Weekly Actions 3/21/2017

Click on each action for details and scripts:

In an effort to distract us from the contentious new healthcare bill and the continually unfolding Russia story, DT has released a budget proposal that calls for deep cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency, the State Department, the Department of Agriculture, the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services, and many other federal agencies. A complete list of threatened programs — including the National Endowment for the Arts and the Meals on Wheels Program (funded by Community Development Block Grants) can be found here.
 

Budget Breakdown by the Washington Post

Even counties that voted for Trump are critical of this budget proposal, which reflects advisor Steven Bannon’s publicly declared intent to dismantle the “administrative state.”
 
Clearly, this is a budget that puts the needs of human beings last. And instead of simply using the cuts to draw down the deficit, DT wants to use this reallocation of funds to provide tax-breaks to those who need it least and build a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
 

Single Panel of Wall paid for by National Endowment for the Arts

 
Meanwhile, the military is slated for a whopping increase in funds, a move that is opposed by 58% of Americans, while, despite a small increase to the VA budget, veterans who have put their lives on the line for our country face deep cuts to the programs that serve them.
 
To add insult to injury, DT’s frequent trips to Mar-a-Lago and the security costs of keeping Melania and Barron in NYC, all on the taxpayer’s dime, continue to cypher funds from meeting the needs of ordinary Americans. Trump has spent $15 million in the first two months of his presidency on these trips to Mar-a-Lago, and security costs in New York amount to $146,000 per day.
 
Thankfully, Congress holds the ultimate power to set the yearly budget, and members from both sides of the aisle have expressed extreme concern over this proposal. It’s up to us to contact our Members of Congress and let them know our priorities, as the GOP would likely also support cutting many of these programs.
 
In lieu of a straight script, the following is an inexhaustive list of talking points you can use when speaking with your MoC. Choose the ones that you feel most passionate about. Do make sure to mention the President’s excessive spending in the face of these deep cuts as a clear question of his compassion and his character.

Script:

Hi, my name is _____ and I’m calling from _____. I am calling because I am very concerned about the President’s budget proposal. Specifically:
 

  • I want to make sure that arts funding is supported. According to the U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, arts and cultural industries are a vibrant economic sector contributing 4.23 percent, or $730 billion, of the nation’s GDP. This is greater than that of several other sectors, including the construction industry, transportation and warehousing, mining and extraction, and agriculture.
  • I also support funding for related organizations like the National Endowment for the Humanities, PBS, and National Public Radio.
  • The EPA should be fully funded to do the scientific research necessary to combat climate change.
  • The National Parks should be fully funded for the enjoyment of all Americans and the preservation of precious natural resources.
  • The State Department should not be cut. We are less safe without adequate diplomacy.
  • It is unconscionable that programs for seniors and veterans, like Meals and Wheels, are being targeted. Meals on Wheels actually saves taxpayers money since it enables people to stay in their homes. Veterans who have served their country should not be facing cuts in access to services.
  • Low-income women need full access to the health care services offered by Planned Parenthood. Title X already prohibits federal tax dollars from funding abortions and abortions constitute only 3% of what Planned Parenthood offers.

 
The tradeoff Trump is making is clear: human connection in exchange for fear. That is, less funding for diplomacy, protection of the environment, and programs that work to empower people, in exchange for more walls, a bloated security apparatus at home, and a gluttonous military, which already spends more than the next 8 countries combined. To top it off, Trump has spent astronomically more money in his first two months in office on his own security and travel than President Obama spent during the same time period. I urge Senator/Rep. to speak out against this budget proposal and to vote accordingly.

While Trump’s 31% cut to the EPA will be harmful, even more harmful is an EPA Director who does not believe in the science of climate change. Pruitt’s absurd denial stands in opposition to scientific consensus and severely endangers our planet.
 
Last week, thirty prominent scientists sent a letter to Scott Pruitt calling him out on his ignorance. Let’s keep up the pressure.
 

Here is what you can do:

  • Send Scott Pruitt an email at Pruitt.scott@Epa.gov and include the following:
    • Tell him that as the director of an agency whose mission is to protect the environment, he has a moral imperative to educate himself and listen to scientists.
    • Remind him that Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, has called on addressing climate change as a matter of national security.
    • Urge him to keep his hands off the fuel economy rollback limits set by the Obama administration, which Trump wants to dismantle. Fuel efficiency is a win-win for people and the planet — less pollution, and more money saved at the pump.
    • Send him this short youtube video from Neil DeGrasse Tyson to help him understand exactly how climate change works.
  • Call Pruitt’s office. You can use the script here.
  • Write a review of Pruitt on the EPA Facebook page. Be sure to include your appreciation of EPA scientists who ARE doing their job.
  • Call the Department of Defense at 703-571-3343 to thank Secretary Mattis for taking a stand on climate change.
  • Donate to 350.org
  • Join the March for Science on April 22nd and the People’s Climate March on April 29th.

 

We are pleased to include this third action from the resistance group, Re:act.
 
The ACLU has submitted an ethics complaint with the Alabama State Bar Disciplinary Commission against Attorney General Jeff Sessions, alleging the former senator violated the code of conduct during his confirmation hearing testimony. Said the ACLU: “Mr. Sessions made false statement during sworn testimony on January 10, 2017 and in a subsequent written response to questions January 17, 2017. Rule 8.4 of the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct states that it is professional misconduct for a lawyer to ‘engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation.” A majority of Americans believe Sessions lied under oath and should resign, as for any lawyer, in the country, perjury is grounds for disbarment. The standard for our nation’s top lawyer should certainly be no different — if anything it should be higher.
 
Contact the Alabama State Bar to ask for further investigation:

  1. Read this letter to the Alabama State Bar Disciplinary Commission, and edit it as you see fit.
  2. Print out the letter
  3. Address it to Alabama State Bar Disciplinary Commission P.O. Box 671 Montgomery, AL 36101
  4. Mail it!
  5. Call the Alabama State Bar at 334–269–1515
    and call on them to #DisbarSessions.