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Tell Congress How Your Tax Dollars Should Be Spent

Hello, I’m __________ from __________. I’m very concerned about Trump’s budget proposal which aims to dismantle the federal government. Major cuts to vital agencies such as State, Education, Justice, EPA, and Health and Human Services are unacceptable and should not be used to fund military expansion or a border wall. I ask the Senator/Representative to protect funding for these agencies that support programs my friends and family rely on. Thank you.

Here is a list of specific proposed cuts which represent only about 1.5% of the total federal budget. Incorporate details about agencies you feel particularly strongly about in your call:

  • Arts and Cultural Agencies | -$0.0B | -100% – Elimination of National Endowment for the Arts, National Endowment for the Humanities, Institute of Museum and Library Services, and Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
  • Environmental Protection Agency | -$2.6B | -31% – Discontinue all climate change research, the Clean Power Plan, and regional environmental clean-up programs, as well as decrease funding for enforcing environmental regulations.
  • State Department | -$10.9B | -29% – Eliminate funds for climate change programs, reduce U.S. peacekeeping and international development. Significantly decrease funding to United Nations and foreign aid.
  • Agriculture | -$4.7B | -21% – Cuts to rural clean water and business services.
  • Labor | -$2.5B | -21% – Cuts for job training programs, including those that serve seniors, disadvantaged young people, and unemployed Americans. Eliminate some training grants for occupational safety and health administration.
  • Justice | -$4.0B | -20% – Cuts to funding for federal while maintaining support for private prisons. Cuts to unnamed “outdated programs.”
  • Health and Human Services | -$12.6B | -16% – Reduce funding for National Institutes of Health (NIH), which conducts life-saving research. Eliminate Fogarty International Center for U.S. collaboration with international health research groups.
  • Commerce | -$1.5B | -16% – Eliminate the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s grant programs for coastal and marine management, research and education, and the Minority Business Development Agency, which supports minority-owned businesses.
  • Education | -$9.2B | -14% – Reduce work-study aid for college students and grants for teacher training.
  • Transportation | -$2.4B | -13% – Move air traffic control outside of government control. Eliminate support for flights to rural airports. Cuts to TIGER grant program for roads and other transit projects.
  • Housing and Urban Development | -$4.3B | -12% – Eliminate the Community Development Block Grant Program, including Meals on Wheels.
  • Interior | -$1.5B | -12% – Eliminate the Community Development Block Grant Program, including Meals on Wheels.
  • Energy | -$1.7B | -6% – Cut $900M from the office of science, eliminates funding for green technologies (e.g. Energy Star, advanced vehicle manufacturing). Add funds for Yucca Mountain nuclear waste storage facility.
  • Treasury | -$0.5B | -4% – Cuts to the IRS and to financial services in economically distressed neighborhoods.
  • NASA | -$0.2B | -1% – Cuts to funding for Earth science, terminate four missions aimed at understanding climate change, eliminate $115M from the Office of Education, and cut $88M from the Robotic Refueling Mission, which works to repair satellites.
  • Veterans Affairs | +$4.4B | +6% – Additional funding for VA health services.
  • Homeland Security | +$2.8B | +7% – Increase border security, including a wall between the U.S. and Mexico. $1.5B would towards the detention and removal of undocumented immigrants and $314M would to hire and train 500 border patrol and 1,000 ICE agents.
  • Defense | +$52.3B | +10% – Increase the size of the Army and Marines. Increase Navy’s fleet and buy F-35 Joint Strike Fighters.

Keep Consumer Protections, Oppose Financial Choice Act!

Hello, I’m ________ from ________. I strongly oppose the Financial Choice Act and ask that the Senator/Representative do the same. In the wake of the financial crisis, Dodd-Frank and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau were set up to protect regular Americans from a future Wall Street imposed recession and we must keep those protections. Thank you.

For a less scripted approach, here are some talking points:

  • The Financial Choice Act would increase the cost of mortgages, student loans, and small business loans.
  • The proposed bill cuts regulations that protect consumers from predatory payday lenders and financial advisers and could unleash the same behavior that led to the 2008 financial crisis.
  • According to Senator Elizabeth Warren, “The Financial Choice Act doesn't solve a single real problem with our economy or financial system.” (4/28/17)

Say No to Trump's Tax Cuts for the Rich

Hello, I’m ________ from ________. I strongly oppose the Trump administration's proposal to make deep cuts to taxes for the wealthy and corporations. These unfunded tax cuts will cause significant increases in the national deficit leaving future generations of Americans to pay for them. Thank you.

For a less scripted approach, here are some talking points:

  • The Trump administration's proposal reduces corporate taxes from 35% to 15%. They falsely claim this will be paid for with "growth." The plan also simplifies individual tax brackets but income thresholds have not been provided.
  • This tax plan will save the Trump family billions of dollars, however it is impossible to know exactly how much since Trump has not released his tax returns.
  • Elimination of the estate tax will benefit the top one half of one percent of Americans, perpetuating dynastic wealth and extreme inequality that contributes to social and economic instability.
  • A complete bill and CBO score will be necessary to fully evaluate the cost of the plan and the benefit to the Trump family.

No Border Wall in the Budget

Hello, I’m __________ from __________. I’m calling today to urge the Senator/Representative to oppose any budget that includes funding for a southern border wall. Spending billions of dollars on a wall would be wasteful and ineffective. Thank you.

For a less scripted approach, here are some talking points:

  • Building the wall will cost at least $21.6B and take 3.5 years to build, but some estimate that it would cost as much as $70B to build and $150M annually to maintain.
  • No member of Congress who represents a district on the southwest border supports building a border wall.
  • Trump's own head of the Department of Homeland Security has said that a border wall will do little to stop the flow of drugs into the United States.
  • More border security leads to increased net immigration because migrant workers are forced to stay in the United States rather than return home. Paradoxically, this results in more families permanently moving to the United States.
  • Constructing a wall will require invoking eminent domain to seize property from Americans who own land near the border.
  • The Mexican government has definitively said that it will not pay for the wall, contrary to Trump's campaign promises.

Demand Congress Take Back Control Over Use of Military Force

Hello, I'm __________ from __________. I'm concerned about the Trump Administration's increasing use and threat of military action in both the Middle East and the Asia Pacific. These decisions are too important to be made by one person, and it is paramount that control over the authorization of military force be restored to Congress. I ask that the Senator/Representative work to ensure that the Executive Branch defer to Congressional approval for all new military action. Thank you.

For a less scripted approach, here are some talking points:

  • Federal law mandates that the president must receive an Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) from Congress in order to direct the U.S. military to engage in foreign military actions.
  • In 2001, President George W. Bush received a broad authorization from Congress to take military action against terrorist groups connected to the 9/11 attacks. By May 2016, the 2001 AUMF had been used to authorize “unclassified” military action 37 times in 14 countries since 2001” by two presidents.
  • The War Powers Act of 1973 was passed in order to delineate the role of executive power in carrying out military “hostilities” against foreign entities. It requires the president to alert Congress when the U.S. is brought into military conflicts and sets a 60-90 day period for Congress to either authorize these actions or demand a withdrawal of U.S. military forces.
  • The War Powers Act established the procedure of the Authorization for Use of Military Force, but it leaves the window of time and the definition of the type of force that the AUMF grants valid open-ended. The last AUMF granted by Congress was in 2001.

Protect Syrian Refugees

Hello, I'm __________ from __________. I’m calling to ask the Senator/Representative to advocate for military safe-zones for internally displaced people in Syria. I am outraged and deeply saddened by the mass atrocity being committed by Assad in Syria, but I believe history has shown that we cannot effectively fight another nation's civil war. I believe that the U.S. should also increase the number of refugees allowed into our country each year. Thank you.

For a less scripted approach, here are some talking points:

  • The U.S. spent more than $30 million on the cruise missile strike that targeted one of Assad’s air force bases in Syria on April 6, 2017.
  • The U.S.’s strategy of military action to enact “regime change” during the Iraq War was costly and demonstrated our inability to fight another country's wars for them effectively.
  • Immigrants make the United States great. Many of our largest companies were started by immigrants including Google, Pfizer, Yahoo, AT&T, and Kraft Foods.

Stand Up for Transgender Rights

Hello, I'm _________ from _________ and I'm calling to urge the Senator/Representative to do everything in his/her power to stand up for the rights of transgender citizens. The repeal of HB2 in North Carolina leaves provisions in place that continue to allow discrimination. Complacency on this issue not only validates acts of discrimination, but violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and our country's values. Thank you.

For a less scripted approach, here are some talking points:

  • North Carolina's new bill leaves regulation of bathroom access solely in control of the legislature and prevents local governments from passing their own nondiscrimination ordinances in private employment and public accommodation until 2020.
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination of employees based on sex and applies to private, state/local governments, and federal agencies. Courts have held that discrimination includes denying equal access to a common bathroom in relation to the employee's gender identity. The same standards should be upheld in public spaces.
  • There is a high rate of suicide among transgender students due to bullying; a 2016 study by the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center reported 30% of transgender students have a history of at least one suicide attempt.
  • A study by The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law cites 50-54% of transgender men and women experience harassment and bullying at school and, specifically, 63-78% suffer physical or sexual violence at school.
  • Repealing these protections is in direct contradiction to existing federal laws against sex discrimination and legal precedents establishing that transgender students have the right to go to school without being singled out for discrimination.

Tell Reps to Vote "NO" on Concealed Carry Reciprocity

Hello, I'm _________ from _________. I’m calling to urge the Senator/Representative to vote NO on the “Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act.” He/she should strongly consider the opinions of law enforcement across the nation, as well as millions of concerned citizens, who support responsible gun ownership. Forcing all states to allow stalkers, domestic abusers, and people with zero gun training to carry a concealed loaded weapon in public will make my family and friends less safe. Thank you.

For a less scripted approach, here are some talking points:

  • Only 13 of 50 U.S. states have currently passed permitless carrying laws. Three additional states have a limited form of permitless concealed carry. Should the federal government mandate reciprocity, the remaining states will likely relax their own permitting laws, or at the least, be forced to allow individuals from states with weaker laws to carry concealed, loaded handguns within states with stronger laws.
  • States with laws restricting domestic abusers or violent sexual offenders from carrying concealed, loaded handguns, will be required to allow the same individuals to carry, no matter the local law, should federal reciprocity be mandated.
  • While the general public remains evenly divided on the overall issue of firearms regulation, according to a 2016 Pew Research poll, the majority of American voters support background checks on private and gun show sales of firearms, laws to prevent the mentally ill from purchasing firearms, and barring sales of firearms to individuals on no-fly lists.

Support Commonsense Gun Regulations

Hello, I'm _________ from _________. I’m calling to urge the Senator/Representative to support the renewal of provisions to the Federal Assault Weapons Ban, which were allowed to expire in 2004. Given the ongoing use of semi-automatic assault-style weapons in mass attacks on my fellow citizens, Americans need commonsense gun regulation. Thank you.

For a less scripted approach, here are some talking points:

  • The original Assault Weapons Ban of 1994, while not perfect, allowed for reasonable steps to public safety. During the ten years of its regulatory control, its provisions and regulations were challenged as unconstitutional, but in all cases were rejected by reviewing courts.
  • In the time since its expiration, there have been nearly 40 mass shootings (more than one individual killed) where the killer used semi-automatic handguns or assault rifles.
  • Common-sense firearms regulation should take into account firearms features that clearly separate assault weapons from standard sporting firearms, so that hunters and shooters may continue to have access to firearms used for sport.
  • While the general public remains evenly divided on the overall issue of firearms regulation, according to a 2016 Pew Research poll, the majority of American voters support background checks on private and gun show sales of firearms, laws to prevent the mentally ill from purchasing firearms, and barring sales of firearms to individuals on no-fly lists.

Reauthorize the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act

Hello, I’m ___________ from ___________. I’m calling to ask the Senator/Representative to support juvenile justice reform by voting to reauthorize the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act. I also urge him/her to include the phase-out of the VCO Exception that criminalizes status offenses unfairly. Thank you.

For a less scripted approach, here are some talking points:

  • Funding for alternatives to incarceration programs, including community and family-based programs, as well as trauma-informed care, has helped decrease the rate of youth in juvenile detention.
  • Originally passed in 1974, the JJDPA must be reauthorized to receive funding. Without the JJDPA reauthorization, this funding will be completely zeroed out and we are sure to see an increase in non-violent youth (whose criminalized behaviors such as running away or getting in fights are often a reaction to environmental traumas) being sent to jails and prisons, often placed with adults who have committed violent crimes, where they are re-traumatized and become further involved in our criminal justice system, rather than moving towards rehabilitation.
  • The Valid Court Order Exception should be phased out of the JJDPA because it criminalizes juvenile probation offenses, such as running away, talking back to parents, or failing to clean their rooms. VCOs disproportionately affect girls of color, who comprise the fastest growing population in the juvenile justice system.

Guarantee LGBTQ Civil Rights

Hello, I'm _________ from _________. I’m calling to urge the Senator/Representative to support the Equality Act to provide equal protection against discrimination for LGBTQ Americans. Thank you.

For a less scripted approach, here are some talking points:

  • The Equality Act would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Currently the Civil Rights Act bans discrimination based on sex, color, race, religion or national origin.
  • The Equality Act would also amend the Fair Housing Act to make it illegal to refuse to sell or rent a home to someone because of sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Based on polling conducted by Human Rights Council in 2015, roughly two-thirds of LGBTQ Americans reported facing discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • The Equality Act would apply civil rights protections across many areas of life, including: employment, housing, credit, education, public spaces and services, federally-funded programs, and jury service.
  • Roughly 50 percent of LGBTQ Americans live in the 31 states where it is legal for them to be fired, denied housing, or refused services because of sexual or gender identity.

Update Civil Rights Laws to Protect LGBTQ Students

Hello, I'm _________ from _________. I am calling to urge the Senator/Representative to update federal civil rights laws to protect LGBTQ students. The Tyler Clementi Higher Education Anti-Harassment Act of 2017 would require that colleges protect LGBTQ students facing harassment and cyberbullying in college. Thank you.

For a less scripted approach, here are some talking points:

  • One in four LGBTQ students will face harassment during college.
  • Harassment in college can have profoundly negative effects on students' emotional, psychological, and academic well-being.
  • The bill requires that colleges receiving federal funding establish an anti-harassment policy prohibiting the harassment of students based on their actual or perceived race, color, national origin, sex, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion. It also requires that schools recognize cyberbullying as a form of harassment.
  • Tyler Clementi, the namesake of the bill, was a freshman at Rutgers University. He was the victim of cyberbullying, which drove him to tragically commit suicide.

Support the "College for All" Act

Hello, I’m ________ from ________. I’m calling to ask that the Senator/Representative support the “College for All" Act. Passage of this bill would cut crushing student loan interest rates in half, allow refinancing of existing debt at these reduced rates, and eliminate undergraduate tuition at 4-year public colleges and universities. Thank you.

For a less scripted approach, here are some talking points:

  • In the U.S., 42 million people owe $1.4 trillion in student loans or about $33,000 per person, most of which are federal loans. This represents more than 8% of the GDP.
  • Per person student debt has increased by a staggering 17% since 2013.
  • A survey conducted by American Student Assistance found that those with student debt are delaying decisions to buy a home, get married, have children, save for retirement, and enter a desired career field because of their debt.

Protect Students from Predatory For-Profit Colleges

Hello, I’m ________ from ________. I’m calling to ask the Senator/Representative to block Trump’s Education Department from loosening the “gainful employment rule" which protects students in vocational programs at for-profit colleges and non-degree programs at community colleges from taking on more tuition debt than they can ever hope to repay. Thank you.

For a less scripted approach, here are some talking points:

  • In the U.S., 42 million people owe $1.4 trillion in student loans or about $33,000 per person, most of which are federal loans. This represents more than 8% of GDP.
  • Per person student debt has increased by a staggering 17% since 2013.
  • For-profit schools have a long history of predatory behavior, often being forced to pay millions of dollars in fines and court settlements. Just last year, one for profit school, "Trump University" agreed to pay $25 million to former students.

Demand Independent Prosecutor for Trump-Russia Connections

Hi, I’m __________ from __________. I’m calling to ask that the Senator/Representative demand an independent prosecutor to investigate the Trump administration and campaign’s ties to Russia. Congressional committees clearly cannot be impartial. We deserve to know the full truth. Thank you.

For a less scripted approach, here are some talking points:

  • Trump fired FBI Director James Comey leaving the FBI without a director at a time when the FBI is investigating Trump-Russia ties. Trump will now appoint someone to head the primary agency in charge of investigating him.
  • House Intelligence Committee Chair, Rep. Devin Nunes, has demonstrated a lack of impartiality and is refusing to recuse himself from leading the House’s investigation.
  • Former FBI Director James Comey has confirmed that the FBI is currently investigating the Trump campaign’s connections to Russian interference in the 2016 election.
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions met with the Russian ambassador three times during the campaign and did not disclose this information during his Senate confirmation hearings.
  • A report released in January by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence stated that the FBI, CIA, and NSA all agree with high confidence that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered hacks of the Democratic Party in order to help Trump’s campaign.
  • During the 2015 campaign, Donald Trump publicly called on Russia to hack Clinton’s emails.
  • President Trump’s former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn was forced to resign after misleading Vice President Pence as to the nature of his conversations with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S. during the transition. It is unclear whether Trump was aware of these conversations. Not only was this a breach of protocol, but it is illegal under the Logan Act for someone outside of the Executive branch to make foreign policy for the U.S.
  • A report released by a former British intelligence operative claims that the Russians have information that could be used to blackmail Trump. The majority of the claims in this report remain unverified.

Protect the Free Press

Hello, I’m __________ from __________. I’m calling today because I am appalled by the White House’s banning of major news outlets from a White House briefing. President Trump has declared an all-out “war” on the media, and he continually provides false information while trying to discredit and block legitimate news organizations. The Senator/Representative should publicly denounce the Trump administration’s actions. American democracy requires a free press, and we must be vigilant in protecting the First Amendment. Thank you.

For a less scripted approach, here are some talking points:

  • First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution reads: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
  • On Feb. 24, 2017, the Trump administration banned journalists from the New York Times, CNN, the LA Times, and other mainstream news organizations from attending a press briefing at the White House.
  • No administration has ever blocked accredited news organizations from attending White House Press Corp briefings, including during the Watergate, Iran-Contra, and Lewinsky scandals.
  • Press Secretary Sean Spicer told Politico in December 2016 that, “Conservative, liberal or otherwise, I think [free press is] what makes a democracy a democracy versus a dictatorship.”

Avoid a Boots-on-the-Ground Strategy in Syria

Hello, I'm __________ from __________. I'm concerned about the Trump Administration’s increased military activity in Syria. I urge the Senator/Representative to demand that the Trump Administration explain our mission and exit strategy before funding increased military activity in the Middle East. Congress must take action to avoid the mistakes made during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Thank you.

For a less scripted approach, here are some talking points:

  • In response to a recent chemical weapons attack against Syrian civilians by Assad, the Trump Administration ordered the launch of 59 cruise missiles to attack an air force base in Syria without Congressional approval.
  • Trump has sent 500 new American troops into Syria, and the New York Times has reported plans for hundreds more American troops to be sent to the region in the coming weeks.
  • The Trump Administration has not publicized a withdrawal strategy or political solution to the conflicts against ISIS and against Assad in Syria. It has also not specified goals for who should control post-ISIS Raqqa or Syria.
  • The Trump Administration has recently asserted that Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad will maintain control of Syria despite his abhorrent record as a war criminal who has committed atrocities against his own people.
  • Conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya were largely deadly on all sides because the United States didn't have a plan for troop withdrawal or political engagement with local actors following occupation.
  • Recent U.S. airstrikes are said to have killed up to 200 civilians. The American-led military coalition in Iraq is investigating these claims.

Protect Dreamers – Support the Bridge Act

Hello, I’m __________ from __________. I’m calling today to urge the Senator/Representative to support The Bridge Act. DACA recipients are in the United States legally and thus must be protected from deportation. Dreamers deserve every protection that U.S. law allows them and we must support them in their efforts to create a better future for themselves and for our country. Thank you.

For a less scripted approach, here are some talking points:

  • DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, was started by the Obama Administration in 2012. Recipients of DACA are often referred to as "dreamers."
  • In order to enable undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children to come out of the shadows and be productive members of society, the Obama administration started DACA in 2012 to give them legal status that is renewable every two years and provides them the opportunity to receive work permits and avoid deportation.
  • There are over 750,000 dreamers living in the United States.
  • In a recent Fox News interview, Attorney General Jeff Sessions refused to promise that DREAMers will not be deported, despite the fact that deportations of DREAMers are illegal under the DACA program.

Support Addiction Treatment

Hello, I’m __________ from __________. I'm very concerned about the opioid epidemic in our country. Drug addiction is a medical problem that requires treatment and compassion, not a prison sentence. I ask that the Senator/Representative support expanded funding for treatment programs for Americans struggling with addiction. Thank you.

For a less scripted approach, here are some talking points:

  • Addiction is a chronic brain disease that results in compulsive drug seeking and use. Drugs change the structure and function of the brain resulting in these behaviors.
  • More than 50,000 Americans died of a drug overdose last year. Most of those deaths were due to opioid or heroin overdoses.
  • Prescription painkillers (opioids) are very similar to heroin and it’s common that people who are addicted to opioids were first exposed to these drugs through doctor-prescribed use for a medical condition.
  • People suffering from addiction deserve to receive treatment the same as they would for any other illness, not a prison sentence.

Save the Affordable Care Act

Call YOUR Senators!

Hello, I’m __________ from __________. I am calling to implore the Senator to vote NO on the American Health Care Act. Making it easier for states to waive coverage for Americans with preexisting conditions or cut coverage for mental health treatment is unacceptable. I urge the Senator/Representative to improve the Affordable Care Act, NOT dismantle it. Thank you.

For a less scripted approach, here are some talking points:

  • Sharing your personal story about how improvements to the health care system made under the ACA have helped you, your family, and friends is particularly powerful.
  • House Republicans just passed the American Health Care Act, appeasing the most conservative congressional representatives. If the Senate passes this bill, it would kick 23 million Americans off of their insurance and use the savings to fund a tax cut for the very rich.
  • This bill would allow states to choose whether to keep the ACA’s insurance protection for people with preexisting medical problems and its guarantee of specific health benefits, including mental health treatment. It would also defund Planned Parenthood for at least a year.
  • According to a Washington Post/ABC poll, 8 in 10 Democrats, 7 in 10 independents and even a majority of Republicans support a national law that blocks insurers from charging more or denying coverage to customers with medical conditions.

Provide Health Care to All Americans!

Hello, I’m __________ from __________. I’m calling today to ask the Senator/Representative to support Sen Bernie Sanders in his proposal to provide healthcare to all Americans through a single payer Medicare for all style system. I believe that a country as rich as ours has the moral obligation to view healthcare as a human right. Thank you.

For a less scripted approach, here are some talking points:

  • Sharing your personal story about how improvements to the health care system made under the ACA have helped you, your family, and friends is particularly powerful.
  • Recent GOP proposals for health care reform would have resulted in 24M Americans losing health insurance in order to pay for a tax cut for the rich.

Make Trump Release White House & Mar-A-Lago Visitor Logs

Hello, I’m __________ from __________. I’m calling to urge the Senator/Representative to support the Mar-A-Lago Act. President Trump and all presidents should be congressionally obligated to publicly release the visitor logs of the White House, Mar-A-Lago, and any other residence where the president conducts business. Freedom of information is crucial to democracy. Thank you.

  • The Make Access Records Available to Lead American Government Openness (Mar-A-Lago) Act would provide a congressional mandate for the president to publicly release visitor logs from the White House, Mar-A-Lago, or any place where the president conducts official business.
  • By making the names and dates of visitors who meet with the president and top administration officials public, the Mar-A-Lago Act would promote transparency within executive government.
  • Given President Trump break with tradition by refusing to release his tax returns and the fact that he and his campaign team are currently under FBI investigation for collusion with Russia, the American people and press should have access to the logs of who meets with the president.
  • President Obama’s White House voluntarily released all visitor logs between 90-120 days after visits except for visitors who were deemed “politically sensitive.” This is the type of presidential transparency that should be made federal law.

Scrap the Congressional Review Act

Hello, I’m __________ from __________. I’m calling to urge the Senator/Representative to support the SCRAP Act to repeal the Congressional Review Act. This act has been abused by the Trump Administration and Republicans to roll back important environmental and privacy regulations put in place by President Obama. Please do not hide behind the CRA to pass unpopular and damaging policies without a 60 vote majority in the Senate. Thank you.

For a less scripted approach, here are some talking points:

  • So far, Trump and Republican lawmakers have used the Congressional Review Act, a provision of the 1996 Republican Contract for America, which has only been invoked once in twenty years. Since Trump took office, Republicans have used it 13 times to roll back Obama-era executive orders.
  • While Congress already had the power to roll back executive regulations, the CRA allows senators in the majority party to lower the majority vote threshold from 60 to 51 in order to preclude a filibuster to revoke regulations ordered by an outgoing president in his/her last sixty legislative days. CRA actions must be enacted within the new Congress’ first sixty legislative days.
  • Trump-era Republicans have used the CRA to allow states to withhold federal Planned Parenthood funding, expand gun or firearms access to people with severe mental illness, override “net neutrality” by allowing Internet and telecom companies to sell consumers’ browsing data, permit oil and gas companies to not disclose payments to foreign governments for drilling or access rights to land, and many other environmental deregulations.
  • The SCRAP Act – H.R. 2449 or S. 1140 would apply to future administrations since the period for using the CRA has just ended.

Demand Trump Release His Taxes

Hi, I’m __________ from __________. I’m calling today to urge the Senator/Representative to support the Presidential Conflicts of Interest Act of 2017 and demand that President Trump release his taxes. Trump and future presidents must be required to divest from all foreign business interests in order to comply with the emoluments clause. Thank you.

For a less scripted approach, here are some talking points:

  • President Trump continues to benefit financially from the presidency despite having removed himself from management activities of the Trump Organization.
  • Article I, Section 9, Clause 8 of the Constitution, known as the "Emoluments Clause," bars federal officeholders from profiting from foreign governments and their agents. Since Trump has retained an ownership share in the Trump Organization, he has been in violation of the clause since the day he took office.
  • Given the GOP’s desire to reform the tax code by providing tax cuts to the wealthy, Americans deserve to know how Trump and his family would benefit from potential policy changes.
  • It is impossible to fully evaluate Trump's conflicts of interest with Russia (or any foreign governments) without full transparency into his financial relationships.

Climate Change Science Must Guide Policy

Hello, I’m __________ from __________. I’m calling to ask the Senator/Representative to support or introduce legislation that uses the scientific facts of climate change as a basis to protect both the planet and our health from pollution. I also urge him/her to publicly support the U.S. staying in the Paris Climate Agreement. We cannot afford to deny that human activity and CO2 emissions harm the planet. Thank you.

For a less scripted approach, here are some talking points:

  • Trump has rolled back the Clean Power Plan and other Obama-era environmental regulations on automobile emissions, chemical pollution, methane emissions from oil and gas companies.
  • Trump’s proposed budget would eliminate all climate change research and the UN’s climate change efforts around the globe.
  • The Trump administration has issued an executive order to reduce the influence of climate change science in policy decision-making.
  • Scott Pruitt, the EPA administrator, has publicly called for the United States to leave the Paris Climate Agreement, which is dedicated to curbing greenhouse gas emissions in order to reduce global warming. The treaty has been signed by 194 nations.
  • Scott Pruitt is a climate-change denier who sued the EPA fourteen times while serving as Attorney General of Oklahoma.
  • Trump and Pruitt are committed to environmental deregulation based on the requests of oil, gas, automobile, chemical, and coal executives.
  • 2016 was the hottest year on record.

Stop Congress from Rolling Back Environmental Regulations

Hello, I'm __________ from __________. I'm calling about the threats facing our environment and the EPA. Cutting funding to the EPA and rolling back major environmental regulations is unacceptable and short-sighted. I urge the Senator/Representative to oppose any policy or deregulation that will encourage pollution or make our land, water, air, and people sicker, even when it means going against corporate interests. Thank you.

For a less scripted approach, here are some talking points:

  • Scott Pruitt, EPA administrator, sued the EPA fourteen times as Attorney General of Oklahoma. According to published emails from his time in that job, Pruitt has a documented history of helping big oil companies undermine federal environmental regulations. He also denies that CO2 and human activity create climate change.
  • The Trump administration has recently repealed the Stream Rule, allowing coal companies to dump waste into American waterways and has signed an order of Congress allowing coal companies more latitude for air pollution. It has also loosened automobile tailpipe emissions standards.
  • Trump and Congress are able to roll back Obama-era environmental protections using the Congressional Review Act, a little-used legislative mechanism for vetoing legislation.
  • The Trump administration is strongly considering pulling out of the Paris Climate Change Agreement, which would nullify the United States' commitment to cutting carbon dioxide emissions and effectively allow other countries to do the same.

Protect National Parks from Drilling

Hi, I’m ________ from _________. I’m calling to urge the Senator/Representative to protect national parks from oil and gas drilling and vote against H.J. Resolution 46. We should not loosen environmental regulations in our national parks or reclassify national monuments.

For a less scripted approach, here are some talking points:

  • Rep. Paul A. Gosar (R-AZ) introduced H.J. Resolution 46 on January 31, 2017. If enacted, this resolution would roll back existing rules that prevent private interests from drilling for oil and gas in national parks by using the Congressional Review Act.
  • Currently under the “9B rules,” the National Park Service, which controls the surface of natural parks, can decline drilling rights to parties that own resources beneath the surface if it determines that the operation pose an environmental threat.
  • There are 40 national parks that have “split-estate ownership,” meaning that the surface is owned by the federal government but the underground resources are owned by private entities. Some of these parks include: Everglades National Park, Mammoth Cave National Park, and Theodore Roosevelt National Park.

Protect Science at the EPA – Oppose the HONEST Act

Hello, I’m ________ from _________. I’m calling to urge the Senator to vote "NO" on the HONEST Act. Barring the EPA from creating regulations based on science that is not publicly accessible will greatly hinder the agency’s ability to protect American interests. Confidentiality laws around public health research and intellectual property rights make it impractical, and in some cases impossible, for all scientific data reviewed by the EPA to be publicly available. Thank you.

For a less scripted approach, here are some talking points:

  • The HONEST Act was passed by the House of Representatives on March 29, 2017. It is now up for debate in the Senate.
  • The HONEST Act was given a deliberately misleading name. It would prevent the EPA from adhering to science industry standards and utilizing the best data available to inform environmental policy and regulation.
  • Many critical health studies must remain confidential in order to protect patient privacy.
  • Many computer models and code used in research are protected by intellectual property which is why they can’t be shared publicly.
  • Even though in some cases these studies could be published with the information redacted, that would create an undue burden for the agency.
  • In 2015, the Congressional Budget Office calculated that a similar bill would cost $250 million annually to implement in its first few years.
  • These new regulations would lead many researchers and companies to refuse to share research with the EPA.

Tell Congress to Support Inclusive Paid Family Leave

Hello, I’m ___________ from ___________. I’m calling to urge the Senator/Representative to support the FAMILY Act, a paid parental leave plan that is non-discriminatory and provides workers with 12 weeks of partially paid leave. I believe that longer paid leave should apply to all parents. Thank you.

For a less scripted approach, here are some talking points:

  • The FAMILY Act (S. 337), or the Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act, was introduced by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Representative Rosa DeLauro. It would provide workers with 12 weeks of partially paid leave to care for a new baby, sick family member, or their own serious health conditions. The leave covers employees at businesses of all sizes and is available to all parents.
  • Restricting benefits to married birth mothers ignores the fact that unmarried mothers are more likely to be heads of household and to struggle with poverty.
  • Limiting paid leave to birth mothers perpetuates the notion that only women can or should care for children. This policy would discriminate against single, adoptive, and same-sex parents, as well as fathers.
  • The U.S. is the only developed nation that does not require employers to offer paid parental leave.
  • Stereotypes regarding who can and should care for children lead to reluctance to hire or promote women, and contribute to the gender wage gap. Policies that fail to cover all parents, especially fathers, deny them bonding time and parenting opportunities.
  • President Trump’s plan does not provide leave to care for aging parents and young children—work that falls disproportionately on women.

Oppose the Working Families Flexibility Act

Hello, I’m __________ from __________. I’m calling to urge the Senator to vote NO on the Working Families Flexibility Act. The name bill is misleading. It allows employers to compensate employees for overtime work with paid time off rather than time-and-a-half pay. This policy is bad for workers who deserve to be compensated for overtime.

For a less scripted approach, here are some talking points:

  • The Working Families Flexibility Act was passed in the House of Representatives on May 3, 3017 with no Democratic support. It is now being considered in the Senate (S. 801).
  • Criticized for its misleading name, this bill would make it legal for employers to compensate workers for overtime by providing paid time off rather than time-and-a-half wages for hours worked over the standard 40-hour work week.
  • Employers would have final approval on when comp time could be used, allowing them to defer compensating employees for overtime work.

Protect Women's Health

Hello, I’m ___________ from ___________. I’m calling to urge the Senator/Representative to support access, coverage, and financial aid for women’s health and reproductive rights and to oppose any effort to defund Planned Parenthood. Thank you.

  • In May 2017, Congress passed a short-term federal budget that maintains funding for Planned Parenthood. However, the life-saving services that Planned Parenthood and other women’s health providers offer are continually under attack by conservatives in Congress.
  • Trump has appointed anti-abortion activist, Theresa Manning, as Department of Health and Human Services’ deputy assistant secretary for population affairs, which is in charge of the Title X Family Planning Program.
  • In April 2017, President Trump signed a bill allowing states to block Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers from receiving federal funds under the Title X Family Planning program. Vice President Pence cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate to pass the bill.
  • Title X, established in 1970, is the only federal grant program that helps ensure access to a broad range of family planning and related preventive health services for millions of low-income or uninsured individuals and others.
  • Title X does not just affect women’s access to health care. The Title X family planning program also provides services (including education and counseling) to men in recognition of the fact that preventing unintended pregnancies and the spread of STDs and HIV/AIDS is a joint responsibility.
  • Repeated polls confirm that the vast majority of Americans support legal abortion. A Pew study released the first week of January showed support for Roe v. Wade at a record high of 69 percent.
  • If Congress voted to bar Planned Parenthood from accepting federal insurance for any services, it would mean that 1.5 million American women who rely on those programs for Pap smears, breast exams, and contraception would no longer be able to get that care from Planned Parenthood.
  • 54 percent of Planned Parenthood’s clinics are in areas that do not have other clinic options close by.
  • VP Mike Pence has already passed some of the nation’s most restrictive abortion laws as governor of Indiana and, in Congress, co-sponsored legislation that would make several forms of birth control illegal. Tom Price, Head of the Department of Health and Human Services, is a proponent of allowing doctors and insurance companies refuse to provide health care services they don’t personally believe in.

Tell your Senators to Protect Fair Pay and Safe Workplace Rules!

Hi, I’m ______________ from ________________. I’m calling today because I am upset that Congress has voted against American workers by passing H.J. Resolution 37. I am urging the Senator/Representative to promote legislation that ensures that all government contractors comply with federal laws on fair pay and workplace safety. The federal government should not be able to partner with companies who do not comply with safety, sexual harassment, anti-discrimination, minimum wage, and overtime laws. Thank you.

For a less scripted approach, here are some talking points:

  • H.J. Resolution 37 eliminated President Obama’s “Fair Pay and Safe Workplace” executive order rule in 2017.
  • As of 2013, federal contractors employed roughly 26 million American workers.
  • According to the ACLU, before President Obama signed the “Fair Pay and Safe Workplace” executive order in 2014, 30% of federal contractors ranked among the worst workplace violators in the country.

Constitutional Crisis:
Condemn Trump's attempts to undermine the judicial branch

Hi, I’m __________ from __________. I’m calling today because I am concerned about President Trump’s recent statements attempting to discredit the judicial branch, like referring to Judge Robart as a “so-called judge” and questioning the legitimacy of the federal court system. Historically, repressive autocrats have used similar tactics to dismantle judicial oversight. We must be vigilant in protecting the separation of powers laid out in the Constitution. I would like the Senator/Representative to publicly support the independence of the judicial branch, condemn the President’s statements, and encourage other members of Congress to do the same. Thank you.

Tell your senators how you feel about the Sessions vote:

To Republicans and Joe Manchin (D-WV) who voted for Sessions:

Hello, I’m __________ from __________. I’m calling today to let the Senator know that I am very displeased with his/her vote to confirm Jeff Sessions as Attorney General. It’s clear that party loyalty got in the way of making a decision based on the best interests of the country. I will remember this vote in future elections. Sessions’ record of fighting against civil, LGBT, and human rights, and opposition to sensible immigration policy makes him a potentially dangerous Attorney General. I urge the Senator to hold the Trump administration accountable to ensuring the civil rights of all Americans.

To Democratic Senators: who voted against Sessions:

Hello, I’m __________ from __________. I’m calling today say thank you to the Senator for representing his/her constituents’ voices and voting against the confirmation of Jeff Sessions for Attorney General. Despite the discouraging result, his/her vote instills confidence that he/she will listen to constituents and display the strongest level of commitment to civil rights, voting rights, LGBT rights, and fair immigration policy. I expect the Senator to be vigilant in protecting the rights of all citizens and holding Congress and the Executive Branch accountable for any deviation. Please keep up the great work!

For a less scripted approach, here are some talking points:

  • Sessions believes that there is widespread voter fraud, even though there is no evidence to support this claim that is perpetuated by President Trump.
  • Sessions opposes same-sex marriage and denounced the Supreme Court ruling enforcing the Equal Protection Clause.
  • Sessions will likely severely curb criminal justice reform efforts.

YouLobby Issue of the Day —

Say NO to Education Cuts & Vouchers

Hello, I’m ________ from ________. I’m calling to urge the Senator/Representative to oppose Trump’s proposed cuts to the federal education budget. His plan would devastate work-study programs, advanced coursework, public service loan forgiveness, and mental health resources. I also do not support school choice or voucher systems that pour federal money into private and religious schools. Thank you.

For a less scripted approach, here are some talking points:

  • The proposed Education Department budget by President Trump and Secretary of Education DeVos would cut $10.6 billion from the education budget.
  • The budget would cut college work-study programs in half, eliminate public-service loan forgiveness, and take away hundreds of millions of dollars from public schools’ mental health services and advanced coursework initiatives.
  • This budget would channel roughly $400 million toward the expansion of charter schools and vouchers for private and religious schools, and another $1 billion to push public schools to adopt choice-friendly policies.
  • Promoting school-choice policies effectively siphons funds from public to private schools, which are not held to the same standards in protecting students from discrimination. Many private schools are able to discriminate based on various criteria, including religion, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, or economic background. Public funds should only go to public schools where equal protection and accessibility are affirmed and where schools are accountable to citizens.

Say NO to School Vouchers!

Hello, I’m __________ from __________. I’m calling to urge the Senator/Representative to vote “No” on House Resolution 610 for school vouchers because of the damage vouchers do to public schools. If enacted, H.R. 610 would decrease accountability and siphon funding away from schools that need it the most. This would undermine our obligation to provide quality education for all children. I urge the Senator/Representative to vote “No” on H.R. 610. Thank you.

For a less scripted approach, here are some talking points:

  • H.R. 610 repeals the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Every Student Succeeds Act, which currently provide the foundation for equal access to education for all K-12 students.
  • Currently, more than 50% of all the nation’s public schools receive Title I funding, which supports programs like AP classes, ESL classes, school safety programming, and many other programs for vulnerable populations. Repealing the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and retracting Title I funding would leave many schools without the resource to continue these programs.
  • H.R. 610 would effectively siphon funds from public to private schools, which are not held to the same standards in protecting students from discrimination. Many private schools are able to discriminate based on various criteria, including religion, disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, or economic background. Public funds should only go to public schools where equal protection and accessibility are affirmed and where schools are accountable to citizens.
  • H.R. 610 also does not account for students with disabilities, leaving the question of how resources will be allocated for students with disabilities open.

Tell Republican Senators to Avoid the "Nuclear Option" on SCOTUS

For Republican Senators:

Hello, I’m ________ from _________. I am extremely upset by the Senator’s vote to invoke the “nuclear option” and change the rules of the Senate for Neil Gorsuch. We deserve a Senate that is required to work together to confirm life-long Supreme Court appointments. I will remember this vote during his/her next election. Thank you.

For Democratic Senators:

Hello, I'm __________ from __________. I support Democrats’ decision to filibuster Neil Gorsuch because there should be NO votes on a Supreme Court nominee until the FBI has completed its investigation of the Trump administration’s ties to Russia. Thank you.

For a less scripted approach, here are some talking points:

  • Senate Republicans voted to change the rules of the Senate to require only 51 votes to stop debate (called "cloture") on SCOTUS nominees if Senate Democrats filibuster the nomination of Neil Gorsuch. This is a decision that will have long-term consequences by changing Senate confirmation votes to a “simple majority” rather than a 60-vote threshold.
  • By changing the rules in the Senate, Republicans effectively halted all roads to bipartisan debate and agreement upon Supreme Court nominees.
  • In 2016, a Gallup poll showed that only 42% of Americans have a "great deal" or "fair amount" of trust in political leaders. This number has steadily dropped since 2008, when trust was almost at 70%. Acts of bipartisanship, like requiring 60 votes to confirm a Supreme Court nominee, help increase the trust of the American people in our political parties to work together.
  • Supreme Court justices are lifetime appointments and serve for an average of seventeen years.
  • Supreme Court decisions have the ability to influence national policies for generations, for example: racial integration of public schools, legal access to abortion, same-sex marriage, the right to an attorney, and even interracial marriage were all landmark cases decided by the Supreme Court.
  • The Supreme Court has also issued harmful decisions, including denial of citizenship to African American slaves, upholding Japanese internment during WWII, and the allowance of unlimited spending by corporations and unions on political contributions.
  • FBI Director James Comey confirmed that Donald Trump and his campaign staff are currently under investigation for election interference and collusion with Russia.
  • The vacant seat on the Supreme Court has been empty for over a year because Senate Republicans refused to hold a vote for President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland.
  • Given the tenuous nature of Trump’s presidency and the extended period of the Supreme Court vacancy, Americans deserve to know the result of the Trump administration’s ongoing FBI investigation before the seat is filled.

Denounce the Travel Ban Executive Order

Hello, I’m __________ from __________. I’m calling today to urge the Senator/Representative to do everything in his/her power to oppose Trump’s discriminatory Muslim travel ban. Policies like this hurt the United States’ standing in the world and make us less safe. Thank you.

For a less scripted approach, here are some talking points:

  • Trump’s amended Travel Ban will be instated on Thursday, March 16, 2017. It has already been challenged by multiple states for being discriminatory.
  • The new ban halts travel for 90 days for residents of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. The suspension of refugees from anywhere in the world will last for 120 days.
  • The new Executive Order was created in response to first one being held up in court. While the new Executive Order is less extreme and more strategic, the themes of discrimination, racism, and xenophobia remain strong.

Promote the Register of Copyrights Position to the Executive Level

Hello, I’m __________ from __________, and I’m calling because I’m in favor of Bob Goodlatte’s bill, H.R. 1695, to modernize the U.S. Copyright Office and create a new independent Register of Copyrights, a position that would be appointed by the President of the United States and confirmed by the Senate. We should help protect creative industries that depend on copyright in our country, which include thousands of artists, writers and filmmakers. Thank you.

For a less scripted approach, here are some talking points:

  • Since it was founded more than 120 years ago, the U.S. Copyright Office has been part of and appointed by the Library of Congress.
  • H.R. 1695 would elevate this position to the executive level, to be appointed by the President.
  • Creative industries provide more than 5.5 million jobs and add more than $1 trillion to the U.S. economy.
  • Leaders of both political parties and leaders in the creative industries agree that it’s time to modernize the Register of Copyrights and make it an independent office.

Stop ICE from Separating Mothers and Children!

Hello, I’m __________ from __________. I’m calling to urge the Senator/Representative to do everything in their power to oppose the separation of women and children seeking asylum in the United States. This tactic is an inhumane way of discouraging mothers from migrating to the U.S. with their children that violates fundamental human rights. Thank you.

For a less scripted approach, here are some talking points:

  • According to Marielena Hincapie, the Executive Director at the National Immigration Law Center, implementing this new policy “could create lifelong psychological trauma” for children separated from their mothers.
  • The previous policy under the Obama administration demanded that women and children not be held in family detention for more than 21 days.
  • This policy would result in a very costly and rapid increase in the detention population.

Support USAID and Diplomacy

Hi, I’m __________ from __________. I’m calling today to urge the Senator/Representative to oppose any budget that cuts funds for the State Department or USAID, or that tries to merge the two. The work the U.S. does abroad to promote peace and development ensures our security. Thank you.

For a less scripted approach, here are some talking points:

  • The State Department and USAID promote U.S. interests in very different ways: USAID through international development work and the State Department through diplomacy. Both of these approaches are key to ensuring a safer and more prosperous world and nation. It would be detrimental to have one agency try to do it all.
  • More than 120 retired military officers signed a letter to the White House opposing these proposed budget cuts.
  • Foreign aid currently makes up only 1% of the federal budget.

Protect NPR from Being Defunded

Hello, I’m __________ from __________, and I’m calling today because I’m opposed to Rep. Doug Lamborn’s efforts to cut off all funding for National Public Radio with his proposed bill H.R. 726. I urge the Senator/Representative to do everything in his/her power to ensure that the government continues to finance NPR. National Public Radio provides news to more than 36 million Americans every week. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting only spends about $1.35 per American each year supporting NPR and Public Television and I think that is money well spent. Thank you.

For a less scripted approach, here are some talking points:

  • Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) has proposed H.R. 726 to prohibit the federal funding of National Public Radio.
  • NPR provides news to 36 million Americans every week.
  • NPR has a staff of 828 with bureaus in 33 cities.
  • The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) is a private organization that supports National Public Radio and National Public Television using federal funds. The Trump administration has called for “privatizing,” or defunding, the CPB.

Tips

Calling your representatives is easy and effective. Here are 5 tips for making the most of your calls.

  1. Set a reminder to make your calls. Calling all three of your congressional representatives should take less than five minutes. Make voicing your opinions part of your daily or weekly routine.
  2. Make it personal. Members of Congress want to hear personal stories about how legislation affects their constituents. For example, if you or a loved one has benefited from the Affordable Care Act or Planned Parenthood, talk about how they changed your life. If something is not working for you, let Congress know that, too. Members of Congress use personal stories to help bolster their arguments both behind closed doors and in public speeches and interviews. Knowing exactly how their constituents are affected by legislation is the only way they know what works and what doesn’t.
  3. Accentuate the positive. Thank your members of Congress for doing the right thing. Our representatives need to know when something is working or if their voters are happy with their work.
  4. Make suggestions. YouLobby.org offers an actionable suggestion in every phone script. Be sure to tell your members of Congress exactly what steps you are expecting them to take.
  5. Be a constituent-boss. Be confident when you call your Reps because you are informed, valued, and they work for you.

About

Inspired by the progressive activism of the Women’s March in January 2017, YouLobby.org helps regular Americans take political action by speaking up to those in power – their representatives. Members of Congress work for their constituents. They have a vested interest in listening to our concerns and ideas about what is best for the country. YouLobby.org empowers voters and citizens with representative contact information, simple phone scripts, and talking points to make it easy to call Congress. When we all do our part, lobbying Congress is easy and effective. Just enter your zip code, select an issue you care about, and call your representatives. You are what democracy looks like!