Oppose Trump’s Executive Order to Review Our National Monuments
WNDC strongly opposes President Trump’s executive order, signed on April 26, that directs the Department of the Interior to review President Obama’s and Clinton’s designation of certain areas as national monuments under the Antiquities Act. This law, signed by Teddy Roosevelt, allows presidents to set aside federal lands without Congressional approval. Interior Secretary Zinke is directed to examine all of these designations, beginning with Bears Ears, located in rural San Juan County, Utah.
Chair, Earth and Environment Task Force
Public Policy and Political Action Committe
April 11, 2017
Say “NO” to Defunding Planned Parenthood
The current Republican Campaign to strip Medicaid reimbursement for services to patients by Planned Parenthood is another direct assault on the primary source for the health care of millions of American women (basically 1 in 10), many of whom would have nowhere else to go for basic gynecologic care. More than 50 percent of Planned Parenthood offices are located in rural or medically underserved areas.
The “false facts” excuse for terminating Medicaid payments for cancer screenings, STI screening (sexually transmitted infections), and contraceptive care at Planned Parenthood offices is a video made by an anti-choice videographer hired by the news agency. The spliced film purported to show Planned Parenthood employees “selling body parts of aborted babies.” Courts have since found the films to be false, and the perpetrators are being prosecuted.
The “true facts” are that for decades, no federal monies have paid for abortions. Republicans say that Medicaid payments should be diverted to the 9200 existing public health clinics in order to enable immediate care for all of the patients in Planned Parenthood’s 700 health care centers. That too is a “false fact.” The public health clinics are already filled to capacity with long wait times.
If we wish to curtail the number of abortions, the kindest and most effective way to accomplish the goal is to prevent unplanned pregnancies by making state-of-the- art contraception available to all who request it.
Closing down Planned Parenthood’s Medicaid-reimbursed health care for so many of our nation’s women (and STI testing for many men as well) is a cruel stunt to appease the radical Republican base.
Without Planned Parenthood, the numbers of abortions will increase, gynecologic cancers will multiply, and the numbers of patients with untreated sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, will skyrocket.
Please call the president (202-456-1111) or your members of Congress (202-224-3121) and tell them NOT to defund Planned Parenthood.
Karen Pataky, WNDC Vice President Public Policy and Political Action
Chair Health, Care Task Force
Ask Your Representatives to Strengthen and Improve the Affordable Care Act
WNDC strongly supports the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and welcomes efforts to strengthen and improve it for the benefit of all Americans.
Since Republicans failed in their seven-year-long effort to repeal and, belatedly, replace the ACA, they are considering a variety of measures to undermine it. Most notably, they advocate eliminating essential health benefits and coverage of pre-existing conditions, as well as weakening the financial stability of health markets and affordability of health plans.
Their proposals to eliminate essential health benefits, especially those affecting maternal and child care and treatment for drug use, would be particularly harmful. Maternal and infant mortality rates are already shockingly high in the United States. Opioid use has become an unprecedented epidemic and, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 27 percent of adult Americans under the age of 65 have health conditions that could leave them uninsurable.
These and other proposals would also undermine market stability. Eliminating subsidies, the individual mandate, and marketing would shrink enrollment, spike the cost of premiums, and promote withdrawal of insurers.
WNDC encourages its members to be alert to the danger posed by these piecemeal proposals to change the ACA. Please tell your representatives that you oppose any efforts to undermine health coverage and urge them to strengthen and improve the Affordable Care Act.
Public Policy Committee
March 24, 2017
The House is scheduled to vote within the hour on their health care bill, which strips women of preventive care like cancer screenings, maternity care, and vaccinations, and defunds organizations like Planned Parenthood that provide necessary care to people all across the country.
Please call your members of Congress and tell them to protect the Affordable Care Act. The lives of millions of women and their families are at stake.
March 7, 2017
Action Alert: Tell Congress, “Say ‘No'” to Medicaid Block Grants
The Trump Administration and Speaker Paul Ryan want to block grant Medicaid, a federal-state program begun in 1965 that funds health insurance for 75 million adults and children, most of whom have no other access to health care. Right now, everyone who qualifies for Medicaid is entitled to be covered. Almost half of Medicaid dollars (48%) funds healthcare for children from their first day of life to age 21.
If Medicaid is block granted, however, states would receive a lump (and likely reduced) sum from the federal government, and would have more control how these funds are used. Although the Administration and Speaker Ryan have not yet issued detailed proposals, block granting could significantly reduce the funding states receive and the number of people who are covered. Results could include:
Please call your members of Congress and tell them not to block grant Medicaid because:
Karen Pataky, Vice President for Public Policy and Political Action
Mary Tierney, MD, Public Policy Committee, Heath Care Task Force
The authors will follow up with more articles on the likely impact of Medicaid block grants. For more detailed information on this issue, visit the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities.
January 23, 2017
Action Alert from Indivisible: Join Us: National Day of Action
On Tuesday, January 24, local groups across America are visiting their senators’ offices and demanding that they reject Trump’s unqualified, corrupt Cabinet nominees. Thousands of local activists like you have already committed to opposing this cast of racists, cronies, and kleptocrats by taking this in-person action. Join us, #standindivisible, and send the videos, pictures, and stories from your actions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Three Indivisible Actions This Week
1) Keep the Heat on Trump’s Divisive Cabinet Nominees: Hearings for many of Donald’s cabinet nominees may have occurred last week, but the fight is far from over. Ethical scandals, financial conflicts, and outstanding questions plague many nominees. There’s still time to block nominees like the four highlighted below. Call and visit your Senators to tell them to oppose these nominees!
2) Tell Your Representative, “Vote No on HR 7, Yes for Women’s Healthcare”.
Seriously, republicans are planning to respond to Saturday’s historic Women’s March in Washington with a vote on HR 7, a bill that would restrict women’s reproductive rights. It’s not the first time Republicans have tried to pass this anti-woman bill.
3) Continue to Defend Obamacare: Tell Congress to #ProtectOurCare
With committees in Congress now working on ACA repeal legislation, Trump is now even closer to dismantling the health care law. Continue to tell your MoCs that you won’t stand by and let 30 million people lose their healthcare.
Spread the Word
Help us spotlight your group’s Day of Action! Take pictures and videos and share them with us at email@example.com. Or, use #indivisible and tag @IndivisibleTeam on Twitter or post them to Facebook.com/IndivisibleGuide.
Americans are ready to fight back, and we know that when we stand indivisible, we will win.
January 16, 2017
Help Save the Affordable Care Act (from Senator Chris Van Hollen-D-MD)
Donald Trump and the Congressional Republicans have already taken the first step toward destroying the Affordable Care Act and creating chaos in the health care system. We must stop them! To do so, we need at least 3 REPUBLICAN SENATORS to join the 48 members of the Democratic Caucus to block repeal.
Contact all your family, friends, and colleagues who live in states with Republican senators and urge them to let their senators know that they will hold them accountable if they take away our health care and ruin our health care system. Here is a list of Republican Senators and the most important arguments:
List of Republican Senators 2017 (1). U.S. Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121
February 26, 2016
WNDC urges our members and friends to call on all Republican senators to hold hearings when President Obama nominates a candidate to fill the vacancy created by Justice Antonin Scalia’s death on February 13, 2016.
Within the first two hours after Justice Scalia’s death was announced, even before expressing condolences to his family, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky stated “…this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president.” Since then, he has declared,
there is not a snowball’s chance in hell” that the Senate will consider any Obama nominees.
There are no grounds for the Senate Republicans’ obstructionism. Since 1900, six Supreme Court justices have been confirmed in an election year. And in 2005, Senator McConnell himself declared, “We need to recommit ourselves to the 200-year principle that in a democracy an up-or-down vote should be given to a president’s judicial nominees. It is simple. It is fair. It has been that way for over two centuries. And it’s served us well.” Until now, apparently.
The Constitution requires the president to nominate and appoint Supreme Court justices “with the advice and consent” of the Senate. Refusing even to consider the president’s nominees defies the Constitution and the clear will of the American people, expressed by the election of President Obama in 2012.
We urge everyone, especially constituents of Republican senators, to write or call their senators and demand hearings and fair consideration of the president’s nominees. All senators’ contact information is available at http://www.senate.gov.
The GOP and other self-righteous bullies have mounted decade’s long “gotcha” attacks on Planned Parenthood. Until July 2015, far right anti-choice organizations and the GOP were focused on making abortion illegal again as well as preventing women from using contraception.
But now, according to Politico, Republicans are threatening to shut down the government—by including a requirement that Planned Parenthood be defunded in a must-pass spending bill with a September 30 deadline.
This latest “war on women” tactic results from several secretly taped videos released to American media by the shell organization Center for Medical Practice (CFMP), claiming to show that Planned Parenthood “sells” tissue from aborted fetal body parts.
However the facts—deliberately omitted from the video —are that families sometimes donate such tissues for scientific research. The only fees are for storage and transport of the tissues.
Defunding Planned Parenthood is a stunt because no federal funds are used for abortion services. But Congressional action to defund Planned Parenthood would deny basic health care and life-saving cancer screenings to approximately two million American women and men.
Please e-mail or call the White House (202-456-1111) to thank President Obama for his promise to veto every bill that defunds Planned Parenthood.
Karen J. Pataky, NPC
Vice President, Political Action and Public Policy
Chair, Health Care Task Force.
The Medicare Hearing Aid Coverage Act of 2015 (H.R. 1653), introduced in March 2015 by Congresswoman Debbie Dingle, would amend Title XVIII of the Social Security Act by removing the exclusion of hearing examinations and hearing aids from Medicare coverage.
Last week at a DC briefing held by the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, Congresswoman Dingle and audiology experts discussed the complications of untreated hearing loss in the elderly, which may include a connection between prolonged hearing losses and dementia—the subject of ongoing research.
Many Medicare patients who cannot afford hearing aids, which can cost thousands of dollars, often suffer isolation and other severe health problems. Funds to support this addition to Medicare coverage can be made available from savings implemented by the Affordable Care Act
WNDC encourages all members to support H.R. 1653 by contacting their representatives to support this bill.
Vice President for Membership
When: December 11, 2014 from 3:00-4:30PM
Where: Washington National Cathedral: 3101 Wisconsin Ave NW, Washington, DC 20016
Register here: Attend Event
The Newtown Foundation, in partnership with the Washington National Cathedral, States United to Prevent Gun Violence, and Faiths United to Prevent Gun Violence will host the 2014 National Vigil for All Gun Violence Victims. Between December 2012 (the Sandy Hook tragedy) and December 2014, more than 60,000 Americans have died from gun violence. Please join families of victims of gun violence and special guests in honoring all Americans affected by gun violence.
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont shares our frustration with the lowest voter turnout since World War II. He has reason to call our dismal turnout an “international embarrassment.” The United States ranks 120th in the world in percentage of registered voters who actually bother to show up on Election Day! (“Voter Turnout Rates from a Comparative Perspective” by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance).
In hopes it will drive up voter participation by making it easier to participate in the political process, Sen. Sanders has announced he will introduce legislation to make Election Day a national holiday so that everyone will have the opportunity to vote. In making this announcement, he said “We should not be satisfied with a ‘democracy’ in which more than 60 percent of our people don’t vote and some 80 percent of young people and low-income Americans fail to vote. We can and must do better than that.”
Sen. Sanders concedes that if enacted, this action may not be a “cure-all,” as we still need to address other components of low turnout such as voter suppression and campaign finance reform. However, he believes it would represent an important step forward as we attempt to strengthen our democracy. The lead editorial in yesterday’s New York Times (11-12-14) provided one of the best reasons to lend support to Sen. Sanders in this endeavor: “Showing up at the polls is the best way to counter the oversized influence of wealthy special interests, who dominate politics as never before.”
We members of the Public Policy and Political Action Committee have signed on. Won’t you? A strong voter turnout is fundamental to our democracy!
Stand with Bernie! Stand up for Democracy!
Sign his petition here to establish a “Democracy Day” Holiday
A message from Alice Day in response to many positive comments received from concerned members:
“Thank you so much for this reply to the WNDC Action Alert. The best thing for individuals to do right now today is to call Secretary Kerry at the State Department and tell him that you think that the Keystone XL pipeline would be a disaster for our nation. After the public comment period is over, that is midnight today, actually, the Sierra Club and Bill McKibben’s organization, 350.org, are planning to organize many protests at venues where President Obama will be speaking. These, of course, often involve a lot of waiting around outside until the President’s car whizzes by, but I do think it’s effective to keep up the visual protests. Then, a big one you can do is divest any securities you may have in fossil fuel industries. Link and I have done this with ours.
These are all small steps, but each one is important in its own right.
Below, I’ve attached a link from the League of Conservation Voters, firstname.lastname@example.org that will give you direct access to submitting a comment.
Chair Environment & Energy Task Force
Public Policy Committee
Woman’s National Democratic Club
Below is the text of public comments recently submitted by WNDC to the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Energy Resources on the proposal by Trans-Canada to build the Keystone XL Pipeline.
We believe that the Keystone XL pipeline is NOT in the U.S. national interest for the following reasons:
First, the pipeline does not pass this simple test: Does its completion bring us closer to achieving the U.S. climate goals? The answer is clearly NO. The pipeline would contribute substantially to carbon pollution. It is estimated that it would add the equivalent of an additional 6 million cars on the road to the annual greenhouse gas emissions. A new report from environmental groups shows that the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline would be responsible for at least 181 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) each year, comparable to the tailpipe emissions from more than 37.7 million cars or 51 coal-fired power plants.
Clearly, if approved, the Keystone tar sands pipeline will impede rather than promote the U.S. long-term goal of making the vital transition from a fossil fuel- based energy system to a system based on clean, sustainable energy, driven by renewable resources, e.g., wind turbines and solar panels.
Second, approval of the Trans-Canadian proposal will call into question the seriousness of President Obama‘s pledge not to allow the Keystone to be built if it would “significantly exacerbate carbon pollution.” If the President is serious about his Climate Action plan to establish an emissions target of 17% below 2005 levels by 2020, the carbon pollution levels attributed to the Keystone pipeline will pose a formidable obstacle to achieving this goal.
Third, the scale of the Keystone proposal, which is projected to carry 800,000 gallons of dirty tar sands oil per day, make the pipeline vulnerable to environment-destroying leaks and health-damaging pollution of air, water, and land. These risks, combined with the fact that the oil will be shipped overseas and that the number of jobs that would be created over the long run is minimal, makes the project inimical to U.S. national interests.
A final key point: America is already on track to moving into a system of reduced dependence on fossil-fuel energy. It does not need an expansion of Canadian tar sands oil development, especially when the climate and human costs are so high. It is already cutting down on its oil use with high-efficiency cars and trucks and the adoption of other efficiency measures such as hybrid vehicles and fully electric cars. Our national interest lies in the maintenance of the health of American families, the health of their children, the integrity of their lands, and the protection of our natural resources from despoliation by unregulated industries.
The Keystone XL is not in our national interest: it is a climate and humanitarian disaster. It is time to move forward on climate. Mr. President, Reject Keystone XL.
Anna Fierst and Anne Martin, Co-Presidents
Nuchhi Currier, Vice President for Public Policy and Public Affairs
Alice Day, PhD, Chair, Environment & Energy Task Force
Democrats have a real chance to pick up this 13th congressional district seat, vacated by the death of GOP Rep. Bill Young. Former Florida Chief Financial Officer and Democrat Alex Sink almost became Governor in Florida back in 2010, losing by one percentage point to Republican Rick Scott. Her Republican opponent David Jolly served as Young’s general counsel and then went on to lobby in 2007.
As related in our most recent Candidate Watch, Politico Newspaper ran a story on February 13th about both parties wanting “bragging rights heading into the November midterm election.” The article notes vulnerabilities on both sides: Jolly’s tenure as a Washington lobbyist and apparently through records dug up by Democrats, he did some work for a client who favors privatizing Social Security – not a popular subject in this district. Sink, on the other hand, is being called a “carpetbagger” by Jolly because she lived in a neighboring country and only recently moved to the district. The Koch Brothers and other right-wing groups are, of course, spending millions here, and the NRCC yesterday released a brand new ad, which attacks Sink this way: “David Jolly: Cut spending, stop Obamacare. Alex Sink: More spending, defend Obamacare,” an announcer says in the 30-secont spot. “She’s fighting for them, not for us.”
This race is rated Tossup by Rothenberg Political Report/Roll Call. Please contact your friends in Florida’s 13th! (According to Wikipedia, Florida’s 13th congressional district was reassigned in 2012, effective January 2013, to just Pinellas County and includes an area from Dunedin to western and northern St. Petersburg.)
Help Alex Sink win with a donation or by volunteering. Click here.
The verdict this weekend in the Jordan Davis/Michael Dunn trial rendered me angry as Hell. No, I was incensed. No, actually “choleric” is a more appropriate adjective. Online dictionaries define “choleric” as “quickly aroused to anger” or “easily moved to often unreasonable or excessive anger.” (this article from Daily Kos helped fuel such anger on my part) I don’t feel that my anger was misplaced and certainly not unreasonable, given the chronology of events as I understand them. But you see, my anger – perceived unreasonable or not — cannot physically harm anyone, because I don’t own a firearm and cannot legally carry one in public in the District of Columbia.
I have listened to all the talking heads and their guests railing against Florida’s broadly-written self- defense laws with a strong “Stand Your Ground” component. Thank you very much, NRA and American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) for this fine gift to what – 26 states now? Yes, it’s a dumb and dangerous law in terms of public safety and deserves to be repealed. Dumber still, however, is the easy access to guns in these states. In Florida, as gun ownership increases, so do gun murders – up 38% in the most recent data, according to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. “Concealed carry permits and the state’s so-called ‘stand your ground’ law also have emboldened more people to carry firearms, leading to more opportunities for gun murders, “says the Department in a 2013 article on the website of the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting.
Certainly I do believe that from a public policy standpoint, there is a linkage between “Stand Your Ground” and racial bias. I mean, seriously, you basically have a right to shoot to kill because you deem someone to be a “thug” and a threat because of rap music or considered a threat because a person wears a “hoodie” and carries Skittles candy? The most recent case in Florida involves an angry “choleric” man who killed another man because he didn’t like that the victim was “texting” with his young daughter during the trailers before the start of a movie at a cinema. But this time, the murder victim was not an African-American. His name was Chad Wayne Oulson, who from his photos looks as if he could be from Scandinavian decent, and was just on a date with his wife. He was killed because an angry man packing heat didn’t like him texting. Wow!
In all three cases, there were three angry men packing heat in a state where one can easily own a firearm. Under Florida law, when residents don’t like someone or something someone is doing, they can by law shoot first, make up the “feared for my life” story later. Floridians seem to be okay with this “Stand Your Ground Law,” but as a tourist, I am not. My husband and I are traveling to Cuba in March. We had planned a three-day relaxation at a resort in St. Petersburg, Florida afterwards to relax in the sun and visit the Chuhuly and Salvador Dali Museums. We have just cancelled those reservations in protest of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground law”. After all, as Democrats, we could be considered a “threat” to an angry man with a gun. I am choleric about Florida’s Stand Your Ground law, but I don’t own a gun, and in Florida, angry men do. This action to cancel our resort reservations, of course, won’t matter to the Florida tourism industry. But it matters to me.
Take Action here
Shelly Livingston, Chair, WNDC Ad Hoc Committee to Prevent Gun Violence
The New York Times report, “Silencing Scientists” (9/22/13, p. 10) and Robert Reich’s new film, “Inequality for All,” make it increasingly clear that even more is at stake in the Keystone XL Pipeline decision than the sustainability of the environment as a healthy habitat for human and natural life. This project is also a challenge for our democratic values.
The NY Times has revealed that Canada’s plan to use American farmlands, plains, and forests to build a pipeline system to ship toxic bitumen oil from Alberta to the Gulf Coast is very unpopular even with many Canadians. A major reason is that in its feverish effort to mine the earth and oceans with little regard for the environment, the Canadian government is stifling freedom of speech and assembly. The project is being rammed through by Stephen Harper, the country’s Conservative Party Prime Minister, who is suppressing scientific discussion and restricting the flow of scientific information, especially concerning research into climate change, fisheries, and the Alberta tar sands.
On Amy Goodman’s show Democracy Now (10/24/13), Tzeporah Berman, a leading Canadian environmental activist and the former co-director of Greenpeace International’s Climate Unit., said that Harper’s tactics of muzzling scientists speaking out on global warming, closing down scientific organizations, and rapidly dismantling environmental laws, were “corroding Canadian democracy.” Reports the NY Times, “There was trouble of this kind here in the George W. Bush years, when scientists were asked to toe the party line on climate policy and endangered species. But nothing came close to what is being done in Canada.”
But what has this to do with democracy in America? “To all the other kinds of pollution the tar sands will yield,” according to the NY Times, “we must now add another: the degradation of vital streams of research and information.” When freedom of speech and assembly are suppressed, as Robert Reich documents in ”Inequality for All,” the yawning gap between rich and poor is further widened. If President Obama gives Canada permission to go ahead, the USA will be patently endorsing the Canadian model of monitoring and restricting the flow of scientific information and free interchange of ideas.
Meanwhile, who is defending the rights of American property owners and indigenous people whose lands lie in the path of the pipeline? The oil carried in the pipeline is intended for export: it is not being built for US consumption. This is yet another corporate plan to enrich a few at the expense of the less powerful who have nothing to gain from Canada’s rush to remove from the earth its huge cache of carbon emitting fossil fuels.
Call the White House, write or e-mail President Obama, urging him do not taint our democratic values by partnering with Canada on this pipeline.
– Alice Day, Chair Environment & Energy Task Force