March 16, 2011
Santa Rosa, CA
Dear Representative Woolsey,
Since January 2010, the Brown Bag Lunch Vigils have been out in front of our representatives’ and senators’ offices, on street corners, and in parks to get the word out to our community that this country can give everyone access to healthcare, make jobs available to those who need them, stem the increase of carbon in our air, and correct the balance of power and wealth between those who have and those who have not. The common thread among many of our goals is that naysayers must be able to step out of their comfort zones and understand the terrible effects these problems have on ordinary people.
That’s no easy task, even for the most enlightened of us. Something that helps people see the importance of making sure that others in our country can take care of themselves—or receive help when they can’t—is seeing a goal laid out in print in a piece of simple legislation.
There are three pieces of legislation that we are supporting, because each one would provide beneficial changes to the situation we find ourselves in today. State legislatures and the House of Representatives seem focused on balancing budgets and reducing deficits at nearly any cost. The cost of choice for many legislators, it seems, is to the people who rely on and need the programs those legislators seek to dismantle.
What’s seldom mentioned—and seems to be the biggest elephant in the room—is the cost of the wars in which we’re engaged. A recent proposal by the House Appropriations Committee would, it’s claimed, reduce expenditures by $100 billion by October 2011. But the price for those savings would be Americans’ education, health services, jobs development and placement programs, and alternative energy possibilities.
One piece of legislation can save us $107 billion dollars with little to no adverse effect on ordinary people: HR 780, the Responsible End to the War in Afghanistan Act. Withdrawing our troops from Afghanistan in an orderly but definitive manner will allow tax dollars budgeted for Afghanistan to be used at home instead, easing things for the states’ and federal budgets. Thank you for co-sponsoring HR 780!
House proposals misguidedly whittle away support for training and jobs programs that have long demonstrated effective outcomes, while insisting on cutting corporate and wealthy people’s tax contributions lower and lower. HR 870, Humphrey-Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment and Training Act, will create a self-sustaining way to prepare people for jobs and help to develop jobs that will last into the future—not simply act as a stopgap in these very difficult times. The taxes on commodities and securities it will impose could hardly be seen as burdensome, since these are transactions made on nonessential financial investments. Cosponsoring HR 870 would show your constituency your understanding of the value of the programs this legislation will support and of the elegance of the solution found to fund them.
Nothing was more contentious in 2010 than the fight over healthcare coverage reform. Our position was and always will be that a single-payer system—Medicare for all—would be the fairest and most cost-effective way to ensure that everyone receives access to the healthcare they need and that ought to be a right—such as the right to breathe clean air, drink clean water, and eat wholesome food, through our government’s protection of our resources.
Our belief in the rationality and humanity of Medicare for all was recently validated by the study commissioned by the State of Vermont to recommend a way forward for the state to facilitate access to healthcare services for all its people. HR 676, the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, is back in the House, and after the reams of paper used and the accommodations made to insurance companies and the pharmaceutical industry, the simplicity of HR 676—again, nearly self-supporting, through the more-efficient use of tax monies already in the system—is refreshing. It will provide healthcare coverage that cuts out the middlemen and takes an economical approach to costs.
One by one, states are developing their own single-payer plans, and what they share in common is the desire to provide all of their people with access to healthcare services and to streamline and economize that access by either stringently regulating or altogether eliminating the unnecessary drain on financial resources caused by the profit-based insurers. Cosponsoring HR 676 demonstrates that you have learned from the healthcare battle that both the means and the ends can compatibly keep costs in line and provide people with the healtcare access they need — if the will to achieve it is exercised. Thank you for co-sponsoring HR 676!
These are concrete requests we are making to our Representatives around the country. Affixing your signature to HR 870 and thereby supporting all three pieces of legislation will accomplish more for your constituents than any proposal bouncing around the House currently. We hope you will take this action for all of the American people.
With hope for a brighter, fairer future,
Progressive Democrats Sonoma County
NOTE: – In addition to the above letter from our chapter, signed by vigil participants, we also presented Rep. Woolsey’s staff with a large bundle of individual letters signed by her constituents urging co-sponsorship of HR 870. These individually signed letters were gathered in the community, since introduction of the bill on March 2nd.
Visit our Facebook album for more pictures from today’s Brown Bag Lunch Vigil in Santa Rosa, CA. Anyone can view these photos; you need not be a member of Facebook.
Read the press release from John Conyers office on the recent introduction of HR 870 and what it will accomplish:
For more information about PDA, please visit www.pdamerica.org