April 27, 2017: Zombie TrumpCare, National Monuments, 9th Circuit, Net Neutrality
- House Democratic leaders have called for stiff opposition to TrumpCare.
- 28 Senate Democrats sent a letter to the President condemning the Executive Order targeting national monuments.
- The President is reportedly considering proposals to break up the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
- FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has launched a new campaign to roll back net neutrality protections.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD-5) stated this morning that if the GOP attempted to bring the new TrumpCare bill to a vote this week, he would oppose a short-term continuing resolution to continue funding the government, and would advise all House Democrats to do the same. The "continuing resolution" he mentioned is a short-term resolution to continue government spending at current levels past the April 28 deadline, in order to give Congress additional time to craft a longer-term spending bill.
Hoyer close his statement by saying, "If Republicans pursue this partisan path of forcing Americans to pay more for less and destabilizing our county's health care system – without even knowing how much their bill will cost – Republicans should be prepared to pass a one-week Continuing Resolution on their own." This highlights the fact that Republicans have sufficient numbers in the House (238 Republicans to 193 Democrats) to pass a spending resolution without any Democratic votes, and that as the majority party in the House, Republicans would bear sole responsibility in the House for any potential government shutdown.
In addition to Minority Whip Hoyer, Politico reported that House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA-12) expressed the same position in a call to Speaker Paul Ryan.
The Congressional Budget Office confirmed earlier today that no new score will be available for the amended TrumpCare bill this week or next week.
- Hoyer: If House GOP Brings TrumpCare to the Floor This Week, I Will Oppose Short-Term CR (Hoyer press release)
- CBO won't have score on revise ObamaCare bill next week (The Hill)
- The Hill's Whip List: 12 GOP no votes on new ObamaCare bill (The Hill)
28 Senate Democrats, including Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, joined to condemn the President's recent Executive Order targeting national monuments. In a letter to the President, the Senators noted that sixteen Presidents from both parties had used the Antiquities Act to designate national monuments, and that national monuments help fuel an $887 billion outdoor recreation industrty. They also particularly highlighted the responsibility of the federal government to meaningfully consult with sovereign Indian tribes in any discussions of federal land use.
- Senator Harris Joins Democratic Senators In Condemning Trump's Executive Order Threatening National Monuments (Harris press release, includes full text of letter)
9th Circuit Court of Appeals:
After federal judges in Hawaii and California respectively blocked Trump's second Muslim ban and his effort to defund sanctuary cities, Trump stated that he has "absolutely" considered proposals to break up the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Though neither injunction was issued by the 9th Circuit, itself, both are expected to go through the 9th Circuit Court when appealed, before eventually heading to the US Supreme Court.
These statements are in line with a number of previous statements from the President and Attorney General Jeff Sessions questioning the legitimate right of the Western United States to participate in American democracy and jurisprudence. As noted by 9th Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski, "Proposals that virtually isolate California in a circuit of its own are directly contrary to the idea of regional consistency and the need to have judges from diverse backgrounds at the appellate level."
- Trump considering proposals to break up the 9th Circuit (CNN)
- Judge Blocks Trump Effort to Withhold Money From Sanctuary Cities (New York Times)
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai released a notice of propose rulemaking this morning outlining plans to roll back federal net neutrality protections. "Net neutrality" is the principle that Internet providers must remain neutral in their delivery of Internet content to consumers, in order to promote a fair, fast, and vibrant Internet and Internet-based economy. Broadly, net neutrality has two main provisions: that Internet providers should not block or slow down any websites or apps, and that they should not charge extra for faster load times. These provisions ensure that all Internet content is equally accessible to consumers, without interference from Internet service providers that might wish to give their own products or partners an unfair advantage.
The rollback proposal from Chairman Pai would, among other things, change the classification of Internet service from a "telecommunications service" to an "information service." Though this language sounds similar, such a change would dramatically decrease the FCC's ability to implement and enforce consumer protections, and would allow Internet service providers much more ability to make their own rules.
The FCC is expected to vote on the repeal proposal at its open meeting on May 18.
Conclusion/Call Script Overview
Today I will be calling both of my US Senators. I will thank them for condemning Trump's attack on our national monuments, and I will also ask them to oppose any attempt to break up the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and to oppose the rollback of net neutrality protections.
I will also call my US House Representative and ask him to vote against any continuing resolution this week unless TrumpCare is further postponed.
If you are not from California, you can find contact information for all U.S. Senators here: https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/
If you don't know who your Representative 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 to thank Senator Feinstein for joining her Democratic colleagues in condemning the President's attack on our national monuments. I am also concerned about the President's recent statements that he would like to break up the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee I would like to ask Senator Feinstein to oppose any such move. Finally, I saw this morning that the FCC is moving forward with plans to roll back net neutrality protections, and that would be a complete disaster for consumers and for our Internet-based economy, so I would like to ask the Senator to also oppose that rollback. Thank you."
Script for Calling Kamala Harris
"Hi, my name is _____ and I'm calling from _____ (zip code). I'm calling to thank Senator Harris for joining her Democratic colleagues in condemning the President's attack on our national monuments. I am also concerned about the President's recent statements that he would like to break up the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and I would like to ask Senator Harris to oppose any such move. Finally, I saw this morning that the FCC is moving forward with plans to roll back net neutrality protections, and that would be a complete disaster for consumers and for our Internet-based economy, so I would like to ask the Senator to also oppose that rollback. Thank you."
Script for Calling Scott Peters
"Hi, my name is _____ and I'm calling from _____ (zip code). I'm calling because I read Whip Hoyer's statement this morning that he would oppose a continuing resolution if the Republicans tried to bring TrumpCare to the floor this week, and I wanted to ask Congressman Peters to do the same. I know that the Congressman values bipartisanship, but if the GOP pushes forward with their disastrous repeal bill then it's clear they do not value bipartisanship, or even the well-being of the American people. The Republicans have enough votes to pass a continuing resolution on their own if they want to, so there's no reason for Democrats to vote yes if the Republicans are set on destroying our healthcare, and any shutdown would be solely their responsibility. So please commit to opposing a continuing resolution if TrumpCare comes to the floor this week. Thank you."