Tuesday the 28th of August 2018

Updated 3pm Wednesday. 8/28/18 notes from visiting WA’s senators’ staffers. No rally vid.
8/21/18: notes. FAQs & Archive. Online info about our senators.
By Holly Brewer and Janet Kierstead.

Met with

Kate Baumgartner, Sen. Murray’s Seattle Director (on the right) ~ Main P: (202) 224-2621 / (866) 481-9186 ~ F: (202) 224-0238
and
Louise O’Rourke, Sen. Cantwell‘s King County Outreach Director (center).
and
Kimi, Sen. Cantwell’s staffer (on the left)

Rally

11.45am-12.30pm we rallied at ICE.

This week we joined in solidarity with #Hungry4Justice – Families Belong Together and Free. We marched over to the ICE office (1000 2nd Ave) together…..again! Their event is for 3 days (Mon-Wed), but we wanted to take the time normally dedicated to our rally to show our support! Here is the link to their event: FB. This is part of an international strike. SolidarityHungerStrike.com

Page full of photos of the rally

Kate can’t join us next week, but Louise can. Sen. Murray’s staff will see if another staffer can join us. It is the time of year that staffers leave and join up – college is starting.

Family Separations

The ACLU has filed class-action suits about this. ACLU.org

More about the family separations: ACLU.org.

Our Senators Require Investigations

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

7/31/18 Sen. Murray previously joined a letter from Sens. Wyden and Weinstein to the administration demanding answers about the children taken from their families seeking refugee status. The letter concludes, “Please provide a staff briefing by no later than August 3, 2018, and written responses no later than August 1, 2018…” Murray.Senate.gov.

Sen. Murray about reunification of families at the border. Twitter.com

Kavanaugh’s Nomination

8/18 In letter to Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Grassley, Senator Murray raises concerns with rushed confirmation timeline and refusal to provide public access to Judge Kavanaugh’s records. Murray.Senate.gov

Thanks, Kate, for your impassioned channeling of Patty at the KavaNOPE rally this weekend! About the national rally: SocialistWorker.org

We need to protest and be heard about this the way that ADAPT did for health care.

If they get a meeting, our senators need to ask him about his record working with the Bush administration as it related to the use of torture (ChicagoTribune.com) and his attitude about corporations deserving the same rights as people – to privacy, etc. More: PDF.

The Debacle

Chairman Grassley plans to begin confirmation hearings on Judge Kavanaugh on September 4th, despite just two percent of Kavanaugh’s available White House documents having been made public.” Murray.Senate.gov

We need to contact Sen. Grassley and insist that he hand over all information pertaining to Brett Kavanaugh’s work. Email / Call: (202) 224-3744 / Fax: (202) 224-6020

Please sign the petition! Petitions.MoveOn.org

Find out how each senator is saying they will vote – with the email addresses of their staffers: Docs.Google.com.

Sen. Cantwell on Kavanaugh

A participant noted that Sen. Cantwell should publicly say why she is against Kavanaugh and be public about it.

Sen. Cantwell has been holding out for a meeting with Kavanaugh: the idea is that if she says she will vote no, she will not get to have a meeting or hearing with him. She does not appear to have had a meeting with him yet. Also, his first meetings will be with the Judiciary Committee, because they are the ones who first approve him. Neither of our senators are on the committee. He has not met with all of them yet.

Sen. Schumer is Suing for Info About Kavanaugh

“Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said his caucus is preparing to sue the National Archives if it is unable to meet the party’s Freedom of Information Act request for hundreds of thousands of pages of Kavanaugh documents that have not yet been disclosed publicly. If the Archives has not met Democrats’ request in 20 days, Schumer and his members say they will go to court.” politico.com

Our Senators

Our senators need to continue to push for more info because it is their constitutional duty, and they are responsible for assertively asking for it.

Sen. Murray has been keeping up the drum beat against Kanavaugh. Rewire.News & Murray.Senate.gov

Sen. Murray also has a Roe banner. Please share your personal story about how Roe vs. Wade has personally affected you or those you love, and how losing it would affect you. Murray.Senate.gov

Sen. Collins’ Impression

Sen. Collins was highlighting the judge’s statement that the Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion is settled law. WaPo.com

Health Care

Health Care Items Shortages

There are nationwide shortages. There will be a hearing about this soon. HELP.Senate.gov

The 21st Century Cures Act

HR. 34: 21st Century Cures Act
This bill helps the FDA to modernize and incorporate new technologies to store and manage data and use new technologies for treatments.

“Our longstanding goal for medical care is to ensure that the right drug or device is delivered to the right patient at the right time. This vision is increasingly possible with the innovative products that are becoming available. Many of these opportunities are enabled by new technology platforms such as digital health, targeted medicines, and regenerative medicine, including cell and gene therapies.” Blogs.FDA.gov

Sen. Pauls’ Amendment to Defund Planned Parenthood Failed

S.Amdt.3967, proposed amendment to HR. 6157: Department of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act, 2019

“The Senate rejected an effort by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to attach a provision blocking federal funding for Planned Parenthood to a massive government spending bill.
Senators voted 45-48 on Paul’s amendment, with 60 votes needed to add the provision to the spending bill. GOP Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) voted with Democrats to oppose the amendment.” TheHill.com

It failed 45 / 48. Sen. Cantwell voted nay. Sen. Murray did not vote. Senate.gov

Shortages

There are bad health care items shortages nationwide (even simple items like saline): this is due in large part because many of them were made in places where manufacturing was hit badly by Hurricane Maria. NYTimes.com In June, multiple senators, including Sen. Murray, have written a letter to FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, asking him to set up a task force. Cassidy.Senate.gov In July, he set one up.

Within the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Senator Murray is Ranking Member. ‘Ranking’ means that she is the most senior Democrat on the committee; therefore, she is the second senior (after the senior Republican). As ranking member, it is her job many times to take pieces from many bills and make a more robust bill.

Funding for Child Care and The NIH Passed

HR. 6157: Department of Defense and Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act, 2019
It passed 85 / 7. Sen. Cantwell voted yea. Sen. Murray did not vote. Senate.gov

“The legislation … provides a significant increase in funding to advance medical research, improve rural health care, and fight the opioid crisis. Further, resources are provided to keep investing in state-focused education programs and college affordability through Pell Grants.” Appropriations.Senate.gov

Congress is working hard to produce smaller bipartisan legislation in the form of minibus bills in order to not have to shut down the government or work through an enormous appropriations bill the way they did before.

Bill to Protect Impartiality, Independence of Administrative Law Judges

Sens. Cantwell and Collins have written a bill to push back against the administration’s attack on balanced selections of the judges.

Sen. Collins explained, “Our bipartisan legislation would ensure that administrative law judges remain well qualified and impartial, while this crucial process remains nonpartisan and fair.” said Sen. Collins. Cantwell.Senate.gov

45’s Executive Order

EO: Executive Order Excepting Administrative Law Judges from the Competitive Service

7/10/18 45 signed the executive order to politicize the positions. More about this: NPR.org. The EO

About the Positions

“Like courtroom judges, administrative law judges hold hearings, find facts, and render decisions in entitlement, regulatory, and enforcement cases. Like courtroom judges, they need to be highly qualified, impartial, independent, and free from political interference. There are 1,900 administrative law judges in independent agencies and executive departments. They hear cases involving everything from whether people are entitled to benefits such as Social Security, Medicare, and worker’s compensation to stock fraud claims and they approve license applications.” Cantwell.Senate.gov

Sen. Cantwell Got Funds for Tsunami Prep in WA

“U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA), a senior Democrat on the Senate Commerce Committee, announced that Washington state received $725,822 in grants from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for the Washington State Tsunami Program in support of tsunami warning infrastructure, signage, outreach, and education.” KBKW.com

Cherry Tariffs

Sens. Murray and Cantwell wrote a letter to Perdue, along with Rep. Dave Reichert and Rep. Dan Newhouse, to ask for relief from the impacts of the tariffs. It included the statement, “our cherry growers are estimating they will experience up to $86 million in damages from trade wars during the 2018 season, and they deserve the same assistance afforded to producers of other agricultural commodities that have been negatively impacted by retaliatory tariffs.” Murray.Senate.gov

Hanford Cleanup

Our senators continue to push for more money to clean up the nuclear site at Hanford.

“Every budget cycle, we wonder how much Congressional funding will go toward Hanford cleanup and every budget cycle we rely primarily on Murray’s clout in the Senate and our regional leaders in the House to make sure there is enough.” Tri-CityHerals.com

The Land and Water Conservation Fund

S. 569: Land and Water Conservation Authorization and Funding Act

This is Sen. Cantwell’s bill.
It is in the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Sen. Cantwell is the highest ranking Dem in the committee.

Sen. Cantwell’s tweet: “For the economy, sportsmen, wildlife, and our kids & grandkids, we must permanently reauthorize #LWCF. In Washington state alone, the outdoor recreation economy contributes over $26 billion in consumer spending and supports more than 201,000 direct jobs.” Twitter.com

Sen. Cantwell ran a rally in Seattle on 8/13/18 to fight for the fund.

LWCF in WA

Which projects / areas have benefited from the grants? Map: Wilderness.org List: Projects.INVW.org.

“The LWCF is one of the country’s best conservation programs, preserving public lands and ensuring access to outdoor recreation in rural and urban areas,” the senators wrote. “For the last half century, it has protected lands, historic sites, national parks, wilderness areas, and urban parks in every state… It is critical that this program be reauthorized before its expiration on September 30, 2018.

This program has given our area Green Lake State Park, Gas Works Park, Discovery Park, and many more.” Cantwell.Senate.gov

Act!

Sen. Murkowski heads the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. Please contact her and ask her to bring the LWCF bill to a vote: Senator Murkowski Email P: (202) 224-6665 F: (202)-224-5301 This is the reauthorization bill: S. 569: Land and Water Conservation Authorization and Funding Act

Petitions: TPL.org & Outdoors.org & CredoAction.com.

Contact the Department of the Interior
Call: (202) 208-3100 or email feedback@ios.doi.gov – or use this form.

Condolences about McCain’s Passing

Sen. Murray

“The world lost a giant tonight. Perhaps no figure in my lifetime better represents someone so dedicated to his country than John McCain, who redefined what it meant to serve and who will always be a role model for respect, courage, and the duty to something greater than oneself. I will never forget our time working together in the Senate. Whether it was side-by-side, or on opposite sides, he earned my respect every time and I truly believe the Congress and our country are both better places for his life’s work. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family. May they find comfort knowing that his courage and sacrifice forever shaped the great country he loved so dearly.” Murray.Senate.gov

Sen. Cantwell

“I am saddened to hear of Senator John McCain’s passing. He had a major impact on the discourse of many issues discussed in the United States Senate. From campaign finance reform and trade to international policy and, most recently, protecting health care, his impact will long be remembered. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.” Cantwell.Senate.gov

Who will replace McCain?

The Governor of Arizona will choose his replacement, and because of Arizona law, it will be a Republican. We will see.

People Released from Detention Centers

People are released from the detention center in Tacoma at any time of day – even in late afternoon. They are given no guidance. Non-profits help and pay for them to be reunited with their families and friends.

This is Wrong!

The GEO Group should release people before noon so that they have time to meet up with friends and family: and find accommodations and food. Our senators need to write legislation that protects the human rights of prisoners and refugees / legal immigrants.

Aid NW

Aid NW: AidNW.org helps the 30-40 people per day on average released from detention. They park a motor home there in the week and offer clothes, food, information, and backpacks. They also have access to emergency housing.

Their wish list – please donate! AidNW.org

They need volunteers at the Tacoma Detention center to:
1) Offer hospitality services to released immigrants, provide transportation to various locations as well as other services to enrich their daily lives (see Post-Detention Accompaniment Network–PDAN page for further detail).
2) Visit immigrants in the Detention Center during public visitation hours.

The Catholic Church is also helping. NWCatholic.org

National Prison Strike

There is also a national prison strike this week. IncarceratedWorkers.org Two hundred people in the Tacoma detention center are on hunger strike in solidarity. There have been 15 hunger strikes over the last few years.

Dignity in Detention Bill

S. 3112: Dignity for Detained Immigrants Act of 2018
Sen. Murray has cosponsored the dignity in detention bill.

Sen. Murray’s caseworker may be able to help in individual cases. NWIRP help with engaging Sen. Murray’s office if it is pertinent.

When it comes to the conditions in detention centers, it is down to the Bureau of Prisons‘ regulations.

Secure Elections Act

S. 2611: Secure Elections Act
It is stuck in the Committee on Rules and Administration. It has 3 Democrat and 2 Republican cosponsors.
Our senators are not cosponsors. This may be because only those in the Rules and Administration Committee can.

Drawn from Consideration

Last week, the Senate Rules Committee abruptly pulled the bill from consideration and a White House spokesperson suggested it was unnecessary because the Department of Homeland Security already “has all the statutory authority it needs to assist state and local officials” as they seek to ensure their elections are secure.

Sen. Lankford has Hope

In remarks to a Yukon chamber luncheon Friday and to reporters after the event, Lankford (R-OK) said the bill still has the support of the Senate and president, blaming “misnomers” and an “inappropriate” comment from the White House for any confusion.

“We had a bipartisan majority that would support it through committee but there were a couple questions from some of the members and individuals that said, ‘Hey, I’ve got one thing I want to be able to look at.’ The decision was made to be able to pull it, try to work that out so we can have a unanimous majority on it, rather than just a bipartisan majority,” Lankford said.

“I’ve talked to several people in the White House. They are not opposing this bill. There has been an inappropriate word that came out saying they were in opposition to it. They’re not. Do they have some questions? Yes, they do, but they were already allowing it to be able to go through the Rules Committee markup and then they wanted to see some things change before it went to the floor, but they are not trying to stop this bill.”’ SWTimes.com

It Would Allow AGs to See Threats

“The Secure Elections Act would grant security clearances to a top election official in each state so they can track threats to their voting systems, would establish a channel of communication between Homeland Security and states, and would incentivize states to audit their elections.” SWTimes.com

WA’s Voting Systems Security

Our state’s voting systems appear to be mainly secure. HeraldNet.com
However, its “failure to require post-election audits on paper ballots leaves the state open to undetected hacking and other Election Day problems.” CDN.AmericanProgress.org – more about the Center for American Progress.

Sen. Cantwell’s Amendment Enriches Coding Opportunities

S.3217: Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act
H.R.2353
: Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act

When the Senate was working through the reauthorization of the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education (CTE) Act (through the above bills), Sen. Cantwell introduced legislation into the amendment to encourage schools to teach computer science. About the CTE Act: EducationDive.com. The amendment – with many other provisos: Congress.gov.

WA Has a Huge Demand for Computer Grads

Many colleges are limiting how many people they can take in in computer science classes. SeattleTimes.com

“The state’s workforce has struggled to keep up with the demand for new coding jobs. In 2015, only 1,212 Washington students graduated from college with computer science degrees, leaving more than 16,200 computing jobs in the state unfilled.” Cantwell.Senate.gov “In Washington, more than 13,000 internet companies provide more than a quarter of a million jobs, and we want to keep this American success story going…” said Senator Cantwell.’ KXRO.com

Sen. Cantwell Emphasizes Rural and Underserved Areas

‘The amendment also requests that the Secretary of Education prioritize coding program grant applications from rural or underserved areas.’ Cantwell.Senate.gov

WH is Run by Someone With Narcissistic Personality Disorder

We hope that Congress is ready to protect us from this administration.