Pelosi Trumps Trump + Roundhouse Roundup–A Very Good First Two Weeks, But Challenges Ahead

Seven of our must pass bills sailed through committee hearings with one, the Popular Vote, passing through two House Committees, moving on to the Senate. Donald Trump has not fared as well, as Pelosi said no, and was able to hold her Party firm. With his polls dropping and the GOP in the Senate bolting, The Donald caved getting zero for the 35 day shutdown. Could things be looking up?

Important Climate Change Advocacy Events.. Before we begin, I’d encourage you to register for New Energy Economy’s Convergence on Monday Jan. 28 from 9:30-2pm (lunch included) at the Unitarian Universalist Church at 205 W. Barcelona and the Clean Energy Conference sponsored by a dozen environmental advocacy groups from 2pm-6pm Monday Jan. 28 at Temple Beth Shalom, 105 E. Barcelona and 8:30am-4pm at the Roundhouse.  The Convergence will be an opportunity to define what a just transition could look like with advocates from across the state and then to look at New Energy Economy’s legislative agenda that will advance that transition. At the Clean Energy Conference you will discuss the Sierra Club’s legislative agenda, be trained in climate justice advocacy and on Tuesday go meet with your legislators in the morning and then hear from a panel where the new securitization bill is rumored to be introduced. Links above will provide more information and a link to RSVP, which is required for both events.

Roundhouse Roundup

  • All seven of the bills on our MUST PASS list sailed through eight different committee hearings with packed hearing rooms and lots of Retake buttons. WE’ve recorded every vote to be used in our Justice Report Card in April.
  • The Popular Vote passed through two House Committees and now goes to the House Floor before heading to the Senate.  The best way to track our bills is to JOIN the Network. This blog is going to increasingly focus on more in-depth analysis of issues, actions and strategies related to the Roundhouse and statewide advocacy will be the focus of Retake.ResponseNetwork.org. This blog is focused on education; the Network is focused on actions and activating you.
  • The GOP is using a variety of strategies to stall legislation. I will describe these in more detail in the Weekly Roundhouse Roundup to be published on Monday. That Roundup goes to members of the Network;
  • Our MUST PASS list has been updated and is nearing completion. Our leadership team will meet later today to try to finalize the list with our researchers then shifting focus to develop summaries for other good bills we consider Priorities.
  • If you want to become more active, we are launching media, social media, and organizing teams that meet via a user-friendly online tool called Zoom which allows you to show everyone documents on their screens and for everyone to see and speak with the other members. The media and organizing teams have already met once and meet again today. The Social Media team will meet next weekend for the first time. We already have a research team and advocacy teams that have been operative for weeks. You can sign up for any of these roles at the JOIN page. We designed the Network site to allow a small number of coordinators to work with people throughout the state on things they have interests and / or skills in. One volunteer wrote to me recently, “I am so grateful to Retake. I have finally found an organization that has given me clear direction and meaningful work that uses my skills well.”  Our overarching strategy has always been to engage, educate, organize and activate and we are beginning to develop the organizational framework and the leadership core required to do the organizing and activating piece statewide. Onward.

Trump Caves in On the Wall as His Polling Numbers Plummet

After weeks of bluff and bravado, Trump just caved on his border wall, essentially getting nothing for the five week shutdown. Recall The Donald:  “Just left a meeting with Chuck and Nancy, a total waste of time,”  A few weeks later in a Trump Tweet: “I asked what is going to happen in 30 days if I quickly open things up, are you going to approve Border Security which includes a Wall or Steel Barrier? Nancy said, NO. I said bye-bye, nothing else works!”  Cut to Jan 22: “Without a Wall our Country can never have Border or National Security. With a powerful Wall or Steel Barrier, Crime Rates (and Drugs) will go substantially down all over the U.S. The Dems know this but want to play political games. Must finally be done correctly. No Cave!”
And then he caved.
From CNN:  “The bigger question is how. How, after 3+ years of Trump running roughshod on the political process, did Pelosi, the newly installed Speaker of the House, beat him at his own game? The answer is remarkably simple: She said “no.” And stuck to it. There’s no spinning what happened in Washington on Friday: Donald Trump caved to Nancy Pelosi– and a compromise to reopen the government was struck. Pelosi, from the start, insisted that neither she nor any Democrats would cooperate with any negotiation that sought to leverage a government shutdown for Trump to try to secure the $5.7 billion he wanted for a border wall. The key to saying something so definitive is: a) sticking to it and b) enforcing it. There was never a peep from any House Democrat that they should make concessions on the wall to Trump. Not any meaningful dissent. For 35 days of a shutdown.” 
While Trump tried to stand firm, the Democrats stood firmer and then on Thursday, six GOP Senators broke ranks and voted with the Democrats to reopen the government without any agreement on the wall. The writing was on the wall. The GOP was losing this fight and with reports from flight attendant unions of increasing sickouts and risk to flight safety and similar reports from Transportation Safety Administration of compromises to airport security, the ground was giving way under Trump. From CNN: “That message dovetailed with a series of recent national polls that have shown three things consistently: 1) A majority of Americans blame Trump and Republicans for the government shutdown 2) A majority of Americans do not believe the wall is a realistic solution to the country’s immigration problems and 3) Trump’s approval ratings were nearing their all-time lows. (In a Washington Post-ABC News poll released Friday afternoon, just 37% approved of the job Trump is doing while 58% disapproved.).”
So at a national level, the Democrats appear to understand that in unity there is strength and they can wield power to achieve at least some of their goals. This is not unlike Dems in NM during the Martinez years, as they were able to fend off some of the worst possibilities from Gov. Martinez. There is the potential to build a strong enthusiastic base for 2020 if the Dems at a national level could begin to embrace, rather than resist, their newly elected Congressional Representatives–who are mostly women and who are younger, more of color, and more progressive than Democratic leadership.  And with a change in the White House and Senate in 2020, we could shift from defense to offense and start to advance a far more progressive legislative agenda; just as we are seeing in the Roundhouse.
Interestingly, during the the first two weeks of the Roundhouse session, at least in the eight hearings I attended, there was not a single time that a Democrat broke ranks, not just for the seven MUST PASS bills that were heard, but for ANY bill that was on the agenda during those committee hearings. What’s more, I’ve seen no evidence of NM Democratic leadership trying to curb the enthusiasm of its many newly elected members who are also mostly women who are younger and more progressive than the Representatives they are joining in the NM House.  Perhaps that is one reason Retake Our Democracy’s MUST PASS bills fared so well in the first two weeks of the 2019 session.  
In solidarity,
Paul & Roxanne.

 

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