get the Land and Water Conservation Fund — which expires at the end of this month — reauthorized. She explained, “If there is a project in the nation that speaks to how important the Land and Water Conservation Fund is, it is this project here in Skamania County that highlights the recreation and preservation of so much of a unique part of our state so that all can enjoy our public lands.”
LWCF in WA
(This program has given our area Green Lake State Park, Gas Works Park, Discovery Park, and many more.)
Sen. Baldwin’s CRA Against Junk Health Care Plans
What is a Congressional Review Act? Wikipedia.org
Sen. Cantwell has cosponsored it.
WISPolitics.com reports, “U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin’s new legislation to overturn the Trump administration’s expansion of ‘junk insurance’ plans needs the support of 30 Senators to force a vote. Today, she announced 44 Senators have cosponsored her resolution of disapproval of the Trump administration’s final junk insurance plan rule.
‘The Trump Administration is rewriting the rules on guaranteed health care protections that millions of Americans depend on. They are moving forward on an expansion of junk insurance plans that can deny coverage to people with pre-existing conditions and don’t have to cover essential services like prescription drugs, emergency room visits and maternity care…’ said Senator Baldwin.
‘Anyone who says they support coverage for people with pre-existing conditions should support this resolution to overturn the Trump Administration’s expansion of junk insurance plans.’” More: Cantwell.Senate.gov
Separated Immigrant and Refugee Families
We object to around 500 children still being separated from their families.
8/21/18: The ACLU has reported that 565 immigrant children were still being held. The government has already deported the parents of 366 of those children, with six of that number under the age of five. The courts and the ACLU are looking for the parents of the children still in custody. “After forcefully rejecting the government’s assertion that the ACLU is solely responsible for finding deported parents — rather than say, the administration who deported them — the court has ordered both us and the administration to create a plan to locate and reunite deported parents with their children.” ACLU.org
“366 of those children, including six who are under the age of five … the government already deported their parents”.
Why Were Families Being Separated?
6/7/18: Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced last month that the Justice Department will prosecute anyone who crosses the border illegally. Sessions says the administration is trying to discourage illegal immigration, mainly from Central America.
Since children cannot go to jail with their parents, hundreds of migrant children — some as young as 18 months — have been placed in the care of the Office of Refugee Resettlement.
Children cannot go to jail (with their parents) because of the Flores Settlement.
The Flores Settlement
“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.
Parents Had to Chose to Separate from Their Children
“When the administration began separating migrant families who had crossed the border without permission as part of its “zero tolerance” prosecution initiative, it split their immigration cases as well. Parents remained in detention near the border for the most part, moving rapidly through court dockets historically unfriendly to immigrants’ claims that found hundreds of them eligible for deportation.” CNN.com
The Detention Centers Make Profits
“ICE spends more than $2 billion a year on immigrant detention through private jails.” NPR.org
The Lawsuit Stopping Family Separations
6/26/18: “Federal judge orders reunification of parents and children, end to most family separations at border.” CNN.com
HHS’ Response to the Lawsuit
Health and Human Services have to give updates to the court about their efforts to reunite families as a result of the lawsuit.
Sens. Murray and Cantwell Demand An Investigation
6/28/18: “Inspector General Launches Inquiry After Senators Murray, Cantwell Demand Investigation of Health Department’s Treatment of Children Separated from Parents Under President Trump’s Policy.” Murray.Senate.gov The Inspector General.
On September 23rd, the government runs out of funding – and they will need to shut down if they can’t get enough appropriations bills through. ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) has to be funded. The DHS (they take care of adults and children in detention) was funded in a previous bill. Please see the archive for links with more information. Congress is passing a sequence of minibus bills to fund the US this year to avoid the headache of an omnibus (which happened last year). Brookings.edu
Our Senators Should Call for Scott Lloyd, Nielsen and Azar to Resign
LLoyd Scott had a personal experience where he got a lady pregnant and he drove her to get her abortion, and ever since, he has decided that there is never a reason a lady should be allowed an abortion, even if she would die. MotherJones.com He now heads the Office of Refugee Resettlement, where the administration detains all ages and sexes. Multiple cases where he has denied people abortions: WaPo.com. 2/20/18: “The ORR’s policy of requiring the director’s approval before an unaccompanied minor can have an abortion was first laid out in a March 4, 2017, memo.” Politico.com
Sen. Murray Asked for Lloyd’s Resignation
3/1/18: “U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate health committee, called for Scott Lloyd to resign.” Murray.Senate.gov
Sen. Durbin Asked for Nielsen’s Resignation
7/31/18: “Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) on Tuesday called for Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to resign over the Trump administration’s ‘zero tolerance’ immigration policy, which resulted in the separation of migrant children from their parents at the southern border.” TheHill.com
A Toddler Died 6 Weeks After Being Released from ICE
In Texas 8/27/18: “Yazmin Juárez told the news outlet in a story published Monday evening that she and her daughter, Mariee, crossed the border from Guatemala in March and were soon sent to an ICE family detention center in Dilley. There, according to the story, 18-month-old Mariee developed an infection and respiratory symptoms that ultimately led to her death.” TexasTribune.org
Building New Detention Centers
“$10 Million From FEMA Diverted to Pay for Immigration Detention Centers, Document Shows.” NYTimes.com
Our Senators Moved to Block the Travel Ban
3/7/18: Sens. Murray, Cantwell Cosponsor Bill to Block President Trump’s Updated Travel Ban. Murray.Senate.gov
The Public Charge
“The Trump administration has signaled its plans to significantly alter the rule on eligibility of applicants for permanent residency and applicants intending to immigrate to the US by redefining ‘public charge’ determinations related to the use of public benefits. This would make it harder to enter the country and reduce access to a broad range of health and human service safety-net programs for immigrants already living here, including US citizen children.” CHCF.org
Stopping Planes Being Stolen
King5.com reports, “The Administrator of the Transportation Security Administration says they haven’t implemented any ‘interim measures’ since a man stole a plane from Sea-Tac Airport in August…’We haven’t changed any measures,’ David Pekoske told Senator Maria Cantwell during Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation hearing on Wednesday. ‘What we’ve done is we’ve highlighted the incident and provided some additional detail to our federal security directors so they’re particularly alert for this particular incident. And as we get the investigative information and look at the facts, we’ll determine whether or not changes are needed to procedures.’… On Aug. 10, Richard Russell, a Horizon Air employee stole a Q400 plane out of a cargo area on the northern edge of the airport by towing it. It’s possible it appeared to be normal activity for the area. It wasn’t until after Russell had taxied a few hundred feet to runway 16C when air traffic controllers became suspicious.”
The next step is for the TSA and the FBI to put together a report – that will hopefully lead to recommendations and security measures.
The Press is not the Enemy of the People
8/16/18: “Senate adopts resolution declaring ‘the press is not the enemy of the people'”. CBSNews.com
It is hurricane season again. Louise (Sen. Cantwell’s Seattle-area staffer) is going to ask Sen. Cantwell’s FEMA staffer again about what is happening there.
We want Puerto Rico to be a state so that they can have taxation AND representation.
Maybe Hurricane Florence and its aftermath – and this administration’s inevitable tepid response – will encourage people to vote for Democrats.
The International Court
Our senators have no jurisdiction over whether the president or the administration apply sanctions to individuals or otherwise pressure them to stop their investigations or findings.
“America’s long-running reluctant relationship with the International Criminal Court came to a crashing halt on Monday as decades of U.S. suspicions about the tribunal and its global jurisdiction spilled into open hostility, amid threats of sanctions if it investigates U.S. troops in Afghanistan.” WaPo.com
Our President is Nuts
We have too few seats in the house. Our senators want a sane president.
Sen. Murray’s Statement
8/21/18: Sen. Murray, “Today’s news is another sad and stark reminder of the growing cloud of corruption and criminal activities surrounding President Trump. No matter what the President and his Republican allies will say or do to try to undermine the Mueller investigation in the coming hours or days, here are the facts: Not only did a jury convict the President’s former campaign chairman of fraud today, President Trump’s long-time personal attorney and fixer pleaded guilty to violating campaign finance laws by making illegal payments at the direction of President Trump in order to influence the election. These developments are real, they are serious, and they underscore the importance of allowing Robert Mueller to continue to follow the facts, wherever they may lead, to get the answers Americans deserve.” Murray.Senate.com
Sen. Warren’s Statement
“If senior administration officials think the President of the United States is not able to do his job, then they should invoke the 25th Amendment,” CNN.com. She was referring to the high profile op-ed this week in the NYTimes.com. Its main message is that the only reason they don’t impeach him is because they don’t want a Constituional crisis.
Sen. Corker Calls Trump Reckless
“Bob Corker Says Trump’s Recklessness Threatens ‘World War III’”. NYTimes.com
Sen. Flake Says ‘We May Have Hit Bottom’
Of Congress, Flake charged it “is failing its constitutional obligations to counteract the power of the president, and in so doing is dishonoring itself, at a critical moment in the life of our nation.” He continued, “President Donald Trump is closing the Palestine Liberation Organization’s mission in Washington, the latest U.S. blow against the Palestinians and an international court during the stalled Mideast peace process.” For Flake’s complete address to Harvard Law School graduation: Time.com
Attacks on Palestinians
What can our senators do to stop the attacks on Palestinians? Nothing. Appropriations decisions are made by the appropriations committee, then it is implemented by the international committee.
We don’t understand how he can unilaterally close down the PLO office.
“President Donald Trump is closing the Palestine Liberation Organization’s mission in Washington, the latest U.S. blow against the Palestinians and an international court during the stalled Mideast peace process.”
“The State Department announced this month that the United States is ending its decades of funding for the U.N. agency that helps Palestinian refugees. A week earlier, the administration slashed bilateral U.S. aid for projects in the West Bank and Gaza.” Meanwhile, Israeli settlements continue on Palestinian land. APNews.com