The Week Ahead: April 23

Federal

Stopping Pompeo: On Monday, The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will vote on whether to recommend Mike Pompeo as Trump’s next Secretary of State. All Democrats on the committee have announced they will vote no, and they may be joined by one or more Republicans. But even if Pompeo fails that vote, it’s likely that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will force a final confirmation vote later in the week on the full Senate floor. Last year, 14 Democrats and one Independent joined the Republicans to help his nomination for CIA Director sail through. And unfortunately, one Democrat – Senator Heitkamp (D-ND) has already announced she will support Pompeo, which makes our path to victory narrower. Both Senators Peters and Stabenow have pledged to vote no on Pompeo.
Protecting Mueller: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would not allow a vote on a measure that would make it harder for President Trump to fire special counsel Robert Mueller. Some Republicans, however, are forcing the debate. S. 2644, the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act, introduced by Senators Booker, Coons, Graham, and Tillis, will be voted on by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday, April 26. A strong committee vote can send a clear message that Congress will protect the investigation against Trump’s obstruction.
Threats to the Safety Net: On Wednesday, with a 26-to-20 vote along partisan lines, House Republicans on the Agriculture Committee advanced the farm bill. The usually placid committee saw lawmakers fighting for five hours over the expansion of work requirements for food stamp recipients. At the same time, through a sweeping executive order that was quietly issued earlier last week, the Trump administration is seeking to completely revamp the country’s social safety net, targeting recipients of Medicaid, food stamps and housing assistance. Trump’s order calls on the Departments of Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, Agriculture, and other agencies across the federal government to craft new rules requiring that beneficiaries of a host of programs work or lose their benefits. Welfare reform has long been a goal of GOP lawmakers, and there’s broad support among Republican for changing the federal safety net to impose stricter work requirements and block grant state funding for programs like Medicaid and food stamps. But a short legislative calendar and a slim Republican majority in the Senate means the administration may be largely on its own. Agencies are limited in what changes they can make to their programs, so comprehensive welfare reform may be off the table without major legislation. But for parallel efforts in Michigan to shred the safety net, see “State and Local” below!

Another ripple on the Blue Wave? On Tuesday, April 24, there’s another important race in Arizona! Hiral Tipirneni (AZ-08) is a first-generation Indian immigrant, and first-time candidate running in a special election to replace disgraced Rep. Trent Franks in Congress. Arizona’s 8th District is a deep red district, but Hiral is making the seat competitive (a poll showed the race in a dead heat!). This is the first election featuring a nationally endorsed Indivisible candidate, and we can’t wait to see the results of all the work groups have put into helping elect Hiral. All eyes will be on Arizona’s 8th District Tuesday night!

State and Local (Thanks to Shellie Jeffries for this information)

Threat to the Safety Net:  SB897: Despite heroic efforts by Democrats to fix this very fast-tracked bill Senate Bill 897, (including one amendment that would “require legislators to attend at least 29 hours a week when the legislature is in session”) on Thursday it passed the Senate 26-11, along party lines, even though the bill’s sponsor admits it will cost the state money. The bill would require that all Medicaid recipients (both those in traditional Medicaid and those newly covered by the Healthy Michigan expansion) work at least 29 hours a week or lose their health insurance. Governor Rick Snyder’s office said this bill is “neither a reasonable nor responsible change to the state’s social safety net” and the governor will continue to talk with legislators in hopes of improving the plan before it reaches his desk. The bill is currently in the House Committee on Appropriations and it’s not clear how quickly it will be taken up there. Chris Afendoulis (73rd district, and running in November for Senate District 29) is a member of that committee, so it is especially important to contact him to oppose it. He will be holding coffee hours on Monday, April 30 from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at the Red Hot Inn, 3175 Leonard St. NE. He can also be reached at (855) 347-8073 or ChrisAfendoulis@house.mi.gov

MEETINGS/TRAINING (Thanks to Linda Kristensen, The HUB Organize, and others for much of this information)

MONDAY – April 23

  • no scheduled events

TUESDAYApril 24

  • no scheduled events

WEDNESDAYApril 25

THURSDAYApril 26

FRIDAYApril 27

SATURDAY, April 28

SUNDAY, April 29

Amplify Actions
-Contact state representative Chris Afendoulis and tell him to oppose S.B. 897, which would require Medicare recipients to work or lose their benefits.
-Contact Senators Stabenow and Peters and thank them for pledging not to confirm Mike Pompeo for Secretary of State.

CURRENT DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES FOR PUBLIC OFFICE:
• Debbie Stabenow – U.S. SENATOR
• Gretchen Whitmer for MICHIGAN Governor
• Abdul El-Sayed for MICHIGAN Governor
• Bill Cobbs for MICHIGAN Governor
• Shri Thanedar for MICHIGAN Governor
• Joselyn Benson for MICHIGAN Secretary of State
• Dana Nessel for MICHIGAN Attorney General
• Samuel Bagenstos and Megan Kathleen Cavanagh for MICHIGAN Supreme Court
• Winnie Brinks is running for State Senate District 29
• Ryan Jeanette is running for State Senate District 28 (Mac Gregor – incumbent)
• Robert Van Kirk is running for State Representative District 77 (Brann – incumbent)
• Rachel Hood is running for State Representative District 76 (Winnie’s former seat)
• Lauren Taylor is running for State Representative District 86
• Jerry Sias is running for State Representative District 89
• Dr. Rob Davidson is running for U.S. REPRESENTATIVE District 2 (Huizinga – incumbent)
• Fred Wooden is running for U.S. REPRESENTATIVE District 3 (Amash – incumbent)
• Cathy Albro is running for U.S. REPRESENTATIVE District 3 (Amash – incumbent)
• August Stephen Treu is running for Kent County Commissioner District 11 (Saalfield – incumbent)
• Katy Steele Barone is running for Kent County Commissioner District 12
• Monica Sparks is running for Kent County Commissioner District 12
• Robert Smith is running for Kent County Commissioner District 9
• Stephen Wooden is running for Kent County Commissioner District 18