Weekly Actions 3/28/2017

Click on each action for details and scripts:

Despite your calls for an independent, non-partisan investigation into DT’s Russia ties, the investigation is being led by House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes, a member of Trump’s transition team who cancelled yesterday’s open hearing — a decision ranking minority member Adam Schiff believes was to protect the president. Nunes’ impartiality is also suspect due to his decision to personally brief the President on information about alleged surveillance before sharing it with Democratic members of the committee.

 
While we’ve talked about the Russia debacle and the need for an independent investigation before, it is increasingly important to keep the pressure up in light of FBI Director James Comey’s eye-opening testimony last week and Nunes’ clear inability to lead an impartial investigation. Furthermore, we should be concerned about the possibility of Nunes making the Russia hearings closed briefings, denying the public’s right to information as this story unfolds.

 
Call your Representative:

Script:

Hi, my name is _____ and I’m a constituent calling from _____. I’m concerned about House Intelligence Chair Devin Nunes cancelling the House Intelligence Committee meeting. It is clear to me from his behavior and his past association with the president that he is unqualified to conduct a fair and impartial investigation. He should recuse himself and an independent prosecutor should be appointed. Also, all of these hearings should be open and the information should be available to the press and the American public.
 
[Ask your Representative what he/she will do in response to this issue, especially if your Representative is a Republican or Democrat on the Committee]

Call your Senators:
There has been a bipartisan call for an independent investigation, with Republican John McCain taking the lead in being highly critical of Nunes’ behavior. Ask your Senator to join with Senator McCain in calling for an independent investigator.

Script (for a Republican Senator):
Hi, my name is _____ and I’m a constituent calling from _____. I would like to reiterate the need for an independent investigation into the current administration’s ties to Russia. It is clear from the events of the past week that Congressman Nunes is unqualified to lead a fair and impartial investigation, and Senator McCain, a leading Republican, has been forthright in expressing the need to put justice over party loyalty for the good of the American people. Please join with Senator McCain in calling for an independent investigation into prospective Russian influence on our elections and on the White House.

Script (for a Democratic Senator):
Hi, my name is _____ and I’m a constituent calling from _____. I hope Senator _____ will do everything he/she can to continue to call for an independent investigation into the current administration’s ties to Russia. It is clear from the events of the past week that Congressman Nunes is unqualified to lead a fair and impartial investigation, and even some Republicans like Senator McCain, are beginning to see the need for this. Please work on a bipartisan call for an independent investigation so that the American people can get the information they need and so justice can be done.

For a cogent overview of the issue: watch ranking minority member Adam Schiff’s presentation to the House Intelligence Committee.
 

While we were all working hard to fight the health care bill, foreign policy took some dangerous turns. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson indicated that preemptive military action might be on the table in North Korea and the president has been quietly expanding the presence of American troops in Syria.

 
In addition to speaking out about these dangers in general, ask your Members of Congress to support two bills that have been introduced in the legislature to keep our foreign policy sane and safe.

Bills:

Call your members of Congress:

Script (for Representative):
Hi, my name is _____ and I’m a constituent calling from _____. I’m very concerned about Secretary of State Tillerson’s comments last week about possible preemptive military action against North Korea. I urge Representative _____ to support any efforts to encourage this administration to evaluate and use all possible diplomatic approaches in regards to North Korea, before considering other actions and to support HR 669, which prohibits the president from first-strike use of nuclear weapons without authorization of Congress. Also, I’m concerned about recent increased deployment of American ground troops into Syria. I urge Representative _____ to support HR 1473, which prohibits increased deployment of troops into the region. Finally, I hope that Representative _____ works with his/her colleagues on diplomatic and non-violent ways of addressing these international conflicts. Thank you.

Script (for Senator):
Hi, my name is _____ and I’m a constituent calling from _____. I’m very concerned about Secretary of State Tillerson’s comments last week about possible preemptive military action against North Korea. I urge Senator _____ to support any efforts to encourage this administration to evaluate and use all possible diplomatic approaches in regards to North Korea, before considering other actions. I’m also concerned about recent increased deployment of American ground troops into Syria. I urge Senator _____ to support legislation that prohibits increased deployment of troops into the region and to encourage the administration to work on diplomatic and non-violent ways to address international conflicts.

Bone up on American Foreign policy Issues:
Thanks to our friends at Re:act, here’s a great Goodreads list on American Foreign policy issues.
 

The Senate is expected to vote on HR 1181 – misleadingly-named The Veteran’s Second Amendment Protection Act — soon. The bill, which has already passed the House, rescinds an Obama regulation to require the VA to furnish records on individuals’ mental illness as part of the gun background check system. Proponents of rescinding the bill argue that many of these records relate to mild disorders that should not interfere with Second Amendment Rights. However, according to Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty, of the 170,000 veterans currently prohibited from owning a firearm, as of 2015, almost 20,000 of them were diagnosed with schizophrenia, over 11,000 with dementia, and over 5,000 with Alzheimer’s. Rescinding this bill would allow these individuals easy access to guns, unless a hearing took place and a judge ruled otherwise.
 
Congresswoman Esty has led the opposition to the bill in the house and spoke eloquently on how this bill threatens to increase the number of veteran suicides, already a grave social problem. The Veterans Coalition for Common Sense have also spoken out against the bill. Their letter to Congress is worth reading.

Bills:

Call your Senator:

Script:

SCRIPT: Hi, my name is _____ and I’m a constituent calling from _____. I’m calling to express my concern about HR 1181, The Veteran’s Second Amendment Protection Act, which I understand is coming up for a vote in the Senate very soon. While this may sound like an act enabling Veteran’s Second Amendment Rights, approximately 36,000 of these veterans have been diagnosed with serious mental illness like schizophrenia and dementia. Making it easier for these people to get guns threatens their own safety as well as the safety of others around them. Veteran suicide among the mentally ill is a serious problem. Rather than simply throwing out this requirement, the regulation should be changed so that we address the needs of veterans who are mentally competent enough to own a firearm without sacrificing the safety of others, which needs to be paramount. Please vote against this bill. Thank you.