Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Overturn Citizens United. Pass the 'We the People' amendment

Petition to Congress:
"Overturn Citizens United v. FEC and stop secret corporate money from corrupting our democracy. Pass Rep. Pramila Jayapal's 'We the People' amendment."
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►
In the wake of that devastating Supreme Court decision, corporate interests and right-wing mega-donors poured untold amounts of cash into hijacking our elections. Citizens United boosted Republicans' vote share by three to four points in states where bans on corporate spending had previously been in effect.1 In a few short years, wealthy special interests bought the Senate for Republicans.
Now, there is new energy in Congress to finally overturn Citizens United with a constitutional amendment. It's up to us to show support for the boldest possible proposals to finally end the scourge of dark money eroding our democracy.
In Citizens United, the Supreme Court opened the floodgates to unlimited spending on elections by corporations. A few years later, in McCutcheon v. FEC, the Court struck down limits on how much money individual mega-donors can give to candidates during a single election cycle. The Court’s conservatives aren’t likely to stop there. They'll continue tearing down campaign finance protections that prevent corporations from drowning out the voices of ordinary Americans.
It is no accident that the years since those decisions brought Republican waves, state legislative takeovers. Giant corporations – from Big Oil to Big Pharma, from telecoms to defense contractors – can get away with spending nearly unlimited amounts without voters, customers or shareholders ever knowing. These companies use their deep pockets to rig the system and block efforts to fight climate change, lower drug prices, and build a more progressive country.
Senate Democrats recently introduced the Democracy for All amendment, which would give states the power to fight against Citizens United. Progressive champion Rep. Pramila Jayapal's We the People amendment goes even farther. It would end the lies that money is speech and corporations are people, instruct state and local governments to strictly regulate campaign donations and insist that wealth not give a person more power over our democracy.3,4
We need to seize on the momentum to show how many people support overturning Citizens United with a constitutional amendment – and demand the strongest possible version.
Tell Congress: Overturn Citizens United. Pass the We the People amendment. Click the link below to sign the petition.
Heidi Hess, CREDO Action
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►
References:
  1. Dylan Matthews, "The tyranny of the majority isn’t a problem in America today. Tyranny of the minority is." Vox, Sept. 12, 2018.
  2. Sen. Tom Udall, "The Super-Wealthy Have Outsize Influence in Politics. Here's How We Can Change That," Time, Aug. 14, 2019.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Move to Amend, "Only the 'We the People Amendment' Will End Corporate Rule," July 30, 2019.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Call the DNC: Demand a climate debate now

Call the DNC to demand a climate debate now.
Click below for a sample script and the number to call:
Take action now ►
DNC Chair Tom Perez is against it, but activists, 20 presidential contenders,1 and over 200,000 petition signers want to make sure that a real discussion about the survival of our planet gets the airtime it deserves.2 Climate change is a threat to our current communities and future generations.Next week, Democratic National Committee (DNC) members are expected to vote on whether to have an official climate debate.
Voters deserve to know how presidential candidates plan to address this crisis. We have until August 22nd to get DNC members to support a climate debate. Will you call Arizona DNC members today?
Climate change has always faced an absurdly difficult challenge to make it to debate stages. Despite an uptick in natural disasters devastating thousands of Americans, climate issues are still considered niche, rather than a widespread concern. In the last debate, only 10% of the questions moderators asked of candidates were about climate change. That is appalling.3
Democrats need to step up and put climate change on the national political stage. A presidential primary debate on climate would highlight the climate crisis at a time when more people than ever are tuned in to national politics – and force candidates to be explicit about their solutions
The more calls we make to DNC members, the better chance we have of getting a climate debate. Call the DNC today.
Tell your DNC members: Stand up for a climate debate. Click the link below to call your DNC members:
- Jelani Drew, CREDO Action 
Click below for a sample script and the number to call:
Take action now ►
References:
  1. Rebecca Leber, "Nearly Every Democratic Presidential Candidate Is Now Backing a Debate on Climate Change" Mother Jones, July 3, 2019.
  2. Chris Mills Rodrigo, "Activists deliver petition with 200,000 signatures calling for climate debate to DNC" The Hill, June 12, 2019.
  3. Elvondo Cooper & Lisa Hymas, "Less than 10% of questions were about climate change at CNN's two-night debate in Detroit" Media Matters for America, Aug. 1, 2019.

Tell House Dems: Pass No Federal Funds for Public Charge Act (H.R. 3222)

The petition to Democrats in the House of Representatives reads:
"Pass the No Federal Funds for Public Charge Act (H.R. 3222)."
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►
Early this week, the Trump regime finalized a racist policy that would make it easier for the government to deny green cards to immigrants who have used Medicaid, Medicare, housing or food assistance. That means families and seniors will have to choose between their health and well-being and pursuing a path to citizenship. We cannot let this stand.Donald Trump and Stephen Miller's cruelty is endless.
Rep. Judy Chu's No Federal Funds for Public Charge Act would block the Trump regime from using federal funding to implement this cruel new policy.2 Speak out now to demand that Democrats in the House of Representatives pass this important bill.
Public charge is a category the government uses to determine whether someone seeking permanent resident status is likely to rely on public assistance to live in the country. In the past, xenophobes and racists have used public charge claims to keep out Jews fleeing Nazi Germany, LGBTQ families and people with disabilities. Now, the Trump regime is expanding and weaponizing it to advance its white supremacist agenda. We must stop this attack now.
The rule change would subject immigrants more likely to use public benefits like low-income immigrants, immigrants over the age of 65 and those with large families to a higher level of scrutiny when they apply for a green card. If an individual or anyone in their family has a record of using Medicare, Medicaid, SNAP or housing assistance, including Section 8, the government could label them a public charge and deny their application.
This attack is already having a chilling effect on immigrants, preventing many of them from accessing vital services. A recent survey showed that 20% of immigrant adults chose not to participate in a public benefit program for fear that the government would deny their green card application.3 That is appalling. Immigrants are eligible for many public benefits. They have every right to participate in programs they qualify for without putting their immigration status at risk.
For the Trump administration, the cruelty of this new policy is the point. It's also a blatant attempt to force Black and Brown immigrants into the shadows, kick them out of the country, and make citizenship a privilege reserved for white and wealthy immigrants only.
Thirteen states just filed a federal lawsuit challenging Trump's public charge policy.4 Now, it's up to us to keep the momentum going. Pushing Democrats in the House of Representatives to block federal funding for Trump's cruel expansion of public charge is one way we can show our immigrant neighbors, friends and family members that we have their backs.
Tell House Democrats: Not one dollar for Trump's racist public charge rule. Click the link below to sign the petition.
- Nicole Regalado, CREDO Action
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►
References:
  1. Michael D. Shear, Miriam Jordan and Caitlin Dickerson, "Trump’s Policy Could Alter the Face of the American Immigrant," The New York Times, Aug. 14, 2019.
  2. Rep. Judy Chu, "Rep. Chu Introduces Bill to Block Implementation of Proposed Public Charge Rule," June 12, 2019.
  3. Quinn Owen, "Trump administration underestimating impact of new immigration rule, advocates say," ABC, Aug. 15, 2019.
  4. Geneva Sands, "13 states sue over legal immigration 'public charge' rule," CNN, Aug. 15, 2019.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Tell Democrats: No Wall Street budget amendment

Petition to Democrats in the House of Representatives:
"Oppose the so-called 'Balanced Budget Amendment,' a destructive pro-Wall Street idea that no Democrat should support."
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►
Cuts to government services mean more money for Wall Street. Corporate titans and big banks spend billions to support politicians who will cut social spending, knowing that if we can't rely on public roads or schools, people will have to turn to Wall Street-backed private businesses.
That is why Wall Street loves the idea of a so-called "Balanced Budget Amendment," which would amend the Constitution to slash social spending. The amendment would bar the government from running a deficit, with disastrous effects for everyone except the investor class.1 No wonder one writer calls it "the worst idea in American politics."Cuts to government services mean more money for Wall Street. Corporate titans and big banks spend billions to support politicians who will cut social spending, knowing that if we can't rely on public roads or schools, people will have to turn to Wall Street-backed private businesses.
A group of corporate pawns known as "Blue Dog Democrats" are using the recently passed budget deal as an excuse to push the amendment and create a rift in the Democratic caucus.3 We need to make it clear to Democrats that siding with Wall Street is simply unacceptable.
The budget deal was already a mixed bag. While it removed some spending caps, it also increased military spending and suspended the debt ceiling for two years – potentially allowing Republicans to hold it hostage against a future Democratic administration. But even this wasn't enough for Blue Dog Democrats.4
The Blue Dogs want to put a kinder, gentler face on Wall Street plutocracy and push the Trump agenda. One of their key priorities this Congress is the Wall Street budget amendment. It would:5,6
  • Create recessions and make them worse by barring the government from deficit spending to boost the economy when it is weak or, in the case of the Blue Dogs' proposal, create extra hoops for Congress to jump through before it can act.
  • Damage the social safety net by placing limits on the ability of Social Security and Medicare to tap trust funds, creating an artificial cap on social safety net spending and locking Trump and Wall Street's budget idea into the Constitution for a generation or more.
  • Empower Trump and enrich Wall Street, by potentially giving the presidency new power to decide which programs are cut and who gets taxed in order to meet requirements – ensuring that more and more Americans must turn to Wall Street loan sharks to make ends meet, see a doctor or go to school.
  • Force the government to live by far harsher rules than ordinary families, who can at least finance major purchases by taking out a home mortgage or an auto loan.
Even with a Wall Street budget amendment, a Republican-led Congress will still give tax handouts to the super-rich and spend trillions on military waste, while the rest of us pay for it all. Democrats who support this idea should be laughed out of the room.
Tell Democrats: No Wall Street budget amendment. Click below to sign the petition:
- Heidi Hess, CREDO Action
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►
References:
  1. Richard Kogan, "Constitutional Balanced Budget Amendment Poses Serious Risks," Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, March 16, 2018.
  2. Charles P. Pierce, "Not One Single Democrat Should Get Behind the Worst Idea in American Politics," Esquire, April 9, 2019.
  3. Niv Elis, "Exclusive: Moderate Democrats renew calls for balanced budget amendment as spending deal nears," The Hill, July 18, 2019.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Kogan, "Constitutional Balanced Budget Amendment Poses Serious Risks."
  6. Pierce, "Not One Single Democrat Should Get Behind the Worst Idea in American Politics."

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Tell your members of Congress: No wall on the San Pedro River


Act now! Construction is imminent. It’s not too late to stop this wall. Contact your congressional members NOW. Time is of the essence.

“The San Pedro harbors the richest, most dense and diverse inland bird population in the United States as well—385 species... For millions of migratory birds traveling from winter food in Central America to their northern breeding grounds, there is just one reliable passage. Just this one.” (excerpt from Barbara Kingsolver’s “Patience of a Saint”)

Scott Feldhausen, BLM Gila District Manager, in a July 3, 2019 letter to Paul Enriquez, Customs and Border Protection, Washington, D.C. writes, “This extreme flow regime, coupled with the seasonal variability of summer monsoons, make installation of permanent, yet permeable barriers, an engineering challenge… Currently, seasonable removal of the “normandy-styled” vehicular barriers has allowed the San Pedro River to maintain natural processes…” “Floods come down like rolling loads of cement.” (The Secret Knowledge of Water by C. Childs)

Potentially Catastrophic Border Wall Impacts:

 • Bulldozers, graders, back-hoes, chainsaws and the like are expected to begin as early as this month (August, 2019).
• Bulldozing native vegetation for 150ft “enforcement zone” on both sides of the wall will scar the land destroying habitat and visual aesthetics. Construction of 30ft concrete-filled, impermeable steel pedestrian barrier with 24 hour lighting, 31/2 football fields long with imbedded cameras.All this within this irreplaceable riparian ecosystem.
• High velocity flood flows – 8400 cfs (cubic feet/sec) = 62,836 gallons of water/sec with accumulation of tree debris and sediment creating a “dam” that can rise above the barrier, causing damage and potentially harming infrastructure downstream.
 • River bank destabilization coupled with increased erosion causing loss of vegetation, impacting the health and stability of the riparian area • Disruption of primary migratory wildlife corridor; threatened and endangered animals need these areas for movement across the border; jaguar, ocelot, jaguarundi, Mexican Gray Wolf, Mexican Spotted Owl, Mexican Long-nosed Bat and others. The wall will impede or inhibit the survival of these threatened animals.
• In 1995 the American Bird Conservancy recognized the San Pedro as its first Globally Important Bird Area. The Area features 300 migratory birds, 100 species of breeding birds, 200 species of butterflies, 87 species of mammals, 65 species of reptiles and amphibians, and native fish.
• “The river corridor supports 2/3 of the avian diversity of the entire United States...” (R. J. Luce, River of Life, San Pedro Anthology, 2019)
• In excess of 23,000 people visited the San Pedro House and Fairbanks Schoolhouse (a historical location within the riparian area) in FY2018 contributing over $300,000 to the local economy. We cannot afford to impact a critical migratory flyway and river corridor, compromising its pristine beauty and discouraging potential revenue from thousands of visitors each year.

The San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area (SPRNCA)

The San Pedro River is the last free flowing desert river in the southwest. SPRNCA was the first conservation area of its kind in our country designated by Congress on Nov 18, 1988 by Public Law 100-696:“In order to protect the riparian areas and the aquatic, wildlife, archaeological, paleontological, scientific, cultural, educational, and recreational resources of the public lands surrounding the San Pedro River in Cochise County, Arizona...” - Legal Hurdles

No environmental, archaeological or historic preservation laws apply (federal, state or local). In 2005, Congress passed the REAL ID Act granting the Secretary of Homeland Security the authority to waive any and all laws with regard to constructing walls and roads along the border. Several public interest groups are in federal court in the District of Columbia right now asking for a preliminary injunction that would halt construction activity in the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area.

MEMBERS OF CONGRESS AND KEY SENATORS TO CONTACT:

1. Senator Krysten Sinema, Office: 3333 E. Camelback Rd. Suite 200, Phoenix, AZ 85016, email: https://www.sinema.senate.gov/contact-krysten, phone: 602.598.7327 She is on the Senate Homeland Security Committee 

2. Senator Martha McSally, Office: 407 W. Congress St., Suite 103, Tucson, AZ 85701email:https://www.mcsally.senate.gov/contact_martha, phone:520.670.6334

3. U.S. Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick, Sierra Vista Office: 77 Calle Portal, Suite B160, Sierra Vista, AZ 85635, phone: 520.459.3115, Tucson Office: 1636 North Swan Rd. Suite 200, Tucson, AZ 85712, phone: 520.881.3588, email:https://kirkpatrick.house.gov/contact/emsil-me

4. U.S. Congressman Raul Grijalva, Office: El Pueblo Community Center, 101 W. Irvington Rd. Buildings 4 and 5 Tucson, AZ 85714, email: https://grijalva.house.gov/email-raul, phone: 520.622.6788 Chair, House Natural Resources Committee – jurisdiction over all public lands.

Conserve, Protect and Enhance • Page 2 • created by www.mawcenter.org, 8/2019

MORE INFORMATION

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Tell Congress: Pass thee Social Security 2100 Act

No, this isn't blurry. You're just getting old.
Petition to Congress:
"Pass the Social Security 2100 Act, which would increase Social Security benefits and keep the system solvent into the next century."
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►
Rep. John Larson's Social Security 2100 Act would increase Social Security benefits for all recipients, protect low-income workers by increasing the minimum monthly benefit and help Social Security maintain its value over time by adjusting benefits to inflation. In addition to protecting and enhancing Social Security, it’s paid for it by requiring millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share. We’re just 7 votes shy of passing Social Security expansion in the House of Representatives in 2019!
America is on the brink of a retirement crisis. Low wages and Wall Street scams have left countless Americans unable to save for retirement. Yet instead of protecting the best and most stable retirement program we have, Donald Trump and Trump Republicans repeatedly attack it. They proposed slashing $492 million from the Social Security Administration and routinely invoke the deficits they created with the Trump Tax Scam as an excuse to cut our earned benefits.2,3
That is why we are standing with our friends at Social Security Works to support the Social Security 2100 Act, which would:4
  • Increase Social Security benefits for all of us.
  • Force millionaires and billionaires to pay the same rate as everyone else.
  • Protect low income workers by increasing the minimum monthly benefit.
  • Guard against inflation by indexing benefits to what the elderly really must spend money on.
Social Security is one of the most successful government programs in our history, helping to keep tens of millions of Americans out of poverty over the past 80 years. It can pay all the benefits we earned through 2034 and nearly 80 percent after without any changes. But forcing the wealthy to pay their fair share will secure the program for all of us into the next century.
Republicans have been plotting for decades to undermine Social Security any way they can. Right now – with Americans reminded of all the good government does – is the best time to promote a bold vision for the future of Social Security.
Tell Congress: Expand Social Security. Pass the Social Security 2100 Act. Click the link below to sign the petition:
Heidi Hess, CREDO Action
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►
References:
  1. Nancy Altman, "Republicans Are Killing Social Security One Tiny Service Cut at a Time," Slate, Jan. 22, 2018.
  2. Rep. John Larson, "The Social Security 2100 Act," accessed Feb. 6, 2019.
  3. Ibid.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Tell Mitch McConnell: Stop blocking gun control

 In El Paso, Texas. Nine were killed and 27 were injured
The petition to Mitch McConnell reads:
"Our country's gun violence epidemic demands action. Call the Senate back from recess to vote on H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act, and H.R. 1112, the Enhanced Background Checks Act."
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►
Our country's epidemic of gun violence demands action, but Republican politicians only offer their thoughts and prayers.This weekend, a white supremacist killed twenty people and injured dozens in El Paso, Texas. Nine were killed and 27 were injured in Dayton, Ohio. Three were killed and 40 were injured in Chicago, Illinois.
Thoughts and prayers won't stop the next mass shooting or do anything meaningful to address the gun violence epidemic. Congress needs to act. In February, the House of Representatives passed two bills to close major loopholes in gun purchase background checks,1 but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell won't bring them to the floor of the Senate for a vote. It's time to put massive pressure on him to act.
Tragic mass shootings have become all too common – and they're getting deadlier. Since the fall of 2017, we have had four of the 10 deadliest mass shootings in modern U.S. history.2 And while these mass shootings receive more media attention, we cannot forget the gun violence that strikes people, families and communities across the country on a daily basis, killing almost 8,800 and injuring almost 17,500 so far this year.3
Earlier this year in New Zealand, after a gunman shot and killed 50 people at two mosques, it took lawmakers just three days to pass legislation banning assault weapons and high capacity magazines. We need that legislation too, and Democrats in the House of Representatives should take the lead and pass it, but we can't let the Senate off the hook.
The House has already passed two good bills that would help keep guns out of the hands of people who would be a danger to themselves or others. They deserve an up-or-down vote in the Senate but won't get one unless we put massive grassroots pressure on McConnell and his fellow Republicans and start breaking the NRA's chokehold on Congress. Senate Democrats are demanding that McConnell bring the Senate back into session to vote on H.R. 8 and H.R. 1112.4 Can you help amplify their call?
Tell Sen. McConnell: Thoughts and prayers are not enough. Call the Senate back into session for a vote on gun control now. Click the link below to sign the petition:
- Heidi Hess, CREDO Action
Add your name:
Sign the petition ►
References:
  1. Brakkton Booker and Martin Kaste, "House Passes Second Gun Background Check Bill In As Many Days," Feb. 28, 2019.
  2. Dave Lawler and Orion Rummler, "The deadliest mass shootings in modern U.S. history," Axios, Aug. 4, 2019.
  3. "Gun Violence Archive 2019," accessed Aug. 4, 2019.
  4. Rebecca Klar, "Democrats call for Senate to return to vote on gun reform after two deadly mass shootings," The Hill, Aug. 4, 2019.
More Information: 

This is the gun control legislation Mitch McConnell won't allow senators to vote on - USA TODAY, August. 4, 2019