Federal Action Alert – Sept. 10, 2021

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

Important Note: While the struggle for voting rights at the federal level is critical, there is something you can do right now here in Arizona:  Sign the petitions to reverse the voter suppression legislation passed by the Arizona legislature this Spring.  Getting a sufficient number of signatures will stop the Arizona legislation in its tracks. But time is short. You can become a petition circulator also. The Coconino Democrats have scores of events scheduled over the next two weeks where you can find an opportunity to sign. Find out about the events at CoconinoDemocrats.org.  The petitions are also available for Yavapai and Coconino counties at the DORR Office, 105 Roadrunner Dr. Sedona Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday 11-3.  Call and check that they are open before coming to the office (928) 212 -1357

THIS WEEK’S ALERTS:   The House is in session writing recovery legislation.  Urge Rep. O’Halleran to fully fund climate change and health care legislation in the House Energy & Commerce Committee.  Push our Senators and O’Halleran to back full funding of the American Families Plan proposals in recovery legislation.  Urge passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act in light of the US Supreme Court’s failure to prevent a Texas ban on abortion.  Demand Pres. Biden raise the refugee cap in light of the dire needs of our Afghan allies.   

FOR REP. O’HALLERAN ON INFRASTRUCTURE: Representative Tom O’Halleran is crucial for passing an inclusive recovery!  

Representative O’Halleran sits on the Energy and Commerce Committee (including the Climate Change Subcommittee) and will make key decisions in the next week on both climate and health aspects included in the overall recovery package. Markup on this package in E&C takes place Monday, Sept. 13 – so now is the time! Choose one of these two issues on which to contact O’Halleran’s office.

Climate: Any recovery package must include strong progress on climate. We know that the climate crisis can’t wait and Congress must act now to leave a planet that is healthy and habitable for future generations. That means establishing a federal Clean Energy Standard (CES), investing in green infrastructure jobs, including through the creation of a Civilian Climate Corps, and ensuring a substantial portion of the benefits of climate and clean infrastructure investments are directed to disadvantaged communities. An enormous step would be ensuring that the Clean Electricity Payment Program focuses on true renewables and does not include natural gas (a fossil fuel). Let’s make sure Rep. O’Halleran is on board.  

Script for Rep. O’Halleran.  “I’m a lifelong Democrat voting for you repeatedly out of XXXXX, Arizona.  I know you are working hard on the Energy and Commerce Committee to pass strong climate change legislation in the budget reconciliation bill.  I’m asking you to support fully funding the establishment of a federal Clean Energy Standard (CES), investing in green infrastructure jobs, including through the creation of a Civilian Climate Corps, and ensuring that a substantial portion of the benefits of climate and clean infrastructure investments are directed to disadvantaged communities.  I hope the committee focuses on true renewable energy, and does not include natural gas as a “clean” electricity source. Please push hard on this. [Add something personal about why this means so much to you – favorite parts of Arizona threatened by climate change, wanting your grandchildren to be able to enjoy the same resources and landscapes we love, etc.] Our planet is on fire and our children’s futures are literally at stake.” 

Health: The Energy & Commerce Committee is also dealing with two crucial aspects of health care in this recovery/budget reconciliation bill: Medicare expansion and lowering drug prices. Key improvements to Medicare include lowering eligibility to age 60, capping out-of-pocket expenses, and adding coverage for dental, hearing, and vision care. Lowering prescription drug prices involves allowing Medicare to negotiate prices with major pharmaceutical companies, allowing all purchasers access to drugs at those same prices, and capping prices at a level indexed to those of other developed nations. Importantly, lowering prescription drug prices for Medicare would generate tremendous savings that can be used to fund other components of recovery (such as the expansion of Medicare).

Script for O’Halleran: “My name is XXXX, and I’m a Democrat living and voting in YYYY. As Americans and communities struggle to recover from the COVID19 crisis, no issue looms larger than health care. I urge you to support Medicare expansion and measures to reduce the cost burden of prescription drugs as the Energy & Commerce Committee shapes the budget reconciliation bill. Lowering age eligibility for Medicare, and adding coverage for vision, dental, and hearing care, would provide a safety net for many – including many of those essential workers we’ve all depended on for this past 18 months. Meanwhile, negotiating lower drug prices for Medicare would free up federal dollars that can fund Medicare expansion (while benefiting everybody else too) – a real win-win! A just and inclusive recovery needs to address the crisis we have in this country of health care (or its lack, or its price) costing people their financial security or even their lives.”

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

Twitter:  @RepOHalleran

FOR BOTH SENATORS AND OUR REP – INCLUDE THE AMERICAN FAMILIES PLAN IN THE BUDGET RECONCILIATION PROPOSAL:  Dems must deliver the major elements of the American Families Plan. 7/10 Americans support it, our Senators and representatives should also. No cutting back on new legislation to provide paid family and medical leave, establish a universal Pre-K program, expand Medicare coverage for seniors to include dental, vision, and hearing coverage, lower health care costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices, provide tax breaks for clean energy, and expand the Child Tax Credit for most families with children. Pay for it with tax adjustments that make our tax system fair. These proposals derive from President Biden’s American Families Plan (see fact sheet from April, here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/04/28/fact-sheet-the-american-families-plan/ ). Both the Senate and the House are working this week to determine exactly which programs should be part of the $3.5 trillion proposal.

Sample text or message for both Senators and Rep. O’Halleran:  “My name is XXXX, and I’m a Democrat living and voting in XXXXX.    As a Democrat I’m imploring you to support and fully fund the American Families Plan. 7 of 10 Americans support it and you should too.  The plan is sorely needed to provide paid family and medical leave, universal Pre-K programs, free community college, expanded Medicare coverage for seniors, lower drug prices and tax breaks for clean energy.  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 Americans with lower drug prices, tax adjustments, and a repeal of the awful Trump tax cuts that unfairly enriched the super-rich and corporations.”  [Personalize this by emphasizing the components that have the most meaning for you.]

   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 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.

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

PASS THE WOMEN’S HEALTH PROTECTION ACT!!!

In light of the new Texas law banning abortions after 6 weeks (before many women realize they are pregnant) and authorizing citizens to act as bounty hunters (for cash rewards!) reporting anyone who aids the woman in obtaining an abortion (from cab drivers to counselors to physicians) – and the Supreme Court’s decision to allow this to stand, we encourage you to push for a vote and passage of the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2021. And thank Representative O’Halleran, and Senators Kelly and Sinema, for having signed on as co-sponsors.

Script: “My name is XXXX, and I’m a voter and constituent in YYYY. I am horrified that the Supreme Court has allowed the new Texas law on abortion restrictions to go into effect. Legal abortion under medical care has been saving women’s lives for decades and has been ruled constitutional – the new law is a terrible setback that will cost lives. I firmly believe that a woman has the right to control her own body and reproductive decisions – the Texas law removes that right, even in cases of rape or incest. And authorizing everyday citizens to act as bounty hunters, “turning in” other citizens for everyday behaviors, is a terrible precedent. Thank you for your co-sponsorship of the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2021 (HR 3755, S 1975) – your support for women’s privacy and reproductive health is much appreciated. Please do whatever you can to bring this crucial bill to the floor for a vote.”     

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

Twitter:  @RepOHalleran

Sen. Sinema:  Call (202) 224-4521 (DC) or (602) 598-7327.  Email via her website at “http://www.sinema.senate.gov”  

Twitter:  @senatorsinema

Sen. Kelly:   Call (202) 224-2235 or email via website at http://www.kelly.senate.gov and tag him at 

Twitter: @SenMarkKelly  

TO PRESIDENT BIDEN ON RAISING REFUGEE CAPS IN LIGHT OF AFGHANISTAN:  

In a letter (pdf) to President Joe Biden, 66 Democratic lawmakers (but not Rep. O’Halleran) wrote that “as the people of Afghanistan face an unfolding tragedy, the United States must open its doors to refugees fleeing the devastating consequences of a 20-year U.S. military occupation and 40 years of U.S.-fueled war.  To ensure their safety, we urge you to increase the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program cap to no less than 200,000 when you issue your Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions for Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 before October 1st.”  Earlier this year, Biden set the Fiscal Year 2021 refugee cap at 62,500 after he faced backlash over his earlier plans to keep in place the historically low 15,000-person limit imposed by the Trump administration.  Biden had shown little urgency to expedite visas for Afghans in the months before the collapse of the Afghan government. 

Sample voice mail or email for Pres. Biden: “Dear President Biden.  I’m a lifelong Democrat living in XXXX.  Given the immense human suffering in Afghanistan I’m imploring you to raise the FY 2022 refugee cap to 200,000 individuals to accommodate many thousands of Afghan refugees displaced by war.  You talked about not abandoning our allies in Afghanistan.  Raising the cap to 200,000 will show the world you mean what you say.  It’s simply the right thing to do.  

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

Twitter: @POTUS

Posted in Action Alerts, Latest News.