Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico last week, leaving almost all of the island's over three million inhabitants without power and nearly half without running water, while the lack of fuel has not only made it nearly impossible to evacuate good Puerto Ricans, but leaves hospitals without the power to run generators and ventilators. So that means our government has mobilized like mad, just like after hurricanes hit Texas and Florida, right? Well, not exactly, so the Sierra Club helps you tell your Congressfolk to help Puerto Rico rebuild, not just with emergency aid, but with the help they need to overcome decades of environmental and economic degradation. If you want, you can also rewrite the action tool to tell your Congressfolk that you don't want an emergency aid package to Puerto Rico laden down with all kinds of poison pills, whether "poison pills" means initiatives relating to American politics that'd never pass on their own, or initiatives that deliver taxpayer money to some politician's cronies.
Meanwhile, with the Obamacare repeal nightmare over-for-now, we can turn our attention to the other health care-related item that needs to get done before September 30: CHIP reauthorization. The Children's Health Insurance Program has been around for 20 years, and is immensely popular, even among Republican politicians -- and you can guess what that could mean! That could mean now is the time to attach something horrible to a CHIP reauth bill and dare other Congressfolk to vote against it! So you would do well to call your Congressfolk and tell them to pass a clean reauthorization of the Children's Health Insurance Program, without irrelevant and/or harmful legislative riders. I haven't heard any scuttlebutt that Congress would take CHIP hostage to something truly awful, but if I can imagine it, I'm sure they have, too. So don't just hope they'd be afraid of the backlash they'd create -- communicate your will them, and thus give them something to fear.
In other news, both H.J.Res. 111 (which passed the House in July) and S.J.Res. 47 would repeal the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's rule prohibiting banks from forcing consumers into arbitration over disputes. Don't believe the hype that people win more money in arbitration than they do in our courts -- fewer than one in 10 folks who go to arbitration win at all, which means more than 9 out of 10 folks win precisely zero dollars. And banks can take you to arbitration, and when they do, they win more than 9 out of 10 times, meaning that 9 out of 10 times you'll owe them thousands of dollars. And when they say you that you have "the right" to use arbitration, remember that banks don't make it a "right," but a requirement of doing business with them; does that smell like freedom to you? The Senate could vote on either of these resolutions as early as today, so both Consumers Union and People for the American Way help you tell your Senators to protect consumers by voting against H.J.Res. 111 or S.J.Res. 47.
Finally (cue cheers from the convention crowd), FCC Chair Ajit Pai's term on the FCC is up fairly shortly, and President Trump has nominated him to serve another five-year term on the FCC. Of course, if the Senate doesn't confirm him, then he can't be FCC Chair anymore, and can't advance the rigid pro-corporate, anti-consumer agenda he's advanced thus far. This agenda has included rejiggering media consolidation rules so that the Trump-loving corporation the Sinclair Broadcast Group can control even more UHF stations across the land, and it's also, of course, included his effort to kill off the FCC's excellent net neutrality rules, so that corporations can have more control over where you go on the internet than you do. All in all, not a sparkling record; no use telling me Mr. Pai is a smart guy or a nice guy, because you don't need a Snidely Whiplash mustache to do evil. In fact, it really helps if you don't have one. Hence Free Press helps you tell your Senator to reject the renomination of Ajit Pai to the FCC.