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Issue 45.0: Puerto Rico, Birth Control, Clean Power Plan
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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. Puerto Rico: 84% Still Doesn’t Have Power

What’s happening: (New York Times)
“It has been nearly three weeks since Hurricane Maria ripped through Puerto Rico, devastating huge swaths of the island. At least 43 people have died, a number that may rise as communication systems improve. The island’s health care workers are facing a crisis exacerbated by diesel fuel shortages and low supplies of medicine.” An overview of the current situation from the New York Times:

  • Only 16 percent of the island has electricity.
  • More than 6,000 people are in shelters.
  • About 37 percent still don’t have drinking water.
  • 98 percent of hospitals are open.

The House just unveiled their relief package, but as The Intercept reports, “$5 billion of the funds earmarked for Puerto Rico comes in the form of a loan, increasing the amount of money the island will eventually need to pay back.” As Chris Hayes said, “They’re going to charge them a leasing fee for the life raft as they drown.”

What you can do:
✓ Ask your reps to support an immediate, just relief package for 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 get a relief package passed as quickly as possible — including debt relief for the people of Puerto Rico. Lives are at stake.”

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

2. Trump Guts Requirement That Employer Health Plans Pay For Birth Control

What’s happening: (NPR)
“The Trump administration is rolling back the Obama-era requirement that employer-provided health insurance policies cover birth control methods at no cost to women … According to senior officials with the Department of Health and Human Services, the goal of the new rule is to allow any company or nonprofit group to exclude the coverage for contraception if it has a religious or moral objection.” Said the CEO of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: "This rule is listing things that are not scientifically validated, and in some cases things that are wrong, to try to justify a decision that is not in the best interests of women and society." 

What you can do:
Submit a public comment to the Department of Health and Human Services using this form from the ACLU. As they write, “The rule must go through a public comment process — which means that we have a key moment to raise our voices and make this rule so toxic that they have to drop it.” (Click to tweet this link)

3. E.P.A. Announces Repeal of Major Obama-Era Carbon Emissions Rule

What’s happening: (New York Times)
“The Environmental Protection Agency announced on Tuesday that Scott Pruitt, the chief of the agency, had signed a measure to repeal President Barack Obama’s signature policy to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, setting up a bitter fight over the future of America’s efforts to tackle global warming … Eliminating the Clean Power Plan makes it less likely that the United States can fulfill its promise as part of the Paris climate agreement to ratchet down emissions that are warming the planet and contributing to heat waves and sea-level rise.”

What you can do:
Call your reps using this 5calls.org script to protect the Clean Power Plan. (Click to tweet)

Write your state legislators using this tool from the Union of Concerned Scientists. Ask your reps to turn your state into a clean energy leader.

✓ Read and share: “Scott Pruitt’s Cynical Move to Rescind the Clean Power Plan” by the Union of Concerned Scientists (Click to tweet)

4. Bipartisan bill filed to ban sale, manufacture of bump stocks

What’s happening: (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
“A bipartisan bill to ban the sale and manufacture of bump stocks — devices that allow semi-automatic rifles to fire at an accelerated rate — was filed Tuesday in the House. Reps. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., and Carlos Curbelo, R-Fla., filed the legislation, citing the Oct. 1 tragedy on the Strip. Curbelo said that, for the first time in decades, “there is a growing bipartisan consensus for sensible gun policy, a polarizing issue that has deeply divided Republicans and Democrats.” Las Vegas shooting victims have also filed suit against bump stock makers

What you can do:
✓ Call your reps to ban the sale and manufacture of bump stocks.
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 recently-introduced bipartisan legislation that bans the sale and manufacture of bump stocks. Does [REP X] plan on supporting these efforts?”

5. House GOP delays vote on children’s health care funding to negotiate with Dems

What’s happening: (The Hill)
“Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on health have agreed to return to negotiations with Democrats on a bill to continue funding for the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) … Democrats specifically opposed offsets chosen by Republicans that would cut funds to an ObamaCare public health fund and require older Americans with incomes of more than $500,000 a year to pay higher Medicare premiums.”

Also important: Andy Slavitt is reporting that President Trump plans on signing a healthcare executive order today (Thursday) at 11:15am EST.

What you can do:
Check to see if your rep is on the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on Health, where the funding is currently being negotiated. Use ContactingCongress.org to find their contact info and urge them to support CHIP funding as quickly as possible.

6. Killer wildfires continue to scorch California’s wine country, with 23 dead and hundreds missing

What’s happening: (Washington Post)
“Officials with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) said they have yet to determine the cause of the fires, which have killed at least 23 people in Napa, Sonoma, Yuba and Mendocino counties. The conflagrations have led tens of thousands of people to flee their homes. Evacuations continue, including one order Wednesday afternoon covering the entire city of Calistoga in Napa County. About 4,400 are in shelters and will not be able to go home for many days, officials said. The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office said of the 600 people reported missing, 315 have been located safe. Another 285 are still reported missing, but many may have lost cellphones or Internet access and may not have been able to reach friends or family.”

What you can do:
Use this consolidated GoFundMe page to support families in California. (Click to tweet)

Additional reading

Foreign Policy:

  • Bob Corker Says Trump’s Recklessness Threatens ‘World War III’ (New York Times)
  • Mark Meadows on Corker’s Trump comments: “It’s easy to be bold when you’re not coming back” (Vox)
  • Experts: North Korea Targeted U.S. Electric Power Companies (NBC)
  • Trump Wanted Tenfold Increase in Nuclear Arsenal, Surprising Military (NBC)

Domestic Politics and Policy:

  • Trump suggests challenging NBC's broadcast license (POLITICO)
  • President Trump has made 1,318 false or misleading claims over 263 days (Washington Post)
  • Trump Approval Dips in Every State, Though Deep Pockets of Support Remain (Morning Consult)
  • Pelosi hints Dems will play hardball to protect Dreamers (The Hill)
  • Obama-linked group asks for temporary injunction against Trump voter commission (McClatchy)

Mueller Investigation:

  • Trump ‘likely obstructed justice’ in Comey firing, could be impeached, Brookings Institution says (NBC)
  • Carter Page says he won’t testify before Senate Intelligence panel in Russia probe (Politico)
  • How Russia Harvested American Rage to Reshape U.S. Politics (New York Times)

Personnel:

  • Inspector general launches second review of Steven Mnuchin’s travels (CNN)
  • The price tag for Pence’s trip to Indianapolis (CNN)
  • Traveling in style: Trump’s White House wrestles with Cabinet costs (Washington Post)
  • Amid a widening rift, John Kelly has a Mar-a-Lago strategy to contain Trump (Vanity Fair)
  • A ‘pressure cooker’: Trump’s frustration and fury rupture alliances, threaten agenda (Washington Post)

National news:

  • From Aggressive Overtures to Sexual Assault: Harvey Weinstein’s Accusers Tell Their Stories (New Yorker)
  • Utah officer fired after nurse’s arrest caught on video (ABC)
  • ESPN suspends Jemele Hill over NFL tweets (CNN)

And finally, here's the link to share this week's newsletter on twitter and facebook. Thank you.

Thank you, as always.
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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