action opportunities

Wednesday 8/2 Action Opportunities

1. (From 5calls.org) The recently released House Republican budget resolution for the 2018 Fiscal Year contains the same draconian provisions that the White House’s budget proposal was so widely criticized for: a $1.5 trillion cut to Medicaid (going far beyond the cuts planned by the various Congressional plans to repeal the ACA), a $487 billion cut to Medicare, and the introduction of per-capita spending caps. These massive funding changes will devastate millions of people, especially children, seniors, low-income people, and people with disabilities. The budget proposal includes a total cut of $200 billion, or 8%, to mandatory social spending (Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security) which constitutes the largest sector of the federal budget at about 62%. The budget also includes changes to eligibility, benefits, and cost-sharing for Medicaid, and work requirements that would make it harder for American to get back on their feet. While there are no explicit cuts to Social Security, the budget includes measures (such as raising the retirement age) that would alter its accessibility. Crucially, the House budget resolution, like the Drumpf budget proposal, paves the way for large tax cuts for the wealthy. Republicans claim that tax cuts will boost economic growth by increasing tax revenue; however, not only are their calculations economically unrealistic (the resolution assumes 2.6% growth, which is unlikely and unsustainable), but the Republicans offer no true solution to the drastic income inequality existing in our country. And despite House Republicans’ claims of fiscal responsibility, military spending will be ramped up by roughly $929 billion over the next decade. The House calls their plan “Building a Better America,” but this budget is not the way to do that. The House Budget Committee passed this resolution on July 17th. It now awaits a vote on the House floor, so contact Goodlatte.

  • 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 Congressman Goodlatte to express my deep concerns about the House budget resolution. Drastic cuts to vital healthcare and the social safety net are not the way to help working-class Americans. I urge Representative Goodlatte to vote against any 2018 budget resolution that slashes funding for Medicaid, Medicare or Social Security. Thank you.”

2. (From couchactivism.org) The bipartisan Clean Water Act (CWA) of 1972 stated there would be no discharge of pollutants from a point source (a pipe or ditch) into navigable waters without a permit, and provided government funding to construct new systems of waste disposal. And in this capacity, the law has been successful. This landmark law, however, largely exempted runoff from agricultural fields and irrigation ditches. As a result, pesticides, manure, and other pollutants have flowed into streams, rivers, and eventually lakes and bays. Enter, the Clean Water Rule of 2015. The Clean Water Rule, which was first proposed in 2014, sought to clarify the legal jurisdiction of the federal government under the Clean Water Act. In doing so, it expanded protection for two million miles of streams and 20 million acres of wetlands. One of the main problems the rule is designed to address is the runoff of nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus from fertilized farm fields. High nutrient levels in downstream waters can impact drinking water, and they can also lead to spikes in algae growth that produce low-oxygen “dead zones.” The law is currently stayed nationwide (aka, has a hold on it.). Those in support of this repeal say the 2015 protection is too costly. Some landowner and agricultural groups have lambasted it as an overreaching infringement of private property rights and an onerous burden on farmers and ranchers (in spite of the fact that the rule does not change agricultural exemptions, nor does it regulate farm ponds, puddles, groundwater, erosional features, or most ditches). And then there’s climate deniers. The 2015 rule was widely criticized by industry — including fossil fuel producers, manufacturers, and agribusiness — as well as by Republican lawmakers, who called the rule an example of overreach by a federal agency. President Drumpf signed an executive order in February, directing the EPA, which issued the original rule in conjunction with the Army Corps of Engineers, to “review and reconsider” the rule, paying special attention to the definition of “navigable waters.” (from ThinkProgress).

The 30 day public comment period is now open. Submit your comments here and spread the word on social media.

3. With the August congressional recess, we have a whole month to press Goodlatte to hold a real, in person town hall. Contact him specifically to once again ask for a town hall.

  • 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 Congressman Goodlatte to make a request for an in person town hall this August. He has the rest of the month in congressional recess, when he is supposed to be doing work in his district, and I want to talk to my Congressman. Please contact me with the date this August that he will be holding a face-to-face town hall meeting. Thank you.”

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