March 30, 2018
Activism on Gun Reform
The drive to achieve commonsense gun reform continues gathering momentum. After participating in Saturday’s March for our Lives I joined the Randolph Youth Council for a rally on gun reform. It is truly inspiring to watch our young women and men take the lead on this issue, magnifying our voices and demanding change.
On Monday evening, I was invited to speak at a new member meeting of the Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America. I talked with a committed and energized group of women who are determined to make an impact on policy and support the students involved in this movement. Next week I’ll be talking with Somerville students about gun reform and their experiences participating in this national call for change. I noted in February that the calls for commonsense gun reform felt different after Parkland and I am seeing that in every event I attend and every conversation I have on this issue. Let’s keep pushing.
Net Neutrality Forum
Last night I participated in a regional panel on net neutrality: Understanding Net Neutrality and the Future of Our Internet. The panel was organized by a local media consortium, including community access centers. As many of you are aware, there is great concern over the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) December decision to repeal net neutrality rules. The FCC moved forward despite overwhelming opposition. The commission’s public comment system was also compromised. I discovered this firsthand when my wife Barbara’s name was used to submit comments supportive of repeal. She did not submit them and in fact does not support repeal.
Net neutrality rules require internet service providers (ISPs) to treat all internet content the same. They cannot charge more money for faster content delivery. By abolishing these rules, the FCC is effectively allowing big companies to speed their content to consumers by paying more for that option. Small businesses would be at a distinct disadvantage. I have been working in the House to reverse the FCC decision by supporting legislation to effectively invalidate it. We are also building support to prevent the FCC from repealing net neutrality through the Congressional Review Act.
We emphasized why net neutrality is so important and what repeal will mean to the internet that we all rely on every day for tasks large and small. I really appreciated the invitation to appear on the panel and will keep amplifying this issue because it’s not too late to force change.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Next week we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the tragic assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. His commitment to achieving justice through peaceful means and legacy of effecting change through nonviolence is a message that resonates profoundly today. Dr. King sought to help everyone recognize that we are deserving of love and respect and that the content of one’s character is more important than the color of one’s skin. It is a legacy we must all commit to advancing. I have filed H. Res. 798 to emphasize the importance of teaching our children that “nonviolent action can be an important force for social and political change”. My resolution encourages “all States and local school districts to incorporate into their educational curriculum the study of nonviolence into the teaching of history and civics, in the context of both United States and global history.” I am also writing Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Massachusetts education officials to encourage the adoption of such curriculum.
Behind the Curtain — More House and Trump Administration Actions You Don’t Want to Miss
Here are this week’s additions. If you need to catch up or share with friends, you can find the full list here.
- According to a March 2018 Politico report, President Trump has hired an alarming number of climate change skeptics, many of whom are responsible for key federal agencies. This includes Agriculture, Interior, the Justice Department and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The serious impact of a climate change skeptic on an agency like the Environmental Protection Agency is obvious. However, all agency heads have the authority to advance positions based on their own perspectives. This has the potential to impact policies relating to everything from housing to legal actions.
- March 2018 news reports reveal that significant amounts of federal dollars dedicated to the opioid crisis are not being used. Almost 75% of the $500 million provided through the 21st Century Cares Act is unspent. The Trump Administration has reportedly not been clear with states over what exactly the money can be used for and how much individual states would be given. This makes it difficult to plan for long term programming. States have also voiced concerns that the criteria for receiving funding would be adjusted and initiatives already in development would no longer be eligible for funding, placing them in jeopardy.
- According to a March 2018 Atlantic report, men are outnumbering women in the Trump Administration, including in cabinet positions. There isn’t a single department where the number of female employees exceeds male employees. Trump’s Cabinet includes nineteen men and just five women. The Atlantic’s data shows that overall, 33 percent of Trump’s appointees are women which is lower than the national average of 47 percent. In some federal agencies every appointee is male including at the National Labor Relations Board.
- According to March 2018 media reports, President Trump is still pushing for construction of the wall along the southern border. Now, he wants the military to pay for his wall, citing “national security” after Congress refused to fully fund it in the omnibus. Trump recently tweeted: “Build WALL through M! and pointed out that “our Military is again rich.”
Behind the Curtain – UPDATES
- In March 2018 the Census Department announced it would in fact ask a citizenship question on the 2020 census. The White House defended the move by claiming that a citizenship question has been asked since 1965 which is not accurate. By adding a citizenship question to the census, the Trump Administration disregards the Constitution and seeks to suppress immigrant voices. The Constitution requires a fair, nonpartisan population count, not a politically motivated plan that will result in the undercounting of the population. Fair representation in Congress and federal money to help communities make improvements is based on the census count.
What’s Up Next
A District Work period has been scheduled. The next House votes are expected on Tuesday April 10th.