Resistance Recess Puts Congress on Notice for Supporting Trump’s Agenda

Libero Della Piana

Libero Della Piana Director of Digital Organizing, People's Action

Rep. Dave Trott’s constituents in the Northeastern suburbs of Detroit gathered at his office to ask him about his stance on health care, refugees and other urgent issues. Instead of scheduling a meeting, Trott’s staff called the police.

The delegation was organized by Michigan People’s campaign, an affiliate of People’s Action, a national organization fighting for economic and social justice.

Since last weekend dozens of other town hall meetings and constituent forums have been dominated by vocal and angry people wondering where their lawmakers stand on Trump’s agenda, in particular regarding plans to dismantle the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Embracing the #ResistanceRecess hashtag, national organizations such as MoveOn.com, Daily Kos, the AFL-CIO and People’s Action are helping mobilize grassroots frustration with the direction of the country after just one month of the Trump presidency.

Many Republicans in Congress have concealed or simply refused to hold public town halls and opted to spend their time at home in private fundraisers among loyal supporters. Rep. John Faso (R-N.Y.) was met outside of a recent $1,000-per-ticket fundraiser in Albany with dozens of protesters demanding a public town hall. The protest, organized by People’s Action affiliate Citizen Action of New York along with the SEIU 1199 health care workers union, included many first-time protesters.

One homemade sign plastered with paper money read, “Money is the only constituent Faso listens to.”

 

Faced with politicians making themselves scarce, some activists have posted missing persons ads for their lawmakers. In Erie, Pa., more than 200 people attended a town hall meeting organized by Keystone Progress, a People’s Action affiliate, but Reps. Mike Kelly and Glenn Thompson were no-shows. Their seats remained empty as their constituents testified about the impact repealing the ACA would have on their families and communities.

Hugh Espy, executive director of Iowa Citizens, and a member of the board of directors of People’s Action knows a thing or two about “bird-dogging,” the art of challenging politicians to reveal their true views. He famously got presidential candidate Mitt Romney to admit his belief that “corporations are people” during the Iowa State Fair back in 2011.

Recently, Espy has helped teach others about bird-dogging during the recess.

It’s not rocket science… It’s common sense. What’s bothering you? Are other people feeling the same way? Who are they? How do you get them involved? What do you want? And who can give you what you want?

If members of Congress won’t answer their constituents’ questions about where they stand on repealing the Affordable Care Act or other dangerous policies of the Trump administration, they will surely face the electorate’s wrath at the ballot box in 2018.

Posted In: Allied Approaches, From Campaign for America's Future

Union Matters

The Big Drip

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities. 

A rash of water main breaks in West Berkeley, Calif., and neighboring cities last month flooded streets and left at least 300 residents without water. Routine pressure adjustments in response to water demand likely caused more than a dozen pipes, some made of clay and more than 100 years old, to rupture.

West Berkeley’s brittle mains are not unique. Decades of neglect left aging pipes susceptible to breaks in communities across the U.S., wasting two trillion gallons of treated water each year as these systems near collapse.

Comprehensive upgrades to the nation’s crumbling water systems would stanch the flow and ensure all Americans have reliable access to clean water.

Nationwide, water main breaks increased 27 percent between 2012 and 2018, according to a Utah State University study.  

These breaks not only lead to service disruptions  but also flood out roads, topple trees and cause illness when drinking water becomes contaminated with bacteria.

The American Water Works Association estimated it will cost at least $1 trillion over the next 25 years to upgrade and expand water infrastructure.

Some local water utilities raised their rates to pay for system improvements, but that just hurts poor consumers who can’t pay the higher bills.

And while Congress allocates money for loans that utilities can use to fix portions of their deteriorating systems, that’s merely a drop in the bucket—a fraction of what agencies need for lasting improvements.

America can no longer afford a piecemeal approach to a systemic nationwide crisis. A major, sustained federal commitment to fixing aging pipes and treatment plants would create millions of construction-related jobs while ensuring all Americans have safe, affordable drinking water.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work