With the unfortunate results of the midterm elections, progressives will need to shift their focus next year to getting victories from the White House, federal government agencies, and friendly state and local governments, rather than from Congress. Until then, however, we still have large Democratic majorities who are returning to the lame duck session today. Let’s push them to get as much progressive policy passed as possible.
You can help by doing three things:
* Call your Senators and Representative and tell them not to end the lame duck session until the issues listed below are acted upon. Contact information can be found here.
* Contact the White House – (202) 456-1111 – and ask President Obama to push the Democratic leadership to get the issues listed below passed before the end of the year.
* Write a letter to the editor urging Congress to act on the issues listed below.
Here are the critical issues that Congress needs to address before the end of the year:
* Use Tax Policy to Fight For the Middle Class (House, Senate, and President) – as explained in our previous blog post, ask the House and Senate to:
* Hold a vote before the end of the year on a three year extension of the stimulus package tax cuts and tax relief on income below $250,000
* Oppose any effort to extend or give further tax cuts on income over $250,000
* Oppose any effort to eliminate the estate tax or to reduce it below its 2009 levels
* In addition, ask President Obama to publicly promise to veto any any effort to give further tax cuts on income over $250,000 or to eliminate the estate tax
* Extend Unemployment Benefits For A Year (House and Senate) – As explained in this New York Times editorial, it is simply unconscionable that Congress would fail to extend unemployment benefits at a time when unemployment remains at nearly 10% and our economy continues to struggle.
* Repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (Senate) – As we’ve detailed previously, DADT repeal is a matter of fundamental fairness and military readiness that is supported by a large majority of the American public. While all of our Senators need to hear from us on this issue, key Senators are:
Harry Reid (Nevada) – (202) 224-3542 – Thank Senator Reid for vowing to bring DADT repeal to a vote in December
Carl Levin (Michigan) – (202) 224-6221 – Senator Levin is the Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee – make sure to ask that he not agree to remove DADT repeal from the Defense Reauthorization Bill
Claire McCaskill (Missouri) – 202-224-6154
Olympia Snowe (Maine) – (202) 224-5344
Susan Collins (Maine) – (202) 224-2523
Scott Brown (Massachusetts) – (202) 224-4543
George LeMieux (Florida) – (202) 224-3041
George Voinovich (Ohio) – (202) 224-3353
Jim Webb (Virginia) – (202)-224-4024
Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) – (202) 224-6665
John Ensign (Nevada) – (202) 224-6244
Richard Lugar (Indiana) – (202) 224-4814
* Approve Federal Reserve Nominee Peter Diamond (Senate) – As Paul Krugman discusses in his New York Times column today, the Republicans are now targeting the Federal Reserve in their efforts to keep the economy from recovering. It is critical, therefore, that President Obama’s remaining nominee for the Federal Reserve, Peter Diamond, is approved. Mr. Diamond is an MIT professor and recent winner of the Nobel Prize in economics, and has seen his nomination stalled by Republicans since April.
* Ratify the START Treaty (Senate) – President Obama negotiated the START nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia, but it now must be ratified by the Senate. As Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo explains here, ratification is critical to our national security because it would enable us to resume inspections of Russia’s nuclear arsenal and verification that Russia’s nuclear arms are being reduced and handled properly.
As always, if you reach your Congressperson’s office, send us an email and let us know how the call went.