Suggestions/additions welcome. Don’t see your issue, event or organization? Send it to me.

Top priority:  A public hearing will be held in Montpelier at the State House on Thursday, July 20th at 9 am about Blue Cross/Blue Shield’s proposed 12.7% rate increase.

  • You can submit testimony about how the rate hikes will affect you: The Vermont Workers Center encourages you to submit testimony even if you don’t have Blue Cross/Blue Shield to express your concerns about the need for universal, affordable healthcare.
  • If you are interested in carpooling to the hearing, please let me know. I know this is inconvenient, being on a Thursday, but it would be great if we could get a good turnout.

“A Kaiser analysis says premiums for VT Health Connect customers would rise 21% under Senate health care bill” We’re down to the wire on this. See the first action item for what you can do.

UPCOMING EVENTS                                             

  • Wednesday July 12 at 7 pm WED July 127-9:30PM  Film Screenings: Waking the Sleeping Giant and Joanna Macy & The Great Turning(Paramount Theater, 30 Center Street, sponsored by Same Sun of Vermont)


  • Thursday July 13
    • 10-5PMVermont 350 Pop-Up Exhibit (Depot Park)
    • NoonVermont 350 Workshop:  Solidarity Singing (Depot Park*)
    • 2-3:30PMVermont 350 Workshop:  Climate Justice (Depot Park*)
    • 7pm Rutland NAACP at Leahy Center Rutland Regional Medical Center


  • Friday July 14
    • 12-8 PMVermont 350 Pop-Up Exhibit (Depot Park)
    • 12-1 PMTalk: Report back from Frackland (Same Sun of Vermont, 24 Center Street)
    • 5-8PMFilm: Planet Earth (at our Friday Night Live booth)
    • 7PMPerformance: Break Free Cantastoria



  • Thursday July 20 at 9 am Hearing on Proposed 12.7% Blue Cross Blue Shield Rate Hike2nd Flr Board Rm, City Ctr, 89 Main St, Montpelier



  • Sunday July 30th at 1:30 pm Rutland Vermont Workers Center Universal healthcare coordinating meeting at UU Church in Rutland (go around back and turn left at the top of the stairs)





NEW ITEMS REQUIRING ACTION in no particular order – there are a lot, but that’s because I know that people are interested in different things. Pick the issue that you’re most concerned about, and take action.

1 “Sunday, two GOP Senators have suggested that the Senate’s health care bill is dead. Let’s take advantage of this momentum by refusing to let up on the phone calls. Let’s do whatever it takes to keep the bill, written behind closed doors by thirteen MEN, from determining the fate of millions of Americans. Here are the key provisions of the bill

  • Though it keeps the ACA’s protections for people with pre-existing conditions, this bill lets insurers opt out of essential health benefits (e.g., maternity care), which could mean fewer covered services for those with pre-existing conditions.
  • While it slows down the withdrawal of federal funding for Medicaid, this bill also rolls back Medicaid expansion.
  • If that weren’t enough, the bill targets women, excluding exchange plans that cover abortions from subsidy eligibility, defunding Planned Parenthood, and keeping pregnant women from enrolling in Medicaid expansion programs.
  • This version of the bill will also tighten the eligibility criteria for premium subsidies starting in 2020 so that fewer middle-class Americans will qualify for subsidies.
  • Because the bill raises the cap on how much more insurers are allowed to charge older Americans, premiums for the elderly are likely to soar.

Although last week’s procedural vote was delayed it’s imperative that we flood the lines, securing NO votes and reaching undecideds. Ssince Sen. Mitch McConnell has invoked Rule 14 in order to make the bill eligible for a floor vote without committee markup, the bill is on the fast-track to passing, without debate, without experts weighing, without ample time for the public and experts to review the CBO score. Because they are using a process called reconciliation to fast-track the bill, Republicans only need 51 votes, rather than the usual 60. However, the tradeoff is that they must allow an unlimited number of amendments to the bill during the vote-a-rama. This presents an opportunity for Dems to get creative. If Dems file thousands and thousands of amendments and call for a vote on each, they could hold off the bill in perpetuity. This week, call Republican senators who are undecided and let them know you oppose the bill, and call Democratic senators and remind them that you want them to do WHATEVER IT TAKES to delay the vote on the bill. (Learn more about who will be hurt by the Senate’s bill here. Familiarize yourself with reconciliation, vote-a-rama, and filibuster here and here)”

  • These suggestions from previous newsletters, but we’re down to the wire on this and I’ve heard that it’s worth to call your Senator back to let him know that you still care and that you are still watching him
  • Action: Contact your Congressmen
  • Caller:Hello! My name is [name] and I’m calling from [place in state]. Am I correct that [Senator] opposes TrumpCare, the American Health Care Act?
  • Staffer:Yes! [Senator] is totally opposed.
  • Caller:I’m glad to hear that. Can you tell me what [Senator] has done so far to oppose it?
  • Staffer: [Senator] gave a speech on the floor recently that talked about the bill’s impact in our state. She’s listened to many constituents and heard their personal stories. She’s encouraged her colleagues to let us read the bill or have hearings on it. And yesterday she did an epic tweet storm.
  • Caller:I’m afraid it’s going to take more than talk and tweet storms to stop this terrible bill. We have to slow this process way down and call attention to the terrible bill Republicans are trying to jam through in total darkness. We have to use every tool available. Does [Senator] intend to withhold her consent on all Senate business until we have hearings and a complete CBO score?
  • Staffer:Withholding consent doesn’t actually buy us that much time. It would only delay things by 30 hours.
  • Caller:I’m not just talking about refusing to agree on shortening debate time on TrumpCare or other bills. I’m talking about withholding consent on amendments, placing holds on nominations, and objecting to all unanimous consent requests until there are hearings and a complete CBO score. Will the [Senator] do that?
  • Staffer:Well, [Senator] thinks that could backfire. We’re trying to work together with Republicans on on other important issues, like investigating Russian interference in our democracy.. Withholding consent could make that more difficult.
  • Caller:Of course we want to know more about the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia. But 23 million Americans’ healthcare, including [coverage loss in state, find here] is important too. That’s what’s at stake. This is the most important thing right now and the issue the Senator needs to be focusing on. I don’t think anything else is worth healthcare getting ripped away from millions of Americans.
  • Staffer:I’ll let [Senator] know of your thoughts.
  • Caller:Please do. I expect her to use every tool she has. That also includes offering as many amendments as it takes to draw out Senate debate on this bill during vote-a-rama.
  • Caller:Will [Senator] prepare hundreds or thousands of amendments to offer during vote-a-rama?
  • Staffer:I’m not sure what you mean. Vote-a-rama only lasts a night or so.
  • Caller:That’s because both parties have always agreed to end it. [Senator] can file thousands of amendments—and then call each of them for a vote—so that debate is prolonged long enough to leave Republicans with no choice but to agree to hearings and a complete CBO score. Along with her colleagues, [Senator] can and should let the Republicans know they will offer amendments into the July 4 recess or longer, holding the floor with amendments as long as it takes to guarantee Americans can read the bill, see a CBO score, and that the Senate has hearings.
  • Staffer:Again, the Senator thinks that could backfire. There are other things we want to work on, as well.
  • Caller:That’s terrible. Like I said, this is the most important thing happening right now. I expect [Senator] to get in the arena for her constituents. The stakes are too high to leave any tool at her disposal unused.
  • Staffer:I’ll let [Senator] know of your thoughts.
  • Caller:Please do. If she isn’t using these tools, that means she’s not doing everything in her power as a Senator to stop TrumpCare. I expect her to use every tool she has. That includes withholding consent and offering as many amendments as it takes to get a hearing and a CBO score. Please take down my contact information so you can let me know when [Senator] decides to play hardball.
  • Action: Contact your friends/relatives in these states and ask them to contact their senators to: Demand public hearings, Insist upon the inclusion of the health care initiatives that the AHCA is cutting, Protest the intentional efforts to sabotage the ACA, Protest the passage of a bill that will result in anyone losing coverage and/or will not guarantee people with pre-existing conditions won’t see higher premiums, and to protest any bill that eliminates funding for Medicaid. (To strengthen your argument, see how much premiums would increase and how many people would lose health coverage in each state under TrumpCare. (And if your friends need tips for what to say on the phone, see the sample script
  • TN – Lamar Alexander 202-224-4944
  • WV – Shelley Moore Capito 202-224-6472
  • LA – Bill Cassidy 202-224-5824
  • ME – Susan Collins 202-224-2523
  • TN – Bob Corker 202-224-3344
  • AR – Tom Cotton 202-224-2353
  • AZ – Jeff Flake 202-224-4521
  • CO – Cory Gardner 202-224-5941
  • SC – Lindsey Graham 202-224-5972
  • NV – Dean Heller 202-224-6244
  • AK – Lisa Murkowski 202-224-6665
  • OH – Rob Portman 202-224-3353


2 Comments are being collected on healthcare-related regulations. ( )


3 ProPublica is collecting stories about the accessibility and affordability of prescriptions. ( )


4 Over the weekend, 45 expressed an interest in teaming up with Putin on cyber security. This is concerning not only in light of Russia’s interference in the election but also in recent reports that Russia has been hacking American power plants. Representative Don Beyer has presented legislation to prevent 45 from partnering with Putin on a “Cyber Security unit.”


5 As mentioned above, the Vermont Secretary of State is considering all legal options to avoid providing sensitive voter data to 45’s election integrity commission, which has been accused of seeking voter suppression, particularly of minorities. This is particularly concerning in light of the recent revelation that a GOP data firm accidentally exposed the personal data of nearly 200 million voters.

  • Action: Contact Vermont Secretary of State, Jim Condos, (at 800-439-8683 or Office of the Secretary of State – Main Office, 128 State Street, Montpelier, Vermont 05633-1101) to express your support for his opposition to the provision of sensitive voter data to 45’s administration.
  • Action: Discourage your friends and family from removing themselves from the voter rolls.
  1. H.R.3057, Fair Representation Act, “would make two fundamental changes in how voters elect their representative in the U.S. House . First, it would allow voters to rank the candidates in order of preference, rather than simply voting for their top choice. Some version of this system is already used in many municipalities, and six states have adopted some kind of ranked-choice voting for congressional elections. If your first-choice candidate does not win, your second or third choice may. This spurs candidates to work to appeal to a broader swath of voters, which would calm polarization in many parts of the country. Second, the Fair Representation Act would change congressional districts into “multi-member districts,” as used in many states for their legislative elections. Think of it as a hybrid between what we have today and Senate seats, in which two people jointly represent a larger area. States with five or fewer House members would elect all their representatives at large. Any state with six or more members would elect representatives in multi-member districts.” and
  • Action: Contact Congressman Peter Welch 802-652-2450 or Script: I am one of the Congressman’s constituents in Vermont and I am asking him to support R.3057, Fair Representation Act. Thank you.


7 Nebraska’s Public Service Commission is considering the permit to allow the Keystone XL pipeline.


8 “Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) is asking for input from corporate lobbyists and Wall Street insiders about how best to reform our tax system. But they won’t speak for working families. That’s why it’s so important for working people to speak up right now. There are laws on the books that enable the wealthy few and corporations to make millions—even billions—of dollars and still pay less in taxes than you and me. It’s totally unacceptable for Wall Street and the richest 1% to enjoy larger tax breaks funded by cuts to services working people rely on, such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and education. To create an economy that works for everyone, the wealthy and big corporations must pay their fair share. Rather than giving more tax breaks to those who already have the most, that money should be invested in repairing roads and bridges, better funding our public school systems, and securing the American promise of retirement and health care through fortified Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare funding. Tax incentives and loopholes that encourage jobs and profits to be shifted offshore must be curbed. U.S.-based Fortune 500 companies have managed to avoid paying more than $750 billion in taxes.* Eliminating this type of offshoring would bring hundreds of billions of dollars back to the U.S. economy and would encourage businesses to create jobs and increase wages here at home. Hatch is expecting to hear from multinational corporations and powerful industries such as Big Oil and Big Pharma about how to reform the tax code, but not working people. That’s why we’ve teamed up with a host of progressive organizations to take a stand as one united front. It’s up to working people to defend our freedom to utilize the benefits and services we pay for and that our communities depend on.”


Following suggestions provided verbatim from

9 Action: Ask your Members of Congress to advocate for detained asylum-seeking youth. Write: Your three Members of Congress (lookup or leave message) Script: I am worried and upset that the US is detaining young kids for years because their asylum status is contested. America needs to be a place of refuge, and it is inhumane to lock up endangered kids. Will you please follow Sen. Casey’s lead and advocate to Sec. Kelly for their release pending court decisions? Thank you. Name, address (for follow-up)

10 Action:  Oppose Betsy DeVos’ Decision To Loosen For-Profit College Rules. Contact: Send an email to all three Members of Congress (lookup or leave message). Script: I’m from [ZIP] and I am very concerned about Betsy DeVos’ decision to loosen for-profit college rules. I want students to be protected. I want colleges and universities to be evaluated based on how many graduates are able to pay back their loans–and if programs consistently fail these tests, they should lose access to federal student-aid dollars. Thank you.

11 Action: Oppose cutting funds for kids in special education. Call: Your two senators this week (lookup or leave message). Script: Hi. I’m concerned about cuts to services for kids in special ed programs. I believe we have a responsibility to fully support all learners. The Senate healthcare bill strips Medicaid funding which currently covers essential tools, staff, and screenings to give these kids a fair chance. I oppose the bill for many reasons, but this one is critical. (If it affects you directly, share why.) Thanks.

12 Action: Oppose Ivanka and Jared doing the president’s job. Write: Your three Members of Congress (lookup or leave message). Script: I am confused about why Ivanka Trump posted a photo of herself and Jared Kushner on twitter saying, “We…are looking forward to productive discussions at the G20 Hamburg Summit!” Aren’t discussions the president’s job? Why are the president’s unelected daughter and son-in-law doing the president’s job? This makes the US look bad. Name, address

13 Action: Oppose Sinclair propaganda on your local news. Read: This short article about Sinclair’s intrusive FOX-like propaganda. Call: Your local news stations. (Google: “contact [town] local news stations”). Script: I’m a customer, concerned about propaganda on the news. Can you tell me if Sinclair Media is a parent company of [channel name]? I value excellent journalism and will stop watching your channel if Sinclair buys out (because Sinclair has bought out) your company. A free press matters to me. Thank you.

14 Action: Protect marine sanctuaries. Visit: Comment: Explain why marine sanctuaries matter to you and to posterity.

15 Action: Oppose logging public land without considering environmental impact. Call: Your one Rep. (lookup or leave message). Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] calling to express deep concern for H.B. 2936. This bill attempts to expedite logging up to 30,000 acres–an area the size of Disney World–without considering environmental impacts. I’m concerned it empowers timber companies at the expense of public input, judicial review of projects, and Endangered Species Act protections. I oppose this unethical bill and want Rep. [name] to do the same. Thank you.

16 Action: Advocate for protecting people and the planet from pollution. Call: Your one Rep. (lookup or leave message). Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] calling to express my concern about H.R. 637. The EPA’s mission is important to me, and we rely on the EPA to regulate the pollutants that are driving the climate crisis. It seems like Republicans think allowing corporations to pollute is more important than protecting citizens’ health. Is this true? I want Rep. [name] to block H.R. 637. Thank you.

17 Action: Advocate for reversing Citizens United. Call: Your one Rep. (lookup or leave message). Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and want to express my support for reversing Citizens United with H.J. Res 48. Corporate money in elections weakens the power of my vote and silences people in poverty. Can I count on Rep. [name] to co-sponsor this bill and vote to support it in the House?

18 Action: Oppose escalation with North Korea. Call: Your three Members of Congress (lookup or leave message). Script: Hi. I’m from [ZIP] and calling about relations with North Korea. Our leaders don’t seem interested in avoiding conflict, but rather appear to be escalating with threats and intimidation. We can’t afford to jeopardize lives over big egos. Can you tell me what Sen./Rep. [name] is doing to be a voice of reason?

19 Acts of Gratitude:

  • Thank Texas House Speaker Joe Straus (R) for speaking out against the “bathroom bill” that would regulate which bathrooms transgender Texans can use. Thank you for your compassion toward the LBGTQ community. Address: 7373 Broadway, Suite 202A, San Antonio, TX 78209
  • Thank Governor Jerry Brown (D-CA) for protecting our environment and countering the president’s message on climate change. Thank you for hosting the first-ever global environmental summit with the direct goal of supporting the Paris Agreement. I appreciate your leadership. Address: Jerry Brown, ℅ State Capitol, Suite 1173, Sacramento, CA 95814
  • Thank Senator Dean Heller (R-NV) for opposing the Senate healthcare bill. Thank you for speaking your conscience in spite of White House criticism and Super PAC ads. I admire your integrity in putting your constituents’ needs over party agenda. Address: 8930 West Sunset Road, Suite 230, Las Vegas, NV 89148
  • Thank Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) for her message of encouragement and hope on Samantha Bee’s show. We’ve been growing a little tired, weary, (etc.), and your words were just what we needed to hear. Thank you. Address: 317 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC 20510


The following items are taken nearly verbatim from

20 The so-called Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity “is a waste of taxpayer money and a distraction from the real threats to the integrity of our elections today: aging voting systems and documented Russian interference in our elections,” say California’s Secretary of State Alex Padilla. The Trump administration is touting the bipartisan nature of this commission—example: Let’s tell the two Democratic appointees that we don’t want them lending legitimacy to this commission, and we want them to resign. Contact Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, 148 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0148,, and New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner, State House, 107 North Main St, Concord, NH 03301,

21 The Fair and Equal Housing Act of 2017 (H.R. 1447), which would amend the Fair Housing Act to protect the LGBTQ community from housing discrimination, has stalled in the House. Meanwhile, the department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has removed resources on its website that would help inform housing providers of rules that protect the LGBTQ community If our senator was among the 30 who sent a letter to HUD Secretary Ben Carson calling out the removal of resources, let’s make sure we thank them (Patrick Leahy was indeed one of the signatees). Let’s also make sure that we contact our representatives, as well as the House Subcommittee on Constitution and Civil Rights, and tell them that we want H.R. 1447 to move forward, out of committee  Let’s also contact Ben Carson to let him know that we are concerned too and expect him to protect LGBTQ citizens from housing discrimination. Ben Carson, HUD, 451 7th St SW, Washington DC 20410, or we can call: 202-708-1112.

22 A U.S. Mint worker placed a noose on the chair of an African-American colleague (on video tape) and has been placed on leave:  Let’s let the Mint know that this cannot be tolerated in any way: U.S. Mint Leadership Team, 151 North Independence Mall, East Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106-1886

23 A loophole in US campaign finance law allows elected officials—yes, the President, too—to coordinate with dark money organizations to push their agendas, including supporting or opposing Cabinet nominees, judicial nominees, and policies. Five dark money organizations, for example, spent more than $14 million to get Gorsuch nominated to the Supreme Court. Dark money organizations are nonprofits that don’t have to disclose their donors to the public. Let’s send this link to our MoCs: and tell them that we demand transparency in government and we want this loophole closed.

24 From one of our own:  Regarding Zappos carrying Ivanka shoes — I made my monthly call to Zappos today, and was passed on to the same department I’ve expressed concerns to before. When I asked to move up the food chain, I was given the name of the CEO (Tony Hseih) (yes, that is the correct spelling, per customer service) with an email address of  I just sent an email expressing my concerns about factory working conditions and harassment of those investigating same.  Let’s use this name and email address to do make our concerns known, too.  We can also snail mail him here:  400 Stewart Ave., Las Vegas, NV 89101

25 The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has initiated a review of the eligibility of Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania to receive benefits under AGOA. Rwanda is banning used clothes that are gutting their textile market.  We should reach out to United States Trade Representative, Robert E. Lighthizer and ask him to continue their eligibility for duty-free access to the American market. Office of the United States Trade Representative, 600 17th Street NW, Washington, DC 20508.


The following suggestions are provided verbatim from


Love Brigade Vermont – sends cards to victims of hate

Vermont Black Lives Matter’s special summer projects 100% of special donations go towards these projects, which include:

  • Sister’s Keeper Initiatives
  • Summer Reading Program
  • Inmate Care Packages
  • Legal Defense Fund
  • Police Documentary Series

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  • “Milk Money,powered by VSECU, is Vermont’s first portal for local crowdinvesting, allowing Vermonters to directly invest in Vermont companies. Not Wall Street. Not Kickstarter. This is directly investing in local businesses to build a stronger local economy. Milk Money’s mission is to put the means for growing a business, a strong local economy and personal wealth within the reach of all Vermonters.”

With growing hostility toward the press, reporters are receiving threats and news agencies are getting security. This is not normal. Help resist this by supporting these groups (recommended by

Group trying to fight Citizens United (recommended by

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