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Issue 46.0: Obamacare Deal, Fallen Soldiers, Virginia
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re:act is a weekly list of a few concrete things you can do to take action during the Trump presidency.

1. Alexander, Murray strike bipartisan Obamacare deal providing subsidies, state flexibility

What’s happening: (POLITICO)
“Sens. Lamar Alexander and Patty Murray say they have reached an agreement on a bipartisan Obamacare deal to fund a key insurance subsidy program and provide states flexibility to skirt some requirements of the health care law. There is no assurance that the agreement will get to the Senate floor, however … The deal would include funding through 2019 for Obamacare’s cost-sharing program, which President Donald Trump cut last week. It would allow states to use existing Obamacare waivers to approve insurance plans with “comparable affordability” to Obamacare plans, Alexander said.” Nearly 70 percent of those benefiting from the cost-sharing subsidies live in states Trump won last November, according to an analysis by The Associated Press.

What you can do:
✓ Call your Senators and rep.
Read Indivisible’s “Repeal by Executive Order — Trump’s Latest Health Care Sabotage, Explained.” This great resource includes a script to call your Senators/rep in support of the Alexander-Murray deal. Read this summary of the bill on Andy Slavitt’s twitter page here.

✓ Read and share: “Trump’s move will lead to higher premiums for middle class consumers he’s vowed to protect.” (Click to tweet) As Ezra Klein writes, “Trump’s new policy will increase premiums by 20%, cost the government $194 billion, increase the deficit, destabilize insurance markets, and increase the number of uninsured Americans. There is nothing it makes better; it’s pure policy nihilism.” (Click to tweet)

2. Twelve days of silence, then a swipe at Obama: How Trump handled four dead soldiers

What’s happening: (Washington Post)
On the day four U.S. Special Forces soldiers were gunned down at the border of Niger and Mali in the deadliest combat incident since President Trump took office, the commander in chief was lighting up Twitter with attacks on the “fake news” media. But a president who revels in providing color commentary on the news said nothing about what happened in Niger for 12 straight days — until Monday in the Rose Garden of the White House, where he was asked by a reporter to explain his uncharacteristic silence … Trump leveled false accusations at his predecessors, including former president Barack Obama, saying they never or rarely called family members of service members who were killed on their watch, when in fact they regularly did … In his call with Sgt. La David T. Johnson’s widow, Myeshia Johnson, Trump reportedly told her, “He knew what he was signing up for, but I guess it hurts anyway.”

What you can do:
Support those grieving the loss of a military loved one by donating, volunteering, fundraising, or partnering with TAPS. The Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS) has assisted over 70,000 surviving family members, casualty officers and caregivers. (Click to tweet)

✓ Read the local news stories on the fallen: Staff Sgt. Bryan Black, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Johnson, Sgt. La David Johnson, Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright. There is also a verified GoFundMe page to support a scholarship for the children of La David T Johnson.

3. Poll: Gillespie, Northam deadlocked in Virginia governor race

What’s happening: (POLITICO)
“Three new public polls show next month’s Virginia gubernatorial race within the margin of error. A Monmouth University poll — the most recently conducted of the surveys, all released Tuesday — shows Republican Ed Gillespie, a former Bush administration official and Republican National Committee chairman, in front of Democrat Ralph Northam, the commonwealth’s lieutenant governor, 48 percent to 47 percent.” The future of the Virginia House of Delegates and Governorship will be decided on November 7, so the time to help is now.

What you can do:
Sign up to knock doors or make calls in Virginia using this easy tool. (Click to tweet)

Learn more about the candidates flippable is supporting in Virginia.

Donate to flippable to support candidates in Virginia and Washington state. You can also contribute to Ralph Northram for Governor.

4. Trump Disavows Nuclear Deal, but Doesn’t Scrap It

What’s happening: (New York Times)
“President Trump announced on Friday his decision to disavow the Iran nuclear agreement, threatening to leave the deal altogether if it was not amended to permanently block Tehran from building nuclear weapons or intercontinental missiles … Mr. Trump’s decision not to certify that Iran was complying with all terms of the agreement came after a fierce debate inside the administration, according to a senior official familiar with the discussions and who agreed to describe them on the condition of anonymity … Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis argued that it was in the national security interests of the United States to keep the deal’s constraints on Iran.”

What you can do: 
Call your reps to ask them to preserve the Iran deal.

✓ Read and share this backgrounder: “The Impact of the Iran Nuclear Agreement” from the Council on Foreign Relations. (Click to tweet)

5. Trump drug czar nominee is withdrawing; administration ‘very concerned’ about law he championed

What’s happening: (Washington Post)
“President Trump announced Tuesday that Rep. Tom Marino (R-Pa.), his nominee for drug czar, was withdrawing in the wake of an investigative report detailing how he helped pass legislation weakening the Drug Enforcement Administration’s ability to go after drug distributors, even as opioid-related deaths continue to rise … A Washington Post/“60 Minutes” investigation published Sunday explained how a targeted lobbying effort helped bolster legislation, known as the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act, that made it harder for the DEA to act against giant drug distributors, some of which were fined for repeatedly ignoring warnings from the agency to shut down suspicious sales of hundreds of millions of pills.”

What you can do:
✓ Thank the journalists who led the reporting.

✓ Call to repeal the bill in question. Use ContactingCongress.org to find your senators and house rep. Here’s a starting point.

“Hello, my name is [NAME] from [PLACE]. I’m calling to ask [REPRESENTATIVE X] to support the repeal of the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act. Given the recent reports by the Washington Post and 60 Minutes, it’s clear that this bill weakens the fight against the opioid epidemic. Has [REPRESENTATIVE X] made a decision on this?”

Ask your reps to oppose the proposed spending cuts to Medicaid and Medicare.

Finally, review last week’s actions on Puerto Rico, birth control, CHIP, bump stocks, and more. 69 Republicans just voted against aid for Puerto Rico. The fight on all these issues is ongoing. 

Some inspiration:

We Want You: Why Women Should Run for Office by Kirsten Gillibrand
“Let me tell you the words I wish someone had said to me 20 years ago: You should run for office. Actually, I should tell you that we need you to run for office — I couldn’t be more serious about it. For 15 years, I worked as a corporate lawyer, denying even to myself what was in my heart — that I wanted to run for office someday. It took me years to finally summon up the courage to admit my own ambition out loud, to anyone. Like so many women, I didn’t think I had enough experience, or the right experience. Surely, I wasn’t qualified to run for Congress! Wrong.”

Senator McCain’s remarks upon receiving the Liberty Medal
“To abandon the ideals we have advanced around the globe, to refuse the obligations of international leadership for the sake of some half-baked, spurious nationalism cooked up by people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems,” he said, “is as unpatriotic as an attachment to any other tired dogma of the past that Americans consigned to the ash heap of history.”
 



Additional Reading

  • An activist, a little girl and the heartbreaking origin of ‘Me too’ (CNN)
  • Watching Harvey Weinstein Fall, Trump’s Accusers Feel Frustrated (BuzzFeed)
  • What to do about the genocide in Burma (Pod Save the World on Facebook)
  • Mogadishu truck bomb: 500 casualties in Somalia’s worst terrorist attack (Guardian)
  • Bipartisan Group Plans to Urge Trump to Adjust Policing Policies (New York Times)
  • Republicans Warn Trump Not to Remove the United States From NAFTA (IJR)
  • ‘Partisan’ Gerrymandering Is Still About Race (ProPublica)
  • Betsy DeVos Is Being Sued By 17 States Over For-Profit College Rules (BuzzFeed)
  • Manafort Had $60 Million Relationship With a Russian Oligarch (NBC)
  • Exclusive: Army bans green card holders from enlisting, a move that may break federal law (Mic)
  • Putin Rival Ties Kushner Meeting to Kremlin Bankers (NBC)
  • Spicer interviewed by Mueller’s team (POLITICO)
  • Federal Judge Blocks Trump’s Third Travel Ban (Bloomberg)
  • ‘A Soulless Coward’: Coach Gregg Popovich Responds to Trump (The Nation)
  • Kansas Tried a Tax Plan Similar to Trump’s. It Failed. (New York Times)
  • Trump’s pick for DHS chief was at center of Katrina disaster (Washington Post)
  • Inside the ‘adult day-care center’: How aides try to control and coerce Trump (Washington Post)
  • Raqqa, ISIS ‘Capital,’ Is Captured, U.S.-Backed Forces Say (New York Times)
  • A Tax Proposal That Could Lift Millions Out of Poverty (The Atlantic)

 

Thank you.
Derek

Editor's note: This list is not meant to be authoritative, exhaustive, or even expert. I'm just a guy letting you know some things I am doing every week.  I'd love for those with more legislative experience to recommend better levers to pull. I'd love for you to point out what I missed, because I will definitely miss things. 

Please send ideas or stories of your involvement ​my way at derek@reactletter.com
Follow @derekcnel for updates
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