CONGRESS: the Republican led House the Senate back on 6/4

the Senate Convenes: 2:00pmET June 4, 2012

  • Following the prayer and pledge, the Majority Leader will be recognized.  It is the Majority Leader’s intention to resume consideration of the motion to proceed to S.3220, the Paycheck Fairness Act.
  • At 5:00pm, the Senate will proceed to Executive Session to consider Executive Calendar #613, the nomination of Timothy S. Hillman, of MA, to be United States District Judge for the District of Massachusetts.  There will be up to 30 minutes of debate equally divided and controlled between Senators Leahy and Grassley or their designees.  Upon the use or yielding back of time (at approximately 5:30pm), there will be a roll call vote on confirmation of the Hillman nomination.
  • As a reminder to all Senators, cloture was filed on the motion to proceed to S.3220, the Paycheck Fairness Act on Thursday, May 24th.  That cloture vote will occur at 2:15pm on Tuesday, June 5th.





-The Speaker announced that the House do now adjourn. The next meeting is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on May 30, 2012.2:03:25 P.M. -The House received a message from the Senate. The Senate passed S. 414, and S. 739. Senate agreed to S. Res. 475.2:03:24 P.M. -The House received a message from the Clerk. Pursuant to the permission granted in Clause 2(h) of Rule II of the Rules of the U.S. House of Representatives, the Clerk notified the House that she had received a message from the Secretary of the Senate on May 25, 2012 at 1:47 p.m. stating that that body had passed H.R. 2947, H.R. 3992, S. 414, S. 739, and agreed to S. Res. 475.2:02:46 P.M. –PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE TO THE FLAG – The Chair led the House in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.2:02:34 P.M. -The Speaker announced approval of the Journal.  Pursuant to clause 1, rule I, the Journal stands approved.2:01:19 P.M. -Today’s prayer was offered by the House Chaplain, Rev. Patrick J. Conroy.2:00:53 P.M. -The Speaker designated the Honorable Andy Harris to act as Speaker pro tempore for today.2:00:44 P.M. -The House convened, starting a new legislative day.

What does $700 million get you?

Union of Concerned Scientists

What are pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device companies trying to buy with $700,000,000? Massive influence with our government.

Don’t allow science to take a back seat to the financial interests of corporations! Urge the FDA to protect the American people from unsafe food, drugs, and medical devices by protecting science from corporate interference.

click here to take action

That’s the amount of money these companies spent over the last three years lobbying Congress and the Executive Branch, which includes the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). And now, with negotiations underway on legislation that will govern how the FDA approves and monitors prescription drugs and medical products, it’s clear that all that money has bought the industry a lot of influence with our legislators.

We can’t allow science to take a back seat to the financial interests of corporations—especially when our lives are on the line.
We have seen many concerted efforts from industry lobbyists to roll back key safeguards at the FDA that protect science from corporate interference. The FDA’s foremost priority is to protect the American people from unsafe food, drugs, and medical devices. That requires the agency use the best available science when determining whether products are safe or not.

It’s time we remind the FDA to put safety first.
Take Action Today!

Sincerely, Michael Halpern Michael Halpern Program Manager UCS Scientific Integrity Program
P.S. Don’t Forget: Give to the Union of Concerned Scientists today and your gift will go twice as far—helping to challenge attacks on science and stand up to corporate-sponsored misinformation.

Send a message now to keep families together … Mayron Payes, Reform Immigration FOR America

Leave a comment for family unity

Earlier this year, we announced a proposal from the administration to change the rules around family visa applications currently keeping too many families separated. The rule change would allow spouses and children of US citizens to file for visas while remaining in the US, instead of leaving the country for 3 or 10 years as they have to do now.

This rule change could prevent parents from missing a decade of their children’s lives, and spouses from facing years without the support of their partners. Now, we need your help to move this proposal forward.
Leave a public comment now to support the change in the rules that would help keep families together.

In order for this change to go into effect, we need major public support from activists like you, standing up for families separated by the 3 and 10-year bars. We will deliver your messages of support for the change to Alejandro Mayorkas, Director of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Taking a few minutes to write your comment today could make a difference for thousands of families.

The comment period closes soon — we need to submit our comments now to support family unity waivers and keep our families together. Add your public comment today.
With hope,
Mayron Payes Reform Immigration FOR America
PS: We also have model comments and helpful questions for you to write your comment — learn more and send your message.

‘Shoot First’ laws protected Trayvon’s killer … Rashad Robinson,

Florida‘s ‘Shoot First’ law allowed Trayvon Martin’s killer to walk free without formal charges — for more than a month. Shoot First laws legalize vigilante homicide, even in circumstances that would otherwise merit murder charges.1 In Trayvon’s case, local law enforcement hid behind the Shoot First law as justification for failing to arrest George Zimmerman, saying that his claim of self-defense stopped them from pursuing even manslaughter charges.2

Florida’s dangerous Shoot First law was spread to many other states across the country by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Please join us in calling on our elected officials nationwide to take a stand against the shoot first agenda. It only takes a moment:

In 2005, Florida passed the nation’s first ‘Shoot First’ law using model legislation created by the National Rifle Association (NRA).3 The NRA leveraged its key membership in the corporate-funded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to push this agenda in communities across the country. ALEC has also pushed legislation to expand private prisons, impose harsher criminal penalties on juveniles, privatize education, and break unions.

ALEC is funded in part by the multibillionaire Koch brothers,4 the same family that helps to bankroll the reactionary Tea Party. It also receives funding from large corporations, many of which are household names. Nearly 100,000 ColorOfChange members have demanded that such companies break from ALEC over its championing of voter suppression laws that threaten Black folks’ ability to participate fully as citizens in our democracy.5 ALEC’s shoot first laws threaten our basic ability to walk in our own neighborhoods without fear that our lives can be taken by unaccountable vigilantes.

Even with Shoot First on the books, Florida authorities should have arrested Trayvon’s killer.6 Yet, Shoot First gives police and prosecutors cover to incentivize bad police work, leading to incomplete investigations and a failure to prosecute homicides. Shoot First laws present a grave threat to public safety, and particularly to young Black males, who are nearly five times more likely to be victims of fatal shootings. With the criminal justice system already stacked against Black victims and defendants,7 and with the prevalence of racial profiling in a culture that treats people of color as criminals, our families and communities will continue to pay a heavy price for these laws.

Trayvon’s entirely avoidable death shined a spotlight on ALEC’s reckless push to enact deadly Shoot First laws across the nation.8 Shortly after, ALEC began to buckle under the public scrunity and attempted to salvage its public image. The group responded by disbanding its Public Safety and Elections Task Force, claiming that gun issues were no longer a priority. This move was quickly revealed as a PR stunt after the Public Safety Task Force chair, Republican State Rep. Jerry Madden of Texas, said that “many of the issues will be transferred to other committees.9” When asked during a later interview, Rep. Madden refused to commit to taking Shoot First laws off the table.10

Shoot First is now the law of the land in at least 25 states, and at least six others have considered such legislation in 2012.11 So long as these laws exist — and ALEC’s efforts to spread them go unchecked — this won’t be the last time we bear witness to racial profiling ending in senseless violence. Please click the link below to help prevent future tragedies like Trayvon’s, and please ask your friends and family to do the same:

Thanks and Peace,

— Rashad, Gabriel, Dani, Matt, Natasha, Kim, Arisha, Kira, and the rest of the team     May 24th, 2012

Help support our work. is powered by YOU—your energy and dollars. We take no money from lobbyists or large corporations that don’t share our values, and our tiny staff ensures your contributions go a long way. You can contribute here:


1. “Broward murder suspect wins Stand Your Ground decision,” Sun Sentinel, 12-12-2011

2. “Police: No Grounds For Arrest In Trayvon Martin Death,” WESH Orlando, 03-16-2012

3. “The Money Trail Behind Florida’s Notorious Gun Law,” Mother Jones, 03-29-2012

4. “ALEC Exposed: The Koch Connection,” The Nation, 07-12-2011

5. “Stop corporate-funded voter suppression,” ColorOfChange campaign, 12-08-2011

6. “Gun Violence Facts by Race/Ethnicity: Overview,” Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

7. “1 in 3 Black Men Go To Prison? The 10 Most Disturbing Facts About Racial Inequality in the U.S. Criminal Justice System,” AlterNet, 03-17-2012

8. “Chuck Todd Takes ‘Deep Dive’ Into How NRA, ALEC Pushed ‘Kill At Will’ Laws,” MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown, 03-29-2012

9. “ALEC leader admits last week’s announcement was a PR stunt,” ColorOfChange blog, 04-24-12

10. “Disbanded ALEC Task Force Chair: Gun and Voter Issues No Longer Priority,” Media Matters, 04-26-12

11. “Trayvon Martin: A Victim of Florida’s Gun Laws?,” Legal Community Against Violence, 03-20-2012

Victory! Re: Safeway to hero: you’re suspended … Tim Newman,
We’ve just heard some incredible news. Just a few days ago, Ryan Young didn’t know if he would ever get his job back. He’d been suspended without pay after he intervened to stop the assault of a pregnant woman, and Safeway wouldn’t give any indication of when he’d be allowed back.But something remarkable happened. Douglas Castro, a customer at Ryan’s Safeway, heard about the incident and he started a petition to reinstate Ryan — and people from all over the country rallied behind him. You and over 180,000 others signed Douglas’ petition asking Safeway to reinstate Ryan with full back-pay, and Ryan’s just been told he’ll go back to work next week!

Ryan’s case was featured on CNN, and the campaign was covered in national media from CBS to Business Insider. And after weeks of silence from the company, Safeway finally announced Ryan would return to work.

Ryan says he’s “deeply grateful” to everyone who signed the petition. “Knowing that I had all these people standing behind me and that I wasn’t alone really helped me through this difficult time,” said Ryan. “Thank you again to everyone who took the time to help me out.”

It’s an amazing victory. It means that an expectant father has his job back — but it’s also something more. In the past, employees often had to fight these battles alone. Doug‘s victory is proof that this is changing — and that when people across the country come together, they have the power to make a real difference.

Thanks for being a change-maker,

Tim and the team

P.S. Right now, another urgent petition to save a loyal employee could use your support.

  • Larry Sapienza was fired from his job at his local library — and according to his community, it’s because he was used as a scapegoat when a decision made by his superiors backfired. Sarah, a former co-worker, has started a petition to have him re-hired.