Ask your MoCs to wield the Power of the Purse!
Nine months ago, Indivisibles across the country asked voters to elect Democrats to Congress because they promised to use the "power of the purse" to resist the Trump/Republican agenda. Between now and the end of September, budget battles will be fought on Capitol Hill. If the Democrats we elected hold tough, they can block some of Trump's worst excesses, moderate significant parts of the Republican right-wing agenda, and show how they would govern for the people's benefit. So, we’re waging a “Power of the Purse” campaign.
In our “checks and balances” government, Congress holds the power of the purse—the authority to direct how the government spends money, and thereby what the government does and how. Trump administration programs and schemes can be blocked by denying them funds, and some of their destructive regulation and rule changes can be countered by mandating how funds have to be used.
The appropriations process is complicated and inevitably riddled with many compromises, and our MoCs know that few voters pay attention to appropriation details, so they allow themselves to be primarily influenced by those special interests who can afford to hire professional lobbyists to advocate for their private benefit.
Yet when constituents like us do communicate our opinions on appropriation matters, it lets our MoCs know we are paying attention and that we intend to hold them accountable. It is us speaking in our own voices, rather than being spoken for by professional lobbyists.
So, rather than one singular ask, we have a grab-bag of asks for you to make of your MoCs. We recommend calling at least one MoC once per day, making one ask each time. We’ll be rolling these out in Amplify and posting them on Twitter at a rate of one per day until these bills are finalized and passed.
For some of the asks below, acronyms are spelled out for your information, but since we assume the congressional staff are familiar with them, feel free to just use the acronym.
Updated July 29th, 2019
Every call should start with: Hi, my name is _____, I live in ZIP code _____, and I’m a member of Indivisible SF. …
Republican Blackmail. In the past, Republicans tried to ram through extreme right-wing policies that they had been unable to enact in Congress by holding “must pass” appropriation bills hostage to a government shutdown threat. I urge you to hold firm and defy their blackmail even at the cost of a shutdown.
Climate change. I am disappointed that far too few of the House appropriations bills include new, or adequately-expanded, funds for research and practical mitigation programs to defend and protect us from the global climate emergency that threatens our lives and livelihoods.
Corruption/Oversight. In the various appropriation bills, I urge you to increase the funding for regulatory and oversight agencies and commissions and to restore the scope of their authority that has been reduced or restricted due to Republican pressure.
Immigration. In the relevant appropriation bills, I urge you to significantly reduce funds used to deport law-abiding immigrants, separate families, or expand detention facilities. I also urge you to increase funding for humane and just treatment of immigrants.
Defense & Foreign Policy. In the relevant appropriation bills, I urge you to reduce spending for war, weapons, and weapon sales, while increasing funds aimed at fostering diplomacy and human rights. And urge you to redirect defense spending against the existential threat of the climate crisis.
In the Defense Authorization bill I support the Lee and Udall-Kaine amendments requiring congressional approval for any war with Iran.
[This passed in the House but failed to get 60 votes in the Senate. It will probably come up again]
I support the lower overall defense budget in the House Defense Authorization bill (NDAA) and oppose the higher overall budget in the Senate version of NDAA.
In the Defense Authorization bill I support House amendments 208, 394, 555, and 556 to fight cronyism and corruption and crack down on the Pentagon/contractor revolving door.
In the Defense Appropriations bill I strongly oppose any funding at all for “low-yield” and “new generation” nuclear weapons, and I demand that all such money be applied to defending us against the global climate crisis that threatens our lives and livelihoods.
In the Defense Appropriations bill I ask that you include language requiring the Pentagon to undertake and pass audits as a precondition for receiving funds for FY2020.
In the Defense Appropriations bill I support removal of U.S. military forces from the civil war in Yemen and repeal of the open-ended “blank check” 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF).
In the Defense Appropriations bill I support blocking the Trump/Republican scheme to use the Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) fund to bloat the Pentagon budget.
In the Defense Appropriations bill I support blocking funds that would build Trump's racist border wall or enforce his bigoted ban on transgender servicemembers.
In the Defense Appropriations bill I oppose funding for unnecessary and destabilizing Space Force, unneeded B21 bombers, and boondoggle F-35 fighters that are unable to meet mission requirements.
DEPARTMENT of HOMELAND SECURITY (DHS)
In the DHS appropriations bill I oppose increasing enforcement and detention funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) or any funds that will be used to separate immigrant children from their parents. I support the #DefundHate campaign.
In the DHS appropriations bill I support the current House language preventing unilateral transfer of funds from other parts of DHS to ICE. Please vote NO on any funding bill that does not include that language.
Since private prisons are less safe, less humane, and charge 50% more to incarcerate convicts and immigrants than comparable federally-operated facilities, the DHS appropriations bill should require that funding for private prisons and detention camps be immediately phased out.
The DHS Appropriations bill should include a clear and explicit prohibition against expending any funds to transfer or house immigrants at the Guantanamo prison.
In the DHS Appropriations bill I support unlimited, unannounced oversight inspections of immigrant detention facilities by members of Congress and language preventing any diversion of funds for border walls or mass roundups.
In the DHS Appropriations bill I support the proposed increase in civil rights/liberties funding and immigration detention ombudsman, but I strongly oppose any increases in CBP funding that will be used to further the administration’s racist immigration program.
In the DHS Appropriations bill I support the $600million reduction corresponding to the funds the administration transferred for the border wall and I oppose any border wall funding of any sort.
In the DHS Appropriations bill I support the phase-out of family detention by the end of this year and the funds for detention-alternative programs.
In the House DHS Appropriations bill I support the proposed FEMA increases, but I regret that nothing directly addresses the climate crisis that now threatens all of us. Both research and practical mitigation programs need to be initiated and expanded immediately.
HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES (HHS)
In the HHS appropriations bill I support the proposed funding increases included in the House version for:
ACF (Administration for Children and Families);
ACL (Administration for Community Living);
CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention);
CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services);
HRSA (Health Resources and Services Administration);
NIH (National Institutes of Health);
SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration);
and various other programs.
In the Education appropriations bill I support the proposed funding increases included in the House version for K-12, college Student Financial Aid, Higher Education, CNCS, Senior Corps, CPB, SSA, and various other programs.
In the House version of the Education appropriations bill I support Lee’s amendment prohibiting use of funds to enforce the bigoted anti-LGBT “Protecting Statutory Conscience Rights in Health Care” rule.
In the Education appropriations bill I urge you to include a policy provision that blocks Secretary DeVos’ scheme to sell government held student loans to Wall Street investors.
I urge you to include language in the Agriculture Appropriations bill guaranteeing the integrity of research, preventing political censorship of scientific reports, and prohibiting the use of funds to move USDA research and science facilities out of the DC area.
I support the provisions in the House bill to maintain and expand funding for SNAP and child nutrition programs.
I regret that nothing in the current Agriculture Appropriations bill directly addresses the climate crisis that now threatens all of us. Both research and practical mitigation programs need to be initiated and expanded immediately.
I urge you to add policy provisions to the Agriculture Appropriations bill restoring health and nutrition rules and programs sabotaged by the Trump administration such as the Hunger-Free Kids Act.
INTERIOR, ENVIRONMENT & NATIONAL PARKS (Interior)
In the Interior Appropriations bill I support language barring the use of federal funds for offshore oil drilling along the Pacific, Atlantic, and Gulf coasts, and language blocking NOAA from weakening state review of offshore drilling.
In the Interior Appropriations bill I urge you to require restoration of the pre-2017 coal valuation rule related to coal mining on federal lands and to reinstate the cancelled review of the federal coal leasing program.
STATE & FOREIGN OPERATIONS (State)
While I support the acknowledgement in the House version of State Appropriations that climate change is a national security threat, I am disappointed at the lack of funding aimed at researching, mitigating, and combating the most serious threat that humankind has ever faced.
In the State Appropriations bill I support inclusion of reproductive rights policy provisions such as the Global HER Act to repeal the abortion gag rule and repudiate the Mexico City Policy.
In the State Appropriations bill I support inclusion of policy provisions promoting gender equality, combating child marriage, and defending LGBTQ+ human rights.
In the State Appropriations bill I urge you to block funding for the religiously-biased, deceptively-named Commission on Unalienable Rights which is aimed at undermining LGBTQ+ human rights.
In the State Appropriations bill I support an increase in funds for diplomacy, foreign aid, and USAID and reject the Trump administration’s draconian cuts. But I believe that more than $11billion in foreign military aid is far too high.
In the State Appropriations bill I support the House version’s increase in funding for international family planning, maternal & child health, AIDS relief, Peace Corps, education, humanitarian assistance, LGBTQ+ rights and democracy programs.
In the State Appropriations bill I support inclusion of policy provisions promoting a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict, and humanitarian assistance for the West Bank and the Gaza strip.
In the State Appropriations bill I support prohibition of funds supporting the sale of nuclear weapons or technology to Saudi Arabia and I support provisions demanding an investigation of the Khashoggi assasination.
ENERGY & WATER
In the Energy & Water Appropriations bill I oppose spending any money at all trying to prove that coal and other fossil fuels are environmentally safe, and I strongly oppose increasing funds for that purpose over the 2019 level.
I support inclusion of provisions banning the production of Low-Yield Nuclear Weapons and “new generation” nuclear weapons in the Energy & Water and Defense Appropriation bills.
While I support increasing science funding in the Energy & Water Appropriations bill I am gravely disappointed that there is no corresponding policy provision prohibiting political censorship or distortion of research for political purposes.
In the Energy & Water Appropriations bill I support provisions to retain the Power Marketing Administrations and reject Trump’s scheme to privatize them.
COMMERCE, JUSTICE, SCIENCE (CJS)
I am deeply disappointed that nothing in the CJS Appropriations bill directly and explicitly addresses the climate crisis that now threatens all of us. Both research and practical mitigation programs need to be initiated and expanded immediately.
While I support the proposed increase in Census funding contained in the House version of the CJS Appropriations bill I urge you to add a policy provision prohibiting any use of funds for a partisan “citizenship” question.
In the House CJS Appropriations bill I support the proposed increases in NSF, NOAA, and NIST funding but I am gravely disappointed that there is no corresponding policy provision prohibiting political censorship or distortion of research for political purposes.
TRANSPORTATION, HOUSING, URBAN DEVELOPMENT (T-HUD)
I support the infrastructure funding increases in the House version of the T-HUD Appropriations bill and its clear repudiation of the Trump administration’s draconian budget cuts.
In the T-HUD Appropriations bill I strongly support a policy provision prohibiting the public housing rule changes that would evict tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants.
In the T-HUD Appropriations bill I strongly support a policy provision blocking the roll-back of vehicle fuel-standards designed to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gasses.
FINANCIAL SERVICES & GENERAL GOVERNMENT (FSGG)
In the FSGG Appropriations bill I support IRS funding increases to bolster tax-collection enforcement and ensure that all Americans pay their fair share of income taxes. I also support restoring the IRS authority to issue guidance related to 501(c)(4) political activities.
In the FSGG Appropriations bill I support removal of riders restricting the District of Columbia ability to govern itself in regards to abortion services, maijuana enforcement, and needle exchange programs.
In the FSGG Appropriations bill I support restoration and expansion of consumer-protection funds for
CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission);
EAC (Election Assistance Commission);
SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission); and
FTC (Federal Trade Commission).
MILITARY CONSTRUCTION & VETERANS AFFAIRS
While I support the Oversight & Accountability provisions in the Military Construction-Veterans Affairs appropriations bill I am disappointed there is no policy provision to explicitly prevent meddling in veterans affairs by non-appointed, un-official cronies of the president.
I regret that nothing in the current Military Construction-Veterans Affairs appropriations bill directly addresses the climate crisis that now threatens all of us. Both research and practical mitigation programs need to be initiated and expanded immediately.