Scoundrel Time

Resisting Division: Legislation You Can Support

Maybe you’ve noticed it, how quickly we other those with whom we disagree, dehumanizing them into enemies. During this exhausting year of resistance, it has become easy to adopt an us-versus-them mentality—the very mentality, in fact, so many of us desire to dismantle with our lives and our art. It is not without reason that we’ve adopted this stance. Over the past nine months, there has been assault after assault on human rights and dignity—it seems only natural to arm ourselves, in every moment, for battle, only right to brand those whose bills and policies we fight against as enemies. I’ve used warfare language frequently in my posts here, each week rattling off new bills and ideologies and sometimes even people to battle, to fight, to condemn. With this violent and patriarchal language, though, I cannot help but wonder if we do more harm than good. In an effort to use language thoughtfully and differently, this week I offer several bills recently introduced in Congress that, rather than battle, we can celebrate. When you call your members of Congress this week—especially those who do not share your core political beliefs—try to view all of them as human, as people who have the ability to use their power for good. Share your enthusiasm over the introduction of the following bills, and urge your members of Congress to commit their support.

ACTIONS:

1. Ask your MOCs to support the Grow American Incomes Now (GAIN) Act.

On Wednesday September 13th, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) introduced the GAIN Act, which would expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and thereby help millions of low-income workers and their children avoid the debilitating economic hardship that can come from unexpected expenses such as a car breaking down, an injury, or an illness.

  • Call: Your three members of Congress (look up)
  • Script: “Hello. I am a constituent from [city/state or ZIP] calling to express my support of the GAIN Act. I understand how debilitating unexpected expenses can be for those living in poverty. [If you have a personal story, please share.] I think it is only right to allow those with economic hardship to access a portion of their Earned Income Tax Credit early—this change would not only enable citizens to avoid taking out exploitative payday loans, but it also would make it possible for them to take advantage of opportunities to improve their overall economic stability. Will Sen/Rep [Name] commit to supporting this important legislation? Thank you.”

2. Ask your MOCs to support The Child Care for Working Families Act

On Thursday September 14th, Sen. Patty Murray and Rep. Bobby Scott introduced “The Child Care for Working Families Act,” which would guarantee affordable child care for low-income and middle-class working families. The bill would provide parents with affordable, flexible, and quality child care options while creating sustainable jobs. (From the Center for American Progress)

  • Call: Your three members of Congress (look up)
  • Script: “Hello. I am a constituent from [city/state or ZIP] calling to express my support of The Child Care for Working Families Act. [If you or someone you know well has struggled with affordable and sustainable childcare options, please share your story.] The bill would not only provide parents with the affordable and quality child care options they need but also would create new jobs. Will Sen/Rep [Name] commit to supporting this important legislation? Thank you.”

3. Urge key lawmakers to support the Dream Act

For more information on the Dream Act and its essential importance, take a look at last week’s Actions post.

  • Visit the Dream Act Toolkit, which lists contact information for those lawmakers who stand as “the swing votes we need to secure passage of the Dream Act (with no compromises!) and provide Dreamers with a pathway to permanent legal status and citizenship.”
  • Talking Points (from The Loyal Opposition):
    • This is [NAME] and I’m a constituent in [ZIP].
    • I urge [Sen/Rep____ to support the [S.1615/H.R.3440], the Dream Act, without conditions or trade-offs.
    • The Dreamers arrived in the US through no fault of their own and have been raised as Americans.
    • The Dreamers contribute to American society in jobs, the military and education.
    • Studies show deportation of the Dreamers would have devastating economic impacts on the US.