Friday, February 8 - Vote No on Barr / Thank Green New Deal Sponsors / Public Comment on Staples Merger
Actions You Can Take Today
Action 1: Thank Senator Durbin for voting no on William Barr for AG and ask Duckworth to do the same
Senator Duckworth | DC: 202-224-2854 | Chicago 312-886-3506
Senator Durbin | DC: 202-224-2152 | Chicago 312-353-4952
Action 2: Do you live in the 4th, 5th or 9th congressional district? Call to thank your rep for supporting the Green New Deal. Live elsewhere? Call and ask for support.
Action 3: Make a public comment against the Staples-Essendant merger by 2/27
Action 1: Oppose William Barr for Attorney General
Yesterday, the Senate Judiciary Committee has voted 12-10 in favor of forwarding William Barr’s nomination for Attorney General for a full Senate vote despite his failure to pledge to make the Mueller report public. His final confirmation vote is expected soon.
If the Senate confirms Barr to replace acting AG Matthew Whitaker, Barr will oversee special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 elections.
Barr, who served as US Attorney General from 1991-1993 under George H.W. Bush, appears qualified for the job on the surface. However, Barr’s recent comments and conduct raise serious concerns about his ability to impartially supervise the Mueller investigation. For example:
Barr interviewed with Trump in 2017 to discuss becoming his chief defense lawyer in the Russia investigation.
In June of 2018, Barr sent Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein a 20-page unsolicited memodeeming special counsel Robert Mueller’s inquiry as “fatally misconceived.”
In a Washington Post op-ed column, Barr defended Trump’s decision to fire James Comey, arguing Comey had failed as an FBI leader.
In a November 2017 New York Times article, Barr argued that investigating completely unfounded claims about Hillary Clinton’s role in uranium sales to Russia was more justifiable than investigating the Trump campaign’s potential collusion with Russia.
The Senate must require Barr to remove any appearance of bias and demand he pledge to release the full text of Mueller's final report to the public. Senators should only vote to confirm Barr if he agrees to such a mandate. Dick Durbin has already committed to voting no, but Duckworth has yet to weigh in.
Senator Durbin | DC: 202-224-2152 | Chicago 312-353-4952 - Call to thank him for voting no
Senator Duckworth | DC: 202-224-2854 | Chicago 312-886-3506 - use script below
Duckworth Script: Hi, my name is [NAME] and I’m a constituent from [zip code] and a member of Indivisible. I'm calling to demand Senator Duckworth oppose William Barr's appointment as US Attorney General unless Barr commits to the public release of the full text of Mueller’s final report, subject only to redactions of classified information. Without such a pledge, Barr should not be confirmed.Thank you for your time and attention.
Action via 5calls.org
Action 2: Thank Green Deal Co-Sponsors
The 2018 midterms swept Democrats into power in the House, and they have brought with them a renewed focus on combating climate change. Sitting Members of Congress (MoCs) and incoming MoCs alike have rallied around a proposal to establish a Select Committee For A Green New Deal as a starting point for making the changes necessary to protect the planet from catastrophic climate change. The Select Committee would be responsible for developing a plan and accompanying draft legislation by March 2020 for a Green New Deal that would be implemented over the next decade.
The Green New Deal is an ambitious, progressive policy framework that would protect the planet and grow the economy. Like the original New Deal, the Green New Deal represents a massive investment in America’s people and infrastructure—but with the additional goals of spending on projects that will transition America to a green economy, and ensuring that these investments are targeted to promote “social, economic, racial, regional, and gender-based justice and equality.” Get more details about the Green New Deal.
Representatives Chuy Garcia (IL-04), Mike Quigley (IL-05), and Jan Schakowsky (IL-09) have already signed on as cosponsors. Are they your reps? Please call and thank them!
Is your rep not on that list? Use the script below to ask them to co-sponsor this bill.
Script for Non-Sponsors: Hi, my name is [NAME] and I’m a constituent from [zip code] and a member of Indivisible. I’m calling to ask [REP] to publicly support establishing a Select Committee For A Green New Deal in the House Rules for the 116th Congress. Establishing a Select Committee For A Green New Deal would demonstrate that Democrats understand the kind of action we need to take to prevent catastrophic levels of global warming. Thank you.
Action via Indivisible
Action 3: Public Comment Against Staples-Essendant Merger by 2/27
Last month, the FTC approved a bad merger, letting Staples buy the office supply wholesaler Essendant. Before you glaze over at the thought of copy paper, here’s why this is a terrible decision, why it hurts local economies, and what we should do about it.
First, about this industry. Over 25% of office supplies are sold by independent dealers. These dealers are highly competitive. They’ve had next-day delivery for 30+ years and e-commerce for 20+ years. They beat Amazon Business on price.
These dealers are also significant in their local economies. Many employ 100-300 people. Because they don’t have storefronts — it’s mostly a B2B market — you may not know they exist in your community. But they do.
As competitive as these businesses are though, concentration threatens their future. They’re down to just 2 wholesalers — that’s just 2 lifelines to their supply chain. Last month, the FTC let a big competitor, Staples, buy one of those lifelines, Essendant.
Wholesalers do more than ship products to independent dealers. They are intimately involved, providing services to end customers, working with dealers to put together bids for big contracts, etc. The FTC has handed Staples an inside look at its competitors’ business. Staples has agreed to a “firewall” but that’s not enforceable. It would be easy for Essendant to verbally share with Staples details about an independent’s bid on a big contract. Staples could also raise prices to these independent dealers. When these higher prices are passed to end customers, then those customers might switch to a new supplier… such as Staples. Learn more from Stacey Mitchell about why this is a terrible idea.
The public has a chance to comment on this deal before February 27. Letters become a public record for Members of Congress. They are grounds for Congress to exercise oversight, to ask why the FTC is not fulfilling its mission.
Action text via @StaceyFMitchell