Schumer: We’re ready for single payer

Just a few hours ago, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer announced that single payer health care is “on the table”, along with other options like making Medicare available to people over 55. This is huge news: we said we wanted single payer, and Senate Democrats are listening. As Paul Hessinger quoted at our meeting yesterday, “If the people lead, the leaders will follow.”

While Schumer is optimistic that the GOP’s latest disaster of a healthcare bill (repeal everything, replace with nothing) will not pass, Sen. Mitch McConnell is not going to stop. Even if you’ve already spoken up on this issue, make sure you check off all six items on Phyllis’ to-do list to stop TrumpCare.

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Meanwhile, Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner, and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort will testify at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee this Wednesday, as the Russian collusion case continues to heat up. Unfortunately, the Trump camp has made a bargain with the committee to hold that hearing in private, so we are not likely to learn what is unveiled there anytime soon. Senator Feinstein sits on the Judiciary Committee, so we’ll be continuing to monitor the case and encouraging her to protect our democracy by ensuring that all wrongdoing is ultimately brought to light.

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Two weeks ago, I asked you to make calls to reform our predatory and unjust bail system here in California. This week, Senator Harris has unveiled a bipartisan bill (co-authored with Senator Rand Paul) that seeks to reform or replace the practice of money bail nationwide. The Pretrial Integrity and Safety Act of 2017 creates incentives for states to overhaul or throw out their money bail systems, aiming to ensure that all people, rich or poor, who are accused of a crime receive fair treatment under the law. The bill has been endorsed by the Center for American Progress, the NAACP, the ACLU, and many other organizations working to repair our broken criminal justice system. It’s great to see I’ll be asking you to make some calls about this legislation this week.

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Following a spirited and inspiring general meeting yesterday, our members enjoyed beer and munchables on Phyllis’ sunny back deck. We’re grateful to those of you who came out, shared your passion, and raised a glass with us. Special thanks to Suzanne, who stood up at our meeting to share a very personal story about how she came to dedicate her life to improving people’s health, and how that fuels her activism today. We’re grateful also to our guest speaker Susan from Democracy Action, who provided some great ideas about using technology to motivate voters in other districts, and told a great story about registering new citizens to vote in Oakland (see Actions with other groups for how you can get involved. Thanks also to Patrick, who led our action to Sen. Harris’ office last week.

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This week’s Stand Up SF actions

Actions with other groups

  • Tue 7/25: part of Litquake, SF’s literary festival: “A Bunch of Bad Hombres: Immigrant Writers Respond to Trump” RSVP
  • Thu 7/27: Join NARAL Pro-Choice America for a webinar on activism for reproductive freedom. Sign up.
  • Thu 8/3: Join Democracy Action to phone bank for Democratic candidates in two key states. Get details and sign up.

Learning opportunity

At our meeting yesterday, Gordon shared information about The People’s Revolution, a coalition of grassroots organizers and activists who have created a progressive platform to ensure racial, climate, and economic justice, democracy, and health care for all. They’re recommending we ask our MoCs to pass eight pieces of legislation aimed at these goals. Stand Up SF leadership will be evaluating the bills, but you can get a head start here. Interested in the People’s Platform? Tell us what you think!

You’re the best.

Things are not looking good for the Trump administration right now. Between the ongoing discoveries of their collusion with Russia to influence the election, the delayed vote on TrumpCare, and Trump’s approval ratings the lowest in history, they are not able to get much done. Today’s biggest news is that TrumpCare is just 1 GOP defection away from defeat.

All of this is because of YOU. You yelled about the need for the Russian investigation. You demanded a “no” vote on TrumpCare and sent in your personal stories in support of the ACA. And you have told your representatives to block this administration’s agenda, to keep Americans safe from Trump’s excesses — and those of his cronies. Across the country, people just like you are making the same demands, and it’s working.

Paul, Phyllis, and Laura, Stand Up SF leaders, hold signs that say 'We Rock!', 'It's working - thank you!' and 'You're the Best!''THANK YOU!

You should know:
Tomorrow, California lawmakers will vote on a bill to extend California’s most important climate law. AB 398 is meant to be an extention of the state’s Cap and Trade legislation, but environmental activists are very divided on whether our representatives should vote yea or nay. We in leadership are not prepared to tell you how to act on this one, but if the issue is important to you, we urge you to do some reading, make your decision, and call Assemblymembers Ting and Chiu with your request.

Meanwhile, there’s still plenty to do to protect our community and our country.

This week’s Stand Up SF actions:

  • Stop mass deportations: SB 54, The California Values Act, prevents state and local funds from being used for deportations. Call Assemblymembers Ting and Chiu and ask them to vote yes on SB 54. You can say “I urge you to support SB 54, the California Values Act, which protects the safety of all Californians by ensuring that state and local resources are not used to fuel mass deportations and separate California families.”
  • Get face-to-face with Kamala Harris: Senator Harris has not yet held a town hall in the Bay Area! Call her office and ask that she hold a San Francisco town hall during the August recess. (script)
  • Fix our housing crisis: Senator Weiner’s SB 35, up for a vote this week, streamlines the development of new housing, including affordable housing. Don’t let it get held up by unworkable and unnecessary amendments! Call State Assemblymembers Ting and Chiu and tell them to vote for SB 35. You can say “I’m concerned about the number of homeless and displaced people in my community. Please vote for SB 35 to ensure that cities comply with existing requirements to build more housing, and more affordable housing.”

Actions with other groups

  • Tue 7/18: #KillTheBill! Join local Indivisible groups in the Bay Area for a Die-In at Senator Feinstein’s office to protest TrumpCare. This is part of a nationwide Indivisible campaign that is sure to get news coverage, so please sign up if you can make it!
  • Tue 7/18: Join our friends at Sister District for their CA-12 Mission Hub meeting and help flip Virginia blue! RSVP

Learning opportunity

Wed 7/19: Learn more about how you can protect the free and open Internet. Join FreePress.net and other activists on a strategy call. Sign up.

Constitutional crisis

Great news: SB 562, the Healthy California Act guaranteeing single-payer health care for all, has passed the Senate! This is a huge win for health justice in California. The bill now proceeds to the CA Assembly, where there will be a lot of work to do to ensure the plan is affordable and equitable. Please make sure Assemblymembers Ting and Chiu know where you stand on single-payer!

In federal news, this week the House votes on H. R. 10: the so-called “Financial CHOICE Act“, which eliminates major consumer safeguards created in the wake of the disastrous financial crisis of 2008. In essence, it would deregulate banks and financial institutions, destroy the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), and obliterate consumer protections as we currently know them, including allowing banks to gouge consumers with debit card fees.

House Republicans are hoping to sneak this bill through without Americans knowing. Meanwhile, the constitutional crisis continues. Last month, Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, the person charged with investigating his Administration. This Thursday, Comey testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee. To get you ready for that, we’re sharing Indivisible Guide’s Truth or Trump: Constitutional Crisis and What You Need to Know. This document outlines Trump’s obstruction of justice, the sham congressional investigations that are covering up the evidence of Russian collusion, and what we need to be asking our MoCs for. And if you’re confused about all the different investigation options (what’s a special counsel? what’s an independent commission?), this explainer breaks them down for you.

On Wednesday, we’ll be asking Senator Feinstein to prioritize funding for the EPA as budget negotiations move forward. We’ll also pressure her to co-sponsor S. 1127, the Justice Safety Valve Act, to undo Jeff Sessions’ return to mandatory minimum sentencing and help reform our racist, shameful incarceration system. Please join us to bring your issues to the table!

This week’s Stand Up SF actions

  • Expose Russian collusion: Call Senator Harris and ask why she has not yet signed on to S. 27, Ben Cardin’s bill to establish an independent commission to explore Russian interference in our election. (script)
  • Don’t let the GOP deregulate Wall Street: Call Congresswoman Pelosi and find out where she stands on the Financial CHOICE Act (H.R. 10). Make sure she knows that you oppose it. (script)
  • Bring single-payer health care to CA: call California Assemblymembers Ting and Chiu and tell them you support SB 562 and single-payer for California, or send a letter of support! (call script and letter template)
  • Protect women from discrimination: Call California Assemblymembers Ting and Chiu and ask them to support the Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act (RHNDA) to protect women from discrimination for their reproductive choices. (script)
  • Support Governor Brown’s fight to protect California’s environment: contact him and thank him for forming the U.S. Climate Alliance to defy Trumps’ retreat from the Paris Agreement. (background). Extra credit: call Mayor Ed Lee and thank him for pledging to honor the Paris Agreement.

Actions with other groups

  • Sat 6/10: Phone bank for ACA and for Archie Parnell (South Carolina) with Democracy Action. RSVP
  • Resist reproductive rights rollbacks! NARAL is looking for activists to host reproductive freedom action parties. Learn more and sign up here.
  • SwingLeft asks that you donate and volunteer for Jon Ossoff’s runoff campaign in Georgia. Help turn this red state blue! Learn more.

Learning opportunities

  • Tue 6/6 10am: Join a webinar on Advancing Police Accountability in the Trump Era. Register here
  • Tue 6/13: Leading activists from 350.org, Last Real Indians, and the Student Divestment Network present a webcast on The Power of Divestment. RSVP
  • Wed 6/14: Join Ben of Ben and Jerry’s for ice cream and a discussion on how to overturn Citizens United. RSVP

Your actions for recess week

A little good news on the immigration front: Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly announced last week that he has extended the temporary protected status (TPS) designation for Haiti for an additional six months. Many thanks to everyone who called and emailed on this issue.

And in local news, California SB 562, the Healthy California Act that would transition our state to single payer healthcare, has made it through committee and is now up to the CA Senate for a vote! Please make your voice heard on this issue.

It’s another recess week, and members of Stand Up San Francisco will be attending Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi’s sold-out public event at the Commonwealth Club. We’ll be preparing questions to take with us. If you have tickets to this event, please email Paul so we can coordinate and make sure you have the questions in hand.

Many thanks to Suzanne for leading last week’s action at Congresswoman Pelosi’s office. We learned from her staff that many Republicans are not expected to go along with Trump’s horrible budget, which is likely to face significant opposition in the Senate. We also discussed Pelosi’s reluctance to use the word “impeachment” even as the Russia investigation continues to reveal more evidence of collusion, and the “big tent” approach she is taking to support for abortion rights within the Democratic party. Read Suzanne’s full summary of the action here.

This week’s Stand Up SF actions

This recess, we’re focusing on four key topics: Saving the ACA, resisting Trump’s budget, protecting our families from the depredations of Wall Street, and fighting mass incarceration.

  • Republican Senators are hoping we’re all so distracted by Russia that they can secretly repeal the ACA and pass Trumpcare. Call both senators and demand that all members of the Senate, not just an all male working group, are allowed to participate in debate and offer amendments. Say “Hi, my name is _____ and I’m a constituent of the Senator in San Francisco. I am very distressed to learn that Senate Republicans are trying to ram through ACA repeal. Please ask the Senator to demand that all members of the senate are allowed to participate in debate and offer amendments. In addition, I want to know why the Senator has not proposed legislation that provides equal or better access to affordable, comprehensive healthcare as the Affordable Care Act does.”
  • Demand parity between defense and non-defense spending in our budget. Since 2011, increases to defense spending have been matched with increases to non-defense spending. The Trump Budget would violate this principle by slashing non-defense spending while increasing the already huge U.S. military budget by $54 billion. Call all three MoCs and tell them not to approve any budget that over-funds our military at the expense of protecting our environment. Say “I’m [NAME], a constituent from San Francisco, [zip code]. I’m calling to ask [Senator or Representative’s NAME] to fight Trump’s proposed budget cuts. I’m particularly concerned about his plans to slash the EPA budget by 31% in order to increase military spending. These cuts would cost the EPA 3,200 jobs and more than 30 individual programs. That’s unacceptable, and I want my lawmakers to fight these proposed budget cuts. Please pass my concerns along to [Senator or Representative’s NAME]. Thank you for taking my call!”
  • Protect Americans from losing their jobs, homes, and savings. In June, the House is voting on the Financial CHOICE Act, HR 10, which would dismantle the Dodd-Frank Act and remove consumer protections from banks, predatory lenders, and other financial institutions. Call Congresswoman Pelosi and tell her you oppose this legislation. (script)
  • Stand up against mass incarceration: Call Congresswoman Pelosi and ask her to support HR 2435, the Justice Safety Valve Act, against Jeff Sessions’ return to mandatory minimum sentencing. (script).

Actions with other groups

  • Wed 5/31, 5:30pm in the Mission: Learn how to help local immigrants! Join the SF Rapid Response Network for a volunteer orientation and get the info you need to become a volunteer dispatcher, report ICE, and help protect your community. Contact Marisela at DSCS to sign up.
  • Thu 6/1, 6pm: Sister District Project is throwing a big Happy Hour/Fundraiser to benefit Democrat Lee Carter for Virginia House of Delegates. Learn more.
  • Sun 6/4, 12pm at Fort Mason: CA Senator Scott Weiner speaks at ACLU’s People Power Rally. This is a great opportunity for local action, especially to ask the Senator to support single payer in California. Sign up here.

Our movement is growing

I am writing to you still coasting from the high of our meeting this afternoon. What a great feeling to see so many new faces, hear so many thoughtful voices, and learn about what’s getting and keeping you all motivated for this fight.

Indivisible now counts almost 6,000 active groups nationwide, and that’s not even counting all the chapters of Sister District, ACLU’s People Power, and the dozens of other organizations that have sprung up since November. I heard loud and clear from our members, as well as representatives of other local groups who joined us today, that it’s time to start building coalitions, to unify and strengthen our movement.

You spoke with common sense and passion about the need for Stand Up San Francisco to continue focusing on what it does best — direct interactions with our Members of Congress to resist the Trump administration’s reprehensible legislation and nominees — while partnering with other organizations who are focusing on strategies for the 2018 midterm elections. We also heard a lot of good ideas about what it might look like to expand the definition of our actions with MoCs, to attempt to influence the Democratic Party’s platform and more. You’ve given us a lot to think about, and we’ll keep you posted as our plans develop.

We are so grateful to Action Leaders Sarah and Patrick for reporting on recent actions that they have led at Senator Feinstein’s and Congresswoman Pelosi’s offices. If you missed today’s meeting, you can check out their action reports in the MoC Office Action Reports folder of our Public Library. As a reminder, talking points we bring to those actions, as well as the action report summaries and our MoC tracker documents, can all be found in the Public Library.

We also heard from Mary Beth, one of our intrepid Policy Writers, about the experience she brings to the team who research and write the talking points for our actions. Sarah, Patrick, and Mary Beth are just a few of the terrific volunteers who make it possible for our group to do what we do. But we’re looking for more! We especially need help with recruitment, so if you have a few minutes this week, download our flyers and either print and post them around your neighborhood, distribute them at events, or post them on social media. Word of mouth really helps bring in new folks, as you saw today!

I was glad to remind everyone of the ground rules for our meetings, but one thing I didn’t mention was that Phyllis recently completed the Stand Up San Francisco Code of Conduct, which outlines the standards of behavior we expect our members to follow. Please familiarize yourself with it, and let anyone in leadership know if you have any questions.

This week’s Stand Up SF actions

  • Save Our Democracy: A special counsel was an important step in the right direction, but it’s not enough. We need an independent commission. Call Congresswoman Pelosi and thank her for demanding one. Then call Senator Feinstein and tell her we need an independent commission, and we need it now. (background)
  • #HandsOff: Trump’s disaster-of-a-budget proposal should arrive Tuesday. While it won’t become law, it will kick off the budget negotiations. Don’t let Republicans cut vital programs for poor and working class Americans to pay for Trump’s wall. Tell all three MoCs #HandsOff programs for the elderly, school lunches for kids, food stamps, etc. If you are enraged by bloated military spending, this is your chance to call for cutting that, too. (details)
  • DEADLINE TOMORROW, MAY 22: SB 562, the Healthy California Act, is a single-payer health plan that would cover all Californians. It will be voted on by the Appropriations Committee on May 22. Please call Scott Wiener and let him know you support SB 562 and single-payer for California, or send a letter of support! (call script and letter template)
  • Act Locally: CA Senator Scott Wiener is holding open office hours on Saturday, June 3! If you’re interested in local action on behalf of Stand Up SF, contact Paul to discuss talking points. RSVP to Jeff Sparks to book time with Senator Wiener.
  • Extra credit: Trump is trying to deport 50,000 Haitian immigrants. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly has until May 23 to decide whether or not to extend Haitians’ temporary protected status (TPS). If he terminates this protection, tens of thousands of Haitians who have lived, worked, and gone to school in the United States for over a decade will be deported. Contact Secretary Kelly and tell him to extend TPS for Haitians now.

Actions with other groups

  • Tue 5/23: Join MoveOn and local groups for a “die-in” to save the ACA at Senator Feinstein’s office. Learn more and register here.
  • Tue 5/23: Noe Valley Democratic Club is hosting a panel about local resistance groups, including ours! Paul will be appearing along with members of Action SF and others. 6pm, Noe Valley Ministry
  • Wed 5/24: ACLU hosts a Tele-Town Hall with key staff members to answer questions about their work on viting rights, reproductive rights, LGBT rights, immigrants’ rights, and more. RSVP now.