Tuesday the 29th of May 2018

Updated 3pm Wednesday. 5/29/18 notes from visiting WA’s senators’ staffers. Rally vid: 35.23. Deep dive questions
5/22 notes & no rally vid. FAQs & Archive. Online info about our senators.
By Holly Brewer and Loren Bast.

Met with

Kate Baumgartner, Sen. Murray’s Seattle Director ~ Main P: (202) 224-2621 / (866) 481-9186 ~ F: (202) 224-0238
Not available today: Tommy Bauer, Sen. Cantwell’s Seattle Outreach Director ~ Main P: (202) 224-3441 ~ F: (202) 228-0514

Tuesday’s Rally

The Gag Rule

Our rally was against the gag rule that the administration proposes. It would prevent health care providers from offering information to people about how or where to get an abortion; and it would prevent facilities and staff from offering health care if they offer abortion services. This would result in defunding Planned Parenthood – because 3% of their services are abortions.

The Process

The proposal from Health and Human Services: HHS.gov. More: Self.com. More about the process: FederalRegister.gov.

The HHS is sending the proposal to the Office of the Federal Register: OFR.gov. Once it is in the Federal Register: GPO.gov (which will probably take months), we will have the opportunity to comment on it on regulations.gov.

Take Action!

Submit an Official Comment to the HHS
Here: WeArePlannedParenthoodAction.org
50, 000 comments about the huge proposed fee hikes in some national parks forced them not to do it: WaPo.com. Please comment. Many times. It works.

Email Your Personal Stories
Email Senator Murray and tell her how this gag order will affect you, your family, your loved ones, your community or you in your profession: Murray.Senate.gov. This is an example of Sen. Murray using a personal story on the Senate floor: Twitter.com. She asks permission.

Get Text Alerts
To join actions to protect Planned Parenthood, Text nogag to this number: 22422. Planned Parenthood health centers serve 41 percent of all Title X patients. More: PlannedParenthoodAction.org.

Sign Petitions
Sen. Murray’s: Act.PattyMurray.com
ACLU’s: Action.ACLU.org.

Highlights of last Thursday’s rally at the City Hall Plaza: YouTube.com 12.34.

Sen. Murray’s Statements About the Gag Rule

Sen. Murray’s statements about the gag rule: 5/15: joining a letter of 200 Congresspeople & 5/18 & 5/24.

Tweet 5/26

Her Resolution

Sen. Murray wrote a resolution with Sen. Gillibrand & Baldwin: “politicians should not interfere with a woman’s personal health care decisions or attempt to prevent providers from offering their full medical recommendations to their patients.” The HELP Committee press release: HELP.Senate.gov. The resolution: PDF.

Sen. Murray is the ranking (most senior Democrat) on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee in the Senate.

If Title X Was Taken Away From WA

Facts about Title X funding in Washington: DOH.WA.gov.
If the funding was taken away, for reproductive health care other clinics would need to expand their services exponentially: and rural areas would lack care.

The care is primarily for STDs and contraception. They serve domestic violence and divorcees who lose their health care due to losing their spouse.
Planned parenthood pay for abortions anyway: not the government.

The International Gag Rule

Over a year ago, Trump was able to implement this for international family planning organizations that Title X supports. Also known as the “Mexico City policy” (named in 1984 for the city in which it was first announced at the UN Conference on Population and Development), the results are in – after a year, there were MORE abortions in developing countries that were affected, not fewer: CNN.com. This rule now applies to nearly $9bn of American health care aid: Wikipedia.org.

Ireland No Longer Bans Abortions

This was helped greatly by the Home to Vote Campaign: HomeToVote.com. More: NYTimes.com.

It is Recess This Week in the Senate

Sen Murray will be going around Washington State talking about her opioid bill. She will tweet about her travels: Twitter.com.

The Opioid Bill

S. 2680: Opioid Crisis Response Act (OCRA)
Sen. Murray’s and Sen. Lamar Alexander’s bipartisan Opioid Crisis Response Act has been passed unanimously out of the HELP Committee and is notable for its patient/family/community-centered health focus, compared to the administration’s law enforcement approach.
Sen. Murray’s statement: HELP.Senate.gov. Video of her speech in committee: YouTube.com.

Funding For OCRA

There is $3.3bn allocated for it from the omnibus bill: TheHill.com. This is not enough. The Council of Economic Advisors said that in 2015 it would take $504billion to fully solve the problem. Their Nov. 2017 report: WhiteHouse.gov. There is $100bn allocated for treatment of those with HIV / AIDS, for context.

Sexual Harassment / #MeToo

Senate Unanimously Passed Anti-Harassment Bill

S.Res.330: Senate Anti-Harassment Training Resolution of 2017
The resolution text: Congress.gov. A summary: Klobuchar.Senate.gov.
It is now headed to the House. It is expected to go through quickly: RollCall.com.

Sen. Murray’s statement: “this legislation is an important step, it is the first step and cannot be the last.”: Murray.Senate.gov.

Unanimous Consent
It passed the Senate by voice vote by unanimous consent. This does not mean that everyone present voted for it. “In parliamentary procedure, unanimous consent, also known as general consent, or in the case of the parliaments under the Westminster system, leave of the house (or leave of the Senate), is a situation in which no one present objects to a proposal.”: En.Wikipedia.org.

Sen. Murray Requested Tech Companies’ Data

“Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee sent letters to three technology and venture capital trade associations requesting industry data on harassment, as well as an update on measures being taken to address workplace harassment among their associated employers”: HELP.Senate.gov.

Separating Families at the Border

Trump claims that the Democrats are responsible for a law that does not exist. Republicans control the Senate, the House and the presidency: and their agendas.

The problem will get worse: “The Trump administration has decided to refer every person caught crossing the border illegally for federal prosecution, a policy that could result in the separation of far more parents from their children at the border. The move would also mean that even if immigrants caught at the border illegally have valid asylum claims, they could still end up with federal criminal convictions on their record regardless of whether a judge eventually finds they have a right to live and stay in the US.”: CNN.com.

Article about this: WaPo.com.

What We Can Do

Contact the White House and protest: WhiteHouse.gov.
Call the Office of Refugee Resettlement: 202.401.9246

1,475 Missing Migrant Children

There are 1, 475 missing migrant children: NYTimes.com. Many of the children are unaccompanied, sent by their parents to escape dangerous conditions. Do we really want more federal oversight that could potentially cause more deportations?

Who is in Charge? Where Do They Go?

When families are separated it is managed by the Office of Refugee Resettlement. Their program for handing unaccompanied minors: ACF.HHS.gov. FAQs about the treatment of unaccompanied minors: ACF.HHS.gov. They try to find the best place for the children. First, they try to place them with their immediate family in the US. If not, with an extended family or family friend. They sometimes have to pass the children to other organizations for care.

Where Immigrant Children Can Be Held

The Lutheran Church is very involved: ELCA.org. More about the problems and solutions: NYTimes.com. The Trump administration might hold children caught crossing border on military bases: CNN.com. Another option is the foster care system, which is already overstretched: “About 520,000 … end up in foster care each year — double the number 25 years ago.”: ABCNews.Go.com.

Scott Lloyd’s Abuse of Power

Scott Lloyd is the Federal Director of the Office of Refugee Resettlement.
3/1/18: “The Trump administration’s policy of halting abortions among undocumented minors was established by email through an ad hoc process without formal legal vetting,”: Politico.com. The ACLU has challenged and publicized this. Sen. Murray’s statement on this: Murray.Senate.gov.

3/14/18: Sen. Murray joins multiple Democrats in calling for his resignation / firing: HELP.Senate.gov.

Student Loans

Interest Rates

“the Department of Education will be implementing its annual adjustment of student loan rates this July; for the second year in a row, rates for new borrowers will be heading up. 2018 rates will be between 5.05% and 7.6% for new undergraduate and graduate loans, up from 3.76% to 6.31% in 2016. While student loan rates have traditionally been tied to treasury note rates (which will also be rising), the Department of Education keeps a margin of 2% to 4.6% – a margin which many critics have deemed excessive … Increased rates for new borrowers … could signal the end of an era of low rates.”: Credible.com.

From: Credible.com.


Much has been written about the huge burden that rising tuition, high student loan debt, and predatory lending has caused to younger Americans, but rather than implement policies and procedures to help, Dept. of Education head Betsy Devos has decided to ignore the problems, or make them worse, by siding with shady loan companies vs. students.

“the U.S. Department of Education (maintains) that state rules aimed at greater consumer protection undermine the federal government’s goal to have a single, streamlined federal loan program.”: Time.com. Sen.Murray’s statement about this: HELP.Senate.gov.

“Student Loan Hero’s 2015 Student Loan Burden Report revealed that one in seven Americans have delayed marriage due to student loan debt,”: StudentLoanHero.com.

Sen. Murray’s Meetings with DeVos
Sen. Murray has held meetings with Secretary Devos (with disappointing results) and has lobbied hard for better teacher pay, improved school safety, and more protections for student borrowers.
There are “$1.4 trillion in student loans in the United States.”: Glamour.com.

What We Can Do

Sen. Murray wants our personal stories about how student loan debt has affected or is affecting us. People should submit their stories, with their first name and hometown, to HigherEdStories2018@help.senate.gov. More: HELP.Senate.gov.

This is a previous example of Sen. Murray using a personal story on the Senate floor: Twitter.com. She asks permission.