ACTION OF THE WEEK: Compassion for Dreamers

The Dream Act (S1615/H.R.3340) is on the ropes and needs your URGENT action.  Congress proposes to vote on the Dream Act this Friday.  Please urge your congressperson to support a clean Dream Act.  

DACA recipients are still without a road to lawful permanent resident (LPR) status or U.S. citizenship. Meanwhile, on September 5, 2017, the Trump administration announced that it is ending the program, then were forced to stay that action through court injunction. This has left people who either still have DACA or whose DACA has expired in limbo with respect to their future in the only country they’ve known as home since they were children. The Dream Act of 2017 is a strong bill that includes a path to U.S. citizenship. In its various iterations, the Dream Act has long enjoyed bipartisan support in the congress and the overwhelming support of the American people.  However, congress now proposes adding elements to the bill that fund increased interior enforcement, detention centers, and a mandatory E-verify system.  This compromised Dream Act will protect our Dreamers while endangering the wider immigrant community.  We need a clean DREAM ACT.

Click HERE to urge your congress people to support a clean Dream Act NOW.

Renew CHIP Funding without gutting ACA: A matter of justice, equity, and compassion

The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) brings health insurance to children whose working families make too much to qualify for medicaid but too little to cover their kids through employee plans.  Your Congresspeople have passed HR 3922 to renew CHIP funding.   HOWEVER, the bill calls for funding CHIP by cutting 75% of funding for the ACA's Prevention and Public Health Fun and by reducing access to health insurance for many others.  It is unacceptable to use CHIP funding as a bargaining tool to undermine popular aspects of the ACA.  Right now, the bill has been recalled for reconsideration.  

Click HERE to urge your congresspeople to renew funding of CHIP without drawing funds from other vital sources of health insurance for our most vulnerable families.

Congress needs to know we are watching!

Stopping Bail Profiteering: A Matter of Worth, Dignity and Justice

The $2 billion bail industry makes an enormous profit from people’s inability to come up with cash. For-profit bail takes the already exploitative bail system and charges a 10% non-refundable fee as well as outrageous interest rates. Even if all charges are dropped, no one gets their money back.

Click here to tell big insurance companies to get out of the business of making profit off of bail.

Protecting Lives: A Matter of Worth and Dignity

Background checks for gun purchases can save lives, but a background check is only as good as the records in the database. The current National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database is incomplete because many states have not provided records about people prohibited from owning a firearm under current law.

There is rare bipartisan support for a bill to fix NICS to ensure more accurate and complete background checks – but it needs to be considered separately from a bill that would force states with strong concealed carry laws to honor permits from states with weak or non-existent concealed carry laws. While the House is likely to pass the two bills together as early as today, there is strong bipartisan support in the Senate for separating them.

Click here to urge your Members of Congress to support the bill (HB4477/S.2135) to fix the National Instant Criminal Background Check System separately from concealed carry legislation.

Welcoming Dreamers: A Matter of Compassion

Hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children are in danger of deportation from the only country most of them have ever called home. Illinois is home to nearly 42,400 Dreamers, over 36,000 of whom are in our workforce and contribute over $100 million annually in state and local taxes.

Click here to urge Congress to pass the Dream Act as a first step towards an immigration system that keeps people safe and keeps families together.

No Bailouts for Coal and Nuclear: Protecting the Interdependent Web

Energy Secretary Rick Perry is proposing to bail out coal and nuclear plants, even where they are too expensive to compete with cheaper alternatives like wind and solar. The Department of Energy’s own recent study of electricity markets clearly demonstrated that this proposal is not justified.

Click here to submit a public comment on Sec Perry’s proposal to prop up aging and polluting power plants.


Tax Reform: A Matter of Justice and Interdependence

A moral tax code unites each person and business in a shared commitment to the common good, with those who have received much expected to contribute the most. Such a plan would meet society’s needs while securing a healthy economy that works for everyone.

The tax reform proposal currently before Congress would do neither. Whether it's by cutting programs that millions of Americans rely on or by directly increasing their taxes, Congress is considering a massive giveaway to the wealthy and asking the rest of us to pay for it. Eighty percent of the $1.5 trillion in proposed tax cuts will benefit the top 1%, paid for through trillions in cuts to programs that help everyone else. Meanwhile, there’s little evidence that the tax rate hurts U.S. competitiveness or that cutting corporate taxes results in higher wages for workers.

Click here to urge your Member of Congress to oppose the tax reform proposal being considered by Congress.

Protecting Access to Health Care: A Matter of Equity and Compassion

Health care is on the table yet again. President Trump has signed an executive order ending subsidies that enable low-income individuals to afford health coverage and care. Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) have introduced a bipartisan deal that would restore subsidies for another two years to help millions of people afford health insurance; it would also restore outreach and enrollment funding to help more people sign up under the Affordable Care Act. This deal isn’t perfect, but it is an important shift away from partisan attacks on Medicaid and the ACA towards positive legislation.

Click here to urge your Members of Congress to support this bipartisan effort to protect access to health care for people with low incomes.

The Equal Rights Amendment: A Matter of Simple Equity

In March 2017, Nevada became the 36th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the U.S. Constitution. Illinois could become the 37th if the state legislature approves it during the upcoming veto session (October 24-26 and November 7-9). If Illinois ratifies the ERA, just one more state will be needed to reach the required 38 states.
The ERA says very simply: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”

Click here to urge your state representatives to support SJRCA004, the Senate Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment on the Equal Rights Amendment.

Defending the Clean Power Plan: Democracy and the Interdependent Web

In the wake of devastating hurricanes and wildfires, the Trump administration wants to repeal our country’s largest effort to stop climate change. The Clean Power Plan set the first-ever limits on carbon pollution from the biggest source, coal-fired power plants. Besides significantly impacting climate change, the EPA estimated the Clean Power Plan would prevent up to 6,600 premature deaths and 150,000 asthma attacks from carbon pollution, which disproportionately affect low-income communities of color.

Click here to submit a public comment in support of the Clean Power Plan and insist that the EPA hold public hearings in all 50 states.