action opportunities

Wednesday 6/14 Action Opportunities

1. In a reversal of years of practice, Capitol journalists have been told that they can no longer film senators for interviews in hallways. This strains the already antagonistic relationship between the governing party and the press, and further restricts reporters’ access — and by extension, the public’s access — to our elected officials. Contact our senators and ask: why is this happening, and what are you doing to stop it?

  • Kaine: Washington DC: 202–224–4024, Manassas 703–361–3192, Roanoke 540–682–5693, Virginia Beach 757–518–1674, Richmond 804–771–2221, Abingdon 276–525–4790, Danville 434-792–0976, and his contact form is here.
  • Warner: Washington DC 202-224-2023, Roanoke 540-857-2676, Abingdon 276-628-8158, Norfolk 757-441-3079, Richmond 804-775-2314, Vienna 703-442-0670. His “Submit Comment” form is here.
  • Suggested script: “Hello, my name is ______ and my zip code is ______. I’m contacting the senator today because I am concerned that reporters in the Capitol have been told they are no longer allowed to film interviews with senators in hallways. This restriction goes against years of practices. Fielding questions from the press is part of a politician’s job. Step up in support of the free press and their access to you, the people we elected. Thank you.”

2. Reports from offices of members of congress have said that the volume of calls recently has dropped down to similar to before the election. Keeping the energy and engagement up on something that is ongoing like the efforts to resist Trump and what his administration are doing is very difficult, but it is also vital. We have had victories due to the amazing people who call, write, tweet, and email in, but we still have more battles to fight. Healthcare is back on the chopping block, the investigation into Russian electoral influence is still underway, and so much more. We need to ramp the calls back up as much as we can. Talk to your friends and ask them to contact their members of congress. Call in any reinforcements that you can. We must persist, and we need your help.

3. From “The Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017, HR 1215, would dramatically undermine patient protections against malpractice and medical error. Because the bill would preempt any less-stringent state laws on malpractice, it would significantly alter malpractice law in at least 47 states. The bill would limit non-economic damages for malpractice to $250,000 and shorten the statute of limitations for malpractice suits. The bill would also ban patients from filing class action lawsuits against doctors that prescribe FDA-approved drugs or medical devices that cause them harm. This provision is particularly troubling given that a 2014 study found newly FDA-approved drugs have a 1 in 5 chance of causing adverse reactions in some patients. The bill’s sponsors argue that it is a justifiable measure to contain healthcare costs, citing the persistent myth that malpractice claims drive the United States’ astronomically high healthcare spending. However, medical negligence suits contribute to only 0.5-1% of all medical costs. The real beneficiaries of HR 1215 will be pharmaceutical companies, who have long advocated for so-called malpractice reform to minimize their liability for damages caused by hastily-approved drugs. If Congress truly wants to address healthcare spending, they must focus on the major contributors to our healthcare costs, like inflated pharmaceutical costs and high hospital service fees, instead of stripping away consumer protections. The House is scheduled to vote on HR 1215 tomorrow, so Contact Goodlatte today.

  • Goodlatte: Staunton (540) 885-3861, Harrisonburg (540) 432-2391, Lynchburg (434) 845-8306, Roanoke (540) 857-2672, Washington DC 202-225-5431 and email form here.
  • Suggested script: “Hello, my name is ______ and my zip code is ______. I’m contacting Representative Goodlatte today to express my opposition to HR 1215, the Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017. Reducing healthcare spending is an admirable policy goal, but it should not be achieved by eroding people’s legal protections against medical malpractice while shielding pharmaceutical companies from lawsuits over hastily-approved drugs. Thank you.”

4. CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS: There will be voter registration drive at the Valley Mission homeless shelter on July 22nd while a group cooks and serves a meal for the residents, with information on how to register if homeless and how to get a photo ID. We are looking for 2-3 volunteers to help out with the voter drive. If you’ll be free in July, please comment, email us, or contact Allison at Local and Vocal.

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