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Writing to Congress

Many of us are angry and despairing at the political landscape, especially with the recent unprecedented threats to democracy itself in the United States.

Let's pool our brains and amplify our influence! Letters and phone calls to our elected officials make an impact, even if they don't always do what we ask, since they're ultimately concerned about "reelection, reelection, reelection".

Especially with help from our friends, it's not difficult to write letters calling for specific actions and telling powerful stories. We can share talking points, drafts, and letters we've sent, as well as problems we encounter and replies we get.

(The title refers to the U.S. system, but you're welcome to share how you're communicating with your elected officials in any country.)

If you read this group and haven't joined it, please consider joining! It'll encourage other AN members to be more politically active.

Members: 11
Latest Activity: Feb 16

Discussion Forum

Examine your state legislators

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Jan 1. 2 Replies

The Center for Public Integrity presents a data base of state level legislative conflicts of interest. Find your state legislators' financial interests…Continue

Tags: state political corruption

Robert Mercer's psyops behind the extremist takeover

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Bertold Brautigan Aug 17, 2017. 6 Replies

Two hundred years ago the founding fathers created three branches of government, assuming that one party wouldn't dominate all three at once, and assuming that the legislative and executive branch actually wanted to govern the country as a…Continue

Tags: changing beliefs, white supremacist takeover, data analytics, psychological warfare, bio-psycho-social profiling

Action alerts and talking points

Started by Grinning Cat. Last reply by Grinning Cat Jun 13, 2017. 4 Replies

Where do you find useful information on issues to communicate with your legislators about, or talking points you might not have thought about for calling or writing them?Continue

Tags: representatives, legislators, congresscritters, senators, political actions

How are we doing ? As of February 17, 2017

Started by Joan Denoo Feb 17, 2017. 0 Replies

block H.R.958 elimination of the Environmental Protection Agency - Wasteful EPA Programs Elimination Act of 2017, 115th Congress (2017-2018) | (Became law)block Neil Gorsuch for Supreme Court (Hearing is set for March 20)cosponsor and support S200,…Continue

Tags: support, confirmation, oppose, campaign, writing

How To Write Letter to Congressional Representative.

Started by Daniel W. Last reply by kathy: ky Feb 16, 2017. 3 Replies

This is a little different, but not much, from how to write letter to Senator.  Again, this info is from wikihow.  There is overlap with the Senator letter writing concept.…Continue

Guide to how to write letter to your senator

Started by Daniel W. Last reply by Daniel W Feb 16, 2017. 7 Replies

If we write letters, but don't do it correctly, we might undermine our well-meaning efforts. Here is a simple guideline from wikihow.  Briefly from…Continue

Finding addresses/phones for your Senators and Representative

Started by Grinning Cat. Last reply by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Feb 8, 2017. 3 Replies

A few places where you can easily find where to write or call your members of Congress:Official starting points:www.senate.gov - "Find Your Senators" in the upper right (choose your state)…Continue

Tags: phone numbers, legislation, tracking legislation, phones, addresses

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Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on May 6, 2017 at 6:31pm

Toomey, my senator, is on the GOP senate committee writing their own version of trumpcare. See this link to see your senator is one of the other members. My letter today:

Dear Senator Toomey,

Since you are on the GOP Senators working group on health care, your constituents will hold you personally responsible for whatever health care bill is crafted. I appreciate that the group will start from scratch, take the time they need to understand the House bill’s ramifications, and insist on a score from the Congressional Budget Office before voting. As Senator Alexander would not say Thursday whether he’ll have public hearings, I urge you to push for them. Health care will be the defining issue of the upcoming election, and likely of the Republican party’s survival of the Trump administration. Because Republicans are using a fast-track budget process of reconciliation to repeal Obamacare without Democratic support, the GOP will bear the blame, when Americans' healthcare is devastated, families go bankrupt, and millions die.  A trillion-dollar tax cut disguised as a health-care “plan”, which destroys health care for millions shouldn’t even be called a health care bill.

Since President Trump correctly stated, “Of course the Australians have better healthcare than we do” I urge you to institute a universal single-payer system identical to theirs!

Education Voters of PA is telling all PA constituents exactly how much funding each of their Trumpcare-supporting representatives took from their own school districts. Losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in guaranteed Medicaid reimbursements for students with disabilities will force struggling PA school districts to cut even more vital programs and services. Expect the same scrutiny for Senators.

On May 4th, Trump signed an executive order that would allow churches and other tax-exempt organizations to endorse political candidates. While the executive order cannot repeal the Johnson Amendment, it instructs the IRS to ease up on the enforcement of the law so that violators no longer lose tax-exempt status. Under this order, religious institutions — which do not have the same filing and disclosure requirements as other tax-exempt nonprofits — can become major money players in our government. Individuals and big donors will be able to skirt campaign finance laws by making tax-free donations to churches supporting political campaigns, incentivizing dirty-money interests to exploit houses of worship. I urge you to publicly commit to upholding the Johnson Amendment and blocking any legislation that enables the implementation of this unconstitutional order in any way.

Comment by Grinning Cat on May 5, 2017 at 4:27pm

Good, powerful letters, Ruth!

I called my congressman thanking him for voting against the AHCA, and called our senators urging them to oppose it. I mentioned that President Trump was right to say “Of course the Australians have better healthcare than we do” -- it's a universal, single-payer system, which could save the U.S. hundreds of billions of dollars while covering everyone. That's the only change we should be considering!

[Of course, private insurance executives and shareholders lose out, but since when have the Greedy Old Prevaricators put corporations above people?]

Indivisible Guide has updated resources: "Enough is enough: stop Trumpcare. We lost the battle, here's how we win the war."

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on May 5, 2017 at 3:49pm

Today's senate letter:

I urge you in the strongest possible terms to kill the wildly unpopular, staggeringly inadequate American Health Care Act passed by the house. Budget reconciliation will make it immune to filibuster. The AHCA was passed without public hearings and without a CBO estimate because House Republicans knew it was a bad bill that would not stand up to scrutiny. The AHCA draft that passed the House resolved none of the original draft's issues and is even worse for Americans' health. Republicans included a provision exempting their own insurance from new AHCA rules.

The insurance of half of all babies born in the U.S. is threatened by Trumpcare. Fines would be eliminated for large employers that don't provide health plans. Small-business tax credits would end in 2020. About half of US citizens, those who obtain health insurance through their employers, could be at risk of losing protections that limit out-of-pocket costs for catastrophic illnesses. AHCA would also prohibit federal funding for Planned Parenthood’s reproductive health, maternal health, and child health services for one year, mostly through Medicaid. It guts Medicaid by $880 billion in order to get that money into the pockets of the wealthy top percent. Five to 18 million individuals are predicted to lose Medicaid coverage entirely. Even people who aren’t on Medicaid themselves count on it for long-term care for their parents. Medicaid also keeps rural hospitals afloat and is a mainstay in small communities that insurance companies avoid. 130 million of us also stand to lose the guarantees the Affordable Care Act put in place to protect us from discrimination for pre-existing conditions. Sexual assault is a preexisting condition! It would raise premiums for older, low-income Americans with health insurance from the individual market. Premiums could increase by $8,400 for a 64-year-old earning $15,000 a year.

I urge you to cosponsor and support of the Equality Act of 2017 introduced by Sen. Jeff Merkley. Trump’s Presidency has ushered in a despicable wave of hateful discrimination and bigotry against LGBT people, and Republicans like Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are pressuring the White House to issue a sweeping discriminatory executive action targeting LGBT people. The Equality Act would provide consistent and explicit non-discrimination protections for LGBT people across key areas of life, including employment, housing, credit

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on May 5, 2017 at 3:48pm

Before you use the house letter, check how your representative voted on trumpcare.

Thank you for voting “NO” on the staggeringly inadequate American Health Care Act!

I urge you to oppose Trump’s removal of the US from the United Nations Human Rights Council. We need to holding corporations legally responsible for their human rights violations. Implementing the UNHCR 2014 initiative to “elaborate an international legally binding instrument to regulate, in international human rights law, the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises” would be a first step. This treaty would be the best defense of flesh-and-blood human beings from out-of-control corporate amorality. The US has refused to cooperate with the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group established to coordinate the negotiations for the proposed treaty.

I urge you to cosponsor and support the Equality Act of 2017 introduced by Rep. David Cicilline. Trump’s Presidency has ushered in a despicable wave of hateful discrimination and bigotry against LGBT people, and Republicans like Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are pressuring the White House to issue a sweeping discriminatory executive action targeting LGBT people. The Equality Act would provide consistent and explicit non-discrimination protections for LGBT people across key areas of life, including employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally funded programs, and jury service.

I urge you to object to the disappearance of vital scientific information from the EPA's website. It's robbing Americans of information that they paid for, and that is vital to founding good decisions and being informed citizens. The EPA needs to clarify that the updates will be consistent with science and that such science will remain easily accessible to the public. So far, the EPA has given no timeline for when the revised websites will go online.

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on May 3, 2017 at 5:26pm

Today's letter to both houses:

I urge you to oppose the Financial Choice Act, which would do more to deregulate the banking industry than any single piece of legislation in a generation. Some of the key agencies currently governing banks — including ones essential for reacting to the next financial crisis — could be undermined through the reconciliation process. It discards much of the banking oversight passed in the Dodd-Frank act. Getting rid of Dodd-Frank triples the odds of another financial crisis. In 2008 the biggest banks had 25% of US banking assets, now they have 44%. It further rolls back oversight in a way that could dramatically exacerbate the likelihood of another financial crisis, according to experts in financial regulation. It proposes elimination of the “Volcker Rule,” which prevents commercial banks from making certain kinds of speculative and risky trades. It guts the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau, effectively rendering the agency powerless by letting Congress control its funding, allowing the White House to fire the agency’s director at will, and stripping it of a broad range of rulemaking authority.

The bill would allow banks that meet certain capital requirements to be exempted from a huge number of the regulations that govern their behavior; would impose strict new standards to make it far more difficult for federal regulators to issue new regulations, and would make it much easier for banks to pass the “stress tests” that gauge whether a bank could survive an economic shock. The bill would also eliminate the so-called “Durbin Amendment,” which caps how much banks can charge retailers for debit card transactions. The CHOICE Act would split the Federal Reserve in half and prevent it from coordinating financial regulations and monetary policy, something that will make bubbles more likely. The Financial Choice Act would strip the administration’s authority to act quickly to avert catastrophe and to ensure that taxpayers recoup their spending.

The bill would get rid of the Orderly Liquidation Authority, a key part of Dodd-Frank that controls what happens when financial firms that could sink the whole economy go belly-up. Under OLA, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation can step in during a panic to immediately take control of the bank to make sure its collapse doesn’t spread throughout the financial sector. Having a bank go through OLA ensures that the emergency funding doesn’t come from taxpayers, since the law requires other financial firms with a stake in the failing bank to pay back the costs. OLA also allows the government to immediately fire all of the bank’s managers and forces its employees to pay back bonuses. We would lose all of that protection. Ben Bernanke, the former Federal Reserve chair, said that eliminating the OLA would be a major mistake, putting the economy and financial system at risk.

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on May 2, 2017 at 7:06pm

Today's letter is the same for both houses.

Thank you for including measures in the $1 trillion spending deal to assert the authority of Congress. Though similar provisions have been included in past measures to constrain the powers of previous administrations, including that of President Barack Obama, it’s more critical now. Thanks for your demands for reports on Islamic State and Syria’s Bashar Assad strategy, and for reminders to Trump that he must follow the War Powers Act if he wants to send U.S. troops to Iraq or Syria. Thanks for barring Jeff Sessions and his Justice Department from interfering with states that allow medical marijuana. Thanks for strengthening the Pentagon’s internal watchdog, saying federal agencies shall not prevent or impede the inspector general from accessing “records, documents, or other materials.”

It’s important for Congress to defend its legislative power, since Erdoğan-admiring Trump is talking about consolidating his power. Don’t let him “streamline” away what he dismisses as “archaic” rules of the House and Senate, or get rid of the filibuster. I applaud you for facing up to a president who hates having his powers limited or even questioned. He argues that it’s perfectly appropriate for the White House to spread conspiracy theories that implicate close allies like the British — so long as a 9/11 truther on Fox News spread them first.  It’s up to you to slow down Trump’s systemic corruption of American institutions.

I urge you to challenge Trump’s conflicts of interest. Not only does Trump allow his D.C. hotel to actively court the patronage of foreign diplomats, and the State Department of advertise Mar-a-Lago, he violated the law accepting $500,000 from Venezuela’s Citgo for his inauguration. The Constitution’s foreign emoluments clause (Article I, Section 9, Clause 8) prohibits the president from receiving payments from foreign governments. Together with Senator Ben Cardin, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Senator Richard Blumenthal, I also urge you to question Trump’s violation of the Constitution’s domestic emoluments clause (Article II, Section 1, Clause 7), that prohibits the president from receiving payments from state governments. Public pension funds in at least seven U.S. states periodically send millions of dollars to an investment fund that owns the Trump SoHo Hotel and Condominium in New York City and pays one of Trump's companies to run it.

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on May 1, 2017 at 4:12pm

Thanks, Bertold! <big smile>

Today's letter for the senate also works for the house, after removal of the 1st paragraph. The house already passed HJ Res 36.

I urge you to oppose HJ Res 36 which would repeal the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) methane waste prevention rule and to support retention of the BLM methane waste prevention rule. It is a necessary protection for both taxpayer revenue, the cleanliness of our air, and climate.


Argentina’s Mauricio Macri administration reverted a decision to award former US president Jimmy Carter the Order of the Liberator General San Martín — the maximum distinction that the country can give to a foreign personality —, under the pressure from US President Donald Trump’s administration. Carter was to be given the award for his work in promoting human rights during Argentina’s last military dictatorship. The official tribute had already been approved by the foreign ministry and was published in the Official Gazette, and the foreign ministry again requested that President Macri give the award in spite of the rejection by Trump’s government since it had been made official. I urge you to sponsor a bill supporting Argentina’s honor of Carter, rejecting Trump’s petty jealousy in foreign affairs.

I urge you to reject the AHCA. Trump is pushing the House to pass their newest, most awful, Trumpcare this week, before their recess. Despite Sunday’s Trump interview, in which he gets the Republicans’ health care plan wrong, this plan would make premiums unaffordable for elderly, all with pre-existing conditions, sicker and poorer Americans. He either doesn’t understand how the American Health Care Act works, or lied about it at CBS. A new amendment introduced this week to win Freedom Caucus support changes all that caved to conservatives’ demand to deregulate the insurance industry and let health plans once again use preexisting conditions to set premium prices. It creates waivers that states can use to let health insurers charge sick patients higher premiums, a practice outlawed under current law. Donald Trump promised that his bill will lead to lower deductibles than the Affordable Care Act. Deductibles under the Republican plan wouldn’t go down, they’d would go up, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The CBO expects that premiums would go down under AHCA because higher premiums for older enrollees would essentially price the elderly out of the individual market. CBO estimated, for example, that a low-income 64-year-old would see her premiums increase 750 percent under AHCA. Elsewhere, Trump claimed that his plan would allow insurance sales across state lines, but it is not included in the current Republican bill. The Federal The Invisible Risk Sharing Program, which establishes a $15 billion fund to pool together people with expensive health conditions, would be ineffective because the $15 billion would only lower annual premiums by about 1 to 2 percent each year, and the administrative burdens would be expensive, since it only covers the costs of certain conditions and that would require a lot of paperwork.

Comment by Grinning Cat on May 1, 2017 at 4:05pm

My calls today:

To my Representative:

Protect overtime and the 40-hour workweek; oppose H.R. 1180, the misnamed "Working Families Flexibility Act".

This Republican-sponsored bill was reported out of committee, and is supposed to receive a floor vote in the full House tomorrow. The bill overturns most employees' guarantee of time-and-a-half overtime after 40 hours per week, instead allowing employers to offer paid time off or "comp time", and offering opportunity for serious abuse, with no guarantee that employees would actually get to use their comp time, even in emergencies. "While the act theoretically prohibits employers from intimidating, threatening, or coercing workers into a comp time agreement, it provides no funding to the Department of Labor for investigation or enforcement of violations." (5calls.org issue page)

To my Senators (neither one of whom had stated a position):

Oppose Jay Clayton’s confirmation for SEC chairman. Again the vote is tomorrow.

Clayton is a Wall Street insider who will not put the interests of American people first. In addition to shielding big banks from taking full responsiblity for the 2008 financial crisis that crashed the US economy, he has represented foreign corporate interests against corruption charges as well. He is currently a partner at a law firm specializing in representing Wall Street's interests. As Senator Sherrod Brown stated, "It’s hard to see, how an attorney who’s spent his 15-year career helping Wall Street beat the rap will … stop big banks and hedge funds from ‘getting away with murder.'" (from5calls.org's issue page)

Comment by Bertold Brautigan on May 1, 2017 at 7:53am

Nicely done, Ruth

Comment by Ruth Anthony-Gardner on April 30, 2017 at 5:46pm

This letter is  response to Sen Pat Toomey's latest form letter about the tax bill.

Dear Senator Toomey,

In your letter, you said, “Since coming to the Senate, one of my highest priorities has been restoring fiscal responsibility to Washington and reining in our nation's unsustainable deficits and spending. It will require tough choices and changing how we do business in Congress, but the time has come for government to live within its means. If left unchecked, these runaway deficits will hinder economic growth, reduce job creation, and leave our children with a staggering debt burden that they will struggle to repay.”

Does this mean you oppose Trump’s tax plan, which will blow up the deficit by an estimated $3-7 trillion over the next 10 years?

Does it mean you oppose eliminating the estate tax, which affects only properties worth over $5.49 million?

The drop of the top rate to 35 percent for personal income taxpayers at the same time that they’re cutting the corporate rate to 15 percent will create a huge incentive for rich people to park all their income in companies. Since this will obviously increase the deficit even more, does this mean that you oppose the 15% corporate tax rate?

Does it mean you oppose the plan for corporations to bring back the $2 trillion they accumulated overseas, through bogus schemes like transferring intellectual property to places like Ireland, by paying at most 8% income tax on it?

You also said you are for “eliminating loopholes and special-interest giveaways.“

Does this mean you oppose the global territorial tax that will let U.S. companies which get more than 60 percent of their income overseas pay no tax on that at all?

Does this mean you oppose eliminating the alternative minimum tax (which was created to ensure that the super-rich can’t use loopholes to completely escape their tax liability)?

Does it mean you oppose eliminating the pass-through tax, where income goes from corporate to personal use, which will create a new costly loophole? 90 percent of the benefits of this change go to the top 1 percent of the population.

As Bernie Sanders said, "Rather than making large profitable corporations — many of which pay nothing in federal income tax — finally contribute their fair share, Trump wants to give them a huge tax break."

Are you actually going to fight for fiscal responsibility, and for elimination of loopholes and special interest giveaways? Or do you just lie to constituents? We’ll be watching.

Constituent paying close attention,

 

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