People’s Platform & Analysis of How Our Representatives Stand

 

The People’s Platform is an 8 bill platform developed by OurRevolution and endorsed by Progressive Democrats of America, Working Families Party, Retake Our Democracy and other progressive organizations. Summer for Progress is a website that includes summaries of the bills and a scorecard on which members of the House of Representatives have co-sponsored each bill. Retake is using this site to track the work of Representatives Lujan Grisham and Lujan. Click here to go to the Summer For Progress site. Read on for analysis of the issues, the positions of our representatives on these bills and contact information for how you can provide respectful input.

1-Expanded & Improved Medicare for All Act. H.R.676 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)

This bill establishes the Medicare for All Program to provide all individuals residing in the United States and U.S. territories with free health care that includes all medically necessary care, such as primary care and prevention, dietary and nutritional therapies, prescription drugs, emergency care, long-term care, mental health services, dental services, and vision care.

Neither of our elected Representatives have co-sponsored this bill, but in conversation with both Representatives, I have been told that the stumbling block to signing off on this bill is that the bill creates a single payer structure that would eliminate the Indian Health Service and the Veterans Health system. These are reasonable objections as even our own NM Health Security Act has a clause allowing for these two health plans to continue. Hopefully this snag can be resolved and if it is, I suspect both our Representatives will co-sponsor. We should cut them both a break on this one.

By way of validating support for this bill: 120 Democratic Co-Sponsors, but neither NM Dem. Congressional Representative has co-sponsored this bill.  70% of US voters favor expanded Medicare.

2-Tuition Free College. H.R.1880 – College for All Act of 2017.  Would fund states to provide tuition-free community college and state universities and colleges.

36 Democratic Co-Sponsors, including Congressman Lujan, but Congressional Representative Lujan Grisham has not co-sponsored the bill. This is one place where I think we need to apply pressure to Lujan Grisham to join Rep. Lujan in co-sponsoring this bill. After all 71% of US voters support tuition-free college.

3-$15 Minimum Wage H.R.15 — 115th Congress (2017-2018).  This bill amends the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 to increase the federal minimum wage for regular employees over a 7-year period, for tipped employees, and for newly hired employees who are less than 20 years old. Wages should increase according ot the schedule below, except as otherwise provided in this section, not less than—

“(A) $9.25 an hour, beginning on the effective date under section 7 of the Raise the Wage Act;

“(B) $10.10 an hour, beginning 1 year after such effective date;

“(C) $11.00 an hour, beginning 2 years after such effective date;

“(D) $12.00 an hour, beginning 3 years after such effective date;

“(E) $13.00 an hour, beginning 4 years after such effective date;

“(F) $13.50 an hour, beginning 5 years after such effective date;

“(G) $14.25 an hour, beginning 6 years after such effective date;

“(H) $15.00 an hour, beginning 7 years after such effective date; and

“(I) beginning on the date that is 8 years after such effective date, and annually thereafter, the amount determined by the Secretary under subsection (h);”.

166 Democratic Co-Sponsors, including Congressman Lujan, but Congressperson Lujan Grisham has not co-sponsored the bill. Oddly, candidate for Governor Lujan Grisham has included increasing the minimum wage at roughly the pace identified above in her Jumpstart NM plan. If she supports it for NM, then we should remind her that it should be good for the Nation, as well. I think with pressure this should be an easy ask. Besides, sixty-one percent of US voters favor raising the minimum wage to $15/hour.

4-H.R.771 – Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance (EACH Woman) Act of 2017. This bill requires the federal government: (1) to ensure coverage for abortion care in public health insurance programs including Medicaid, Medicare, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP); (2) as an employer or health plan sponsor, to ensure coverage for abortion care for participants and beneficiaries; and (3) as a provider of health services, to ensure that abortion care is made available to individuals who are eligible to receive services.

The federal government may not prohibit, restrict, or otherwise inhibit insurance coverage of abortion care by state or local governments or by private health plans. State and local governments may not prohibit, restrict, or otherwise inhibit insurance coverage of abortion care by private health plans. 106 Democratic co-sponsors, including Congressperson Lujan Grisham, but not Congressman Lujan. Here we have an easy ask: Rep. Lujan, your colleague supports this bill and you have been on the hot seat as Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chair for saying the Party would fund campaigns of candidates who do not support this bill. Show your muster and join Lujan-Grisham in endorsing this bill. Besides, only 18% of American voters believe access to abortion should be prohibited in all cases and 72% believe access should be approved in all or some  cases.

5-H.R.2840 – Automatic Voter Registration Act.  To amend the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 to require each State to ensure that each individual who provides identifying information to the State motor vehicle authority is automatically registered to vote in elections for Federal office held in the State unless the individual does not meet the eligibility requirements for registering to vote in such elections or declines to be registered to vote in such elections, and for other purposes.

128 Democratic Congress Reps have co-sponsored, including Congressperson Lujan Grisham, and now Congressman Lujan has also co-sponsored. This is the only bill co-sponsored by both of our Representatives

6-H.R.3227 – Justice is Not For Sale Act of 2017. The bill would ban private prisons, institute a range of parole reforms designed to accelerate and support re-entry into the community; and to strengthen oversight of the prison system. Only 29 Democratic Congressional Representatives have co-sponsored this bill and neither NM Democratic Congressional Representatives have done so. In truth, while Retake is firmly in favor of any reforms of the criminal justice system, we also realize that this is a very complicated bill full of confusing amendments. I’d be hard pressed to ask you to press on something I don’t fully understand. Hold off on this one.

7-H.R.1144 – Inclusive Prosperity Act of 2017.  This bill amends the Internal Revenue Code to: (1) impose an excise tax on the transfer of ownership in certain securities (covered transaction), including any share of stock in a corporation, any partnership or beneficial interest in a partnership or trust, any note, bond, debenture, or other evidence of indebtedness (excluding tax-exempt municipal bonds), or derivative financial instruments; (2) impose a penalty on taxpayers who fail to include a covered transaction on their tax return or information statement; and (3) allow an individual taxpayer whose modified adjusted gross income does not exceed $50,000 ($75,000 for married taxpayers filing joint returns) a tax credit for the amount of tax paid on covered transactions. While only 25 Democratic Co-sponsors including neither NM Democratic Congressional Representatives, this is where leadership is needed. The perception that the Democratic Party is in bed with Wall St is widespread. The GOP has just passed legislation, surely to be signed by Trump that eliminates consumer opportunities to sue Wall St. for misleading practices. Here is an opportunity to demonstrate that the Democrats stand for something.  Something = us.\

8-H.R.2242 – Keep It in the Ground Act of 2017.  This bill amends the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act to prohibit the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) from issuing, renewing, reinstating, or extending any nonproducing lease, or issuing any authorization for the exploration or production of oil, natural gas, or any other fossil fuel in the Arctic Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, or any other area of the Outer Continental Shelf. BOEM shall also cancel within 60 days any lease issued in the Beaufort Sea, Cook Inlet, or Chukchi Sea (three of the five bodies of water that encompass the Alaska Outer Continental Shelf). The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) must not issue, renew, reinstate, or extend any nonproducing lease for the exploration or production of any onshore fossil fuels, including coal, oil, tar sands, oil shale, and gas, on land subject to the Mineral Leasing Act.

The bill provides for exceptions if there is an imminent national security threat that would be significantly reduced by granting an exception.  In addition, BOEM and the BLM may allow a nonproducing lease to be renewed or extended if the lease contract was signed before this bill, and giving effect to any provision of this bill is likely to lead to a material breach of contract. I need to do more research on this as only 14 Democratic co-sponsors and neither NM Democratic Congressional Representatives have co-sponsored the bill. 59% of Americans feel that the US should do more to protect the environment even if it means limiting drilling for oil, gas and coal. Given the support for the US public, I am surprised that there is not more support for the bill. I would suggest pressing both of our Reps about why they have not co-sponsored this bill.

In conclusion, here is the call for action:

Contact Congressional Representative Ben Ray Lujan and ask him to:

  • Endorse H.R.771 – Equal Access to Abortion Coverage in Health Insurance. Now!
  • Endorse H.R.1144 – Inclusive Prosperity Act of 2017 as there is a strong perception that the Democratic Party is in bed with Wall St. and as DCCC chair, he can send a powerful measure that this is not the case.
  • Ask for clarification as to why Rep. Lujan has not endorsed HR 2242 Keep It In the Ground.

Contact Congressional Representative and Gubernatorial candidate Michelle Lujan Grisham and ask her to:

  • Join Rep. Lujan in endorsing both Tuition Free College. H.R.1880 – College for All Act of 2017 and $15 Minimum Wage H.R.15 — 115th Congress (2017-2018). Endorsing both make perfect sense, especially in relation to the latter bill (HR 15) as Lujan Grisham, the candidate for Governor, has included very similar legislation as part of her JumpStart NM platform. To review her new platform with Retake commentary, click here.
  • Endorse H.R.1144 – Inclusive Prosperity Act of 2017 as there is a strong perception that the Democratic Party is in bed with Wall St.
  • Ask for clarification as to why Rep. Lujan has not endorsed HR 2242 Keep It In the Ground.

That is the call to action. Let’s let our representatives know that we elected them and we expect them to advance our priorities. We recommend both calling and emailing each of them and doing so with the utmost respect. We have far bigger enemies to face down than Lujan Grisham and Lujan. Click here for contact information for both representatives.