Week In Review 3/31/2017

3/31/2017 Update

Call to Action

What: What we’ve learned so far about Russia’s interference in the 2016 campaign is chilling. And there are real questions about whether an authoritarian dictator helped elect a fellow bigot hostile to basic freedoms with the active involvement of the President’s men. We need answers, and we need them from someone everyone trusts to put politics aside. That won’t happen with congressional investigations led by close Trump allies. Call your reps to support an independent “Russiagate” prosecutor.

Who: Find your member of congress here.

How: Hi, I’m [NAME], from [CITY, ZIP]. I’m calling to insist [MOC] do everything in their power to support a special prosecutor investigation of Russian interference in this election, and of President ​Trump’s connections to it. This isn’t about Democrats and Republicans, this is about the integrity of American democracy. We need answers, and we need them from someone everyone can trust to put partisan politics aside. Please tell [MOC] to do their patriotic duty and put the country first.

Trivia Night (Monday)

What: For our last official event of the semester (heartbreaking, I know) we are hosting a trivia night! Categories include “Did Trump or Kim Kardashian say it?” and “The Obamas.” You can come with a team or feel free to join another when you arrive. The Facebook event is here. BONUS: THERE WILL BE PIZZA.

Where: Hodge Hall, room 3055

When: Monday April 3, 7PM-8:30PM

Model UN Opportunity

What: Model UN and Model Arab League are looking for students in a conference on campus about Israel-Palestinian peace. They are looking for students well-informed on the issue to represent Israel and Palestine in a simulated diplomatic negotiation. Dinner and lunch will be provided. The link to sign up is here.

When: Friday April 7, 6-9PM and Saturday April 8, 10AM-6PM

Bad News

  1. ​Yet again, Vice President Pence was called in to fulfill his duty and break a tie vote in the Senate. The bill, which was passed, gives states permission to withhold federal family planning funds from abortion providers such as Planned Parenthood (Politico). It is relevant to note that VP Pence and Republican Sen. Johnny Isakon, who is recovering from major surgery and entered the chamber with a walker, were summoned because two women Republican Senators broke rank and voted against the bill (CBS).
  2. Indiana’s proposed budget is a disaster, and the state Senate and House have until April 29 to resolve the issues (IndyStar). The Senate budget reintroduces performance-based funding for teacher bonuses, whereas the House budget steers clear of this issue due to unreliable ISTEP scores (Herald). The House proposed $10 million for Pre-K, but the Senate only allocated $3 million with $1 million for a new online-only program (WTIU). Seriously, online classes for 4 yr olds?! The other main issue is the cigarette tax/transportation mess. To fund Governor Holcomb’s road construction ambitions (WTIU), the state has looked at increasing the gas tax and/or considering toll roads. One main pillar of the plan is diverting all of the current gas tax revenue to the road fund. To fill in the hole, a new $1 tax on each carton of cigarettes has been proposed (NWI Times). The proposed tax has been popular in the House, but the Senate budget does not account for that additional money.
  3. Two Democrats have announced they will vote “yes” to confirm Gorscuch’s Supreme Court nomination (The Hill). It is unknown how Senator Donnelly will vote, but it’s a safe bet to say he will also vote “yes” given that he is a Democrat in a red state.
  4. President Trump signed an executive order effectively reversing the one President Obama had previously signed regarding climate change (NYT). The EO is massive, but one of the most notable actions is the requirement that the EPA review and rewrite the Clean Power Plan, which sought to phase out and replace many coal -fired power plants (The Atlantic). Yes, he ordered them to rewrite science. This is the dystopia we are living in. The President is also slated to make another important climate decision, to stay in the Paris pact, by the end of the Spring (The Hill).
  5. President Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, announced he will testify in regards to campaign ties with Russia if he is granted immunity (The Hill).

Good News​

  1. ​​President Trump has declared war on the right-wing Freedom Caucus (Twitter). In an unprecedented move, President Trump called out specific Republican Congressmen and told them to “get on board” (Twitter).  This is good news because 1) The Freedom Caucus often sites bills note being conservative enough as their reason for opposition. and 2) The cracks in the Republican Party’s unity will only lessen their chance of being able to pass legislation (see: healthcare bill).
  2. When Tom Price became Health and Human Services Secretary, he had to vacate his House seat. This means there will now be a special election to fill the seat that has been held by Republicans for decades. The prospects for Democrat John Ossoff are good, as there are currently 12 Republican candidates also on the ballot (Politico). The idea is that the Republican vote will be split among all 12 of their candidates and that Democrats and Independents will turn out in numbers and be able to get over 50% of the vote for Ossoff.

We look forward to seeing you on Monday!

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