Federal Action Alert – July 23, 2021

Produced by The Coconino County Democratic Party & Democrats of the Red Rocks

This week: Lobby Sinema on not caving in on bipartisan infrastructure bill; Monday march on Sinema’s office with Rev. Jesse Jackson; support legislation eliminating racially discriminatory sentencing for crack vs powder cocaine and support federal legalization of marijuana and expungement of criminal records. Environment action: lobby Sinema and Kelly on incorporating more climate action in infrastructure legislation.

    Bi-partisan infrastructure bill:  Last Wednesday, Senate Republicans voted against even debating the bi-partisan infrastructure bill (basic roads, bridges, internet bill) until they got their way on funding for the bill.  They had already insisted there not be a cent of new taxes to pay for the bill and now, amazingly, they oppose any beefing up of the IRS to go after wealthy tax cheats.  This, after the most massive transfer of wealth in modern history – the Trump tax bill – that enriched the uber-wealthy.  Sinema is now caving in, ready to eliminate even the increased IRS enforcement just to get to an agreement.  It’s better to simply say no, and wrap this infrastructure bill into the larger $3.5 trillion reconciliation human infrastructure bill to be passed with 50 Democratic party senators, and pay for the costs primarily through tax increases on the wealthy.

    Sample text or message for Sen. SinemaMy name is XXXX.  I’m a mainstream Democrat living and voting in XXXXX.  I’m concerned that you are caving-in to unreasonable Republican demands on how to pay for the bi-partisan traditional infrastructure bill just to get to an agreement.  The Republicans you are working with rejected a single cent of tax increases on super-wealthy individuals and corporations who were already enriched by the Trump tax bill.  Now they reject even increased IRS enforcement on super-rich tax cheats to pay for that infrastructure.  When will it end?  As usual, they want to pass on the costs to the middle and lower classes. Don’t be complicit.  It’s time to say no, and pass this legislation through 50 Democratic votes in the $3.5 trillion reconciliation social infrastructure bill.

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.

    March to Sen. Sinema’s Office in Phoenix, Monday, July 26, 2021, with Rev. Jesse Jackson!  Legendary civil rights icon Rev. Jesse Jackson is leading a march on Monday morning 9 am to noon, to Sen. Sinema’s office in Phoenix.  Don’t get left out of this historic march!  Please spread this around and carpool.  Here is a link: https://mobilize.us/s/f9zM16   The march emphasizes support for filibuster reform, voting rights, an increase in the minimum wage to $15 (you’ll remember Sen. Sinema’s grandstanding thumb’s down on paying workers what they deserve), and other important core Democratic Party values enshrined in our platform.  The march is supported by tons of constituent groups and allies of the Democratic party. Be there, or be square! 

   For Both Senators and Rep. O’Halleran:  Help eliminate racial disparities in federal drug policy.  Support “The Equal Act” – HR 1693 on crack vs powdered cocaine sentencing and support federal legalization of marijuana and expungement of marijuana convictions.  

    There has been a long history of racially discriminatory drug policies.  Sentencing disparities for users of crack cocaine vs powered cocaine has in particular harmed African Americans.  “The Equal Act”, sponsored by Rep. Jerry Nadler. corrects this imbalance and has broad support.

   The federal criminalization of marijuana has also disproportionally harmed minority communities with higher rates of conviction for possession of small amounts of marijuana.  In an era where marijuana is legal in 20 states and territories, including Arizona, it’s time to federally legalize and tax marijuana and expunge the criminal records of those convicted of possession of small amounts.  The “Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act”, introduced by Senators Chuck Schumer and Cory Booker will do just that.  It also has wide support.  The Act will legalize and tax marijuana, set up programs to combat drug abuse, and require federal district courts to expunge nonviolent marijuana-related crimes within one year. States and cities must create an automatic expungement program for prior cannabis offenses to be eligible for any grant funding in the bill.  

Sample script for both Senators and Rep. O’Halleran:  My name is XXXX.   I’m a mainstream Democrat living and voting in XXXXX. I’ve long been concerned about the racial disparities in our drug policies.   I’m urging you to publicly support and co-sponsor the “Equal Act” which corrects sentencing disparities in crack and powered cocaine, and the “Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act”, which would legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana and expunge criminal convictions for possession of small amounts of marijuana.  Passage of these bills, which have wide Democratic support, including from President Biden, would go part of the way to correcting our federal drug policies which have so unfairly punished members of minority groups.  

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

Rep. O’Halleran: Call (202) 225-3361 or send an email via his website at http://www.ohalleran.house.gov

Environment/climate action:

Urge Senators Sinema and Kelly to get some version of an infrastructure bill to the Senate floor for debate and to incorporate more climate-related action in the legislation.

    Sample text or message for the SenatorsMy name is XXXX.  I’m a voter and constituent in XXXXX, Arizona.  I am deeply concerned about climate change impacts and I see the current opportunity to use infrastructure investments to “build back better” – so the fact that a threat of filibuster blocked even the start of a debate on the bipartisan infrastructure bill is incredibly frustrating. I urge you to show leadership on behalf of current and future Arizonans in moving a strong infrastructure package forward:

  • First, please do whatever it takes to get an infrastructure bill to the Senate floor for debate and a vote, either through reconciliation or through the modification or elimination of the filibuster! The Senate has to begin to do some actual work for the American people.
  • Second – I believe current infrastructure bills (including the bipartisan bill) are missing important opportunities to address climate change. We can’t afford more delay – this summer’s fires and floods, in Arizona and around the world, are proof of that. I ask you to work with your colleagues in adding more aggressive investment in climate-friendly, green infrastructure. [Note – say something specific about your interest in electric charging stations and electric buses, or about resilient agriculture, or about transition to clean energy by 2035, or about investing in cleaning up legacy pollution sites – these are all specific proposals that have some congressional support but were left out of the bipartisan infrastructure plan.]

Please do all you can to get the Senate to work in finalizing a strong infrastructure proposal that addresses the local, national, and global threats of climate change while we create great jobs for people.

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

SPECIAL NOTE

The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission will have a session here in Coconino County to discuss the redistricting process this coming week.  If you have the time please try to attend and show your support for a truly “Independent” redistricting effort.  This is done every 10 years and uses the new census data to redraw our Legislative Districts in Arizona.  It is critical that we keep it “Independent”. 

The session is this Thursday, July 29 at 5:00 PM at the High County Convention Center.

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