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Each year the U.S. Congress takes a recess which enables going home to meet with constituents. I attended my first meeting of OFA’s (OBAMA FOR AMERICA) spinoff named ORGANIZING FOR ACTION (OFA) which has formed GOOGLE GROUPS to perform advocacy on selected national public policy issues. A meetng was held at a Palo Alto home ostensibly to celebrate President Obama’s birthday on Sunday, August 4th. Josh Wolf, (a Mt. View, CA. resident) convened the group.
The OFA program to be executed during August 2013 while local congress members are ‘at home’ is simple, but direct. The basic idea is to staff phone banks to call selected congress members to present the rationales for support and passage of legislation which establishes policies being promoted by President Obama. The five public policy issues America needs today are: 1) Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act 2013; 2) Stopping Gun Viololence; 3) Deal with Global Climate Change; 4) Support Women’s Right to Choose; and 5) Support Voting Rights for all citizens.
Each of these five public policy issues was assessed “As legislation which could be passed if a small number of ‘congress’s swing votes’ could be influenced” by local resident’s advocacy efforts. It was explained how ‘swinging just five Senate votes’ led to adoption of the current immigration bill to be considered by the House of Representatives when it reconvenes in September 2013. Addressing Comprehensive IRS Tax Reform was considered, but not selected, because of current resistance to change existing today. In brief, a sufficient number of ‘swing votes’ did not exist for tax reform, but the above five public policy issues could be passed if a sufficient number of swing votes could be influenced.
Josh explained that the Senate version of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act 2013 bill passed, by a vote of 68 Ayes to 32 Nayes, because of the impact of phone banking upon certain ‘Senate swing votes’. The basic content involved: a) a reasonable schedule & path to citizenship; b) national border security; c) enforcement of existing laws which prohibit employers from hiring undocumented workers; and d) dealing with DREAMERS (undoucmented individuals) who were brought here as minors. Assessments made indicate that perhaps enough swing votes can be influenced in the House of Representatives to pass some version of this Reform Act needed to correct this nation’s broken immigration system.
Josh introduced Daniel who explained the ‘Gun Violence Control issue’. The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act was the first law that instituted federal background checks on firearm purchasers in America. The Act, effective on February 28, 1994, was named after James Brady, who was shot during an attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan on March 30, 1981. A national policy on gun control must have: a) an effective purchaser’s background check; b) prohibit high capacity magazines; c) prohibit ownership of assault weapons (assault rifles); and d) provide for effective school safety and security. After the tragic gunning down in Connecticut of 26 individuals, mostly children (December 2012), the NRA has been opposing regulation of hand guns. An additional 55 votes are needed in the House of Representatives to enable passage of an acceptable gun violence control act.
Josh introduced Laurie who spoke on Global Climate Change issues. U.S. Congress members must be convinced to accept scientific climate observations factually establishing that this Earth’s global climate has ,and is, warming. Then greenhouse gas, especially carbon emissions. may be controlled and carbon dioxide gas levels mitigated by law, through programs administered by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). In addition alternative energy sources (solar, wind, geothermal, biological fermentation, hydroelectric, etc.) need modernization supported and developed. Renewable energy sources are essential. Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA District 18) is a champion. America must become less reliant on foreign crude oil and become the global leader in development and use of renewable energy sources.
Women’s Right to Choice and Ensuring Citizen Voter Rghts are being dealt with on a state by state basis, as both are ‘State Rights’ jurisdictions. There is a great need to push back on diversions and propaganda being used to slow down or even deter the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare). Volunteers are needed to present truthful facts.
This meeting was closed with Wolf noting that monetary contributions will be used within California. Checks may be mailed to ‘Organizing for Action-California’, 1201 16th Street, NW, Suite 414, Washington, D.C. 20036. Google Organizing for Action-California for more information. All, especially Latinos, are asked to participate as volunteers.