Weekly Actions: May 9, 2017

Click on each action for details and scripts:

ACTION 1: Pressure White House, EPA not to withdraw from Paris Agreement.

ACTION 2: Defeat Trumpcare at the Senate Level.

ACTION 3: Regain control of the House in 2018 by punishing Trumpcare supporting Republicans and tackling voter disenfranchisement.


The administration could make a final decision about withdrawing from the Paris Agreement as early as today. Over the last few days, several meetings have been held on the topic, with the administration reportedly divided: Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner and Secretary of State Tillerson are in favor of staying in the agreement, while EPA Chief Scott Pruitt and several other hardliners are against it. Unfortunately, the momentum at the moment seems to be toward withdrawing, and the rationale for such a decision is based on some seriously flawed logic.
 
It’s nearly impossible to overstate the negative ramifications of a US withdrawal from the agreement, stupendously ill-timed at precisely the moment the window of opportunity for curbing climate change is rapidly closing. This is how the the supposed leaders of the ‘free world’ respond to a potentially existential crisis for the human race?
 
As a country responsible for more than a fifth of global emissions (today, the 2nd highest after China), pulling out would make it very difficult for the already-conservative emission reduction goals set by the Paris Agreement to be reached. This article quotes leaders around the world who are very concerned about what this administration’s decisions could mean for their own countries’ survival, stating that the U.S.’s involvement in the Paris Agreement is crucial to its success.
 
For more information, read our past coverage on this issue.

 
HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO:
 

  • Call Your Governor’s Office: Ask them to join with the governors of CA, CO, CT, DE, HI, MN, NY, OR, PA, RI, VA, and WA who sent a a letter to Trump last week urging him to stay in the Paris Agreement. (Note: if your governor is from one of the states listed above, please call to say thank you and to ask him/her to continue to take all steps possible at the state level to reduce carbon emissions.)
  • Contact Federal Officials: Email EPA head, Scott Pruitt, and Energy Secretary, Rick Perry, and submit a comment to Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson.
    • Ask them to urge the President to remain in the Paris agreement in order to bolster our diplomatic standing, be at the forefront of new business technologies and jobs, and continue to address the clear environmental effects of climate change, which, while unfortunately inconvenient, are still scientific fact.

Script:
Hi, my name is _____ and I’m a constituent calling from _____. I would like to ask Governor _____ to join with 12 other governors in urging the President to remain in the Paris Agreement. If the United States were to pull out, it would be an embarrassment to the nation and a colossal moral failing (especially considering that, historically, our country is responsible for the lion’s share of carbon emissions worldwide). The U.S.’s failure to uphold the Paris agreement could lead to other countries pulling out. The thousands of people who participated in the March for Science last month and the more than 300,000 who marched all over the country in the People’s Climate March are counting on our representatives to pressure the President to do the right thing and honor these agreements, which are essential to the health of our planet. Additionally, our state needs to be forward thinking in achieving economic growth through continuing to reduce carbon emissions by adopting new green energy technologies. I hope you will support future legislation at the state level that addresses these issues of climate change, as we clearly cannot wait for the federal government to take action.

 
[If already on list] I’m calling to thank Gov. _____ for (his/her) letter urging the President to remain in the Paris agreement.]

 

What do hospitals, doctors, insurers, officials throughout the healthcare industry, conservative think tanks, and an overwhelming majority of voters all have in common? They loathe the American Health Care Act, a.k.a. Trumpcare.

 
Nevertheless, Republicans, all too proud of themselves, passed it in the House last week. Unsatisfied with the work of the lower chamber, Senate Republicans are expected offer their own version of the bill. If a version passes the Senate, the two bills will then have to be rectified, with the combo version passing the House and Senate one more time before heading to the President’s desk for signature.
 

 
Recall that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis of the original version of the bill projected 24 million people would lose their insurance over the next 10 years and premiums for the most vulnerable would greatly increase. The House did not wait for a revised CBO score before passing a tweaked version of its original bill, which offers even less protection than the original. We’re referring, of course, to the infamous MacArthur Amendment, which allows states to opt-out of certain AHCA provisions, including the one that protects people with pre-existing conditions who have a momentary lapse in coverage (say, because of changing jobs) from being charged higher premiums.
 

This completely undoes one of the triumphs of Obamacare – guaranteed protection for people with pre-existing conditions. Republicans are quick to state that their new bill leaves protections for people with pre-existing conditions in place; a pre-existing condition cannot be stated as a reason for denying coverage. What can (and is projected) to happen, however, is that a large segment of Americans will not be able to afford the higher premiums that can be charged to people with pre-existing conditions, and will lose coverage because of that. As for the high-risk pools Republicans are offering as a “solution,” there is little evidence this will be effectual.
 

Also, isn’t it ironic that Republicans want to allow people with pre-existing mental health conditions access to firearms, (a bill that has already passed the house), but, incredibly, not healthcare?
 

Also ironic: Trump recently praised Australia’s single payer health care system. Go figure. Thankfully, support for a Medicare-for-all bill is continuing to grow as voters increasingly begin to grasp the corrosive effect the profit motive is having on our health care system.
 

Finally, with all the inflammatory rhetoric that has been getting tossed around from both proponents and opponents of the bill, it’s important to arm ourselves with the facts. Check out these articles from The NY Times, Politifact, FactCheck, and the Washington Post, which help clarify claims. Based on these realities, this bill is clearly a bad idea and we need to stop it at the Senate level.

 
HERE’S WHAT YOU CAN DO:
 

  • Pressure your House Rep: The House is on recess, so your Congresspeople should be at home. Now is the time to bombard them with feedback! There are two reasons for this: Any final bill must pass the House a second time so your Congressperson still has voting power and people who voted against the bill should not do so without being subject to public rage and outcry.
    • Attend/Demand a Town Hall or show up at your district office: Resistance Near Me has a list of upcoming town hall events. If nothing is listed for your district, call your Congressperson’s district office and ask them to hold a town hall. If they refuse, gather some people and show up en masse for a personal meeting. (You can find like-minded people to join you at the office though Indivisible. You could also try putting a call out on NextDoor in order to find people who will join you.) If your rep is refusing to hold a Town Hall or is otherwise unresponsive, be sure to check out Indivisible’s strategies for getting your rep to be present for constituents.
    • These are the representatives who supported the bill. If your rep is one of them, call and express outrage (see script below). If your MoC did not vote for the bill, call and thank them, especially if they are a Republican.
  • Call your Senators (Script below):
    • Urge your senators not to vote for *any* bill that causes more people to lose their health insurance and to levy pressure on their colleagues to protect Obamacare.
    • Remind your Democratic senators how bargaining works: they should lobby for a system that offers much stronger protections (like Medicare-for-All) if they want any hope of reaching a compromise bill that won’t be a complete joke.
    • Trumpcaretoolkit includes key swing Senators as well as swing GOP Congresspeople who should be publicly shamed, but you should call your own Senator wherever they may stand. Even if they are on your side, they need to be able to cite a high volume of calls when leveraging pressure against undecided colleagues.
  • Call the White House (Script below): Remind Trump of his support for the single-payer system.
  • Contact your Governor: (Action from Wall-Of-Us): Ask your Governor to put pressure on your Republican Senators to reject Trumpcare. This might be especially useful in states with a Democratic Governor and 1 or 2 Republican Senators.
  • Donate: Help fund the Democratic nominee running against any Republican who voted for Trumpcare.

  • Read: The Indivisible Guide offers great resources on everything Trumpcare.

Script (for reps who voted for AHCA):
Hi, my name is _____ and I’m a constituent calling from _____. I am ashamed and appalled that Rep. _____ voted in favor of the new version of the health care bill without even waiting for an analysis from the Congressional Budget Office, which had already projected that 24 million people would lose their health insurance even before the amendment was added to allow states to apply for waivers that would allow insurance companies to charge sky high premiums for people with pre-existing conditions. You sold out your constituents for a political win, and I will remember this in 2018.

Script (for Republican Senators):
Hi, my name is _____ and I’m a constituent calling from _____. I am calling to urge Senator _____ not to take away my health care. The Congressional Budget Office and other independent analysis have projected massive loss of coverage and sky high premiums for the most vulnerable, which is unacceptable. It is also unconscionable to allow states to apply for waivers that would result in surcharges of thousands of dollars for the most sick and vulnerable among us. A majority of Americans are in favor of keeping the current health care law, which recent data from the CBO has proven as stable. If you truly want to reduce health care premiums, you should work on a bipartisan solution to amend the current ACA law in a way that assures that health care remains accessible and affordable to all Americans. I will be watching Sen’s _____ vote very closely on this issue.

Script (for Democratic Senators):
Hi, my name is _____ and I’m a constituent calling from _____. I am calling to urge Senator _____ to do everything in his/her power to protect and improve upon the protections offered by Obamacare. I want to thank the Senator for pledging to vote against the ACHA but also urge him/her to use the phone calls he/she is receiving to leverage pressure on his/her undecided colleagues. Also, the Democrats have to band together and offer an alternative to the ACHA – and I wanted to remind Senator _____ that there is growing public support for a Medicare-for-All system. Even if Senator _____ does not believe this is politically viable, because of the way bargaining works, lobbying for such a system would be a good way to ensure that whatever compromise measure is enacted does not go too far in limiting our existing protections.

Script (for White House–from Jen Hoffman’s Weekly Activism Checklist):
Hi, my name is _____ and I’m calling from _____. Your idea that America should have universal health care is great. If you made that deal happen, the media would respect you, and all Americans would admire you. It’s a great system.
(Jen advises feeding his ego by keeping your comments 100% positive.)

 

Make no mistake, Trumpcare is a disaster; however, The Resistance always has a silver linings playbook. The big opportunity here is to harness the potential political backlash against the GOP, making it easier to vote the Trumpcare supporters out of office in 2018. If you recall, the Democrats payed a similar price at the ballot box after they voted for The Affordable Care Act in 2010. The rockstar statistician, Nate Silver of fivethirtyeight.com, thinks the Republicans who voted for the AHCA may pay an even larger penalty at the ballot box, given how unpopular the bill is.

 

That said, progressive election victories in 2018 are far from inevitable. We must show up to vote and also address issues of voter disenfranchisement head on. With the Supreme Court having gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013, several states have introduced restrictive voting laws, which disproportionately affect people of color. While parts of some of these laws have been found unconstitutional by the courts, voter ID laws still exist in several states, disenfranchising would-be voters.

 
HERE ARE KEY INITIATIVES YOU CAN SUPPORT WITH YOUR TIME OR MONEY:

  • Spread the Vote: Helps people obtain voter IDs, starting with an intensive campaign in Georgia, where Democrat Jon Ossoff is running for Congress in a June special election.
  • Swing Left: Pairs people in solid blue districts to work with people in sister-swing districts to identify voters and get out the vote.
  • DriveToVote / VoteRiders : Need a ride to the to the polls to vote? These organizations will help you out.
  • Flippable: Works to turn America blue at the state level by building a movement to flip seats.
  • The Resistance Manual: Contains information on voter laws and voting rights issues in each state. Research your state and write a letter to the editor to call attention to any issues and/or contact your state legislators to urge them to support equal access for all voters.

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