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 by 5/26/17.
- Use personal stories to support your request.
- The PA House and Senate are back in session this week. They will be in districts from May 25th – June 5th
1) Health Care –
ACTION ALERT: Please immediately visit, phone, email, or send postcards to both your U.S. Senators (particularly Senator Toomey) and your Congressman. After the U.S. House passage of the amended American Health Care Act (AHCA) it was never sent to the Senate but put in a drawer waiting for the CBO report without the knowledge of most Congresspersons.
Depending on the CBO Report, which is expected on Wednesday, the U.S. House may be voting on this bill again and the Senate comes next.
My name is _____________and I am a constituent at (zip code). As a Partner of the Bucks County Women’s Advocacy Coalition dedicated to gender equity and economic security for all, I want all citizens to have access to affordable, sustainable health care. I am calling to strongly request that you vote against the AHCA and the MacArthur Amendment that the House passed which would:
- Force those with pre-existing conditions to buy health insurance from unaffordable high-risk pools,
- Change dramatically traditional Medicaid,
- End Medicaid Expansion,
- “Defund” planned Parenthood,
- Shift costs to states and consumers and
- Repeal the important consumer protections under the ACA.
We need to fix the ACA, not destroy it causing 24-million to lose their health insurance. Access to affordable, quality health care is key to the economic security of women and their families. Add a personal story if you have one. In our call to Senator Toomey, ask why there are no women in the 13-male senate working group he is on that is designing a replacement for the ACA? If women aren’t at the table we are on the menu.
The Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) expanded health insurance coverage for millions of previously uninsured adults and children through “Medicaid Expansion” and the establishment of “Health Insurance Marketplaces” run by either the states or the federal government.
- Since February 2015, “Medicaid Expansion” has provided insurance coverage for more than 670,000 lower income adults and children with incomes below 138% of poverty (in 2017-$20,420 for a family of three.)
- Traditional Medicaid recipients: 44% are children, 25% are disabled, 10% are elderly, 21% are adults. The disabled and elderly account for 72% of the expenditures. http://kff.org/health-reform/fact-sheet/the-pennsylvania-health-care-landscape/
- “As a major payer, Medicaid is a core source of financing for safety-net hospitals and health centers that serve low-income communities, including many of the uninsured. It is also the main source of coverage and financing for both nursing home and community-based long-term care.” http://kff.org/health-reform/issue-brief/medicaid-moving-forward/
- In 2016, more than 439,000 Pennsylvanians had selected health coverage through the “Marketplace Exchanges.” Seventy six percent of those Pennsylvanians received subsidies to make those plans more affordable and 60 percent of those enrollees could obtain coverage for $100 or less after tax credits.
- U.S. Census data shows that the commonwealth’s uninsured rate has dropped from 10.2 percent in 2010 to 6.4 percent in 2015.
The American Health Care Act of 2017 (AHCA or H.R.1628) narrowly passed the House on May 4, 2017 with 20 Republicans joining all the Democrats by voting no. The AHCA proposes major changes to the ACA and will have dramatic effects on health care coverage and affordability. This version of the bill was approved without the input of the Congressional Budget Office, which, in a prior version estimated over 24 million people would be uninsured by 2020.
The AHCA proposes to effectively end “Medicaid Expansion” and dramatically restructure the traditional Medicaid program by converting it to either a per capita cap or block grant to the states. While individuals and families will technically have “access” to health care, this bill will shift coverage decisions to states and major costs to struggling state budgets, result in major cost increases for people with pre-existing conditions, end many of the consumer protections of the ACA, and significantly increase insurance costs for adults between 50-64 years old.
The CBO and the staff of the Joint Committee on Taxation are in the process of preparing a cost estimate for the House-passed version of the American Health Care Act. The CBO anticipates being able to release the estimate on Wednesday, May 24 in the afternoon and will be published on CBO’s website. The Senate is then expected to amend the House bill, although the bill may have to go back to the House following release of the CBO report.
2) Federal Budget – President Trump’s full budget is coming out this week. The preliminary report based on the “skinny budget” indicates he will be proposing massive cuts to proven programs that work to help women and families gain economic security including deep cuts to Medicaid, SNAP (25% cut), housing, education, and tax credits for low income. At the same time, President Trump and many members of Congress want to give major funding increases to the military and building the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico, and give massive tax cuts to wealthy corporations and individuals. This will only lead to an increase in poverty, hunger, national instability, and make our economy weaker.
Script: My name is _____________and I am a constituent at (zip code). I am calling to express my strong opposition to the proposed massive cuts to the federal budget’s social programs that help at risk women and their families while giving huge tax breaks to corporations and wealthy individuals. It is cruel, short-sighted, and frankly immoral to sacrifice the poor, children, elderly, and people with disabilities to benefit the wealthy. I ask you as my representative in Washington, to do all you can to pass a fair, just, and values based budget that invest in our future so that all may flourish.
Background: We will have more specific numbers on the cuts next week once the budget is thoroughly reviewed. Budgets are moral documents that reflect the government’s priorities. The current administration made their priorities clear in the “skinny” budget last month. Building a wall and pouring money into the military is the focus at the expense of individuals, particularly those at greatest risk…the elderly, people with disabilities, children, and low-income families. This approach hurts families and our economy over the short- and long-haul. Women and men need a federal budget that helps families flourish. Educated, healthy, economically secure people are our biggest assets.
PA STATE FOCUS THIS WEEK:
1) SB300: Extremists in the Pennsylvania legislature could vote third consideration at any time to “defund” Planned Parenthood through SB300, the very thing that led to a tremendous spike in maternal mortality in Texas. PA Senators need to hear over and over that we OPPOSE SB300.
A PA House companion bill (HB1623) is expected to be introduced soon.
Details: Specifically, SB300 seeks to amend the Pennsylvania fiscal code so that federal and state family planning funds cannot be used to reimburse healthcare facilities that also provide safe, legal abortion care. In other words, it is a crafty way to attack Planned Parenthood, an organization that serves 90,000 women in Pennsylvania every year.
Numerous studies have shown that there are not enough federally qualified health facilities in PA providing family planning services to absorb Planned Parenthood’s patients. In three Pennsylvania counties, Planned Parenthood is the only subsidized family planning provider, so the idea that the patients can be sent somewhere else is both ludicrous and dangerous. But in the right-wing war on Planned Parenthood, the tens of thousands of patients who rely on Planned Parenthood for affordable family planning and reproductive healthcare are just collateral damage.
- In Pennsylvania, 90,000 women, men and young people rely on Planned Parenthood for affordable healthcare every year.
- SB300 will reduce access to contraception. Multiple studies show there are not enough healthcare facilities in Pennsylvania providing preventative reproductive healthcare to absorb Planned Parenthood’s patients.
- Approximately half of all pregnancies in Pennsylvania are unintended. Access to contraception and comprehensive sex education reduce unintended pregnancy rates.
- Publicly funded family planning centers in Pennsylvania helped avert 52,800 unintended pregnancies in 2014, which would have resulted in 25,700 unplanned births and 19,000 abortions, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
Visit or Call your state Senator Tomlinson, Greenleaf, or Mensch. Thank Senator McIlhinney who opposes SB300.
SCRIPT: My name is _____ and I am your constituent. My zip code is _____. I am contacting you to urge you to oppose SB300. Senate Bill 300 is an attack on the health and dignity of low-income women in Pennsylvania. With nearly half of Planned Parenthood’s medical centers in rural and underserved communities, passing SB300 would be crippling to the patients that need care the most. Even here is Bucks Country our free clinics send patients to Planned Parenthood for their health care. In other states like Texas where bills like this have been passed, there has been a spike in maternal mortality. I urge you to vote NO on SB300.
FOLLOW UP your phone call with an email, if possible. If you are on social media, tweet and post to their Facebook page.
2) Guns in Schools Bill – SB383
The PA Senate amended SB383 Monday, May 22, 2017 (35-15). All four Bucks County PA Senators voted for this amendment that improves training for those carrying weapons in schools but there is also wording that the public doesn’t have the right to know who is carrying guns in school. This bill would give school districts the ability to allow specific school personnel access to firearms in the buildings or on the grounds of a school. This bill is on the Senate calendar today (Tuesday, May 23rd) for third and final consideration. It is our understanding from Senator McIlhinney’s office that the bill’s final vote may be delayed.
Call your state Senator ASAP:
Script: Hi, this is a message for Sen. ________. I’m calling to ask you to vote NO on Senate Bill 383. Allowing guns in schools makes students and teachers less safe, not more. I hope you will take a stand for public safety and keep guns out of our schools.
Background: The bill states that personnel must have “basic training in the use and handling of firearms.” The amended bill also says:
18 (C) INFORMATION REGARDING SPECIFIC SCHOOL PERSONNEL
19 PERMITTED ACCESS TO FIREARMS IN THE BUILDINGS OR ON THE GROUNDS
20 OF A SCHOOL:
21 (1) SHALL NOT BE SUBJECT TO THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 14, 2008
22 (P.L.6, NO.3), KNOWN AS THE “RIGHT-TO-KNOW LAW.”
23 (2) MAY NOT BE DISCLOSED DURING A MEETING OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
24 UNDER 65 PA.C.S. CH. 7 (RELATING TO OPEN MEETINGS).”
Meaning that our right to know who actually is carrying weapons in a school is none of the public’s business.
3) Raise the Minimum Wage SB12 – One of the most direct ways to help families out of poverty is to raise the minimum wage. Some people may think that only teenagers work at the minimum wage. The fact is that of the 48,000 Bucks County men and women who would benefit from an increase in the minimum wage, 88% are adults (age 20 or above). The average age is 35 years old. 55% are working full time and the sole breadwinner for their families according to the US Dept. of Labor. This is clearly a systemic barrier to economic security.
Call your state Senator: McIlhinney, Tomlinson, Greenleaf, or Mensch
Script: I’m __, a constituent and Partner of the Bucks County Women’s Advocacy Coalition calling to urge Senator ____ to support gradually raising the minimum wage in Pennsylvania to $15/hr. by 2021. SB 12 was introduced by Senator Tartaglione and referred to Labor and Industry on February 6. (Note: Sen. McIlhinney sits on Labor & Industry). One of the most direct ways to help families out of poverty is to raise the minimum wage.
Background: Efforts to raise the minimum wage have been pushed for years. This bill will:
- Incrementally raise the state’s minimum wage rate to $15.00 per hour by 2021, after which it would be adjusted automatically with inflation each year.
- It would allow municipalities to set higher minimum wage rates, if desired.
- It would strengthen employer requirements and penalties to ensure they are keeping accurate payroll records and paying the correct wages to employees.