house congress

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Wondering what a call to your elected official actually sounds like? We got you.

If you’re on this website (or a human alive today) there’s a really good chance you’re afraid to call your Congressional Representative because you don’t know how the phone call will go. We’re trying to remove some of the mystery around calling elected officials to show you a few different examples of first time callers leaving a comment with a government official. It’s so easy!

In this call we see Lyric calling her Congressman, Brad Sherman, about Steve Bannon. Unfortunately, sometimes it can be confusing at first figuring out exactly who to call. As Lyric learned, you have to be especially careful that you’re calling somebody from the United States Congress, not your state’s Congress (unless you’re calling about a local issue). But don’t worry, this problem is easy to solve. If you have this post in front of you, you can shortcut the lookup process by using this handy website

If you don’t have this post in front of you, just google who your congressional representatives are, making sure you get the answer from a federal and not state website:

To find out who represents you in the Senate, just google “[your state] Senator.” Make sure you’ve found US Congress Senators, not state Senators. Google should also autopopulate with your state’s two Senators if you use that search query. There will be only two, no matter what. You can call either or both of them.To find who represents you in the House, google “Who is my representative.” The first google result should be a house.gov website that prompts you for your zip code. Enter it in and you’re good to go. You will only have one Congressional Representative no matter what. Once you get the name of your congressperson, google “[your representative] phone number” to get the phone number you need.

Read more about how to call your congressional representative here.

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And the institutional coddling of white racists under the Trump administration continues. 

This excerpt is *important* for context:

Speaking to reporters, [Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL)] expressed anger about what had happened.

“I’ve been here 25 years and I’ve never been told by the Speaker of the House that I can’t attend a meeting I’ve requested,” he fumed.

The speaker of the house PAUL RYAN is facilitating a system of racism and oppression when he chooses to bar Representatives of color, their colleagues, from voicing their concerns about racist acts. 

As we can see the decision to prevent notably outspoken and critical voices of color from attending the meeting they requested goes against 25 years of precedent. Ryan is GOING out of his way and ignoring precedent because the feelings of sensitive white racism is too valuable.

3

In surprise vote, House Republicans vote to dismantle Office of Congressional Ethics

  • Late Monday, House Republicans voted to effectively gut the Office of Congressional Ethics
  • The move overstepped the wishes of Republican leaders, the New York Times reported. 
  • The surprise vote came the night before the first session of Congress in the new year — and before Trump enters the White House with his ever-growing list of conflicts of interest.
  • The investigative, nonpartisan office was established in 2008 — after three members of Congress went to jail for corruption — to oversee ethics in the House and to “increase accountability and transparency.” Read more
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If you really want to get your representative’s attention, you need to read this in full

In a Friday-night Twitterstorm, Ellsworth revealed that impassioned online mentions and comments might be a waste of energy. But there are many things you can do to be more effective. Read the rest of the thread for deets.

House Republicans Make Surprise Move To Gut Congress’ Independent Ethics Watchdog

On the eve of the official start of the new Congress, Republican members of the House moved to gut Congress independent ethics office, raising questions among ethics watchdogs about the GOP’s commitment to make good on Donald Trump’s promises to “drain the swamp” and hold Washington officials accountable.

In a vote conducted by secret ballot in the House’s Rules Committee Monday night, members voted in favor of an amendment that would absorb the independent Office of Congressional Ethics into the House’s Committee on Ethics, putting the group directly under a committee of members of Congress, whom the office is expected to investigate.

variety.com
House Republicans Move to Block Live Streaming, Photos From Floor of Congress
House Republicans have proposed new rules that would make it harder and costlier for members to live stream or post photos from the floor of the chamber. The newly proposed policy backed by House S…
By Cynthia Littleton

House Republicans have proposed new rules that would make it harder and costlier for members to live stream or post photos from the floor of the chamber.

The newly proposed policy backed by House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is seen as a response to the “sit-in” protest that House Democrats mounted last June in an effort to force a vote on gun control legislation that had been blocked by Republicans. Democrats turned to live streaming via Facebook Live and Periscope to spread the word about their protest after Ryan ordered the House’s C-SPAN camera turned off. C-SPAN typically offers a live feed of House and Senate sessions.

The proposed rules would fine members $500 for live broadcasting or photos sent from the House floor. The fine would rise to $2,500 for subsequent offences. The fines would be deducted from each members’ salary, according to NBC News.

RELATED: Democrats’ Sit-In Over Gun Control Vote Showcases Facebook Live, Periscope

I’m white. But I always understood the sheer horror about racism and white supremacy: If your life revolves around your skin surface cells then, oh my, wasn’t your life a pile of garbage to begin with? Skin cells? That is *all* you have to cling to for egotism?

It’s sad and pathetic. 

Too sad and pathetic for words. 

“I first ran for Congress in 1999, and I got beat. I just got whooped. I had been in the state legislature for a long time, I was in the minority party, I wasn’t getting a lot done, and I was away from my family and putting a lot of strain on Michelle. Then for me to run and lose that bad, I was thinking maybe this isn’t what I was cut out to do. I was forty years old, and I’d invested a lot of time and effort into something that didn’t seem to be working. But the thing that got me through that moment, and any other time that I’ve felt stuck, is to remind myself that it’s about the work. Because if you’re worrying about yourself—if you’re thinking: ‘Am I succeeding? Am I in the right position? Am I being appreciated?’ – then you’re going to end up feeling frustrated and stuck. But if you can keep it about the work, you’ll always have a path. There’s always something to be done.”

nytimes.com
With No Warning, House Republicans Vote to Gut Independent Ethics Office
The move by emboldened Republicans on the eve of a new Congress would strip power and independence from an investigative body and give lawmakers control over ethics inquiries.
By Eric Lipton

Wow. 

The move to effectively kill the Office of Congressional Ethics was not made public until late Monday, when Representative Robert W. Goodlatte, Republican of Virginia and chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, announced that the House Republican Conference had approved the change. There was no advance notice or debate on the measure.

The surprising vote came on the eve of the start of a new session of Congress, where emboldened Republicans are ready to push an ambitious agenda on everything from health care to infrastructure, issues that will be the subject of intense lobbying from corporate interests. The House Republicans’ move would take away both power and independence from an investigative body, and give lawmakers more control over internal inquiries.

It also came on the eve of a historic shift in power in Washington, where Republicans control both houses of Congress and where a wealthy businessman with myriad potential conflicts of interest is preparing to move into the White House.

[…]

“This is huge,” said Mr. Morgan, who now defends lawmakers targeted in ethics investigations. “It effectively allows the committee to shut down any independent investigation into member misconduct.“

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House Republicans vote to ease firearm background checks

  • House Republicans Thursday voted to roll back a regulation that sought to prevent those with mental-health problems from purchasing guns
  • The rule was created by President Barack Obama in response to the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in 2012
  • The rule forced the Social Security Administration to identify beneficiaries deemed incapable of managing their own finances, and add them to the national background check system that determines whether people are allowed to buy a gun.
  • Republicans said the bill unfairly targeted disabled people. Read more

We’re currently at the “factors leading to” section of our future textbooks regarding the American Revolution.

It’s as if everything up until this moment has been boiling up since we’re in completely unprecedented waters. Let’s review:

  • We have a historically unpopular president who many people didn’t even want to vote for, who lost the popular vote by the largest margin in history, is an authoritarian and fascist textbook villain, and consistently lies and slanders the media. He’s been gas lighting the public and the government. He’s been attacking the CIA. He’s been attacking the EPA. He’s proposed unconstitutional acts and has an unprecedented amount of conflicts of interest.
  • We would’ve had violence break out  if Hillary had been president because of the fact that many Trump supporters were prepared to take violent action if she won and he asked gun owners to “take action.” Either way, many people felt trapped picking between two candidates they didn’t support.
  • We have an all Republican Congress, House of Representatives, and soon we’ll have an unbalanced Supreme Court. The last time this happened, we had the Great Depression. Public government approval is abysmal.
  • The Presidential Cabinet is comprised of radical millionaires and billionaires who have ties to Russian dictator influences and Nazi rhetoric.
  • The Nazi party is surging in the United States and is somehow gaining attention and favor. 
  • The American Dream is harder to get than ever, with Millennials being the first generation to earn less than their parents and education costs increasingly becoming unaffordable. Housing prices are ridiculously high. 
  • The 1% of wealthiest Americans own more wealth combined than the 99% of the people. 
  • We have a populace that is afraid of police, being shown time and time again (and perpetuated by the media) that they don’t have most Americans’ safety and interest at hand. There is a growing distrust of police as they become increasingly militarized.
  • America is extremely and dangerously divided in ideals between the North and South again.
  • Anti-War sentiments are growing in the United States again, yet the United States keeps involving itself with foreign conflicts.
  • The Dakota and Keystone pipeline projects are violating human rights for Natives, and the government is doing very little.
  • Millions of Americans’ healthcare is on the line and literal lives are at stake.
  • The Black Lives Matter movement is split between being judged as a crucial civil rights movement and a terrorist movement.
  • Immigrants and their families are threatened by the administration and constantly switch between fear and relief.
  • The EPA has been silenced, censored, and an innumerable amount of jobs have been frozen, funding ceased, grants banned, and scientists are rebelling and organizing to march.
  • Despite the Women’s March being the largest protest in American history,  it only took 4 days after Inauguration for the Hyde Amendment to be made permanent by the House, essentially spitting in the face of these millions of protesters. Roe V. Wade is also under scrutiny.
  • Americans (and the world) are fear addled and playing into ISIS’ hands, panicking and making irrational choices because an unqualified president vowed to “take down ISIS” with no real plan. 

Mark my words, it’ll just take one or two more big events or a death of an influential figurehead to send the United States into a frenzy.

buzzfeed.com
TYPICAL OF THE COWARDLY HOUSE GOP: Here Are 6 Things House Republicans Want Ethics Investigators To Stop Doing
In a surprise vote, the GOP proposed major changes to the independent Office of Congressional Ethics on Monday night.
By Sarah Mimms

Republicans on a small, but powerful House Committee voted Monday night to gut Congress’ independent ethics watchdog, prohibiting the group from doing much of its investigative work without approval from a committee of House members, whom the group is in charge of policing, and from making their findings public. The full House will decide what to do with the amendment — which was tossed into a much larger package that usually passes — on Tuesday. Here’s what House Republicans say the Office of Congressional Ethics should stop doing:

1. The OCE should no longer be independent. Instead, it will be under the House’s Committee on Ethics, which is run by members of Congress. An earlier version of the amendment read that OCE would be “subject to the authority and direction” of the committee, but that language was later softened.

2. The office will no longer be able to accept anonymous tips from whistleblowers.

3. The ethics office must stop any investigation if the House ethics committee tells them to.

4. The ethics office cannot investigate any tips on misconduct that took place before Jan. 3, 2011.

5. The office can no longer talk about its findings — even hire a spokesperson.

6. OCE cannot investigate any criminal cases or turn allegations of corruption over to law enforcement.

H/T: Sarah Mimms at BuzzFeed News