Weekly Actions for 2018: Week 2 ( 1/8 – 1/14 )

 

VICTORY: We are thrilled the year started off with news that the President was disbanding the “Voting Fraud Commission” after many states refused to cooperate in supplying data. In our past coverage of this issue, we documented how this commission was set up to get more people off the voter rolls rather than protect people’s right to vote.  Resistance works! And the pressure people put on their state legislators and Attorney Generals plays a vital role.

 

HERE ARE OUR 3 ACTIONS FOR WEEK 2 OF 2018!

 

Action 1: Urge Congress not to extend the surveillance program that currently allows the government to target activists and people of color.

 

Action 2: Make sure that the upcoming budget resolution does NOT cut Social Security.

 

Action 3:  Advocate against the President’s pick to lead the Census Bureau and against the inclusion of a citizenship question on the census form. 

 


 

Action 1: Urge Congress not to extend the surveillance program that currently allows the government to target activists and people of color.

 

A controversial piece of legislation (Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008), criticized by both progressives and conservatives alike, allows the government to collect American’s electronic communication and conduct backdoor searches of this data without a warrant. This legislation was set to expire on December 31, but was given a three-week extension as part of the resolution that extended the budget through January 19.

 

This link from Indivisible explains the dangers of continuing this legislation and details how it has been unfairly used to target activists and people of color. While there are certainly reasons for the government to have some surveillance authority, we think this legislation goes too far. It needs to be amended to protect our constitutional right to privacy, and should not be simply tacked on to a budget resolution.

 

HERE IS WHAT YOU CAN DO: 

 

  • Call your MoCs: Ask them to oppose H.R. 4478/S. 2010, which would reauthorize Section 702. Ask them instead to support the bipartisan USA Rights Act, which would amend this legislation to prevent searches of email and texting data without a warrant. You can find sample scripts here.

BILLS:

 

 


 

Action 2: Make sure that the upcoming budget resolution does NOT cut Social Security.

 

The current Senate budget proposal, which will be negotiated with the House of Representatives as part of a final package, includes a $400 billion cut to the Social Security Administration, which clearly affects its ability to effectively manage benefits for a growing retirement population. Even more concerning is the speculation that Republicans will decimate Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare and other entitlement programs to pay for the $1.5 trillion tax bill, most of whose benefits went to corporations and the top 20%.   

  

HERE IS WHAT YOU CAN DO: 

 

  • Contact your Senators: Ask them to oppose the $400 billion cut to the Social Security Administration in the current budget. Tell them you do not want to see any cuts to programs like Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare. Remind them that the President made a promise not to cut these programs during his campaign and therefore they have no mandate to do so.
  • Contact your Representative: Ask him/her not to support any budget that includes cuts to the Social Security Administration, and again remind them that you are against any cuts to programs like Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare.

 

SCRIPT: Hi, my name is _____ and I’m calling from _____. I am calling because I’m disturbed to find out that the current Senate budget includes a $400 billion cut to the Social Security Administration. Our retirement-age population is growing and this cut is ill-advised, as we need to make sure that the program is well-managed. People have been paying into this system all their working lives, and it should not be cut in order to pay for a tax break for corporations and millionaires. The President promised during his campaign not to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, and I’m worried that this cut is a preview of a plan to cut these important entitlement programs. I would like to ask [Senator_____ to reinstate this money in the current budget/Rep _____not to vote for any budget resolution that includes cuts to the Social Security Administration] and pledge to vote against any cuts to entitlement programs going forward. I will be watching the Senator’s/Rep’s actions on this issue very closely.  

 

 


 

Action 3: Advocate against the President’s pick to lead the Census Bureau and against including a citizenship question on the census form. 

 

After Thomas Brunell’s nomination to lead the U.S. Census Bureau was rescinded due to resistance, he is now poised to be appointed as Deputy Director, which does not require Senate confirmation. Brunell, author of “Redistricting and Representation: Why Competitive Elections are Bad for America,” is an academic with no government experience who has been criticized in the past for his support of Republican partisan gerrymandering.

 

The Deputy Director position has traditionally been non-political, and there is considerable concern among experts that appointing someone with a strong partisan agenda could greatly impact voting rights, since the 2020 Census count can determine how political districts are drawn. Adding more reason for concern, the Department of Justice has asked that the 2020 Census now also include a question on citizenship status, a move that many voting rights advocates fear could sabotage the census by increasing non-response rates (as responders might fear that the information will be used for negative purposes) and lead to inaccurate and biased redistricting. Even though they don’t vote, non-citizens work and pay taxes here and have the right to be counted and represented like the rest of us.

 

HERE IS WHAT YOU CAN DO:

 

  • Call your MoCs: Ask them to publicly oppose Brunell’s political nomination. You can find a script along with more information on this issue from 5Calls here
  • Contact the Census Bureau Acting Director Dr. Ron Jarmin, 301-763-4636 or 800-923-8282 or U.S. Census Bureau, 4600 Silver Hill Road, Washington, DC 20233 and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who decides what Census questions go to Congress, (202-482-2000) or U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Ave NW, Washington, DC 20230 and tell them that the citizenship question should not be included. 

 

SCRIPT: Hi, my name is _____ and I’m calling from _____. I’m calling to express my opposition to the proposal that the 2020 Census include a question on citizenship. I am especially concerned that the fear this question will raise in today’s anti-immigrant climate will lead to a significant increase in non-participation, which will, in turn, result in an inaccurate count and an inaccurate apportionment of Congressional Districts. As a government representative, I’m sure you share my concern that we need to work to preserve our democracy and part of that job is assuring that districts are fairly drawn and that all people are counted and represented.

 


The most effective thing you can do is to pick up the phone,
but if you’re short on time, you can leave your MoC a message below.



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