No payday for government employees due to shutdown
Nearly 800,000 U.S. government employees, half of whom are required to remain on the job, are going unpaid as the longest government shutdown in U.S. history continues. The sticking point is President Trump’s demand that Congress provide $5.7 billion to build a new wall on our southern border — a wall he promised Mexico would pay for, not U.S. taxpayers. Now, President Trump is threatening to bypass Congress, declare a national emergency, and build the wall with funds earmarked for disaster victims in Texas, California, Puerto Rico, and Florida. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said the president is using “the backdrop of the Oval Office to manufacture a crisis.” The House has passed multiple bills to reopen the government, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) refuses to allow senators to vote on them. Click here and urge your members of Congress to support reopening the government.
Bill introduced to require background checks for nearly all gun purchases
Legislation to expand background checks for firearms purchases was introduced in the House on January 8, the eighth anniversary of the mass shooting in Arizona that killed six and injured 15, including former Representative Gabrielle Giffords. The aptly named H.R. 8, which has 173 co-sponsors, would require a background check for every gun sold, including those purchased at gun shows and over the internet, as well as most transfers. Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) introduced a companion bill, S. 42, which has 41 co-sponsors. Polls consistently show that the overwhelming majority of Americans support universal background checks for gun purchases. Click here and tell your representative to support this vitally important legislation.
Bill introduced to establish RISE Award Program for ESPs
H.R. 276, another bill introduced during the first week of the new Congress, directs the Secretary of Education to establish the Recognizing Inspiring School Employees (RISE) Award Program for classified school employees and education support professionals (ESPs) who provide essential services to students at all levels from pre-K-to grade 12. They include paraeducators, clerical assistants, bus drivers, custodians, food service workers, security professionals, nurses, and more. An integral part of the public education system, ESPs promote student achievement, ensure student safety, and help establish a good school climate. Click here and tell your representatives to support H.R. 276.
Cheers and Jeers
Jahana Hayes (D-CT) former state and 2016 national Teacher of the Year, for being sworn in to the 116th Congress
Republican Senators Thom Tillis (NC), Cory Gardner (CO), Susan Collins (ME), Shelley Moore Capito (WV), and Lisa Murkowski (AK) for signaling support for stopping the shutdown and reopening the government
Representatives Mike Thompson (D-CA), Pete King (R-NY), Jerry Nadler (D-NY), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), Brian Mast (R-FL), Robin Kelly (D-IL), Fred Upton (R-MI), Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Lucy McBath (D-GA) for leading the bipartisan H.R. 8, which has 173 co-sponsors as we go to press
Senator Chris Murphy (D-CT) for introducing S. 42, which has 41 co-sponsors as we go to press
Representative Dina Titus (D-NV) for leading H.R. 276, which directs the Secretary of Education to establish the Recognizing Inspiring School Employees (RISE) Award Program and has 21 co-sponsors as we go to press
Republican Representatives Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA), Adam Kinzinger (IL), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA), Will Hurd (TX), John Katko (NY), Elise Stefanik (NY), Fred Upton (MI), Greg Walden (OR), Rodney Davis (IL), Chris Smith (NJ), Pete King (NY), and Steve Stivers (OH) for joining Democrats in voting for at least one of the funding bills to reopen federal agencies
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for refusing to allow another vote on the six appropriations bills approved unanimously by the Senate less than a month ago