Has Anyone Seen Ted Cruz?

Cross-posted from Progress Texas and Indivisible HTX

As the United States grapples with a White House in chaos, Texans are looking for leadership to stand up to questionable activities of the administration. Yet one of our most prominent representatives in Washington, Senator Ted Cruz, is nowhere to be found.

It seems that Ted Cruz is instead following the lead of Republican representatives who continue to avoid their constituents at any cost.

Texans are not the type to be ignored.

On issues ranging from healthcare, immigration, LGBTQ equality, to voting rights and more – Texans are demanding answers. But to date, Ted Cruz has not made meetings widely available and it appears that his office isn’t even answering phones. This isn’t the first time Ted Cruz has been absent: shortly after his presidential campaign ended, we wrote about how Cruz went missing in 2016.

Houstonians are taking matters into their own hands, carrying out a “search campaign” to find the missing, or hiding, Ted Cruz.

They are demanding Cruz meet with the people he represents and hear their concerns, posting “Missing” flyers on telephone poles and bulletin boards around the city. The flyers state that he “answers to the name Ted” and “will attempt to repeal ACA if cornered.”

This is the latest in a series of events where Texans are taking action and demanding accountability from elected officials. The bipartisan movement sends a strong message to elected officials that they need to do their job or lose it. Houstonians are holding a Town Hall for Texans to gather in hopes Cruz will show up. The “Ted Cruz is Missing” campaign has garnered a groundswell of support and enthusiasm from constituents who refuse to be avoided by a man who, as a public servant, works for and represents them.

You can find details and RSVP to the event here.

Progress Texas has spent quite a bit of time chronicling the weird, extreme, and absenteeism of Ted Cruz. Visit CruzWatch.com to for articles ranging from climate denialism to his hatred for avocados.

Take action TODAY to stop ACA repeal

The vote to repeal the ACA is now scheduled for TODAY!

If you can go to your representative’s office and make your case in person, today’s the day!

If you can’t, keep making calls!

Here are the changes to the bill demanded by the House Freedom Caucus that make it so much worse. Remember, this bill didn’t get a vote yesterday because some members thought it was brutal enough.

This bill is terrible and it’s getting worse. What moderates may not know is just how bad eliminating essential health benefits are.

  • Covering pre-existing conditions would only be on paper. Plans will not over basic services, even prescription drugs, that people need to treat their conditions to stay healthy.
  • Charging women more than men. No longer requiring plans to cover maternity care would mean that insurance companies would once again be able to penalize women and charge them more.
  • Removing Essential Health Benefits effectively obliterates out-of-pocket caps and reinstates annual and lifetime limits. Because annual and lifetime limits apply only to essential health benefits, insurers could once again put a cap on how much care one receives but not on how much people owe. Those with employer-sponsored coverage will be at risk too.

ASK: Vote no. We need every member to PUBLICLY oppose the health care repeal bill as soon as possible. We need people to publicly say they are going to vote no so when the time comes for them to vote we already have them on record so they will be less likely to flip.

CBO Score on repeal is out P.S. we’re all screwed

The Congressional Budget Office score is out, and #Trumpcare will throw 14 million people off insurance by 2018, rising to 24 million by 2026. All for a savings on the deficit  $337 billion over 10 years (which is virtually nothing–the US budget for 2015 was $3.8 TRILLION).
 
Per the CBO:
  • Premiums would rise by 15 to 20 percent in the near term
  • 7 million people would lose their employer coverage
  • Increased deductibles and out-of-pocket costs
  • 25% cut to Medicaid by 2026 (still affects states like Texas that didn’t expand Medicaid)
  • The monthly health insurance premium for a single 64-year-old who makes $26,500 would jump more than 700% (from $1,700 to $14,600)
 
You know what to do! Start making those calls NOW:
 
Sen. Cornyn, 512-469-6034
Sen. Cruz, 512-916-5834
Rep. McCaul, 512-473-2357
Rep. Flores, 512-373-3378
Rep. Smith, 512-912-7508
Rep. Williams, 512-473-8910
Rep. Carter, 512-246-1600
Rep. Doggett, 512-916-5921

How Your Voices Made a Difference Last Week: Feb. 19, 2017

Here’s how your voices made a difference last week.

  • National Security Adviser (and Islamophobe) Michael Flynn resigned amid proof that he discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with Russian intelligence prior to Donald taking office, and lied about it to the VP and the FBI. Subsequent findings showed that many in the Republican administration have had contact with Russian intelligence as long ago as a year. Heat is rising from the spotlight this shines on the Republican administration, and many are calling for a full investigation into Flynn, Donald Trump, and this admin’s Russian ties.
  • Tax swindler and immigration hypocrite Andrew Puzder withdrew as the Labor Secretary nominee largely thanks to public outcry that turned four GOP senators against his nomination. Moderate Republicans look to finally be beginning to take a stand against Donald.
  • GOP Senator John McCain is amping up his opposition to Donald and his admin with a withering critique in a speech in Munich Friday, and calling Donald’s attempts to discredit the media “how dictators get started.”
These are the first real signs of breaks between the Republican administration and the Republican Congress–so it’s more important than ever to keep the heat on your Members of Congress.

Reminder: Tell your Senators don’t confirm Betsy DeVos

Trump’s pick for Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos, may be the worst of them all. Of course, it’s hard to say in his cabinet of horrors. She was one of his first candidates for the cabinet in exchange for giving nearly $200,000 to the Republican National Committee and millions more to super PACs aiding Trump and GOP senators’ campaigns—including one founded by the Koch brothers this year.

She said, “collectively (it) is possible” her family has given around $200 million to Republican causes over the years. She has also donated to at least four of the senators who heard her initial testimony, and none of them recused themselves from the vote. “My family is the biggest contributor of soft money to the Republican National Committee,” she wrote in the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call. “I have decided to stop taking offense,” she wrote, “at the suggestion that we are buying influence. Now I simply concede the point. They are right. We do expect something in return.”

DeVos and her husband have given hundreds of thousands to Focus on the Family, a conservative Christian group whose founder called the battle against LGBT rights a “second civil war,” according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. The group has also pushed so-called “conversion therapy” — discredited practices aimed at changing a person’s sexual orientation — according to the Human Rights Campaign. Betsy and Dick DeVos, have spent heavily in opposition to same-sex-marriage laws in states all over the country.

She didn’t go to public schools, was never a teacher at public schools, didn’t have her children go to public schools and didn’t run a school district or state education agency, and is quoted as saying “government really sucks” and the public school system is “a dead end.” She once described education reform as a way to “advance God’s kingdom.” She supports diverting public funds to pay for kids to attend private, religious schools.

Under oath she said she wouldn’t enforce the Federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act which requires that public schools provide children with disabilities a “free and appropriate” education just like other students.

She refused to promise that she would not privatize and stop funding from public schools.
She didn’t seem to understand very basic federal education laws.

She declined to say whether she believes that all schools receiving taxpayer funding — public, public charter, or private — should be held accountable to the same performance standards. She also declined to say whether such schools should be required to report suspensions and expulsions, and incidents of bullying and harassment, to the federal government.

She has no experience with college financial aid or management of higher education which is a huge part of her department.

Her only work in education has been to gut Detroit’s struggling school system which has turned their schools –including the private charters- into some of the worst in the nation.

If Trump’s voucher agenda moves forward, it is also possible that the federal government could send Title 1 funding, a $15 billion program that exclusively funds low-income public schools, to high-income private and religious schools.

Without great public education there is no hope for our democracy. We can already see the effects of schools failing to teach history, civics, critical thinking, math, science, and the arts as schools have become horribly underfunded in these last generations.

Watch this video of Tim Kaine asking her about policy https://www.washingtonpost.com/vide…

Call your Texas senators today and every and day and ask them to reject DeVos.

John Cornyn at (202) 224-2934
And Ted Cruz (202) 224-5922

Here is a link to the rest in case you’re not reading from Texas. Just put them in your phone’s contacts and it’s super easy to call every day. (Although if I ever see an incoming call from Ted Cruz I’m going to totally freak out.)

http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm?OrderBy=state

And a script from Indivisibleatx:
My name is ____ and I live in ____ I am calling to urge you to vote “NO” on the confirmation of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education. DeVos has no training or experience in education and supports dangerous and unproven policies that would funnel billions of taxpayer dollars to private entrepreneurs. This is both unconstitutional and against the values of the millions of Texans who believe in the value of public education. Our children deserve better – vote “NO.”

And here is a works cited & other articles:

Out of options
School choice gutted Detroit’s public schools. The rest of the country is next. https://news.vice.com/story/school-…

Betsy DeVos’s Accountability Problem https://www.theatlantic.com/education/archive/2017/01/betsy-devoss-accountability-problem/513047/?utm_source=twb

Trump’s Pick for Education Could Face Unusually Stiff Resistance
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/12/us/politics/betsy-devos-education.html?_r=0

Betsy DeVos, Trump’s Education Pick, Seems Unfamiliar With A Major Federal Education Law
Sens. Tim Kaine and Maggie Hassan were beside themselves at her confirmation hearing during a back-and-forth over students with disabilities.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/betsy-devos-trumps-education-pick-seems-unfamiliar-with-a-major-federal-education-law_us_587f7c0fe4b0c147f0bc01ea

Betsy DeVos: Donald Trump’s education secretary pick shows school vouchers are at the top of his agenda
http://www.vox.com/2016/11/23/13735102/betsy-devos-education-donald-trump

Trump education pick painted by Dems as unqualified http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/17/politics/betsy-devos-education-nominee-donald-trump/index.html?sr=twCNN011817betsy-devos-education-nominee-donald-trump0114PMVODtopLink&linkId=33507830

BETSY DEVOS, TRUMP’S BIG-DONOR EDUCATION SECRETARY
http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/betsy-devos-trumps-big-donor-education-secretary

Questions and conflicts: Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump’s secretary of education choice, is surrounded by controversies
http://www.salon.com/2017/01/17/questions-and-conflicts-betsy-devos-donald-trumps-secretary-of-education-choice-is-surrounded-by-controversies_partner/

Trump’s Billionaire Education Secretary Has Been Trying to Gut Public Schools for Years
Meet Betsy DeVos, the anti-union, pro-voucher surprise nominee.
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/11/education-secretary-betsy-devos-vouchers-michigan-trump

URGENT: Call Cornyn on Betsy DeVos, well, always

**This action is targeting Sen. Cornyn’s DC office**

UPDATE 2/1/17 6:30 pm: As of now a final vote has not been scheduled, so keep the pressure on! Keep calling, faxing, and carrier-pigeoning Cornyn’s office.

GOP Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski in back-to-back speeches on the Senate floor announced today that they would OPPOSE Betsy DeVos’s nomination to be Education secretary.

Sen. Cornyn has yet to take a strong position on Betsy DeVos, who is profoundly unqualified to be Secretary of Education. There is an opportunity to turn his vote to NO.

John Cornyn DC Office: (202) 224-2934

Fax Cornyn online with FaxZero

From our earlier NO on DeVos script:

I am calling to urge you to vote “NO” on the confirmation of Betsy DeVos for Secretary of Education. DeVos has no training or experience in education and supports dangerous and unproven policies that would funnel billions of taxpayer dollars to private entrepreneurs. This is both unconstitutional and against the values of the millions of Texans who believe in the value of public education. Our children deserve better – vote “NO”.

Research Notes on Betsy DeVos

She has NO experience in Public Education.

  • Never Been a Teacher
  • Never Served in a Public School System Leadership

Organizations that DeVos has supported or led

  • Spent MILLIONS to promote policies that directed Public School Funds to either For-Profit Schools or Virtual Charter Schools that have NO accountability on how well these schools serve students or how the tax-payers dollars are spent.

CALLS TO ACTION for Friday, Jan. 27!

CALLS TO ACTION!!! – JAN. 27th, 2017 – TEMPLE PROTEST and PHONE CALLS TO CORNYN AND YOUR HOUSE MEMBER!

REMINDER! Many Indivisible folks will be heading to Temple this afternoon to join the Bell County Democrats in a protest outside the Convention Center where Sen. Cornyn is the key speaker.

There aren’t many opportunities for action against our senators directly, so come if you can make it! With Trump’s latest talk about walls and tariffs getting pushback from Texas Republicans, this is a perfect time to encourage them to defy the White House! Check out the the event page (where you can probably find a carpool if you need it!):

https://www.facebook.com/events/1141159165982939/

IF YOU CAN’T MAKE IT TO TEMPLE, you can still CALL Cornyn’s office and your rep’s office!

Trump has really put Texas Republicans in a tough spot. Economists expect any tariff on Mexico to negatively impact the Texas economy. Many of them are already considering opposing him on this. This is just the kind of issue that can drive a wedge between Trump and Congressional Republicans, so we’ve got to let our reps know that we want them to defy him!

CALL SEN. CORNYN and YOUR REP and ask them to oppose any Trump plan for financing the wall that negatively impacts the Texas economy!

SAMPLE SCRIPT:

“Hello, my name is ______________ and I am a constituent of [Sen. Cornyn or YOUR REP]. I’m calling to ask him to OPPOSE the 20% tariff on Mexican imports and any other plan that asks Texans to unfairly bear the burden of paying for Trump’s wall. Texas officials and businesses AGREE that this plan would threaten Texas jobs, weaken the Texas economy and drive up the cost of living for Texas families. I’m counting on my representatives to put the interests of their constituents first. Thank you.”

CONTACT INFO:

Sen. John Cornyn
Central Texas office: (512) 469-6034
Washington, DC office: (202) 224-2934

Congressional District 10
Congressman Michael McCaul
Austin office: 512-473-2357

Congressional District 17
Congressman Bill Flores
Austin office: (512) 373-3378

Congressional District 21
Congressman Lamar Smith
Austin office: (512) 912-7508

Congressional District 25
Congressman Roger Williams
Austin office: (512) 473-8910

Congressional District 31
Congressman John Carter
Austin office: (512) 246-1600

Congressional District 35
Congressman Lloyd Doggett
Austin office: (512) 916-5921

for more info:

http://www.chron.com/…/Trump-proposal-for-20-percent-tax-on…

http://www.khou.com/…/trumps-import-tax-on-mexico…/393802314

http://www.dallasnews.com/…/trumps-20-percent-tax-mexican-i…

Questions to ask your MoCs about Trump’s Executive Orders

The Washington Post’s 5-minute fix has a write-up of the difficult corner into which Trump’s executive orders have backed your members of congress (MoCs). It includes questions that MoCs now have to try to answer or deflect:

  • Do you agree that as many as 5 million people voted illegally in November?
  • Do you support a proposal to revive secret CIA prisons, and possibly torture?
  • What about a draft ban on resettling refugees? 

Here in Texas, we would add:

  • Do you support building a wall across the entire U.S./Mexico border?

(The Texas Tribune asked this question of all 38 Texans in Congress and none of them endorsed it. So it’s an especially interesting question to ask in light of Trump’s position.)

Give them a call and report back in the comments.

We Went to Sen. Cruz’ Office and Then This Happened…

Today 129 Texans went to visit Sen. Ted Cruz’ Austin office to raise their voices about the president’s corrupt and unqualified cabinet nominees. This is what happened. It was amazing!

Thank you to everyone who came out, and to everyone who had to stay at home or at work, but made calls today instead.

Thank you to everyone who spoke and shared your story. Your courage to show up and to speak up is empowering and encouraging to everyone! #Resist

Film credit: Andrew Matthews and Katie Graham

Actions for January 22-28, 2017

Sunday, January 22

TONIGHT: Emergency call with Indivisible, MoveOn, and Working Families

7 Central Time

Monday, January 23

Call your Senators!

Senate will vote on the confirmation of Representative Mike Pompeo of Kansas to lead the Central Intelligence Agency (NYTimes)

Senate Foreign Relations Committee will vote on Secretary of State nominee, Rex W. Tillerson (NYTimes)

View scripts here.

Tuesday, January 24

Rallies at Senators’ district offices to stop the cabinet of corruption

When: Tuesday, January 24 at noon (local time)

Where: Senators John Cornyn’s and Ted Cruz’s Austin District Offices
Chase Tower, 221 W. Sixth St.
Austin, TX 78701

This event is hosted and organized by MoveOn. Per MoveOn, all protestors are required to abide by local laws and be peaceful.

Call your Senators!

Committee votes on Carson, Chou, Hailey, Ross.

Hearings on McMahon, Mulvaney, Price.

This is a good primer. 

Here are some scripts.

Call your representative in the HOUSE and tell them to vote No on HR 7 aka the Hyde Amendment.

You would think, in the wake of Saturday’s monumental Women’s March that Congress might show some respect for women’s rights. You’d be wrong. Instead, on Tuesday, January 24th, the House has scheduled a vote on HR 7. This unnecessary and intrusive legislation meddles with the private insurance marketplace and attacks women’s reproductive rights. It’s not the first time Republicans have tried to pass this anti-woman bill.

Planned Parenthood page on the Hyde Amendment

Weekly IndivisibleATX Conference call

8 p.m. Central Time

Dial-in Number: 1-(712) 770-8067
Conference Code: 409542

Wednesday, January 25

This space intentionally left blank. Get some rest.

Thursday, January 26

Call all of your Members of Congress (MoCs) on Trump’s executive orders. 

 

Friday, January 27

Keep the Pressure On: Tell Congress to #ProtectOurCare.

One of President Trump’s first acts in office was to sign an Executive Order that could threaten essential components of the Affordable Care Act. But to dismantle the ACA, Trump will need to get repeal legislation through Congress. Keep the pressure on your members of Congress! Tell your Representative and two Senators that you won’t stand by and let 30+ million people lose their healthcare — and that you expect that they won’t either.

Saturday, January 28

Coming soon!

Did we miss anything? If so, please make a note in the comments. We’ll update this post throughout the week.