Produced by The Coconino County Democratic Party & Democrats of the Red Rocks
This week Afghanistan for Pres. Biden, Infrastructure linkage in the House for O’Halleran, and John Lewis Voting Rights Act carve-out to the filibuster rule for Sinema.
TO PRESIDENT BIDEN ON AFGHANISTAN:
Urge President Biden to cut the bureaucratic red tape and radically expand the evacuation of Afghan allies and their families now. Tell him to lead the world and use international leverage in withholding any development aid to the Taliban (other than emergency food and medical relief) until they recognize fundamental human rights, with emphasis on the rights of women. (See list of resources and end of this alert)
Sample voice mail or email: Dear President Biden. I’m a lifelong Democrat living in XXXX. I am pleading with you to cut the bureaucratic red tape and evacuate all Afghans that have risked their lives supporting US efforts there. I’m also calling on you to actively use our leverage on the world stage to refuse recognition of the Taliban government until they guarantee the basic human rights of all Afghans, with particular emphasis on the rights of women.
PRESIDENT BIDEN: email to https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/ or leave a message on the comment line at (202) 456-1111.
FOR REP. O’HALLERAN ON INFRASTRUCTURE: The House of Representatives has just passed the blueprint for President Biden’s $3.5 Trillion Build Back Better social infrastructure plan. The plan is largely funded by rolling back the Trump era tax cuts for the super-rich. Speaker Pelosi and the vast majority of House Democrats want to pass the $3.5 social infrastructure package via the reconciliation process, together with the Senate approved $1.1 Trillion traditional infrastructure bill. De-coupling the bills runs the risk of losing the social infrastructure bill. Conservative House Democrats have balked at the price tag and Progressive Democrats balk at passing anything smaller. It’s time to urge Rep. O’Halleran to back our President and House Speaker Pelosi in passing both bills at some reasonable and high level of funding and to work with both sides to ensure this happens.
Sample message for Rep. O’Halleran. I’m a lifelong Democrat voting for you repeatedly out of XXXXX, Arizona. I’m strongly urging you back President Biden and Speaker Pelosi, and work with your colleagues, to get both infrastructure bills passed through the House at the same time with a high level of funding. We need to invest in the future of America. The investments these bills will provide have to potential to transform the nation, save us from global warming, increase access to health care and education, and bring America back into the top rank of the world’s developed nations.
FOR SENATOR SINEMA ON JOHN LEWIS VOTING RIGHTS BILL.
Sample text or voice message for Senator Sinema: My name is XXXX. I’m a mainstream Democrat living and voting in XXXXX. As you know the House has just passed the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. This very reasonable bill received not a single Republican vote. It is headed for a same fate in the Senate. You have led the laudable effort to work with our Republican senators to reach compromises. I think it’s now time to acknowledge the failure of persuading any Republicans to protect our most fundamental voting rights. Please support carving out an exception to the filibuster rule specifically on voting rights, or otherwise modify it to ensure the most basic right of Americans to vote!
[Possible addition: You have said in public that you believe the filibuster is helpful because it assures that only legislation with strong bipartisan support – and a very strong likelihood of remaining in effect over the long term – is passed. But history shows us that many crucial and socially popular laws were passed with initially weak majorities – from Social Security to the Affordable Care Act. And frankly I believe that protecting voter rights in the immediate term is truly urgent – no matter what the long term holds! Please soften your stand on the filibuster and do everything you can to get S 1 and the John Lewis Voter Protection Act in front of the Senate and passed!]
Sen. 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.
How you can help on Afghanistan:
- The Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service is directing volunteers to its location-based sign-up page to assist Afghan refugees with travel from the airport, settling into their apartments or providing a meal.
- Keeping Our Promise, based in Rochester, N.Y., offers resettlement services, including skilled trades training and accommodation support.
- The International Medical Corps, which has operated in Afghanistan since 1984, offers medical training and services in the country and is soliciting donations to its emergency relief fund.
- The International Rescue Committee is aiming to raise $10 million to “deliver lifesaving aid” in Afghanistan. Local chapters of the organization are also seeking volunteers to assist those who arrive through the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa in their search for employment and housing.
- Commonwealth Catholic Charities, in partnership with community organizations, is providing resettlement services and child care to Special Immigrant Visa holders from Afghanistan in Fort Lee, Va.
- The City of Fremont, Calif., home to a large population of Afghan immigrants, is collecting donations to support local charities providing essential items to newcomers.
- New American Pathways, a nonprofit for resettlement based in Atlanta, is seeking volunteers to support Afghan refugees.
How to help women
- Women for Women International is collecting donations for its emergency relief fund.
- Vital Voices has set up the Vital Voices Afghan Women’s Fund to support the safety of women’s rights activists in Afghanistan and those who have been evacuated from the country.
How to help local journalists
- International Media Support is partnering with the Afghan Journalists Safety Committee to collect donations to protect journalists still in the country.
Arizona Environmental Action Opportunity
Oak Flat is an area in eastern Arizona, currently part of the Tonto National Forest and (more important) long sacred to the Apache and other indigenous communities in the region. A copper mine proposed by Rio Tinto is planned for the area – it would permanently destroy surface features in this recognized historic cultural site (and major recreational area), would affect several endangered and sensitive species, and would consume and pollute enormous amounts of water. Rep. Raul Grijalva sponsored the Save Oak Flat Act (HR 1884), and Rep. Ruben Gallego has co-sponsored; this bill would reverse the current decision to convey the National Forest land to Rio Tinto. The bill has been passed out of the House Natural Resources Committee to be considered by the entire House of Representatives. You can read more about the proposed mine’s impacts at
Save Oak Flat and Stop Rio Tinto’s Destructive Copper Mine | Help Wildlife, Protect the Environment, Support Nature Conservation, Save the Planet (sierraclub.org) ; you can see the proposed bill itself at H.R.1884 – 117th Congress (2021-2022): Save Oak Flat Act | Congress.gov | Library of Congress
Sample text or voice message for Rep. O’Halleran: My name is XXX, and I am a voter and constituent in your district in northern Arizona. I’m calling to ask you to co-sponsor HR 1884, the Save Oak Flat Act, and to help lead this bill through adoption by the House. I have major concerns about the massive use of water by the proposed mine – invaluable and irreplaceable groundwater – and about the impacts to recreational activity and to wildlife in this region. While copper is a valuable commodity, I believe there are better ways of obtaining copper (eg by reclaiming tailings from earlier mines) than by allowing Rio Tinto to destroy this portion of Arizona. Most urgent of all – this site is sacred to the Apache and other native communities in the region. The federal government has acknowledged the religious and cultural importance of this site by listing it on the National Register as a traditional cultural property; conveying the site for destruction by an international corporation is a terrible betrayal of this commitment. Please protect Arizona’s cultural and environmental resources, by signing on as a co-sponsor for HR 1884.
Rep. O’Halleran: Call (202) 225-3361 (DC) or (928) 286-5338. Email via his website at https://ohalleran.house.gov and tag the Congressman @repohalleran