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Issue 44.0: Las Vegas, Puerto Rico, CHIP
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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.


This morning, I awoke to read Jon Favreau’s piece “American Awakening” on the relaunched Crooked site (check it out — it’s great). It strikes me as necessary perspective in a particularly tough week. He writes:

“Cynicism is ultimately incompatible with democracy … The story we’ve begun to write is the story of an American awakening — the story of a national trauma that is causing us to slowly shake off our cynicism and recognize that democracy is showing up, not just on Election Day but on all the days in between. Will the story end well? Will we finally change? I have no idea. Predicting our future is a fool’s game. Trying to change it is not.”

Anyway, take care of yourself. Others will cover your shift if you need to take a few days off. You’re needed for the long haul.

1. Las Vegas shooting updates: Portraits of the victims emerge

What’s happening: (Los Angeles Times)
“At least 59 people were killed and more than 500 others injured after a gunman opened fire Sunday night at a country music festival across the street from the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip, authorities said.”

What you can do:
✓ Share this story: “
The Stories of the Victims of the Las Vegas Shooting(Click to tweet)

Support the fundraiser for the Las Vegas victims set up by Steve Sisolak, the Chair of the Clark County Commission. Over $8M has already been raised.

✓ Read: “Here’s How You Can Donate Blood for Las Vegas.” (You can help whether you’re a local or on the other side of the country.) (Click to tweet).

Tell your rep that you expect them to act, using this Indivisible resource on preventing gun violence.

2. Trump hails ‘incredible’ response in ‘lovely’ trip to storm-torn Puerto Rico

What’s happening: (Washington Post)
“President Trump arrived in Puerto Rico on Tuesday as the territory struggled to recover from Hurricane Maria, which has left nearly all the island without power and most residents without ­water nearly two weeks later. But Trump’s focus was on the “unbelievable” and “incredible” job that his administration has done so far. He repeatedly played down the destruction to the island, telling local officials they should feel “very proud” they ­haven’t lost hundreds of lives like in “a real catastrophe” like Hurricane Katrina along the Gulf Coast in 2005. But he also complained that the small territory’s disaster threw the nation’s budget “a little out of whack.” The whirlwind, four-hour visit came amid accusations that the Trump administration did not act quickly enough to help Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands after Maria — and that the president paid less attention to the territories than to Texas after Hurricane Harvey and Florida after Hurricane Irma.”

What you can do:
✓ Read and share:
“How you can help hurricane victims in Puerto Rico.” (Click to tweet)

✓ Ask your reps to support our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico. 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 express solidarity with our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico, as well as the other areas affected by Hurricane Maria. I’m asking [REPRESENTATIVE X] to do whatever we can to support the recovery, right now. Lives are at stake.”

3. 9 million kids get health insurance under CHIP. Congress just let it expire.

What’s happening: (Washington Post)
“Congress just allowed the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provided low-cost health insurance to 9 million children, to expire. If action is not taken soon to restore the funding, the effects will become obvious in schools across the country, with many of the children in the program unable to see a doctor for routine checkups, immunizations, visits when sick and other services. The program, created under a 1997 law passed with bipartisan support during the administration of President Bill Clinton, provided coverage for children in families with low and moderate incomes as well as to pregnant women. It was instrumental in lowering the percentage of children who were uninsured from nearly 14 percent when it started to 4.5 percent in 2015. It was last reauthorized in 2015 and was due to be renewed by Sept. 30, 2017.”

What you can do:
Call your reps using this 5calls script to demand Congress renew funding for the CHIP program. (Click to tweet)

4. Republican Tax Cut Would Benefit Wealthy and Corporations Most, Report Finds

What’s happening: (New York Times)
“The Republican tax plan promoted by President Trump this week as a middle-class tax cut would overwhelmingly benefit the wealthiest Americans and businesses, according to an analysis released on Friday by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center … The report, which is the first detailed assessment of the plan’s financial impact, found that the average tax bill for all income groups would decline by $1,600, or 2.1 percent, in 2018. The biggest decrease would go to those with incomes above $730,000, who would see their after-tax incomes rise by an average of 8.5 percent, or about $129,000.”

What you can do:
Use this tool to see what % of the tax cuts are expected to go to millionaires in your state.

✓ Share this story:Trump Could Save More Than $1 Billion Under His New Tax Plan” (Click to tweet) (Post on Facebook)

✓ Share this story:Republican Tax Cut Would Benefit Wealthy and Corporations Most, Report Finds” (Click to tweet) (Post on Facebook)

5. Mueller Tasks an Adviser With Getting Ahead of Pre-Emptive Pardons

What’s happening: (Bloomberg)
“U.S. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has a distinctly modern problem. The president, judging by his tweets, could try to pardon people in his circle even before prosecutors charge anyone with a crime. Mueller’s all-star team of prosecutors, with expertise in money laundering and foreign bribery, has an answer to that. He’s Michael Dreeben, a bookish career government lawyer with more than 100 Supreme Court appearances under his belt.” 

Elsewhere on the investigation:

  • Russians took a page from corporate America by using Facebook tool to ID and influence voters (Washington Post)
  • Did Manafort Use Trump to Curry Favor With a Putin Ally? (The Atlantic)
  • Hundreds of White House emails sent to third Kushner family account (Politico)

What you can do:
✓ Call your senators to ask them to support legislation that checks the president’s ability to remove a special counsel without cause.
There are two bipartisan proposals being considered currently.

To do this, use ContactingCongress.org to find your senators. Here’s a starting point.

“My name is [NAME] from [TOWN]. I am asking [SENATOR X] to support the bipartisan proposals currently being considered to check the president’s ability to remove the special counsel without cause. Does [SENATOR X] plan to support this legislation?”

Other topics:

  1. Sign up at GetAmericaCovered.org. It’s an effort to share information about this year’s Open Enrollment period given the cuts to education, communication, and navigation.
  2. Tom Price resigned after the charter flight controversy. Nice work to all those who called to hold him accountable.
  3. DACA deadline is tomorrow. It’s not ideal given the costs, but applications should be sent via next day air today. 
  4. Get involved in the upcoming Virginia elections.
  5. And again, congrats to the Crooked team on the launch of their new site and the announcement of their new team. They’re a big reason re:act got off the ground in the first place. Endlessly thankful to them.


Additional reading:

  • Trump undercuts Tillerson’s efforts on North Korea (Politico)
  • Feds Demand Facebook Share Information on Anti-Trump Protesters (NBC)
  • Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr. Were Close to Being Charged With Felony Fraud (ProPublica)
  • House passes ban on abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy (CNN)
  • Mattis: Stick to Iran deal (Politico)
  • Rep. Tim Murphy, popular with pro-life movement, urged abortion in affair, texts suggest (Post-Gazette)
  • Kennedy’s Vote Is in Play on Voting Maps Warped by Politics (New York Times)
  • E.P.A. Chief’s Calendar: A Stream of Industry Meetings and Trips Home (New York Times)
  • Lawyers consolidate Flint water class-action suit (Detroit News)
  • DHS Should Stop the Social Media Surveillance of Immigrants (EFF)
  • United States rejects UN resolution condemning use of death penalty to target LGBTQ people (ThinkProgress)
  • Tillerson’s Fury at Trump Required an Intervention From Pence (NBC)
  • Senators Baffled By Equifax’s $7.25M Contract With IRS After Data Breach (TPM)

Finally, will leave you with this piece by Ta-Nehisi Coates: “Civil-Rights Protests Have Never Been Popular. Activists can’t persuade their contemporaries — they’re aiming at the next generation.”

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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