Federal Action Alert – Dec. 11, 2021

Produced by the Legislative Committee of the Coconino County Democratic Party and Democrats of the Red Rocks.

THIS WEEK’S ALERTS:   Protect Reproductive Health Care;  Oppose a Massive Increase in the Defense budget; Vote Before Holiday Recess on Voting Rights; Yes on Build Back Better; Get Ready for the Arizona Legislative Session! 

A.  HELP PROTECT ACCESS TO REPRODUCTIVE HEALTHCARE

With the US Supreme Court poised to curtail or eliminate the constitutional right to safe, legal abortion, recognized in 1973 in Roe v. Wade, there are several actions that you can take to promote reproductive healthcare justice. First, urge Senators Sinema and Kelly to waive the filibuster rule to allow the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2021, H.R. 3755, to proceed to a vote. This legislation has already passed the House. Senators Sinema and Kelly have sponsored the Senate version of the bill, S. 1975; however, they can take action to help move the House version forward in the Senate.

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.

Sen. Mark Kelly: Call (202) 224-2235 (DC). Email via his website at http://www.kelly.senate.gov. Tag the Senator at @senmarkkelly

For our fast-action activists, several online petitions are available for signature. The Center for Reproductive Rights is circulating a petition, Tell Congress! Pass the Women’s Health Protection Act (WHPA) – Center for Reproductive Rights 

Two other petitions are directed to the US Supreme Court. While it is not likely that the Court would entertain these petitions on their merits, it can’t hurt to let the Court know that the public is watching their decision-making process to determine whether the Court will carry out its responsibilities as a neutral arbiter of the law, or whether the Court will engage in partisan politics pandering to the GOP’s extreme right-wing base: 

The first, sponsored by Broward for Progress, a local Democratic organization based in Florida, petitions the Court to refrain from returning decisions about the right to abortion to the states, which would result in political and legal chaos, discrimination, and needless suffering: Tell the Supreme Court: Protect the Court and Public Trust – Action Network. The second, sponsored by the Yellowhammer Fund, a reproductive justice organization serving Alabama and the Deep South, asks the Court to end extreme policies that deny families the right to determine when, whether, and how to create a family: Don’t overturn Roe v. Wade. Protect abortion rights. | MoveOn 

While these are southern organizations, the concerns raised affect the entire nation, including Arizona which has a law on the books dating back to 1901 criminalizing abortion. Read Yes, Arizona does have an abortion ban on its books and a Supreme Court ruling could activate the ban (msn.com), published by KPNX-Phoenix on December 4, 2021.

B.  URGE SENATORS TO VOTE AGAINST A MASSIVE INCREASE IN DEFENSE SPENDING

President Biden requested $717 billion for defense spending for FY2022.  Yet our Republicans and many of our Democrats (including Mark Kelly) are forcing a massive and unasked for increase in the amount to $778 billion!  For the first time in decades, the US is not involved in any major foreign war, the cold war is long over, and at $778 billion the US would be spending on our military as much as the next highest spending eleven countries combined!  The difference of $60 billion could have paid for almost a decade of free community college.  It’s time to lower the military spending.  The bill is pending in the Senate.  Our Mark Kelly is on the Armed Services Committee and voted in favor of this very questionable increase in military spending.  Lets tell him “no.”  

Sample voicemail/email to our Senators:  “I’m a lifelong Democrat living in XXXXX.  Please vote against the 2022 National Defense Authorization Act.  President Biden and the Pentagon requested $717 billion in defense spending for FY2022.  Yet, a majority of Senators are pushing to vastly increase that amount.  Why?  We are not involved in any foreign wars now and are already spending as much on our military and the next eleven countries combined!  It’s time to lower that amount, not increase it.  Please vote no, and let’s spend that money where we need it – here at home.”  

C.  VOTING RIGHTS – DON’T ADJOURN SENATE FOR HOLIDAY RECESS UNTIL A VOTE.   

Multiple groups are calling on the Senate not to adjourn for the holiday recess until they take another crack at the Freedom to Vote Act and the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Act and the associated modification of the filibuster. As voting access is being curtailed in many states by new laws, redistricting in several key states is contributing to the loss of voting power for communities of color and for Democrats. Some activist Arizona university students are going on a hunger strike to bring visibility to this urgent issue – the least we can do is to urge our Senators to protect the very basis of our democracy. (https://kjzz.org/content/1738912/az-college-students-supporting-voting-rights-bill-go-hunger-strike)

Sample voicemail/email to our Senators:  “I’m a lifelong Democrat living in XXXXX.  You know how important the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act are.  The fact that several states are using gerrymandering in their redistricting to distort and disempower the voting power of many Americans makes this especially urgent! Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich has asked the right question: “What sounds more radical to you? Abolishing the filibuster to save our democracy or destroying our democracy to save the filibuster?” Please do not adjourn on December 13 for the 2021 holiday recess until the Senate has the chance to modify the filibuster and to debate these crucial bills!!  Our democracy is at stake.”  

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. 

Sen. Mark Kelly: Call (202) 224-2235 (DC),  Email via his website at http://www.kelly.senate.gov Tag the Senator at @senmarkkelly 

Link to Hunger Strike by Youth in support of passage of Voting Rights Acts.

Please review to see what you can do to help!!

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1PF7Dyc6z3i0IXu5U27pHpCMPqmbN-FX7nFK96pBX4vo/edit#heading=h.t75b9hz3j433

D.  SENATORS KELLY AND SINEMA ON THE BUILD BACK BETTER RECONCILIATION BILL (SOCIAL INFRASTRUCTURE):    The Build Back Better reconciliation bill is now in Senate hands.  Review by the Congressional Budget Office has shown that the measures in the bill, combined with enhanced tax collection enforcement, will more than pay for themselves, NOT add to the federal deficit. So Senator Sinema has no reason to hold back approval because of the cost. It’s critical that we get this bill through the Senate – it will have historic impact on climate action, on health care access and costs, and on other critical pieces of our social infrastructure.  

Sample script:  “My name is XXXX; I live and vote in YYY, Arizona. 

 [For Sinema only: I know you’ve communicated with your constituents about the important investments that are being made thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill – and we are grateful for your support and leadership in that effort. But those improvements in roads, bridges, and internet are not enough – we need to invest in families, social infrastructure, and climate action too!] 

[For both Senators] The House of Representatives has done the very hard work of hammering out compromises for the Build Back Better act in many areas, from expansion of health care access and lower drug prices, to the childcare tax credit and expansion of home and community-based care, to meaningful investments in clean energy jobs and climate action. Build Back Better will pay for itself.   Please move NOW to support this bill through reconciliation – we can’t afford NOT to make these investments.” 

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. 

Sen. Mark Kelly: Call (202) 224-2235 (DC),  Email via his website at http://www.kelly.senate.gov Tag the Senator at @senmarkkelly 

E.  GET READY FOR THE START OF THE STATE LEGISLATIVE SESSION! We saw last year that transparency and public feedback, including aggressive use of the Request to Speak (RTS) system, resulted in many very bad legislative proposals being abandoned without a vote – and others were moved forward only at the last minute by being attached to the budget. (And now the courts have ruled that particular nefarious mechanism unconstitutional!) We’d love to see even more Arizona residents testifying in front of legislative committees, so that it isn’t just paid lobbyists being heard in committee deliberations. Civic Engagement Beyond Voting is holding some on-line training sessions to help people feel comfortable showing up to comment on proposed legislation. Each session covers everything you need to know, from how committees work to how you can maximize the impact of your 2 or 3 minutes of testimony.

Jan 5, 6:30 pm, pre-register HERE

This is the same group that does training in using RTS – we’ll forward information about RTS training when we get it!

Posted in Action Alerts, Latest News.