Early this morning, the Senate passed the House’s $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill in hopes of keeping the government open past tonight’s funding deadline. This 2,232 page bill contains many progressive wins, including:
- Funding for the Environmental Protection Agency, which rejects Trump’s proposed 30 percent cut by keeping the agency’s funding at its current level;
- $3 billion in extra funding for opioid treatment and prevention; and
While this bill contains funding for several progressive priorities and excludes several hateful proposals from the Trump administration, it does nothing for Dreamers who are still at risk of deportation. Just hours ago, Trump tweeted a threat to veto the bill because it does not include protections for Dreamers or the level of funding for the border wall that he requested—even while increasing funding for certain parts of immigration enforcement—after his communications team and the Vice President said he would sign the bill. But Trump seems to be forgetting that he ended DACA nearly 7 months ago and has continued to sabotage it by rejecting multiple popular bipartisan solutions. It remains to be seen if our government will still be open tomorrow morning.
The bottom line: This is another Trump attempt to play reality show with people’s lives. Enough is enough.
ACTION OF THE DAY
Second Chances. This November, Florida voters will have the chance to restore the eligibility to vote to 1.4 million Floridians with prior felony convictions. Individuals who have paid their full debt to society have earned the opportunity to participate in and give back to their communities. But they need your help. Next week, there will be a Virtual Phone Bank to connect with every person who signed the petition to get the measure on the Florida ballot. You can sign up here and help mobilize those voters to vote ‘yes’ on Amendment 4 this November.
March for Our Lives. Tomorrow is the #MarchForOurLives, organized by student survivors of last month’s mass shooting at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. This is expected to be one of the largest demonstrations in American history, with organizers expecting around half a million demonstrators in the nation’s capital alone. If you are attending the march in Washington, D.C., check out this preparation guide before you go. If you can’t make it to Washington, but still want to participate, look for a local march near you!
We Won’t Go Back. Today is the 8th anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) into law. In case you needed a refresher on the state of healthcare prior to this groundbreaking law, here are just a few things you should remember: insurance companies used to be able to deny coverage based on pre-existing conditions; maternity and mental health services were more scarce; and fewer women could afford contraception. The ACA has changed so many lives for the better, and we won’t go back.
McMaster Out, Bolton In. Donald Trump announced his plans to replace national security adviser H.R. McMaster with John Bolton, a former U.N. Ambassador known for his hardline, hawkish foreign policy views. Per CAP’s Kelly Magsamen, Bolton is a dangerous choice for the country, “a reckless fearmonger and ideologue who believes war is always the answer.” Bolton remains a supporter of the war in Iraq and believes military action, rather than diplomacy, is the solution regarding North Korea and Iran. This is the most recent and alarming shakeup in a month of chaos at the senior levels of the Trump Administration.
Stephon Clark. Last Sunday, two Sacramento police officers fatally shot 22-year old Stephon Clark in his grandmother’s backyard. What police believed to be a weapon in Clark’s hand turned out to be a cell phone. Clark’s tragic death marks the seventh police shooting of an unarmed man in 2018 and serves as a chilling reminder of the need to address the dangerous intersection of policing and race. In their interactions with law enforcement officers, young black males are 21 times more likely to be shot by a law enforcement officer than their white counterparts. If society is to truly move forward, lawmakers must work to bridge the divide and build trust between communities of color and law enforcement. This includes promoting transparency and holding people accountable, not only through administrative review, but also through prosecution.
Inequality’s Racism. This week, Rebecca talks with Darrick Hamilton, who shared the stage with Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and documentarian Michael Moore at Bernie’s #InequalityTownHall earlier this week. Next, Stanford economist Raj Chetty unpacks his groundbreaking new study on the “punishing reach of racism for black boys,” and Tracey Ross of the All-in Cities Initiative shares what cities are doing to tackle racial inequality. Plus, two moms turned health care activists share what the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid mean to their daughters as we say happy birthday to the ACA. Tune in to hear the latest episode of Off-Kilter here.
UNDER THE RADAR
Hurricane Harvey’s Toxic Impact. The Associated Press and Houston Chronicle released an in-depth report yesterday evening revealing widespread air, water, and land pollution in communities throughout the Houston area due to Hurricane Harvey and lax regulation of industrial polluters. Despite only a handful of investigations of incidents by federal officials and zero enforcement actions by Texas officials, the reporters uncovered evidence of more than 100 unpublicized leaks and spills leaving sickened families and young children without answers about the lasting impacts to their health and the safety of their communities. Sadly, the chances of recourse for these Texans are low due to state and federal regulators friendliness with the petrochemical and industrial polluters. The story points to how climate-charged storms like Harvey can make things even worse for communities already struggling with environmental injustice.