Archive of Daily Actions

5/27/2022

  1. Contact our members of Congress and urge them to pass S.736/ H.R.1808, the Assault Weapons Ban of 2021, which would make it a crime to knowingly import, sell, manufacture, transfer, or possess a semiautomatic assault weapon or large capacity ammunition feeding device. In the House, H.R. 1808 has 204 co-sponsors – not a single one is a GOP-er. Just one Democratic U.S. House member gets an A rating from the NRA: Collin Peterson (D-MN). Peterson and only two other Democrats took money from the NRA in 2018: Henry Cuellar (D-TX, also facing a primary challenge from progressive Jessica Cisneros on the day of the Uvalde tragedy) and Sanford Bishop (D-GA). Passing H.R.1808 will be tight in the House and almost certainly doomed in the Senate, but we should still try. Under current federal law, you have to be 21 to purchase a handgun from a licensed dealer, but you only have to be 18 to purchase an AR-15-style assault weapon like the one used in Uvalde and Buffalo. This is crazy, especially when so many mass murderers are less than 21 years old. At minimum, Congress should raise the legal age for purchasing an assault weapon to 21 and outlaw high-capacity magazines. Thank Rep. Kilmer for being a co-sponsor of H.R.1808 since 3/11/2021.

  2. Contact our members of Congress and urge them to pass H.R.2584/S.1141, the Judiciary Act of 2021, which would expand the Supreme Court from 9 justices to 13 justices. As the United States shifted from a largely agrarian economy to an industrial economy with major urban areas, giving each state two senators has resulted in an imbalance of representation in the U.S. Senate. California’s population of 39,613,493 are represented by two senators and the country’s smallest state in terms of population, Wyoming with 581,813 people, has two senators. This imbalance of representation gives our country’s rural population far greater political power than they should have. We see the result in our political divide with 50 GOP senators using the filibuster to stop the passage of legislation, such as universal background checks for gun purchases, the codification of abortion rights, criminal justice reform, immigration reform and climate change. The GOP has used their unmerited power in the U.S. Senate to pack the court with justices who do their bidding. It will take a crisis of monumental proportion to correct the flaw of two senators per state, but we can do something about the Supreme Court, especially now that the filibuster no longer applies to SCOTUS nominees thanks to Mitch McConnell: We can expand the number of justices on the Supreme Court. Expanding the number of justices is going to be a long term project and we need to start it now. Here’s another reason: justice delayed is justice denied. The number of justices on the Supreme Court settled at 9 in 1869. As our population grows and more laws are enacted, it stands to reason that more cases will be brought before the Supreme Court and the sheer workload will deny justice by delaying it. This is also an argument for increasing the number of judges in the entire federal court system. The last time Congress (in a bill led by Joe Biden) increased the number of federal district court judges (now set at 677) was 1990. There are currently 179 federal appellate court judges; that number was not increased by Joe Biden’s 1990 bill. The current gap of 32 years is the longest period of time in which the federal judiciary has not been expanded. Two GOP congressmen have introduced the JUDGES Act which would increase the number of federal district court justices by 39, but only after Jan. 21, 2025. They are obviously thinking ahead. Learn more here.

  3. Contact our members of Congress and urge them to write legislation to make it illegal and punishable by prison time for anyone who worked as a federal employee to use their time and position as a federal employee to make future business deals. Since Jared Kushner and Steve Mnuchin left their federal jobs on Jan 20, 2021, it is reported that they “traveled through the Middle East in the weeks before Trump left office, ostensibly to raise money for the Abraham Fund, which was supposed to fund various development initiatives in the region.” (Why were they working on this at all?)  However, the Abraham Fund was essentially a shell that dissolved after the former president left office. Kushner and Mnuchin’s own firms went on to land hundreds of millions of dollars from the nations they visited while working in the White House.” And it was all legal. Learn more here. Or watch Rachel Maddow’s discussion here.

  4. Contact Rep. Kilmer and thank him for introducing H.R.6680, the Blue Energy Innovation Act of 2022, along with Dan Newhouse (R-WA). The bill would “capitalize on water’s low-cost energy (also known as ‘blue energy’) and decarbonization potential, and developing new renewable energy technologies in marine environments.” Learn more here. Encourage our senators to introduce and pass the bill in the Senate.

  5. Contact our senators and urge them to implement Pres. Biden’s plan to increase affordable housing in the United States. In addition to taking executive action on affordable housing, Pres. Biden urges Congress to pass the housing-related proposals that were in the Build Back Better bill the Senate failed to pass due to the filibuster, such as expanding the Low Income Housing Tax Credit and passing H.R.2143/S.98, the Neighborhood Homes Investment Act, both of which have bipartisan support. Thank Rep. Kilmer for already being a co-sponsor of H.R.2143.

5/20/2022

  1. Contact our senators and tell them to vote no on Pres. Biden’s nomination of Andrew Biggs (PN2131) to serve on the Social Security Advisory Board. In 2013, Andrew Biggs testified before the Senate in favor of raising the retirement age for Social Security, advocating for taking years worth of earned benefits away from every American. In 2005, Biggs was instrumental in Pres. George W. Bush’s attempt to privatize Social Security. Biggs hasn’t changed, which is why the New York Times Editorial Board called him “a zealous advocate of privatizing Social Security.

  2. Contact our members of Congress and thank them for voting for H.R.7791, the Access to Baby Formula Act. One of the reasons baby formula became so hard for low-income parents to get is that the Women, Infants and Children program is structured so that one company gets a monopoly in each state. Abbott Labs has a monopoly in about two-thirds of all states. The bill authorizes USDA to waive or modify any WIC qualified administrative requirement during emergencies, disasters, and supply chain disruptions. Specifically, USDA may waive or modify such a requirement for one or more state agencies if the requirement cannot be met by state agencies during the emergency, disaster, or disruption and if the modification or waiver is necessary to provide assistance to WIC participants and does not substantially weaken the nutritional quality of supplemental foods. Thank them, too, for voting in favor of H.R. 7790 , the Infant Formula Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2022, which passed the House but was defeated in the Senate by the GOP’s use of the filibuster. That bill would have the bill appropriated $28 million the Food and Drug Administration to (1) address the current shortage of FDA-regulated infant formula and certain medical foods in the United States; and (2) prevent future shortages, including by taking the steps that are necessary to prevent fraudulent products from entering the U.S. market.

  3. Contact Rep. Kilmer and thank him for voting for the H.R.350, the Domestic Terrorism Prevention Act, which the House passed on  on May 18, 2022. The bill authorize the domestic terrorism components within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Justice (DOJ), and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to monitor, analyze, investigate, and prosecute domestic terrorism. It creates an interagency task force to analyze and combat white supremacist and neo-Nazi infiltration of the uniformed services and federal law enforcement agencies. This bill faces an uphill future in the Senate. Urge our senators to support the bill. Learn more about the bill here.
  4. Contact our senators and urge them co-sponsor and pass S.79, EQUAL Act, which would correct the disparity in federal sentencing between crack cocaine and powder cocaine. Currently, different threshold quantities of crack cocaine and powder cocaine (e.g., 28 grams of crack cocaine and 500 grams of powder cocaine) trigger the same statutory criminal penalties. This bill would eliminate the lower quantity thresholds for crack cocaine offenses. Under the bill, the same threshold quantities of crack cocaine and powder cocaine trigger the same statutory criminal penalties. Learn more here. Sign the petition here. Thank Rep. Kilmer for voting and passing this overwhelmingly bipartisan bill in the House last year.
  5. Contact our senators and urge them to co-sponsor and pass S.4139, the HEATR Act (Heating Efficiency and Affordability through Tax Relief Act), introduced by Sen. Amy Klobuchar earlier this month. This bill would create a new tax credit through 2031 for manufacturers that make energy efficient consumer and commercial heat pumps and heat pump water heaters. The bill aims to reduce the cost of heat pumps, thereby increasing the number of heat pumps that are installed in new construction and when a oil or nat. gas furnace must be replaced. Over time, heat pumps (which are powered by electricity) reduce energy costs for consumers. The tax credit ranges from $600 to $1,000 per machine. Learn more about this bill here.

5/6/2022

  1. The Insurrection Act of 1792 is vague and dangerous. Contact our members of Congress and demand they reform it. From the Brennan Center for Justice: “The law grants the president the authority to deploy the U.S. military domestically and use it against Americans under certain conditions. While there are rare circumstances in which such authority might be necessary, the law, which has not been meaningfully updated in over 150 years, is dangerously … ripe for abuse.” More from the Brennan Center here. After the Jan. 6 riot, Marjorie Taylor Green texted Mark Meadows to urge the previous “president” to use the Insurrection Act to declare martial law and remain in power. Learn more about the ticking time bomb that is the Insurrection Act here.

  2. Contact our senators and demand that they pass H.R.3755, the Women’s Health Protection Act, which has already passed the House. The Act would prohibit “governmental restrictions on the provision of, and access to, abortion services.”

  3. Contact Rep. Kilmer and tell him to co-sponsor and pass H.R.1153, the REAP Act, which would eliminate the “monetary allowance and funding for travel expenses for any former President convicted of a felony while holding office or for acts committed during or after holding office.” Under the Former Presidents Act, former presidents receive a pension equal to the salary of a Cabinet secretary (Executive Level I); as of 2021, that is $221,400 per year. The pension begins immediately after a president’s departure from office. Former presidents also receive a reimbursement of up to $1 million in travel costs annually.

  4. Contact our senators and urge them to co-sponsor S.3071/H.R.5723, “Social Security 2100: A Sacred Trust.” Thank Rep. Kilmer for already being a co-sponsor of this bill. For all retirement, disability or dependent beneficiaries, the bill would increase the monthly benefit by an average of 2% of benefits to make up for inadequate Cost-of-Living Adjustments (COLA) since 1983. The bill would also set a benefit minimum at 25% above the poverty line that would be tied to wage levels to ensure that the minimum benefit does not fall behind. Learn more about what this bill would do here.

  5. Contact Rep. Kilmer and urge him to appropriate more funding for the National Labor Relations Board. Recently, 145 House Democrats (but not including Rep. Kilmer) and four House Republicans wrote a letter to Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), chair of the House Committee on Appropriations, demanding more funding for the National Labor Relations Board. Workplace organizing is spreading, but the NLRB’s budget has remained the same year after year since 2014. In their letter, the lawmakers warned that a “dramatic increase in labor activity” could swamp the  underfunded board, which has lost roughly 30% of its staff since 2010 due to attrition and a lack of money. The NLRB frequently has to sue employers to get them to follow the law, and filing lawsuits requires money. Learn more here.

4/29/2022

  1. Contact our members of Congress and tell them to stop the on-going privatization of Medicare that began with Trump’s Direct Contracting Entities and is being continued today as ACO REACH under the radar. Watch the April 25 BINKI for background information on what’s going on, watch this video or read about it here and here.

  2. Contact our members of Congress and tell them to remove the corporate welfare that infests the COMPETES Act, in particular the part that would give NASA $10 billion to pick a company to build a second moon lander. NASA has already awarded SpaceX (owned by non-tax-paying billionaire Elon Musk) a $2.9 billion contract to make a lunar rocket last year and is likely to give another multi-billion dollar award to the non-taxpaying Jeff Bezo’s Blue Origin. Learn more here.

  3. Contact our members of Congress and urge them to support Pres. Biden’s efforts to rejoin the Iran Nuclear deal by passing S.434 the Iran Diplomacy Act of 2021. About 60% of Americans favor U.S. participation in a nuclear deal with Iran and half of Iranians (51%) approve of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action known as the Iran Nuclear deal. Extra action: call the White House (202-456-1111, and let Pres. Biden know you support rejoining the Iran JCPOA. Learn more here.

  4. Contact our members of Congress and tell them to co-sponsor and pass S.1530/H.R.3115 the “Universal School Meals Program Act of 2021,” which is set to expire in June. The bill would permanently provide free meals to all school children regardless of income (no more shaming kids for getting a free lunch, no more collecting debts from parents who are in arrears). The bill also would revise eligibility determinations for measuring poverty to include runaway or homeless youth, foster children, migratory children, and children participating in programs such as Head Start. Learn more here.

  5. Contact our senators and urge them to support the nomination of Nancy Abudu for a position on the federal judiciary, as well as ALL Biden nominees to any federal position. A gang of right-wingers are feeding GOP senators with mud to spew at every Biden nominee. Read about Ted Cruz’s diatribe against Ms. Abudu here. After blowing up the blue slip tradition during the Trump years, Ron Johnson feels his opposition to the nomination of William Pocan should be enough to sink Pocan, even though Johnson recommended him earlier. Remind our senators that “in February 2019, attorney Eric Miller was confirmed to serve on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, despite the fact that neither of his two home-state senators (Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, both of Washington) had returned blue slips for him. Other nominees were similarly confirmed to the Courts of Appeals without blue slips later in 2019, including Paul Matey (Third Circuit, New Jersey), Joseph F. Bianco and Michael H. Park (both Second Circuit, New York), and Kenneth K. Lee, Daniel P. Collins, and Daniel Bress (all Ninth Circuit, California).” (Source: Wikipedia)

4/22/2022

  1. Join Indivisible Bainbridge Island and North Kitsap Indivisible for an online discussion of ACO Reach, the federal government’s latest effort to privatize Medicare, on Monday, April 25 from 5 pm to 6:30 pm. Learn more about this event here. Register here.

  2. Contact Sen. Murray and urge her to repackage and strengthen the prescription drug section of the Build Back Better bill as a separate bill and pass it. Under the terms of the deal that was reached last November, Medicare would be able to negotiate drug prices with manufacturers for 20 drugs. There would also be “inflation caps” ― financial penalties on manufacturers that raise prices substantially from year to year. People with insurance would pay no more than $35 a month for insulin, and Medicare beneficiaries would finally have a hard limit ($2,000) on their out-of-pocket drug costs. Sinema’s spokesperson tweeted Sinema’s support for the deal last November, and Manchin was supportive of prescription drug reform as recently as March. Read more here.

  3. Contact our senators and urge them to swiftly confirm Pres. Biden’ nomination of Steve Dettelbach to serve as director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The ATF has not had a permanent director since Byron Todd Jones resigned in 2015. Given the rise in crime that the GOP decries so loudly, they should be anxious to confirm a director who will doggedly pursue the 8% of the nation’s 124,000 retail gun dealers who sell the majority of handguns used in crimes. “Moderate” Democrats and the GOP torpedoed Pres. Biden’s first nominee, David Chipman because of his work as an advisor to Giffords. Learn more here.

  4. Contact Rep. Kilmer and urge him to co-sponsor and pass H.R. 7535, the Quantum Computing Cybersecurity Preparedness Act, introduced by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA). The bill would encourage the migration of Federal Government information technology systems to quantum-resistant cryptography. It would build on the Commerce Department’s preemptive efforts to fend off possible attempts by foreign intelligence services to use quantum computers, once they’re available, to gain access to secure government information. While quantum computing isn’t widely available yet, encryption experts have warned for years that devices powerful enough to handle it could more easily unlock encrypted messages — and that hackers have already started collecting encrypted files so they can access them once quantum computers are available. Read more about it here.

  5. Contact our senators and urge them to support Pres. Biden’s nominee, Gigi Sohn, to a position on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Sen. Cantwell is chair of a committee that is key to getting Sohn through the nomination process. Urge Sen. Cantwell to rally “moderate” Democrats to get on board with Pres. Biden’s agenda. Sohn would give Democrats a majority on the FCC and fulfill Biden’s push to restore net neutrality and other tech regulations rolled back that were rolled back under the previous administration. Learn more here.

4/15/2022

  1. Contact Rep. Kilmer and urge him to co-sponsor H.R.6283, the Get Foreign Money Out of U.S. Elections Act, introduced by Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD). Urge our senators to introduce Raskin’s bill in the Senate. The bill would amend the Federal Election Campaign Act of 1971 to apply the ban on contributions and expenditures by foreign nationals under such Act to foreign-controlled, foreign-influenced, and foreign-owned domestic business entities. Current law leaves our elections wide open to foreign influence. Jared Kushner’s deal with the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed Bin Salman would be a great way for MBS to fund the campaigns of politicians who favor remaining addicted to fossil fuel. Read about how foreign money is currently funneled into U.S. campaigns here and here.

  2. Contact Rep. Kilmer and urge him to co-sponsor H.R.7489, the Time Off to Vote Act, which would require employers to provide employees with a minimum of two consecutive hours of paid leave in order to vote in Federal elections. The bill was introduced by Rep. Matt Cartwright (D-PA) last week. Encourage our senators to introduce and pass this bill in the Senate. Read about it here.

  3. Contact our senators and urge them to co-sponsor S.2992/H.R.3816 the American Innovation and Choice Online Act, introduced by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI). This very bipartisan bill would prohibit certain large online platforms from engaging in certain acts, including giving preference to their own products on the platform, unfairly limiting the availability on the platform of competing products from another business, or discriminating in the application or enforcement of the platform’s terms of service among similarly situated users. Amazon seems to think this bill is aimed squarely at them, as they are advertising heavily against it in Arizona. “If enacted, the bill would give federal antitrust agencies the authority to issue civil penalties and injunctions against so-called “covered platforms,” such as Amazon, Alphabet (parent company of Google) and Meta (formerly Facebook).” Read more here.

  4. Contact our senators and urge them to co-sponsor and pass S.2512the Supreme Court Ethics Act. While all other federal judges are required to adhere to a code of ethics, there is no such requirement for Supreme Court justices. This bill would require the Judicial Conference of the United States to create a code of ethical conduct for the Supreme Court of the United States. The fact that Clarence Thomas voted to withhold documents from the Jan. 6 committee that included his wife’s text messages urging Mark Meadows to do everything possible to prevent the certification of Joe Biden as the next president, is a clear conflict of interest. Many legal scholars believe that in voting to withhold those documents, Clarence Thomas violated 28 U.S. Code § 455, which states that “Any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” Read Jane Mayer’s article, “Legal Scholars Are Shocked by Ginni Thomas’s ‘Stop the Steal’ texts to learn more about the radical actions of Ginni Thomas.

  5. Contact our members of Congress and urge them to co-sponsor and pass S.3968, the CDC Tribal Public Health Security and Preparedness Act. During the COVID-19 pandemic and other public health crises, state and local public health departments relied heavily on federal dollars provided by the CDC’s Public Health Emergency Preparedness program. Insanely, tribal public health departments were prohibited from applying for this support — even as tribes were being hit especially hard by the coronavirus. Concurrently, tribes’ tax base was wiped out as casinos and other tribal businesses closed. This bill would finally give tribes access to the CDC’s Public Health Emergency Preparedness program. Encourage Rep. Kilmer to introduce and pass this bill in the House.

4/8/2022

  1. Contact our senators and urge them to co-sponsor Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All Act when he re-introduces it this month. As new analysis shows, U.S. life expectancy continued to drop in 2021, despite vaccines and mask mandates. Across all groups, life expectancy dropped to 76.60 years in 2021. That figure compares with 76.99 in 2020 and 78.86 in 2019. The continued decline in life expectancy in 2021 came largely among white Americans. A comprehensive single-payer, universal health care system would significantly reduce anxiety and debt, increase health and happiness, and help the lower and middle classes the most. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) has already introduced H.R. 1976, a Medicare for All Act of 2021; it has 121 co-sponsors. Urge Rep. Kilmer to become a co-sponsor.
  2. Contact Sen. Maria Cantwell and urge her to follow the advice of economist Robert McCullough when he testified this week before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation that Sen. Cantwell chairs on ways to reduce gas prices. 1) Require disclosure of oil and gasoline commodity trades, just as such disclosure is required for other commodities. 2) The federal government’s existing oil inventory could be loaned, rather than sold, into the market. The loan would be repaid with federal contracts to buy oil in the future, thus smoothing prices for small drilling companies and ensuring that a sudden unexpected end to the war would not ruin their finances. 3) Pass a windfall profits tax, such as H.R.7071/S.3802 to discourage price gouging and blunt incentives to limit oil production. A discussion of McCullough’s advice is here.

  3. Contact our members of Congress and tell them to join Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) in his efforts to investigate the failures of nursing homes during the pandemic, particularly “profiteering, cold-hearted” corporations that act as landlords in the industry. This week,  report released this week, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine called for federal officials to expand the government’s tracking and regulation of nursing home companies. “Ineffective responses to the complex challenges of nursing home care have resulted in a system that often fails to ensure the well-being and safety of nursing home residents. The devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on nursing home residents and staff has renewed attention to the long-standing weaknesses that impede the provision of high-quality nursing home care,” the report states. Learn more here.

  4. Contact our members of Congress and urge them to investigate and monitor how states distribute federal dollars to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). For decades, some states, such as Tennessee and Maryland, have failed to distribute billions of dollars intended for HBCUs to the HBCUs. Tennessee could owe a historically Black university more than a half-billion dollars after it withheld funding for decades, and Maryland finalized a $577 million settlement in 2021 to resolve a lawsuit alleging the state had underfunded its four HBCUs. “Dozens of HBCUs have operated for years without receiving the full amount of dollars they were entitled to under the law,” according to this CBSNews report. One study from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities found that, between 2010 and 2012, more than half the nation’s HBCUs failed to get their full funding.”
  5. Contact our members of Congress and urge them to write legislation to reinstate one of the best features of the American Rescue Plan: the expanded child tax credit, which was paid monthly instead of as an annual lump sum. A few months ago, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) was said to be in talks with Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) about Romney’s plan to add a work requirement (which would make Joe Manchin happy) and likely lower the income threshold so that higher earners do not quality. Even so, these payments are vital for low- and middle-income families, especially now with higher inflation due to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

4/1/2022

  1. Contact Rep. Kilmer and urge him to cosponsor and pass H.R.1976, the Medicare for All Act of 2021, introduced by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Rep. Debbie Dingall (D-MI). The bill would establish a national health insurance program administered by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The program must (1) cover all U.S. residents; (2) provide for automatic enrollment of individuals upon birth or residency in the United States; and (3) cover items and services that are medically necessary or appropriate to maintain health or to diagnose, treat, or rehabilitate a health condition, including hospital services, prescription drugs, mental health and substance abuse treatment, dental and vision services, and long-term care. The bill already has 121 co-sponsors in the House. Learn more here.

  2. Contact our members of Congress and tell them to urge Pres. Biden to extend the pause on student loan payments or cancel all student loan debt. You can also use Indivisible’s web site to contact our members of Congress as well as the President on this issue (scroll to the bottom). The current pause on student loan debt payments ends on May 1. As of March 27, Pres. Biden has canceled $17 billion of the country’s $1.8 trillion in student loan debt, more than any other president. Earlier this month, the President’s chief of staff, Ron Klain said Biden may extend the pause on student loan payments again. Yesterday, 21 senators and 75 representatives signed a letter to Pres. Biden urging him to act now to extend the pause on federally-held student loan payments until at least the end of the year and to provide meaningful student debt cancellation. A copy of the letter is here. (Whether Pres. Biden can outright cancel student loan debt is debatable, with Schumer saying he can and Pelosi saying he can’t.) None of our members of Congress signed the letter. Unless Pres. Biden extends the pause or cancels student loan debt, students will once again start incurring debt at the outrageous average rate of 7% that cannot be directly refinanced with the federal government. Here are three reasons for Pres. Biden to take action on this issue: 

    1. Canceling student loan debt would help those with the least and begin to address massive wealth inequality caused by systemic racism. Many studies have shown that universal student debt cancellation would “provide more benefits to those with fewer economic resources and could play a critical role in addressing the racial wealth gap and building the Black middle class.”

    2. Canceling student debt would be good for the economy. The pause on federal student loan payments has been an incredible life line to many struggling economically. The U.S. Dept of Education found “borrowers are saving approximately $5 billion per month from the temporary 0% interest rate.” Research shows canceling student debt would lead to “higher credit scores, greater home-buying rates and housing stability, greater business formation, increased gross domestic product and create over 1.2 million jobs per year.”

    3. Broad-based cancellation is WAY more successful than “targeted” (means-tested) benefits. We know that unnecessary barriers like means-testing or complicated eligibility requirements only lock out folks who are most vulnerable. Instead, Biden should broadly cancel student debt to make sure more people feel the benefits.

  3. Contact our senators and urge them to co-sponsor and pass S.2512, the Supreme Court Ethics Act and thank Rep, Kilmer for co-sponsoring H.R.4766, the same bill in the House two days ago. While all other federal judges are required to adhere to a code of ethics, there is no such requirement of Supreme Court justices. This bill would require the Judicial Conference of the United States to create a code of ethical conduct for the Supreme Court of the United States. The fact that Clarence Thomas voted to withhold documents from the Jan. 6 committee that included his wife’s text messages urging Mark Meadows to do everything possible to prevent the certification of Joe Biden as the next president, is a clear conflict of interest. Many legal scholars believe that in voting to withhold those documents, Clarence Thomas violated 28 U.S. Code § 455, which states that “Any justice, judge, or magistrate judge of the United States shall disqualify himself in any proceeding in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned.” Read Jane Mayer’s article, “Legal Scholars Are Shocked by Ginni Thomas’s ‘Stop the Steal’ texts to learn more about the radical actions of Ginni Thomas.

  4. Contact our members of Congress and urge them to co-sponsor and pass the CDC Tribal Public Health Security and Preparedness Act. (Numbers not yet assigned, but in the previous session of Congress, the numbers were H.R.6274/S.3486.) A copy of the bill is here. During the COVID-19 pandemic and other public health crises, state and local public health departments have relied heavily on federal dollars provided by the CDC’s Public Health Emergency Preparedness program, but tribal public health departments were prohibited from applying for this support — even as tribes were being hit especially hard by the coronavirus. For a time, the Navajo Nation, for example, confirmed more COVID-19 cases per capita than any state. At the same time, their tax base was wiped out as casinos and other tribal businesses closed. This bill would finally give tribes access to the CDC’s Public Health Emergency Preparedness program.

3/25/2022

  1. Contact Rep. Kilmer and urge him to co-sponsor and pass H.R.7018, the Green Postal Service Fleet Act of 2022, introduced on March 9 by Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA). The bill would prohibit the United States Postal Service from carrying out a contract for the procurement of next generation vehicle fleet unless such fleet is at least 75 percent electric or zero emission vehicles, and for other purposes. This bill is an outright prohibition, where another bill, H.R.1636, is much less straight-forward and relies on assumptions that if not met, make the bill toothless.

  2. Contact our members of Congress and urge them to co-sponsor and pass H.R.5533/S.2960, the Reducing Waste in National Parks Act. The bill would require each regional director of the National Parks Service to establish programs to eliminate the sale of water in disposable plastic products and the sale and distribution of other disposable plastic products to the greatest extent feasible in the relevant unit of the National Park System.

  3. Contact our senators and urge them to support the passage of H.R.2116, the “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act of 2022,” aka the Crown Act. This bill passed the House on March 18. Thank Rep. Kilmer for voting for the bill. Learn more about why passage of this bill here.

  4. Contact our senators and urge them to quickly hold a vote to confirm Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to the United States Supreme Court. Despite the clown show from Tom Cotton (R-AR), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Judge Jackson carried herself with dignity and grace. Read an analysis of the hearings here.

  5. Contact Rep. Kilmer and tell him to appropriate more money for the National Labor Relations Board. Congress hasn’t increased the agency’s budget in the better part of a decade, so its funding has gone down in real dollars even as more workers are trying to unionize. Total staffing at the NLRB has fallen 30% since 2010, down to 1,207, making impossible prompt investigations of labor law violations, such as employer retaliation for organizing. When workers see violations go unpunished, they are likely to give up organizing, which is exactly what employers want. Learn more here.

3/18/2022

  1. Contact Rep. Kilmer and urge him to co-sponsor and pass H.R. 69, the Sunshine Protection Act, co-sponsored by Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). The bill passed the Senate this week. The bill would not go into effect until 2023 to allow airlines to adjust their schedules. Doctors say switching between standard and daylight time is dangerous to our health. Read more about the bill here.

  2. Contact Sen. Murray and thank her for introducing S.3799, the PREVENT Pandemics Act, which would overhaul the nation’s public health system, applying the lessons of COVID-19 to future outbreaks through a new chain of command, a stronger medical supply chain, and clearer crisis communications. The bill cleared the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee on March 16. Learn more here.

  3. Contact our senators and urge them to work with Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) to add Russia to existing laws that deny foreign tax credits for taxes paid to North Korea and Syria. “American companies that continue to do business in Russia should not receive U.S. tax benefits that offset taxes paid to Putin’s regime,” the two senators said in a joint statement. In the upside-down, Koch Industries intends to stay in Russia and argues that staying will hurt Putin. Learn more about this proposed legislation here. In addition, a new proposal by Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) seeks to eliminate tax benefits for sanctioned Russians doing business in the U.S.

  4. Contact our senators and urge them to introduce H.R.2085, the HEART Act in the Senate. The bill would speed up the court process that allows dogs seized from dog-fighting rings to be rehabilitated and find forever homes. Read more about this ASPCA-sponsored bill here. Thank Rep. Kilmer for already being a co-sponsor of this bill.

  5. Contact our members of Congress and tell them to enact H.R.7061, the Big Oil Windfall Profits Tax Act, introduced by Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA). This bill imposes an excise tax on oil and gas companies’ windfall profits put the tax in the Protect Consumers from Gas Hikes Fund, to pay rebates to individual taxpayers. New survey data out this week shows that U.S. voters—regardless of party affiliation—overwhelmingly support a windfall profits tax on U.S. oil corporations that are using Russia’s war on Ukraine to hike prices at the pump. More broadly, 87% of U.S. voters want Congress and President Joe Biden to “crack down on price gouging and excessive price increases by oil companies that result in higher gas prices at the pump.” Learn more about this bill here.

3/11/2022

  1. Contact our members of Congress and urge them to introduce and pass legislation to make permanent the expanded child tax credit that was part of the American Rescue Plan but was only in effect for one year. Under the plan, parents received a monthly payment of $300 per for each child under age 6, and $250 for each child ages 6 to 17. The last payments went out on Dec. 15. The now-stalled Build Back Better plan would have made the expanded child tax credit permanent. Sen. Sherrod Brown(D-OH) is in talks with Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) about Romney’s plan to add a work requirement and likely lower the income threshold. Even so, these payments are vital for low- and middle-income families, especially now with even higher inflation due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
  2. Contact Rep. Kilmer and urge him to co-sponsor and pass H.R.1636, the Postal Vehicle Modernization Act, introduced by Rep. Jared Huffman (D-CA). Contact our senators and urge them to introduce and pass this bill in the Senate. The bill would require the USPS to ensure that at least 75% of the total number of next generation delivery vehicles are electric or zero-emission vehicles. The bill also provides for a phase-out of medium- and heavy-duty vehicles that are not electric or zero-emission vehicles. Passing this bill is urgent because Biden’s Nov. 19, 2021 nominations of Daniel Tangherlini (a Democrat) and Derek Kan (a Republican), to the board have yet to be confirmed and it appears that Louis DeJoy is secure in his position as postmaster general with the Jan. 13 election of Republican Roman Martinez IV as chairman of the USPS board. According to the Federal News Network, “Biden’s nominees, if confirmed, would not change the balance of Republicans and Democrats on the board, and would likely have no impact on DeJoy’s tenure as postmaster general.” When DeJoy testified at a congressional hearing in 2021, he said the agency could later convert gas-fueled trucks to battery electric power by swapping out parts under the hood as if such a retrofit would be easy. As reported by the Washington Post, “the process is difficult, labor intensive and expensive.” The new vehicles DeJoy wants to purchase will get 8.6 mpg, an improvement of just .4 mpg over the existing fleet. The stench that surrounds this process is overwhelming. Read the Washington Post article to learn more about how DeJoy put his thumbs on the scale for this rotten deal.
  3. Contact our members of Congress and thank them for passing H.R.55, the Emmett Till Antilynching Act, introduced by Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ). The bill makes lynching a federal hate crime offense and imposes criminal penalties—a fine, a prison term of up to 30 years, or both—on an individual who conspires to commit a hate crime offense that results in death or serious bodily injury or that includes kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill. Learn more about the history of this bill here.
  4. Contact Rep. Kilmer and thank him for co-sponsoring H.Res.891, “Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the article of amendment (commonly known as the “Equal Rights Amendment”) to the Constitution is valid.” In Jan 2020, Virginia became the 38th and last state required to ratify the ERA, but the next step in the process of amending the U.S. Constitution to include the ERA as an amendment has not been taken. That next step is for the National Archives to publish the ERA. Rep. Jackie Speier introduced this resolution to nudge the National Archives to do just that. Urge Rep. Kilmer to get this resolution passed in the House and urge our senators to introduce and pass this resolution in the Senate.
  5. Contact our members of Congress and thank them for co-sponsoring S.1385/H.R.2840, the Puppy Protection Act of 2021, introduced by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA). The bill would require the Department of Agriculture to expand standards that govern the humane handling, care, treatment, and transportation of animals to include new requirements for commercial dog dealers. The requirements include adequate housing, exercise, and veterinary care, nutritious food, access to water and socialization with humans.

3/4/2022

  1. Contact our members of Congress and urge them to support efforts to cut off oil and gas imports from Russia, but do not give in to GOP demands to allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Estimates of Russian oil imports range from 672,000 to 709,000 barrels a day for a total of about 8% of U.S. oil and refined product imports. We are already experiencing higher gas prices due to Putin’s war. We might as well get the benefit of banning Russians oil. Read more here. We need to pass the climate change part of Pres. Biden’s Build Back Better plan and get off Russian oil, period.
  2. Contact our members of Congress and urge them to follow the advice of Alexander Vindman in his op-ed in the Washington Post on Feb. 28: establish depots on the NATO side of the border to better supply Ukraine with “more antitank weapons, powerful air defense systems and unmanned aerial vehicles. UAVs in particular would be capable of striking military targets on Russian and Belarusian territory that are involved in the current offensive, such as cruise missiles, ballistic missiles and Russian aircraft.” Read the full op-ed here.
  3. Contact our senators and urge them to co-sponsor S.3700, the Affordable Insulin Now Act, introduced by Sen. Raphael Warnock in February. With the Build Back Better bill stalled in the Senate, Sen. Warnock has introduced this bill. It would cap the monthly cost of insulin at $35. The American Diabetes Association has asserted that diabetics account for $1 of every $4 spent on health care in the U.S. If people could afford insulin, maybe we could reduce the cost of amputations and kidney dialysis that contribute to that $1 dollar of $4 number. Learn more here. Urge Rep. Kilmer to co-sponsor H.R.6833, also named the “Affordable Insulin Now Act,” introduced by Rep. Angie Craig. H.R. 6833 also caps the monthly out-of-pocket cost of insulin at $35.
  4. Contact Sen. Cantwell and urge her to co-sponsor S.2798, the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act Amendments of 2021, introduced by Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID). This bill that would expand two programs that compensate individuals who were exposed to radiation during certain nuclear testing or uranium mining and subsequently developed medical conditions, including cancers. Thank Sen. Murray for already being a co-sponsor. Thank Rep. Kilmer for co-sponsoring H.R.5338, the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act Amendments of 2021, a related bill introduced by Rep. Teresa Leger-Fernandez (D-NM). In addition to expanding the geographic areas covered by this bill, this bill increases compensation to affected individuals and is important to people in the Spokane area.
  5. Contact Sen. Cantwell and thank her for her passion in leading the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee’s hearing on  S.3580, the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, introduced by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and John Thune (R-SD). “The [pre] pandemic rates for a forty-foot container was about $1,300 dollars. By 2021, the cost jumped to $11,000 dollars. That’s a 746 percent increase in freight cost. This increase means U.S. consumers are paying higher prices for goods every day,” said Cantwell said during the hearing. “It is unfair that these consumers are being gouged with these high prices and our very important growers can’t get their products to market in a timely fashion.” S.3580 has broad GOP support and would provide the Federal Maritime Commission with greater authority to regulate harmful and discriminatory practices by international shipping companies; require carriers to certify that the fees they charge for delays are in compliance with federal regulations or face penalties; increase transparency on how many empty containers carriers are transporting; and prohibit ocean carriers from unreasonably declining U.S. exports that have been stranded at the docks. Read more here. The House already passed the equivalent bill, H.R. 4996, in December, with Rep. Kilmer voting in favor. As chair of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, Sen. Cantwell is not a co-sponsor, but Sen. Murray should be.

2/25/2022

  1. Contact our members of Congress and urge them to support the $6.4 billion in aid to Ukraine that Pres. Biden has requested.
  2. Call the White House (202-456-1111) and thank Pres. Biden for his leadership in uniting NATO to oppose the Russian invasion of Ukraine and help the Ukrainian people.
  3. Contact our members of Congress and urge them to support legislation expediting visas for Ukrainian refugees and granting them Temporary Protected Status. We cannot expect the EU and UK to bear the brunt of as many as 5 million refugees.
  4. Contact our state legislators (Christine.Rolfes@leg.wa.gov, Tarra.Simmons@leg.wa.gov, and Drew.Hansen@leg.wa.gov) urge them to expand funding for Afghan refugee settlement to include Ukrainian refugee settlement in Washington state before the legislative session ends.
  5. Donate to help the Ukrainian people.

2/18/2022

  1. Contact Sen. Murray and thank her for introducing S.2242, the Therapeutic Fraud Prevention Act of 2021. Thank Sen. Cantwell for being a co-sponsor and thank Rep. Kilmer for being an original co-sponsor of H.R.4146 in the House. Both bills would prohibit commercial conversion therapy, which is a practice or treatment designed to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or otherwise change behaviors, thoughts, or expressions related to gender or sexual attraction. Read about the harms of conversion therapy here.

  2. Contact Rep. Kilmer and urge him to co-sponsor H.R.6601, the “Saudi Arabia Legitimate Self Defense Act.” The bill would prohibit the issuance of licenses authorizing exports of certain defense services to Saudi Arabia, which would bar U.S. firms from providing maintenance support to Saudi Arabia’s air force, an attempt to impose new limits on American involvement in the Gulf kingdom’s long war in Yemen. Read more here.

  3. Contact our senators and urge them to co-sponsor and pass the S.1486, the “Pregnant Workers Fairness Act,” already passed in the House. Urge Sen. Murray to use her leadership position to give this bill priority. This bill prohibits employment practices that discriminate against making reasonable accommodations for qualified employees affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. A qualified employee is an employee or applicant who, with or without reasonable accommodation, can perform the essential functions of the position, with specified exceptions. This bill has six Republican co-sponsors, so it has some chance of beating the filibuster. Learn more here.

  4. Contact Sen. Murray and urge her to use her leadership position to schedule a full floor vote on Pres. Biden’s nominees for the Postal Service board of governors. Once approved, the board will be able to fire Louis DeJoy before he signs a deal to replace the USPS truck fleet with 90% gasoline-powered vehicles and just 10% electric vehicles. Derek Kan and Daniel Tangherlini were nominated for the Post Office board on Nov. 19, 2021. Both are stuck in the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee. Learn more about DeJoy’s plan here.

  5. Contact our senators – especially Patty Murray – and tell them to use time-consuming procedural votes to break all of the GOP log jams on Pres. Biden’s nominees. Democrats should threaten to cancel the state work period scheduled for April 11 to April 22 to unstick the GOP log jam against Pres. Biden’s nominees until they get votes in the committees and a full vote by the Senate. This week, GOP senators who are whining about inflation walked out on a vote on Pres. Biden’s three nominees to the Federal Reserve – the very nominees who should be at work on inflation. The nomination of Deborah Lipstadt to be U.S. special envoy to combat and monitor antisemitism is stalled in the Foreign Relations committee. Last week, the Senate used a procedural vote to confirm Russia expert Celeste Wallander and David Honey to their Pentagon posts. The week before, the Senate managed to confirm Melissa Dalton to her Pentagon post. Their nominations had been blocked by Josh Hawley who is in a snit about the withdrawal from Afghanistan. Learn more here.

2/11/2022

  1. Contact our senators and urge them co-sponsor and pass H.R.2467, the PFAS Action Act of 2021, in the Senate. The House has already passed this bill with some GOP support. A recent CDC review of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, commonly referred to as PFAS, outlines a host of health effects associated with PFAS exposure, including cancer, liver damage, decreased fertility, and increased risk of asthma and thyroid disease. PFAS substances never break down in the environment. PFAS substances have been found in water wells near the Bangor naval base; their presence in those wells is attributed to firefighting foam used on the base. This bill would work through the Environmental Protection Agency to establish requirements and incentives to limit the use of PFAS substances and remediate PFAS in the environment.
  2. Contact our members of Congress and urge them to act quickly to pass S.3623, the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Republicans allowed the Violence Against Women Act to expire in 2019 when they controlled the U.S. Senate.  One of the greatest successes of VAWA is its emphasis on a coordinated community response to domestic violence, sex dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. The reauthorization was introduced this week (no text is available at this time) and has the support of 10 GOP senators – enough to beat the filibuster if all Democrats vote for the bill. Hopefully this bill includes new provisions for Native Americans; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gay, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals, and victims of human trafficking. Manchin claims to be a co-sponsor of the reauthorization. In Sept 2021, Sinema tweeted her support for the reauthorization. Learn more here.
  3. Contact our senators and urge them to support and pass H.R.3076, the Postal Service Reform Act of 2022, which the House passed last week with substantial GOP support. It requires retired postal employees to enroll in Medicare when eligible, and drops a previous mandate that forced the USPS to pre-fund its health care costs for 70 years in advance. Those two measures would save the USPS nearly $50 billion over the next decade, according to the House Oversight Committee. Bipartisan support is expected in the Senate, where Schumer says he’ll take it up by the end of this week. It is not known if Susan Collins will support the bill; she is credited for introducing the 2005 bill that required the pre-funding that has hobbled the agency ever since. Learn more here.
  4. Contact our members of Congress and urge them to support the Bipartisan Ban on Congressional Stock Ownership Act (no bill number or text yet). The bill was introduced this week by bipartisan lawmakers from both houses of Congress. The bill would ban members of Congress and their spouses from owning and trading individual stocks, bonds, commodities, futures, and other securities including an interest in a hedge fund, a derivative, an option or other complex investment vehicle. It does not ban common, widely held funds, such as mutual funds and ETFs, as long as those funds do not present a conflict of interest and are diversified. Read about the bill here.
  5. Contact our senators and urge them to co-sponsor S.3549, the Agricultural Right to Repair Act, introduced by Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) this month. The bill would guarantee farmers the right to repair their own equipment and end current restrictions on the repair market. “Manufacturers have prevented producers from fixing their own machines in order to bolster corporate profits, and they’ve done it at the expense of family farmers and ranchers, who work hard every day to harvest the food that feeds families across the country,” Tester wrote in his press release for the bill. If Democrats are to win back rural America, they need to pass legislation that helps rural America. Contact Rep. Kilmer and urge him to work to introduce the bill in the House.

2/4/2022

  1. Contact our members of Congress and urge them to reform the Electoral Count Act of 1887. Democrats issued a draft reform bill this week. If Mitch McConnell is to be believed, reforming the ECA will be a bipartisan effort. As the Electoral Count Act of 1887 is written, all it takes is one representative and one senator to object to the counting of Electoral College votes from any state. The draft reform bill raises the threshold to sustain an objection to one-third of senators and one-third of representatives.  In 2021, 14 Senate Republicans and roughly 140 House Republicans planned to vote in favor of objecting to the electors from states that Biden narrowly won before the Capitol was attacked. After the attack, that number was reduced to eight senators and 139 House Republicans. Learn about other reforms that should be made to the Electoral Count Act.
  2. Contact our members of Congress and tell them it’s time to eliminate the Electoral College. Last weekend, the former “president” issued a convoluted written statement about how a new effort to change the Electoral Count Act proves that vice presidents really do have the power to change the results of an election. He concluded by writing this: “Unfortunately, he didn’t exercise that power, he could have overturned the Election!” No matter how much Congress fiddles with the Electoral Count Act (and it does need to be reformed), the rot at the heart of this matter is the Electoral College. It’s time to become a true democracy and eliminate the Electoral College. Urge Rep. Kilmer to co-sponsor H.J. Res. 14, “Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to abolish the electoral college and to provide for the direct election of the President and Vice President of the United States.” Urge our senators to co-sponsor S.J.Res. 16. Learn about why the Electoral College exists at all here.
  3. Contact Rep. Kilmer and urge him to co-sponsor H.R.1405, “To provide a cause of action to remove and bar from holding office certain individuals who engage in insurrection or rebellion against the United States.” This bill would use Section 3 of the 14th amendment to establish penalties for officeholders who engage in insurrection or rebellion against the United States. The bill’s summary states that “the Department of Justice may bring a civil action against officeholders who engage in insurrection or rebellion, including such activity occurring before the date of the bill’s enactment. Penalties include disqualification from federal or state office, removal from federal or state office, forfeiture of certain retirement benefits, and rescission of certain honors and commemorations.” Urge our senators to introduce H.R.1405 in the Senate. Learn more about what can be done to hold insurrectionists accountable here.
  4. Contact our senators and urge them to support the nomination of Laura Daniel-Davis. She is Pres. Biden’s nominee to be assistant Interior secretary for land and minerals management. Daniel-Davis appeared at her confirmation hearing before the Energy and Natural Resources committee and was badgered by ranking member John Barrasso (R-WY) who said the administration’s policies have threatened energy and natural resource development, and that Daniel-Davis — who currently serves as principal deputy assistant secretary of land and minerals management — has been in a leadership position guiding some of those policies. The committee deadlocked on her nomination. Now, Joe Manchin, the committee’s chair, has said he will hold a second hearing on Daniel-Davis, giving Republicans another chance to excoriate her. It is likely that Sen. Schumer will have to hold a discharge vote so that the full Senate can vote on her nomination. That is when our senators will be able to vote in favor of Daniel-Davis.
  5. Contact our senators and urge them to continue to work to reduce the cost of pharmaceuticals. Build Back Better bill has been wounded by Joe Manchin, but this work must carry on. In January, pharmaceutical companies hiked prices on hundreds of medications. A recent report from the patient advocacy group Patients for Affordable Drugs found that drug companies have increased prices on more than 550 drugs, including 183 drugs whose prices were raised by $100 or more, and 118 drugs that now cost more than $5,000. Pfizer alone raised prices on 125 drugs, more than any company, even as it shattered profit records thanks to $36 billion in sales from its widely-used COVID vaccine. This week, 40 House Democrats signed a letter to Senate Democratic leadership saying “We cannot overstate the paramount urgency of fulfilling the promise of lowering drug prices now for the American people.” Learn more here.

1/28/2022

  1. Contact our senators and tell them to remove the deadline on the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment by passing S.J. Res. 1. Passage of S.J. Res. 1 will remove the final hurdle to incorporating the ERA into our Constitution. Read about it here. Thank Rep. Kilmer for voting for H.J. Res. 17, which the House passed nearly a year ago by a vote of 222 to 204. Sign a petition to get this done.
  2. Contact our members of Congress and urge them to support and pass H.R.4766/S.2512, the Supreme Court Ethics Act. Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, is a right-wing activist who is paid by right-wing activists to submit amicus briefs to the Supreme Court on which her husband sits. Read about that here.
  3. Contact our senators and urge them to support Pres. Biden’s three nominees for the Federal Reserve Board: Sarah Bloom Raskin, for the top regulatory slot, Lisa Cook, who would be the first Black woman to serve on the Fed’s board, and Phillip Jefferson, an economist, dean of faculty at Davidson College in North Carolina and a former Fed researcher. Raskin is likely to be tougher on bank regulation than her Trump-appointed predecessor. Republicans are likely to oppose Raskin because she is viewed as someone committed to incorporating climate change considerations into the Fed’s oversight of banks. Cook is best-known for her research on the impact of racial violence on African-American invention and innovation. Jefferson grew up in a working-class family and has focused his research on poverty and monetary policy. Learn more here.
  4. Contact our members of Congress and urge them to write legislation to keep minority-owned banks from disappearing. Whenever there is a recession like the Great Recession of 2008, regulators force the closure of struggling lenders that serve poorer and marginalized communities resulting in further consolidation in an industry that is already incredibly consolidated. Before the Great Recession, there were 215 minority-owned banks. Now there are 146. Here are two ideas that Congress could implement to stop this trend. 1) Establish a Federal Community Banking Reserve (like the Strategic Oil Reserve) that can be deployed to buttress small struggling lenders when economic conditions deteriorate. 2) Redesign the regulatory mandates that put minority-owned banks at a disadvantage in times of economic stress. Lenders who underwrite mortgages in marginalized communities should not be forced to sell off assets at the moment the broader market craters. Learn more about this issue here.
  5. Contact our senators and urge them to co-sponsor H.R.959/S.346, the Black Maternal Health Momnibus Act of 2021, introduced by Rep Lauren Underwood (D-IL) in the House and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) in the Senate. The American Journal of Managed Care reports that “among 11 developed countries, the United States has the highest maternal mortality rate [and an] undersupply of maternity care providers. … Maternal deaths have been increasing in the United States since 2000, and although 700 pregnancy-related deaths occur each year, two-thirds of these deaths are considered to be preventable. This bill would direct multi-agency efforts to improve maternal health, particularly among racial and ethnic minority groups, veterans, and other vulnerable populations. It also addresses maternal health issues related to COVID-19. Contact Rep. Kilmer and thank him for co-sponsoring H.R.959 in the House.

1/21/2021

  1. Contact our senators and thank them for standing up for democracy. Both of our senators gave floor speeches. (Watch Cantwell’s speech and Murray’s speech). Thank them for moving to a carve-out of the filibuster to pass voting rights. That’s a more radical position than the talking filibuster for just one voting rights bill the senators actually voted on. Urge them to keep working for voting rights.
  2. Contact our members of Congress and urge them to consider smaller changes to the voting laws that Republicans might be ashamed to oppose. Democrats should like these
    1. Require one ballot drop box per 300,000 people.
    2. End felony disenfranchisement.
    3. Forego mail-in voting requirements but require two weeks of early voting for at least nine hours a day.

    Republicans should like these

    1. Allow states to require an ID to vote as long as the state provides a usable voter ID for free to anyone who wants one. Include federal funding for states to provide the ID.
    2. Provide funding to all states to join the Electronic Registration Information Center. Member states share information and find voters who are registered in more than one state. Currently, 19 states are not members.
  3. Contact our senators and urge them to support Pres. Biden’s three nominees for the Federal Reserve Board: Sarah Bloom Raskin, for the top regulatory slot, Lisa Cook, who would be the first Black woman to serve on the Fed’s board, and Phillip Jefferson, an economist, dean of faculty at Davidson College in North Carolina and a former Fed researcher. Raskin is likely to be tougher on bank regulation than her Trump-appointed predecessor. Republicans are likely to oppose Raskin because she is viewed as someone committed to incorporating climate change considerations into the Fed’s oversight of banks. Cook is best-known for her research on the impact of racial violence on African-American invention and innovation. Jefferson grew up in a working-class family and has focused his research on poverty and monetary policy. Learn more here.
  4. Contact our members of Congress and urge them to work cautiously with Republicans who now seem willing to reform the Electoral Count Act of 1887. The Act is thought to have emboldened the Jan. 6 insurrectionists with its absurdly low threshold for objecting to a state’s presidential election results (one member of the House and one member of the Senate). Two senators are reported to be leading this effort: Joe Manchin and Susan Collins. According to The Economist, “[t]he Electoral Count Act of 1887, which tries to set guidelines for how Congress settles disputed results in presidential elections, is vague, confusing, possibly unconstitutional—and ripe for reform.” After months of review by a team of legal experts and staff, the House Administration Committee recently released a 31-page report on the Act. The report proposes six changes, including dramatically raising the threshold for objections to a state’s presidential election results and removing the vice president as the presiding officer.
  5. Contact our state legislators and urge them to ban cryptocurrency mining, which uses incredible amounts of electricity for a stupid purpose. Read about it here. The document includes information for contacting our state legislators.

1/14/2022

  1. Contact our senators and thank them for supporting a carve out in the filibuster rule for voting rights. Yesterday, the hugely disrespectful Kyrsten Sinema, spoke on the Senate floor against making any changes to the filibuster just minutes before Pres. Biden arrived on Capitol Hill to urge Democratic senators to make a carve-out. Urge our senators to talk with their Republican colleagues about the carve out. Sen. Lisa Murkowski is already supportive of the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. Other possible senators with a conscience might be Susan Collins and Mitt Romney.
  2. Contact our members of Congress and urge them to do everything they can to pressure the Biden administration to release the $9 billion of Afghan funds the United States froze upon withdrawing military troops from Afghanistan. In addition to freezing the money, the United States has imposed sanctions that prevent the Afghan government from participating in the international banking system. People are now starving in Afghanistan. This money belongs to Afghanistan. The U.N.’s World Food Progamme says the “disintegrating Afghan economy is making it difficult for people to get enough to eat.” It is seeking $5 billion in aide to prevent 1 million children from starving to death this winter. The U.S. has announced it will be sending 1 million additional Covid vaccines to Afghanistan and $308 million in aid, but it is hard to understand why the administration insists on retaining the money and keeping sanctions in place that prevent aid workers from being on the ground in Afghanistan. A 20-year war didn’t change the Taliban and starving their people won’t change the Taliban, either, so what is the point?
  3. Contact our senators and urge them to support S.949, a bill that would amend the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946, to foster efficient markets and increase competition and transparency among packers that purchase livestock from producers. Read about how the meat-packing industry has consolidated into four companies (one of which is owned by a Chinese company) who use their monopoly status to lower payments to meat producers and raise prices in the grocery stores. In July, Pres. Biden issued an executive order to allocate $1 billion in American Rescue Plan funds to expand independent meat processing capacity that will have the effect pf boosting farm profits while lowering prices at the grocery stores. As much as we want to eat less meat, allowing a four-company predatory monopoly whose practices endanger family farms while gouging U.S. consumers is just not right.
  4. Contact our senators and tell them to support S.2036, the Meat Packing Special Investigator Act, introduced by Sens. Jon Tester (D-MT), Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Mike Rounds (R-SD). The bill would amend the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921, to establish the Office of the Special Investigator for Competition Matters. The office will have a team of investigators, with subpoena power, dedicated to preventing and addressing anti-competitive practices in the meat and poultry industries and enforcing anti-trust laws. Learn more here.
  5. Contact Rep. Tarra Simmons and lend her your support after the death threats she’s received since right-wing news outlets covered a bill she submitted to remove fatal drive-by shootings from a list of “aggravators” that require a life sentence for people convicted of first-degree murder. She submitted the bill at the request of retired King County Superior Court Judge Mike Heavey, who voted for the law when he was a state senator in 1995 but now regrets his vote. Heavey now believes the law was meant to target young Black men with life sentences. Learn more here.

1/7/2022

  1. As ever, contact our senators and tell them eliminate the filibuster and pass S.2747 the “Freedom to Vote Act,” and S.4, the “John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021.” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has vowed to hold votes on voting rights bills this month before Martin Luther King Day on January 17. If the votes fail, he says he’s going to hold a vote on revising the filibuster. The question is still whether all 50 senators support changing the filibuster, much less eliminating it. The Senate must pass these bills now. Need another reason? On Dec. 30, Wisconsin state representative Timothy Ramthun (R) (who in November introduced a resolution to rescind Wisconsin’s Electoral Colleges votes that were certified on Jan. 6) introduced a bill that would permit the nullification of an election and the mandating of a do-over 30 days later when the total number of absentee ballots exceeds the margin of victory. (In the November 2020 elections, almost 2 million Wisconsinites voted by absentee ballot, and Biden won by about 21,000 votes.) Read about Ramthun’s bill here.

  2. Contact our members of Congress and tell them to support legislation preventing the former president from running for office again. This week, Rep. Liz Cheney (R) and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D), both members of the House Selection Committee on Jan. 6, obliquely indicated that perhaps the best way to keep the former president from running again would be to pass a bill under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. Section 3 states that “No person shall … hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath … to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same.” Section 5 states that “The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.” Such a law might follow the example set by the Civil Rights Act of 1870, which makes it a criminal misdemeanor to run for office when ineligible to do so under Section 3, and allows federal prosecutors to forcibly remove offenders from office. Learn more here. Would Republicans vote for such a bill? Yet another reason to eliminate the filibuster now!
  3. Contact our members of Congress and tell them to write legislation to end Medicare’s Direct Contracting (DC) Program. The Direct Contracting Program is a pilot program that aims to enroll every Traditional Medicare beneficiary into a third-party “Direct Contracting Entity” (DCE). Any business can be a DCE, including commercial insurers, venture capital investors,  and even dialysis centers. Instead of paying doctors and hospitals directly for care, Medicare gives DCEs a monthly payment to cover a defined portion of each seniors’ medical expenses, allowing DCEs to keep as profit what they don’t pay for in care but also giving the DCE a huge incentive to exaggerate — or falsify —  diagnoses.  The Direct Contracting Program was created in the last year of the Trump administration by the CMS “Innovation Center,” whose mission is to test and implement health payment models without Congressional approval. There are already 53 DCEs in 38 states, every one of them calling seniors during the open enrollment period and urging them to sign up without knowing they are giving up their Traditional Medicare coverage. If left unchecked, DCEs could essentially privatize Traditional Medicare within the next few years. Rep. Pramila Jayapal and more than 50 other House members signed a letter to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra calling for the end of DCEs. Rep Kilmer was not one of the signers.  Learn more here.
  4. Contact our senators and urge them to co-sponsor and pass S.2297, the International Pandemic Preparedness and COVID-19 Response Act. The bill requires the Department of State to develop a strategy to expand and expedite access to COVID-19 vaccines in other countries. The bill also allows for the use of any foreign assistance for activities to combat COVID-19, regardless of the original purpose of the funding. Additionally, the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development must protect and support humanitarian actors responding to secondary effects of the pandemic (e.g., food insecurity). Over all, the bill will set up the United States to lead a global effort to vaccinate at least 60% of the world by mid-2022. The bill passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in July and now seems to be in limbo. Learn more here.
  5. Contact our State Senator, Christine Rolfes, and copy our State Representatives, Drew Hansen and Tarra Simmons, and tell them to take action to recover the $4,361 in taxpayer money the Legislature gave to three state representatives to attend Mike Lindell’s Cyber Symposium in Sioux Falls, SD. The legislators are State Reps. Robert Sutherland, R-Granite Falls; Vicki Kraft, R-Vancouver; and Brad Klippert, R-Kennewick. Lindell had promised to reveal irrefutable evidence that the 2020 election had been stolen from the former president, but the three-day event devolved into three days of no evidence but a lot of conspiracy swapping and a lot of undermining of faith in our elections. Learn more here. It is incomprehensible that the Legislature endorsed this travesty in the first place.

12/31/2021

  1. As ever, contact our senators and tell them eliminate the filibuster and pass S.2747 the “Freedom to Vote Act,” and S.4, the “John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021.” Schumer says his highest priority in January is rules reform (aka filibuster)) in order to pass voting rights bills. A carve out for voting rights bills seems likely if Manchin can be convinced. He wrote the Freedom to Vote Act, after all. Sinema is still trying to have it both ways: she says she supports elections reform but not at the expense of the filibuster. This is a self-fulfilling point of view. She thinks Democrats will need the filibuster to stop Republicans who will eventually control the Senate precisely because of the voter suppression laws passed in GOP-controlled states that would be made illegal if the voting rights bills could ever be passed. She needs to be made aware that Republicans don’t really want to govern, so other than lowering taxes for the rich (which they did through budget reconciliation in 2017) and putting ultra-conservatives on the Supreme Court (which they did by eliminating the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees), Democrats will have no “filibuster-al” legislation to stop. She seems to be amenable to some of the provisions in the BBB. Maybe it’s time for some horse-trading. If a carve-out is possible, try to include Rep. Adam Schiff’s H.R.5314, “Protecting Our Democracy Act” in the carve-out. Among many other things, H.R.5314 prohibits presidential self-pardons, suspends the statute of limitations for federal offenses committed by a sitting President or Vice President, prohibits the acceptance of foreign or domestic emoluments and authorizes specified actions to enforce congressional subpoenas.

  2. Contact our members of Congress and urge them to modify the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (aka the “welfare reform bill”) so that it requires states to return Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) money to the federal government if they do not spend it to improve the lives of poor people within a fiscal year. At the very least, the federal government should NOT send more money to the offending states. Instead of distributing the money or providing training to improve job prospects, states such as Maine ($93 million), Tennessee ($790 million) and Hawaii ($364 million) are hoarding the money (probably to improve their bond ratings). Right now, states are hoarding a total of $5.2 billion in TANF funds, and that doesn’t count Texas, which refused to comment on the story. In 1995, Sen. Carol Moseley Braun (D-IL) tried but was unable to get just such an amendment into Clinton’s welfare reform bill. A recent UN report says 40 million Americans live in poverty and of those 40 million, about 5.3 million live in “third World conditions of absolute poverty.” No wonder.

  3. Contact our members of Congress and tell them to revise the Electoral Count Act of 1887. That law was passed after the disputed election of 1886 in which multiple people claimed to be the electors for Florida, Louisiana and South Carolina. Legal analysts of the Electoral Count Act say the Act “invites misinterpretation,” is “turgid and repetitious” and its “central provisions are contradictory.” Just what we need for 2024. The American Enterprise Institute’s Matthew Seligman writes “An improved and modernized ECA should articulate clear procedures for how Congress should count electoral votes and resolve disputes. Those procedures should reflect the principle that states and courts have the constitutional responsibility for resolving ordinary election controversies about, for example, counting ballots. Congress has neither the institutional capacity, nor the independence, nor the constitutional authority to second-guess states and courts on those questions. And for those extraordinarily rare circumstances where deferring to states and courts isn’t enough to decide the issue, like in 1876, Congress should designate a neutral decision maker in advance to eliminate the risk of an unbreakable impasse.” McConnell sits on the Senate’s Rules Committee and may be interested in modifying the Electoral Count Act to make any Republican candidate for president appear more legitimate should the Act need to be invoked.

  4. Contact our senators and urge them to keep working on the Build Back Better bill. There is no denying that Manchin is in the cat bird seat and some things are going to have to be dropped from the version of the BBB the House passed. Manchin seems to be opposed to funding programs for only a few years instead of the full 10 years, and he’s right. Forget hoping the programs will be so popular that Republicans will have to reauthorize them. They won’t. The Violence Against Women Act is just one example. Remember that Maya Angelou said: “When people show you who they are, believe them the first time.” Jordan Weissman writing at Slate.com points out that under the budget reconciliation rules, programs can be made permanent as long as they don’t raise the deficit after their initial 10 years, so there’s another reason to try for full 10-year funding. Weismann suggests paring the expanded child tax credit back to $170 billion over 10 years; keeping the child care and pre-K programs ($752 billion over ten years); keeping the improved ACA subsidies and other medical programs ($400 billion) and keeping all of the climate change/environmental and infrastructure section of the House-passed BBB ($555 trillion). That adds up to $1.88 trillion, just a bit over Manchin’s limit of $1.75 trillion. And of course, keep all the new tax revenue to pay for the BBB by raising taxes on the wealthy and sending the IRS to track down tax cheats. Want to mix and match your own recommendation to our senators? Here’s a list of the programs and their costs.

    • Expanded child tax care credit: In addition to increasing the amount of the Trump-era child tax credit, the benefits of the expanded tax credit are: 1) it’s a direct payment to parents (so states can’t interfere with it. See action 2 above) and 2) it’s paid monthly instead of a lump sum once a year, and 3) it’s refundable (meaning that even if the tax due is smaller than the credit, the parents still get the full credit). Maybe there’s a way whittle the cost down by phasing the credit out for higher income people sooner. The CBO estimated 10-year cost of the expanded child tax credit is $1.6 trillion.
    • Child-care and universal pre-K: The CBO scored child-care and universal pre-K together at a cost of $381.5 billion for ten years. It’s not clear how universal pre-K would be implemented, but if it involves block grants or states/school districts having to apply for it, we can be certain that some red states won’t apply.
    • Increased premium subsidies for participants in the ACA marketplace: $73.9 billion over 10 years.
    • Medicare hearing benefit: $36.7 billion over ten years.
    • Lowering prescription drug prices/capping cost of insulin at $35/month to patients: $78.8 billion over ten years.
    • Filling the Medicaid Coverage Gap caused by 12 states that never adopted the ACA Medicaid expansion: $57 billion over ten years.
    • Extending post-partum coverage in Medicaid from 60 days to 12 months: $1.2 billion over ten years. (Medicaid currently covers about half of all childbirths in the U.S.) Or pare it back to six months?
    • Medicaid Home and Community Based Services and the Direct Care Workforce (Elder/Disabled care at home): $150 billion over ten years.
    • Paid Family and Medical Leave for Four Weeks: $205.5 billion over ten years.
    • Paid Family and Medical Leave for 12 weeks: $500 billion over ten years.
    • Climate change, environmental and infrastructure section of the House-passed BBB. Now that Manchin has weakened it, he seems okay with it, and it’s still a strong climate-change fighting bill. That’s $555 trillion over 10 years.
  5. Contact our members of Congress, wish them and their staffs “Happy New Year” and  thank them for representing us in Congress through this very difficult year. They are at the receiving end of a lot of crap from the other side. They put their lives on the line on Jan. 6, and they need to know we appreciate them.

12/24/2021

    1. As ever, contact our senators and tell them eliminate the filibuster and pass S.2747 the “Freedom to Vote Act,” and S.4, the “John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021.”Now that the Build Back Better bill is being renegotiated and is unlikely to be ready for a vote until March or April, Schumer says his highest priority in January is filibuster reform in order to pass voting rights bills. We advocate for eliminating the filibuster because it benefits Republicans far more than Democrats. Former deputy chief of staff to former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Adam Jentleson, notes in his book, Kill Switch, that since 2008, Democrats and Republicans have held unified control of Washington for two years each, which allows for a true comparison of the bills that would have become law had they not been blocked by filibusters. Excluding appropriations bills, Republican filibusters blocked fifteen Democratic-sponsored bills from becoming law. Among those 15 bills were a paycheck fairness bill, the DREAM Act, the DISCLOSE Act (which would expose the anonymous, superrich donors pumping millions of dollars into our political system), a bill that would have ended tax provisions that reward corporations for sending American jobs overseas and a bill that would have expanded Social Security benefits. That list doesn’t include Democratic policy goals that were abandoned because of a filibuster threat: the public option in the ACA and the cap-and-trade climate change bill. By way of contrast, Democrats used the filibuster to block just six Republican bills. The six bills were three versions of the same immigration deal put together by Mitch McConnell, a 20-week anti-abortion bill that looks pretty good right now, a reauthorization of the Coast Guard, and a bill that would have excluded tribal enterprises, such as casinos, from the protections of the National Labor Relations Board, thereby making it harder for employees of tribal enterprises to unionize. 

    2. Contact our members of Congress and urge them to write and pass legislation that prevents members of the military from also being members of extremist groups or from having been a member of an extremist group. This week, the Pentagon announced that it has updated its rules to address extremism in the military, but the updated rules are pretty tepid and stop short of banning military membership in extremist groups. The updated rules “rely in large part on individual service membersor outside law enforcement agencies to report concerning behavior.” We know now that nearly one in five defendants in Capitol riot cases served in the military. If the Pentagon doesn’t have a list of extremist groups, they can use the Southern Poverty Law Center list. Click here for their Washington state list.

    3. Contact our members of Congress and urge them to investigate why violent MAGA rioters are getting pandemic relief loans forgiven despite their crimes. For example, Dominic Pezzola, a member of the Proud Boys, had a $12,502 loan for his home-contracting business forgiven in June despite that fact that he remains incarcerated, having been denied bail. Russell Taylor, a member of the Three Percenters, received two loans totaling more than $1 million for his graphic design company. One of the loans was issued after the insurrection, and both have been forgiven. Read more here.

    4. Contact our senators and urge them to pass a strong Build Back Better bill. The bill should include as much of the House-passed BBB as possible: the extended child tax credit without the income minimums or work requirement that Manchin wants, universal pre-K, paid family leave, child care, elder care, funding for the 9/11 health care program, a limit on the cost of the most-often prescribed pharmaceuticals, expansion of the ACA, reduced ACA premiums, vision and dental care in Medicare, straight-forward rebates for buying an electric car, and increased IRS funding to catch wealthy tax cheats. Manchin evidently thinks the bill is still too costly (though it has also been reported that he’s okay with spending $1.75 trillion over ten years). Now he says inflation is too high to spend this much money. Yes, prices increased due to high demand after nearly two years of pandemic and a disrupted supply chain. But higher prices are also decreasing as demand levels out and supply chain is smoothed. Here’s an example: In the summer, Home Depot was charging over $60 for one 4’x8′ sheet of OSB (similar to plywood). Today, that same OSB sheet is $22.45. You might remind the senators that some of the price inflation we’ve been seeing is the result of mergers that have resulted in monopolies that can raise prices any time they want due to little or no competition. It appears that Schumer plans to work on the BBB over the next couple of months and bring it up for a vote in March or April. By then, the inflation argument should be receding. Our senators should fight for the things that will help low-income families the most. After all, the UN poverty report finds “shocking” inequality in the U.S., purportedly the world’s richest nation. The UN report says that of the 40 million poor Americans about 5.3 million live in “Third World conditions of absolute poverty.” The BBB can go a long way toward helping with that.
    5. Contact our members of Congress, wish them “Happy Holidays” and  thank them for representing us in Congress through this very difficult year. They put their lives on the line on Jan. 6 and they need to know we appreciate them. 

12/17/2021

  1. As ever, contact our senators and tell them eliminate the filibuster and pass S.2747 the “Freedom to Vote Act,” and S.4, the “John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021.” Other bills that cannot pass without eliminating the filibuster include S. 1975, “The Women’s Health Protection Act,” which codifies into law a woman’s right to an abortion prior to fetal viability, H.R.1280, the “George Floyd Justice in Policing Act,” background checks for gun purchases, immigration reform and an end to fossil fuel production.  If you have an abortion story to tell and are willing to tell it, include it in your message. If you have a voting rights story to share, such as the story of Crystal Mason, who was jailed in Texas for accidentally voting a few weeks before she was eligible, share it. Or the story of Hervis Rogers, who was jailed in Texas for the same reason. Or the story of two Georgia election workers who have been terrorized by Trump supporters. If you have an immigration story to tell, tell it. Sen. Murray has moved to a carve-out for voting rights, so thank her for that. On May 6, Sen. Cantwell tweeted her support of Sen. Merkley’s talking filibuster reform and has since said the filibuster should not stand in the way of voting rights legislation, so thank her for that and ask her to be more definitive and public about a carve-out in the way that Sen. Maggie Hassan (D-NH) was this week.
  2. Contact Rep. Kilmer and tell him to be ready to vote to send criminal referrals to the DOJ for members of Congress who conspired to overturn the presidency of Joe Biden. A New York Times article (log in required) published on Thursday shows that at least six House GOP members conspired with election-deniers to prevent the peaceful transfer of power to the winner of the 2020 presidential election: Jim Jordan (OH), Andy Biggs (AZ), Paul Gosar (AZ), Louie Gohmert (TX), Mo Brooks (AL), and Scott Perry (PA). Brooks is also a candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2022. (The full article is re-published here.)
  3. Contact our members of Congress and tell them to demand that the Dept. of Justice form a grand jury to investigate the former president for violating 18 U.S. Code subsection 1512. “Whoever corruptly … obstructs, influences, or impedes any official proceeding, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not ore than 20 years, or both.” That law defines an “official proceeding” as including “a proceeding before the Congress.” Our members of Congress were the victims of the crime that occurred on Jan. 6. They deserve to be notified of what the DOJ is doing. This week, former federal prosecutor Cynthia Alksne and former assistant U.S. attorney Daniel Goldman expressed doubts that the DOJ is doing anything at all with regard to prosecuting Trump for Jan. 6. The Jan. 6 committee has unearthed a tremendous amount of evidence that Trump broke the law. The DOJ is facing this choice: look like a banana republic or become a banana republic. Read more here.
  4. Contact our senators and tell them to ignore the ruling of the Senate parliamentarian, Elizabeth MacDonough, who, for the third time, rejected Democrat’s effort to include any kind of immigration reform in the Build Back Better bill. The Senate parliamentarian’s rulings are NOT binding. Read more here.
  5. Contact Rep. Kilmer and thank him for voting to refer Mark Meadows to the Dept. of Justice for criminal contempt of Congress. The final vote was 222 to 203, with all Democrats present and voting “Yea,” and just two Republicans (Rep. Liz Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger) voting with the majority. And thank Rep, Kilmer for voting to H.R.5314, the “Protecting Our Democracy Act,” introduced by Rep. Adam Schiff, in the House last week. The bill passed by a vote of 220 to 208, with one Republican vote from Rep. Adam Kinzinger. Urge our senators to pass this bill ASAP!

12/10/2021

  1. As ever, contact our senators and tell them eliminate the filibuster and pass S.2747 Freedom to Vote Act,” and S.4, the “John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021.” Other bills that cannot pass without eliminating the filibuster include S. 1975, “The Women’s Health Protection Act,” which codifies into law a woman’s right to an abortion prior to fetal viability, background checks for gun purchases, immigration reform and an end to fossil fuels.  If you have an abortion story to tell and are willing to tell it, include it in your message. If you have a voting rights story to share, such as the story of Crystal Mason, who was jailed in Texas for accidentally voting a few weeks before she was eligible, share it. Or the story of Hervis Rogers, who was jailed in Texas for the same reason. Or the story of two Georgia election workers who have been terrorized by Trump supporters. If you have an immigration story to tell, tell it. Sen. Murray has moved to a carve-out for voting rights, so thank her for that. On May 6, Sen. Cantwell tweeted her support of Sen. Merkley’s talking filibuster reform and she now may be in favor of a carve-out for voting rights.
  2. Contact our senators and thank them for voting in favor of a joint resolution to disapprove of the “proposed foreign military sale to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia of certain defense articles.” The Senate Joint Resolution failed by a vote of 30 to 67, but at least our senators were on the right side of this vote. Read more here.

  3. Contact our members of Congress and urge them to co-sponsor H.R.4766/S.2512, the “Supreme Court Ethics Act,” introduced by Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) and Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) respectively. Federal judges are currently required to adhere to a code of conduct established by the Judicial Conference of the United States, but the code does not apply to Supreme Court justices. H.R.4766/S.2512 would amend Chapter 57 of title 28 by adding a new section that requires the Judicial Conference to issue a code of conduct that applies to each justice and judge of the courts of the United States. The bill allows the code to include provisions that are applicable only to certain categories of judges or justices. More info here and here.

  4. Contact our members of Congress and urge them to co-sponsor H.R.2102/S.1167, the “End Polluter Welfare Act of 2021,” introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Omar Ilhan (D-MN), respectively. The bill would eliminate certain fossil fuel oil and gas subsidies for oil companies that are built into U.S. law and the tax code in a number of ways. When you contact our members of Congress, mention of few of these changes the bill would make: (1) eliminating the limit on liability for offshore facilities and pipeline operators; (2) eliminating the Department of Energy’s Fossil Energy Research and Development Program and prohibiting funds made available to the Advanced Research Project Agency from being used to carry out any project that supports fossil fuels; (3) terminating certain provisions relating to enhanced oil recovery, producing oil and natural gas from marginal wells, and limitations on percentage depletion for oil and natural gas wells; (4) terminating other deductions and accounting methods supporting oil, natural gas, and coal companies; (5) increasing the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund financing rate; (6) denying a tax deduction for removal costs and damages relating to oil spills; (7) imposing an excise tax on the removal price of any taxable crude oil or natural gas; (8) increasing amortization periods for tertiary injectant expenses, development expenditures of a mine or other natural deposit, mining exploration expenditures, and intangible drilling and development costs for oil and gas wells and geothermal wells; (9) repealing the tax credits for the production of electricity from refined coal and for carbon oxide sequestration; and (10) requiring a study and elimination of other fossil fuel subsidies. Learn more here and here.

  5. Contact Rep. Kilmer and urge him to co-sponsor H.R.6107, the “Stop Corporate Capture Act,” introduced by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA). Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, wrote that this bill will “clear the path for [federal] agencies to issue strong public interest safeguards that deliver results for workers, consumers, public health, and our environment. For too long, our country’s system of regulatory protections has been rigged in favor of corporate special interests, with consumers and workers paying the price. This transformational bill is exactly the antidote to stop corporate influence and capture in the regulatory process. Learn more here. Sem. Elizabeth Warren is a proponent of this bill, too. Read her analysis.

12/3/2021

  1. As ever, contact our senators and tell them eliminate the filibuster and pass S.2747 Freedom to Vote Act,” and S.4, the “John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021,  Several GOP-controlled states have passed laws allowing state legislatures to overturn the legitimate election results they don’t like. Michigan is well on its way toward doing exactly that. Codification of Roe v. Wade will never pass the Senate without elimination of the filibuster. Gun safety legislation will never pass the Senate without elimination of the filibuster. The choice is clear: save democracy and its ability to work for the people or save the filibuster.
  2. Contact our senators and tell them to urge Majority Leader Schumer to bring S. 1975, “The Women’s Health Protection Act,” which codifies into law a woman’s right to an abortion prior to fetal viability, to the Senate floor for a vote. The House passed this bill on Sept. 24 with not a single Republican vote. Now the bill is stuck in the Senate Judiciary committee. Both of our senators are original co-sponsors of the bill, which also prohibits a number of practices some states have used to make getting an abortion more difficult, such as unnecessary procedures and medical tests, and requiring the provider to give the patient false information. The bill has 48 sponsors and co-sponsors – all Democrats and independents, and not a single Republican co-sponsor. The missing Democratic senators are Bob Casey (D-PA) and Joe Manchin (D-WV). Both are against a woman’s right to choose. After the SCOTUS hearing on the Mississippi abortion ban at 15 weeks, Susan Collins (R-Maine) said Roe should be codified. If Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) signs on to this bill, it can be passed IF and only IF THE FILIBUSTER IS ELIMINATED!

  3. Contact our members of Congress and urge them to co-sponsor and pass H.R.2584/S.1141, the “Judiciary Act of 2021.” The bill would increase the number of justices on the Supreme Court from 9 to 13. For some insight on this issue, read this.

  4. Contact our members of Congress and urge them to co-sponsor and pass H.R.4445/S.2342, the “Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021.” The bill would put an end to private employers’ use of forced arbitration — mediation between alleged victims and perpetrators that operates outside the traditional legal system — by allowing victims to decide whether they want to take their sexual harassment or assault claims to court instead. More info on H.R.4445/S.2342 here. H.R.4445/S.2342 has broad bipartisan support and seems more likely to pass than other bills that would end forced arbitration, such as H.R.963/S.505(of which our members of Congress are co-sponsors). This bill would end forced arbitration in employment, consumer, antitrust, or civil rights disputes but it has no Republican support in the Senate and just one Republican, Matt Gaetz (!), is a co-sponsor in the House.

  5. Contact our members of Congress and thank them for averting a federal government shutdown by passing a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the federal government at current levels through Feb. 18, 2022. In the House, all votes in favor of the CR were Democratic votes; not a single House Republican voted in favor of the CR. In the Senate, the bill passed 69 to 28, with enough Republicans to pass the 60 vote filibuster threshold.

11/26/2021

  1. As ever, contact our senators and tell them to pass S.2747 Freedom to Vote Act,” and S.4, the “John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021,” by Nov. 19. After Nov. 19, the Senate has just 10 work days left this year. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer put S.4, the “John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021”  up for a vote in the Senate last week. The vote failed as expected, hopefully finally proving to Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema that, at the very least, there must be a carve-out of the filibuster to pass voting rights legislation or complete elimination of the filibuster. This coming wee Indivisible is leading a week of action on voting rights. Call our senators at each of their local offices (Murray: 425-259-6515 (Everette), 360-696-7797 (Vancouver), 509-453-7462 (Yakima), 206-553-5545 (Seattle), 509-624-9515 (Spokane) and 253-572-3636 Tacoma) Cantwell: 206-220-6400 (Seattle), 509-353-2507 (Spokane), 253-572-2281 (Tacoma), 425-303-0114 (Everette),  360-696-7838 (Vancouver) and 509- 946-8106 (Richland). In GOP-controlled states, passage of voter suppression laws and laws that allow a state legislature to override the vote of the people have made the choice is clear: save democracy or save the filibuster.
  2. Contact our senators and tell them to co-sponsor and pass H.R.2773/S.2372, the “Recovering America’s Wildlife Act.” Over a third of America’s fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction. The bill will direct $1.3 billion of existing revenue annually to state-led conservation efforts, as well as $97.5 million to Tribal-led wildlife conservation plans. The Nature Conservancy describes this bill as the “most significant investment in wildlife conservation in decades.” It has broad Republican support. Thank Rep. Kilmer for already being a co-sponsor.
  3. Contact our senators and tell them to vote “no” on the re-nomination of Jerome Powell as head of the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve has a mandate to regulate the banks and steer the economy away from crisis. But banks are fueling the climate crisis by lending money to oil and gas drillers, and Jerome Powell has shown he is not willing to do anything about it. Senators Warren, Whitehouse and Merkley are already “no” votes. Seattle’s own 350.org is a leader on the “no” vote on Powell. Here is their press release.
  4. Contact our senators and urge them to support the updated proposal by Senators Warren, King and Wyden to prevent the biggest and most profitable corporations from paying nothing In federal taxes. The proposal would create a minimum tax on corporations. Now that the Build Back Better bill has been passed by the House, the Senate will be revising it. This updated proposal must be included as a “pay-for” in the Build Back Better bill. Read about it here.
  5. Contact Rep. Kilmer and thank him for co-sponsoring H.R.5314/S.2921, the “Protecting Our Democracy Act.” Urge our senators to become co-sponsors. The bill, introduced by Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), is a response to the former president’s abuse of presidential power. For example, it prohibits self-pardons by a president, imposes limits on presidential declarations of emergencies, requires cause for the removal of an inspector general and requires candidates for president and vice president to submit to the FEC a copy of income tax returns. Check here for the full list. House Democrats are supposed to vote on this bill “by the fall.” There are only 10 days left for that to happen.

11/19/2021

  1. As ever, contact our senators and tell them to pass S.2747 Freedom to Vote Act,” and S.4, the “John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021,” by Nov. 19. After Nov. 19, the Senate has just 10 work days left this year. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer put S.4, the “John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021”  up for a vote in the Senate last week. The vote failed as expected, hopefully finally proving to Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema that, at the very least, there must be a carve-out of the filibuster to pass voting rights legislation or complete elimination of the filibuster. This coming wee Indivisible is leading a week of action on voting rights. Call our senators at each of their local offices (Murray: 425-259-6515 (Everette), 360-696-7797 (Vancouver), 509-453-7462 (Yakima), 206-553-5545 (Seattle), 509-624-9515 (Spokane) and 253-572-3636 Tacoma) Cantwell: 206-220-6400 (Seattle), 509-353-2507 (Spokane), 253-572-2281 (Tacoma), 425-303-0114 (Everette),  360-696-7838 (Vancouver) and 509- 946-8106 (Richland). In GOP-controlled states, passage of voter suppression laws and laws that allow a state legislature to override the vote of the people have made the choice is clear: save democracy or save the filibuster.
  2. Contact our members of Congress and urge them to co-sponsor and pass H.R.5905/S.3210, the Sgt. Isaac Woodard, Jr. and Sgt. Joseph H. Maddox GI Bill Restoration Act of 2021,” introduced by Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) and Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) in the House and Sen. Ralph Warnock (D-GA) in the Senate. The bill would amend title 38, United States Code, to extend to Black veterans of World War II, and surviving spouses and certain direct descendants of such veterans, eligibility for certain housing loans and educational assistance administered by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs. The original GI bill was signed in 1944 and its use by returning GIs helped build the white middle class that flourished in the 1950s and 60s. While the original GI Bill’s language did not specifically exclude African-American veterans from its benefits, the bill was structured in a way that ultimately shut doors for the 1.2 million Black veterans who returned from WWII. Read more about that here. The bill is named for Sgt. Isaac Woodard, Jr. who was in uniform when he was blinded by a small-town police chief while returning to his home in South Carolina, and Sgt. Joseph Maddox, who was accepted by Harvard University for a master’s degree program, but denied GI benefits to “avoid setting a precedent.” Read about that here.
  3. Contact Rep. Kilmer and thank him for getting his RECOMPETE bill (H.R.4651/S.2464 in the Build Back Better bill passed by the House today. Kilmer co-authored the bill with Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) and Rep. Suzane DelBene (D-WA) in the House and with Sen. Chris Coons (D- DE), Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Sen. Jacklyn Rosen (D-NV) in the Senate. The bill would “establish a new federal block grant program at the Economic Development Agency (EDA) to empower persistently distressed communities with flexible 10-year RECOMPETE grants to meet local economic development needs, create good jobs, invest in their workers and businesses, connect local residents to opportunities and resources for long-term success, and rebuild stronger with lasting opportunity and economic growth.” Read more here.
  4. Contact Rep. Kilmer and thank him for voting to censure Paul Gosar. Read about Gosar here.
  5. Contact our senators and urge them to support the nomination of Dilawar Syed to be Deputy Administrator of the Small Business Administration. (Sen. Cantwell is a member of this committee.) Endorsed by wide-ranging groups, from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to a diverse coalition of civil rights, Jewish, Muslim and Christian organizations, Syed has a long-established record of working successfully with entrepreneurs from all walks of life. If confirmed, he would become the highest-ranking Muslim American administration official in U.S. history. But Republican members of the Small Business Committee boycotted the vote on Syed’s nomination for the fifth time last Wednesday. Their “complaint” seems to be that under Trump and Biden, the Small Business Administration funded Planned Parenthood, and they want the money to be repaid before they will deign to attend a committee meeting and vote on Mr. Syed’s nomination – even though it was perfectly legal for the SBA to have given the funds to Planned Parenthood. They are playing this game while the SBA needs leadership to help small businesses recover from the pandemic. Learn more about it here.

11/12/2021

  1. Contact our senators and tell them to pass S.2747 Freedom to Vote Act,” and S.4, the “John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021,” by Nov. 19. After Nov. 19, the Senate has just 10 work days left this year. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer put S.4, the “John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021”  up for a vote in the Senate last week. The vote failed as expected, hopefully finally proving to Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema that, at the very least, there must be a carve-out of the filibuster to pass voting rights legislation or complete elimination of the filibuster. This coming wee Indivisible is leading a week of action on voting rights. Call our senators at each of their local offices (Murray: 425-259-6515 (Everette), 360-696-7797 (Vancouver), 509-453-7462 (Yakima), 206-553-5545 (Seattle), 509-624-9515 (Spokane) and 253-572-3636 Tacoma) Cantwell: 206-220-6400 (Seattle), 509-353-2507 (Spokane), 253-572-2281 (Tacoma), 425-303-0114 (Everette),  360-696-7838 (Vancouver) and 509- 946-8106 (Richland). In GOP-controlled states, passage of voter suppression laws and laws that allow a state legislature to override the vote of the people have made the choice is clear: save democracy or save the filibuster.
  2. Contact Rep. Kilmer and urge him to join other Democrats in censuring Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) for encouraging violence against elected officials by posting an altered anime video of himself killing Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez and attacking Pres. Biden. Read more here.

  3. Contact Sen. Cantwell and Rep. Kilmer and thank them for getting salmon recovery funding into H.R.3684, the “Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act” (aka, the bipartisan infrastructure bill) that will be signed by Pres. Biden on Monday. Rep. Kilmer’s amendment to the INVEST in America Act to create within the Dept. of Transportation the National Culvert Removal, Replacement, and Restoration Grant Program was included in the IIJA and has $1 billion in funding. Culverts are a major impediment to salmon recovery, and the IIJA will fund the removal or replacement of them. Other provisions of the IIJA will help with salmon recovery as well. See Sen. Cantwell’s list here.

  4. Contact Rep. Kilmer and congratulate him for the passage of H.R. 654, the “Drug-Free Communities Pandemic Relief Act.” Rep. Kilmer is an original cosponsor of the bill, along with Rep. David Joyce (R-OH). The bill temporarily gives the Office of National Drug Control Policy the authority to waive the program’s local matching requirements if the grantee is unable to meet them due to the ongoing pandemic. Read about it here. Contact our senators and urge them to support and pass S.26.

  5. Contact Sen. Murray and thank her for getting her Digital Equity Act included in H.R.3684 the “Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act” (aka, the bipartisan infrastructure bill) that will be signed by Pres. Biden on Monday. During negotiations, she also managed to increase funding for the Act from $1.3 billion to $2.75 billion. The Digital Equity Act creates a grant program to close the digital divide by funding activities that provide individuals and communities with the skills, supports, and technologies necessary to take full advantage of a broadband internet connection once they have access to one. Digital Equity Act grants can be used for anything from laptops and devices for students to digital literacy classes for seniors at a local library. Read more here.

11/5/2021

  1. Contact our senators and tell them to pass S.2747 Freedom to Vote Act,” and S.4, the “John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021,” by Nov. 19. After Nov. 19, the Senate has just 10 work days left this year. Majority Leader Chuck Schumer put S.4, the “John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021”  up for a vote in the Senate last week. The vote failed as expected, hopefully finally proving to Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema that, at the very least, there must be a carve-out of the filibuster to pass voting rights legislation or complete elimination of the filibuster. This coming wee Indivisible is leading a week of action on voting rights. Call our senators at each of their local offices (Murray: 425-259-6515 (Everette), 360-696-7797 (Vancouver), 509-453-7462 (Yakima), 206-553-5545 (Seattle), 509-624-9515 (Spokane) and 253-572-3636 Tacoma) Cantwell: 206-220-6400 (Seattle), 509-353-2507 (Spokane), 253-572-2281 (Tacoma), 425-303-0114 (Everette),  360-696-7838 (Vancouver) and 509- 946-8106 (Richland). Also, attend the Zoom meeting with our senators’ staffers on Nov. 10 and attend our rally on Nov. 13. The choice is clear: save democracy or save the filibuster.
  2. Contact Rep. Kilmer and thank him for voting to pass H.R.3684, the $1.2 trillion “Infrastructure and Invest in Jobs Act,” (aka, the “bipartisan infrastructure bill”) on Friday. While progressives would have preferred to also vote on the Build Back Better plan on the same day, a few “moderate” House members delayed that vote until it can be scored by the CBO, which could take two weeks or more. Progressives were satisfied by the passage of a procedural vote advancing the Build Back Better plan when Congress resumes on Nov. 15. The Infrastructure and Invest in Jobs Act passed with the help of 13 Republicans, while six Democrats did not vote for it. The Infrastructure and Invest in Jobs Act provides over five years: $110 billion for roads, bridges, and major transportation projects, $66 billion for passenger and freight rail, $11 billion for transportation and pipeline safety, $39.2 billion for transportation system maintenance backlog. Read Sen. Cantwell’s summary of the bill here.
  3. Contact our senators and urge them to continue the fight for paid family and medical leave in the Build Back Better plan. Sen. Murray has been a strong proponent of paid leave ever since she was first elected to the Senate in 1993. It looks like paid leave has dropped dropped from the bill in an effort to slim the bill down from $3.5 trillion to $1.75 trillion. Sens. Manchin and Sinema seem to be opposed to it. Here is what Sen. Murray said last week: “We are not going to allow one or two men to tell millions of women in this country that they can’t have paid leave.”
  4. Contact Rep. Kilmer and urge him to co-sponsor H.R.1517, “Ending Taxpayer Welfare for Oil and Gas Companies Act of 2021,” introduced by Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) The bill would raise royalty rates for leasing federal land for onshore oil, gas and coal development from 12.5% to 18.75% and raise the minimum bid price to lease federal land for oil and gas development from $2 per acre to $5. Watch Rep. Porter grill oil company executives here. Also urge Rep. Kilmer to support H.R.1492, the “Methane Waste Prevention Act,” introduced by Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO). The bill would require oil and gas companies operating on federal land to reduce methane emissions 65% below 2012 levels by 2025, and 90% by 2030. Also urge Rep. Kilmer to support H.R.1505, the “Bonding Reform and Taxpayer Protection Act of 2021,” introduced by Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), which would increase the amount of money drillers set aside for cleanups, to ensure taxpayers aren’t left with the bill. Read about all of these bills here.
  5. Contact our members of Congress and tell them to pass S.623/H.R.69, the “Sunshine Protection Act of 2021,” introduced by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL). The bill would make daylight savings time the new, permanent standard time and remove a major irritant in the lives of Americans. Sen. Patty Murray is already a co-sponsor, and Rep. Kilmer was a supporter of a similar bill in a previous session of Congress.

10/29/2021

  1. Contact our senators and tell them to eliminate the filibuster in order to pass S.2747 Freedom to Vote Act,” as well as H.R.4, the “John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021.” Majority Leader Chuck Schumer put S.2747 up for a vote in the Senate last week. The vote failed as expected. It’s obvious now that the filibuster must be eliminated to pass S.2747, H.R.4 (the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which will give the DOJ authority to investigate and bring lawsuits against states that violate voting rights), H.R.5314 to curb presidential power, H.R. 1280 for policing reform, H.R.3755 to protect reproductive rights, immigration reform, campaign finance reform, gun safety and so much more. We believe that Sen. Cantwell now supports a carve out but that she wants to keep the filibuster to protect Democrats when Republicans are in the majority. Remind her times have changed: Republicans have already carved out the filibuster to get the judicial nominees they want. Republicans get the tax cut bills they want via the carve out for reconciliation. As Sen. Gillibrand said last week, Republicans now get everything they want (which is to defeat Democratic initiatives) BECAUSE of the filibuster. The filibuster is an anti-democratic rule based on a mistake, but used exclusively by Southern senators to prevent the passage of civil rights legislation since the Civil War. It’s time for the filibuster to go. A fair amount Adam Jentleson’s book, “The Kill Switch,” (a history of the filibuster) is available online here. Once the infrastructure bills are passed next week, expect Indivisible to ramp up attention on this issue in the first two weeks of November.
  2. Contact our members of Congress and tell them to pass the biggest Build Back Better plan possible. Evidently “moderate” and progressive Democrats have worked out a $1.75 trillion framework (down from Pres. Biden’s original $3.5 trillion and the progressive’s $6 trillion) that (in order of dollar amount, highest to lowest) allocates funds for our climate change response, childcare and universal preschool, Medicaid and ACA expansion, Medicare hearing benefit, in-home care access for the elderly, affordable housing, worker training and higher education, plus $90 billion for other spending. Urge our senators to fight Manchin’s plan to add means testing and work requirements to the child tax credit because these things will bog down the program. (Watch the series “Maid” on Netflix for details on that or click here.) For dollar amounts and details, read more here. Read why child care is so important. Make sure neither infrastructure bill does NOT contain a new incentives for hydrogen produced from fossil fuels. Read about that here.
  3. Contact Rep. Kilmer and urge him to join 54 representatives in co-sponsoring H.Res. 25, introduced by Rep. Cori Bush (D-MO). The resolution calls for the House Ethics Committee to investigate whether “actions taken by Members of the 117th Congress seeking to overturn the 2020 Presidential election violated their oath of office.” More info here.
  4. Contact Rep. Kilmer and urge him to join 15 other House members in co-sponsoring H.Res.406, “Congressional Inherent Contempt Resolution,” introduced by Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA). The resolution would enable the House to enforce Congressional subpoenas and other Congressional actions by allowing the direct levying of penalties (as high as $100,000) against those refusing to comply with House-issued subpoenas. The resolution would require a simple majority of the House to pass. Lieu originally introduced this resolution a year ago, and the House should have taken action then. Learn more here.
  5. Contact our senators and thank them for confirming Myrna Pérez to the U.S. Appeals Court for the Second Circuit. The vote was a party-line 48 to 43. Pérez will be the first Latina judge ever on the Second Circuit. She spent 15 years working on civil rights for the Brennan Center. Here is the first paragraph of what Michael Waldman wrote about Perez: “For 15 years at the Brennan Center, Pérez fought passionately for voting rights. During that time, a fierce litigator, she won protections for the right to vote for hundreds of thousands of fellow citizens. She also documented misguided policies, such as flawed voter purges and harsh voter ID, that make it harder for too many to vote, particularly voters of color. She and her team were deeply involved in the drive to enact automatic voter registration, a breakthrough innovative reform now in place in seventeen states and the District of Columbia.” Read more here.
  6.  

10/22/2021

  1. Contact our senators and tell them to eliminate the filibuster in order to pass S.2747 Freedom to Vote Act,” as well as H.R.4, the “John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021.” Majority Leader Chuck Schumer put S.2747 up for a vote in the Senate this week. The vote failed as expected. It’s obvious now that the filibuster must be eliminated to pass S.2747, H.R.4 (the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which will give the DOJ authority to investigate and bring lawsuits against states that violate voting rights), H.R.5314 to curb presidential power, H.R. 1280 for policing reform, H.R.3755 to protect reproductive rights, immigration reform, campaign finance reform, gun safety and so much more. We believe that Sen. Cantwell now supports a carve out but that she wants to keep the filibuster to protect Democrats when Republicans are in the majority. Remind her times have changed: Republicans have already carved out the filibuster to get the judicial nominees they want. Republicans get the tax cut bills they want via the carve out for reconciliation. As Sen. Gillibrand said this week, Republicans now get everything they want (to defeat Democratic initiatives) BECAUSE of the filibuster. The filibuster is an anti-democratic rule used in the past to prevent civil rights legislation from passing for decades. It’s time for the filibuster to go.
  2. Contact our senators and urge them to support Holly Thomas, Pres. Biden’s pick for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The Ninth Circuit handles appeals from federal district courts in 11 states and territories, including Washington state. Thomas’ hearing was held this week and Republican “senators” used their time to grill Thomas about case in Loudoun County, VA, in which a boy assaulted a girl in a school bathroom. The boy is rumored to have worn a skirt. Thomas had not heard of the case before the hearing and had nothing to do with it. More info here.
  3. Contact our senators and urge them to support Rachael Rollins, Pres. Biden’s nominee for U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts. At her nomination hearing on Sept. 30, Cruz and Cotton led the opposition, accusing Rollins of having “a radical pro-crime stance.” Since being elected in 2018 as the first woman of color to serve as district attorney for Boston, Rollins has pushed for progressive criminal justice reforms. The Judiciary Committee voted 11-11 on Rollins’ nomination, so Schumer will have to call for a vote of the full Senate to push through Rollins’ nomination. Read more here.
  4. Contact Rep. Kilmer and urge him to support and pass the Justice Against Malicious Algorithms Act, introduced by Rep. Frank Pallone (D-06), along with Reps. Mike Doyle (D-PA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), and Anna Eshoo (D-CA) (no bill number yet). The bill would end civil immunity for Facebook and other platforms that knowingly or recklessly use algorithms or other technology to recommend content that “materially contributes to physical or severe emotional injury.” The bill would allow people to sue in cases where someone acts on misinformation or damaging content placed in their feed through personalized algorithms — for example, taking their own life. Read more hereUrge our senators to work with Reps. Pallone, Doyle, Schakowsky and Eschoo to introduce and pass this bill in the Senate.
  5. Contact Rep. Kilmer and thank him for working with Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler to introduce H.R.4651/S.2464 the RECOMPETE Act. Contact our senators and urge them to co-sponsor this bill, which would The RECOMPETE Act would establish a new federal grant program at the Economic Development Agency (EDA) that would empower persistently distressed communities to develop, implement, and carry out 10-year economic development strategies and create jobs. Distressed communities, as identified by the W. E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, are home to almost one-sixth of the U.S. population and have an employment rate of workers ages 25 to 54 significantly below the national average. The Upjohn Institute’s analysis suggests that these communities have largely been left out of the investment, wealth, innovation, and opportunity that has instead been concentrated in a handful of major metro areas in recent decades. Read more here.

10/15/2021

  1. Contact our senators and tell them to eliminate the filibuster in order to pass S.2747 Freedom to Vote Act,” introduced by Sens. Joe Manchin, Raphael Warnock and Amy Klobuchar, as well as H.R.4, the “John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2021.” Majority Leader Chuck Schumer plans to put S.2747 up for a vote in the Senate next week. The vote is expected to fail and precipitate a showdown on the filibuster. It’s obvious now that the filibuster must be eliminated to pass S.2747, H.R.4 (the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which will give the DOJ authority to investigate and bring lawsuits against states that violate voting rights), H.R.5314 to curb presidential power, H.R. 1280 for policing reform, H.R.3755 to protect reproductive rights, immigration reform, campaign finance reform and gun safety. Senators who argue that the filibuster must be saved to protect Democratic priorities when Republicans are in the majority must realize that argument is a self-fulling prophecy: Republicans will take the majority for years to come once they’ve suppressed voting rights at the state level, and Mitch McConnell or any other Republican majority leader will eliminate the filibuster himself when he doesn’t need or want it anymore.
  2. Contact our members of Congress and urge them to support Pres. Biden’s plan to increase tax revenues collected by the IRS. Media coverage of this plan from the New York Times and others has been abysmal without actually saying what the plan is, leading to hysterical negative reactions. Lawrence O’Donnell interviewed Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo who said exactly what the plan is: have banks (which already report to the IRS the amount of interest paid to an account at the end of every year) also report how much money went into an account and how much money came out of an account. The IRS would use this information to flag returns that report income of more than $400,000 a year and have “wonky” in-and-out numbers  for additional scrutiny that may lead to an audit if warranted. Budget cuts at the IRS over the last decades have reduced auditing for the richest of Americans because their returns are more complicated and take longer to audit. That means the rest of us whose income is reported on a W-2 are more likely to be audited. The United States will lose an estimated $7 trillion over the next decade from people and corporations not paying the taxes they owe. That is twice the $3.5 trillion of investments that Congress is now considering in the budget reconciliation bill. The richest 1 percent of taxpayers alone are responsible for an estimated $163 billion in unpaid taxes each year. Read more here.
  3. Contact our senators and tell them to support the nomination of Saule Omarova. Pres. Biden’s nominee to head the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, which oversees banking regulation. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), attacked Omarova as the most “radical choice for any regulatory spot in our federal government” he had ever seen. He pointed to her academic writings in support of providing Americans with bank accounts through the Federal Reserve and authorizing a National Investment Authority to guide a national industrial policy. He insinuated that her birthplace in Kazakhstan (then part of the USSR) is the source of these horrible ideas. “What really drives the hysterical bank lobby opposition is that Omarova is an experienced bank lawyer and policymaker who worked alongside banks and Republican Treasury officials, and she knows where Wall Street buried all the bodies,” Carter Dougherty, communications director for Americans for Financial Reform, said. “She knows its secrets.” Read more here.
  4. Contact Rep. Kilmer and urge him to support H.R.5525, the ENABLERS Act, introduced by Rep. Tom Malinowksi (D-NJ) and five other House members of which three are Republicans. The bill was inspired by the revelations of the Pandora Papers. a trove of millions of leaked documents, has raised questions about the business dealings of everyone from the king of Jordan to the billionaire friends and an alleged mistress of Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Among the Papers more surprising findings is that South Dakota has become a major haven for people seeking to hide money from tax collectors, creditors and others. The main provision of the ENABLERS Act is that lawyers, investment advisers, art dealers, realtors, accountants, public relations firms and others would be required to engage in some form of “due diligence” to ensure their clients aren’t paying with or trying to move around money of suspicious origin.” Analysts say this requirement is, to a large degree, already standard in most other countries. Read more here.
  5. Contact Rep. Kilmer and thank him for working with Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler to introduce H.R.4822, the “Department of Energy Coastal Research Initiative Act,” in July. The bill would authorize the Dept. of Energy to carry out a research program, in consultation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to enhance the understanding of coastal ecosystems of the Great Lakes region, the Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf coasts, as well as the Arctic. All are threatened by climate change.