Shock and Awe.


Make no mistake, we’re in the shock and awe phase of the new administration. Our job right now is to show that we are paying attention and we won’t let shenanigans go unchecked. Think of your collective power: if just 200 people call an office and speak with someone for 5 minutes, that’s 16.7 hours worth of telephone calls made. Imagine telephones ringing off the hook with passionate citizens advocating for our democracy, and let that vision guide you through some coffee time advocacy this week.

First: Two Pro Tips

Pro Tip #1: Want to know what committees your Senator is on? Check here. (Psst: Missouri readers, I’ve noted when Blunt or McCaskill’s committees are involved in the list below so just bookmark for later if you want.)

Pro Tip #2: Want to know what happened in the Senate or the House today? You don’t have to wait for Politico. You can check the daily digest here. (I sent you to January 5th’s digest so you could see its helpfulness.) Here you will find synopsis of bills or resolutions that have been introduced and the committee to which they have been referred. You can go to the Senate or the House by clicking the tabs. From the Senate or the House tabs, clicking on individual bill numbers will take you to the bill’s text, summary, and any actions taken. This is a great resource to get familiar with.

Now let’s get to business.



In a letter to Senators Warren and Schumer, the Office of Government Ethics expressed concern that the Trump administration was trying to push nominees through the hearings before they had been fully vetted for conflicts of interest. The ethics review for at least some of the appointees is not finished. The ethics review should be finalized before the committees can actually vote; it makes no sense to have a committee have a hearing before they can ask questions that arise from a nominee’s paperwork.

Additionally, it’s clear that by scheduling so many hearings in a short period of time, while also scheduling a number of key votes and Trump’s press conference, the GOP is trying to reduce our capacity for action and our media’s resources.

Call Senators Blunt and Claire McCaskill (If you are MO; if not, call your own senators):

  • I am disgusted that the Senate has such lack of respect for process and government ethics that it would go forward with committee hearings and votes before the ethics review has been finalized on the nominees.
  • We have seen the House GOP attempt to eliminate any oversight on ethics; now the Senate GOP is joining them in trying to sidestep ethics provisions.
  • Regardless of the GOP’s intent, the narrative that is becoming clear to me and other Americans is that the GOP does not care about ethics or its constituents’ access to information.
  • I ask that Senator Blunt/McCaskill call upon the Committees to delay these hearings until the nominee has completed his/her ethics review.
  • I ask that Senator Blunt/McCaskill ask the Committee chairmen/women to reschedule these hearings so that the Senators and Americans like me have access to full and complete information.

Ethics resolutions were introduced both in the House and the Senate. There are many cosponsors. Notably, none of our Senators or Reps in Missouri cosponsored. Why not? Ethics doesn’t seem partisan to me… The Senate Resolution (Number 4) calls upon Donald Trump to follow the lead of previous presidents and enter into a blind trust, not to use his powers as President to benefit the Trump Organization, and, basically, to follow the Constitution. It has been referred to the Homeland Security Committee. Claire McCaskill is the ranking Democrat on that committee(!!). Reach her at (314) 367-1364 (St. L) or (202) 224-6154 and tell her that you support this resolution.


Well shucks, this movement is getting more and more crowdsourced and it’s AWESOME. Here’s an incredibly helpful document created and managed by the Washington Chapter of Pantsuit Nation (hat tip, ladies!) that provides talking points for each nominee and why they are controversial. It’s comprehensive, seriously. Check it out. Below is a list by hearing date/time and a few additional points when I thought they would be useful:


  • Judiciary Committee:
    • Chuck Grassley Chair: 202-224-5225
    • Jeff Sessions (Attorney General) hearing at 9:30 Tuesday EST.
    • Sessions’ response to the committee questionnaire is available here.
    • Check here for members.
  • Homeland security committee:
    • Ron Johnson Chair.
    • Claire McCaskill is the ranking Dem.
    • General John Kelly (Dep’t of Homeland Security) hearing is at  Tuesday at 3:30 EST.
    • He has not completed his ethics review.
  • Armed Services Committee:
    • John McCain Chair
    • Claire McCaskill is a member
    • The Committee has set the hearing for General Mattis for Thursday at 9:30 EST.  But on Tuesday they will have a hearing about civilian control of the armed services; after Mattis’s Thursday hearing they will consider legislation that would waive the requirement that a nominee have been retired from active service for 7 years. Because of the Tuesday pre-hearing hearing, I have it scheduled for your Tuesday attention.
    • Tuesday’s panelists are Eliot Cohen and Dr. Kathleen Hicks.
    • Cohen wrote a book about US military strategy called The Big Stick. He’s been quite critical of the Trump transition and administration.
    • Hicks has worked in both D and R administrations and was most recently appointed by Obama to be Principal Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Department of Defense.


  • Health, Labor, Education & Pensions
    • Alexander Lamar Chairman: (202)224 5375
    • The Committee has set the hearing for Betsy DeVos for Wednesday at 10:00.
    • DeVos has not completed her questionnaire.
  • Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
    • Senator Corker Chair: (202) 224-4651
    • Rex Tillerson (Department of State) at 9:15 AM Wednesday.
    • I cannot count the number of reasons why his appointment would be terrible. I wrote about him previously here.
  • Commerce, Science and Transportation
    • The Committee has set the hearing for Elaine Chao as Secretary of Transportation for Wednesday at 10:15.
    • John Thune, Chairman
    • Roy Blunt is a member.


  • Banking, Housing and Urban Development
    • Mike Crapo (ID) Chair: (202) 224-7391
    • The Committee has set the hearing for Ben Carson for HUD for Thursday at 10:00.
  • Commerce, Science and Transportation:  202-224-1251
    • John Thune (SD), Chair: 202-224-1251
    • Roy Blunt is a member
    • Wilbur Ross for Commerce set for Thursday at 10:00.

As you probably know by now, the declassified version of the Intelligence Community Assessment regarding Russian interference in our election has been released. You can read it here. Now it’s time to do something about the information we’ve learned.

Senate Bill 27 (which you can read here) would establish a bipartisan commission on Russian hacking. It has been referred to the Senate Rules Committee. Guess who’s the chairman of that committee? Roy Blunt. Call his office(s) to let him know you’re looking forward to the committee’s hearing on Russian hacking – and ask when he’s going to set it so you can program your DVR. (202) 224-5721 (D.C.) and (314) 727-3548 (St. Louis).


This week, both the Missouri House and Senate will have hearings on Right to Work bills. On Tuesday, the House will have a hearing at 2:00 pm in House Basement Hearing Room 3 to discuss HBs 42, 91, 131, 256 and 314 (all “Right to Work” bills).
There will also be a hearing in the Senate on Wednesday at noon for another Right to Work bill. Time to call your Missouri State Representative and Senator (find them here) to let them know that Right to Work is Wrong for Missouri.

If you need a refresher on Right to Work, you can see what I wrote previously about it here.

That was a lot. I know. But we can do this.

Here’s some awesome-sauce motivation straight from Cory Booker’s mouth:

“And so frankly, what I’m going to be doing — every single day now . . . — is trying to wake up the conscience of other folks, trying to call to people to protest, to fight, to stand up. Because this cannot be allowed to happen. Too many people will suffer. The consequences will be felt by all.”

Let’s get to work

Not getting our newsletter yet? Join us here!

Have a thought? A small deed to suggest? Share it here!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s