Weekly Actions 3/7/2017

Click on each action for details and scripts:

Last night, Republicans unveiled their plan to repeal-and-replace ACA, and committees are scheduled to vote on it THIS WEDNESDAY. Worse, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has not analyzed the new proposal yet, which means committees will be working on this without an official estimate of how many people would stand to gain or lose coverage and how much repeal-and-replace would cost. Republicans in support of repeal and replace are trying to push this through quietly and sneakily, without giving us a chance to look at real numbers. This is not how government should work!

 

You can read more about the plan here. The NY Times has also compiled a handy cheatsheet juxtaposing ACA with the proposed replacement plan, which you can read here. Finally, RSVP for Indivisible Guide’s emergency call to learn more about what you can do to defend the ACA.
 
Then, call your representatives today and tell them the following:

  • Remind them how much ACA has decreased the percentage of uninsured people in your state (which you can find here) and how many are estimated to lose health insurance if ACA were repealed (which you can find here).
  • Tell them that the CBO must complete their analysis of the new proposal before a vote takes place since it would be ludicrous for committees to vote without knowing the facts. Ask them to speak out and demand that the votes be delayed until the CBO completes and releases its analysis.
  • If you have a personal story about how you have been impacted by the ACA, share it. You can also submit it in writing after your phone call.

Script:

Hi, my name is _____ and I’m calling from _____. I am extremely concerned about the newly-released Republican plan to repeal the ACA. [If you have a personal story, tell it here.] In our district, the ACA has decreased the number of uninsured by _____ % [find out here] and if repealed, more than _____ % [find out here] could lose health insurance.
 

What’s more, I’m appalled that the new plan is scheduled for committee votes just two days after its release and that the Congressional Budget Office has not yet had a chance to finish its analysis. It’s imperative that the CBO have a chance to review the plan to objectively determine how much this would cost and also how many people stand to gain or lose coverage, especially since this is quite literally a matter of life and death for many Americans. I urge Rep/Senator _____ to do everything in his/her power to defend the ACA and to denounce the new plan, and I sincerely hope that Senator/Rep _____ will call for any committee votes on the new plan to be delayed until the CBO has completed its analysis.

Additional talking points:

  • According to the NY Times, four Republican senators — Rob Portman of Ohio, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — have expressed concerns that the new plan “will not adequately protect people in states like theirs that have expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.”
  • It’s not a coincidence that proponents of the plan are trying to push it through before the CBO releases their analysis, given that earlier CBO reviews of similar plans found that the uninsured number would drastically increase and that premiums could climb higher than under the ACA.
  • The new plan makes health insurance cheaper for the wealthy and endangers those who wouldn’t be able to afford health insurance without the ACA – even proponents have admitted that it would increase the number of uninsured and severely cut the Medicaid program.

 
Also, the law requires the administration to consider public comments on their proposal, and Organizing For Action is making it easy for people to submit them here. Be sure to submit before midnight tonight! We’ll update if we find a place where you can type up your own.
 

A few weeks ago, the house voted to repeal a regulation that prevents flaring, venting and leaking of methane (86x more potent a greenhouse gas (GHG) than CO2) on public lands. If the regulation roll-back passes the Senate, not only will significant taxpayer dollars be wasted, as described here, but air pollution and its related health and climate impacts would increase.
 

Accurately measuring leaks from methane and curbing its use is vital to combating the catastrophic effects of climate change, and according to a fact sheet provided by the Department of the Interior, implementation of the Methane and Waste Prevention Rule is “equivalent to eliminating the greenhouse gas emissions from 924,000 to 950,000 vehicles.” Don’t let Congress roll back this vital step towards combating climate change in order to appease the oil and gas industry. The Senate is expected to take up this vote soon, so be sure to speak out.

Script:

Hi, my name is _____ and I’m calling from _____. I’m calling to urge Senator _____ to vote against H.J. Resolution 36, which revokes important Bureau of Land Management rules for leaking, venting and flaring methane on public lands. Given the imminent risks posed by climate change, the government shouldn’t be allowing any public fracking, but these rules at least put in place some standards to curb potent methane greenhouse gas emissions. There is no good justification for removing these standards. Doing so puts the profits of the oil and gas industry above the health of our planet and the livelihood of the American people. Does the Senator have a position on this?
 

[IF SUPPORTIVE] (express your gratitude)
[IF OPPOSED] I am very disappointed, as I believe the Senator is not acting in the best interests of his/her constituents on this issue. Repealing this rule is a classic example of putting oil and gas industry profits above science and common sense. I urge Senator _____ to reconsider his/her position. Thank you.

Related:
At the behest of the oil and gas industry and the directives of climate denialist Scott Pruitt, the EPA is no longer requiring industry to report on methane emissions.
 

Unfortunately, the REINS Act (Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny) was passed by the House in January and is reportedly coming up for a vote in the Senate THIS WEEK. The act would require regulations passed by executive agencies – like the EPA, for example – to be “blessed” by congress within 70 days in order to actually become law. This would mean that if the EPA decides a toxic substance is in violation of the Clean Water act, for example, big industries (and campaign donors) that use this substance could lobby Congresspeople to let the regulations die. More terrifying, the public would be unlikely to even know about this, since Congress wouldn’t even have to vote — they’d just have to delay the action for 70 days.
 
Also note that under current rules, regulations that really are problematic can be disapproved via Congressional joint resolution, if necessary — no REINS act needed. So if your Senator pushes back, remind him/her that Congress already has recourse for those regulations that are truly over-reaching.

Bills:
H.R. 26: Regulations from the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act of 2017: To amend chapter 8 of title 5, United States Code, to provide that major rules of the executive branch shall have no force or effect unless a joint resolution of approval is enacted into law.

Script (adapted from smalldeedsdone.com):

Hi, my name is _____ and I’m calling from _____. I’m calling to urge Senator _____ to vote against the REINS Act.
 

I know that Senator _____ believes in preserving our democratic system of government – and that she/he is in favor of making sure that lobbyists and big businesses can’t purchase votes. But by requiring Congress to vote on regulations, the REINS Act gives lobbyists a chance to lobby members of Congress to vote for their interests – rather than mine. This Act encourages more backroom politics and horse trading.
 

I’m also concerned with how wasteful REINS is, and I don’t want my tax dollars spent this way. Every regulation would have to be reviewed by your office, and if Congress has hearings on a regulation that will cost even more. Who’s going to pay for all of this? If a regulation is invalidated, that’s millions of taxpayer dollars wasted. What’s the point of even having the agencies decide something if big business is just going to lobby Congress to override it? Can you tell me Senator _____’s position on this?
 

[IF SUPPORTIVE] (express your gratitude)
[IF OPPOSED] I am disappointed in the Senator’s position on this issue and urge him/her to rethink this position. Congress already has the power to overrule bad regulations. This act has the potential to further cripple government and skew their interests to be aligned with the interests of industry instead of the interests of the American people. I’ll be watching to see how Senator _____ votes on this issue. Thanks for your time.