TUESDAY 10/24/2017

FEDERAL:

House:

Budget Reconciliation:

The GOP-controlled Congress is in the process of passing a budget that would gut Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, all so they can pass massive tax cuts that will benefit the wealthy. The Senate has already passed the budget on a party-line 51-49 vote. Now the House will be voting on Thursday, October 26, to pass the Senate budget. For this bill, call your House reps only and let them know that you don’t want to see these vital programs get cut.

Script:

Hello, I am a constituent calling from _________________. I want to urge Rep. _______________ to vote against the Senate budget. This budget will includes massive cuts to vital social programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security in order to fund tax cuts for the wealthy. Repealing the estate tax, for example, will only benefit a small number of people at the expense of the millions of Americans who depend on Medicare and Medicaid. Thank you for taking my call.

 

Rep. Virginia Foxx

Clemmons, NC (336) 778-0211

Washington, DC (202) 225-2071

 

Rep. Ted Budd

Advance, NC (336) 998-1313

Washington, DC (202-225-4531

 

Rep. Mark Walker

Greensboro, NC (336) 333-5005

Washington, DC (202) 225-3065

 

For others: https://www.house.gov/representatives/

 

Senate:

Block the Nomination of Michael Dourson to the EPA:

From Ansje Miller via Indivisibles NC

URGENT action: This Wednesday a Senate committee will vote on a tobacco and chemical industry shill, Michael Dourson, to lead the EPA's chemicals program. This appointment can be stopped, but we need calls in to Tillis and Burr ASAP. Many of the toxic chemicals that have been popping up in NC's drinking water are chemicals that he has been paid by the chemical industry to bless.

 

Script:

Hi. I’m [your name] from [your zip code] and I urge the Senator to vote against Michael Dourson’s nomination to the EPA. Dourson’s connections to the chemical and tobacco industry make him the wrong choice to oversee our toxics programs. Please oppose his nomination and ask the committee to pull his nomination. Thank you.

 

Senator Richard Burr

Washington, DC: (202) 224-3154

Winston-Salem: (336) 631-5125

 

Senator Thom Tillis

Washington, DC: (202) 224-6342

High Point: (336) 885-0685

 

Comment on the Anti-Choice Aspects of the HHS Strategic Plan:

The U.S Department of Health and Human Services has the mission “to enhance the health and well-being of Americans by providing for effective health and human services and by fostering sound, sustained advances in the sciences underlying medicine, public health, and social services.” The purpose of HHS’ strategic plan is to share with the public a detailed description of specific performance goals that contribute to achieving the general goals and objectives designed to enact the agency’s mission. The 2018-2022 HHS strategic plan, in including anti-abortion language and a number of objectives that imply that a health provider’s moral or religious beliefs may override what is best for a patient or the patient’s wishes, reads more like a political statement designed to garner favor with extremist elements in the President’s base rather than an effort to provide the most effective and comprehensive health care for all Americans. HHS is now accepting public comment on its strategic plan until October 27. You can read the plan here (https://www.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/hhs-draft-strategic-plan-fy2018-2022.pdf) (most of the concerning language is in Objectives 1 and 2).

 

This is your opportunity to post comments letting the HHS know that interfering with a woman’s right to make her own choices. You can find information on submitting comments here (https://www.hhs.gov/about/draft-strategic-plan/index.html), but you can email comments directly to the HHS at HHSPlan@hhs.gov. Use “Strategic Plan 2018-2022” or something similar as a subject line.

 

Talking Points:

- When making numerous references to “the unborn”, or “human beings from conception to natural death”, HHS is using coded and politicized language that expresses opposition to abortion, and to providing people with access to comprehensive reproductive health care options as well as comprehensive end-of-life care options.

- Language referring to “the unborn” threatens a person’s fundamental constitutional right to essential reproductive health care. This non-scientific anti-abortion terminology also interferes with the ability to access assisted reproductive technologies (ART), some highly effective birth control methods, and prioritizes fetal personhood over constitutional and human rights.

- Phrases about ensuring respect for a provider’s religious and moral beliefs re: end of life care imply that these beliefs of healthcare providers, institutions, and insurance companies may override patients’ autonomy on end-of-life care.

- When focusing on “removing barriers for faith-based and other providers”, this language improperly implies that some limitations to access to certain health care options may be justified based on faith objections, and appears to privilege personal beliefs of providers over what may be best for the patient, or over the personal beliefs of the patient.

- Numerous objectives that focus on “removing barriers for health care providers with religious beliefs or moral convictions” imply removing barriers to allow discrimination in medical care, which is unconstitutional.

- There is no acknowledgment that in ensuring medical and health providers can exercise their full religious or moral beliefs by refusing to offer or refer to certain care, there may be negative consequences for the patient that must be considered; and that there must be an assurance of getting needed information and care to the patient regardless if a medical provider removes themselves from the situation for religious or moral reasons.

- There are numerous objectives that seem to imply a goal of HHS is to explicitly work with more faith-based organizations, which unacceptably implies that HHS may give priority in funding opportunities to faith-based organizations over other entities. This stated priority could result in persons and organizations receiving funding primarily or solely based on the fact that they are faith-based, instead of using other scientific, evidence-based measures to determine which organizations are most qualified to carry out a program. Using such non-evidence-based qualifications to purposefully increase certain groups’ participation and funding over others is highly inappropriate and risks crossing the constitutional line to establish government endorsement of particular religious views.