Image courtesy of Indivisible San Francisco
This Memorial Day recess is a test. The Trump administration is forcing our movement to play defense on multiple fronts. The fate of the ACA is now in the hands of a Republican-led Senate that has tried to repeal it for 7 years. The connections between the Trump camp and Russian officials are coming more and more into focus, clearer than ever before. The Trump budget proposal is out and it is as draconian as any we’ve ever seen. And, on June 7, the House GOP will vote on a bill that would gut protections for families from big Wall Street banks who would do us harm.
As former congressional staffers, Indivisible would like to help you make sense of the noise coming out of Washington. Here are the things we think you should be prioritizing this Memorial Day recess. And here are some sample town hall questions to help you.
Defending the ACA in the Senate
We always assumed we’d find ourselves here, fighting to stop TrumpCare in the Senate. The fact that it’s Memorial Day and the Senate is only now taking up the bill is a testament to the Indivisible movement. The priority now is to kill the bill in the Senate. If you can talk about only one thing this Memorial Day recess, it should be about this.
The message that Republican Senators have gotten from their leadership is to use this Memorial Day recess as a “barometer” for the type of backlash they might expect if they vote to repeal the ACA, and kick millions of Americans off of their health insurance. We know now from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) that TrumpCare would result in 23 million Americans losing their coverage, higher out-of-pocket costs, the elimination of protections for people with pre-existing conditions, and a return to the chaos that preceded the ACA. And, all to give the rich a giant tax break. That is why this is such a critical moment. If Senators don’t feel the pressure from their constituents, they will quickly move to repeal the ACA as the House did earlier this month.
Make sure they hear from you. Go to their town halls and demand that they oppose ACA-repeal. Visit their regional offices and make phone calls. If you have a Republican senator, tell them that you don’t want them siding with Trump over you when it comes to access to health care. If you have a Democratic senator, make sure they’re not negotiating with Republicans on ACA repeal.
Rejecting Trump’s Billionaire Budget
Trump’s proposed 2018 budget is a budget for billionaires. It would slash funding for public education, repairing roads and bridges, and protecting the environment. It would make painful cuts to entitlements and other programs that help families maintain basic living standards. It would even break Trump’s promise not to cut Social Security.
Why take so many drastic measures? So that he can give his millionaire and billionaire friends a giant tax break. Trump wants to give the average millionaire a $250,000 tax break, while completely eliminating programs that working families rely on to put food on the table.
But remember: the President doesn’t set the budget—Congress does. You can fight this budget and the bad ideas that drive it. We expect many Members of Congress, even Republicans, to say they don’t support the Trump budget—but that’s not enough. They need to reject the flawed principles behind it as well. Tell your MoCs to reject cuts to entitlements, any funding for a border wall Americans don’t want, and the billions of dollars in increased defense spending that come at the expense of funding to educate our kids, pursue life-saving medical cures, and protect the environment.
It’s Time for Congress to Choose Truth over Trump on Russia
Thanks to your pressure, the Department of Justice has finally appointed a special counsel to lead the investigation into Russia’s interference in our election and the Trump camp’s troubling connection to Russia. It’s a real victory—one we should all feel proud of. But it’s not enough. We need to be sure that many of the important facts of this investigation get aired publicly, and that Trump can’t just fire the person doing the investigation. Congress cannot sit on the sidelines while the whole country still waits.
This recess, remind your MoC that they have the power to create an independent commission to look into these matters. For House Members, that means supporting the discharge petition on the Protecting our Democracy Act (H.R.356). For Senators, there is (S.27), a bill to establish a commission of independent experts to examine the facts regarding Russia and the 2016 election.
Congress also has the power to force Donald Trump to release his tax returns, a campaign promise he never fulfilled. Every president since Jimmy Carter has released their tax returns. Why? It demonstrates that they don’t have conflicts of interest, which is more urgent than ever now with questions swirling about Trump’s Russia connections.
Congressional leadership has refused to bring a vote on a bill that would disclose Trump’s returns—the Presidential Tax Transparency Act (H.R. 305). This recess is a chance to remind your House member that they don’t have to wait for Speaker Paul Ryan to decide the American people deserve transparency. They can force a vote on this important bill by signing on to Rep. Anna Eshoo’s discharge petition. The petition needs 218 signatures to force a vote and over 190 MoCs have already come out in support. Find out where yours stands through this link.
Protecting our Savings, Homes and Jobs from Wall Street
If Trump’s inaugural “billionaire budget” wasn’t proof enough, Donald Trump and his friends in Congress are out to do Wall Street as many favors as they have days left in power. For the House of Representatives, that has meant moving along the so-called “Financial CHOICE Act” (H.R. 10), a bill that eliminates major consumer safeguards and checks on corporate misbehavior created in the wake of the disastrous financial crisis. House Republicans are hoping to sneak this bill through without Americans knowing. This recess is your chance to tell your MoC to keep the guard rails on our financial system and say no to the #WrongCHOICEAct.
This Memorial Day recess, as you celebrate with your friends and family, make sure that you also find time to tell your senators and representatives about what matters most to you. Your resistance has has already changed outcomes. Keep the heat on your MoCs, and together we will win.