Week In Review 3/24/17

3/24/2017 Update

Women in the Age of Trump

What: To commemorate the last week of Women’s History Month, we are hosting an event to discuss the women in President Trump’s personal and political life, as well as legislative moves he/the GOP has made that will adversely effect women. Topics will include, but are not limited to, access to reproductive healthcare, threats to paid family leave, and the importance of intersectionality. You can find more information and RSVP here.

Where: Hodge Hall room 3055

When: Monday March 27, 7:00PM-8:30PM

Call to Action

What: President Trump has made it clear the federal government won’t be standing with transgender people for the next four years. Even if the president’s not on their side, the people are. A majority of Americans reject bathroom discrimination laws. With legislators pushing those bills in a growing number of states, it’s time for us to get noisy.

Who: You can find the number for your state’s governor here, or call (317) 232-4567 for Governor Holcomb’s office if you vote in Indiana.

How: Hi, I’m [NAME] from [CITY, ZIP]. I’m calling to insist Governor [LAST NAME] support transgender people safely using the bathroom consistent with their gender identity. This is a basic guarantee of human dignity, and d​enying it is just cruel. The folks pushing bathroom discrimination might be noisy, but your boss should know that a majority of Americans are against it, and we’re going to make our voices heard. I’d like [GOVERNOR] to publicly commit to vetoing these discriminatory laws.

Bad News

  1. The U.S. State Department has issued a presidential permit to construct the Keystone XL pipeline (Politico). TransCanada, the energy company that is building the pipeline, received the permit early Friday morning and now only needs to receive approval for the route through Nebraska, a task that could take up to 6 months (The Hill). It is relevant to note that one of President Trump’s biggest campaign promises, that the pipeline would be built by Americans and with American steel, will not be fulfilled (CNN). The American steel requirement will only apply to new pipelines submitting applications (Reuters).
  2. The Secret Service has requested an extra $60 million in the 2018 budget for President Trump’s travel and protection, of which about half would be allocated to protect the First Lady and their son in their New York City residence (WaPo). While a majority of the figures for the Secret Service budget are kept classified for security reasons, it’s relevant to note that some of this public funding could potentially become revenue for President Trump’s private company, the Trump Organization, which owns the Trump Tower that agents must now protect. One thing we do know is that the President’s weekend jaunts to his Mar-a-Lago resort have cost the Palm Beach sheriff over $1.5 million in overtime (PBP) so far. His weekends away have also caused problems for the local residents, such as theclosing of their small airport for entire weekends (NPR). I guess a balanced budget and cutting programs only applies to budgets that aren’t the President’s and programs that don’t effect him.
  3. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch completed about 20 hours of testimony in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee this week (NYT). If Republicans had hoped to show Democrats that Gorsuch was a more middle of the road nominee, they failed. And if Democrats had hoped to raise any serious doubts to the Republicans, they also failed. Senator Chuck Schumer announced that the Democrats will filibuster the confirmation (WaPo), an obstacle that would take 60 votes to get overcome. The 52 Senate Republicans are eager to confirm the judge before the Easter recess, and it is still unclear how many Democrats in purple states will react.

Good News

  1. ​​The vote in the House for the GOP healthcare, or ~wealthcare~ if you prefer, bill was supposed to be yesterday (Thursday March 23), but it has been postponed (CBS) because there were not enough votes to pass the bill (NBC). THIS IS HUGE. As of right now (9:17AM on 3/24) another vote has not yet been scheduled. THIS DOES NOT MEAN WE CAN CELEBRATE, THIS MEANS WE NEED TO PUT EVEN MORE PRESSURE ON OUR REPRESENTATIVES. President Trump issued an “ultimatum” and told the house Republicans of the freedom caucus that they must vote to pass the bill today, or he will leave the Affordable Care Act as is (NYT). It’s sort of like when you were 8 and your mom told you to pick up your room or else she would throw everything away, except he’s the leader of the free world. If you have never called one of your elected officials before, this is the time to start. You can find your representative’s number here
  2. On Wednesday, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that schools have to do more to educate special-needs students (Supreme Court). The decision for the case Endrew F. v Douglas County School District imposes higher standards on public schools, despite many schools’ opinion that providing these services would be too costly (Politico). 
  3. While we were away on break, Governor Holcomb joined the list of GOP officials opposed to Medicaid cuts (IndyStar). Despite Republican hatred towards the Affordable Care Act, 31 states took advantage of Medicaid expansion, and most of those states now are hoping to maintain that funding amidst the “repeal and replace” tension. This might be an appropriate time to mention that many  individuals think “Obamacare” is terrible, but have high regard for the ACA… blissfully unaware that they’re the same thing.
Bonus: Here is a parody of Schoolhouse Rock’s “I’m just a bill” about Plan B. It’s called “I’m just a pill,” so that’s funny. 

We look forward to seeing you all on Monday. Have a good weekend!

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