You've likely heard by now that a group of "centrist" Congressfolk have come up with ideas for health care reforms to write into a bill. Headline: their ideas are mostly bad. Of course I'd like Congress to continue funding Affordable Care Act subsidies, but not at the price of applying the employer mandate only to corporations with 500 or more employees, versus corporations with 50 or more employees. The right constantly tries to see exactly how big they can make a corporation and still call it a "small business," but does 499 employees sound like a Mom and Pop store to you? They also want to get rid of the medical device tax and want to mess around with the pre-existing conditions ban, in the name of "innovation." You can't call a pile of dung meatloaf and then congratulate yourself for "innovating" on the definition of meatloaf. And why should I care that these ideas have ever received "bipartisan support"? I don't care about "bipartisan" ideas; I only care about good ideas, and these ain't those. Tools are in the upper right-hand corner of this page (or on the bottom, if you're on a cellphone) to help you call your Reps and Senators.
Meanwhile, Pennsylvania state Senators have used a bill originally dealing with internet sales, HB 542, as a vehicle to gut clean air and clean water regulation in the Commonwealth! HB 542, in its relatively uncontroversial form, passed the House with a staggering majority back in May, but the Senate amended it thereafter to include a slew of pro-pollution amendments and then passed it by a far, far narrower margin. Hence the bill going back to the House now opens the door to privatizing the whole permitting process for gas and oil drilling, while also creating a legislature-appointed board that can veto clean air and clean water regulations and automatically approve drilling permits after 45 days. The bill also creates a fracking tax like the one the majority of Pennsylvanians have wanted for years, but again, why should we accept a slew of bad initiatives just to get one good one? That, folks, is called hostage-taking, and we Americans don't do hostage situations. Of course, having been so radically altered, HB 542 has to go back to the state House for approval, so both Penn Environment and Food and Water Watch help you tell your Pennsylvania House Reps to reject HB 542 when it comes back around.
Finally, if you've missed previous opportunities to tell the FDA to finalize its food labeling rules, then Moms Rising still helps you do that. The FDA finalized food labeling rules for menus from restaurants, supermarkets, convenience stores, and movie theatres, and the rules require menus to give information about calories, sugar, fat, and salt. But delay, delay, delay is the Trump Administration way, so the FDA has mooted delaying the rules until 2018, presumably so it can collect more comments from corporate types about how oppressive it is for them to tell people how fatty their burgers are or how sugary their soft drinks are. I'm a compulsive food label reader myself, and I've seen the positive changes in my life once I decided that maybe a proper serving of pasta was better than just eating with my eyes. But I'm not the only one -- a lot of folks make better dietary choices, even when eating out, once they're supplied with good information. Of course, a venal fool like President Trump -- for whom sensation is everything and thinking about the future is for "losers" -- probably doesn't understand that very well, and reflexively anti-government Republicans will do little but enable him. But we don't have to enable him.