May 18, 2023
Demand no default, prevent junk fees, discourage stock buybacks, and more!
Contact all members of Congress:
By phone: (202) 224-3121
By email: democracy.io
By US mail: Representatives / Senators
By fax: Representatives / Senators
By Resistbot: Resist.bot
Contact White House or other federal agencies:
DEMAND NO DEFAULT
House Speaker McCarthy continues to play chicken with the debt ceiling apparently without concern for how people, programs, and economies would be hurt. The outrageous debt that resulted following the Trump tax breaks for the wealthy is a major part of the current debt and will continue to be so if Biden’s tax plan is stopped. If MAGA Republicans succeed in their plans to default on America, millions will lose jobs. Housing costs will soar. Social Security and other public benefits will be devastatingly delayed, as will federal paychecks, including to military members. Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements to hospitals and doctors will be disrupted. The economy will tailspin into a deep recession. This is not a game. This is our lives. Let’s pressure our MoCs, whether Democrats or Republicans, to raise the debt ceiling so America can pay its past spending obligations. No strings. Future spending is a separate issue that should be negotiated with all of our representatives weighing in, not undemocratically rammed down our throats under threat of economic catastrophe. Bonus points if our MoCs are these people.
JUNK FEE PREVENTION
Junk fees like the surcharges you see at hotels and concerts cost Americans $24 billion a year. President Biden reiterated his call for Congress to pass the Junk Free Prevention Act (S.916 and H.R.2463) to shut down these scams for good. Let’s contact our members of Congress and let them know we agree with the President that these bills needs to move forward.
NO SPECIAL TREATMENT FOR SOLDIERS ACCUSED OF VIOLENT CRIMES
The military, especially the Army, has been increasingly allowing service members to be discharged from the military rather than face trial for criminal charges, including for sexual assault, with the accusations against them largely hidden from the public. The US Government Accountability Office called for the abolishment of this practice, known as “administrative separations in lieu of court-martial,” back in 1978, but it persists, and it’s getting worse. Let’s tell our MoCs that we are alarmed by the increase in the use of administrative separations in lieu of court-martial for service members accused of violent crimes, and that, for the sake of homeland security, our MoCs should introduce legislation abolishing the practice once and for all.
CHURCHES THAT VIOLATE CAMPAIGN LAWS
The 1954 Johnson Amendment prohibits nonprofits—including churches—from supporting or opposing the political campaigns of candidates for public office. Violators can lose their tax-exempt status. Yet, as recently as early May, three churches in West Texas were found to have donated a total of $800 to a conservative Christian pastor’s campaign for city council. It appears that the IRS has revoked the tax-exempt status of a Johnson Amendment violator only once—and that was thirty years ago. With conservative religious extremists pushing anti-woman and anti-LGBTQ+ political agendas, the IRS must be vigilant. Congress has oversight duties over the IRS. Let’s tell our MoCs that we expect the IRS to enforce the Johnson Amendment. We can share with them the link to this ProPublica report .
STOCK BUYBACKS: GOOD FOR INSIDERS, BAD FOR THE REST OF US
U.S. corporate stock buybacks have been spiking in recent years, growing to $1.25 trillion in 2022. Companies using profits to repurchase their own shares is great for shareholders, but means there’s less available for workers’ wages, benefits or improving working conditions. This kind of market manipulation used to be illegal, and it should be again. Let’s build momentum for it by telling our members of Congress to support the Stock Buyback Accountability Act (S.413), which would sharply increase taxes on these transactions. We can find talking points and take action with More Perfect Union here.
NY: STOP NYC MAYOR ADAMS FROM GUTTING RIGHT-TO-SHELTER
Since 1981, NYC has had a right-to-shelter law, one of only two in the nation and this one promising not a right to housing but to temporary shelter only . In preparation for a post-Title 42 influx of asylum seekers—which did NOT materialize--Adams’ recent executive order suspends the obligations of that law: offering shelter within a certain time frame is gone as is the requirement that families have units with access to a bathroom, refrigerator and kitchen. These changes are being made despite the hundreds of city-owned housing units available. Let’s tell Mayor Adams that *everyone* needs a right to housing and that we don’t want the right-to-shelter laws weakened: Mayor Eric Adams, City Hall, New York, NY 10007 or phone 212-NEW YORK or here.
CORRECTIONS AND UPDATES
The first link in this entry from Tuesday was broken and has been updated below. Thanks to our readers for keeping us honest!
SPEAK OUT AGAINST TEXAS GOVERNOR’S INTENT TO PARDON THE MURDERER OF A BLACK LIVES MATTER PROTESTOR
The Republican party claims to be for law and order, except when they support Kyle Rittenhouse, the January 6th insurrectionists, and now Daniel Perry, an Uber Driver convicted in a jury trial of murdering a protester in a Black Lives Matter demonstration. Perry just received a 25-year sentence for the murder, and despite his disturbing history of blatantly racist comments on social media, Governor Abbott has held steadfast in his attention to pardon him. Let’s contact Governor Abbott’s office and the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles and tell them Perry deserves no special treatment and we object to the governor's blatant playing of politics and going against the justice system.