Our biweekly lists lay out notable issues in the news and tell you what you can do about them.
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Happy New Year Teen Resisters! After a brief break, we're back with our biweekly lists, and there's a lot to cover! If you don't know, the government is currently shut down. More on that later, but that's (partially) why everything's been so chaotic.
We wanted to point out two things before the list starts:
- We're sure you've seen the video of the MAGA boys and the indigenous elder. Please check out the Issues Affecting Indigenous Peoples section on our Index by the Issue page for all of the lists where we highlight issues of indigenous rights & actions.
- Just as an update: so far, here is who has officially announced candidacy for president in 2020 or an exploratory committee for a 2020 campaign. We've linked their campaign videos or websites:
Senator Elizabeth Warren (D, MA)
Julian Castro, former mayor of San Antonio and former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (D, TX)
Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D, HI)
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D, NY)
Senator Kamala Harris (D, CA)
John Delaney, former Rep for Maryland (D, MD)
Richard Ojeda, former State Senator from West Virginia (D, WV)
President Donald Trump (R)
Now let's jump in!
What Went Down:
*URGENT* The Government Shutdown, Explained:
Today, January 21, 2019, marks the 30th day of President Trump’s petulant government shutdown. This shutdown officially started on December 22 of last year, when President Trump refused to sign any appropriations bill (AKA a federal spending bill) that wouldn’t allocate $5.7 billion to the funding of his Mexico-United States border wall.
Already the longest in U.S. history, this shutdown has adversely affected millions -- 4 million government contractors have been laid off. 800,000 direct U.S. government workers have been furloughed, and of those, 420,000 are still being forced to work without pay. The maltreatment, including missing their first paycheck of the year, has brought some workers to the breaking point -- a number of government employees, including many TSA agents, have quit. Additionally, small businesses have been denied loans by the U.S. SBA, federal courts are running out of money, and private companies have refused to go public, leading to a significant decrease in 2019’s overall economic growth. According to the President of the U.S. Federal Reserve, this will likely lead to an overall 1% less of an increase in our Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which amounts to over a third of our annual economic growth lost because of Trump’s shutdown. Other problems include a lack of quality food testing, native reservations struggling due to a lack of government funds, and some government workers have been forced to ration medical necessities like insulin in the face of no pay.
The House of Representatives has already passed a spending bill that would end the shutdown and allow formal debate on immigration to reopen, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) refuses to bring it to the floor. This is clearly only as a deterrent -- the exact same spending bill passed the Senate with unanimous bipartisan support just weeks before. Negotiations are still in full force -- just two days ago, President Trump offered a three year cessation in deportation attempts for DACA recipients (immigrants brought into the U.S. illegally as children) in return for his $5.7 billion in wall funding. Speaker of the House Pelosi (D-San Francisco) refused. There’s an important reason that Democratic Congressional leadership has refused to make any deals with President Trump during the shutdown -- if he sees that using millions of government workers as a bargaining chip works as a political strategy, the President is going to shut the government down every time he wants a policy change. Majority Leader McConnell needs to grow a spine and introduce the spending bill; our politicians need to stick to their guns and fight for what’s right -- ending this government shutdown as soon as humanly possible. As Senator Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi have stated, debate on immigration should be happening in a government setting and should not require a shutdown or presidential temper tantrum where hardworking Americans are the collateral damage.
What You Can Do:
CALL! YOUR! SENATOR! This spending bill has to pass the Senate. Even if you don't think it matters because your senators are super liberal or super conservative, it really does. This thread explains why.
Hi, my name is ______, I’m from _____, and I'm calling to ask Senator ______ to vote to take up and pass the bills to reopen the government that passed the House last week, and to insist that the government be reopened before long-term negotiations on border security or immigration continue. The millions of furloughed employees and lack of funding for vital programs should be prioritized over politics. I urge you to use your conscience in making your decisions on this topic. Thank you.
Info on the 2020 Census Citizenship Status Question: Every 10 years the US government takes a census, a means of recording how many people live in the country and get a general understanding of their demographics. The Trump administration moved to add a question to the 2020 census about whether or not the resident in question is a legal citizen of the United States. Many believed this would discourage non-citizens from partaking in the census, therefore misrepresenting the number of minority members living in the US.
Earlier this week, Judge Jesse Furman, a Federal judge in New York prohibited the Commerce Department from making this addition to the 2020 census, writing that that "[Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross'] decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census -- even if it did not violate the Constitution itself -- was unlawful for a multitude of independent reasons and must be set aside." The Trump administration then appealed this ruling to the Supreme Court, who, on January 18th, decided to drop the case. This implies that SCOTUS agrees with Judge Furman’s initial ruling, a major blow to the Trump administration and a major win for organizations like the ACLU and others supporters of undocumented immigrant rights.
Peace & Power,
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