Public Comments 2019 (191-

The New Progressive Alliance periodically makes Public Comments by itself or with other organizations to federal agencies and legislative bodies in the United States and Canada in support of the Unified Platform. They are reproduced here in full and also briefly mentioned with our other activities in the Annual Reports and on our website under "News." 

  • Public Comment 191: January 2019 – Oregon Dept. State Lands-Stop Jordan Cove LNG
  • Public Comment 192: January 2019 – NY Governor – Election Reform
  • Public Comment 193: January 2019 – DOE - Hanford Nuclear Clean Up
  • Public Comment 194: January 2019 – Reopen Government
  • Public Comment 195: January 2019 – US Senate-Reopen Government
  • Public Comment 196: February 2019 - Washington state Environmental Laws
  • Public Comment 197: February 2019 - US HOR - HR1 free SEC
  • Public Comment 198: February 2019 - Congress fund CDC
  • Public Comment 199: March 2019 - Needed Changes for HR1
  • Public Comment 200: March 2019 -US HOR - 3 Poison Pill Riders
  • Public Comment 201:
  • Public Comment 202:
  • Public Comment 20?: March 2019 - Congress - Keep NDD

 

Public Comment 191: January 2019 – Oregon Dept. State Lands-Stop Jordan Cove LNG

January 2, 2019

email  jordancove@dsl.state.or.us

Department of State Lands
775 Summer St. NE, Suite 100
Salem, OR 97301-1279

Subj: Jordan Cove LNG DSL Fill and Removal Permit Application APP0060697

            The New Progressive Alliance at http://newprogs.org/  urges you to oppose the  Pacific Connector fracked gas pipeline and the Jordan Cove LNG export terminal. Not only will this be the largest source of climate pollution in Oregon, the bad effects extend far beyond the borders of Oregon.

The Jordan Cove LNG would transport fracked gas from the Canadian and US Rockies to the southern Oregon Coast, requiring the 229-mile Pacific Connector fracked gas pipeline across private and public land. This would require taking private land through eminent domain. It would also necessitate a 95-foot wide clear-cut through southwest Oregon’s forests and farms.

The highly explosive export facility at the Port of Coos Bay would be located in a tsunami hazard zone, subjecting thousands of people to hazardous burns in the case of an accident. This project would pollute nearly 500 waterways, harm salmon habitat, impact hundreds of landowners, threaten tribal territories and burial grounds, raise energy prices, and become the largest source of climate pollution in Oregon. This would impact more than 485 rivers and streams, including the Klamath, Rogue, Umpqua, Coos, and Coquille Rivers. At each place where the 36-inch pipeline crosses waterways, the construction will harm habitat for fish and pollute clean water. The project would also require dredging out and fundamentally re-shaping the Coos Bay estuary.

Specific Adverse Effects:

-Cutting down streamside trees, resulting in warmer stream temperatures that harm fish;

-Disturbing and re-suspending toxic materials in and around waterways;

-Permanently destroying wetlands;

-Potentially releasing drilling chemicals and other contaminants into rivers and streams;

-Crossing the rivers and streams that are the drinking water source for 12 public drinking water systems and more than 116,000 Oregonians;

-Fundamentally altering the Coos Bay estuary, increasing murkiness and degrading habitat for salmon and shellfish, like oysters and clams;

-Modifying the navigation channel at Coos Bay that would interfere with the ability of the public to access these areas for fishing and recreation; and

-Increasing ship traffic in the navigation channel that could increase invasive species released through ballast or engine cooling water.

The answer is not natural gas obtained by fracking - "in essence, explode a pipe bomb a few thousand feet beneath the surface, fracturing the surrounding rock."  Unregulated by the EPA because of congressional action combined with the support of Presidents Obama and Trump, companies refuse to even reveal the chemicals they are "fracking" with, nobody is monitoring the pollution to water and our aquifiers, and nobody is factoring the release of methane as a GHG. Of the 750 chemicals that can be used in the fracking process, more than 650 of them are toxic or carcinogens, according to a report filed with the U.S. House of Representatives in April 2011.

See references 60, 63, 150, 183, 194, 220, 244, 280, 288, 296, 301, 303, 345, 355, 359, 370, 374 - 377, 404, 410, 414, 434, 456, 475, 483, 521, 542 - 544, 594, 602, 639, 683 - 689, 712, 713, 715 - 718, 734 - 736, 745, 746, 776, 815 - 824, 845, 846, 929 - 941, 989, 1052 - 1071, 1166 - 1173, 1345-1362, 1557, 1560-1561, 1576-1583, 1668-1669, 1687-1689, 1724, 1731, 1783-1787, 1937-1957, 2133-2139, 2249, 2317, 2421-2436, 2558-2564, 2598, 2667, 2747, 2776-2787, 2980-2982, 3168, 3170, 3171, 3187, 3222-3236, 3347, 3494-3496, 3507, 3853-3860, 3920, 4022, 4029, 4101, 4102, 4173 of this reference: http://www.newprogs.org/the_environment_under_the_democratic_republican_uniparty

For the reasons stated in this letter the New Progressive Alliance respectfully requests the Oregon Department of State Lands deny the removal-fill permit and to oppose the  Pacific Connector fracked gas pipeline and the Jordan Cove LNG export terminal.

 

Public Comment 192: January 2019 – NY Governor – Election Reform

January 4, 2019

Dear Governor Cuomo:

New York has an unprecedented opportunity to lead the nation -- quite literally -- on campaign finance reform, with a small donor matching system. We write to request your help.

As you know, Speaker Pelosi and key leaders in Congress are spearheading an effort to make democracy reforms the first bill in the 116th Congress. In a November 25 oped in the Washington Post, entitled,  “The Democratic Majority Will Restore Democracy,” Pelosi and Representative Sarbanes wrote: “Americans went to the polls and sent a powerful message: The election not only was a resounding verdict against Republicans' assault on Americans' health care and wages, but also it was a vote to rescue our broken democracy.

First among the democracy-rescuing reforms they described was campaign finance reform:

We must also empower hard-working Americans in our democracy by building a 21st-century campaign-finance system - combining small-donor incentives and matching support to increase and multiply the power of small donors. Wealthy special interests shouldn't be able to buy more influence than the workers, consumers, and families who should be our priority in Washington.

We know you are aware of voter hunger for reform, and we know you believe in amplifying the power of small donors to limit the power of big money in our politics. You've called for it every year you've been in office.

With Democrats taking over the U.S. House of Representatives, the nation is heading down  the track that New York is already on. The destination is a new era of democracy reforms such as small donor public financing, automatic voter registration, and early voting. New York, under your leadership, can get there first, and in so doing provide a boost to the broader national effort.

That is precisely why we write. Show the nation how it can be done. Inspire Congress and give something to candidates to point to in 2020. We'll work hard to pass a federal bill in the U.S. House this month. We then hope to look to New York as a model for the nation.

Luckily, you are not alone. You have two legislative leaders who have sponsored small donor matching system bills. You also have us, and many others hoping to see this happen.

Please let us know how we can help you help the rest of the country.

 

Sincerely,

 

African American Ministers in Action

American Family Voices

Arab American Institute

Ben & Jerry’s

Brennan

Center for Justice

Campaign for America’s Future

Center for Popular Democracy

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington

Cleanup Carl

Clean Water Action

Color of Change

Common Cause

Concerned Citizens For Change

CREDO Action

Daily Kos

Democracy Initiative

Democracy Matters

Democracy 21

Demos

End Citizens United –Fight for Reform

Equal Citizens

Every Voice

Food & Water Watch

Franciscan Action Network

Free Speech For People

Friends of the Earth

Greenpeace

Indivisible

Left Action

Main Street Alliance

MapLight

MAYDAY America

MoveOn 3

National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)

National Council of Jewish Women

National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund

Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)

New Progressive Alliance

Our Revolution

People Demanding Action

People For the American Way

People’s Action

Presente.org

Progressive Change Campaign Committee

Progressive Turnout Project

Public Citizen

SEIU

Sierra Club

Stand Up America

Sunrise Movement

Transformative Justice Coalition

Unitarian Universalist Association

Voter Rights Action

 

Public Comment 193: January 2019 – DOE - Hanford Nuclear Clean Up

January 8, 2019

Department of Energy

HLWnotice@em.doe.gov

Subj: Clean Up Hanford Nuclear

The New Progressive Alliance at http://newprogs.org/  joins Washington Governor Jay Inslee and Washington state Attorney General Bob Ferguson in urging you to reject a new plan to reclassify nuclear waste. It would allow the federal government to walk away from its obligation to clean up millions of gallons of toxic, radioactive waste at the Hanford, Washington Nuclear Facility.

We in Washington state did not shrink from our patriotic duty and supported the making of our country’s nuclear arsenal. Hanford’s underground tank waste is the deadly legacy of a half-century of plutonium production for the nation’s nuclear arsenal. Hanford tanks hold 60 percent of the nation’s most dangerous nuclear waste.

The half-life of the main fuel, U-235, is 703.8 million years. Plutonium is also routinely created in the process of running a nuclear plant. It is highly toxic and its various isotopes have half-lives ranging from about 25,000 to 80 million years. These extremely dangerous substances will require secure storage and protection for a very long period of time and we do not have an agreed upon place to store or agreed way to transport nuclear waste. Changing it from high level to low level waste is unfair to tribal leaders, Hanford workers, public safety officials, and surrounding communities.

Over half a century of experience throughout the world indicates nuclear energy is not the answer. It is the most expensive, the most delayed, and dangerous. See references 65, 70, 89, 103, 125, 126, 131, 223, 274, 344, 364, 378 - 380, 406 - 408, 412, 435 - 439, 484, 485, 519, 520, 558 - 565, 582 - 585, 603, 604, 692 - 705, 719, 720, 747 - 749, 834 - 836, 847, 848, 891, 942 - 963, 1072 - 1077, 1175 - 1196, 1320, 1364 - 1382, 1584-1591, 1690-1692, 1774, 1789, 1823-1834, 1964-1970, 2140-2147, 2235-2241, 2258, 2440-2455, 2508, 2565-2571, 2788-2817, 3081, 3237-3271, 3344-3346, 3509-3515, 3521, 3567, 3862-3871, 4030-4033, 4103-4105, 4174 of the article “The Environment” at http://www.newprogs.org/the_environment_under_the_democratic_republican_uniparty

Please do the right thing and keep the government promise that has been made for decades to clean up Hanford.

 

Public Comment 194: January 2019 – Reopen Government

The New Progressive Alliance with over 280 other organizations wrote the President and Congress about the adverse health impacts of the government shutdown.

 

January 17, 2019

 

The President

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, DC 20500

 

United States Senate

Washington, DC 20510

 

United States House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515

 

With the partial government shutdown nearing the four-week point, the undersigned organizations call on Congress and the President to immediately reopen the government to minimize any further impact on the public’s health and wellbeing. Several agencies’ ability to provide critical services, ranging from food and environmental risk inspections to health services, have already been drastically reduced or are threatened if the shutdown continues.

We fear a prolonged shutdown will cause needless suffering and have long-lasting health consequences. Basic health protections could be endangered by an ongoing shutdown. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is suspending its routine food inspections except at “high-risk facilities,” and its ability to enforce food safety rules may be sharply impaired as 40 percent of its workforce is furloughed. The FDA oversees 80 percent of the food supply, and regular inspections and enforcement help stop foodborne illness before people get sick. The FDA also will not be able to assess new drug and device applications if the shutdown continues, meaning life-saving innovations will take longer to come to market.

There are also increased environmental risks to the health of the public. The Environmental Protection Agency has suspended its inspections of chemical factories, power plants and water treatment operations while the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) is no longer investigating and assessing environmental health threats.

The shutdown is having cascading impacts on the public’s health through loss of income and potential cuts to programs that families rely on for health and economic stability. Access to nutrition and food assistance, breastfeeding support and infant nutrition through U.S. Department of Agriculture programs is critical to maintaining health and performance in school and work. Programs such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) are at serious risk of benefit cuts if the shutdown continues. And 800,000 Americans are furloughed or working without paychecks, which puts their ability to pay rent and utilities, access medicines, and put food on the table in jeopardy. Residents simply cannot maintain their health without stable housing, food and medical care. Indian Country has been disproportionately impacted by the shutdown, which is curtailing health care and programs for American Indian communities. The Indian Health Service (IHS) receives its funding through the Department of the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, so tribal governments are cutting other services and scraping together scarce dollars to keep health clinics operational in the short term. Many HIS employees working without pay are already reportedly looking for other jobs, which would be a huge blow to an agency that has great difficulty recruiting and retaining medical professionals in rural and remote 2 areas. The shutdown is destabilizing Native health delivery and health care provider access, as well as destabilizing tribal governments, families, children and individuals. Services will be cut and serious consequences to health and safety will be the result if the shut down is not ended soon.

A prolonged shutdown will continue to put the health and safety of the nation’s residents at risk. It is vital that Congress and the President work to reopen the government as soon as possible to minimize the effects of the impasse.

 

Sincerely,

 

1,000 Days

100 Million Healthier Lives

Advocates for Better Children's Diets

AIDS Foundation of Chicago

AJ Rosen & Associates LLC

Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments

American Academy of Pediatrics

American Association for Dental Research

American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine

American College Health Association (ACHA)

American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

American College of Physicians

American College of Preventive Medicine

American Diabetes Association

American Lung Association

American Medical Student Association (AMSA)

American Medical Women's Association

American Muslim Health Professionals

American Psychological Association

American Public Health Association

American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation

American Society for Nutrition

American Thoracic Society

Arlington Food Assistance Center

Asian Health Coalition

Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum

Asian Pacific Liver Center

Asian Pacific Partners for Empowerment, Advocacy and Leadership (APPEAL)

Asian Services In Action, Inc. (ASIA, Inc.)

Association for Accredited Public Health Programs

Association for Clinical and Translational Science

Association for Psychological Science

Association of American Medical Colleges

Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges

Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations

Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs

Association of Public Health Laboratories

Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health

Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD)

Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses

Autism Society of America

Autistic Self Advocacy Network

A World Fit For Kids!

Bailey House, Inc.

Benzie Leelanau District Health Department

Berean Wellness & Community Support Center

Big Cities Health Coalition

Blue Hills Community Health Network Alliance (CHNA 20)

Boulder County Public Health

Bronx Health REACH

Brookline Public Health and Human Services

Brooklyn Coalition for Health Equity for Women and Families

CA4Health

California Food Policy Advocates

California Immunization Coalition

California Pan-Ethnic Health Network

California Public Health Association

North Cause Engagement Associates

Center for Health and Learning

Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy

Center for Policy Analysis

Center for Population Health at Xavier University

Center for Science in the Public Interest

Ceres Community Project

Change Lab Solutions

Chicagol and Equity Network

Children's Environmental Health Network (CEHN)

Children's Health Fund

Children’s Mental Health Network

City-County Health District

Claremont Healthy Village Initiative

CLASP

CLEAR Corps Detroit

Climate for Health (ecoAmerica)

Clinical Immunology Society

Clinical Research Forum

Coalition for Clinical and Translational Science

Coalition for Disability Health Equity

Coalition for Health Funding

Coalition for National Health Education Organizations

Coalition on Human Needs

Colorado Children's Campaign

Commissioned Officers Association of the U.S. Public Health Service

Community Benefit Consulting

Community Healthworx

County Welfare Directors Association of California

Cuyahoga County Board of Health

Delaware Academy of Medicine / Delaware Public Health Association

District Health Department No. 2

District Health Department No. 4

Doctors for America

Dorchester County Health Department

Element Health, Inc.

Equality California

Evanston Health Advisory Council

Family Solutions

Food Research & Action Center (FRAC)

Georgia Society for Public Health Education

GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality

Global Alliance for Behavioral Health and Social Justice

Government Accountability Project

Grand Traverse County Health Department

Greater Philadelphia Business Coalition on Health

Harm Reduction Coalition

Hawai‘i Health & Harm Reduction Center

Hawaii Public Health Institute

Health Care for America Now

Health Connect One

Health Department of Northwest Michigan

Health, Education and Legal Assistance Project: A Medical-Legal Partnership

Health Education Partners

Health Foundation of South Florida

Health Reimagined

Health Resources in Action

Healthy Communities Wyandotte

Healthy Kinder International

Healthy Schools Campaign

Hepatitis B Foundation

Hepatitis Education Project

Hep B United

Hep Free Hawai‘i

Hispanic Health Initiatives, Inc.

HIV Medicine Association

Hope Whispers Community Organization Inc.

Human Impact Partners

Human Rights Campaign

iHealth

Immunization Action Coalition

Immunize Nevada Impetus -Let's Get Started LLC

Improving Kids’ Environments

Indigescuela

Infectious Diseases Society of America

Innovative Solutions for Disadvantage and Disability, Inc.

Iowa Hunger Coalition

Iowa Public Health Association

Jefferson County (Colorado) Health Department

Jewish Council for Public Affairs

Johnson County Public Health

Joy-Southfield Community Development Corporation

Just God Academy

Justice in Aging

Lanai Community Health Center

-Laurie M. Tisch Center for Food, Education & Policy, Teachers College Columbia          University

-Liver Health Initiative

Louisiana Public Health Association

Louisiana Public Health Institute

Lung Cancer Alliance

Maine Public Health Association

March of Dimes

Mary Catherine Jones Consulting, LLC

Maryland Partnership for Prevention, Inc.

Mendocino County AIDS/Viral Hepatitis Network

Mental Health America of Kentucky

Metro St. Louis Coalition for Inclusion and Equity (M-SLICE)

Minority Outreach Coalition

MomsRising

Monona County Public Health

Mount Moriah Baptist Church –Omaha

MPHI

NAACP

NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals

National Alliance on Mental Illness

National Association for Health and Fitness

National Association of Community Health Centers

National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities

National Association of County and City Health Officials

(NACCHO)

National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners

National Association of School Nurses

National Association of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD)

National Black Justice Coalition

National Black Nurses Association

National Center for Healthy Housing

National Coalition of STD Directors

National Collaborative for Health Equity

National Consumers League

National Council of Jewish Women

National Environmental Health Association

National Health Foundation

National Health Law Program

National Hispanic Medical Association

National Institute for Children's Health Quality (NICHQ)

National League for Nursing

National Medical Association

National Nurse-Led Care Consortium

National Partnership for Women & Families

National Physicians Alliance

National Prevention Science Coalition to Improve Lives

National REACH Coalition

National Recreation and Park Association

National WIC Association

National Women's Health Network

National Women's Law Center

National Working Positive Coalition

Native American Connections

Nebraska Action Coalition

Future of Nursing

Network for Environmental & Economic Responsibility of United Church of Christ

NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice

New Jersey Association of County & City Health Officials

New Jersey Public Health Association

New Jersey Society for Public Health Education (NJ SOPHE)

New Mexico Department of Health, State of New Mexico

New Progressive Alliance

New York City Health + Hospitals

NM Pediatric Society

North Bergen Health Department

North Carolina Community Health Center Association

North Montgomery Communities for Prosperity (M-CUP)

Nurse-Family Partnership

Obesity Action

Coalition

Ohio Consumers for Health Coverage Coalition

Ohio Public Health Association

OpenBiome, Inc.

Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility

PFLAG National

Philadelphia Physicians for Social Responsibility

Physicians for Social Responsibility

Physicians for Social Responsibility, AZ Chapter

Physicians for Social Responsibility, San Francisco Bay Area Chapter

Planned Parenthood Federation of America

Prevention Institute

Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC)

Public Citizen

Public Health Consultancy

Public Health Foundation

Public Health Institute

Public Justice Center

Rachel Carson Council

Religious Institute

Respiratory Health Association

River Stone Health

Ryan White Medical Providers Coalition

Safe States Alliance

School Social Work Association of America

Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS)

Shoals Community Clinic

Society for Prevention Research

Society for Public Health Education

Society of State Leaders of Health and Physical Education

Somos Familia Valle

South Central Family Health Center

St. Mary's Center

Street Level Health Project

-Sumner M. Redstone Global Center for Prevention and Wellness at George Washington

University

-Suncoast Health Council, Inc.

Team HBV Collegiate Chapters

Tennessee Health Care Campaign

Tennessee Justice Center

Texas Physicians for Social Responsibility

The Arizona Partnership for Immunization

The Center for Health Innovation

The Consortium

The Immunization Partnership

The Los Angeles Trust for Children's Health

The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Disease

The Praxis Project

The Prevent Cancer Foundation

The Pride Center at Equality Park

The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law

The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America

Three Peas in a Pod

Thrive At Life: Working Solutions

TimeBanks USA

Training Resources Network, Inc.

Treatment Action Group (TAG)

Tri-County Health Department

Trust for America’s Health

United States Breastfeeding Committee

Vaccinate Your Family

Valley AIDS Council

Washington County Public Health

Washington State Department of Health

-Wayne State University Center for Health and Community   Impact

-Weight Watchers of Las Vegas

Wellco

West Valley Neighborhoods Coalition

WISE Health

Within Our Reach

Worry Free Community

Zero to Three

 

Public Comment 195: January 2019 – US Senate-Reopen Government

The Honorable Mitch McConnell

Senate Majority Leader
U.S. Senate
317 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510

Jan. 23, 2019

Dear Majority Leader McConnell,

We, the undersigned organizations, ask that you bring to the U.S. Senate floor legislation that immediately reopens the federal government, extends funding for all agencies closed or partially closed during the government shutdown and excludes any of the extraneous requests demanded by President Donald Trump on immigration or funding for his proposed southern border wall.

We also urge you and members of your caucus to vote in favor of such legislation to end the partial shutdown that has disrupted the lives and livelihoods of 800,000 federal workers and contract workers around the country, their families and their communities – and inflicted tens of billions of dollars of damage on our environment and economy.

Furthermore, we urge you, your Republican colleagues and President Trump to abandon the strategy of taking legislative hostages that harm ordinary people in our country to achieve policy goals opposed by a large majority of voters. This is extortion, plain and simple. It is outrageously undemocratic and a betrayal of the American people.

Sincerely,

Adirondack Wildlife Refuge and Rehabilitation
Alaska Wilderness League
Allied Progress
American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
American Federation of Teachers
Center for American Progress
Center for Popular Democracy
Center for Progressive Reform
Center for Science in the Public Interest
Clean Water Action
Coalition of Labor Union Women
Communications Workers of America
Consumer Federation of America
Defenders of Wildlife
Demos
Earthjustice
Earthworks
Economic Policy Institute
Endangered Species Coalition
Environmental Working Group
First Person Politics
Food & Water Watch
Friends of the Earth
Greenpeace
Health Justice Innovations
Healthy Babies Healthy Families
Herd on the Hill
Hispanic Federation
Interfaith Worker Justice
Labor of Love Safety Training and Consulting
Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
League of Conservation Voters
Los Padres ForestWatch
Main Street Alliance
Maine AFL-CIO
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
NARAL Pro-Choice America
National Advocacy Center of the Sisters of the Good Shepherd
National Association of Consumer Advocates
National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low income clients)
National Consumers League
National Council of Jewish Women
National Employment Law Project
National Fair Housing Alliance
National Immigration Law Center
National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health
National Partnership for Women & Families
National Women's Law Center
NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
New Jersey Association on Correction
New Progressive Alliance
Oxfam America
PAI
Partnership for Policy Integrity
Partnership for the Public Good
People For the American Way
Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Pride Center of Staten Island, Inc.
Public Citizen
Public Justice Center
Rachel Carson Council
Restaurant Opportunities Centers United
Rhode Island Committee on Occupational Safety and Health
SafeWork Washington
Sciencecorps
Service Employees International Union
Service Employees International Union, Local 32BJ
Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS)
Sierra Club
Southern Border Communities Coalition
Truman National Security Project
UndocuBlack Network
United Steelworkers
United We Dream
Voices for Progress
The Wilderness Society
The Worker Institute at Cornell University’s ILR School
Workplace Fairness

 

Public Comment 196: February 2019 - Washington state Environmental Laws

February 1, 2019

The state of Washington is moving ahead in many environmental legislative actions. Carbon Washington is a longtime ally of the New Progressive Alliance (see Allies  http://www.newprogs.org/allies) and is pushing these laws.

  • 100% Clean Electricity SB5116 and HB1211
  • Low Carbon Fuel Standard HB1110
  • Advancing Electric Transportation SB5336
  • Increasing buildings energy efficiency SB5293
  • Appliance Efficiency Standards HB1444
  • Increases state targets for emission reductions to match Paris Accords HB1113
  • Phases in bans on hydrofluorocarbons, a serious source of greenhouse gas HB112 SB5426

Details about supporting these laws can be found at the Carbon Washington website.  https://carbonwa.org/

 

Public Comment 197: February 2019 - US HOR - HR1 free SEC

February 8, 2019

 

Members of the 116th Congress     

U.S. House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20515

 

Dear Member,

Today, our democracy is out of balance, and that makes it harder to solve the big problems facing our country and our communities. Our current system allows powerful corporate and wealthy interests to regularly defy the foundational principles of fairness, equity, ethics, accountability, and respect for the rule of law, with the unfortunate result being a government that is more responsive and accountable to wealthy political donors than to the public. The great news is that right now we have a real opportunity to move solutions that work.

 

We, the undersigned organizations, support the efforts by Members of Congress to restore balance to our democracy through the sweeping new reform package, the For the People Act, or H.R. 1. 

 

We are writing now to call your attention to the provisions in the For the People Act that would shine light on the out-of-control secret corporate influence in our democracy, which has become so pervasive since the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC. When this detrimental decision came down in 2010, it opened up the floodgates for corporations to spend unlimited undisclosed amounts of money to influence American elections and in turn affect policy outcomes. Noting the danger of “dark money” for both American democracy and the shareholders of the companies that are spending in secret, a strong coalition of diverse allies has been working together since the decision to bring corporate spending in politics into the light. 

 

The Supreme Court’s decision to give corporations the right under the First Amendment to spend unlimited funds from their corporate treasuries to support or attack candidates is troubling and investors concerned about the value of their investments and citizens concerned about the future of American democracy have looked to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to take action and require disclosure of public companies’ political spending.

Without direction from the SEC, there are no rules or procedures established in the United States to ensure that shareholders – those who actually own the wealth of corporations – are informed of, or have the right to approve, decisions on spending their money on politics. Investors want more disclosure in order to make sound investment decisions. That is why 1.2 million comments- the most in the agency’s history- have come into the SEC on the corporate political spending disclosure rulemaking petition from diverse stakeholders including the late founder of Vanguard, John Bogle, five state treasurers, a bipartisan group of former SEC chairs and commissioners, and investment professionals representing $690 billion in assets. 

 

Currently, the SEC is barred from finalizing the corporate political spending disclosure rulemaking due to a poison pill policy rider inappropriately included in the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations bill. We, the undersigned organizations, believe the SEC should be allowed to and encouraged to move forward with the rulemaking that would require public companies to disclose to their shareholders and the public how they spend money in politics. This information is material to investors- the constituency the SEC is responsible for protecting. Among its many critical reforms, the For the People Act strikes this harmful policy rider from the Appropriations bill. It also includes other important disclosure provisions such as closing loopholes that allow foreign money to disrupt our elections and shining a light on who is funding digital political ads. 

 

Our organizations support this sweeping reform package, as it works to make it easier, not harder to vote, end the dominance of big money in our politics, and ensure that public officials truly work for the public. We encourage Members of Congress to support this legislation. Our democracy cannot wait any longer.

 

Sincerely, 

 

Boston Common Asset Management 

Campaign for Accountability

Common Cause

Democracy 21

Domini Impact Investments LLC

End Citizens United Action Fund

Franciscan Action Network

Greenpeace

Harrington Investments, Inc.

Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility

International Corporate Accountability Roundtable

League of Women Voters of the United States

Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate JPIC Office

MomsRising

National Association of Social Workers 

NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice

New Progressive Alliance

NorthStar Asset Management, Inc.

Patriotic Millionaires People Demanding Action

People for the American Way 

Poligon Education Fund

Pride at Work

Progressive Turnout

Project Public Citizen

Union of Concerned Scientists

Unitarian Universalist Association

Voices for Progress

Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press

 

Public Comment 198: February 2019 - Congress fund CDC

Despite increasing health problems such as the Flint water crisis and an outbreak of measles in Washington state, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) is being steadily decreased. The New Progressive Alliance with the below organizations asks that CDC be adequately funded.

 

February 12, 2019

American life expectancy has declined, largely due to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, suicides, and drug overdoses. CDC funds state and local public health efforts to prevent these diseases—and more, not less, is needed. Federal investment in public health has not kept pace with inflation nor the considerable challenges posed by infectious disease outbreaks, extreme weather events, and other emergencies, such as the Flint water crisis.

According to a 2017 report by the Trust for America’s Health, of the $3.5trillion spent annually on healthcare, only three percent of all health spending is directed to public health, which includes federal, state, and local resources. That equates to an average of $280 per person. By contrast, total healthcare spending is $10,739 per person.

Reductions in the public health workforce strain the ability of state and local public health departments to protect and promote population health. From 2012-2016, the estimated number of full-time health agency employees decreased by three percent. By 2020, the percentage of health agency employees who are eligible for retirement will reach 25 percent.

 

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Academy Health

Adult Congenital Heart Association

Advocates for Better Children's Diets

American Academy of Family Physicians

American Association for Dental Research

American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases

American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy

American Association of Poison Control Centers

American College of Preventive Medicine

American Diabetes Association

American Heart Association

American Lung Association

American Public Health Association

American School Health Association

American Sexual Health Association

American Society for Microbiology

American Society of Hematology

Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum

Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses

Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology

Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs

Association of Public Health Laboratories

Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors

Association of State and Territorial Health Officials

Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD)

Big Cities Health Coalition

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

Children's Hospital Colorado

Clear Way Minnesota

Colorado Association of Local Public Health Officials

Cooley's Anemia Foundation

Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists

Counter Tools

Epilepsy Foundation

GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare

Health Resources in Action

Healthy Schools Network

Hogg Foundation for Mental Health

Immunize Nevada

Impetus -Let's Get Started LLC

Intermountain Public Health Consulting, LLC

Infectious Diseases Society of America

Jeffrey Modell Foundation

Kymm Ballard Consulting & Asst. Professor at Campbell University

LIVESTRONG

March of Dimes

Maryland Public Health Association

NACDD

NAPHSIS

NASTAD

National Association of County and City Health Officials

National Association of Epilepsy Centers

National Association of School Nurses

National Coalition of STD Directors

National Hemophilia Foundation

New Progressive Alliance

North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR)

Pitkin County Public Health

Prevent Blindness

Prevention Institute

Public Health Institute

Redstone Global Center for Prevention and Wellness

Sage Transformations

SAS

Society for Public Health Education

Society of State Leaders of Health and Physical Education

Stewards of Change

The AIDS Institute

The Ayuda Foundation/Island Girl Power GUAM

The Institute for Family Health/Bronx Health REACH

The National REACH Coalition

Tobacco Control Network

Triage Cancer

Trust for America's Health

Women Heart

YMCA of the US

 

Public Comment 199: March 2019 - Needed Changes for HR1

Green Party Presidential Candidate Sedinam Curry today called on Congress to make significant changes in House Democrats' legislative centerpiece HR1, the "For The People 2019 Act", particularly in the portions of the Act having to do with campaign matching funds.

"While there is a great deal of good in this legislation, making voting more accessible and more secure; laying the groundwork to overturn the horrible Citizens United v. FEC decision; strengthening our system of public financing of elections; and more, there are a couple of very serious problems with the bill," Moyowasiza-Curry explained, "and I urge members of the House of Representatives who really do care about making our political system more democratic to fix those flaws before voting on this legislation."

Foremost among the problems are significant increases to the fundraising thresholds for candidates to qualify for Federal matching funds. "Increasing the threshold for qualifying for Federal matching funds for Presidential candidates from $5000 per state to $25,000 per state in a minimum of 20 states will throw a huge barrier in the way of political parties other than the 'major' parties, who don't even participate in the funding system anymore. The public has shown so many times that they want more options, and legislation to make our system more democratic should not at the same time make us less democratic," Moyowasiza-Curry noted.

Moyowasiza-Curry applauded the bill's extension of the Federal matching fund system to races for the US House of Representatives, but noted that this, too, is flawed. "At the same time that the bill tries to make more of our political system free from the influence of money, it puts financial barriers in the way." HR 1 would open Federal matching funds to House candidates who raise at least $50,000 from at least 1000 different donors. "Candidates running outside the 'big 2' are the ones who need this assistance the most, but many of them have a hard time raising even a fraction of that limit. This is not the way to bring more voices into our political conversation."

A few very simple fixes to the bill would make the playing field much more level for third party and independent candidates at both the House and Presidential level, said Moyowasiza-Curry campaign adviser Eric Siegel, a political scientist and pollster based in Oak Park, Michigan. "Keeping the Presidential threshold at $5,000 each in at least 20 states would ensure that campaigns get the boost they need to organize and get their message out, without putting an undue burden on them. And a $5,000 floor for House candidates would maintain the requirement that they show a breadth of support without putting yet another artificial barrier in the way of candidates from outside the traditionally dominant parties. Political science research tells us that more candidate choice leads to higher turnout, and this bill is mostly designed to encourage people to join the process. Why undermine that mission by restricting voters' options?"

Sedinam Moyowasiza-Curry is a declared candidate for the nomination for President of the Green Party of the United States. She ran for the GPUS Presidential nomination in 2016, and for the Vice-Presidential nomination in 2008. She is a longtime Green, and was a co-founder of the Green Party's Black Caucus. To find out more about her 2020 Presidential campaign, visit Sedinam2020.

 

Public Comment 200: March 2019 -US HOR - 3 Poison Pill Riders

March 2019

 

Majority Members

Committee on Appropriations

U.S. House of Representatives

H-307 The Capitol

Washington, DC 20515

Dear Chair Lowey and Majority Members of the Committee:

We the undersigned 28 groups write to urge you to ensure three troubling anti- democracy riders from the 2019 spending package do not make it into the 2020 spending bill.

These three poison pill policy riders that protect a democratic system rigged in favor of wealthy special interests are all expressly removed from any future Appropriations bills by H.R. 1, the For the People Act. Following the resounding passage of H.R. 1 by all Democrats in the House there is now a clear mandate for the removal of these riders from the FY2020 Appropriations bill.

Today, our democracy is out of balance, and that makes it harder to solve the big problems facing our country and our communities. Our current system allows powerful corporate and wealthy interests to regularly defy the foundational principles of fairness, equity, ethics, accountability, and respect for the rule of law, with the unfortunate result being a government that is more responsive and accountable to wealthy political donors than to the public. In order to restore balance to our democracy we need to use all of the tools at our disposal. That is why we are writing to draw your attention to three poison pill policy riders that have been snuck into the appropriations process that stymie this progress.

The first rider prevents the Treasury department and the IRS from enacting a sensible definition of political activity that would reduce abuse by those willing to manipulate the system to spend secret money in elections. The second would tie the hands of the Securities and Exchange Commission from finalizing rules that would reveal how big donors and corporations are spending in our elections. The third prohibits federal contractors from being required to disclose their political spending.

The riders, discussed in more detail below, help entrench a political system rigged in favor of wealthy special interests by blocking common-sense transparency rules and maintaining avenues for special interests to secretly influence elections.

  • Sec. 124 – Preventing the IRS and Treasury from making better rules for 501(c)(4) political activity

This rider prevents the Treasury department from adequately defining what

nonprofits can and can’t do in elections. Without clear guidance, groups wanting

to spend in elections without disclosing their donors can abuse the system free of

consequences.

  • Sec. 629 – Preventing the SEC from making a rule requiring corporations to disclose political spending

This rider stops the SEC from finalizing a rule requiring public companies to

disclose their political spending. In his decision in Citizens United, the Supreme

Court decision that opened the flood gates for unlimited corporate spending in our

elections, Justice Anthony Kennedy assumed that prompt internet disclosures

would be the norm. However, this rider stops the type of critical disclosure regime

Justice Kennedy envisioned from being implemented and deprives investors and

the public of critical information on corporate political activity.

  • Sec. 735 – Preventing disclosure of political spending by government contractors

The American people have a right to know whether the companies doing their

business are being awarded contracts simply because they give big campaign

donations.

 

We appreciate your attention to this important matter, and look forward to your proposal of a funding package free from these damaging measures.

 

Sincerely,

 

20/20 Vision

American Atheists

American Family Voices

Boston Common Asset Management

California Clean Money Action Fund

Center for Biological Diversity

Center for Media and Democracy

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington

Clean Elections Texas

Coalition to Preserve, Protect & Defend

Common Cause

Democracy 21

End Citizens United Action Fund

Franciscan Action Network

Harrington Investments

Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility

League of Women Voters of the United States

MAYDAY America

NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice

New Mexicans for Money Out of Politics

New Progressive Alliance

Open the Government

Patriotic Millionaires

People For the American Way

Progressive Leadership Initiative

Public Citizen

Ursuline Sisters of Tildonk, US Province

Voices for Progress

 

Public Comment 201:

 

 

Public Comment 202:

 

 

Public Comment 20?: March 2019 - Congress - Keep NDD

 

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