Greetings, Indivisible Houston community: Call to Action
Between the President’s poor response to Puerto Rico, the need for equitable Hurricane relief, the expiration of CHIP funding for 9 million American children, whispers of a push for a Washington tax scam, and the looming deadline of October 5th for DACA renewal, this week brings wave after wave of advocacy focal points, all of which deserve some attention from The People. Fortunately, we’re going to walk you through every issue and give you actionable answers for them.
Before we unpack those, we want to share one somber note and one moment of victory. The President reactions to the efforts of the leadership of Puerto Rico were horrific, and we denounce it outright. Puerto Rico is an American territory, and as our fellow Americans, we support their right to relief and assistance in the wake of a disaster that has greatly altered the island. Our hearts go out to them.
Second, many kudos for your efforts in defeating the latest Zombie ACA Repeal legislation! It may not be dead for good, but thanks to the efforts of the grass roots, repeal has now become that much more difficult to implement. So chalk up a win; you deserve it.
Without further ado, here are your weekly actions:
- DEMAND your reps reinstate CHIP.From the LA Times:
Advocates for children’s health started worrying months ago that congressional incompetence would jeopardize the nation’s one indisputable healthcare success — the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which has reduced the uninsured rate among kids to 5% from 14% over the two decades of its existence.
Their fears turned out to be true. Funding for CHIP runs out on Saturday, and no vote on reestablishing the program’s $15-billion appropriation is expected for at least a week, probably longer. That’s the case even though CHIP is one of the few federal programs that has enjoyed unalloyed bipartisan support since its inception in 1997. The consequences will be dire in many states, which will have to curtail or even shut down their children’s health programs until funding is restored. Hanging in the balance is care for 9 million children and pregnant women in low-income households.
What happened? The simple answer is that congressional Republicans’ last harebrained attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act got in the way. A funding bill for CHIP seemed to be well on its way to enactment until a week or so ago. That’s when the effort to pass the egregious Cassidy-Graham repeal bill sucked all the air out of the legislative room.
Call your reps in the Senate and House and DEMAND CHIP be reinstated with no strings or politics attached. 9 MILLION kids are counting on it, and the longer we wait, the more will suffer.
- Defend DACA/DREAM Act.
When Trump rescinded DACA he gave Congress 6 months (February) to pass a law and provide relief for DACAmented. As part of their relief, these folks gave up their information about where they live and work putting them in unique danger of deportation.
The last really serious attempt to pass the DREAM Act (which provides a pathway to citizenship for Undocumented) was during President Obama’s first term. It failed, and continued to fail because Republicans held it hostage to tougher border enforcement measures. This continues to play out as a negotiation between Republicans and Democrats about border security with DREAMers being leveraged as a bargaining chip. Democrats are failing to hold the line on a clean bill.
Republicans are trying bargain with Democrats for additional border enforcement funding (Border Patrol/ICE). This, combined with Kate’s law and the recently passed “Alien Gangs” bill would give these agencies enhanced capability to track, arrest and imprison Undocumented people with little evidence or oversight.
DACA was the executive action that was recently rescinded. The DREAM Act is the bill that is currently in Congress. It’s important to know the distinction between them so we can make the right ask.
DREAM enshrines the principles of DACA into law (rather than executive action) and creates a pathway to citizenship for childhood arrivals. Indivisible explainer here. The DREAM Act is the only bill that provides a pathway to citizenship. All others only reinstate deferred action or stop at providing workers visas/resident status.
Additional amendments or riders that increase funding for “border security” dangerously enhance these agency’s ability to arrest and imprison Undocumented people for years only to deport them after.
Call all of your MoC’s to bundle the DREAM Act with the NDAA, which is a “must pass” bill and to pass the DREAM Act as a clean bill.
- Attend the DREAM rally at Houston City Hall October 5th at 6:30 PM.
Join FIEL, Indivisible Houston and other groups in solidarity in defending the DREAM Act. The People deserve protection, and immigrants are welcome here. Join us in front of City Hall.RSVP to the event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/134148557224603/
For those with special needs, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will contact the organizers to help make arrangements.
- Say NO to Trump’s TAX SCAM.
Trump’s tax scam is a corporate giveaway that robs from the poor and steals from the rich. It is a scam in “reform” clothing. His plan will lead to billionaire dollar giveaways to corporations, millionaires, and billionaires while raising taxes on the middle and lower class to finance it. It is tailor-made for the 1%.
It is also being proposed in spite of the fact that Trump has been less than forthcoming about his OWN taxes.
Tell your rep to say NO to the Trump Tax Scam, and have them demand that Trump release his OWN tax returns before messing with our tax code, especially for a corporate cherry built on the backs of We The People.
- DEMAND financial resources for Puerto Rico.
45 has picked a fight with Puerto Rican leadership from the comfort of the golf course and his cushy hotel suites instead of providing support for our fellow Americans during one of the most difficult challenges they have ever faced. There is still no aid package in place, nor has enough help or organized effort been provided. Assistance has been slow, chaotic, and inadequate in the face of one of the worst natural disasters any Americans have ever faced.
DEMAND that your rep DENOUNCE the rhetoric and slowness of the President in handling this crisis, and call for an aid package to be developed IMMEDIATELY for Puerto Rico.
- Donate to Puerto Rico’s recover efforts.
As we know from Harvey, resources are hard to come by in the wake of a disaster. Here is a vetted link to donate to the cause: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/hurricane-maria-caribbean-relief-fund/
- Eliminate the Jones Act.
The Jones Act was original meant to protect American labor; today, it has become a burden on recover efforts in the face of national disasters. While the act is currently temporarily waived, we know that recovery will take a long time and that the need for reasonable shipping to affected US territories will not go away.
Call your reps and DEMAND they end the Jones Act requirements. Stand with recovering people, not giant corporate interests.
Call for the release of the Texas Rainy Day Fund for Hurricane recovery.
The State of Texas Economic Stablization Fund- AKA The “Rainy Day Fund”- currently has $10.3 billion, but it can only be used to cover the overage costs for programs at the end of the fiscal year. In other words, if a program is more expensive than initially forecasted in the budget, the fund is used to pay the extra costs. The fund cannot, by law, be used for hurricane relief.
The governor has found $50 million for the City of Houston, but that only scratches the surface of local need. DEMAND that Texas move to change the law surrounding the Rainy Day Fund so the surplus can be used for Harvey recovery. Surpluses are meant for disasters, and the State of Texas should give The People their money back.
Call your rep, the Governor, and the Lieutenant Governor.
Back an equitable recovery task force.
Recovery MUST be equitable for all. Harvey may have come and gone, but we are still recuperating from the damage it caused. We must ensure that recovery resources are spent on those who need them in ways that benefit them.
Call your federal, state, and local reps and demand community participation in any Harvey government task force. Call for their to be active members- not just input gathering, but actual membership- from those in affected communities on any board.
To find your state reps, use this link: http://www.fyi.legis.state.tx.us/Zip.aspx
To find your local council members, use this link: http://www.houstontx.gov/council/whoismycm.html
If you have questions, suggestions, or comments for Indivisible Houston, contact us: https://www.indivisiblehouston.org/contact-indivisible-houston/
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To donate: https://www.indivisiblehouston.org/donate/
Good luck and lots of strength in this week’s fight and all those to follow.
In love and solidarity,