HEALTH CARE IS NOT A PARTISAN ISSUE

The U.S. Senate is expected
to vote on Trumpcare 2.0,
which would leave over 23
million Americans without
health care. It would slash
over $800 billion from Medicaid
and over 25 percent of
the budget for the Supplemental
Nutrition Assistance
Program (SNAP), and cut
funding for CHIP, which provides
health insurance to over
8 million kids.
In Oregon, health care cuts
would undermine critical services
for nearly 475,000 Oregonians,
including pregnant
women, infants, children,
adolescents, and kids with
special needs. Over 145,000
Oregon women, infants and
children already balancing
on an economic tightrope
would be cut from nutrition
assistance programs. Premiums
will skyrocket, especially
for seniors, women of reproductive
age and people with
pre-existing conditions. That
includes most of us.
We know what happens
when people can’t aff ord
health insurance. Sick people
go untreated. People stop taking
medicines they can’t afford.
Chronic conditions like
high blood pressure, diabetes,
and psychiatric illness go
out of control. Hospitals feel
the strain fi nancially when
few people can aff ord the
insurance that pays for services,
especially small town
hospitals. What if Samaritan
Pacifi c Communities had to
close? Where would we go,
especially in the winter when
travel to the valley might
be hazardous? What would
happen to all the people who
work there?
The next few weeks are
critical. Please, if you care
about this issue, let Senators
Merkley and Wyden know.
Tell them your stories to help
them fi ght for our health
care. Here’s a link you can
use: https://www.wyden.
senate.gov/share-your-storytrump-cuts
We can save our health care
if we all speak out. Call, write,
email, tweet daily for the
rest of the month. Get your
friends and family to do the
same. This is not a partisan
issue. Our lives and our future
are at stake.
Joan Wikler
Waldport

Newport News Times, Letters to the Editor, June 23, 2017, Page A8

How to Stand INDIVISIBLE with the 32 Million Americans Who Rely on the ACA

  1. Join the Indivisible Emergency Call on Defending Obamacare. Health care experts will be on hand to provide an overview of what’s happening and what you can do to stop the repeal of Obamacare.
    When: Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 7 at 9 PM EST
    RSVP here.
  2. Tell your MoCs* to demand a fully transparent process for any legislative action on the ACA, including requiring a public Congressional Budget Office cost estimate (“score”) before any vote. This week, House Republicans plan to rush their repeal bill through two committees, and MoCs will only have a few hours to review the bill. We’ve got a brand new script for contacting your MoC’s office. Make it clear: No Score, No Vote.

The next major congressional recess isn’t until April, and the MoCs pushing for repeal would love to repeal Obamacare before then so that they don’t have to answer any more pesky questions. Our response: Not so fast.

*MoC – Member of Congress

The Indivisible Guide Team.  You may contribute

“Why Women Must Still Fight For Voting Rights”

Statement by NOW President Terry O’Neill

06.23.2016

The struggle to secure voting rights and the struggle to secure the rights of women have been intertwined in U.S. history since the historic meeting at Seneca Falls in 1848 endorsed the demand for women to have the right to vote.Today, nearly a century after women won the constitutional right to vote, and a half-century after African American women and men won access to the ballot box through the 1965 Voting Rights Act, we are facing a new onslaught of state voter suppression measures.

Aimed primarily at communities of color, immigrants, and younger voters, these laws are the shameful progeny of the Supreme Court’s gutting of the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder.

The fact is, voter suppression laws disproportionately impact women. That’s why the National Organization for Women (NOW) is proud to be a member of the Voting Rights Alliance to undo the damage done by Shelby, end voter suppression laws, and pressure Congress to protect and restore the right to vote for every citizen.

NOW activists are joining members and supporters of the new Congressional Voting Rights Caucus on Capitol Hill today to protest the Shelby decision and demand immediate action by Congress to pass the Voting Rights Advancement Act.

Restrictions on early voting disproportionately block women from exercising their right to vote. Women are over-represented in the ranks of low-wage work, and many can’t take time off to go vote on Tuesday. They need flexible voting hours via early voting.

What’s more, voter ID laws have a disproportionately negative effect on women. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, one third of all women have citizenship documents that do not identically match their current names, primarily because of name changes at marriage.

Beyond discrimination at the voting booth, when women are blocked from voting, anti-woman legislators get elected, and then they enact laws that harm women — like the tsunami of anti-reproductive rights laws passed by states in the past three years — or block beneficial policies like paid leave, equal pay, or an increase in the minimum wage.

NOW is proud that for the first time in our history, a woman will be nominated to run for President on a major party ticket. That’s a tremendous step forward. But undermining voting rights for our sisters and brothers of color will set back our democracy for generations to come. Shelby must not be allowed to stand. It is time to pass the Voting Rights Advancement Act without further delay.

Contact

Tamara Stein , planner@now.org , 951-547-1241

http://now.org/media-center/press-release/why-women-must-still-fight-for-voting-rights/

The Only Way to Combat Congress’s Sexism Is to Flood It With Women

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos explains why it’s so vital to recruit women to Congress.

Congress is sexist. So says Illinois Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, a former journalist and health-care executive who in 2012 became the first woman from her district to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. As she faces reelection in November, one of her top missions is to flood Congress with women and people of color so the lawmakers drafting bills “truly reflect the makeup of America.”

Bustos spoke to Cosmopolitan.com at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s Women’s Issues Conference in New York City on Monday, where party leaders like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi celebrated one dozen women currently running for Congress. Among them are former Orlando police chief Val Demings, former Maine state senator Emily Cain, and Cedar Rapids City Council member Monica Vernon — who, if elected, would become the first woman Iowa has ever placed in the US House of Representatives.

“Let’s look at the fact that equal pay for equal work has not made progress. What other explanation can there be other than that there’s some sexism at play?” said Bustos, who serves as the vice chair of the DCCC’s recruitment committee and co-chair of the Red to Blue committee, an effort to put Democrats in seats currently occupied by Republicans. “Why are we not making progress on campus sexual assault? Why are we not making more progress on sexual assault in the military? These are issues that are mostly female victims that we’re talking about. Women can relate to this issue in a way that is very, very personal,” she said.

“I mean, can you imagine if we had a woman president, a woman Speaker of the House and if we picked up more seats in Congress with women members? Can you even imagine that those issues wouldn’t make some headway?” Bustos asked.

Though women are 51 percent of the population, they make up just 19 percent of Congress, 24 percent of state legislators, and 12 percent of governors, according to the Representation 2020 Project. At the current rate of change, according to research by the Institute for Women’ Policy, political parity for women is still over a century away.

Bustos, who has campaigned for all these female candidates, says that recruiting women is a “very different process” than for recruiting men. “Women typically, the first questions they ask is how is this going to impact my family? How do you take it, running for political office, when it is so nasty?” she explains. Women are also concerned “about whether they will be able to grasp the complexity of the issues that face our nation,” she says. “Men are typically like, ‘Can I win?’ I kid you not.”

Bustos’s observations are backed up by empirical research. According to a 2012 study by the Women & Politics Institute at American University’s School of Public Affairs, compared to men, women are less encouraged to run for political office, are less likely to consider themselves qualified for office, are more likely to perceive a negative bias from the media, and are still responsible for a majority of household- and family-related work.

In an on-stage interview with Cosmopolitan editor Joanna Coles during a luncheon at the event, Pelosi encouraged more women to participate in politics — and to stop being humble. “I want our candidates to be immodest,” she said. “Have confidence, be strong, be proud. And take credit for who you are and what you do.”

http://www.cosmopolitan.com/politics/news/a57522/congress-sexism-women/

June 4 is the 95th Anniversary of Congress Passing the 19th Amendment

June 4 is the 95th Anniversary of Congress Passing the 19th Amendment

On June 4, 1919 Congress passed the 19th Amendment which gave women the right to vote. The Amendment was then sent to the states for ratification. It took a little over a year to be ratified on August 18, 1920.

“The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

The Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) has not faired so well. Originally written in 1923 by Alice Paul and first introduced in Congress in 1923, it did not pass both houses of Congress and go to the states for ratification until 1972. It is still three (3) states short of ratification.

We have a chance in 2014 to at least pass a state ERA in Oregon that would grant women express equal rights in the Oregon Constitution. Please do what you can to help! VoteERA.org!

Women are Wielding Notable Influence in Congress

Women are Wielding Notable Influence in Congress

By Ed O’Keefe, Published: January 16

After decades of trying to amass power, several women have vaulted to the top of influential congressional committees, putting them in charge of some of the most consequential legislation being considered on Capitol Hill.

The $1.1 trillion spending plan Congress approved this week was the handiwork of Senate Appropriations Com­mittee Chairman Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) and her House counterpart, Harold Rogers (R-Ky.).

In December, when lawmakers approved a budget deal with big majorities in both chambers, credit went to Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

Next month, when attention will turn to passing a farm bill, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), who has spent three years working on the measure with House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank D. Lucas (R-Okla.), will be at the center of the action. Leaders and aides in both chambers expect the bill to pass.

And women’s influence extends beyond the marquee legislation to other policy areas.

Last year, seven women on the Senate Armed Services Committee took the lead on writing a historic plan to revamp how the military handles cases of sexual assault and rape. It was included in the annual Pentagon policy bill.

In coming weeks, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) will begin a debate about reforming the National Security Agency, and her home-state colleague, Sen. Barbara Boxer (D), negotiated a major water and public works bill last year.

Mikulski was quick to note the role that Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) often plays in these very partisan times; Collins has been the key GOP power broker in tough negotiations between warring factions.

In recent months, while the country has been distracted by extended disagreements in Washington, led mostly by men, a cast of powerful female lawmakers has been amassing some notable victories.

This success is partly coincidence and partly the natural evolution of the old order. Seniority has produced a series of female heads of committees responsible for some of the most important, and often most controversial, legislation before Congress.

After last year’s historically unproductive session, 2014 has been devoted to completing difficult work left over, and there’s a feeling among many people that some corners of Congress are starting to function differently because of the power that women now hold.

Collins lauded the female senators for getting together frequently for informal dinners designed to provide space to talk about things other than work. But she said other important factors also are at play.

“One is the collaborative style that I think women as a whole . . . bring to legislating,” she said. “Second is that we’re in key positions and that allows us to shape legislation more directly. And third is that we do trust each other.”

Trust is a scarce commodity in the Capitol these days.

“It’s not surprising that every time I’ve passed a piece of legislation, I’ve had a strong Republican woman helping me across the aisle,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said in a recent interview. “Women are often very good at finding common ground and building bipartisan support.”

The achievements make Mikulski especially proud. She’s the ­longest-serving woman in the Senate and praises Republican and Democratic women in both chambers for bringing a different approach to negotiations that men have long dominated.

“While we work on the macro issues, we also work on macaroni-and-cheese issues,” she said.

Murray was more direct: “I think women, in general, across the country will tell you that a lot of them manage their own checkbooks and make decisions about their families. And that’s what women do here in the United States Senate now.”

Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), a freshman lawmaker and veteran of the Iraq war, noted that most of the women cutting deals were mentored through the years by older male colleagues — just as she was while serving in uniform.

“Maybe there’s something about the fact that they climbed the ranks against high odds that made them able to negotiate these tough bills,” Duckworth said.

In an interview, Mikulski recalled the first time she walked into a meeting of the Senate Appropriations Committee. She was the only woman assigned to the panel. “I was at the end of the table, I was at the bottom of the line, but when I walked into the Appropriations room — this beautiful room that is longer and wider than my house in Fells Point — I was awestruck by all that had gone on there,” the Baltimore native said.

She said the late senator Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.), a longtime appropriator, quickly took her under his wing and frequently reminded her of Congress’s constitutional responsibility to control the government’s spending habits.

“He taught me to love and understand the Constitution of the United States, to follow the rules, to obey the law and fight like hell for what you believe in,” she said.

On Wednesday, Rogers, the Appropriations chairman, seemed especially pleased with the result of his work with Mikulski. “I can’t think of a more satisfying time that I have had in this chamber in all these years,” he said on the House floor.

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) praised Mikulski on Thursday, saying, “I don’t know if anyone else could have done what she did working with the Republicans in the House.”

Stabenow suggested that women remember to play nice.

“It’s important to share credit with other people,” she said. “It’s important to worry less about who gets credit and more about getting things done.”

Rep. Collin C. Peterson (D-Minn.), who has led farm-bill talks with Stabenow, Lucas and Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.), said that having Stabenow in the room has made a difference. “I think she’s more tenacious, but more diplomatic, than a guy,” he said.

Several female House Republicans are pushing for changes to the Affordable Care Act but haven’t found sufficient support in the Senate. Only one woman, Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.), has been directly engaged in long-stalled talks on immigration reform — the next big issue that many lawmakers are likely to tackle. And there’s no guarantee that Mikulski and Murray will be able to strike similar budget and appropriations deals later this year.

Collins urged them to keep reaching across the aisle — and not to forget about the men.

“We have many good male members of the Senate as well, and I would not want to see an all-female Senate any more than I would want to see an all-male Senate,” she said. “I don’t think either would be healthy.”

Why 2014 Could Be A Huge Turning Point For Reproductive Rights | ThinkProgress

Why 2014 Could Be A Huge Turning Point For Reproductive Rights | ThinkProgress.

Support ERA for Oregon! DONATE and, if registered to vote in Oregon SIGN E-PETITION
Roe v. Wade will mark its 41st birthday later this month, amid ever-increasing assaults on reproductive rights across the nation. According to the latest report from the Guttmacher Institute, states have imposed a staggering 205 abortion restrictions between 2011 and 2013. That legislation has attacked access to abortion from all angles — targeting providers and clinics, driving up the cost of abortion for the women who need it, making women travel farther and wait longer to get medical care, and outright banning the procedure. Since 2000, the number of states that Guttmacher defines as being “hostile” to abortion rights has spiked from 13 to 27.
That’s left abortion rights advocates on the other side, working hard to stem the tide of anti-choice attacks. Constantly warding off restrictive legislation hasn’t left much space for proactive policies to expand women’s reproductive freedom, like expanding access to maternity care or making family planning services more accessible to low-income women. Most of the headlines about abortion issues are bleak.
But there may be a shift on the horizon.
As the new year kicks off, the pro-choice community is beginning to lay the groundwork for a new kind of strategy. On the state level, they’re beginning to push for legislation that not only rolls back anti-choice restrictions, but also expands health care opportunities for women and their families. They’re striking a delicate balance between finding common ground with social conservatives — like focusing on preventative care and maternal health outcomes — while maintaining that abortion is also an important aspect of reproductive health. And grassroots activists are committed to nudging the dial forward on issues that have long been considered too controversial for the political sphere.
We’re starting to define what a new agenda for reproductive freedom looks like in the 21st century.”
“The momentum has shifted,” Ilyse Hogue, the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, told ThinkProgress in an interview. “Americans as a whole have had enough. We’re not just going to sit idly by and fight defensive fights and take these attacks on reproductive freedom sitting down. We’re starting to define what a new agenda for reproductive freedom looks like in the 21st century.”

A new agenda for reproductive freedom
So what does that agenda look like? In a political atmosphere that’s long segregated women’s health care from the rest of policy as a “culture war issue,” it involves a more comprehensive approach to reproductive freedom.
“Abortion access is ground zero of reproductive freedom; without it, we don’t have autonomy and self-determination over our lives. But it’s not as though our reproductive lives start and end there,” Hogue noted. “There’s a whole landscape out there of policies that have lagged far behind.”
Those policies include other health-related initiatives, like ensuring that women have access to family planning services and maternity care. They involve tackling sexual health issues, like cracking down on domestic abuse and rape. But they also include economic policies to help ensure that women have the resources to direct the courses of their lives and provide for their families — like equal pay legislation, affordable child care services, and efforts to prevent workplace discrimination. Rather than framing reproductive rights as a women’s issue, groups like NARAL are working on making the point that they’re also inextricable from the nation’s economic agenda.
We want women to know that there’s a path, there’s a fight being made on these subjects.”
On a national stage, some lawmakers have already made the shift to talking about women’s full equality in this way. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) were particular champions of this fight in 2013, attempting to reposition women’s economic success as a national priority. “We want women to know that there’s a path, there’s a fight being made on these subjects,” Pelosi told ThinkProgress in July.
State legislatures starting to lead the way
Pelosi has focused on workplace equality as a women’s issue without necessarily coupling that effort with other areas of women’s rights, like abortion rights or sexual assault prevention. But state lawmakers are beginning to propose sweeping packages of women’s health legislation that include the full range of those issues.
For instance, Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) pushed an ambitious Women’s Equality Act — which included measures to advance pay equity, outlaw discriminatory practices against women in the workplace and the housing sector, tighten penalties for sexual crimes, and reaffirm reproductive rights — in 2013. It ultimately failed to pass because some members of the legislature wouldn’t agree to its abortion-related provision, but the female members of the Assembly’s Democratic majority are ready to try again. They’re already urging Cuomo to take up the full version of the legislation again this year. They’re also framing these issues broadly, pointing out that advancing women’s equality is more than access to gender-specific health care. “We believe it is important to look at all of those barriers women face and to make sure we include issues such as access to affordable, high-quality child care, paid family leave and eldercare so that New York’s women and families have every opportunity for a dynamic future,” a statement from the Democratic Women Assembly Members explains.
State lawmakers are beginning to propose sweeping packages of women’s health legislation.
Pennsylvania probably doesn’t immediately come to mind as a state that’s committed to protecting reproductive rights — Guttmacher rates the state as “hostile” to abortion, since it’s enacted several harsh restrictions on the procedure — but lawmakers are making a very similar push there. In December, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced the Pennsylvania Agenda for Women’s Health, a package of legislation that includes measures to strengthen workplace protections for pregnant women and nursing mothers, prevent anti-abortion harassment at health clinics, advance pay equity, and protect victims of domestic violence.
“The Pennsylvania Agenda for Women’s Health represents a genuine cross-section of issues and concerns facing women today,” Rep. Dan Frankel (D-PA), one of the lawmakers heading up the new initiative, explained when it was first introduced. “This is a comprehensive collection of bills based on what women want in regard to their own health.”
Just this week, a pro-choice coalition in Virginia unveiled the 2014 Healthy Families Legislative Agenda, another broad push to advance women’s health from this angle. After a high-profile gubernatorial race that resulted in the election of pro-choice Terry McAuliffe, reproductive rights activists are eager to begin undoing some of the damage to women’s rights in recent years. In addition to pushing to repeal the state’s forced ultrasound laws and harsh restrictions on abortion clinics, the coalition is also advocating for expanding Medicaid and increasing health coverage for low-income pregnant women.
“We are re-orienting ourselves a bit more toward offense and trying to take advantage we see in this immense backlash to these really radical attacks on women’s health care access,” Anna Scholl, the Executive Director of ProgressVA, explained to ThinkProgress. “I don’t want to minimize or underestimate the size of the hole that we have to dig ourselves out of… But we are taking a much more holistic approach to choice and to women’s health, putting together an agenda that we think will support families across the Commonwealth in every one of their childbearing positions.”
Are national lawmakers finally ready to go on the offense?
The end of 2013 signaled a potential shift in the way that Washington approaches abortion rights, too. Of course, getting pro-choice legislation past both chambers of Congress is far less likely than beginning to turn the tide at the state level. But national lawmakers are indicating that they may not be afraid to take a bold stance in favor of reproductive rights. In November, a group of Senate Democrats introduced the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2013, the first piece of national legislation in nearly a decade that is intended to protect — rather than dismantle — abortion rights. The Women’s Health Protection Act would prevent states from enacting medically unnecessary restrictions on abortion.
“This assault on essential, constitutionally protected rights has gone on too long,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), one of the co-sponsors of the legislation, explained in an op-ed when it was first unveiled. “We are introducing the Women’s Health Protection Act of 2013 this week to end it, once and for all.”
When you actually take a strong, courageous stand on abortion access as part of a full suite of reproductive freedom, voters reward you.”
NARAL’s Hogue points to Wendy Davis, a relatively unknown state lawmaker who rose to national fame after fighting to defeat stringent anti-abortion legislation in Texas, as evidence that the American public is ready for more elected officials to go down this path. “When you actually take a strong, courageous stand on abortion access as part of a full suite of reproductive freedom, voters reward you. We’re going to see more of that, and we’re going to incentivize more of that,” she noted.
And grassroots activists are preparing to push lawmakers even further. The hostile environment around abortion has made elected officials wary to take any strong stance on expanding access to the procedure, particularly if that results in taxpayer dollars financing abortion. For nearly 40 years, the Hyde Amendment has outlawed federal funding for abortion, preventing low-income women who rely on Medicaid from using their insurance coverage to help pay for the procedure — and Democrats have largely refrained from doing anything to get rid of that policy. But this past fall, reproductive justice activists formed All*Above All, a coalition that hopes to bring a renewed momentum to the fight to restore abortion access to economically disadvantaged individuals.
“All*Above All pushes back on the long-running urban legend that funding abortion coverage is some kind of political third rail,” Kierra Johnson, Choice USA’s executive director, explained in a statement about the coalition’s launch. “This campaign offers people a fresh approach to declare their support for bold action to change these policies.”
Looking to 2014 and beyond
“I think we’re going to sort of hit our stride in 2014,” Hogue told ThinkProgress. “In 2014, we’re going to see a lot more offensive legislation. We’re going to start to see states really experiment with what policy packages look like that actually support women at all stages of their reproductive life, and we’re going to demand what we need to be thriving, equal members of American society.”
But change is slow, and after such a dramatic recent assault on women’s bodily autonomy, it will take time to pull the country back to the other direction. As ProgressVA’s Scholl noted, there’s still a lot of damage to undo. In deeply red states like Texas, much of that damage will only continue to worsen this year. And, of course, the pro-choice community may be mobilizing for 2014 — but so are abortion opponents.
According to Hogue, the shift will begin in 2014 and get even more dramatic in 2016 and 2018. It will take several trips to the ballot box to counteract the power that the Tea Party built up over the past three years. But there’s reason to believe that the American people, who have repeatedly rejected legislative attempts to restrict abortion, are ready for a dramatically different approach to reproductive freedom.
“It’s going to take longer than more election cycle to re-center the country where the actual center is, but make no mistake — this shift has started to happen,” she noted. “The pendulum will be swinging back in this direction for quite some time.”