Policy

Call to Action: Urge Congress to Keep the Government Open Without Draconian Budget Cuts

CALL TO ACTIONPlease call your U.S. Representative and both U.S. Senators to express your opposition to the Trump administration's short-term budget request for Fiscal Year 2017, which artificially insists on $33 billion in new defense and border spending and $18 billion worth of spending cuts elsewhere in order to prevent the federal government from shutting down on April 29. Instead, urge your Member of Congress to work across party lines to pass a "clean" spending bill that keeps the government funded at or near its current levels. Find your Congressional members at WhoIsMyRepresentative.com. Feel free to customize the suggested script below with your own words.Suggested Script:My name is _____________, and I am a constituent of [Congressional member]. I strongly oppose the President's short-term budget request for the remainder of this fiscal year, for a number of reasons.First, the military does not need an additional $30 billion dollars in defense spending over the next five m...
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Pledge to Support the EPA Today!

Time to get your comment on – the EPA needs you! EPA is calling for public comments on its regulations – the ones that protect us from polluted air and water, toxic chemicals, and climate change. The EPA needs to hear that Americans care about these protections, and are watching. We will not go backwards!PLEDGE YOUR SUPPORT TODAY.The comment period ends on May 15th, so pledge to take action today!1. Attend or call in to one of the the public comment sessions that the EPA is holding, and offer your comments. Attending one of the in-person or teleconference sessions will make sure your voice is heard.a) See the list of public comment sessions below.b) Click the link to sign up for the session (note: not all sessions require pre-registration).c) Think about what you will say in advance, using the suggestions below.2. Whether or not you can attend or call into one of the public meetings, also submit a comment in writing. Click here to be taken to the comment page. Click the Comm...
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Weeks 11-12 in Science & Technology: EPA Seeks Public Comments as Anti-Science Trends Continue

An Opportunity For Public Comments at EPAThe Trump administration's drive to roll back governmental protections continues. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced last week that it is taking public comments on regulatory reform in accordance with Executive Order 13777, "Enforcing the Regulatory Reform Agenda." The agency "is seeking input on regulations that may be appropriate for repeal, replacement, or modification." However, this is an opportunity for the public to offer their support for the key role the EPA plays in protecting human health and our environment.In January, President Trump signed a memo that ordered the Commerce Department to solicit public comments on "actions to streamline permitting and reduce regulatory burdens for domestic manufacturers." A recent analysis by The Washington Post of the comments submitted revealed that most came from industry, whose top targets for regulations to change or remove were clean air and water and labor protections--putt...
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Protect our Care, #RejectRepeal Day of Action, April 19

demand Republicans reject repeal and #ProtectOurCare: Do not take away our care. Stop trying to repeal the Affordable Care ActProtect our Care is hosting a nationwide day of action, Wednesday, April 19 to Protect Our Care. Below are key resources shared from them and other organizations critical to the healthcare fight. Key Questions to Ask Members of CongressMembers need to keep hearing from their constituents so they understand that it's time to give up on repealing the health care law. Remember: Keep it personal. The best and most impactful questions are ones where someone shares their story about what the Affordable Care Act has meant to them or their family. Do you agree with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan that you should not work with Democrats to fix the Affordable Care Act and work together to bring costs down? Will you give up on repealing and replacing the law with anything that results in people losing their health coverage and increasing costs? Choose your own issue: It'...
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Week 11 in Energy & Environment: 25% Proposed Cuts to EPA Workforce, Pruitt and Carbon Dioxide

Deeper Cuts at EPA. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) developed a detailed plan to achieve a 31 percent budget cut, as outlined by President Trump's budget blueprint. EPA plans to lay off 25 percent of its workforce and scrap 56 programs, including those related to pesticide safety, water runoff control, and climate protection programs. The Administration defended the cuts, noting they are devolving authority to the states, localities, and in some cases, corporations. But with many states dependent upon federal programs and grants, their elimination could create a situation where no one is protecting our environment.Fox News pushes Pruitt on climate science. During an interview with Chris Wallace, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt walked back his claims last month that carbon dioxide is not a primary driver of climate change, and said, "human activity contributes to the change in some measures. The real issue is how much we contribute to it and measuring that with precisio...
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WEEK 10 IN ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT: PROPPING UP FOSSIL ENERGY PRODUCTION

As part of his America First Energy Plan, this week, President Trump signed an Executive Order on Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth aimed at increasing domestic fossil-fuel production while attacking Obama-era climate actions. This broad executive order:Directs federal agencies to to begin review discretionary actions (i.e, those not required by statute) that "potentially burden" domestic energy production, and to submit their draft findings within 120 days and finalized within 180 days. The OMB Director (Mick Mulvaney), in consultation with the Assistant to the President for Economic Policy (Ashley Hickey Marquis), will oversee this process.Repeals climate- and energy-related presidential and regulatory actions issued by President Obama:Executive Order 13653, Preparing the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change (2013)Power Sector Carbon Pollution Standards (2013)Mitigating Impacts on Natural Resources from Development and Encouraging Related Private Investm...
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Week 10 in Trade: The Administration Reconsiders NAFTA

THE PAST TWO WEEKS: "BUY AMERICAN" CONTROVERSYThe Administration, some congressional leaders, and a few states have begun pushing for more "Buy American" provisions in state and federal spending. However, our treaty obligations require that the US not apply any sort of preference for domestic firms in any federal contracts over $10.1 million (the amount varies, but most of our treaties use this number). They also prevent those other governments from preventing US firms from competing for their business, something American companies do quite frequently.Were we to violate those treaty obligations (or withdraw from those treaties), we'd lose the ability to compete for business with foreign governments. We'd also end up paying higher prices (if the domestic firms' goods and services were cheaper, they'd have won the contracts in the first place). That extra spending has real cost; we have to raise taxes higher for the same public services, if we have these restrictions.These treaties do...
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Week 10 in Science & Technology: Trump and Republicans Target Environmental Protections

Republican Attacks on the EPA and the Environment ContinueLast week was a tough one for science and the environment. The House passed two bills that will make it more difficult for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to incorporate good science in its rulemaking:The Honest and Open New EPA Science Treatment ("HONEST") Act (passed March 29) would prevent the EPA from proposing, finalizing, or disseminating any guidance or regulation unless all of the underlying technical data is publicly available and reproducible--a standard that is crafted to sound reasonable but is designed to place an undue burden on scientists and the EPA to slow down the regulatory process. The EPA Science Advisory Board Reform Act (passed March 30) would allow industry representatives--even those with financial conflicts of interest--to serve on the body that provides scientific advice to the EPA, but would prevent non-industry scientists (i.e. academic researchers) from serving if they have a grant from...
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North Carolina Offers HB 142 As Compromise Against Controversial HB 2 'Bathroom Bill'

HB 142 is the newest compromise in the attempt by Democrats to repeal North Carolina's controversial "bathroom bill," HB 2, which was passed last year. HB 2 made it illegal for a person to go into a multi-stall bathroom in a school or public agency facility if that person's biological sex was different than the gender allowed in the particular bathroom. It was a bill targeted against the trans community and caused public outcry.The NCAA threatened to not schedule any of its championship games in North Carolina from 2018-2022 if HB 2 was not repealed. As the deadline for the NCAA's decisions on state bids looms (some reports indicate that NCAA gave North Carolina a 48-hour deadline yesterday to repeal HB 2), state Republicans and Democratic Governor Roy Cooper introduce HB 142 today. HB 142 repeals HB 2 but continues to leave the state legislature in charge of bathrooms, showers, and changing facilities in schools and public agencies. Additionally, it explicitly bans local government...
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Week 9 in Energy & Environment: Keystone XL Pipeline Permit Approved and Ethics Action Against Scott Pruitt

Budgets. An analysis released this week shows that spending on federal contracts related to the environment in fiscal year 2016 reached 423 congressional districts. Almost half of the $5.9 billion went to districts represented by Republicans, which may present challenges when the Administration tries to pursue major spending cuts that affect these districts.Permits. Friday, the Trump administration approved a permit authorizing construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. This doesn't yet clear the path for TransCanada's $8 billion project, which still requires regulatory approval from the Nebraska Public Service Commission. That decision won't likely come until fall 2017. The State Department approved the project with an environmental impact assessment (EIA) conducted in 2014 and opponents argue both the project and energy markets have changed so much since then that a new EIA is needed. The Nebraska State government and organizations like the NRDC and Sierra Club are ready to challen...
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