A few dozen organizations have coordinated to make today "TPP Call-In Day" -- as in, call your Reps and Senators to tell them you don't want them to pass the Trans-Pacific "Partnership," a "free" trade deal the Obama Administration is still pushing. Americans across the ideological spectrum abhor the "free" trade deal that will outsource more American jobs and allow corporations unprecedented power to nullify American laws, via the "investor-state tribunal," through which corporations could allege that laws protecting air and water and workers cost them money, and thus exact a bailout from the American people. Most of our Congressfolk are actually talking a good game about this -- I was floored to hear from our state's junior Senator that he actually opposed it, because I'm old enough to remember when there wasn't a "free" trade deal Pat Toomey didn't like. But fact is, they're only talking a good game, and there's still plenty of time for them to pull a gotcha on the American people. So use the tools in the upper left-hand corner of this page -- or use this toll-free phone number, 888-659-7351 -- and call your Reps and Senators and tell them to reject the TPP.
Meanwhile, H.R. 5695, the Veterans Visa and Protection Act, would establish a visa program for non-citizen military veterans, so that those veterans will ultimately be able to naturalize as American citizens -- and so our government can stop deporting them. It's one thing to come to America to make a better life for yourself, but it's another thing entirely to come to America and risk your life to defend our country. A lot of these veterans, unfortunately, think that military service automatically confers citizenship, but it doesn't -- and our government hasn't always been clear about what a non-citizen veteran needs to do to become a citizen (and, in less sunny moments, I suspect our government deports non-citizen veterans because they won't be able to get health benefits once they're deported). Now I bet some folks would hear about H.R. 5695 and worry that a terrorist will use a veteran visa program to infiltrate our country and cause mayhem, but becoming a soldier to accomplish that? That sure is a long game. The ACLU helps you tell your Congressfolk to support the Veterans Visa and Protection Act.
Finally, the lead crisis in Flint, MI may have passed from the nightly news, but it's still a crisis for the good people of Flint -- the state of Michigan, as far as I can tell, has handed out water-testing kits and water bottles, and that's what they're bragging about, and Congress has done even less than that, although they have plenty of options, including funding relief, funding childhood lead prevention programs, establishing water testing programs at schools and child care centers, and reauthorizing the Drinking Water Safe Revolving Fund. Some Congressfolk will attempt to exact spending cuts elsewhere (and not in oil corporation subsidies, for example!) in exchange for these necessary programs. But when half a million children have lead in their blood, and any amount of lead causes brain damage, then treating emergencies like the Flint water crisis as opportunities to make pet spending cuts elsewhere is unconscionably cruel, and unworthy of civilized people. The Environmental Defense Fund helps you tell your Congressfolk to do right by the folks in Flint, and stop lead poisoning in their drinking water.