Federal Action Alert – March 6, 2022

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

THIS WEEK’S ALERTS:   Fund Ukrainian Resistance Efforts; Support Temporary Protected Status for Afghan and Ukrainian Refugees; Support the Affordable Insulin Now Act; Support Climate Change!

A.  SUPPORT $10 BILLION IN DEFENSE AID TO UKRAINE

The Russian invasion of Ukraine, along with Russian commission of war crimes, is in blatant disregard for the international law is likely to result in thousands of deaths. Congress is considering a continuing funding resolution which must be passed by March 11.  The plan will likely include emergency $10 billion in assistance to Ukraine, including humanitarian and lethal aid. It would also fund assistance to protect Ukraine’s electrical grid and provide cyber security.  It would fund further equipment for our European allies and provide $59 million for a task force, announced during the president’s State of the Union address on Tuesday, that aims to enforce sanctions against Russian oligarchs who have avoided them. Make sure our Congressional delegation is on board!  

Sample voice mail to Senators Sinema and Kelly, and Rep. O’Halleran:  Dear XXXX,  I live and vote in XXXX, AZ.  Please support an emergency appropriation to Ukraine in the amount of $10 billion that is currently being considered.  We need to stand up to tyrants and the breach of international law.  

Sen. Mark Kelley: Call (202) 224-2235 (DC),  Email via his website at http://www.kelly.senate.gov Tag the Senator at @senmarkkelly. Senator Kelly sits on the Environment and Public Works Committee and the Committee on Aging.

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 .

Rep. Tom O’Halleran: Call (202) 225-3361 (DC) or email via website at https://ohalleran.house.gov/contact  Tag the Congressman @RepOHalleran 

B.  SUPPORT TEMPORARY PROTECTED STATUS FOR AFGHANS WHO FACE MAJOR HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS IF FORCED TO LEAVE THE U.S.  URGE FASTER APPROVAL OF PAROLE PROCESS INTO THE UNITED STATES FOR POLTICAL REFUGEES.  

         Ukrainians in the United States, as a class, have just been granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) preventing their deportation to the Ukraine.  This is great – but what happened to Afghanistan?  Thousands of Afghans are stranded in the US without legal status.  The US has not granted Afghans TPS status.  Nor is the “parole” process working for Afghan allies who are hiding in Afghanistan or stuck in neighboring countries.  Of the 43,000 humanitarian parole applications the agency has received since July 2021, it has processed fewer than 2,000. About 1,500 had been denied and a mere 170 approved as of Feb. 11.  Is our memory so short?  Why the difference for Afghans who supported and died with US troops for decades?  Let’s make sure it’s not because Ukrainians are Europeans and not Muslims.  

Sample script to President Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Mayorkas:  My name is XXXX and I live in XXXXX, Arizona.  I am very concerned that we are failing Afghan refugees once again.  Although we have granted Ukrainians Temporary Protected Status the U.S. has not granted the same to Afghans stranded in the US.  Why the difference?  Also, I see that the parole program is overwhelmed and not functioning at a time with 43,000 desperate Afghan have applied.    We cannot abandon these allies again as they face statelessness and worse in their home countries.   As we did after the war in Vietnam, please streamline this process and bring these vulnerable US allies into the US quickly and grant those Afghans present in the U.S. Temporary Protected Status.  

Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, 2707 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., SE

Washington, DC 20528.   Comment Line: 202-282-8495

Sample email or voice mail for Pres. Biden:  “I live and vote in XXXXX Arizona.  I am imploring you to exercise your discretion and grant both Afghans and Ukrainians stranded in the US with Temporary Protected Status.  Both groups face huge threats to their personal wellbeing if forced to return to their respective countries.  Temporary Protected Status has been granted many times by prior presidents.  Let’s be sure your presidency does the same with these two deserving and persecuted groups of people.”    

Contact President Biden via email here:  https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

C.  Support the Affordable Insulin Now Act.  Focus on Sen. Sinema.  President Biden, in his State of the Union speech Tuesday, denounced drug companies for charging up to 30 times the $10-per-vial manufacturing cost of a vial of insulin.  Prescription insulin costs have doubled between 2012 and 2016. The American Diabetes Association estimated people with diabetes account for $1 of every $4 spent on health care in the U.S.   

    Sen. Raphael Warnock has sponsored a bill in the Senate to cap those costs. It is co-sponsored by our Sen. Kelly but not Sen. Sinema.  Rep. Lucy McBath is a cosponsor of the companion bill in the House.  The Affordable Insulin Now Act would create a cap on insulin out of pocket costs at $35 per month per individual and would apply to commercial insurance, group plans and Medicare. It would not apply to the uninsured, an omission that must be fixed.  The idea is not new and is broadly supported by Americans everywhere, except for Big Pharma.  Let’s make sure Sen. Sinema is on board given her general squishiness on limiting Big Pharma.  

Sample voice or email to our people:  

My name is XXX and I live and vote in XXXXX, Arizona.  I was moved by President Biden’s State of the Union speech where he called out the huge profits made on people struggling to buy insulin to treat their diabetes.  Putting a cap on high insulin costs is hugely popular in the US and has bi-partisan support.  Please support the Affordable Insulin Now Act, which would cap those out-of-pocket costs to $35 per insured person.  I’d urge you to amend the Act though to be sure our uninsured have the same benefits.  Thanks.  

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.

 D.  Support climate action – for its own sake and for international security.  Focus on our Senators.  This past week saw the release of the latest IPCC report, focusing on climate impacts and adaptation options for policymakers. The overall message – that we need to pursue every avenue for mitigating climate change as well as moving to adapt to the disruption already in progress – has been lost in news of the war in Europe. But ironically Russia’s power, political and economic, is deeply rooted in fossil fuels. Rather than returning to all-out extraction of oil and gas in the US (as the fossil fuel companies want us to do), we would simultaneously benefit our own energy independence, move on climate change, AND weaken Russia’s power long-term if we invest in domestic renewables. And even Joe Manchin has indicated his willingness to tackle some climate action.

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Sample voice or email to our people:  

My name is XXX and I live and vote in XXXXX, Arizona.  I’ve contacted you before about climate change and how it threatens our children’s future, our current well-being, and our national security. The latest report from the IPCC documents these threats in even more horrific terms. Meanwhile Russia continues to benefit from its dominance in supplying oil and gas to other nations. Please, I urge you – now is the time to start working with Senator Manchin and others to negotiate the strongest possible policy and investment to build true energy independence with renewables for the US – and to weaken Russia’s future economic power.  Thanks.  

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. Kelly: Call (202) 224-2235 (DC). Email via website at Home » Senator Mark Kelly (senate.gov)  Tag the Senator @SenMarkKelly 

Posted in Action Alerts, Latest News.