FEDERAL ACTION ALERT – Nov. 13, 2021

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

THIS WEEK’S ALERTS:   Filibuster Reform after Fourth Filibuster on Voting Rights; Tell O’Halleran to vote yes on Build Back Better without trying to change it at this late date; To O’Halleran and our Senators – Urge more concrete action on Climate Change NOW; To President Biden – Walk the Talk on Human Rights

A.   NOW THAT REPUBLICANS HAVE TORPEDOED FOUR VOTING RIGHTS BILLS ITS TIME MODIFY THE FILIBUSTER.   BOTH SENATORS

Yet again, via filibuster, Senate Republicans blocked discussion of the John Lewis Voter Protection Act.  Only Republican Lisa Murkowski joined the fifty Democrats in voting for the Act. They need 60 senators to even discuss the Act.  This is the FOURTH time this session that Republicans have refused to even discuss voter protection.  It’s long since past time to modify the filibuster, at least with respect to voting rights – the bedrock of our democracy.  Majority leader Chuck Schumer is meeting with Democrats now to discuss modifying the filibuster.  Let’s push Sinema and Kelly.

SAMPLE VOICE MAIL FOR SENATORS: 

I’m a lifelong Democrat living and voting in XXXXX, Arizona.  I’m appalled that Senate Republicans have refused four times to even discuss voter protection bills including the John Lewis Voter Protection Act and the Freedom to Vote Act.   Filibustering used to be a rare event.  The Senate is broken down.  It’s time to reform the filibuster and take it back to a “talking filibuster.” And it is  crucial that we act aggressively to protect everyone’s right to vote! Please don’t stand in the way of restoring the Senate to a functioning body.”  

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 .

B.   Rep. Tom O’Halleran on Reconciliation Bill (Social Infrastructure):    Now that the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill has been passed, it’s time to bring the larger Build Back Better reconciliation bill to the fore. We must pressure conservative House Democrats, including our Tom O’Halleran, to stop throwing up any new roadblocks.  A vote is planned as soon as there’s confirmation of the budget impacts from the Congressional Budget Office.  The time to pass the ambitious social infrastructure bill is NOW.  

Sample script:  “I’m a life-long Democrat living and voting in XXXXX, Arizona.  We can’t settle for just the Bipartisan Infrastructure bill – we need to invest in families and social infrastructure, too! The time to pass the Reconciliation Bill is NOW, not later.  Adding more and more demands, whether from left or right, weakens the chances of passing the bill and increases the risk of losing the 2022 elections.  Now that progressive Democrats are on board it’s time that conservative Democrats, like you, are on board too.  Please simply work to pass what House Speaker Pelosi is pushing and to sell it to your colleagues. The time to act and to give your public support is now.”

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

Twitter:  @RepOHalleran

C.  To President Biden: Walk the Talk on Human Rights When Approving Arms Deals to Our Allies. 

            Candidate Biden promised to put “human rights at the center of our foreign policy.”  If he can’t do this with our allies, how can he do it with our foes?  The White House just approved weapons systems and maintenance contracts for over a billion dollars to Saudi Arabia[1].  This, in spite of Saudi Arabia’s well-known abysmal record on human rights.  Earlier this year President Biden only withheld 10% of Egypt’s $1.3 billion in the US aid package based on its extremely poor human rights record.[2]  This is not enough.  Finally, President Biden has put no restrictions on the annual $3.8 billion in military aid to Israel.  This, in spite of Israel’s continuing efforts to gut the two-state solution by creating more illegal settlements on the West Bank, shutting down Palestinian civil society, and sliding toward an undemocratic single state.[3]  We need to insist that our aid to allies is contingent on better human rights records and not be selling out to our domestic arms industry. 

Sample script to President Biden: 

            “As a candidate you promised to put human rights as the center of our foreign policy.  I voted for you, in part, because of this pledge.  Because of that, I’m extremely disappointed that you have approved arms contracts to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel without sufficiently tying that aid to acceptable human rights practices.  Saudi Arabia and Egypt continue to engage in massive human rights violations.  Israel is actively destroying the two-state solution by illegal settlements, shutting down Palestinian civil society, and sliding into an undemocratic single state.   If we can’t leverage our funding to these allies, how can we insist on improved human rights records for our foes?”

PRESIDENT BIDEN: email to https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/ or leave a message on the comment line at (202) 456-1111.

Twitter: @POTUS

D. URGE MORE CONCRETE ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE NOW: The recent report from the IPCC confirmed that the window is closing for us to take action to limit the devastating impacts of climate change. While world leaders and climate envoys have been meeting at COP26 in Glasgow over the past week to hammer out goals and agreements, lobbyists from the fossil fuel industry are also there making empty promises while confounding any strong commitments to end greenhouse gas emissions. Several journalistic investigations have documented that major fossil fuel companies have known for decades that burning coal, oil, and gas are triggering dangerous changes in the climate system, but they have been hiding and denying the scientific evidence for years. Our congressional representatives have been generally supportive of climate-friendly legislation, but it’s time to push them to make the US a tougher place for oil and gas companies to continue delaying the needed steps. One important proposal would require the Federal Reserve Bank to ban financing of any fossil fuel projects or activities. By encouraging our representatives to co-sponsor this legislation, we demonstrate our commitment to meaningful action on climate change sooner rather than later.

Sample text or message to our Senators and to Rep. O’Halleran: “My name is XXXX, and I’m a long-time resident and voter in northern Arizona. Climate change poses an existential threat to society and to the beautiful Arizona landscapes we treasure. I appreciate the Bipartisan Infrastructure funding and the additional investments in climate action proposed in the Build Back Better act – which I urge you to help get passed soon! But even these investments are not nearly at the scale we need, given the urgency of the global climate crisis. I know that Senators Markey and Merkley are introducing the Fossil Free Finance Act in the Senate, and I urge Senator Kelly/Sinema to sign on as a co-sponsor. [Alternative for O’Halleran: I know that HR 5253, the Fossil Free Finance Act, has been introduced in the House, and I urge Representative O’Halleran to sign on as a co-sponsor.] This legislation would use the power of the Federal Reserve to cut off big bank funding for fossil fuel projects. The sooner we move away from fossil fuels, the better for our climate – and the better for Arizona, which has so many competitive advantages in renewable energy and electric vehicle manufacturing! Please make your support for action on climate change tangible by co-sponsoring the Fossil Free Finance Act.”

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 .

Rep. O’Halleran: Call (202) 225-3361. Email via his website at Contact | Congressman Tom O´Halleran (house.gov) .


[1] $650 billion in air-to-air missiles and $500 in helicopter maintenance contracts. Aljazeera, “Biden Approves $650M Weapons Sale.”

[2] “U.S. and Egypt Put Improving Egypt’s Human Rights on the Agenda.”  NYT Sept. 16, 2021.

[3] See NYT Oct. 27 “Israel Advances Plans for New Settlement Homes”, Oct. 22 “Israel Moves to Ban Six Palestinian Rights Groups..” Oct. 23 Washington Post, and Human Rights Watch, “A Threshold Crossed: Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution.  https://www.hrw.org/report/2021/04/27/threshold-crossed/israeli-authorities-and-crimes-apartheid-and-persecution

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