action opportunities

Thursday 7/21 Action Opportunities

1. A bipartisan revival of the Dream Act has been introduced in the Senate by Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill., that would allow certain young undocumented immigrants to attain lawful permanent U.S. residence and a path to citizenship. The bill, which will be called the Dream Act of 2017, would offer relief from deportation to those who fulfill certain education, work or military requirements, pass background checks, establish proficiency in English, exhibit knowledge of U.S. history and have not committed serious crimes (source: The Hill). Contact our Senators to ask them to publicly support this bill.

  • 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 am contacting the senator to ask him to publicly endorse Senators’ Graham and Durbin’s Dream Act of 2017. The Trump administration has put crosshairs on all immigrants, but this measure would help us protect some young immigrants from the administrations’ machinations. Thank you.”

2.  (From 5calls.org) On June 29th, the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government passed a FY 2018 spending bill that includes a provision to bar the Internal Revenue Service from enforcing the Johnson Amendment. On the 13th, the House Appropriations Committee voted to keep this provision in the spending bill. It will now move to the House floor for a full member vote. The 1954 law currently prohibits tax-exempt houses of worship from endorsing political candidates or making campaign contributions. Currently, the IRS revokes the tax-exempt status of any church or religious institution that endorses or funds a political candidate.

If the IRS were to stop enforcing this rule, individuals and big donors could skirt campaign finance laws by funneling tax-free donations to candidates by way of churches (currently, no political campaign contributions are tax-exempt). The change would allow religious institutions to become major money players in our government by serving as channels for dark money donations to political campaigns. It is clear that the Subcommittee’s rule change is specifically designed with right-wing evangelical groups in mind, as the proposed rule only mentions exempting churches and not other places of worship (mosques, synagogues, etc.). The House’s attack on the Johnson Amendment parallels the “Religious Liberty” executive order Trump signed in May. While a President cannot repeal or change laws such as the Johnson Amendment, Congress can, and is now doing so through the 2018 federal budget. The Financial Services spending bill that contains this provision now moves to the full House Appropriations Committee for further debate. Contact Goodlatte to let him know that you value the separation of Church and State.

  • 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 am contacting Representative Goodlatte to express my opposition to the provision in the Financial Services appropriations bill that allows churches to endorse or fund political candidates tax-free. It is vital that we maintain the separation of Church and State, and I ask that the 2018 spending bill sufficiently fund the IRS to allow them to enforce this law. Thank you.”

3. One of our big victories on a tragic election night in November was finally forcing notorious bigot Scott Garrett (R-NJ) out of Congress. Naturally, Trump wants him back in power, and has nominated him to lead the Export-Import Bank (source: Politico). Garrett’s nomination is in trouble for a variety of reasons, and attention from the public could help stop him. Let’s contact our senators, especially Warner, who is on the Banking Committee, and tell them someone who doesn’t think gay people should serve in Congress shouldn’t get their support.

  • 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 am contacting the senator because I am very concerned about Scott Garrett’s nomination to lead the Export-Import Bank. He strongly opposed the bank while serving in Congress, many business and business groups strongly oppose him, and he lost his bid at re-election because major corporate donors dropped him because his views on gay people are awful. Please vote no on a man who has said the agency he has been nominated to head ’embodies the corruption of the free enterprise system.’ Thank you.”

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