This Halloween, it’s not only millions of American kids who will be out trick or treating. Republican members of the House and Senate will be trick or treating, too.
Unfortunately for the American people, they won’t be dressing up and going door-to-door for candy. Instead, they will be in the halls of Congress moving ahead with budget resolutions that trick working families across this country to give treats to the wealthy and corporations.
The House and Senate have both passed budget resolutions that provide the rich and corporations trillions of dollars in tax cuts paid for by gutting Medicaid, Medicare, education, and critical public services. The resolutions establish a framework for legislation to actually implement these tax cuts by defunding programs we care about.
But we can’t allow all the candy—in the form of massive tax breaks—to continue to go to those whose pockets are already overflowing. This Halloween, we will stand together in opposition to the Republican plan that’s a trick for families (cuts to health care) to pay for treats (big tax breaks) for millionaires, billionaires like President Donald Trump, and corporations.
As part of a national day of Trick or Treat Actions across the country, on Halloween, Tuesday October 31, join our photo petition to reject the Trump/GOP budget plan that slashes funding for Medicaid, Medicare, education, and other vital social safety net programs.
Take a photo of yourself, your friends, and/or your family in your Halloween finest, with the above sign (click here to download and print your own) to demonstrate your opposition to Trump and the Congressional GOP’s trick of the American people!
*** Photo Release: Uploading your photo to this Facebook page confers consent to the reproduction and public use of your photo by Rights & Democracy.
The U.S. Senate voted late last evening to approve a Budget Resolution that sets a framework for cuts to federal health care and education as well as tax cuts that mainly benefit corporations and the wealthiest households. The Resolution includes a $1.5 trillion tax cut that will increase the deficit and may force cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, education, and other services that families rely on.
We are thankful that in New Hampshire our Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan voted against the Resolution that could put Medicaid for 171, 500 Granite Staters and Medicare for 266,210 people with disabilities and seniors at risk.
The Senate budget includes $5.8 trillion in cuts to federal spending, including nearly $500 billion from Medicare and $1.3 trillion from Medicaid and other health care programs. Another $650 billion may be cut from income security programs, such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, or food stamps), Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for individuals with disabilities, and tax credits for working families.
Time and time again, the Republicans in Congress have shown that their priority is taking care of the rich and big business, not the vast majority of Americans. They started with trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which would have taken health coverage and Medicaid from millions. Failing in that effort, thanks to the resistance mobilized by thousands of American, they have now turned to a budget plan that would make even more cuts to health care and other programs—all to give tax breaks to the people who need them least.
We’re so grateful that we can depend on Senators Shaheen and Hassan to stand up against cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, and other programs that families depend on. We will continue to need the Senators’ leadership as the GOP and President Trump move forward on implementing their plan for massive tax breaks for the rich and corporations paid for by cuts to our health care and education.
The Senate budget resolution creates instructions to make these cuts and write legislation with tax breaks that mainly benefit the wealthiest among us based on a framework laid out by President Trump earlier this year. Under the GOP plan, the richest 1% in New Hampshire would receive about 53.3% of the tax breaks.
These New Hampshire households are projected to have an income of at least $545,600 next year. The framework would provide them an average tax cut of $69,390 in 2018, which would increase their income by an average of 4.2 percent, while the poorest 20% of Granite Staters would see only 2.2% of the tax breaks under this proposal.
Rights & Democracy stands in opposition to the Trump-GOP tax plan that cuts health care, education, and other key social safety net programs to give tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans and corporations whose pockets and company coffers are already overflowing.
"Now, more than ever, we must reject a budget passed on the backs of low income folks, working families and America’s shrinking middle class. We must join together to fight for the health care and other programs hundreds of thousands of people in New Hampshire depend on," said Jessica Early, RAD's Health Care Justice Organizer.
"We are asking our members to call on Governor Sununu at (603) 271-2121 today and ask him to stand with Granite Staters—not with millionaires and billionaires—and urge him to reject his party’s tax plan," Early added.
With the recent defeat of Graham Cassidy and the Affordable Care Act (ACA) repeal efforts that preceded, we thought the battle to save our health care was won.
Unfortunately, yesterday President Trump demonstrated unequivocally that this battle is far from over—he is directly attacking women, the middle class, and the poor in his effort to strip millions more from having necessary access to health care in order to provide tax breaks for the wealthy and powerful.
Rights & Democracy stands in opposition to Trump and the GOP Congressional leadership’s inhumane and immoral attack on the health care of hundreds of thousands of Granite Staters and millions of Americans. We stand in support of our members of Congress (see Senator Hassan’s statement and Senator Shaheen’s statement) in their resistance to these proposals and we call on Governor Chris Sununu to do the same.
Now more than ever, we need to together build a health care system that serves us all. Call Gov. Chris Sununu at (603) 271-2121 and tell him to speak up against Trump's reckless sabotage—particularly Trump's latest decision to stop cost-sharing reduction payments.
Last night the President announced that he will end Cost Sharing Reduction (CSR) payments that lower costs for more than 6 million people who buy coverage on the exchange. Uncertainty about the future of these CSRs is key reason that many insurers are substantially hiking their rates for 2018—some by more than 20 percent. Some insurers have also left the market. Even Republicans are worried about how this decision will drive up costs and leave millions uninsured.
In addition to the elimination of CSR payments, Trump issued a new executive order that allows health association plans to sell watered down health coverage that doesn’t meet current standards under the ACA. This executive order includes provisions like those in the ACA repeal bills that were roundly rejected earlier in the year by both lawmakers and the public. Trump’s order loosens up rules for insurance companies so that they can go back to refusing coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, charging them more for their coverage, and selling bogus plans that don’t even include essential health benefits like maternity care, mental health and prescription drugs that are required for plans sold in the ACA marketplaces. These plans could even have lifetime and annual benefit caps.
Waiving ACA protections means these plans can cherry pick young, healthy consumers and pull them out of the existing individual health insurance market, leading to a market dominated by older and sicker people. That means that rates will skyrocket, insurers will flee, and, ultimately, the entire private health insurance market could collapse.
Finally, the Trump Administration has launched a full on assault on women’s reproductive health with a sweeping new rule that eliminates free contraceptive coverage based on any religious or “moral” objections from the employer. This is a significant departure from the existing law, which allowed exemptions for religious employers like churches and Catholic hospitals only. Under the new rule, any employer, not just religious ones, can deny coverage for birth control based on their own personal religious beliefs or “moral” objections.
Through the ACA, employers were required to include no-cost birth control coverage in their health insurance plans. More than 55 million women have access to birth control without co-payments because of that guarantee – saving them $1.4 billion in 2013 alone. But now these 55 million women could lose access to free contraception if their bosses decide they suddenly have a "moral" objection to paying for it. As a result, millions of American women and families could be left without affordable birth control.
The eliminations of CSR payments, the executive order on health association plans, and the new rule denying contraceptive coverage to millions of women, all make it clear: Trump doesn’t care about the will of the people who have rejected the Republican agenda for health care over the past several months.
Instead of listening to Americans, Trump is charging full-steam ahead with his stated goal of ACA repeal through a political campaign to sabotage the ACA by forcing premium increases, creating instability in the market, actively interfering with the ability of consumers to sign up for coverage, and rolling back the no-cost birth control for 55 million women.
When coupled with the Republican budget proposal working its way through Congress now—which includes massive cuts to Medicaid and further privatizes Medicare—Trump’s sabotage would mean the destruction of our health system as we know it. We will return to the days when being sick could bar you from coverage. We will return to the days when being a woman meant discrimination in the health care system. And we will see Medicaid and Medicare—two programs essential to the quality of life of millions of Americans—irreversibly transformed leading to access and lower quality care.
And what does Trump and his GOP backers in Congress gain from robbing millions of their health care? Huge tax breaks for corporations and the wealthiest Americans.
National Day of Action Calls on Congress to Protect Health Care for Millions in the Budget and Reject Massive Tax Breaks for Wealthiest Americans
Manchester, NH – After Congress spent weeks once again attempting to repeal the Affordable Care Act, more than 30 Granite Staters attended a community forum co-organized by Granite State Organizing Project (GSOP) and Rights & Democracy (RAD) on Wednesday, October 4 to educate the public on the Congressional budget proposal.
New Hampshire seniors, working people, State Rep. Robert Backus, and voices from the front lines of healthcare including doctors gathered to discuss what’s at stake under budget plans.
These Granite Staters joined hundreds of others across the country at similar events for this national day of action led by Health Care for America Now (HCAN). On this day of action, grassroots groups across the country mobilized against the latest effort to strip health care from millions of Americans while at the same time advancing a tax cut proposal that benefits primarily the richest 1 percent of households.
The event highlighted the devastating impacts of the House Budget Resolution, which cuts $1.5 trillion from health care, especially Medicaid while giving tax breaks to the rich and corporations. The resolution includes the adoption of the American Health Care Act (AHCA) repeal proposal that the House passed in May that could take healthcare away from over 23 million people and make permanent cuts to Medicaid for seniors, people with disabilities, children, and veterans. House Speaker Paul Ryan plans a vote on the House budget proposal this week.
“We’ve seen time and again that Congress will stop at nothing to strip millions of Americans of vital care, and now they are using the budget process to make the same kind of devastating cuts to health care that were so unpopular in the last few repeal bills,” said Viola Katusiime, an Organizer for GSOP. “Americans across the country rose up to beat back repeated attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and we will remain vigilant as Congress tries to gut essential health care programs to pay for tax breaks for the 1 percent.”
The proposed budget cuts would fundamentally transform Medicaid for the worse, ending its guarantee of coverage for children, seniors, and people with disabilities including 171,500 New Hampshire Medicaid recipients. These cuts would also be a devastating blow to New Hampshire’s state budget and cripple its ability to face public health emergencies like the opioid crisis, which is ravaging communities across the Granite State (since under the administration plans it will be up to each state alone to manage health care emergencies without additional support from the federal government).
Medicare serves more than 55 million people ages 65 and over and people with permanent disabilities, including 266,210 people in New Hampshire. But the Medicare cuts of $487 billion over 10 years and efforts to privatize Medicare through vouchers in the budget resolution would devastate this program and leave seniors and people with permanent disabilities without an affordable option for care.
At the same time, the federal budget proposal includes trillions of dollars in tax breaks for the rich and corporations. Under the administration’s proposed tax plan, wealthy households’ income tax rate will be reduced by almost 5 percent, and the corporate tax rate will drop by 15 percent, among a variety of other tax breaks. These tax cuts in total will cost $1.5 trillion – the same amount as the health care cuts in the House budget resolution, including significant Medicaid cuts and $500 billion in new cuts to Medicare, a vital program for seniors.
While Senator Jeanne Shaheen regrettably could not attend the event she voiced her solidarity with the Granite Staters in attendance in a letter she sent to them:
“I share your commitment to supporting the individuals who rely on the quality, consistent access to health care services that Medicare and Medicaid offer. We must continue to invest in them and resist reckless attempts to cut these programs by prioritizing tax cuts for the wealthy. Please be assured that, in reviewing any new tax proposals, I will be looking to see how the plan will impact middle-class families and small businesses across the state of New Hampshire.”
To learn more about how Granite Staters are fighting this unjust and immoral budget, please contact Viola Katusiime with Granite State Organizing Project at firstname.lastname@example.org or Kathy Staub with Rights & Democracy at email@example.com.
Congratulations on a huge victory this week in Senate District 16, proving that progressive grassroots action is alive and well in the Granite State.
This is a major victory on a path to reclaim power in New Hampshire, and across the country, in the 2018 elections and build a true, progressive movement in the Granite State.
Democratic Manchester Ward 1 Alderman Kevin Cavanaugh defeated Republican and former State Senator David Boutin in a special state Senate election on Tuesday by a solid 55-44 margin. Boutin had held the seat from 2010 through 2016 and was better-known districtwide than Cavanaugh, but Cavanaugh’s team built a strong, coordinated get-out-the-vote effort and RAD worked with progressive partners in the state to run a robust field campaign independent of the candidate, and the party, ultimately securing a significant victory.
Voter turnout was 21 percent, a clear indication that the extensive voter outreach and mobilization campaigns run by the candidate and by independent progressive organizations made all the difference.
The Democratic Leadership Campaign Committee, National Education Association (NEA), NEA NH, Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund, AFSCME, IBEW 2320, and Rights & Democracy collaborated on an independent expenditure program through America Votes NH.
RAD alone knocked on 6000 doors over 20 days and had 1,648 conversations with voters.
But this is just the beginning. Join the RAD statewide Movement Politics team to be part of setting our progressive road map through 2020. E-mail organizer Maria Fitzsimmons to learn more.
We’ve launched Progressive Manchester NH to mobilize grassroots support to reclaim Manchesterand make it a thriving and vibrant city that works for the people who live here. Or, join the crew in Nashua on July 31 to help stack the school board and board of aldermen with grassroots, progressive leadership.
The municipal elections are on November 7, 2017, so join the effort!
Celebrate the beautiful diversity of New Hampshire and talk about the next legislative steps to making transgender nondiscrimination a legal reality in the Granite State this Saturday at Victory Park in Manchester.
Now, more than ever — especially given President Donald Trump's decision to ban transgender individuals from serving in the military — we need to come together as a community and fight back against the erosion of our rights under this administration, and to realize full equality here in the Granite State.
Join Rights & Democracy's (RAD) Transgender Organizing & Leadership Development (TOLD) project, Gerri Cannon of Freedom New Hampshire, Rep. Sherry Frost and others to demonstrate that, more than ever, transgender nondiscrimination protections in New Hampshire are vital and necessary to ensure the health and well-being of communities statewide.
RSVP TODAY for the Transgender* Equality Rally on Saturday, July 29, Noon-3 PM at Victory Park, Concord St., Manchester
In early 2017, the LGBT+ community in New Hampshire came extremely close to winning key protections and passing a comprehensive state law to legally protect transgender family and friends from discrimination. New legislation will be introduced in September to build on this momentum, and it’s time to begin planning now to create a path toward justice. This bill would expand nondiscrimination to include public places, housing, and employment.
To recognize the hard work and momentum of the LGBT+ community, the Transgender* Equality Rally is designed to create community, celebrate, socialize, and strategize the next steps to victory. Featured speakers will include Gerri Cannon of Freedom New Hampshire, Rep. Sherry Frost, LGBT+ community leaders Chloe LaCasse, Carter Adams, and others.
The speaker program will last from 12:30 – 1:30 PM. After the speakers, people will stay at the park to picnic, play lawn games, dance to music, and build a sense of collective identity.
You can also join one of three breakout sessions directly after the program, starting around 2 PM. The breakout sessions will be: making art and rally signs; sharing and listening to spoken word; and, talking about a power analysis of New Hampshire.
Join Rights & Democracy, Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, and other special guests to kick off Democracy Summer: From Protest to Power.
This summer-long, statewide grassroots campaign will help communities rally to stamp money out of politics, raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, put people and planet before profit, fight for healthcare as a human right, rally for transgender rights, and decarcerate New Hampshire.
It’s time to bring lasting change to the Granite State in the 2018 elections and beyond.
WHAT: Democracy Summer Kickoff!
WHO: Rights & Democracy, Ben & Jerry, Andru Volinsky, NH Executive Council Member. Music by The Wooks
WHEN: July 15, 2017 at 4pm - 6pm
WHERE: Common Man Inn & Spa, 231 Main St, Plymouth, NH 03264
We need volunteers to make this kickoff a success! Email Anthony Procik to sign up.
The recent legislative session in New Hampshire lacked both a rejection of the Trump agenda and a bold vision for moving the state forward. As grassroots leaders, we have led and participated in many rallies and marches in opposition to toxic legislation and in support of policies that benefit people and the planet.
Now it's time to take our work to the next level.
This summer, we will organize a series of events to continue to build our base, move our elected officials, and organize for our progressive agenda under the framework of “Democracy Summer: From Protest to Power.”
See you on July 15th!
Since November 8, there has been endless soul searching and debate on the left and in the Democratic Party about what went wrong in the presidential election. The post-mortems continue in the blogosphere, on countless Facebook pages, and in thousands of one-on-one discussions. Meanwhile, the victorious Republicans are moving ahead fast with a clearly defined 2017 agenda, and the Congressional majorities and new administration necessary to implement it.
How to respond to that upcoming threat is now a more pressing question than “what went wrong” last fall. Fortunately for the left—often plagued by infighting over priorities, ideology, and tactics—Republicans in the new Congress and the Trump administration are providing the answer for us. In the face of an all-out assault on the social infrastructure that has supported poor, working, and middle class Americans for over fifty years, our task is clear. We must unify across organizations—social and racial justice, environmental, labor, faith, and civil rights—to resist and offer an alternative to the Republican agenda of deregulation, privatization, corporate welfare, xenophobia, and racism.
Republican Congressional leaders and President-elect Trump have identified health care as a majority priority. Trump’s proposed Health and Human Services Secretary—House member Tom Price—and other Capitol Hill foes of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) plan to resurrect House Speaker Paul Ryan’s 2011 plan for a Medicare voucher system and other proposals to restructure Medicaid, repeal the ACA, and privatize the Veterans Health Administration (VHA).
If successful, these efforts will jeopardize health care coverage for millions of Americans—disproportionately seniors, people of color, single parents, veterans, disability insurance beneficiaries, lower income workers, and the unemployed. Moreover, the Republican plan will put even more of the funding burden for social safety net programs onto already overstretched state budgets. (Seehttp://khn.org/news/millions-could-lose-medicaid-coverage-under-trump-plan/ for projections about the impact of this policy shift.)
You may have noticed since the launch of Rights & Democracy we have always managed to feature a flock of geese on our posters. We pride ourselves on putting out graphics and art that represents the beauty, energy and excitement about the movement we are trying to build for people and the planet. But you may be one of the number of people who have asked the question, “What’s with the geese?” over the course of our first year. Well, we saved the answer for our First Annual Membership Assembly held this past Saturday, December 10th in Lebanon, NH (See post about the assembly here, and see new board member Mary Gerisch’s blog post on the significance of Human Rights Day here).
I have always had deep reverence for geese as for thousands of years they have been making their annual migrations across the globe. In addition to being beautifully graceful animals, after watching a documentary detailing their amazing annual trips I have always marveled at their perseverance and teamwork. Being in New England, it is also awe inspiring to see them fly overhead sometimes in the hundreds (which they call a gaggle). Years ago I saw a presentation about the lessons of geese, and we adapted them to a poster that we released at the Assembly called “Movement Lessons From Geese.”
When introducing these new beautiful posters, I chose to read one lesson in particular that seemed special for the occasion of recognizing the work of our founding chair Michelle Salvador, who was taking a step back after playing a key role in RAD’s launch. She was able to pass the torch to new co-chairs Sylvia Gale (NH) and Brittany Nevins (VT). Along with the Sheila Reed (VT) and Janice Kelble (NH), the new co-chairs for the Rights & Democracy Education Fund, they will step up to lead this new grassroots power building formation.
Here is “Lesson # 4 - Empowering Everyone To Lead: When the lead goose in the front gets tired, it rotates back into the formation and allows another goose to take the leadership position.
LESSON: We are all leaders and have the capacity for greatness. Micro-managing and keeping tight control will demotivate people, while stifling creativity and growth. It will also burn out everyone. We all have unique skills, capabilities, and gifts to offer. When we all have the trust and a chance to shine, we will be surprised with the collective outcome.”
When over 125 leaders from across New Hampshire and Vermont came together for Rights & Democracy’s First Annual Membership Assembly, it was hard not to think back on how far we have already come. A little over a year ago we thought it was not only possible but necessary to build a new grassroots vehicle to advance the political revolution in 2016 across both states, but it is still incredibly empowering to actually pull it off. If you couldn’t make it on Saturday, here’s a recap of what you missed:
We had powerful panel discussions and skill building workshops that featured many of the elements of building the political revolution locally. This included:
A panel on Race, Class and Gender featuring Ebony Nyoni of Black Lives Matter VT, Anthony Procik from RAD NH and the Transgender Organizing & Leadership Development (TOLD), State Representative Mark King of Nashua, NH - moderated by Maria Fitzsimmons, RAD’s Director of Organizing.
Three break out workshops to spend time building an array of leadership skills including: how to talk to the media, how to share our narrative, how to effectively invite people into our movement, and how to politicize our experiences.
A panel on the local political revolution featuring former Portsmouth Mayor and NH Gubernatorial Candidate Steve Marchand, recent candidate for NH State Representative Marcy Katz Rothenberg, and VT State Representatives Selene Colburn (Burlington) and Rachael Fields (Bennington) - moderated by Jessica Early, RAD VT leader.
We held elections for our Rights & Democracy Project Board of Directors, the leadership board comprised of members from both states. We had a few key folks take a step back from the board including founding chair Michelle Salvador, who played an integral role in launching RAD and will continue to stay involved in the the Vermont Leadership Committee. While we have great people stepping down, incredible folks also stepped up, including Sylvia Gale (NH) and Brittany Nevins (VT) our new co-chairs. Sylvia and Brittany headline a strong slate of leaders who are ready to take the organization to the next level.
“I’m honored be given the opportunity to help lead RAD in this next period. The challenges for our country and our communities are enormous, and we need this organization more than ever,” said Brittany Nevins, new co-chair and RAD founding leader from Burlington. “The truth is, we are just getting started and we know that the vast majority of people support the the political revolution and the changes we are pushing for. It’s up to us to help get our communities organized for the long haul.”
To read more about Brittany, Sylvia and our incredible leadership check out the board description here: radnh.org/board
Also, check out the Board of Directors for our the Rights & Democracy Education Fund (the 501c3 charitable organization focused on grassroots organizing and education) led by new co-chairs Sheila Reed (VT) and Janice Kelble (NH) here: rights-democracy.org/board
By popular demand, we released a whole bunch of new RAD gear at the Assembly including more hoodies ($27), long sleeve shirts ($20) and short sleeve ($15), bumper stickers ($3) and some very cool new winter hats ($15 or free to new monthly sustainers*). Check it out at www.radnh.org/gear