Today the Senate approved $15 billion for victims of Harvey as part of a deal between Trump and congressional Democrats that will also raise the federal borrowing limit and keep the government open until Dec. 8. The House is expected to vote on it tomorrow. With Hurricane Irma barreling down on Florida, it is expected to pass. Republican leaders are fuming at the surprise move by Trump. They also were hoping to extend government funding for a longer period so they could avoid additional votes before mid-term elections.
While Trump’s move will offer relief to Harvey victims, he has taken many other steps that will increase the human suffering from future storms:
- Just days before Harvey pummeled Texas and Louisiana, he signed away the requirement that future building must comply with the tougher flood standards set by President Obama. He did this despite the evidence that flood standards are outdated. Houston alone saw three “500-year” floods in the past three years.
- He proposed devastating cuts to climate change research as well as huge subcuts to programs that collect data and model storms.
- He directed the EPA to revisit (that is, loosen) vehicle efficiency standards, despite the fact that about a third of the global warming pollution created in the US comes from transportation. And doesn’t it just seem incredibly antiquated to defend gas guzzlers?
- He ordered the evisceration of the Clean Power Plan, which was to cut carbon pollution by nearly a third from the dirty power plants that account for 40% of our nation’s carbon footprint.
- He created a “red team” to challenge the conclusions reached by climate scientists across the globe over decades of research. The red-team approach makes sense in the military and in consumer companies, where you have to make assumptions about the opponent’s plans. But climate science is well understood, with massive consensus on the link between carbon dioxide and climate change. The link is as certain as the link between smoking and lung cancer. One science professor called the red team plan a “dumb
idea” that’s like “a red team-blue team exercise about whether gravity exists.”
- He has assigned one of his former campaign managers to screen EPA grants for the words “climate change.” The EPA spends half of its ~$8B budget on grant awards.
- Add to this list Trump’s better-known offenses like putting climate deniers in cabinet positions, expanding fossil fuel development and extracting the US from the Paris climate accord.
The Nation calls this fossil-fuel expansion and climate denial ‘pre-meditated murder.’
Earlier this week Trump also rescinded Obama’s DACA policy that let undocumented kids who arrived in the US before they were 16 apply for two-year renewable amnesty. DACA recipients must have a spotless record to be eligible for the program, and about 9 out of 10 are working taxpayers. Trump gave Congress six months to come up with legislation before the plug is pulled on DACA. While this puts 800,000 young people in fear of being deported to a country they’ve never lived in, there is some hope. A recent NBC News poll shows that 64% of Americans support DACA, and 71% want to offer undocumented immigrants who are already working here a chance to apply for legal status. So the public opinion tide is turning.
In addition, 700 business leaders from across the country signed an open letter calling on Congress to pass the bipartisan DREAM Act or similar legislation, including CEOs from Amazon, AT&T, eBay, Microsoft, Wells Fargo and many other household names. And in a separate letter, 1,800 community leaders including numerous governors, 130 mayors, 200 state legislators, and a host of faith, legal, community, and law enforcement leaders called on Congress to enact legislation that “replaces fear and uncertainty with permanent protection for Dreamers.”
Attorneys general from 15 states have filed a lawsuit against the administration over DACA. Our Attorney General, Xavier Becerra, plans to file a separate suit since about 1/4 of DACA recipients live in California.
If you live in San Francisco and want to change the course of this country, we invite you to join us.
Come to our Sept monthly meeting!
Sunday Sept 17th, 2-4pm
Noe Valley Library
451 Jersey St, San Francisco
Stand Up SF actions:
- We need more, not less, funding for programs that keep communities safe in the face of catastrophes like Hurricane Harvey. Call all 3 MoCs and say ““My name is ___ and I am a constituent. I am calling to ask the Senator, as she gets ready to vote on a spending package, to please vote “no” to any bill that would cut the funding for agencies and programs that help communities prepare for and respond to disasters—including funding for FEMA, NOAA, NASA, and the EPA.”
- Trump just nominated anti-science climate denier Jim Bridenstine to run NASA. Bridenstine is not a scientist, and he has an ugly history of anti-science rants. On the House floor in 2013, he demanded President Obama apologize for spending NASA money on studying climate change. NASA’s earth sciences division is at the forefront of climate change research, and its satellites provide critical data on weather events like hurricanes. Call Senators Harris and Feinstein and oppose Bridenstine. “My name is ___ and I am a constituent. I am calling to tell the Senator that NASA needs to be run by someone who respects science, not someone who rejects science. Please oppose Jim Bridenstine as head of NASA. He is a climate denier.”
- One of the most effective tools for winning the fight for DACA youth is to gather personal stories. if you have a personal story about how DACA has helped you or someone you know, share it with Senator Harris, who is
a champion of immigrants, here on her special form.
Actions with other groups:
- Join Democracy Action Sat Sept 9, in Inner Richmond or Sun Sept 10 in Outer Richmond to phone bank for Virginia state races.
- Mon Sept 11, 6:30-8:30: Showing Up for Racial Justice SF (SURJ) September general meeting.