Here's what we have going on this week in Senate Confirmation land. There are some really terrifying things on here. Call call call. I've linked the members of each committee so you can look for your Senators but you should call all the members of the committees you are most concerned about. I also highly urge you to personally drop by the offices of your elected officials with a written letter, but try to talk to a staffer personally as well.
Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017
10:00 AM- Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) for Secretary of the Interior
Energy and Natural Resources Senate Committee Members can be found here
Current Montana Congressman and former Navy SEAL with a very long and impressive combat history. Rep. Zinke has a troubled history with climate change, insisting that it “it’s not proven science.” He is very pro-fossil fuels and confusingly, part of that is his support of the Land and Water Conservation fund, which uses royalties from fossil fuel operations on public lands to support federally owned lands. He is pro-”mixed use” of public lands. There is little doubt he would be pro-pipelines, fracking, and offshore drilling-all of this is to help balance the budget, which is another major concern of his. On a personal note, he always refers to President Obama as Barack Hussein Obama- a pretty clear dog whistle, and once referred to Hillary Clinton as “the antichrist” which just seems extreme. I hate hyperbole in a work setting. PROS- he is opposed to transfer of federal lands to the states, selling off federal lands, and is very pro-First Nations having sovereignty over their mineral rights. Links: NYTimes, Ryanzinke.com, Billings Gazette
5:00 PM- Betsy DeVos, of Michigan, to be Secretary of Education.
This one was delayed from last week at least partially because so many wonderful people called to complain about her. Keep it up! PA’s Senator Casey is on this Committee and will be voting on her directly. CALL CASEY ON THIS ONE.
Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee Members can be found here
Wow! Trump has chosen someone who does not believe in a public school system to run our public school system. She is a long-time proponent of the charter school system. She has never taught, has no degrees or experience in education, outside of her long-time lobbying for charter schools to supplement and replace public schools. Most notably- neither she nor any of her children have ever gone to a public school. She is one of many billionaires nominated to Trump’s cabinet. Most egregious to me, is her belief in for-profit charter schools replacing public schools.
I cannot better describe what her approach to education will do than this Washington Post piece. Please please read it, then call your senators.
Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2017
10:00 AM Wilbur L. Ross, JR. for Secretary of Commerce *this one also got pushed last week because of attention. Don’t let the attention die down.
Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee Members can be found here. Cory Booker is on this committee. NJ friends, get on it! Seriously call all and any of these people though.
Do you remember Richard Gere’s character in Pretty Woman, you know, before his heart grows three sizes? That’s Wilbur Ross. No, really. He’s made his fortune buying up troubled companies, restructuring them entirely- frequently coming with mass layoffs and budget slashes, then selling them a bit later. He is known as the “King of Bankruptcy”, and a profiteer in times of financial crisis. There is no question that ha is an amazing business man, if you measure by dollars, but there are many questions about whether or not he is capable of weighing dollars against people’s lives and livelihoods.
He is very very good at it. I’ll leave it to you to decide if you think that is a good quality in a Secretary of Commerce.
If you are thinking that maybe he secretly has a heart of gold, just like Richard Gere, I leave you with this. Do you remember the Sago Mine Disaster in 2006? 12 miners died after a roof collapsed in a mine. Wilbur Ross owned that mine, was aware of repeated safety violations, and did nothing in favor of a profit. You can read it from him personally in this interview.
Links: Forbes, The Nation, CNBC
10:00 AM Scott Pruitt for Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency
Environment and Public Works Senate Committee Members can be found here.
My money is on this hearing for best entertainment television. We’ve got a powerhouse of Cory Booker, Kirstin Gillibrand, Kamala Harris, Tammy Duckworth, and Bernie Sanders on this committee. Every single one of those people has presidential ambitions. Call them and tell them you may not be their constituent now, but their actions in this committee hearing will control whether you vote for them in the future.
Scott Pruitt is owned by big oil. I mean that. He is currently the Oklahoma Attorney General and he has a very close relationship with Devon Energy, so close that he has let them write and send letters on his AG letterhead. He literally let an oil and gas company write a letter to the EPA on his behalf in an effort to downplay the role of fossil fuels in pollution. Furthermore, he doesn’t believe the science supporting global climate change. He has also sued the EPA before, stating that their regulatory role violated states-rights. He actually thinks the EPA shouldn’t exist. CALL ABOUT THIS ONE.
10:00 AM Nikki Haley, Governor of South Carolina, to be the US Ambassador to the UN- she would also hold the US seat on the UN Security Council.
Foreign Relations Committee members can be found here.
Gov. Haley has no international diplomacy or security experience. That is in and of itself alarming. So, I can’t really find much about her opinions in those areas. She’s the daughter of Indian immigrants, a vocal opponent to racism, and a vocal opponent of Donald Trump throughout much of the campaign. She is also very opposed to the Iran Deal. I don’t hate her, but she doesn’t belong in that job. I honestly would have loved to see her in another position. Why not offer it to Mitt Romney, Condoleeza Rice, John McCain, or even Marco Rubio who at least sits on the Foreign Relations Committee?
Links: CNN, Washington Post,
10:00 AM Rep Tom Price (R-GA) for Secretary of Health and Human Services
Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee members can be found here- including Bob Casey (PA), Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Susan Collins the Republican senator from Maine that broke rank on the ACA vote earlier this month.
This is an important nomination.
Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017
10:00 AM Governor Rick Perry (R-TX) for Secretary of Energy
Energy and Natural Resources Committee members can be found here.
HAHAHHAHA- I mean laugh or cry, right?
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