You may have noticed that new coronavirus cases have spiked lately (which means spikes in coronavirus deaths likely aren't too far behind). You may also have heard our President suggest at that Tulsa rally that he asked "my people" to "slow the testing down please," ostensibly to make "his" numbers look better though of course they're not "his" numbers but ours. He's also said that more testing leads to more cases -- though more testing obviously doesn't automatically lead to the higher percentage of positive tests we're now seeing in Texas, Arizona, and Florida -- and he's also said "(w)e are leading the world in testing," which BFD, because we have over 300 million people; both Iceland and Denmark are testing almost twice as many of their citizens per million as we are, for example, and perhaps not coincidentally, those nations both have fewer cases and deaths per million citizens than we do. Anyway, Penn PIRG helps you tell your Senators to demand more funding for COVID-19 testing. Be sure to let them know that you don't believe the President's hype, and also feel free to tell them why.
In a related note, S. 3677, the COVID-19 Every Worker Protection Act, would compel our Occupational Safety and Health Administration (or OSHA) to issue emergency regulations (since COVID-19 is only recently emergent, after all) that would protect health care employees, first responders, and other workers who face an acute threat of COVID contamination. Such regulations would at least work around the nefarious actions of our President, who has responded to the COVID-19 threat by rolling back safety regulations and enforcement and by keeping food processing plant workers at work whether they're safe there or not; I'd say "when all you've got is a hammer everything looks like a nail," but saying this President even has a hammer would be an unwarranted act of charity. I know, I know, what are the chances "his" OSHA will issue good regulations? We'll fight that battle when we get there; for now, let's insure they actually issue the regulations in the first place. Food and Water Action helps you tell your Congressfolk to protect our workers by passing the COVID-19 Every Worker Protection Act.
Meanwhile, you've likely heard that debt collectors have been snatching up some folks' stimulus checks from the CARES Act before they can even see it! To those pedants who would say well, you should expect that when you've got debt, I would say only two things: 1) slap yourself, and 2) the whole point of a "stimulus" check is to stimulate the economy, which a stimulus check won't do if it goes right back into the pocket of some bankster or other, amirite? But along comes S. 3841, which would prohibit creditors from doing this sort of thing, and if I read the bill correctly, it would apply to any other stimulus checks Congress might issue this year. S. 3841 comes from Republican Sens. Grassley of Iowa and Scott of South Carolina, plus five Democratic co-sponsors because the Republican caucus is so irredeemably decadent you can't even get more than two of them to sign onto a common sense idea like this! In any case, US PIRG helps you tell your Congressfolk to keep creditors from taking away your stimulus check before you've had a chance to stimulate the economy with it. It is your money, after all.
Finally, Congress is contemplating handing out a billion dollars in corporate welfare to the plastics industry -- but there's a better legislative option than that! H.R. 5845/S. 3263, the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act, would actually start getting us off our utter dependence on plastics by (among other things) increasing the amount of recycled material plastic products must have, phasing out single-use plastic products starting in 2022, mandating that our EPA establish a national recycling standard for plastics, and limiting how much plastic trash we can export. With all the PFAS chemicals winding up in our drinking water and all the plastic trash winding up at sea, I'd say the clock's ticking. I will say I do not support taxes on plastic shopping bags -- those are exactly the kinds of taxes that hurt working families way more than the corporations that make the bags! -- but programs that refund consumers who bring back plastic containers is a good idea. Hence Penn PIRG helps you tell your Congressfolk to fight plastic pollution by passing the Break Free From Plastic Pollution Act.