Federal Action Alert – Oct 2, 2021

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

THIS WEEK’S ALERTS:   Aggressive Message for Sen Sinema objecting to her working against President Biden’s agenda; Pull out the stops on the social and climate provisions in the Reconciliation Bill; Push the compromise Freedom to Vote Act finally supported by Sen. Manchin, and the Native American Voting Rights Act; use the Equality Act as another reason to pressure Senator Sinema to support the elimination of the filibuster

AGGRESSIVE MESSAGE FOR SENATOR SINEMA.  STOP WORKING AGAINST PRESIDENT BIDEN AND THE BUILD BACK BETTER AGENDA!  

Has money bought Senator Sinema?  Sen. Sinema has threatened to vote against any reconciliation social infrastructure bill if it 1) is paid for rescinding the Trump tax cuts and by making the obscenely wealthy and major corporations pay their fair share in taxes AND 2) if it allows for Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices (supported by 80% of Americans and even Donald Trump!)  With the other hand, Sinema is taking money, lots of it, from lobbyists seeking to destroy Biden’s agenda.  Last Tuesday Sinema scheduled a fund raiser with five business lobbying groups, many of which fiercely oppose raising taxes to pay for Biden’s agenda. Now it’s come out that she has accepted tons of money from big pharma and other corporate lobbies.  Last week she was warned by the Arizona Democratic Party she will face censure if she continues to work against President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda.  What is going on with Sinema?  

Here’s a sample aggressive message for Sinema – the one following is less aggressive and could be used for both Senators and Rep. O’Halleran to pass social infrastructure:  

Aggressive sample text or message for Senator Sinema:  “My name is XXXX, and I’m a Democrat living and voting in XXXXX.    I was stunned to hear that you are actively working against President Biden and his Build Back Better agenda.   You’ve threatened to tank the social infrastructure plan if it was paid for by rescinding the obscene Trump tax cuts that benefited super rich tax cheats.  You also threatened to tank the plan if it allows Medicare the power to negotiate lower drug prices with big pharma.  At the same time you are accepting major contributions from big pharma and corporate lobbyists.  Do you realize how much this stinks of hypocrisy?  This harms (us) elderly Arizonans struggling to pay for things like insulin.  Is that what you want?  Even Donald Trump supported giving Medicare the authority to negotiate on drug prices.  If you continue down this path, I’ll have to support another candidate against you in the next primary.”    

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 . Senator Sinema sits on the Commerce Science and Transportation Committee (drug prices, Medicare), and on Banking Housing and Urban Affairs (housing proposals).

Less Aggressive text or message for Sinema, Kelly and O’Halleran on Reconciliation Bill:   As a Democrat I’m imploring you to support and fully fund ambitious social/climate programs in the social infrastructure proposal at the same time the bipartisan infrastructure bill is passed.  7 of 10 Americans support the social infrastructure plan and you should too.  I am especially urging you to support the most expansive proposals on [see below – choose one of these:  climate, care economy, housing, Medicare and drug prices].  The bipartisan infrastructure bill, focused on physical infrastructure investments, is fine as a start but by itself will not build the recovery we need! We can pay for a true and fair recovery for all Americans entirely paid for with a repeal of the Trump tax cuts that unfairly enriched the super-rich and corporations.”

Climate: creation of clean energy jobs and employment, including a Civilian Climate Corps; an ambitious Clean Energy Standard and use of both incentives and penalties to speed up the move away from fossil fuels to true renewables; and ensuring that 40 % of these climate investments go to historically disadvantaged communities.

Care economy: affordable childcare benefits for all, paid family and medical leave, improved quality of and access to home and community-based care for seniors and those with disabilities.

Housing: expanded housing choice vouchers, expanded investment in construction and upgrades of public housing facilities.

Healthcare: a lowered age for eligibility for Medicare, expansion of Medicare to cover vision, dental, and hearing, ability for Medicare to negotiate prices for prescription drugs [this provision would go far in saving the federal government dollars to be used in paying for the expansion of coverage]

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 . Senator Sinema sits on the Commerce Science and Transportation Committee (drug prices, Medicare), and on Banking Housing and Urban Affairs (housing proposals).

Sen. Mark Kelly: 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.

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

SUPPORT THE COMPROMISE “FREEDOM TO VOTE ACT” & AND THE NATIVE AMERICAN VOTING RIGHTS ACT, AND MODIFY FILIBUSTER TO ENSURE PASSAGE

After months of negotiations Senate Democrats have come up with a scaled back “For the People Act” to protect voting rights bringing along Senator Manchin.  It is sponsored by Senators Klobuchar, Manchin, Kaine, Warnock and others.  The bill contains a raft of measures designed to support access to the ballot, including automatic voter registration and online registration; designating Election Day as a federal holiday; same-day registration; at least 15 days of early voting; uniform standards for voting by mail and for drop boxes; rules for voter-roll purges; requirements for counting provisional ballots in whatever precinct they are cast; voter-ID standards; the enfranchisement of former nonviolent felons after they have served their time; and new rules to ensure access for voters with disabilities.  While it doesn’t require independent commissions on redistricting, it attempts to set up criteria that are enforceable in court.

      After a meeting with Sen. Manchin, Senate Minority Leader McConnell stated the scaled back bill will not have a single Republican supporter.  This is a must pass for Democrats and has the potential to change Senators Manchin and Sinema’s reluctance to modify the filibuster – at least as to voting protections.  

     This week also saw the introduction of the Native American Voting Rights Act, aimed specifically at ensuring fair access to the ballot for citizens of tribal nations (you can read more about this bill at Native American Voting Rights Act (NAVRA) – Native American Voting Rights (narf.org) ). S 2702 in the Senate, HR 5008 in the House call for provisions that would address key challenges for Native American voters (e.g., allowing tribes to designate buildings to serve as physical addresses for those reservation residents lacking a home address, requiring acceptance of tribal ID if voter identification is required, mandating access to registration and voting locations in reasonable distance of tribal residents). Many civil rights and justice organizations have endorsed this bill as a complement to other voting rights legislation.   

SAMPLE VOICE MAIL FOR SENATORS:  

I’m a lifelong Democrat living and voting in XXXXX, Arizona.  I’m am very happy that Senators Manchin and Klobuchar have co-sponsored voter protection legislation in the “Freedom to Vote Act.”    Now that we finally have 50 senators on board it MUST be passed to help preserve American democracy.  With Minority Leader McConnell promising not a single Republican senator’s vote it will be time to look at modifying the filibuster in terms of voter protection legislation.  While I appreciate the bi-partisan spirit, if you can’t find 10 Republicans to come along, its time to consider other options. This bill is just too important to our democracy to let slip away under archaic procedural rules. I also believe our Native American neighbors in Arizona deserve improved access to the ballot! The provisions of the recently proposed Native American Voting Rights Act make a lot of sense to me. Please do all you can to make sure the Freedom to Vote Act includes these provisions, or that the Native American Voting Rights Act passes separately.”  

SENATE NEEDS TO MOVE FORWARD PROTECTION FOR LGBT AMERICANS, AND SINEMA NEEDS TO ASSIST BY ABANDONING HER SUPPORT FOR THE FILIBUSTER

Early in 2021 the Equality Act was introduced in both House and Senate; Senators Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema both signed on as co-sponsors. The bill (S 393) has been sitting in the Senate Judiciary Committee without a hearing, in large part because of Republican threats to filibuster. The Equality Act would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity in the provision of public accommodations and services. Senator Sinema’s refusal to consider elimination or modification of the filibuster is (again!) a key obstacle in moving this important civil rights bill forward. 

SAMPLE SCRIPT FOR SENATOR SINEMA:

     “My name is XXXX and I’m a voter and constituent in YYY, Arizona. I have been disgusted and frightened by the many state laws passed in the last couple of years targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans people for discrimination – from bathroom bills to health care. [Add anything personal here – family? Neighbors? Community safety?] Federal protection for LGBTQ people is desperately needed! I know this issue matters to you, and I know you are a co-sponsor of the Equality Act, S 393. I appreciate that support, but your support is meaningless if Senate Leader McConnell uses the threat of filibuster to prevent a Senate vote on this bill. This is yet another reason I am urging you to help eliminate or modify the filibuster, so that the Senate can actually function. Your leadership would be so influential – please help restore the Senate’s functionality by eliminating the filibuster and then helping to move forward the Equality 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 .

Posted in Latest News.