NYCU: Reproductive rights and gun control newly possess Congress, D.C.

News_You_Can_Use_graphic_(2).pngReplace who? Working people of all identities have lots to stick together for -- to fight off the predatory corporations and banks and the right-wing politicians and media crazies they have bought and continue to support. But too many desperate people are vulnerable to conspiracy theories about “replacement” that goad them to find folks of a different hue, origin or identity to blame.  And so, we have Buffalo, which will burn in our hearts. Until the next heartbreak.

 We should be in solidarity against those big-money pundits, their corporate enablers and the gun culture that they always dangle in front of the desperate and vengeful. But the lure of rapidfire revenge steadily peels off the desperate and easily-duped and brings camo-clad tragedy, where real harm reduction (mental health aware-care, not militarized cops and easy gun purchases) could have brought a different outcome.

Cities like Buffalo struggle with gun violence, even of the sort that drives many miles to find black people in groups large enough to shoot. But they are near-powerless to change it locally.  So we’ll start with the federal side this week, where gun control can be expected to bubble up again in Congress. So News U Can Use starts in DC this week.

 



 

Replace who? Working people of all identities have lots to stick together for -- to fight off the predatory corporations and banks and the right-wing politicians and media crazies they have bought and continue to support. But too many desperate people are vulnerable to conspiracy theories about “replacement” that goad them to find folks of a different hue, origin or identity to blame.  And so, we have Buffalo, which will burn in our hearts. Until the next heartbreak.

 We should be in solidarity against those big-money pundits, their corporate enablers and the gun culture that they always dangle in front of the desperate and vengeful. But the lure of rapidfire revenge steadily peels off the desperate and easily-duped and brings camo-clad tragedy, where real harm reduction (mental health aware-care, not militarized cops and easy gun purchases) could have brought a different outcome.

Cities like Buffalo struggle with gun violence, even of the sort that drives many miles to find black people in groups large enough to shoot. But they are near-powerless to change it locally.  So we’ll start with the federal side this week, where gun control can be expected to bubble up again in Congress.

Here’s the wrap and forecast from People’s Action, the national affiliate of Progressive Maryland, and some things all of us can do:

 

One million

The NYTimes reported on the 1 million lives lost in the U.S. due to COVID

Chuck Collins (author of Born on Third Base) keeps an eye on inequality and its social costs from the inequality.org think tank at the Institute for Policy Studies in downtown DC. He notes: “More grim news: Frontline workers exempt from stay-at-home orders — Americans working in food service and health care, transportation and agriculture — turned out to be nearly twice as likely to die from Covid.

“Meanwhile, our CEOs and other top corporate execs have spent the pandemic years becoming ever more comfortable. According to new Wall Street Journal analysis, the median CEO pay package at top US corporations reached $14.7 million in 2021, a sixth straight annual record.”

Megan Essaheb’s look-in from DC:

Last week, Senator Sanders reintroduced Medicare for All last week and held a hearing on the legislation. The bill currently has 13 cosponsors including the bill’s previous cosponsors and two new cosponsors, Senator Padilla (D-CA) and Senator Lujan (D-NM).

The Senate also held vote to open debate on the Women’s Health Protection Act to codify Roe v. Wade which failed 49-51 with Senator Manchin voting with Republicans against the bill. 

The House passed a nearly $40 billion package for Ukraine Tuesday that is headed for the Senate. The Senate is looking to take up the COVID relief package this week and may hold a vote to reinstate Title 42, which many moderate Democrats have indicated that they would vote for. Senate Republicans have been holding the covid relief money from moving forward in exchange for a vote on the Title 42 policy which they think is good electoral politics. 

This week, we’re hoping to see the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act pass out of committee as overdose deaths continue to rise. 107,000 people died of an overdose in 2021. See the take action section below to support our campaign to end the overdose crisis.. 

 

What You Can Do This Week

HEALTH -- overdose prevention

Take Action to Move the MAT Act out of Committee: The House Energy & Commerce Committee will mark-up a mental health and overdose prevention bill and we expect that the Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment Act will be offered as an amendment. 

  • Help us win by sending emails to Members of Congress urging them to support the bill. 
  • Watch for a harmful Republican amendment. 

 

CLIMATE

Inside Climate News reports that candidates from both parties in Pennsylvania’s Senate race support fracking and aren’t talking about climate change. Climate has been a hard topic to upraise in many early electoral campaigns. From ICN on J40: But a report published last month by the Roosevelt Institute found that several serious challenges remain for the OMB’s work on Justice40, particularly when it comes to how federal agencies are accounting for spending. The administration’s Justice40 initiative commits to delivering 40 percent of the overall benefits of Federal climate, clean energy, affordable and sustainable housing, clean water, and other investments to disadvantaged communities that have been historically marginalized, underserved, and overburdened by pollution.

The report examined the budgets of about 21 programs that OMB identified under its interim guidance as being covered by Justice40 and compared them to federal funding available under the bipartisan infrastructure bill, as well as potential funding if Congress passed Biden’s Build Back Better Act. The report found that more money could be spent on things harmful to communities of color than those that would benefit them.

HOUSING

Biden administration announced an action plan Monday aimed at boosting the supply of affordable housing amid high inflation. From WSJ: “Each regulatory move is technical and modest, though the administration hopes they will collectively dent the estimated shortage of millions of homes over the coming years.” CNN reports these include, “steps to leverage existing federal funding to encourage state and local reform to zoning and land use policies… via funding from the bipartisan infrastructure law and the Department of Transportation…the administration will take steps to improve federal financing mechanisms for manufactured housing, multifamily housing, and the construction and rehabilitation of single-family homes.”

 Here is the White House announcement. – which includes a not-very-subtle pushback against the abusive hedge-fund flipping industry: “Ensure that more government-owned supply of homes and other housing goes to owners who will live in them – or non-profits who will rehab them – not large institutional investors.”

 

Megan E, your conductor on that tour, watches national politics as a People’s Action organizer.

And what about Maryland?

Progressives are still putting pressure on Larry Hogan to release the appropriated funds for training reproductive health personnel because Maryland will be among the states standing as women’s reproductive health refuges as patriarchal barbarism runs rampant in the Old Confederacy and Cowboyland.

In Prince George’s, which the WaPo unabashedly headlines as a “mental health desert,” the county last week celebrated opening a new mental health facility of, well, 22 acute care beds. “The county, home to just under 1 million residents, has only two other acute-care units for inpatient behavioral health treatment, leaving more than half of adult patients in 2019 to turn to hospitals outside the county, [County exec Angela] Alsobrooks said. Behavioral health was identified as a leading health priority in a community-needs assessment that year.”

Ukrainian wheat and sunflower oil will be in short supply worldwide, but closer to home as well the supply-chain issues for dinner tables everywhere are adding up ominously: “Roughly 3.2 million chickens have been confirmed positive with the bird flu at six farms in Maryland and Delaware over the past two months, agriculture officials said Friday, part of a broader problem with the virus that is quietly sweeping across the country.’'