Happy Monday, good peoples! Now would be a good time to call your Senators and tell them to pass H.R. 6800, the HEROES Act, and to reject the suite of bills the Republicans call the HEALS Act. The American people continue to clamor for relief from the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting recession, and the HEROES Act (which our House passed over three months ago!) would give a lot of that relief, not just in extended unemployment benefits and additional stimulus checks but also in the form of COVID-19 testing and tracing. Also, the HEROES Act would extend a moratorium on evictions, since putting people out on the street could cause more COVID-19 spikes. Republican proposals, meanwhile, would attack Social Security, hand out more corporate welfare, and expand three-martini lunch tax breaks; it's safe to say the American people aren't clamoring for these. Don't get hung up on "Democrats and Republicans negotiating an agreement." We're suppose to tell them what we want and they're supposed to do it, and how can Senators negotiate, anyway, without hearing our counsel?
While you have your Senators on the phone, you can also tell them to pass H.R. 8015, the Delivering for America Act, which would roll back the many changes Postmaster General DeJoy has made to U.S. Postal Service operations, changes which have resulted not only in mail delivery delays but also fears that our Post Office won't be able to handle an influx of votes-by-mail, since a lot of folks would rather not risk dying of COVID-19 at the ballot box. Some folks say we're "snowflakes" for wanting to vote without dying of an awful disease! But these folks get their own "courage" largely by getting drunk with denial and rage, so why listen to them? The Delivering for America Act also delivers emergency funding for our Post Office, which still suffers under the Congressional mandate to pre-fund its health and pension benefits 75 years in advance. Those who want our Post Office to run "like a corporation" should note that no corporation in America has do to that! (If you want an email contact tool for this alert, Penn PIRG provides one.)
Finally, if you've missed previous opportunities to tell our Administration to reject its latest plan to weaken endangered species protections, then Penn Environment still helps you do that. As you may recall, our Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed removing species from protections against development if they relocate to a new habitat. Thing is, a species might be endangered precisely because we've developed too much of its natural habitat already, meaning that in order to save the species we have to relocate it to a larger area; thus our FWS would essentially penalizing endangered species for living in a place we've basically overrun, and then prevent them from getting re-established elsewhere! I really do wish folks would use their cleverness to do good things. One could hope that a federal judge will see the inherent contradiction in this rule, and find that it prevents proper enforcement of the Endangered Species Act -- but we've got to help a judge see it with our public comments.