Primaries last week in eight states—in which there was massive Democratic turnout–enhanced our prospects for winning control of the House. We must continue this momentum: in coming weeks, work hard for a Blue Wave in November!
Here’s what’s happening on the Hill this week:
The Trump administration continues to sabotage our health care system. The Department of Justice filed a brief Thursday arguing that protections for people with preexisting conditions are unconstitutional with the #GOPTaxScam effectively eliminating the penalty for not having insurance. If that argument prevails in the courts, it would render unconstitutional Obamacare provisions that ban insurance companies from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions — arguably the most popular component of the 2010 health care law. As many as 130 million adults under age 65 in the U.S. have pre-existing conditions that could result in their not being able to get insurance coverage in the private market, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. Our healthcare will not be safe until we elect progressives up and down the ballot who will fight to protect it. This effort to kill the ACA, without any kind of replacement, has already meant rising insurance premiums for many, and it will mean that millions will lose their health insurance. This issue must be central to the 2018 election!
House Republicans continue to hold Dreamers hostage. This coming week — the very same week that marks the 6th anniversary of the DACA program — Republicans are working on a “deal” that would require cuts to family migration and increased funding for Trump’s deportation machine in exchange for protection for Dreamers. This sets up a showdown within the GOP just as the midterms campaigns are gearing up. But remember: the best way to protect Dreamers isn’t taking a bad deal; it’s electing MoCs who will fight tooth and nail for a permanent solution.
Trump heads to Singapore for the North Korea summit. After pushing hard on his “America First” agenda at the G-7 meeting, refusing to join a joint statement negotiated at the meeting, and tweeting insults at Prime Minister Trudeau, Trump has driven a huge wedge between the U.S. and its allies. He all but blew up the G-7 nations the U.S. had led for more than four decades and essentially declared open political war on Canada. Now he heads to the risky North Korean summit. Trump said Thursday that he doesn’t need to prepare much because “it’s about attitude.” Unwinding a decades-long international conflict involving nuclear weapons requires more than just attitude.
The Senate will mark up a new blank check for Trump to wage war. Next week, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will consider a new bill (the “Corker-Kaine AUMF”—yes, that Democratic Senator, Tim Kaine!) that would make Trump’s wide-ranging war authorities even wider. Trump doesn’t need a blank check for war — this bill must not become law.
The Inspector General for the Department of Justice will release its long-awaited report next week. This report will likely critique the FBI’s (and former Director Comey’s) actions during the 2016 election, and Trump is certain to seize upon the report release to undermine the Mueller investigation, which just last week brought new obstruction charges against Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort. Please remain vigilant and remember the need for spontaneous protest in case he tries to fire either Mueller or Rosenstein. Our action plan: if either is fired BEFORE 2 p.m local time, a protest at Calder Plaza will begin at 5 p.m. If either is fired AFTER 2 p.m. local time, the protest will begin at noon the following day.
State and Local (Thanks to Shellie Jeffries for this information)
Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission ballot proposal: The Michigan Court of Appeals ordered the state elections board to certify a redistricting proposal for the November ballot. The court ruled 3-0, writing that the lawsuit brought by the conservative group Citizens Protecting Michigan’s Constitution “is without merit.” It rejected a group’s argument that the proposal is seeking to amend so many parts of the state constitution that a constitutional convention is required and that the proposal does not list all of the sections of the constitution that would be abrogated. Citizens Protecting Michigan’s Constitution says it will appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court, where two of the justices up for re-election this year have received funding from the Citizens Protecting Michigan’s Constitution group.
SB897, work requirement for Medicaid recipients: The bill passed the state House and Senate and is now awaiting the Governor’s signature. He is expected to sign it and the requirements will go into effect on January 1, 2020.
Repealing the prevailing wage ballot proposal: the House and Senate voted to repeal the prevailing wage law. Because Protecting Michigan Taxpayers got enough valid signatures to put the issue before the Legislature, the repeal will go into effect without the need for a signature from the governor, who had threatened to veto a similar bill introduced last year. GOP legislators gave the measure immediate effect, which means it will become official law when it’s enrolled in the next few days.
Legalizing recreational marijuana ballot proposal: The legislature did not act on this proposal so it will appear on the ballot in November.
SBs 652, 653 and 654, which would create private-sector panels to oversee decisions made by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, passed the state House of Representatives on May 22 and are still waiting for a concurrence vote in the Senate. The bills originally passed by the state Senate earlier this year would have made those panels the final authority on many regulatory decisions. Because the House weakened the panels’ authority — instead of giving them the final say on such decisions, the House legislation would provide an opportunity for appeal — the bills now return to the Senate for a concurrence vote. Environmentalists object to these bills for obvious reasons: Expecting panels dominated by members of the industries being regulated to make decisions in the best interests of all Michiganders seems foolhardy at the very least. Please call your state senators and urge them to vote no on these bills.
These developments only make clearer our need to support and to work for Democratic and progressive candidates running for state representative, state senator, and state supreme court!
MEETINGS/TRAINING (Thanks to Linda Kristensen and Indivisible Kent County)
MONDAY – June 11
- Grand Rapids Water Protectors Meeting, 6:00 – 7:00 P.M., Kava Kasa, 962 Cherry St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506
- Sierra Club Monthly Meeting, 7:00 – 8:00 P.M., Mayfair Church, 1763 Lyon St. SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503
TUESDAY – June 12
- No scheduled events
WEDNESDAY – June 13
- Kent Dems Monthly Meeting with David LaGrand, 7:00 – 8:30 P.M., American Postal Workers Union, 2554 Burlingame Ave SW, Wyoming, MI 49509
THURSDAY – June 14
- Justice for Our Neighbors, 12:00 – 1:00 P.M., Grand Rapids Pride Center, 343 Atlas Ave SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506
FRIDAY – June 15
- Kelly Collison Birthday Bash Fundraiser, 7:00 P.M., Replay Lansing, 536 E. Grand River Ave, Lansing, MI 48906
SATURDAY – June 16
- Canvass with Robert Van Kirk at GR Pride!, 11:00 A.M., Calder Plaza (La Grand Vitesse), Grand Rapids, MI 49503
- Grand Rapids Pride Festival 2018, 12:00 P.M., Calder Plaza (La Grand Vitesse), Grand Rapids, MI 49503
SUNDAY – June 17
- August Treu Asian Food & Fundraiser, 4:00 – 6:00 P.M., 2958 Reeds Lake Blvd SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506