11/15 Weekly Legislative Update

You can make a difference:

Control of the Senate will depend upon the results of two run-off elections in Georgia on January 5. Here’s how you can help flip the Senate:

Send Postcards to Georgia:

Postcards will be sent out; information will be forthcoming.

Send postcards with Flip the West: https://www.mobilize.us/flipthewest/event/362341/?fbclid=IwAR3beXw-Wlt__TDzaogNbSh1iQrPUtadlqF3egHhYJRJh_vBXdKWE80IvsM 
Sign up and you will be furnished with names and addresses as well as a script to use by email. You will need your own postcards.
Postcards can be purchased anywhere.
Through Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/Postcards/b?ie=UTF8&node=1069672
Please note that there has been tremendous response to this effort and so you will be placed on a waiting list and be notified of updates tomorrow, Nov. 16. You can also sign up to phone bank.

Send letters with Vote Forward: https://votefwd.org/

In addition, Indivisible National is working closely with Indivisibles and other progressive organizations in Georgia to determine the best ways to support the amazing organizing already happening in the state. They will keep folks posted and in the meantime, you can donate to
New Georgia Project Black Voters Matter Indivisibles in GA and/or to the candidates’ campaigns:
Raphael Warnock
Jon Osoff

Indivisible hosted a Post Election National Activist Call on Tuesday. Thousands tuned in to celebrate and talk about what’s next. If you weren’t able to make it, you can see the recording here. You can also view the powerpoint that includes various resources referred to in the call.
There’s also a mini guide for the upcoming months called “Showing 2020 the Door.” It goes through our goals for the next few months and includes our first Call To Action for the Biden administration — telling your Senators to urge Biden not to appoint corporatists to his cabinet (call script here)
You can register here for December 3rd at 7pm Central Time/8pm ET.


In Congress this past week:

Nov 10, 2020 — Passed House & Senate (President next) 
H.R. 8247: Veterans COMPACT Act of 2020
Last Action: Passed Senate without amendment by Unanimous Consent.

H.R. 8276: To authorize the President to posthumously award the Medal of Honor to Alwyn C. Cashe for acts of valor during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Last Action: Passed Senate without amendment by Unanimous Consent.

On the calendar for the week ahead:

H.R. 5855: Bipartisan Solution to Cyclical Violence Act of 2020
GovTrack.us: “This bill directs the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a grant program for specified trauma centers and nonprofits to establish or expand intervention or prevention programs related to intentional violent trauma, excluding intimate partner violence.”

H.R. 2281: Easy MAT for Opioid Addiction Act
GovTrack.us: “This bill requires the Drug Enforcement Administration to revise regulations to allow a practitioner to administer up to a three-day supply of narcotic drugs to an individual at one time for purposes of relieving acute withdrawal symptoms while the individual awaits arrangements for narcotic treatment. Current regulations authorize up to a one-day supply of narcotic drugs for an individual at one time, for a total of up to three days.”

H.R. 8294: National Apprenticeship Act of 2020
GovTrack.us: “To amend the National Apprenticeship Act and expand the national apprenticeship system to include apprenticeships, youth apprenticeships, and pre-apprenticeship registered under such Act, to promote the furtherance of labor standards necessary to safeguard the welfare of apprentices, and for other purposes.”

S. 4800: A bill to provide Coronavirus relief.

S. 4805: A bill to create a point of order against legislation modifying the number of Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States.

A slew of bills will be considered in the House this week; most will be considered under the fast-track “suspension of the rules” process, which allows for expedited debate and requires a three-fifths majority for passage.

The Senate will consider the nominations of several judges to federal courts.

The Senate may vote for the confirmation of Judy Shelton to the Federal Reserve Board. She is a controversial Trump pick. She is a fierce Trump loyalist and her aptitude for the job has been called into question. Democrats in the Senate fiercely oppose her confirmation, but they lack the votes to prevent it. (Politi, James. “Senate Prepares to Vote on Trump’s Fed Board Nominee Judy Shelton.” Financial Times. 12 November 2020: https://www.ft.com/content/4c146684-b364-4966-849a-acfcd7bd9ded.)

Congressional leaders have spoken about the possibility of bipartisan coronavirus relief legislation before the end of the year, but little real hope exists for that.

Both chambers will recess at the end of the week for the Thanksgiving holiday and are expected to return November 30.

For information about bills under consideration see Causes.com: https://www.causes.com/articles/46524-house-return-recess-senate-consider-judicial-federal-reserve-nominations 

Introduced in September, but of particular interest, from GovTrack.us:

Constitutional amendment would ban any potential new states like District of Columbia or Puerto…
Should the Senate be capped at 100 members, the way the House has been capped at 435 since 1929?

After Trump’s controversial Republican Convention location, the Our Lawn Act would ban political…
For the first time ever, many young people are saying “Get off my lawn!”

FAITH in Congress Act would prevent a vote on any bill unless it has bipartisan support
Plus several other reforms intended to limit the influence of partisanship, lobbying, and self-interest in Congress.

Supreme Court Term Limits and Regular Appointments Act would establish 18-year terms and…
Should lifetime appointments become a thing of the past?

Congressional Hearings:

CEOs of Facebook and Twitter will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday about the election and more. (“Chairman Graham: Tech CEOs to Testify on Censorship and Suppression of News Articles, Handling of 2020 Election.” Committee on the Judiciary. 23 October 2020: https://www.judiciary.senate.gov/press/rep/releases/chairman-graham-tech-ceos-to-testify-on-censorship-and-suppression-of-news-articles-handling-of-2020-election.)

To find and contact your Members of Congress:  https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials 

In Other News

In the aftermath of the election:

On Monday Defense Secretary Mark Esper was fired, followed by several more resignations at the Pentagon. These actions fueled speculation of a possible coup, petty recriminations, war withdrawals or interventions, and more. These people were replaced with Trump loyalists, many with a history of inflamatory racist and anti-muslim remarks. Generally agreed is that changes like these during a period of Presidential transition puts our national security at risk. (Kheel, Rebecca and Ellen Mitchell. “Questions swirl at Pentagon after wave of departures.” The Hill. 15 November 2020: https://thehill.com/policy/defense/525942-questions-swirl-at-pentagon-after-wave-of-departures.)

From the Associated Press:
Trump fires Esper as Pentagon chief after election defeat
GOP backs Trump as he fights election results, transition
Barr tells DOJ to probe election fraud claims if they exist
AP Explains: Trump’s baseless tweets about vote in 4 states

Senate GOP picks Florida’s Rick Scott as NRSC chairman
The current NRSC chairman, Indiana’s Todd Young, is up for reelection in 2022. Scott is often listed among potential presidential hopefuls in 2024, …

Bipartisan officials issued a joint statement that no evidence of voter fraud exists in the 2020 election. (LeBlanc, Paul and Alex Marquardt. “Election officials, including federal government, contradict Trump’s voter-fraud conspiracy theories.” CNN. 13 November 2020: https://cutt.ly/tg0gFiE.)
(Tucker, Eric and Frank Bajak. “Top officials: Nov. 3 election most secure in US history.” ApNews. 13 November 2020: https://cutt.ly/gg0bubJ.)

The Courts:

The Supreme Court began hearing arguments to strike down the ACA. If it is struck down, millions will lose coverage and most with pre-existing conditions will no longer be insurable; if they have employer based insurance, their premiums would like likely increase substantially. (Alonso-Zaldivar, Ricardo. “Much at stake as Supreme Court weighs future of ‘Obamacare’.” AP News. 10 November 2020: https://cutt.ly/7gCnQcy)

Pundits suggest the Supreme Court will likely uphold the law, based on comments by justices. (Totenberg, Nina. “Supreme Court Appears Likely To Uphold Obamacare.” NPR. 10 November 2020: https://www.npr.org/2020/11/10/933462515/supreme-court-appears-likely-to-uphold-obamacare)

New DACA rules issued in July have been declared invalid. These rules changed the renewal period from two years to one and didn’t allow any new applications. (Berman, Dan, Priscilla Alvarez and Geneva Sands. “Federal judge says new DACA rules are invalid.” CNN Politics. 15 November 2020: https://cutt.ly/ng3iFUI.)


New Indiana county-by-county COVID-19 restrictions begin Sunday
Eric Holcomb issued an executive order Friday detailing the guidelines Indiana residents and businesses are expected to follow over the next month …

Indiana health officials reported nearly 8,500 newly confirmed COVID-19 infections on Saturday, a new single-day high that is 28% more than the previous high set two days earlier.  (AP Indiana)

All Indiana businesses are expected to display signage alerting employees and customers that masks are required to be worn, according to Gov. Eric Holcomb’s new pandemic-related executive order that goes into effect Sunday.  (IBJ)

As the number of new coronavirus cases in Indiana spirals to near-daily records highs, hospitalizations have soared and the disease is on track to soon become the state’s No. 1 cause of death.  (Times of Northwest Indiana)

Members of the General Assembly will not be required to wear masks while at the Indiana Statehouse next week for the ceremonial start to the legislative session and possibly not for the upcoming four-month session scheduled to start in January.   (IBJ)

People recovered from COVID-19 are being asked to consider donating their plasma to help infected patients during the current surge in cases.  (South Bend Tribune)

Indiana’s unemployment rate has dropped by two-thirds since the pandemic lockdown caused a spike in April. But the numbers may not be as good as they appear.  (WIBC)

Economists at Indiana University’s Kelley School of Business are projecting that Indiana’s economy won’t fully recover from the COVID-19 pandemic until 2022, especially as the number of new cases are expected to rise over the coming weeks.  (The Statehouse File)

Twelve Indiana distilleries have sent a letter to Indiana’s congressional delegation, emphasizing the need for additional economic relief to distilleries facing financial hardship.  (Inside Indiana Business)

Commentary: Mike Braun, Curtis Hill and unintended comedy
The Statehouse File
By John Krull TheStatehouseFile.com. INDIANAPOLIS – Maybe U.S. Sen. Mike Braun and his fellow Republican, outgoing state Attorney General …
Consider, especially, Mike Braun’s claim that without California the Presidential election was essentially a tie, a comment seeming to ignore a large segment of the United States, along with its huge contribution to the nation’s economy and federal tax revenue.

Indiana tax dollars going to aid Trump cause in Pennsylvania ballot lawsuit
Neither Todd Young, R-Ind., or U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., has acknowledged Biden as president-elect, even though Biden is projected to have won a …

A prominent Region attorney and the leader of the state Democratic Party are condemning Indiana’s attorney general for using taxpayer resources to intervene in a lawsuit aimed at helping Republican President Donald Trump’s ballot challenges in Pennsylvania.  (Times of  Northwest Indiana)

The push for borrower protections in Indiana
Fox 59
Some states have updated laws designed to help families falling behind on debts but Indiana is not one of them. It used to be debt collectors would …

The road to renewable energy in Indiana could be longer
Thursday morning— the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission met with lawmakers and researchers to discuss an in-depth study conducted before the …

To find and contact your Indiana legislators: http://iga.in.gov/legislative/find-legislators/