Weekly Action Recommendations: Week of April 16, 2017

This is only a partial list of actions which might be taken this week to defend ethical government. For more ideas, you might visit For more ideas, you might visit 5calls.org, actionalliance.co/, or roganslist.blogspot.com/.

  • Practice responsible stewardship over our earth:
    • Participate in the March for Science on Saturday. If you knit and you support science, check out this cool “thinking cap” idea: http://news.stanford.edu/…/stanford-microbiologist-creates…/
    • Action Utah suggests 10 ways to celebrate Earth Day (this Saturday).
    • Ask your representative to join the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus, which will explore policy options that address the impacts, causes, and challenges of our changing climate. The caucus was founded in February of 2016 by two south-Florida representatives, Carlos Curbelo (R-FL) and Ted Deutch (D-FL), who serve as co-chairs of the caucus. The caucus will be balanced in number of Republicans and Democrats, so let’s get members of both parties on board.
    • EPA Chief Scott Pruitt has called for an “exit” from the Paris agreement, an agreement endorsed by nearly 200 countries to fight climate change. Some of the administration’s actions are motivated by input they received from industries. If you want them to consider citizen’s input as well, you can go to the EPA comment website and provide your thoughts about the EPA unwinding important regulatory measures.  Click on the upper right “Comment Now” tab to open the comment form.  If you have specific facts supporting your opposition to the repeal of these regulations, please include them in your comments.  If not, a simple message might be best.  If you want help crafting a comment, you can email these climate change policy experts who will lend you a hand.
    • Ask your MoCs their opinion on Trump’s environmental actions and let them know that you want them to vote for strong support for scientific programming.
    • Thank the Republican representatives who joined Democrats in voting NO on the misnamed “HONEST” Act: Ryan Costello (PA), Carlos Curbelo (FL), John Faso (NY), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL), Mark Sanford (SC), and Elise Stefanik (NY).  The “HONEST” Act and the Science Advisory Board Reform Act are now in the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. Is your senator on the committee? If so please contact them and let them know these two acts cannot become law. See the list of committee members here. More information and a script here.
  • Trump’s Budget: Trump’s proposed budget for 2017 designates $1.5 billion to build more detention centers, hire hundreds more ICE agents and border patrol officers, and expand efforts to remove undocumented immigrants, but would also gouge the State Department, EPA, Department of Education, and other vital programs and services. If you oppose these priorities, here are some possible actions:
    • Immigrant deportation and detentions. Call your MoC and urge them to reject 45’s budget for immigrant deportations and detentions. More information and possible script here.
    • The Wall. The 2017 budget allocates over $2.6 billion to construct a southern border wall and hire 20 attorneys to assist in taking property from Americans who own land along the border. This $2.6 billion represents less than 15% of the estimated total cost of the project, which an internal Homeland Security memo has estimated to be at least $21.6 billion to complete over 3.5 years. Despite the wall’s high cost, experts agree that it’s the opposite of a solution to the nation’s failed immigration policies.  More information and a call script here.
    • Libraries would also lose funding. Ask your MoC to keep our libraries funded. Ironically, last Thursday Ivanka Trump tweeted “This #NationalLibraryWeek, we honor our libraries and librarians for opening our eyes to the world of knowledge, learning and reading!”  Perhaps she does not realize that the cuts her father is proposing will hurt so many libraries and library users. Her tweet backfired among those who support libraries.  Let’s ask her to ask her father to save library funding for all:  https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact.
  • Protect Health Care and #RejectRepeal: Wednesday, April 19 is a day of action to Protect Our Care. Trump threatened to withhold critical funding that makes health care more affordable for millions of people unless Democrats came to the table to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Yet a recent Kaiser Family Foundation poll found 75% of Americans want Congress to repair the Affordable Care Act rather than replace it. We must continue to put the pressure on our members of Congress to reject repeal and put the health of millions above partisan politics. For talking points and social media resources, see here and here.
  • Protect our Afghan Allies: The Keeping Our Promise to Our Afghan Allies Act would add 2,500 visas to the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) program. Per an excerpt from The Hill: “These interpreters put their lives on the line for American values, often even picking up a weapon to defend the U.S. forces they were with when the shooting started. That kind of risk, courage, and sacrifice doesn’t escape notice—especially among those who oppose it. Even today, interpreters and others who ‘collaborated’ with American forces have their pictures and personal information circulated among extremist groups, with bounties on their heads and the heads of their families.” Let’s call our own MoCs and members of the House Judiciary Committee and ask them to move this bill along.  More information and a script here.
  • Trump’s Taxes and Conflicts of Interest: Acquiring Trump’s taxes is crucial to understanding his financial conflicts of interest and entanglements with Russia. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ) of the House Ways and Means Committee and Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) on the Senate Finance Committee, both introduced Resolutions of Inquiry in their respective committees that would direct the Treasury Department to release Trump’s tax returns. However, both resolutions were struck down by the GOP majorities. The chairmen of both committees (Orrin Hatch and Kevin Brady) stated in a joint letter, “The American people have made it clear that they want Washington to fix our broken tax code — not to target the tax returns of individual citizens.” However the massive countrywide attendance of the April 15th Tax March proves their statement wrong.
    • Tell your MoCs if you want Trump to reveal his taxes just as presidents have done since the 1970s. You can also ask them to support H.R. 305/S. 26 (Presidential Tax Transparency Act). Use this link for more information and a possible call script to your MoC.
    • Ask your MoCs to support The Presidential Conflicts of Interest Act of 2017 (S.65/H.R.371). Possible Script: This is [NAME] and I’m a constituent in [ZIP]. I’m calling because I want [Sen/Rep____] to support (S.65/H.R.371), which would require the President to divest financial assets which create a conflict of interest. I’m very concerned about the appearance of corruption and think this legislation would go a long way to solving the problem. I appreciate your time!
  • Help make hearing more affordable: The cost of hearing aids, which are often not covered by insurance, can be prohibitive for many. Yet untreated hearing loss can be physically and psychologically detrimental. Personal sound amplifiers can help those with mild hearing loss and are about 1/10th the cost of full hearing aids. A bipartisan bill introduced by Sen. Warren (D-MA) and Sen. Grassley (R-IA) would make hearing more affordable for more people. Encourage your MoC to support his bipartisan legislation.
  • Who Declares War? The Constitution established Congress as the body with power to declare war. Our members of Congress can require the president to obtain Congressional approval before any further military action.
    • Calls your MoCs with this possible script: Hi. This is [NAME] and I’m a constituent in [ZIP]. I’m concerned that the White House is carrying out military operations without Congressional approval. I urge [Sen/Rep____] to insist Congress reassert its Constitutional duty and require the president to obtain Congressional approval before any further military action in Syria, North Korea or anywhere else. I appreciate your time. Thank you!
    • Another tactic is H J. 75, the War Powers Resolution Act, introduced by Rep. DeFazio (D-OR), which would give the ability to declare war to Congress rather than the President.  This is currently in two committees; if you support, see here.https://docs.google.com/document/d/1c-xXws1_NsmbJtIUtL7d0L5sLMVtL34IIJr-UA-MfBw/edit
  • Examine our own bias: The bad news is that you probably will find something that makes you uncomfortable. The good news is that it’s 2017 and there are all kinds of tools and opportunities available to you to make a change. Knowledge is power:
    • Participate in Harvard’s Project Implicit by taking one or more of their questionnaires to help you uncover your subtle, even hidden, bias(es).
    • Read a book both liberals and conservatives like.
    • Charles Murray, a libertarian political scientist and author, argues that there exists a new upper class that’s completely disconnected from the average white American and American culture at large. Take this quiz to find out how much exposure you may have had to ordinary working-class or middle-class neighborhoods: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/making-sense/do-you-live-in-a-bubble-a-quiz-2/.
  • Express gratitude:
    • Thank Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Mike Lee (R-UT) for defending Americans’ constitutional right to free speech.
      • Gardner: 354 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510
      • Lee: 361A Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510
    • Thank Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Chris Coons (D-DE) for supporting food assistance to Sudan and opposing Trump’s foreign aid cuts.
      • Corker: Dirksen Senate Office Building, SD-425, Washington, DC 20510
      • Coons: 127A Russell Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 20510