Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Trump's plan allows employers to eliminate birth control from insurance plans

Ready for another bundle of joy?
Today, a Trump Administration plan leaked that will let America's employers make birth control unaffordable for employees by eliminating it from insurance plans. 1 From Wal-Mart to your small, local restaurant, a woman's birth control will become her boss' business. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act and Obama Administration actions, 55 million women accessed birth control without out-of-pocket costs like co-pays--including $1.4 billion on the pill alone in 2013.2

Now, hundreds of thousands of women could lose access to no-cost birth control if Trump's license to discriminate becomes final. But America's employers can step in and become part of the resistance by guaranteeing they will not end birth control coverage. We know that consumer power can successfully pressure corporations to do the right thing. If tens of thousands push three of America's largest employers with a strong base of women employees and customers, we can force them to maintain birth control coverage for millions of working women--and other employers will be forced to follow suit to stay competitive.

Can you sign the petition? Tell Target, Disney, Merck, and other major corporations: "Resist Trump's attacks on women. Pledge to maintain insurance coverage of birth control for your employees."

Sign the petition

It's not just employers that are given a license to discriminate. Colleges, universities, and even insurance companies can cite religious grounds as a reason to control a woman's reproductive health and economic security. Before the Affordable Care Act, many women paid over $1,000 a year for birth control they rely on. So for them, this is no small change--like a $100 per month rent increase or a $1,000 bill to fix a car. More than 1 in 3 women have stated they have struggled to afford birth control at some point in their lives.3

Under Trump's rule, the reason a woman uses birth control is irrelevant--whether for family planning or menstrual cramps, treating endometriosis or pelvic inflammatory disease. Ninety-nine percent of women will use birth control at some point in their lives, 58 percent of them for a reason other than preventing pregnancy.4 President Trump wants to take away the respect women deserve to control their own economic future. America's employers need to make a choice: do they stand with President Trump and his attacks on women, or their own employees and customers?
-- the UltraViolet team

Sources:
2. Private Insurance Coverage of Contraception, Kaiser Family Foundation, December 7, 2016

Oppose rollback of farm animal protections

Wanna eat eggs from these chickens? 
Many of us assume products with the USDA organic label meet higher animal welfare standards -- yet that is not always the case.

Last year, the USDA approved a new rule that clarifies and strengthens animal welfare standards under the organic label -- such as limiting the tail docking of cows and beak cutting of chickens, and giving poultry access to the outdoors. Family farmers, consumer advocates and animal welfare groups support the new rule.

But now, the Trump administration has imposed another delay on the new rule, and is asking Americans if they want to modify it or scrap it entirely. The welfare of millions of farm animals is at stake.
Speak up for animals and use the sample copy below to submit a comment to the USDA by June 9:

(You can cut and paste this comment on the public statement or draft you own. )
I support the Organic Livestock and Poultry Practices rule to strengthen animal welfare standards in the National Organic Program. I urge the USDA to choose Option 1 and let the rule become effective without further delay. After years of inclusive deliberation by farmers, consumers, retailers and policy makers, this final rule evens the playing field for farmers and brings organic standards in line with consumer expectations.

Across the globe, Nestlé is pushing to privatize and control public water resources.

Nestlé's Chairman of the Board, Peter Brabeck, doesn't think that water is a human right. Tell him it is! 
Nestlé's Chairman of the Board, Peter Brabeck, has explained his philosophy with "The one opinion, which I think is extreme, is represented by the NGOs, who bang on about declaring water a public right. That means as a human being you should have a right to water. That’s an extreme solution."

Since that quote has gotten widespread attention, Brabeck has backtracked, but his company has not. Around the world, Nestlé is bullying communities into giving up control of their water. It's time we took a stand for public water sources.

Tell Nestlé that we have a right to water. Stop locking up our resources!

At the World Water Forum in 2000, Nestlé successfully lobbied to stop water from being declared a universal right -- declaring open hunting season on our local water resources by the multinational corporations looking to control them. For Nestlé, this means billions of dollars in profits. For us, it means paying up to 2,000 times more for drinking water because it comes from a plastic bottle.

Now, in countries around the world, Nestlé is promoting bottled water as a status symbol. As it pumps out fresh water at high volume, water tables lower and local wells become degraded. Safe water becomes a privilege only affordable for the wealthy.

In our story, clean water is a resource that should be available to all. It should be something we look after for the public good, to keep safe for generations, not something we pump out by billions of gallons to fuel short-term private profits. Nestlé thinks our opinion is "extreme", but we have to make a stand for public resources. Please join us today in telling Nestlé that it's not "extreme" to treat water like a public right.

Last-ditch effort to save our inclusion in the Paris Climate Agreement

Trump is listening to Bannon, Pruitt and McConnell's pleads to reject the Paris Climate Agreement

Alarming news out of Washington:
President Trump is leaning toward completely withdrawing America from the Paris Climate Agreement.

If true, it means Trump is close to making one of the most foolish and reckless decisions of any president in history.

But if this decision is not yet official, there's still time for one last-ditch effort to sway the White House to avert this catastrophe-in-the-making.

If Trump completely withdraws from the Paris agreement, he would be ignoring advice from his Secretary of State, Secretary of Energy, the Pope, Ivanka Trump, the CEOs of major companies like Apple, Google, General Mills and even ExxonMobil and Chevron, our foreign allies and so many others.

Instead he'd be siding with hard-liners like Steve Bannon, EPA chief Scott Pruitt and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — all of whom are pushing to abandon the Paris accord.

Here are three things to do right now:

1. Send an email to President Trump, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis imploring them not to make the dangerous and ill-advised decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement.

2. Spread the word on social media. Help whip up a firestorm of outrage to remind Trump that the American people are not with him on withdrawal from Paris and his destructive embrace of fossil fuels.

3. Get the phones ringing at the White House. Dial the switchboard at 202-456-1414 and ask for the comment line (the switchboard can be easier to reach than the comment line). You can also try the comment line directly at 202-456-1111. (If you get a busy signal, it means the phones are ringing off the hook, so please be patient and try again.)

And if you are in the Washington, D.C., area tomorrow, June 1, please turn out for a 5 p.m. rally at the White House to protest Trump's decision. Get rally details on Facebook. And stay tuned for details on possible rallies in other cities around the U.S.

- Rhea Suh, President, NRDC

Tell your members of Congress not to turn their backs on our families and coastal communities.


President’s Budget Cuts Put Coastal Communities at Risk!

Today, the Trump administration released its budget that includes a devastating $902 million cut to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), jeopardizing both our ocean health and critical functions that we rely on every day. NOAA is essential for protecting endangered species, keeping trash off our coastlines and keeping our families safe in the event of storms.

This isn’t just about the numbers—this is about people. These budget cuts have real world impacts on people’s lives:

*Local fishermen depend on NOAA’s Sea Grant program for coastal industries the same way farmers receive support from the USDA, and its elimination would disrupt entire businesses along our coasts and lakes.

*Veterinarians rely on NOAA to conduct vital research to protect whales from ship strikes and ocean toxins.

*States, tribes and families living on the coast count on NOAA’s Regional Coastal Resilience Grants to assess coastal risks and provide storm warnings.

This fight is just beginning. Congress has the power to stop this—but they need to hear from YOU today.

Our ocean contributes $359 billion to our national economy, and these cuts would have a devastating impact on the seafood, restaurant and tourism industries and local coastal economies. These proposed cuts are detrimental for our ocean and we can’t afford to put our families and thousands of coastal communities at risk. Will you join us and speak up for our ocean?

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The NRDC is Taking Trump to Court


Watch our inspiring new video






















WATCH NOW: the NRDC is Taking Trump to Court

President Trump is waging an all-out war against our climate, our clean air and water and our health. But the Natural Resources Defense Council is striking back against every attack from his administration — and one of our best shots at winning is by taking them to court.

Please, take a moment to watch this powerful new video from NRDC Chief Counsel Mitch Bernard about our legal strategy to face off against Trump in the pivotal months and years ahead.

Natural Resources Defense Council | 40 West 20th Street | New York, NY 10011
www.nrdc.org

Rep. McSally to be keynote speaker at the Arizona Banker's Association reception tonight


Our representative, Martha McSally, will be the keynote speaker at the Arizona Banker's Association reception tonight from 5:30-7:30 at the Viscount Suites on Broadway Blvd. Since McSally's office often tells us that THIS is how she engages her constituents, by "going directly to the people" instead of through Town Hall meetings, we figured we would take her up on her offer!

Register to be inside here: https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/m?oeidk=a07edwuytcaee2500a4&oseq&c&ch

**OR** Bring a sign and prepare to protest OUTSIDE of the venue on the sidewalk (being respectful of private property).

Both "teams" (the inside and outside team) will meet at 5:15 outside of the building.

This is RIGHT out of the Indivisible Guide, and a great way to have access to our Representative when she will not otherwise grant.

The senate is going to vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act!

I just got a call from Moveon.org. They said that the senate was voting on repealing the Affordable Care Act and asked me if I wanted to transferred to Sen. Jeff Flake's office. I figured I wouldn't get though, but what the hey! I actually spoke to a person! I told my senator to vote against any bill that takes healthcare away from Americans, especially with pre-existing conditions. We need more healthcare, not less. We need Universal Healthcare. We should use our collective bargaining to get inexpensive healthcare for all Americans.

Do our calls help? Why would organizations like Moveon.org bother to call up people to connect them with their senators if it didn't? Activist organizations go to battle with the Washington establishment - armed with our petitions.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Wipe that greedy grin off of Big Pharma's face!


Big Pharma is gouging us and everyone knows it. Even Donald Trump promised to do something to stop skyrocketing pharmaceutical prices. But right now, there is a Bill before Congress that could finally break the drug corporations’ overwhelming monopoly -- and we need to make sure it passes.

Drug companies have gotten away with brazen acts of extortion for too long. From “Pharma-bro” Martin Shkreli’s 5,000% price hike on a cancer drug to Mylan’s executives pocketing hundreds of millions off its sixfold increase to the indispensable EpiPen, this has to end.

That’s why we’re working with a fierce coalition of partners to break up Big Pharma’s monopoly once and for all. With the people power behind Daily Kos, Public Citizen, Corporate Accountability International and we have a real opportunity to win.

Let’s come together to make sure The Affordable Prescription Drugs Act passes now so we can put a stop to these injustices once and for all.

Tell Congress: it’s time to stop drug corporations from ripping people off.

Our health system rewards drug companies with virtually unlimited control over the market and they use it to charge Americans more for lifesaving medication than anywhere else in the world.

Americans are already suffering from the greed of pharmaceutical corporations. Nearly 1 in 5 U.S. residents do not fill their prescriptions because they simply cannot afford them.

This Bill, the “Improving Access to Affordable Prescription Drugs Act,” is currently sponsored by 16 prominent Democrats including Al Franken, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and aims to roll back drug company monopolies and hold Big Pharma to account for price-gouging.

If it were up to ordinary people, this Bill would pass instantly. An overwhelming majority of Americans agree: Congress must act to stop Big Pharma from extorting the sick, disabled and dying with ludicrously high prices for medicine that could save their lives.

But Congress has been infiltrated by the power of Big Pharma’s lobbyists. That’s why we need to show Congress the power of the people. It’s the only way we can ever get a system that works for us, and not for drug company CEOs.

Call on Congress to end Big Pharma’s criminal monopoly. Pass the Affordable Prescription Drugs Act now.

- the SumOfUs team

More information:

How to Stop Drug Price Gouging, NY Times, April 20, 2017
Americans Demand Lower Drug Prices: This Senate Bill Would Deliver, Huffington Post, March 30, 2017

Show up! Speak up at a town-hall meeting! Find a resistance event near you!

These last two weeks have been challenging. From the Trump-Russia ties to the Trump budget proposal to the CBO report that 23 million people would lose health care under the AHCA, the news has been stunning.
We need to keep the resistance going and keep fighting back this Memorial Day recess, when members of Congress will be in their home states and districts.

Many members are holding town hall meetings and other constituent events -- although too many are not. But in the districts of many of those members of congress not holding public events, other grassroots events are being organized to get their attention.
ALL members of Congress -- senators and representatives, Republicans and Democrats -- need to be hearing from their constituents this coming week about the urgency of:
  • Holding Trump and top administration officials accountable for their flagrant disregard of the rule of law, their trampling of our democratic institutions, and potential corruption at the highest levels of our government...
  • STOPPING passage of the AHCA (Trumpcare) in the Senate, and accountability for Republicans who voted to pass it in the House...
  • Resisting Trump’s disastrous budget, which includes deep cuts to Medicaid, food stamps, student aid and more to pay for massive tax cuts for the top fraction of the top 1%...
  • Speaking out against the DOJ’s actions to criminalize communities of color, the Right’s ongoing attacks on women and voting rights, efforts to reshape the judiciary with extreme far-right judges, and more...
(You can also organize and submit your own event on that national action hub.)
AND… we want to hear YOUR story of resistance!
When we’re able to amplify the stories of PFAW members resisting in their communities, it encourages more engagement from others, energizing the resistance movement even more. This works -- it’s science!
We’re eager to know what you’re doing to resist in your community or what kind of activism you are seeing where you live.
If you plan to attend (or host) an event this recess, please tell us about it!
And after you take part in an event or a grassroots action, please let us know about your experience.
-Bradley Williams, People for the American Way
An additional useful tool for any resister looking to organize locally is the Indivisible Guide -- A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda -- which can be found here: https://www.indivisibleguide.com/guide/

Urge Nebraska's commissioners to block the Keystone XL pipeline to protect Nebraska's air, water, land and communities.


Trump may be desperately trying to revive the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, but he's far from the final word on this disastrous project. The Keystone XL still needs approval to route the pipeline through the state of Nebraska — and that's up to state officials.

We need your help to prevail on the Nebraska Public Service Commission to deny permission to route the pipeline through Nebraska.

Urge Nebraska's commissioners to block the Keystone XL pipeline and protect Nebraska's air, water, land and communities.

Without an approved route through Nebraska, TransCanada, the company behind the pipeline, can't start construction — which means Nebraska has the power to potentially put an end to the Keystone XL once and for all.

NRDC is fighting the pipeline on every front. We've sued the Trump administration for its illegal resurrection of the pipeline. And we're working to persuade investors that Keystone XL is a bad bet, economically and environmentally, and that they should walk away from this project.

Your quick action is the most important thing you can do to help us stop Trump and his fossil fuel allies from brazenly moving forward with the Keystone XL.

If built, the pipeline would cross hundreds of Nebraskan rivers and streams, cut within a mile of countless wells and threaten the Ogallala Aquifer, which provides drinking water for more than a million people. What's more, it's a virtual certainty that the pipeline will leak — exposing farms, ranches, families and wildlife to highly volatile, toxic chemicals.

And beyond its potential to devastate America's heartland, the Keystone XL would be responsible for annual greenhouse gas emissions equal to 37.7 million cars, driving climate change and keeping us shackled to the climate-wrecking fossil fuels of the past.

We've stopped Keystone XL before — because people like you rose up together and took action.

- Rhea Suh, President, NRDC

Friday, May 26, 2017

Sign the Petition to Banks: Stop Financing DAPL and Tar Sands Pipelines


As the Dakota Access Pipeline keeps springing leaks, water protectors around the world are continuing to fight back. An Indigenous delegation is currently touring Europe to demand banks based there stop financing climate-killing pipelines.

These water protectors need our help - almost 100,000 people have signed on already. Can you take just a moment to sign on today to this multi-group petition supporting the Indigenous-led campaign?

Activists rallied in Sweden at the home of the Nobel Peace Prize, at over a dozen Chase Bank branch locations in Seattle, and on the terrace inside of Trump Tower in New York. 35 activists from Les Amis de la Terre France and ANV Nonviolent Action COP21 laid a “pipeline” inside a Société Générale branch in Paris. The action denounced the role of French banks in the construction of new oil infrastructure in the United States, especially the Dakota Access Pipeline.

Stand with Indigenous activists around the world — add your name to the #DefundPipelines petition. Our petition calls on the 17 biggest fossil-fuel financing banks to divest from the Dakota Access, Keystone XL, Trans Mountain, Line 3, Energy East, LNG, and other pipelines.

Up for a vote in the Senate: The Regulatory Accountability Act! Rigging the regulatory process (even more) in favor of corporate interests.


The Senate is dangerously close to passing a bill that would give the biggest corporations in our country even more power over laws designed to protect people and the planet. It's unacceptable.

This dangerous bill has already passed the House and the Senate could vote within days. Your senators need to hear from you!
The Regulatory Accountability Act (S.951) is one of the greatest threats to our government's system of rules and regulations that are meant to safeguard you and your family. The bill would paralyze our regulatory process and rig the process in favor of deregulation — which is exactly what big corporations want.

The consequences of this legislation are incredibly broad — potentially impacting women’s health, consumer protection, food safety, financial reform, labor, environmental issues and more.

The Senate could vote any day. We know multinational corporations are weighing in — now it's your turn. Tell your senators to REJECT the dangerous Regulatory Accountability Act!

Why is this Regulatory Accountability Act (RAA) so bad?

1 - The bill is designed to block or weaken regulations that protect U.S. workers, consumers and the environment.
The RAA forces all agencies to adopt “the most cost-effective” regulations for corporations, not the regulations that “maximize net benefits” to the public. Maximizing benefits to the public has been the gold standard in cost-benefit analysis for decades in both Republican and Democratic administrations. Without strong and effective regulatory safeguards that maximize benefits for the American public, the public will pay the price. 

2 - The RAA takes an already inefficient rulemaking process and makes it much worse.

It currently takes agencies an entire presidential term (on average) to produce and finalize the regulations that provide the greatest benefits to Americans. The RAA would drown agency regulators with 53 new requirements before putting new rules in place. Given that agency budgets are being targeted for defunding, this will make regulatory delay even worse.

3 - The RAA rigs the regulatory process (even more) in favor of corporate special interests.

The numerous steps that the RAA adds to the rulemaking process means the special interest voices that already dominate the rulemaking process will have even more opportunities to exert power. The RAA does nothing to ensure agencies hear from everyday Americans like YOU, who are supposed to benefit from regulatory safeguards.

So what would this mean? Let’s say we were trying to get the EPA to adopt a rule to protect groundwater from fracking chemicals. If the RAA passes, the EPA would be bogged down by red tape and the process would put the interests of Big Oil and Gas ahead of the interests of the public. This is not okay!

Take action with our sister organization, Food & Water Action Fund, to make sure your senators hear from you: YOU are more important than special interests.

It's issues like this that show where our members of Congress really stand — are they with the public or are they beholden to special interests? The good news: our members of Congress are vulnerable to public pressure since the public is responsible for electing them to office. We know from years of working on the ground with grassroots partners in states across the country that organized public pressure can result in progressive victories. Together, we can put up a strong defense.


-Patty Lovera, Food & Water Watch
act@fwwatch.org

Comcast sent a cease-and-desist letter trying to shut down a pro-net neutrality website.


Comcast just proved why we need strong Title II net neutrality. The cable behemoth sent a cease-and-desist letter to our friends at Fight for the Future,1 for their efforts to save net neutrality and fight back against Big Cable trickery.

Attempts to silence the speech of net neutrality activists prove there is no way we can trust Comcast and Big Cable to protect our freedom of expression online.

You may have heard about the hundreds of thousands of fake anti-net neutrality comments submitted to the FCC by bots using stolen names.2 Many observers and net neutrality activists believe these fake comments are part of an astroturf campaign potentially funded by the Cable lobby.

Our friends at Fight for the Future created this handy website, comcastroturf.com, so people can check if fake comments were submitted under their name. Just days after it went live, Comcast sent Fight for the Future a cease-and-desist letter, claiming the site violated Comcast’s “valuable intellectual property,” due to the “confusingly similar” domain name of the site.

That’s right. Comcast and Big Cable know they can’t win a fair fight against activists like you, so they’re using their high-powered lawyers to play dirty.

This is exactly why we need net neutrality. If strong Title II net neutrality rules were not in place today, Comcast could unilaterally block or slow down traffic to comcastroturf.com, demandprogress.org, or any site they disagree with or that refuses to pay them money.

Stand up for free speech online. Tell Comcast to stop trying to silence pro-net neutrality activists.

The Arctic Extinction Game: brought to you by President Trump and oil/gas drilling.

Wanna play? 
According to President Trump, gutting the programs that safeguard our environment and health isn't enough. His new budget would also open up the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to dirty, dangerous oil and gas drilling.

The Arctic Refuge in Alaska is our nation's largest denning site for pregnant polar bears. It's the last home to hundreds of shaggy muskoxen. It's a birthing ground for tens of thousands of Porcupine caribou. We should protect this untouched wilderness with everything we've got — not turn it over to fossil fuel companies that would decimate this natural treasure to make a quick buck.

Tell Senators Jeff Flake and John McCain and Rep. Martha McSally to protect the Arctic Refuge by opposing Trump's disastrous budget plan.

President Trump just released his detailed budget plan to fund the government next year, and the cuts are horrifying.

The budget slashes funding for nearly every program to protect our environment, our climate, our lands and our health — all to fund massive tax cuts for corporate polluters.

Only Congress can stop him now. Senators Jeff Flake and John McCain and Representative Martha McSally need to hear from you today, Jana. Tell them to stop Trump's draconian budget plan from ever becoming law!

This so-called "plan" is a colossal tax break for the corporate polluters who back Trump and his anti-environment allies in the House and Senate.

If this budget makes it through Congress, the impacts on our environment and our public health could hurt generations of Americans.

Here's a small sample of some of the most egregious cuts:


*A 31% cut to the EPA's budget, eliminating a quarter of its staff and slashing enforcement, clean water, clean air, toxic cleanup and energy efficiency programs — crippling the agency's ability to fulfill its mission of protecting the environment and our health. Contact your legislators now and tell them it's unacceptable. 

*A 70% cut to programs to expand energy efficiency, renewable energy technologies and clean energy jobs. Your representatives need to hear from you. 

*Huge cuts to the Interior Department, which oversees national parks and public lands, while assuming massive revenue increases from ramped up fossil fuel development on public lands. Tell Congress to stop this dirty budget NOW! 

*Severe reductions to NASA and NOAA climate change monitoring and adaptation programs, depriving us of knowledge we need to effectively fight climate change and prepare for more extreme weather scenarios. Don't wait to take action.

It's Congress's responsibility to stop this dangerous plan in its tracks. We need to start fresh with a responsible budget that puts people first — not polluters. But many legislators won't risk going against the White House unless they know that pro-environment voters like you are watching and prepared to rise up against those who sell out our planet and our public health.

Tell Congress to oppose this budget — an outrageous, all-out assault on our right to a safe and healthy environment.

Trump's dirty budget won't be finalized until fall, so in the weeks and months ahead, NRDC Action Fund and NRDC will be pushing back — and pushing back hard. NRDC policy experts are working on Capitol Hill to line up opposition in Congress. And we'll mobilize our hundreds of thousands of supporters via online petition drives, phone banks, town halls and face-to-face meetings with representatives.

Together, we will send a message to Washington and the world loud and clear: We refuse to allow President Trump and his allies in Congress to use the federal budget to devastate our environment and violate our rights... all to fund tax cuts for corporate polluters.

- Rhea Suh, President, NRDC Action Fund

Trump's budget is a corporate-influenced plan to put profits ahead of people. Time for THE PEOPLE'S BUDGET!


Yesterday, the Trump administration released its proposed budget -- and it was nothing but a wish list of tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy at the expense of working-class and poor Americans.

This budget shows where the Trump administration thinks the focus of the country should be. As it's written, the Trump budget:
  • Slashes Medicaid and anti-poverty efforts, including food stamps and programs that feed kids without enough to eat
  • Guts the EPA -- threatening the air we breathe, the water we drink and our climate for the next generation
  • Calls for more than $1.6 billion to fund Trump's fanatical, inhumane border wall with Mexico
  • But, most importantly to Trump, his proposed budget gives massive tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, giant corporations, and special interest groups
The Trump budget is a corporate-influenced Republican plan to put profits ahead of people.
That's why members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus released the People's Budget: a plan for how we can return economic and political power back to the people.


Our People's Budget is a commitment to our communities and the values we fight for. Unlike the Republican alternatives that prioritize corporations and the ultra-rich, the People's Budget focuses on working families, people of color, women, and seniors -- and aims to decrease the economic inequality that plagues so many of our communities.

And, unlike Trump's budget, our People's Budget ensures that working-class Americans have the opportunities they need to get ahead.

- Raúl Grijalva

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Tell Congress: Reject Any Budget That Attacks the EPA


President Trump's proposed budget demands the EPA's funds be drastically cut. But the EPA's budget is already about as low as it can get—it accounts for just 0.22% of the federal budget. The proposed cuts are so outrageous that members of the President's own party are speaking out.

"There's not that much in the EPA [budget] for crying out loud," said Mike Simpson (R-ID), the chairman of the House Energy and Water Appropriations Committee. "EPA has been cut by over 20 percent in the last few years. The discretionary budget has been lowered pretty dramatically compared to how it was in 2009, and it's under what Paul Ryan thought it would be in his budget," explained Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK).

We need to keep stoking this opposition on both sides of the aisle—because too much is at risk. Tell your members of Congress to protect the EPA.

Message you will be signing:

I am writing today in strong opposition to President Trump's proposal to cut the EPA's budget. This crucial agency, tasked with ensuring all Americans have access to air that is safe to breathe and water that is clean to drink, is already operating with limited funds, as its budget has already been cut by over 20 percent in just the last few years.

Americans want a strong EPA. A Reuters/Ipsos opinion survey released in mid-January highlighted that more than 4 out of 5 Americans want EPA's authority preserved or strengthened under the Trump Administration. Yet current reports suggest the Administration would cut the agency's funds by a quarter, taking aim at their ability to support brownfields industrial site cleanup (slashing that budget by 42%), state grants addressing the lead epidemic (cut by 30%), and funding to help native tribes combat pollution (also cut by 30%).

We simply cannot allow this to happen. States are heavily reliant on the EPA's expert analysis and support. Without that help, they will be handcuffed to protect citizens.

Please fight to protect the health and safety of your constituents. Oppose these senseless attacks on the Environmental Protection Agency. Our communities are counting on your leadership.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

May 26th DEADLINE to leave a comment supporting our National Monuments. Please, submit your comment TODAY.

Because of a radical executive order from President Trump, at least 27 national monuments designated since the beginning of 1996--including places like Vermilion Cliffs, Ironwood Forest and Sonoran Desert national monuments in Arizona, as well as Utah’s stunning Bears Ears National Monument--are immediately in danger.

Please, submit your comment TODAY.  The deadline is almost here! May 26th!

It is important to stop this erosion of National Monument protections in it's tracks. In addition to protecting ancient, sacred Native American sites, the National Monuments protect the habitats of wildlife of the area.

This wasn't a whim of President Obama's. People worked tirelessly to get Bear Ears named a National Monument.


The Department of the Interior is "reviewing" previous national monument designations to recommend changes in their status, and it's up to the public to weigh in and defend the shared lands that matter to us. Your voice is crucial right now.

Because of a radical executive order from President Trump, at least 27 national monuments designated since the beginning of 1996--including places like Vermilion Cliffs, Ironwood Forest and Sonoran Desert national monuments in Arizona, as well as Utah’s stunning Bears Ears National Monument--are immediately in danger.

The goals of the Trump administration and its anti-public lands allies are clear: shrinking monument boundaries, reducing protection and chipping away at the great tradition of preserving shared lands for all Americans to enjoy.

Bears Ears is on the docket first. Soon after, Vermilion Cliffs, Sonoran Desert and Ironwood Forest—some of the most stunning landscapes in Arizona—will also be under review, as well as Grand Canyon-Parashant, one of the best places in the country to see starry night skies. It’s time to stand up for Our Wild.

In trying to weaken safeguards for places like Arizona's treasured national monuments, Trump is not only threatening cherished landscapes, but hurting local communities that rely on these monuments for jobs and quality of life. We must use this public comment period to show the administration what a bad idea that is.

Please, submit a comment today. Speak up for America’s national monuments and other public lands.

- The Wilderness Society

President’s budget puts our ocean and ocean communities at risk

Today, the Trump administration released its budget that includes a devastating $902 million cut to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), jeopardizing both our ocean health and critical functions that we rely on every day. NOAA is essential for protecting endangered species, keeping trash off our coastlines and keeping our families safe in the event of storms.

This fight is just beginning. Congress has the power to stop this—but they need to hear from YOU today.

Our ocean contributes $359 billion to our national economy, and these cuts would have a devastating impact on the seafood, restaurant and tourism industries and local coastal economies. These proposed cuts are detrimental for our ocean and we can’t afford to put our families and thousands of coastal communities at risk. 



Tell your members of Congress not to turn their backs on our families and coastal communities.
This isn’t just about the numbers—this is about people. These budget cuts have real world impacts on people’s lives:
  • Local fishermen depend on NOAA’s Sea Grant program for coastal industries the same way farmers receive support from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), and its elimination would disrupt entire businesses along our coasts and lakes.
  • Veterinarians rely on NOAA to conduct vital research to protect whales from ship strikes and ocean toxins.
  • States, tribes and families living on the coast count on NOAA’s Regional Coastal Resilience Grants to assess coastal risks and provide storm warnings.
- Jeff Watters, Ocean Conservancy

Rep. McSally's PHONE HALL TOWN this evening has been cancelled due to family emergency.


UPDATE: Representative Martha McSally's live telephone town hall tonight has been cancelled due to a family emergency. 

"This event allows me to keep in contact with you about the important issues affecting Southern Arizona while I’m in Washington, D.C." - Rep. McSally

The focus of tomorrow's telephone town hall will be health care reform. It runs for about an hour, and you can call in at any point.

The information to participate in the telephone town hall is below.

What:
Telephone Town Hall

When:
Wednesday, May 24
5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.

Participant Dial-in Phone Number:
(877) 229-8493
PIN: 114341

Jana's note: This is an opportunity to have our questions answered and hear Rep. McSally's reasons for backing the American Healthcare Act. Communication goes both ways and is only possible with respect.

Since the town hall has been cancelled, you can leave your thoughts and concerns on her website:

https://mcsally.house.gov/contact

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

5 devastating budget cuts!

Trump's cuts will be more devastating than I thought!  
This is’t a ‘worst-case scenario’ anymore: Trump has made his proposed budget public.1 As expected, the cuts are reckless

Trump wants to cut a whopping $57 billion from critical domestic programs — starving communities of resources needed to thrive and slashing critical environmental protections — all in order to spend even more on defense contractors and military buildup abroad.

The good news: Trump's proposal is far from final. It's up to Congress to pass a final budget — and that's still months away. We MUST react quickly to show how outrageous Trump's plan really is: Tell your members of Congress to reject Trump's anti-American agenda.

Trump's proposed budget is hundreds of pages long, and there's a lot of bad stuff in there. Here are five of the very worst components:

1 - Trump wants to gut the EPA protections. The Environmental Protection Agency was created to enforce laws like the Safe Drinking Water Act and Clean Air Act that save countless lives every year — but Trump is doing everything he can to cripple the agency's ability to do its job. He wants to cut staff (including career scientists), dismantle key programs like the Environmental Justice enforcement program, end grants to states for issues like lead poisoning, eliminate regional water cleanup efforts and slash funding for enforcement activities.

2 - Trump wants to cut renewable energy. Jobs in renewable energy are outpacing fossil fuels by nearly 4 to 1 — yet Trump wants to cut renewable energy and energy efficiency by 70% in the federal budget.2 Investing in renewable energy is not just cost effective, it will create jobs, improve public health and help us prevent the unpredictable and dangerous impacts of climate change. We absolutely cannot let Trump grant the fossil fuel industry their number one wish. Our planet is out of time — we must move America OFF fossil fuels immediately.

3 - Trump wants to put Wall Street in charge of our nation's water systems. While infrastructure investment is desperately needed in our country, Trump’s budget would rely on private financing, which has a nasty track record of costing taxpayers more money than publicly run infrastructure. What we actually need is dedicated, national funding for our infrastructure – like the WATER Act.

4 - Trump wants to cut food stamps by $193 billion and cut food safety staff. Almost 44 million people received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) assistance in 2016, meaning that cuts to this program would affect tens of millions of people and make it harder for them to get the food they need.3 Trump's budget would also cut funding for the Food and Drug Administration's food safety program, including reducing staff levels, and would cut funding for the Centers for Disease Control, which tracks and responds to foodborne illness outbreaks.

5 - Trump wants to end reporting on carbon emissions and cut climate programs. In doing so, Trump would devastate progress we’ve made on limiting climate change pollution. And his plans to end programs designed to lower greenhouse gas emissions is a nod to the oil and gas industry — an industry to which his cabinet has disturbingly close ties.4

It's up to us — people across the country with a direct line to our members of Congress — to demand they REJECT Trump's plans.

We still have time, but you need to act now: Send a strong message today to oppose Trump's dangerous budget!


Miranda Carter
Food & Water Watch
act.fwwatch.org


Trump's budget is out, and it's a killer.

Proposed cuts mean hundreds of thousands of more asthma attacks, heart attacks, and premature deaths from slashing basic enforcement and cleanup programs, meaning dirtier air and water, all thanks to giant giveaways to corporate polluters.
Luckily, presidents don't set the final budget, Congress does. When Trump and anti-environment radicals tried to make these cuts earlier this year, your calls and emails shut it down-- protecting funding for the EPA, national parks, and clean air and water.[1]
Proposed major cuts in Trump's "fat cat" budget include[2]:
  • A 31% cut to EPA's budget, specifically to enforcement and climate programs which will mean more pollution. Also cut-- popular regional cleanup programs to the Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay, the Gulf of Mexico and even cuts to Superfund.
  • An 84% cut to the National Park Service.
  • An 88% cut to the US Forest Service.
  • An 89% cut to the Bureau of Land Management.
  • A 66% to the Fish and Wildlife Service
Our air, our water, our climate, and our public lands belong to all of us. If we don't protect them, more people will get sick, more will die, and we will lose our public lands to greedy millionaires and billionaires who want to drill, frack, and mine in them. 
Kirin Kennedy
Lands and Wildlife, Sierra Club
References

Reported budget for the Department of Education: an all-out assault on America’s kids, teachers, college students, and student loan borrowers.


The reported budget for the Department of Education shows that President Trump and Secretory of Education Betsy Devos don't think that public education is important. They have cut billions of dollars from our already struggling school system and programs that help working parents get by! 

This budget proves that they don't want to give our children the opportunity for a better life through education. They have cut back Pell Grants and even work-study. I take that personally. My sisters and I would not have been able to attend college without Pell Grants, work-study, and student loans. Attending college broke the chain of poverty in our family.

In this time when so many young people are already struggling to pay back their college loans, the president and Devos want to charge MORE for student loans, have more penalties, and keep people in debt even longer. They are putting college out of reach for many young Americans. 

A solid education is a right for all Americans, not just for those who can afford it! 

Higher education is vital for a healthy economy. We need to be educating our young people to compete in the world market, not dooming them to a lifetime of unrewarding, underpaid jobs or unemployment. Colleges and universities provide good jobs. In addition to being huge employers, they create support jobs in the communities around them. Just drive by any college campus and see all the businesses that college students patronize.

In this video, Senator Elizabeth Warren shares the details of Trump's budget cuts in education.

"I just got a preview of the reported budget for the Department of Education that we expect from the Trump Administration tomorrow morning, and it’s an all-out assault on America’s kids, teachers, college students, and student loan borrowers. Here’s the bottom line: The Trump-Betsy DeVos education budget would push opportunity out of reach for countless young people, and we can’t let that happen. It’s time to fight back."

Yes! It's time to take a stand for education and a secure future for our children and America.

More on Trump's budget cuts. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Saudi Arabia just joined the parade of investors

I'm got some beach front property you might be interested in...
Robert Reich, former Secretary of Labor, wrote: 

Saudi Arabia just joined the parade of investors into U.S. public works by pledging a record $20 billion investment with Blackstone Group’s new infrastructure fund.

It’s the latest push around the world by large investors to buy up U.S. airports, roads, bridges, water systems, and other public projects.

Rather than taxing the wealthy and then using the money to fix our dangerously outdated infrastructure, the states and the federal government increasingly are giving rich investors tax credits to encourage them to do it.

The investors then charge tolls and user fees, and earn big profits.

So the public pays twice – once when we subsidize the investors with our tax dollars, and then again when we pay the tolls and user fees that also go into their pockets.

We don’t even get the infrastructure that’s most needed. Projects most attractive to investors are those whose tolls and fees bring in the biggest bucks – giant mega-projects like major new throughways and new bridges.

Not the thousands of smaller bridges, airports, pipes, and water treatment facilities most in need of repair. Not the needs of rural communities and smaller cities and towns too small to generate the tolls and other user fees equity investors want. Not clean energy.

To really make America great again we need more and better infrastructure that’s for the public – not for big developers and investors. And the only way we get that is if corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes.

Trump Just Reopened Our Coasts to Big Oil — Help Fight Back


BIG NEWS: NRDC and its partners are suing the Trump administration to block the president's reckless executive order attempting to reopen our Arctic and Atlantic coasts to dangerous oil and gas drilling. Simply put, Trump doesn't have the authority to reverse President Obama's landmark ban that put those critical waters permanently off-limits to Big Oil.

But as NRDC battles in court, we must mobilize a groundswell of public pressure on Congress to keep our coastal waters protected. It's time to show Trump and his fossil fuel allies that this is only the beginning of a fierce fight.

Tell Senators Jeff Flake and John McCain, and Representative Martha McSally, to support legislation protecting our coasts and oceans from dangerous oil and gas drilling!

Trump's order attempts to reverse President Obama's groundbreaking decision last year that rightly banned oil and gas drilling in almost all of America's Arctic Ocean and Atlantic coast, putting them off limits to Big Oil.

Drilling off our coasts harms our oceans, marine wildlife and coastal communities with leaks and catastrophic oil spills — like the Deepwater Horizon tragedy, which dumped more than 130 million gallons of toxic crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico seven years ago.

The federal government itself estimates a 75% chance of a major oil spill in the Arctic's Chukchi Sea if drilling proceeds there.

More drilling will also set us back in our fight against climate change, shackling us to the heavily polluting fossil fuels of the last century, driving more carbon pollution and slowing America's transition to clean energy.

The NRDC Action Fund is putting our full force behind supporting critical legislation to stop Trump's handout to Big Oil. The Stop Arctic Ocean Drilling Act (H.R. 1784) has been introduced in the House, and we expect other legislation ending offshore drilling soon in both the House and Senate.

Tell your senators and representative TODAY: Stop President Trump's assault on our coasts by supporting critical bills we need to ban drilling in the Arctic, the Atlantic and all other American ocean waters for good.

- Rhea Suh, President, NRDC Action Fund

Sunday, May 21, 2017

They did it. They actually voted to initiate the repeal of net neutrality.


They did it. They actually voted to initiate the repeal of net neutrality.

On a party-line vote, the FCC voted for the first step of Chairman Ajit Pai's plan to hand control of the internet to giant telecom corporations.

Comcast and Verizon may have won this battle, but they have not won the war.

Today's vote was just the first step in the FCC's rule-making process. We have until July 17 to put as much pressure as possible not only on the FCC, but also on Congress and the White House, to keep net neutrality rules in place.

The reason we can stop this plan is because gutting net neutrality is massively unpopular. So many people have made online comments against this plan that the FCC's website crashed.

We need to make sure that Republicans in the House, Senate, and White House all understand that if the FCC goes forward with handing over control of the internet to Comcast and their big telecom brethren, they will be held accountable.

Here's what we're doing to get the message across loud and clear:

*We're flooding Capitol Hill with phone calls against the Trump/Pai plan to kill net neutrality.
*We have a rally organized today at the FCC to call out this corporate power grab.
*We are building on our massive coalition to drive in 1 million grassroots actions against the Trump/Pai plan.

We have 60 days to keep net neutrality front and center in the political spotlight. 

- David Segal, Demand Progress