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 firstname.lastname@example.org by 4/14/17.
- Use personal stories to support your request.
- The PA General Assembly is in recess this week. Visit your PA Senator and PA Representative’s local office.
- There will be no Weekly Call to Action on Easter.
1) U.S. Budget – HUD Funding – To pick up on a concern raised at the Conversation with Elected Officials on Friday, President Trump’s “Skinny Budget” proposed drastic cuts to all Human Services and particularly housing. This is going to have a big impact on programs at the local level if it stands.
Call Congressman Fitzpatrick and Senator Toomey: (Thank Senator Casey for expressing opposition to the President’s Skinny budget.)
Script: I’m ________ _______, (zip code: ___) a constituent and Partner of the Bucks County Women’s Advocacy Coalition calling to ask Senator Toomey/Congressman Fitzpatrick to reject President Trump’s budget he released recently. I am particularly upset about the devastating cuts to HUD and other federal assistance programs that support low- income families and the homeless. Please do not support this heartless budget. Budgets are moral documents and this does not reflect the values of helping the most vulnerable among us.
Background on the President’s housing budget proposal:
- Decreases overall HUD finding by more than $6 billion or 13% (from $46.9 billion in the fiscal year 2017 proposal to $40.7 billion for FY 2018)
- Eliminates completely the Community Development Block Grant program, HOME Investment Partnerships, the Choice Neighborhoods program and the Self-help Homeownership Opportunity Program.
- Provides over $35 billion for HUD’s Public Housing, Section 8 Vouchers, and other rental assistance programs and proposes reforms that the proposal claims will “continue to assist 4.5 million low-income households.”
- Eliminates funding for 19 federal agencies, including the Appalachian Regional Commission Corporation
2) Opioid addiction is at a crisis level. Another issue that came up at the Conversation with Elected Officials on Friday. The Essential Health Benefits (EHBs) in the ACA and Medicaid includes addiction treatment and counseling. It is important to keep EHBs of addiction recovery treatment included under all health insurance plans if we are ever going to reduce this crisis.
Call Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick and Senators Toomey and Casey.
SCRIPT: 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 alcohol and drug dependency treatment and have Medicaid and all insurance policies cover this treatment as an essential health benefit. The opioid crisis is out of control and destroying families and communities. You must be mindful of the unintended consequences of changing Medicaid and Essential health benefits in health insurance plans. I ask that Congressman Fitzpatrick/Senator Casey/Toomey not weaken the current Medicaid and EHBs for drug dependency treatment established under the ACA. (Add personal stories if you have one.)
3) Concealed Carry Reciprocity HR 38 – At the top of the gun lobby’s priority list is concealed carry reciprocity, federal legislation that would gut our nation’s gun laws and make the weakest link the law of the land- radically redefining who can carry hidden, loaded guns anywhere in the U.S. The gun lobby wants to make permitless carry a national standard. The BCWAC can help stop this federal law by contacting our Congressmen and Senators. Tam spoke with Sen. Toomey’s staff person on Friday about HR38 and urged his opposition to HR 38 since he has shown concern for gun issues in the past. Following up with more calls would be helpful.
Call Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick and Senators Toomey and Casey.
Script: My name is ____________. I am a constituent at (zip code). As a Partner of the Bucks County Women’s Advocacy Coalition dedicated to achieving gender equity and economic security as well as safety for all, I am opposed to a federal bill that controls gun laws in all states, especially if concealed carry will be allowed in every state including Pennsylvania. If a person is carrying a gun outside his home state, the authorities may not have an easily accessible record of his gun usage or training. This could give him/her more self-confidence to vent his anger or depression in a neighborhood where he is unknown. In addition areas in states more likely to be vulnerable to short tempers and relaxed personal boundaries are those where drugs and alcohol are present. Loaded guns should not be allowed on college campuses, for example, or in other schools where they cannot be safely secured. I am asking Congressman/Senator ____________ to vote No on this bill when and if it comes to the floor for a vote.
Background: The House GOP budget plan calls for a 1% cut to this year’s spending plan by reducing investments in human resources and corrections. The total is $815 M less than what the Governor proposed. Even though the budget maintains the increases the governor sought for basic education, it cuts the increase sought for early childhood education, a critical need for women and their families. (See the BCWAC April 6th eNewsletter for more information on HB218.)
Call your PA Senator – Script: My name is ____________. I am a constituent at (zip code). As a Partner of the Bucks County Women’s Advocacy Coalition dedicated to achieving gender equity and economic security, it is important to me that the PA legislature pass a budget that supports women and families in their efforts to gain economic security. Budgets are an expression of values, and politicians of all parties use them to demonstrate their priorities. Last week, the PA GOP legislators passed a budget that continues to underfund early childhood education and other programs like job training and housing that are critical to getting Pennsylvanians back on their feet. We need rungs in the ladder out of poverty not impossible expectation with little support. For too many years PA Legislature has been cutting these supports while not raising minimum wage or adopting a PA Earned Income Tax Credit like the federal government and other states have done. These successful programs are investments in the future. As families climb the ladder out of poverty, they ultimately bring in more revenue to the state with taxpaying citizens.
2) SB300 – This bill is another Planned Parenthood “defunding bill” this time in Pennsylvania. After the Title X vote in Congress with the tie-breaker cast by Vice President Pence, Medical Assistance under the Department of Human Services, which in PA is Medicaid, is now allowed to cut reimbursements to providers that offer non-Medicaid abortion services, namely Planned Parenthood. SB 300 had been sent to the Finance Committee.
Background: After the AHCA Bill in the Federal House failed to pass March 24th, Congress adjusted Title X on March 30th to enable the states to decide whether to reimburse Planned Parenthood. PA Senator Eichelberger anticipated this Congressional move, and on March 28, two days before Title X was changed, SB 300 was introduced in the PA Senate to establish restrictions on the use of government funds for preventative health care by health organizations providing abortions such as Planned Parenthood even though no government funds are used for abortion under the Hyde Amendment. SB300 is in the Finance Committee and could go to the floor quickly when the Senate returns to Harrisburg April 17th. As a member of the Campaign for Women’s Health, the Bucks County Women’s Advocacy Coalition has already sent a letter opposing this loss of funding for Planned Parenthood. Now it is each Partner’s turn to contact senators and representatives to tell them this harms women. Between the AHCA, SB300, SB3, and HB77 (see below for more details) it is clear that women’s health care is being aggressively attacked at all levels of government.
Call your PA Senator and Representative re SB300.
SCRIPT: My name is ___________, and I am a constituent at (zip code). As a partner of the Bucks County Women’s Advocacy Coalition dedicated to achieving gender equity and economic security for all. I am asking Senator/Representative__________ to oppose SB 300 that appears to be on a fast track in the PA Senate. This is a defunding bill for Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood provides quality care for women and their families at an affordable price. Many lower income women and their families routinely use Planned Parenthood for health care due to its cost and/or availability in their area. I am not in favor of limiting this health care provider for women in our county and state. Please ask the Senator/Representative to vote ”No” on SB 300. (If you or your family has used PP, tell your story of how important it was for you.)
3) Anti-Choice Bills-SB 3 and HB 77: With the Senate approval of Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, having Roe v. Wade overturned is a distinct possibility and opponents to choice are eager to get a bill like this before the court.. The outrage over SB3 and/or HB77, the anti choice bills, is having an impact. Both bills sit in the House Health Committee and have not been moved since the Senate passed SB3 on Feb.8th. Currently there is a House Health Committee meeting scheduled for April 4th but neither SB3 or HB77 are on the agenda for discussion. This could change, however. These are very restrictive anti-choice abortion bills.
Details – Both bills:
- Criminalize pregnancy termination after 19 weeks (ultrasounds are done in the 20th week when abnormalities of the fetus are uncovered);
- Criminalize the use of a procedure known as dilation and evacuation (D&E). D&E is a commonly used, medically tested, safe procedure. It is often used to address miscarriages. The bills do not offer a safe alternative procedure;
- Leave the only exception—“death of the pregnant woman or the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function” undefined and requires a second physician’s concurrence;
- Additionally, HB 77 requires the pregnancy termination to be performed in a hospital, while stipulating that the physician performs the abortion “in a manner which provides the best opportunity for the unborn child to survive.” HB 77 also requires a second physician to be on hand to take “all reasonable steps necessary to preserve the child’s life and health.”
PLEASE KEEP THE PRESSURE ON. CALL AGAIN to let your PA Representative know you are vigilant and strongly opposed to this bill that will harm women. Rep. Frank Farry sits on the Health committee.
Script for your PA House Representative re SB3 & HB77: I’m ____________. I am a constituent and a Partner of the Bucks County Women’s Advocacy Coalition calling to ask you to do all you can to stop the passage of both anti-choice bills currently in the PA House Health Committee and vote against either if it comes to the floor for a vote. SB3 and HB77 both would harm women and their ability to access the best care for problem pregnancies discovered after 19 weeks. These bills could add huge expense to their care as well. We do not want to compromise our physician’s professional training enabling them to give the best and safest care to their patients. In short, SB3 & HB77 punish women for having a problem pregnancy. That is not acceptable. (Personal stories are powerful.)