Calling Scripts for March 6, 2017
Trump signed a revised version of the Muslim ban this morning.
The GOP's proposed ACA repeal/replace bill is expected to be revealed some time this week.
Trump has rejected FBI Director James Comey's assertion that Trump's claim of having been illegally wiretapped was false.
Rick Perry was confirmed on Thursday as Energy Secretary on a vote of 62-37. (Both Feinstein and Harris voted against.)
The Senate is expected to vote on HJ. Res. 37 today at 6:00 PM EST.
No votes are expected in the House today.
New Muslim Ban:
This morning the President signed a new Executive Order implementing a revised version of his previous Muslim travel ban. This new version is an attempt to keep the main thrust of the previous ban while removing some of the elements that left it most vulnerable to court challenges. In particular:
Of the seven countries originally placed on the ban list, six are still included (Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen), while Iraq has been removed. This is reportedly because of urging from the State and Defense Departments. This ban will last 90 days.
All refugee admissions will be halted for 120 days. Apparently, the language indefinitely barring Syrian refugees has been removed.
Language giving preference to Christians has been removed.
Green-card holders, visa holders, dual nationals using a passport not on the ban list, and foreign nationals traveling for diplomatic purposes are now expressly exempt from the ban.
Despite these changes, it's still clear that this ban is still highly discriminatory in how it targets Muslim majority countries. Particularly noteworthy is how it claims that existing vetting procedures are inadequate, despite the current process for refugee approval taking two or more years.
Trump issues revised travel ban (The Hill)
House Republicans in the Energy & Commerce Committee (of which Scott Peters is also a member) still have not released their draft bill for ACA repeal. Several news outlets have reported that markup sessions for the bill could start this week, though. Notably, this would mean that the markups would begin before the Congressional Budget Office would have the opportunity to estimate the costs and effects of the bill. Details so far remain scanty, but what reports I've seen indicate a strong likelihood of subsidies being replaced by tax credits or deductions (which do much less to help low-income households than subsidies), as well as a possible elimination of the ACA's Medicaid expansion. All of these proposals are receiving criticism from several directions, though, including both moderate Republicans who are nervous about the consequences of lowering coverage for their constituents, as well as Tea Party Republicans like Ted Cruz who want nothing short of total repeal.
FBI Director James Comey reportedly asked the Justice Department over the weekend to reject the President's claims that he had been illegally wiretapped by the Obama Administration. White House officials have admitted that the President's claims were based on unverified claims from Breitbart News and conservative talk radio, but nevertheless, the White House is refusing to accept numerous assertions that it's claims are false. Given the timing of the President's tweets about this issue, it seems to me highly likely that this is an attempt to distract from last week's reports of even more Administration and campaign officials—including Attorney General Jeff Sessions—having had undisclosed contact with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.
The Senate voted to approve Rick Perry as the Secretary of Energy on Thursday, on a vote of 62-37. Both Senator Feinstein and Senator Harris voted against him, and Feinstein released a statement that she opposed him due to his "lack of knowledge on nuclear issues, combined with his skepticism of the established science concerning climate change."
For reference, the following Democrats/independents voted in favor of Perry's confirmation:
Tom Carper (D-DE)
Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV)
Joe Donnelly (D-IN)
Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND)
Angus King (I-ME)
Joe Manchin (D-WV)
Claire McCaskill (D-MO)
Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Jon Tester (D-MT)
Tom Udall (D-NM)
Mark Warner (D-VA)
HJ. Res. 37:
House Joint Resolution 37 passed the House of Representatives on February 2. The resolution disapproves a regulation implemented in an Obama Executive Order from July 2014, which requires federal contractors to disclose violations of federal labor and worker safety laws, and gives federal agencies guidelines on how to consider those violations when awarding federal contracts. This protection was put in place because tens of billions of taxpayer dollars were found to have been awarded in federal contracts to companies that were found to have violated labor and safety laws.
Requiring disclosure of workplace violations for federal contracts is a reasonable and relatively light-handed protection, one that helps ensure that companies who want federal dollars comply with federal workplace laws. The repeal of this protection is one more step in ensuring that wealthy corporations are able to exploit their hard-working employees, something that appears to be a high priority for this Administration and the GOP-controlled Congress.
Today I will be calling both of my Senators and continuing to ask them to push for a full investigation into the administration's connections to Russia. I will also thank them for voting against Rick Perry's confirmation. Finally, I'll ask them to oppose HJ. Res. 37.
I will also call my Congressman and ask him to protect our healthcare, and to do what he can to push for an investigation into the Administration's ties to Russia.
If you're not from California, you can find contact information for all US senators here: https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/
If you don't know who your representative is in the House, you can look it up here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/
Script for Calling Dianne Feinstein
"Hi, my name is _____ and I'm calling from _____ (zip code). I'm calling because I want to ask Senator Feinstein to continue pushing for a full investigation into the Administration's ties to Russia. I believe that the President's claim that he was illegally wiretapped are ludicrous, but also highlight the need to see any warrants or transcripts from any legally executed surveillance on the Trump campaign. I'd also like to ask again that Senator Feinstein call for Attorney General Sessions' resignation, as recusal is not sufficient at this point. I'm also deeply concerned about this morning's news that a new Muslim Ban order has been signed, and I want to ask the Senator to oppose that. I do appreciate that Senator Feinstein voted against Rick Perry's confirmation as Energy Secretary, so I'd like to thank her for that. Finally, I'd like to ask the Senator to please oppose HJ. Res. 37, as it's unacceptable for the GOP to be undermining our necessary workplace protections. Thank you."
Script for Calling Kamala Harris
"Hi, my name is _____ and I'm calling from _____ (zip code). I'm calling because I want to ask Senator Harris to continue pushing for a full investigation into the Administration's ties to Russia. I believe that the President's claim that he was illegally wiretapped are ludicrous, but also highlight the need to see any warrants or transcripts from any legally executed surveillance on the Trump campaign. I'm also deeply concerned about this morning's news that a new Muslim Ban order has been signed, and I want to ask the Senator to oppose that. I do appreciate that Senator Harris voted against Rick Perry's confirmation as Energy Secretary, so I'd like to thank her for that. Finally, I'd like to ask the Senator to please oppose HJ. Res. 37, as it's unacceptable for the GOP to be undermining our necessary workplace protections. Thank you."
Script for Calling Scott Peters
"Hi, my name is _____ and I'm calling from _____ (zip code). I'm calling because I'm very concerned about reports that the GOP members of the Energy & Commerce Committee are keeping their draft ACA repeal bill secret. Healthcare is a crucial issue, and the lives of many thousands of Americans are literally at stake. I would like Congressman Peters to do everything he can to find out the details of that bill and to oppose any attempt to reduce our coverage or increase our costs. I'd also like to ask the Congressman to please do whatever he can do continue pushing for a full investigation into the Administration's ties to Russia. Finally, I'm also deeply concerned about this morning's news that a new Muslim Ban order has been signed, and I want to ask the Congressman to oppose that. Thank you."