If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito. ~Dalai Lama
Trump is like that terrible boyfriend you had in high school. You remember him – the one who lacked the courage and maturity to break up with you, so he made your life hell until you were forced to do the deed. All the while, his trashy friends laughed, and your 15-year-old self wondered if she’d ever see a hint of the guy she fell for in the first place.
That seems to be where the GOP is right about now.
Their courtship was admittedly odd, and Trump never really tried to hide who he was. Still, the GOP’s infatuation with power allowed them to gloss over his predatory behavior, mob contacts and Russian connections; their starry-eyed fawning over Mike Pence (Trump-lite with good hair) helped “seal” the relationship, as it were.
But after the
covfefe confetti fell and the champagne lost its fizz, the GOP was left with the reality that it created a government and a party headed up by … Donald Trump. When they vowed to take him for good and for bad, they didn’t think it would ever be this bad. And it’s clear that all efforts to contain his Trumpian instincts have proven futile.
We are 200 days into this administration, and Trump seems to be doing everything he can to get himself fired. Collusion with a foreign power? Check. Enriching himself through the presidency – in a manner literally running afoul of the actual Constitution? Check. Random early morning tweets setting policy that impacts our military that he hasn’t run by anyone? Check. Calling the White House a dump? Check. I could go on. And on.
But here’s the point: whether he says it out loud or not, Trump’s actions suggest that he wants out. So for all of our sakes, let him go. (Cue the Frozen soundtrack.)
As Trump himself crowed a little over a year ago – “what do you have to lose?” Over half of the country is quite literally embarrassed that he is our Commander-in-Chief. Republicans are leaving the party in droves. The Republican agenda is in shambles, consolidated power now merely means they have nobody else to blame (but they’ll try!) and Trump is literally daring them to put him out of his misery.
But still, we’re hearing “wait for the pivot!”
Denial is a powerful thing.
So here’s a piece of unsolicited advice for any conservatives who are still out there: if you’re wondering when – or if – you’ll ever again see the candidate that promised you the moon and the stars (and so much winning!), women across America can tell you plainly and honestly, based upon lessons engrained in us back in high school: you won’t. He was never there in the first place.
You just wished he was.
So, even though he doesn’t have the maturity or the courage to do the deed himself, Trump has already broken up with you. If you want to keep whatever self-respect you still have, you have got to end this relationship.
Lucky for you, there are millions of Americans that will reward you for doing just that.
So while you cry into your pillow, wondering what you ever did to make him leave you, know that it’s for the best. And besides, when you leave him, you’ll be sending a message that his behavior is unacceptable. He – and every politician thinking that Trump is the bee’s knees – needs to be taught: America won’t stand for this.
And, just like any good friend would, we’ll make his life hell for what he did to you.
Actions: This week we’re getting geeky!
Tuesday: Get Geeky With Me on Budget
When you read the word “budget,” it’s pretty likely that your eyes glaze over.
But stay with me – this’ll be fun!
I won’t go into details about budget process (you can do that here if you’d like to get more versed on the ins and outs) but here’s the big picture: the budget has to be approved before September 30. If it’s not, the government will shut down on October 1 unless they give themselves an extension by passing a “continuing resolution.” There are only 12 legislative days between now and September 30, because our Reps have their priorities, and their priority is vacation! *end snark*
In all seriousness, passing the budget is a big deal, and people try to make it more confusing than it really is. So let’s break it down:
In the House of Representatives, the House Budget Committee drafts a Budget Resolution. The Budget Resolution sets out the broad strokes – the “top line” budget. They then delegate the specifics to a bunch of subcommittees that use those top line numbers to draft the legislation that implements the budget.
For the past few years, the House Budget Committee’s Budget Resolution has basically just been a policy document – there was no chance it would become law. But now that the GOP has the House, Senate and White House, the draconian monstrosity of a budget that the Budget Committee passed in mid-July might actually pass.
That is, unless you and I have anything to say about it.
Here are the top line numbers that came from the Budget Resolution that passed out of the House Budget Committee in mid-July:
- $1.5 trillion in cuts for “Medicaid & other programs”
- $487 billion in cuts to Medicare
- NOTE: The cuts in Medicaid and other health programs are larger than what was in the House bill to repeal the ACA.
- $200 billion in cuts for “mandatory safety net programs such as welfare and food stamps”
- $1.3 trillion in cuts to non-defense discretionary programs – which adjusted for inflation would take those programs to the lowest level they’ve been since the Hoover administration. NDD programs include “medical, scientific, and agricultural research; K-12 education and Head Start; job training; national parks, the Weather Service, and environmental protection; mass transit, highways, and airports; low-income housing assistance; veterans’ medical care; law enforcement; foreign assistance; and the administrative costs of entitlements like Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment compensation.”
No matter which way you slice it, these cuts will pull the rug out from under millions of Americans who are already on shaky ground.
Call your Representative:
Script: Hi, my name is ____ and I’m a constituent at ____. I’m calling because I’m concerned about the cuts that appear in the Budget Resolution. Making cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps and welfare to make way for tax cuts for the wealthy is just plain mean. It doesn’t help the economy, it doesn’t help regular people like me, and it doesn’t help America. Is Congressman/woman _____ in favor of, or opposed to, the Budget Resolution?
- If in favor: I’m so disappointed to hear that Congressman/woman ____ is in favor of a budget that will hurt so many of his/her constituents. I hope he/she changes his/her mind, but I’ll be sure to let all of my friends and neighbors know his/her plans to vote for it. They deserve to know that he/she does not have their best interests at heart.
- If opposed: Hooray! I’m so glad to hear that Congressman/woman ____ is looking out for his/her constituents, and for all of America. I’ll be sure to let all my friends and neighbors know that he/she is working for us.
Wednesday: Tell Your MOCs to Keep it Clean
We have talked all bout the terrible-awfuls that are part of the proposed Budget Resolution. But with only 12 legislative days between now and the end of the fiscal year, it’s pretty unlikely (basically impossible) for our MOCs to actually pass a budget. What they will do instead is pass a “Continuing Resolution” – a short-term extension that continues funding at current levels.
Let’s be clear: without an actual budget or a CR, the government will shut down on October 1. Nobody wants that.
The pressure to pass a CR is significant, which makes it more likely that MOCs will add “policy riders” to it. Policy riders “ride” along on must-pass legislation – like the budget – and “are used to sneak through legislative changes that would be difficult to pass on their own in open congressional debate.” For example, they’ve been encouraged by the Heritage Foundation as a means to defund Planned Parenthood.
The National Resources Defense Counsel has done an amazing job highlighting the policy riders that have already been added to appropriations bills to further an anti-environmental agenda. Those riders are currently “riding” on appropriations bills – not on the CR – but the ultimate ask is the same: We need to encourage our MOCs to keep this CR clean.
Script: Hi, my name is ____ and I’m a constituent at ___. I’m concerned that the budget process is so terribly behind that we risk a government shutdown without a continuing resolution. With that much pressure on lawmakers, I know it’s common for policy riders to be added to achieve policy goals that can be tough to pass on their own. I’ll be watching for those kinds of policy riders, and would like to get _______’s commitment that he/she won’t be supporting a CR that tries to use legislative sleight-of-hand to restrict women’s healthcare and right to choose – or furthers an anti-environmental, anti-labor, anti-immigration agenda.
Thursday: Get Geeky With Me About Debt Ceilings
I know, I know – I’m really geeking out this week, aren’t I?
If you haven’t heard of the debt ceiling before, it’s simply the maximum amount of money the US Treasury can borrow. It has absolutely nothing to do with decisions to spend money – those decisions have already been made.
When we raise the debt ceiling we’re just giving ourselves permission to borrow the money to meet the obligations we already have. We’re allowing ourselves to get a loan – rather than just refusing to pay our bills, sticking our fingers in our ears and screaming LALALALALA.
If we don’t raise the debt ceiling and pay our bills, bad things happen for our economy. Interest rates for borrowing will go way up for the federal government because we aren’t as reliable as we were before. Borrowing money becomes more expensive.
Basically, we throw taxpayer money down the drain.
That trickles down the pipeline – and ultimately makes everything for you and I more expensive.
So, because raising the debt ceiling is simply agreeing to borrow the money to let us pay the bills we’ve already incurred, and the repercussions of not raising it are catastrophic, everyone should be on board with raising the debt ceiling. Right?
Not so, unfortunately.
Back in August 2011, we were in a similar situation because the GOP refused to raise the debt ceiling without drastic spending cuts. Basically, they played chicken with the U.S. economy and were willing to burn the house down so they could further a policy goal.
So, here we go again, encouraging our members of Congress to just be responsible with the economy.
Let’s call, show that we understand what’s going on, we’re watching, and we know that 2018 is right around the corner.
Script: Hi, my name is ____ and I’m a constituent at ____. I’m calling because I’m concerned that the debt ceiling hasn’t been raised yet. According to the Treasury, we’ll need the debt ceiling raised by the end of September or we’ll risk defaulting on our obligations. I’ve also heard that some members want to refuse to raise the debt ceiling without trying to get massive budget cuts – and that they’re willing to trash the U.S. economy to get what they want. Playing chicken with the economy is just plain stupid. Has Congressman/woman _____ agreed to pass the debt ceiling without making additional demands?
- If no (meaning they want to extract budget cuts or something else): This is such an irresponsible move – I’m terribly disappointed that ______ would be willing to risk the United States credit rating for political purposes. I’ll remember this in 2018, and I’ll be sure that my friends and neighbors understand how ______ voted on this issue.
- If they don’t know: I can’t believe this isn’t at the top of everyone in your office’s minds right now. This is an easy lift – just agree to raise the debt ceiling and pay our bills – it’s the responsible thing to do. I’ll be watching for what ______ does on this issue.
Friday: Ask Your Senator to Co-Sponsor Legislation to Protect Mueller
Last week, Senators Lindsay Graham and Cory Booker introduced legislation that will protect Bob Mueller from getting canned. (SB 1735) Shockingly, this legislation hasn’t received many cosponsors – Senators Whitehouse and Blumenthal are the only Senators that have signed on. (Importantly, the legislation has been sent to the Judiciary Committee, and both Whitehouse and Blumenthal are members of that committee – so their cosponsorship is a powerful and good sign.)
It’s important to get more cosponsors – specifically GOP sponsors that are on the Judiciary Committee so they can move this sucker along the process. (For a reminder on how legislation moves and shakes its way through Congress, go here!)
So I’m looking at you, friends in Iowa, Utah, Texas, Nebraska, Arizona, Idaho, North Carolina and Louisiana! At least one of your Senators is a Republican on the Judiciary Committee (names and contact info below) – so you have an extra special script below. Democratic members of the Committee hail from California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, Rhode Island and Vermont. Their contact info and a special script is provided below as well.
For those of us whose Senators are not serving on Judiciary, here’s a general script to use to encourage our Senators to co-sponsor SB1735:
General Script: Hi, my name is ___ and I’m a constituent at ____. I’m calling today to encourage Senator ____ to cosponsor Senate Bill 1735. SB 1735 is bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Graham and Booker that would limit the administration’s ability to remove the special counsel. This legislation is important both for the protection that it gives this important investigation – and also for the message that it sends. Nobody in the United States is above the law. What is the Senator’s position on SB 1735?
GOP Script: Hi, my name is ___ and I’m a constituent at ___. I’m calling today to encourage Senator _____ to cosponsor SB 1735 – introduced one of the Senator’s fellow judiciary committee members – Senator Graham. SB 1735 protects the special counsel – whose investigation is important to our country and our national security. It is currently in the Judiciary Committee, and I know Senator ____ serves on that committee. Supporting this legislation will show the country and constituents like me that Senator ____ cares about our country and the rule of law. In our country, no one is above the law. What is the Senator’s position on the bill? When can I expect to see his/her support announced?
SPECIAL NOTE: If your Senator is Jeff Flake, here’s a zinger for you to tack on at the end: Script: I have been impressed with Senator Flake’s recent statements regarding the Trump administration and his concern about the future of the Republican Party. This is a great opportunity for him to put his weight behind a bipartisan bill that will show his constituents that he is willing to do more than just talk.
GOP Judiciary Members:
- Chuck Grassley (IA)
- Orrin G. Hatch (UT)
- Lindsey Graham (SC)
- John Cornyn (TX)
- Michael S. Lee (UT)
- Ted Cruz (TX)
- Ben Sasse (NE)
- Jeff Flake (AZ)* See Special Note Below
- Mike Crapo (ID)
- Thom Tillis (NC)
- John Kennedy (LA)
Dem. Script: Hi, my name is ___ and I’m a constituent at ___. I’m calling today to encourage Senator _____ to cosponsor SB 1735 – introduced one of the Senator’s fellow judiciary committee members – Senator Graham. SB 1735 protects the special counsel – whose investigation is important to our country and our national security. It is currently in the Judiciary Committee, and I know Senator ____ serves on that committee. Senators Blumenthal and Whitehouse have already co-sponsored, and as fellow Judiciary Committee members, I’m sure their sponsorship helps increase the chances the legislation will move forward. Moving this legislation is incredibly important – not only because it will protect Mueller’s investigation, but because of the message it sends. What is the Senator’s position on the bill? When can I expect to see his/her support announced?
Democratic Judiciary Committee Members
- Dianne Feinstein (CA)
- Patrick Leahy (VT)
- Dick Durbin (IL)
- Sheldon Whitehouse (RI) (Already a cosponsor – call and say thanks!)
- Amy Klobuchar (MN)
- Al Franken (MN)
- Christopher A. Coons (DE)
- Richard Blumenthal (CT) (Already a cosponsor – call and say thanks!)
- Mazie Hirono (HI)
WHEW! Big list this week ~ let’s get to work!
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