Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, November 1, 2021

 

congress_bigger_bolder_nyt_ad_may_21.pngOn the eve of the nail biting Virginia elections and Supreme Court hearings on reproductive rights it may be hard to feel optimistic or to stay determined. We get it--right wing groups and the public officials who support them seem at times to be holding sway even though our positions on issues are popular among voters. The public knows that things like the Build Back Better Act will help many people, especially folks facing health and housing insecurity issues, workers, seniors, kids and everyone who lives in a community that desperately needs public resources and government support. That’s why we need to keep organizing; we can’t let others discourage us from speaking up and speaking out for better laws and public policies.

This week the Build Back Better (BBB) agenda may finally get a vote, along with the infrastructure bill (BIF.) These budget proposals and policies in their final form will not contain all the things for which we have been advocating. But if taken together (BBB and BIF)  the approach that the Congressional Progressive Caucus has insisted on,  they will create a framework for delivering hundreds of billions of dollars in investments for education, universal pre-K,  jobs, healthcare programs, home care, housing, clean energy and climate initiatives, The passage would mean that long overdue upgrades to human and physical infrastructure can finally begin to happen.  We have also not  given up on getting Rx price negotiations into the final package; nor will we  back down on demanding that the Medicare expansion piece include dental and vision care.  Many organizations and dozens of Congressional Democrats, not a single Republican it should be noted, have joined together to save Medicare expansion (see below.)   

 

Thanks for keeping the faith and for rallying, texting, phone banking and volunteering to win the transformative change we need.

 

In Solidarity,

The Progressive Maryland Team



 

On the eve of the nail biting Virginia elections and Supreme Court hearings on reproductive rights it may be hard to feel optimistic or to stay determined. We get it--right wing groups and the public officials who support them seem at times to be holding sway even though our positions on issues are popular among voters. The public knows that things like the Build Back Better Act will help many people, especially folks facing health and housing insecurity issues, workers, seniors, kids and everyone who lives in a community that desperately needs public resources and government support. That’s why we need to keep organizing; we can’t let others discourage us from speaking up and speaking out for better laws and public policies.

This week the Build Back Better (BBB) agenda may finally get a vote, along with the infrastructure bill (BIF.) These budget proposals and policies in their final form will not contain all the things for which we have been advocating. But if taken together (BBB and BIF)  the approach that the Congressional Progressive Caucus has insisted on,  they will create a framework for delivering hundreds of billions of dollars in investments for education, universal pre-K,  jobs, healthcare programs, home care, housing, clean energy and climate initiatives, The passage would mean that long overdue upgrades to human and physical infrastructure can finally begin to happen.  We have also not  given up on getting Rx price negotiations into the final package; nor will we  back down on demanding that the Medicare expansion piece include dental and vision care.  Many organizations and dozens of Congressional Democrats, not a single Republican it should be noted, have joined together to save Medicare expansion (see below.)   

Thanks for keeping the faith and for rallying, texting, phone banking and volunteering to win the transformative change we need.

In Solidarity,

The Progressive Maryland Team

Become a donating member of PM:

Our members power our work! 

Progressive Maryland is organizing at the grassroots level for economic, social and political justice. We have a chance for our message and our policy priorities to break through now and in the coming months in Washington and Annapolis. Help us gain more ground by becoming a member of Progressive Maryland.

Our members strengthen our grassroots organizing and through their financial support help us reach Marylanders all over the state. In turn, PM provides its members important updates, invitations to some great leadership and political training sessions, and opportunities to help guide our chapter building, our issue and electoral priorities and other decisions. Please join today so we can build a better Maryland.

Quick Actions:

 

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Statewide Updates:

Throwdown Thursdays 

Phonebank and text bank with our team every Thursday at 6pm. Every week we'll be phoning or texting voters across the state about a number of key issues. Soon we'll start using our Thursdays to throw down for progressive candidates that need our help to win! Click this link to let us know you’re coming!

This Thursday, Nov. 4, we’re texting to help turn out folks for our exciting Candidate Slate Launch event before we transition to supporting the candidates! New to texting? New to election work? No problem, we’ll show you all you need to know!



Listen to our Virtual Town Hall with Senator Van Hollen if you missed it last week: A Conversation about the Build Back Better Agenda in Congress.

 

Progressive Maryland's Justice Task Force: You’re invited: Quarterly meeting: Wednesday, November 3rd, 6-7 pm

Attend our virtual meeting to receive updates from the School Police Officer, Police Accountability & Reform Planning Groups based on notes from the Community Town Hall held with  Del. Acevero and Sen. Carter over the summer. Please join as we need community input to develop clear goals and next steps as we prepare for the legislative session. 

New Era PAC Friend & Fundraisers:

It’s November, which means we are a year out from the 2022 general elections and just about seven months away from the June primaries. The 2022 election cycle offers a chance fora range of progressive victories at the ballot box. We need to pull out all the stops to make it happen. Progressive champions will be running for seats in the Maryland General Assembly, on County Councils, School Boards and for other positions. The New Era PAC powers our election work and the PAC needs your help. 

 

 

If you would like to contribute financially: 

 

Drug Policy Campaign

Our Drug Policy Taskforce is working to demand that Congress pass the MAT Act (Mainstreaming Addiction Treatment) which will allow folks suffering from substance use disorder easier access to lifesaving treatment like Buprenorphine. Email Jesse if you want to learn more:  [email protected] 



Healthcare Justice Campaign

Urgent: Fight to Expand Medicare and Childcare:

We’re still pushing to get the Build Back Better Act to include  prescription price negotiations to lower drug costs and for provisions that will lower childcare costs for families.  When it comes to Medicare expansion the benefits must include dental and vision coverage not just hearing.Take action now!  Contact your House Member and our Senators today

Questions? Want to get involved?  Are you interested in writing a letter-to-the editor or a blog post? please contact [email protected] or [email protected]

 

Fighting COVID:

We continue to face many health, housing, and economic challenges related to the pandemic. Public employees and other front line workers still need our support. Now is not the time to let up on COVID measures and recovery efforts. Please tell our state leaders.  Maryland officials recently announced that we have a $2.5 billion state budget surplus. Let’s invest that money in helping workers, small businesses and families rebound from the pandemic. 

 

Local Chapter Updates:

Progressive Baltimore County: 

Listen to the Baltimore County State’s Attorney Candidate Forum if you missed it last week!

 

Progressive Harford County: 

The next town hall for Progressive Harford County is this Wednesday, Nov. 3 from 6:30-8pm on Zoom with Nolanda Kirby. Register today for the town hall with Jacob Bennett next week. Head to our website calendar for more information about upcoming redistricting events, because the website for Progressive Harford County is done! Check out progressiveharco.org today.

 

Progressive Montgomery:

Interested in joining our environmental justice or election teams? We’re seeking MoCo folks who want to get involved in local organizing on these exciting campaigns. Contact [email protected] if you’re interested. 

 

Progressive Prince George's

Activists get more done when we struggle together! "Prince George's Deserves Better" and we can make it happen. Contact PM organizer DaJuan at [email protected] to get involved.

 

Lower Shore Progressive Caucus:

The Maryland General Assembly is seeking public input on redistricting for our state legislative and congressional/federal election districts. Your public comments will have a direct impact on how our state and federal legislative districts will look for the next ten years. For this reason, several community leaders, organizations, and concerned Eastern Shore residents have come together to form Chesapeake for Redistricting A Better Maryland (CRAB MD). CLICK THIS LINK TO ADD YOUR VOICE.



State and National News:  

As climate concerns got the attention of world leaders in the COP 26 meeting in Glasgow, Scotland, climate concerns came close to home as a very wet winter storm with tide-boosting winds brought worse-than-usual flooding to Annapolis and coastal areas. And as activists fear failure at Glasgow, plenty of failure keeps popping up in official Maryland as we face a potentially transformative 2022 election in which four (so far) top state offices will see turnover. The news drumbeat documents continuing failure of unemployment processing, of environmental regulation of the powerful chicken industry, and lip-service student representation on school boards. Last week’s news also included at  least one current violation of Open Meetings laws. Transformative change has to be our goal as we approach this election – eight years of Larry Hogan will have left Maryland’s civil society malnourished and business interests – including his own – fattened.

Maryland Matters reports this morning it’s  “An important day for health insurance: Beginning today (Nov. 1), young adults in Maryland can enroll in a health insurance program through the state’s public health benefits exchange platform for as little as $1 a month. Leaders of several Maryland counties came together to tout the program – and the importance of insurance among younger adults.” And here’s more coverage from county leaders’ get-together on this last Thursday from Maryland Reporter.

Speaking of Hogan, he announced plans to sock away a big chunk of the state’s $2.5 billion budget surplus when the state is still recovering from some of the worst times many of us – especially low-income working families – have experienced in recent memory. The state’s House & Senate delegation (minus Andy Harris) pushed back in a statement ”: … the work to protect Marylanders from the impact of COVID-19 is not done – many are still grappling with the devastating impacts of the pandemic.  Across our state, families are facing eviction, struggling to find affordable childcare, and facing financial hardship.  Given this reality, we hope the State will work to support those who need it most, including by expediting release of federal funds allocated to that purpose.” The think-tank Maryland Center on Economic Policy recommended eviction protection, helping workers shafted by Hogan’s early cutoff of unemployment top-up and raising wages for low-paid essential jobs like home care. AFSCME Council prez Patrick Moran (30,000 state workers repped) said at a recent Baltimore rally  “Let’s be clear where the surplus came from .. by undercutting, underfunding, understaffing vital public services at the state level and at the county level and at the city level,” and he called for using the surplus to repair damage across the board.

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Around the USA:

Round Up from People’s Action, our national affiliate:

A framework of a deal on the Build Back Better Act was announced last week, which includes a ton of huge investments in our communities but also some glaring gaps. The biggest disappointments in the framework are: (1) that Medicare expansion is limited to hearing and dental and vision are left out;  (2) the exclusion of a plan to lower prescription drug prices; (3) the Clean Electricity Performance Program is out and  (4) paid family leave is left out. Read our press statement  here.  

This Politico article states that the prescription drug plan is the most likely item that could be back in and reports:  “Sinema negotiated a scaled-down drug bill with Biden, but House Democrats rejected it as far too limited to follow through on the party’s promises.” The plan was reportedly similar to Rep. Peters’ pro-PhRMA plan with better pricing on insulin.  Peters bill, which “only allowed government negotiation of some hospital-administered drugs and drugs whose patents have expired” reportedly does not have the votes in the House. “Critics said it would incentivize drug companies to further game the patent system to extend those protections for decades.” And many drugs that don’t have patents have lower cost generic options and are not the major problem drugs.

 Good quote from Energy & Commerce Committee Chair Frank Pallone: “If we don't [reach a deal], it's only because [the pharmaceutical industry]'s really trying to kill everything and try to convince their lackeys, as they call them in Congress, not to do anything,” Pallone said.

Senator Sanders, Speaker Pelosi and many others are still working to get a prescription drug plan into the bill and Senator Gillibrand and others are working on paid leave. Though it was also reported that the President has promised to continue to work on winning the provisions of the bill that are left out of the final package throughout his presidency, noting particularly that he has made that promise to advocates for paid leave. There has been some talk of passing paid leave with Republicans later but also skepticism that Senator Gillibrand could garner the 10 Republicans needed to overcome the filibuster. 

The Congressional Progressive Caucus refused to vote for the bipartisan infrastructure bill again without the BBB bill. A vote on both bills is scheduled for Tuesday in the House though details are still being finalized. As of Sunday, it was still unclear if Senators Manchin and Sinema are signed off on the deal though they worked on the details with the President.

Still, Democrats across the spectrum praised the package throughout the weekend, including Rep. Jayapal and others in the progressive caucus, pivoting to selling the historic infrastructure package to the public. 

In case you missed it, read this piece by our Executive Director, Larry Stafford, in Maryland Matters : Build Back Better has the pieces for a better Baltimore


Events From Our Allies: 

Tuesday Nov.  2 Full Session of the Montgomery County Council  at 2:30 p.m. Rent Stabilization Bill 30-21.The Council needs to pass this bill. -  Join the JUFJ Watch Party!

November 3rd | 7-8pm | Our Revolution MD Green New Deal Town Hall 

November 3rd | Maryland SOS Town Hall in West Baltimore

Town Hall taking place November 3rd at St. Bernardine Catholic Church in West Baltimore. This is being planned by NCADD along with the OOCC. The town halls are part of the way that the state is gathering information about their Maryland SOS plan, which will help determine how opioid settlement dollars are spent, so it would be a good opportunity to advocate for spending on harm reduction and other evidence-based interventions. You can find out more and register here. (Also note that there is a separate form to fill out to provide public comment).

Thursday, November 18 -- 6:30pm forum on drug legalization at Marvin Center, GW University -- email [email protected] to register or for more info.

 

Progressive Maryland BlogSpace:

We value creating space for our members to express their thoughts on any issues related to our campaigns. Have an idea for a blog post? You can submit writing, film, graphic design etc. to be published on our website to the blog moderator, Woody, at [email protected]  

Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, October 25, 2021

We can build a better Maryland with grassroots supporters like you! We need to push local, state and federal officials to address the investments we need in our communities and to make positive changes to our social and economic systems. We’ll all do better when our public policies put people first.  That’s what the Build Back Better Act  does and  why we’re laser focused on getting it across the finish line in Congress. 

Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, October 18, 2021

Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Tuesday, October 12, 2021

The Fight for Justice and More:  PM Weekly Memo for Tuesday, October 12, 2021

October 12, 2021 Build Back Better has the pieces for a better Baltimore

Progressive Maryland's Executive Director Larry Stafford Jr. highlights the pro-urban and pro-Baltimore elements embedded in President Biden's Build Back Better plan. It's important to keep it intact as GOP indifference and some neolib Democrats want to dismantle it. Protecting it is vital, for Baltimore, for Maryland and for democracy. 

Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for Monday, October 4, 2021