Contact Your Federal and State Elected Officials
Call your U.S. Senators and Representative, and your State Senators and House Leadership.
Please add their contact information to your smart phone for easy anytime access. Find their numbers here. Or send a text to 520-200-2223 with your zip code (only) in the message, and you will get an instant reply with all your Federal and State representatives’ names and phone numbers, making it very easy to add them to your phone contact list.
- Please report your calls and any notable information you get to email@example.com.
- Use personal stories to support your request.
1) President’s Budget – On the heals of the tax cuts that mostly benefit the wealthy and corporations and added $1.5 trillion to the deficit over ten years, President Trump released his proposed 2019 FY budget that reflects his administration’s priorities and vision for the country. Even if this budget does not become law, it will influence the congressional debate and, therefore, important to have our objections heard.
Highlighted below are key safety net programs under our BCWAC issue committee areas. Choose a program that is on the chopping block and call your Congressman and U.S. Senators to express your deep concern and harm the cuts will do for women and their families struggling for economic security.
Here is a sample script: “My name is ___, and my zip code is _____. I’m calling to show my disapproval of the President’s proposed budget.” Then share one or two sentences about the programs you care about and why you are concerned with the cuts to the program.
Basic Needs –
- SNAP/food stamps – Trump’s budget aims to cut SNAP by more than $213 billion, or nearly 30 percent, over the next 10 years and deliver to kids, elderly, disabled, and low income a package of food with contents decided by the government. The SNAP program provides food benefits to 37,508 people in Bucks County and 51,871 in Montgomery County. Note: some of the food proposals could surface in the Farm Bill that is up for reauthorization in 2018 and being debated now.
- Housing aid – The budget calls for work requirements for those who receive public housing subsidies and slashes funding for the Department of Housing and Urban Development by $8.8 billion. Note: the work requirements to “require able-bodied individuals to shoulder more of their housing costs and provide an incentive to increase their earnings” but there is no mention of increasing the federal minimum wage of $7.25/hr. HUD provides housing subsidies to about 4.7 million very low income households, according to the administration. Such subsidies make up about 80 percent of HUD’s total budget. Almost 90% of households that receive rental assistance through (HUD) are elderly, disabled, working (or worked recently). Current rules require tenants receiving subsidies to pay at least 30 percent of their income on housing after deducting certain expenses such as medical and child care payments. The Trump administration does away with those deductions and additionally calls to raise the floor to 35% “for all work-able households.” The elderly and disabled would be exempted from these increases, as they are currently.
Health & Safety –
- Health Insurance programs – The Trump budget calls for deep cuts over 10-years to Medicare (-$554 billion or 7.1%), Medicaid (-$250 billion or 22.5%), and Social Security Disability payments (-$72 billion). The Medicaid cuts will affect anyone who has a loved one in a skilled nursing facility right when we will see a huge increase for demand with the aging baby-boomers. The administration still wants to cap its per capita spending levels or block-grant it to states. (Note: Once programs are put into a block grant then they can be eliminated like they are doing to CDBG and why it is important to keep Medicaid from being capped and blocked granted.)
- ACA – The budget endorses the Graham-Cassidy plan for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. They have not given up on this nor have they added anything to the budget to stabilize the individual insurance markets.
- Safety – Trump cuts 16% from the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which gun dealers use to verify if someone is banned from buying a gun before selling it to them. We need to have a fully functioning NIC system to be sure those who are dangerous to our communities can’t buy firearms.
Jobs & Education –
Education – The Trump budget cuts college aid and college work-study and end student loan forgiveness program for students who go into public service. Pell Grant would be frozen so it would lose value. At a time when we need an educated population, investment in college aid allows everyone an opportunity for good paying jobs and success.
PA STATE FOCUS THIS MONTH:
1) SB501 Domestic Violence Abuser Gun Relinquishment Bill – Two mass shootings in Texans and California have taking place in November by individuals who are known domestic abusers and our Harrisburg Senators still cannot pass SB 501. This bill closes dangerous loopholes by requiring those under a Protection from Abuse Order to surrender guns to a sheriff or judge. Currently, firearms can be surrendered to a third party, which could be a friend or family member. The person with the PFA must surrender the gun within 24 hours (although there is a discussion to add an amendment of 48 hours.) Currently, the firearms may be surrendered within 60 days.
Call your state Senator and urge him to pressure the leadership to move SB 501 out of the PA Judiciary Committee. Call Senator Greenleaf, Chair of the Judiciary Committee, and request that he at least hold public hearings. Thank Senators McIlhinney and Tomlinson for sponsoring this bill. Call your representative and ask him or her to submit a similar bill in the PA House.
2) For years, the BCWAC has been advocating to give nurse practitioners full practice authority in PA. We believe there are enough votes to pass this legislation now. The PA Senate passed SB 25 in April by a vote of 39-to-10. The companion House bill is HB100 and sits in the Professional Licensure Committee. Bucks County Reps Marguerite Quinn (R) and Tina Davis (D) sit on this committee. The bipartisan legislation will improve health care quality, expand access, and lower costs, and help keep Pennsylvania’s Nurse Practitioners, in Pennsylvania. In our letter to the PA Representatives this week, we list multiple reasons why they should support this legislation. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the National Academy of Medicine, AARP Pennsylvania, the Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, the Pa. Rural Health Association, and many other organizations have endorsed reform and it is past time that our state Representative passed this bill.