Congress in Simple Terms…
- You have three members of Congress who represent you in D.C. – two Senators and one Representative.
- Senators serve 6-year terms in the Senate and there are two from each state.
- Representatives serve 2-year terms in the House of Representatives. The number of representatives from each state is determined by population. For example, there are numerous Representatives from New York City while there is only one Representative serving the entire state of Alaska.
- Representatives are frequently referred to as Congressmen, Congresswomen or Reps.
- Good: Call your 3 congressional leaders once a week.
- Better: Call on specific bills and issues.
- Best: Teach friends, family and co-workers how to call their leaders.
- First, track down the phone numbers for your senator’s national office, as well as their regional offices throughout your state. Although you may find it easiest to always call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 to reach your senators or representative, you can also find the direct number to any member’s office by consulting the Senate phone list or House phone list.
- Work out ahead of time precisely what to say, in a polite yet firm and concise manner, and write it down so that you don’t lose your train of thought mid-call. If this kind of outreach to Congressional leaders is uncommon for you, you might find yourself feeling nervous or losing your train of thought when you’re actually on the phone, so it’s good to have things planned out ahead of time. Staffers have a checklist they work from. Here is mine:
- Full review of Trump’s taxes
- Full investigation of Trump/Russia and FBI’s biased handling of this issue
- Reject Trump’s NYC and FL residences at taxpayer’s expence
- Support any bill or committee seeking Trump’s impeachment
- Prevent the Gutting of the Cardin-Lugar Anti-Corruption Law
- Reject the Muslim Ban
- Say NO to a Border Walll and ICE raids
- Support Human Rights at Standing Rock
We no longer have adequate healthcare, bring back ACA. Do not allow the heads of other departments and agencies to waive or delay the implementation of any ACA provisions that would impose a financial burden or any state or a regulatory burden on any individuals.
- Related Executive Order: Providing “relief” from the Affordable Care Act
We no longer have safe, accessible women’s care, protect Women’s Health. Women should have access to confidential, safe, and accessible health care. The president reinstated the so-called “Mexico City Policy”, which blocks the use of U.S. taxpayer dollars to fund foreign non-governmental organizations that perform or promote abortions. It was established by former president Ronald Reagan and has been rescinded by Democratic presidents and reinstated by Republican presidents ever since.
- Related Executive Order: Reinstating the “Mexico City” abortion policy
Indians are not being recognized and the environment is being damaged, protect Sovereign Lands. Trump encouraged the construction of two controversial pipelines, the Dakota Access Pipeline and Keystone XL Pipeline. The DAPL action instructs an expedited review and approval of the remaining construction and operation of the pipeline by the Army for Civil Works and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The Keystone XL action invites TransCanada, the Canadian energy company behind the pipeline, to re-submit its application for a presidential permit to construct the pipeline. It also instructs the Secretary of State to reach a final determination within 60 days.
We no longer have a true, free, global market, resist non-discrimination. The President should not dictate how companies go about their business. Trump wants the Secretary of Commerce to create a plan for pipelines created, repaired or expanded in the United States to use materials and equipment produced in the country “to the maximum extent possible.” It establishes that all steel and metal used in such pipelines be completely produced in the United States, from the initial melting stage to the application of coatings.
- Related Executive Order: Promoting “Made-in-the-USA” pipelines
- Trump referred to NATO as “obsolete.”
We no longer are stewarding the land, protect the Environment. Trump issued an action that instructs the Secretary of Commerce to contact stakeholders to review the impact of Federal regulations on domestic manufacturing. After the review, the Secretary of Commerce is instructed to create a streamlined Federal permitting process for domestic manufacturers.
- Related Executive Order: Reviewing domestic manufacturing regulation
- Trump’s pick for Interior Secretary wants to sell off public lands
We no longer protect human rights. Denying entry to green card holders, to refugees seeking asylum is unconstitutional and unAmerican.
- Begin planning, designing and constructing a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, including identify available federal funds and working with Congress for additional funding
- Construct and operate detention facilities near the border to make adjudicate asylum claims, subject to the availability of existing funding,
- Hire 5,000 additional Border Patrol agents, subject to the availability of existing funding,
- End “catch and release” policy
- Quantify all “sources of direct and indirect Federal aid or assistance to the Government of Mexico on an annual basis over the past five years”
- Take action to empower state and local law enforcement to act as immigration officers
Related Executive Order: Pursuit of undocumented immigrants
- Trump signed an executive order that directed the secretary of homeland security to:
- Prioritize certain undocumented immigrants for removal, including those with criminal convictions and those who have only been charged with a crime
- Hire 10,000 additional immigration officers at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, subject to the availability of existing funding,
- Prohibit federal funding, with the help of the attorney general, to “sanctuary” jurisdictions, where local officials have declined to help enforce federal immigration laws
- Reinstate the Secure Communities program, which was terminated in 2014 and enables state and local law enforcement to effectively act as immigration agents
- Sanction countries, with the help of the secretary of state, that refuse to accept the return of undocumented immigrants deported from the U.S.
- Create a list, updated weekly, of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants in sanctuary jurisdictions
- Create an “Office for Victims of Crimes Committed by Removable Aliens” to “provide proactive, timely, adequate and professional services to victims of crimes committed by removable aliens and family members of such victims”
- Trump feels misunderstood on Muslim Ban
- Trump overturns LBGTQ protections
On the radar:
- Flint’s water crisis
- Free internet, net neutrality
- 74% of Americans want Trump to release his returns
- Conflicts of interest, a crib sheet
- Over 4000 lawsuits, pending
- Freedom of the press is in jeopardy. He picks who is allowed to come to his press conferences, there is no open press. Federal agencies under gag order.
- Security Risks
- Russia’s intervention in our election
- Trump agreed to sideline the issue of Russian intervention in Ukraine after Russia promised to feed the emails it stole from prominent Democrats’ inboxes to WikiLeaks.
- Personal email, unsecured phones; Passwords used by Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s incoming cybersecurity advisor, and 13 other Trump team staff, were leaked in a mass hack.
- Additional Tax Burdens
- Presidential Residence at Taxpayer’s expense. White House North? Winter White House?
- The Wall, at taxpayer’s expense.
- Incompetency reigns: All cabinet picks, especially Carson, Harvey, Sessions and Devos
WEEK 10: Keeping a list of what is changing so we can find our way back
via (Amy Siskind)
- The Times reported that Trump’s first meeting, as president, will be with Putin.
- In interviews with the Times of London and Germany’s Bild, Trump referred to NATO as “obsolete.”
- Next day, the front page of Le Monde showed Trump standing with his back turned, and a title, “Trump Contre L’Europe” (translates, Trump Against Europe).
- The Trump transition team is considering a plan to evict the press corpsfrom the White House. Trump later clarified, saying he won’t evict all press, but he will pick who is allowed to come.
- Trump’s war of words with Rep Lewis continued for four days.
- Trump canceled his plan to visit Museum of African American History on MLK Day. Spicer said Monday, Trump never planned to be in DC, after Conway said the prior Friday, Trump was going.
- A dossier provided to US Intelligence alleges that Trump agreed to sideline the issue of Russian intervention in Ukraine after Russia promised to feed the emails it stole from prominent Democrats’ inboxes to WikiLeaks.
- Trump ally Rep Rokita is considering legislation that would allow Trump to fire federal employees for no cause.
- Trump publicly traded barbs with outgoing CIA Director John Brennan. Brennan said Trump,”does not yet” fully appreciate what embracing Russia might mean, and called Trump’s response, “repugnant.”
- After saying that the American people don’t care about his tax returns at his press conference, an ABC poll found 74% of Americans want Trump to release his returns.
- In a 2014 interview, Trump identified Russia as the US’s “biggest problem” and greatest geopolitical foe.
- On Sunday talk shows, Preibus and Rep Chaffetz warned and attackedthe director of the Office of Governmental Ethics, who has publicly challenged Trump’s conflicts of interests.
- In a speech, Putin defended Trump, and said the Obama administration was trying to undermine Trump’s legitimacy.
- Trump’s cabinet level appointees are the least diverse in decades: 18 of 23 are white men, and none are Latino. Trump defended this, saying his cabinet has the highest IQ of any cabinet ever.
- Michael Flynn’s son tweeted an article from a Kremlin-funded websitewhich said Flynn should take control of the 16 US Intelligence agencies.
- A disturbing WAPO article detailed Trump’s isolation at Trump Tower, including his leaving the building only once over several days, and interacting with very few people.
- NBC and WSJ reported that jobs at GM and Bayer, which Trump took credit for, were in the works for years; and that corporate leaders are crediting him to avoid his Twitter wrath.
- In Greenwich, CT, a Republican official grabbed a woman by her genitals, bragging “I love this new world, I no longer have to be politically correct.” He was caught on tape, and later arrested.
- Trump was sued for defamation by one of the woman who accused him of unwanted sexual advances. Attorney Gloria Alfred said she will subpoena unseen “The Apprentice” footage.
- SOS nominee Tillerson’s disclosure says he intends to stay away from State decisions benefiting Exxon for only one year.
- Media was banned from Trump’s DC hotel in the days leading up to his inauguration. Trump did, however, stop by his DC hotel, and Spicer told the press, “I encourage you to go there, if you haven’t been.” Trump still benefits financially from the hotel.
- Passwords used by Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s incoming cybersecurity advisor, and 13 other Trump team staff, were leaked in a mass hack.
- A CBS News poll found Trump’s favorably had fallen to 32%. Similarly, a Fox News poll had him at 37% favorability. Trump is the first incoming president to have a net-negative approval rating.
- Trump bragged about “displaying our military,” including possible military parades in major US cities.
- Trump also had tried to include tank and missile launchers in his inaugural parade.
- McClatchy reported that the FBI and 5 other law enforcement and intelligence agencies have been investigating how money may have covertly moved from Kremlin to help Trump win.
- Nearly 70 members of Congress and SOS Kerry boycotted Trump’s Inauguration.
- Rep Cummings who did attend, explained, “members of Congress have a lot of information that the public does not have,” and eventually the American people would understand the boycotts.
- As Trump takes office, he has the fewest cabinet members approved of any modern day president. Trump has nominated only 28 of 690 Senate-confirmable jobs in the Executive Branch.
- The day before his inauguration, Trump asked 50 Obama administration officials to stay on in their roles.
- As Trump takes office, the State Department says they have not been instructed on whether to attend upcoming peace talks.
- The Trump team tried an additional form of suppressing the media, serving CNN with a retraction request, which the network is forced to responds to, for a routine story.
- In a parting interview, VP Biden told Vanity Fair, he is worried Trump might destroy Western civilization.
- The NYT reported law enforcement and intelligence agencies are examining communications and financial transactions between Russian officials and Paul Manafort, Carter Page and Roger Stone.
- Despite his efforts to promote ticket sales through a heavily advertised online video, Trump Inauguration and events were poorly attended, and no well known celebrities agreed to perform.
- The Guardian’s Editorial Board described Trump’s Inaugural speech as, “bitter, blowhard and banal,” and said, in contrast to FDR’s speech of overcome fear, Trump “told the world to be very afraid.”
- The streets along with Inaugural parade had thin crowds, and the entire stands were empty (see video below).
- Trump team banned the Department of Interior from Twitter, after the department retweeted photos of small crowds on Inauguration Day. A National Park Spokesperson apologized.
- Within hours of Trump being sworn in, all mention of climate change, civil rights and LGBT were removed from the White House webpage.
- Upon taking office, Trump was likely already in violation of the federal lease with his Trump hotel DC property.
- An estimated 2.5 million Americans marched in the Women March, ten times more than showed for Trump inauguration. AP reported that 500,000 marched in DC alone, doubling the expected attendance.
Week 1: https://goo.gl/KWlyOO Week 2: https://goo.gl/Pn7MFs
Week 3: https://goo.gl/CZwxsX Week 4: https://goo.gl/JhwuON
Week 5: https://goo.gl/TGM6x8 Week 6: https://goo.gl/uhyjxe
Week 7: https://goo.gl/bMdhTG Week 8: https://goo.gl/89MW8h
Week 9: https://goo.gl/ekv9wE