Produced by Coconino County Democratic Partyand Democrats of the Red Rocks
THIS WEEK’S ALERTS:
- The federal budget proposal should reflect our values and priorities.
- Urge Senator Sinema to commit to supporting Judge Ketanji Jackson for the Supreme Court
- Protecting our democracy is more important than ever.
- Environment: The Saving America’s Pollinators Act.
You might be encouraged to know: we recently asked people to call Senator Sinema to support the Affordable Insulin Act – and she now has publicly declared her support for this legislation! Public pressure does work…
Contact information for our elected officials is at the bottom of this alert.
- The federal budget proposal should reflect our values and priorities.
President Biden released his proposed budget for the 22-23 fiscal year. The proposal contains some very welcome and sorely needed investments in renewable energy and other climate-related actions, and substantial increases in science and technology. However, it also proposes a significant increase in defense spending – when the US already spends more on its military than most of the rest of the world combined! As highlighted in analysis by the Progressive Caucus in Congress, a modest decrease in what is proposed for the military could provide the spending for enormous improvements in public welfare – from continued funding for COVID-19 testing and treatments, to renewal of the childcare tax credit for hard-working families, and more.
Sample script for Rep. O’Halleran, Senators Kelly and Sinema, and the White House: “My name is XXX and I’m a voter and constituent in YYY, Arizona. I was pleased to learn that the President’s budget proposal includes substantial new funding for renewable energy and a transition to a more climate-friendly energy system. However, it is disturbing to see the massive dollars and significant increase in proposed military spending. Yes, we want to continue support for Ukraine and our capacity to defend democracy and national autonomy. But the US already spends more on its military than most of the rest of the world combined! Our budget needs to reflect our values and priorities as a nation, and I believe our social, educational, health, and economic priorities deserve a greater share of the total. As negotiations on federal appropriations continue, please support a shift of some of the proposed defense spending to investments in US families and communities – from public health measures to the childcare tax credit and more.”
- Urge Senator Sinema to commit to supporting Judge Ketanji Jackson for the Supreme Court. Confirmation hearings for Judge Ketanji Jackson are now complete, and she demonstrated tremendous poise and excellent judgment in the face of hostile and often ridiculous pressure from GOP senators. Many senators have already indicated their indication of voting to confirm her – including Senator Manchin and Republican Senator Susan Collins – but our own Senator Sinema has not.
Sample script for Senator Sinema: “My name is XXX, and I’m a voter and Democratic constituent in YYY, Arizona. I’m calling to urge you to commit publicly to support Judge Ketanji Jackson when her nomination to a seat on the Supreme Court comes before the Senate. She is supremely well qualified, with a more complete range of experience and background than virtually all of the current justices. And her thoughtful, poised responses in the confirmation hearings demonstrate how carefully and thoroughly she will carry out her responsibilities. Moreover, I’m delighted at the idea of her background as a public defender and the diversity of personal perspectives that she can bring. Please make your support for her public as soon as possible.”
- Protecting our democracy is more important than ever. We’ve seen how dangerous it is to our democracy to have a president in office who believes himself to be above the law and who is happy to collaborate with authoritarians around the world. While the January 6th Commission moves (slowly!) to investigate events and planning leading up to the attempted insurrection at the Capitol, the House of Representatives has taken some steps to ensure that presidents do not abuse their powers, that accountability and transparency are upheld, and that our elections are kept secure from undue foreign influence. HR 5314, Protecting Our Democracy Act, passed the House in December with unanimous support from Democrats. (See summaries and text of this bill at https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/5314?q=%7B%22search%22%3A%5B%22Protecting+our+democracy%22%2C%22Protecting%22%2C%22our%22%2C%22democracy%22%5D%7D&r=5&s=1 . ) Now it awaits discussion and a vote in the Senate.
Sample script for our senators: “My name is XXX, and I’m a voter and constituent in YYY, Arizona. I was disgusted by the self-serving, corrupt behavior of many in the Trump administration, and I was horrified by the attempt to block the peaceful transition of power on January 6th. While we wait for the January 6th commission to bring meaningful accountability, I feel it is crucial to reinforce accountability and transparency, and to prevent future presidents from abusing their positions. I was pleased to see HR 5314 passed by the House of Representatives in December, and I’m excited to see it taken up by the Senate. Surely there must be strong bipartisan support to prevent corruption in the White House, to maintain transparency and the constitutional balance of powers, and to protect our elections from foreign influence. Please help move this legislation along and work with your Senate colleagues to pass the Protecting Our Democracy Act.”
- Environment: Saving America’s Pollinators Act. Many people have heard of concerns about bees – both domestic honeybees and our many diverse wild native bee species – declining and the risk this poses to our many bee-pollinated food crops as well as to native flora. Recent scientific literature has documented very robust evidence that wide use of pesticides, in particular the so-called “neo-nics” or neonicotinoid insecticides, can kill or otherwise incapacitate bees at very low levels. [A good source of information on this is at https://xerces.org/publications/scientific-reports/how-neonicotinoids-can-kill-bees .]Many other nations, especially in the European Union, have banned the use of neo-nics in order to protect declining pollinator populations. HR 4079, the Saving America’s Pollinators Act, has been introduced in the House but has not yet been discussed and passed by the House Agriculture Committee. Representative O’Halleran, who is a member of the Ag Committee, should be urged to help advance this bill.
Sample script for Rep. O’Halleran: “My name is XXX, and I’m a voter and constituent in YYY, Arizona. I’m a big supporter of conservation efforts, and I’m concerned about the many threats to honeybees, wild bees, and other insects – especially pollinators. I know that other nations have banned the use of so-called “neo-nic” pesticides, and I think it is imperative that we do the same in the US. Protecting our pollinating bees is crucial for those in agriculture – including the many people trying to build strong local food systems in northern and southern Arizona. And of course it is critical for our native plants, as well. I’m asking you to sign on as a co-sponsor of HR 4079, the Saving America’s Pollinators Act, and to help move it through the House Committee on Agriculture. Protecting the basis of so much food production ought to be an easy issue for bipartisan action.”
Sen. Mark Kelly: Call (202) 224-2235 (DC), Email via his website at http://www.kelly.senate.gov Tag the Senator at @senmarkkelly.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema: Call (202) 224-4521 (DC) or (602) 598-7327. Email via her website at “http://www.sinema.senate.gov” Tag the Senator at @senatorsinema .
Rep. Tom O’Halleran: Call (202) 225-3361 (DC) or email via website at https://ohalleran.house.gov/contact Tag the Congressman @RepOHalleran
White House: Call 202.456.1111 or email White House Tag the White House