04/22/2018

Gina Ortiz Jones Wins TX-23 Primary

Gina Ortiz Jones for Congress

Congratulations to our friend Gina Ortiz Jones who won yesterday’s Democratic Primary in the Texas’ Congressional District 23! Having won 41% of the vote, Gina has a runoff in 10 weeks on May 26.

AAA-Fund will continue to endorse and support Gina. As a native to the region, a Filipino-American, a U.S. Air Force veteran, and a national security expert Gina Ortiz Jones is uniquely qualified to represent TX-23 which includes part of San Antonio and some 800 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Gina has her runoff election on May 22nd and needs your support. Please contribute to her campaign directly.

AAAFund Joins DNC IWillVote Campaign

We are proud to be an official member of the DNC’s IWillVote campaign. We exist to empower AAPI and voting is a prime expression of expressing and obtaining that power. Our 18 years of heart and work on this cause, to give AAPI the political voice and power we lawfully rightfully have, make us so happy to be a part of this larger campaign. We rise together so register to vote on November 6, register friends and family to vote, and repost/reTweet our work in doing the same ourselves.

The below is the press release:

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DNC Announces New IWillVote Campaign to Reach 50 Million Voters in 2018, Including AAPI Voters

Today, the Democratic National Committee is announcing the launch of IWillVote – an unprecedented new campaign with four initiatives: Commit to Vote; Voter Registration; Voter Education and Protection; and Get-Out-The-Vote. Under the IWillVote program, the DNC, in partnership with state parties and organizations, aims to reach 50 million voters from now until November to engage, educate, and mobilize them to vote for Democrats up and down the ticket. The Asian American and Pacific Islander community will be a crucial target in reaching these voters. The AAPI community is the fastest-growing ethnic group in the country and has been crucial to Democratic victories in numerous key elections over the years, so mobilizing AAPI voters is a top priority for the DNC.

The following are some of our initial partners who will support our IWillVote efforts: Asian American Action Fund, ASPIRE PAC, Blue Future, BOLD PAC, CBC PAC, Collective PAC, College Democrats of America, Flippable, Future Forum, High School Democrats of America, Latino Victory Fund, Mobilize America, National Conference of Democratic Mayors and Democratic mayors from more than 30 cities, National Democratic Redistricting Committee, PODER PAC, Swing Left, Young Democrats of America.

Over the past year, we’ve seen what a difference Democratic voter turnout can make. In Virginia, we elected a Democratic governor, lieutenant governor, and attorney general, and flipped 15 seats in the House of Delegates from red to blue. In Alabama, we elected the state’s first Democratic senator in decades. And since Donald Trump was elected, Democrats have flipped 39 state legislative seats, including some in districts that Trump won by double digits. When we organize early and everywhere, we win up and down the ballot.

However, we know that turnout during the midterms is historically low – just look at 2014, when voter turnout was the lowest since World War II. In addition, we have seen that the Republican strategy is to disenfranchise voters, particularly minority and youth voters, and to suppress the vote. While Trump and his Republicans roll back the landmark Voting Rights Act or enact voter ID laws, Democrats are fighting for voters and their right to cast a ballot, because Democrats believe every voice deserves to be heard and counted.

“The American people have witnessed the relentless commitment of the Republican Party to discourage voting – from the creation of a sham fraud commission to systemic disenfranchisement of communities of color. The DNC has opposed those efforts at every step, and we are prepared to hit them where it hurts – the voting booth,” said Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez. “Our first Commit to Vote program translates activism and marches into committing to vote for Democrats up and down the ballot this November and is designed to reach voters and communities across the country with new innovative tools and technologies, key partnerships, and online and on-the-ground organizing strategies. In partnership with our state parties and partners, the DNC will reach 50 million voters this year.”

“ASPIRE PAC is pleased to partner with the DNC’s IWillVote program in engaging AAPI voters and encouraging active participation in the Democratic Party,” said ASPIRE PAC Chair and DNC Vice Chair Grace Meng, “Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are the fastest-growing populations in the country, and this program will help ensure that AAPI voices are heard at the polls in the midterm elections.”

“In recent years, Asian Americans and Pacific Islander voters have been crucial to Democratic victories in swing states and districts across the country,” said AAPI Caucus Chair Bel Leong-Hong. “The IWillVote program is an innovative way to galvanize the extraordinary passion among AAPIs across the country. I know that this program will funnel this passion into results at the ballot box and I’m excited to be working with great leaders like DNC Chair Tom Perez and DNC Vice Chair Grace Meng to make it successful.”

Take Immediate Action to End Mass Shootings

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The Asian American Action Fund calls on politicians at all levels of government to take immediate action to end mass-shootings in the United States.

Mass shooting and active-shooter events have become too common- place and must be addressed. Data from the Gun Violence Archive reveals there is a mass shooting nine out of every 10 days on average. The FBI reports that the number of active shooter incidents has steadily increased. While in 2000 there was only one active shooter incident, in 2015 the nation suffered from 40 deadly shooters.

By not acting, our leaders are endangering every member of society, especially school-aged children. We are risking children’s lives and teaching them to live in fear. Rather than passing reasonable gun control laws, over 40 states have required active shooter drills in schools. Children are taught to hide and remain silent while actors pretend to open classroom doors. As a result the New York Times has labeled school aged-children the “mass shooting generation”.

Other nations have shown that laws can reduce the number of mass shooter events. In Australia the nation enacted sweeping gun-control laws as a result of a 1996 shooter who killed 35 people. In the 18 years before 1996 there were 13 mass shootings in Australia. There has not been a single mass shooter in the 21 years since the implementation of the gun control laws. Canada, the U.K, and Japan have also imposed effective gun-control laws.

Ultimately our mission is to secure the safety of the AAPI community and to create economic and educational opportunities for each member. Gun violence is an especially significant issue for the AAPI community as mass shootings have been linked to hate crimes. Effective gun reform will also address gun violence throughout the AAPI community, including the use of guns in cases of domestic violence and street crime.

We ask every politician to pass laws which will protect all lives and end the phenomenon of mass shootings.

DNC On AAPI Women’s Equal Pay Day

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Editor’s Note: The below is a repost of “Marking AAPI Women’s Equal Pay Day“. We’re participating in today’s #AAPIEqualPay Tweetstorm with our many allies including @PPact (Planned Parenthood Action Fund) and @emilyslist (Emily’s List), esteemed leaders in women’s rights and political action and active mutual supporters in our shared causes for our shared communities.

To mark AAPI Women’s Equal Pay Day, DNC Women’s Caucus Chair Lottie Shackelford and DNC AAPI Caucus Chair Bel Leong-Hong released the following statement:

“Across the country, women are rising up and making their voices heard more loudly than ever in the political sphere. They’re getting involved on the ground level as organizers, volunteers, activists and campaign managers, and they’re running for office in record numbers. But even in the midst of this powerful movement, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women still only make 87 cents to every dollar white men are paid. In the year 2018, this is unconscionable, and for certain groups in the AAPI community the gap is even wider. Over a lifetime, this disparity can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. In many cases AAPI women simply do not have access to well-paying jobs for a sustainable livelihood. This isn’t just unjust; it also severely hinders AAPI women’s long-term financial growth and stability, hurts hardworking families, and is bad for the economy.

“The Democratic Party is proud to champion equal pay for equal work, a fundamental principle of our platform. Women are the core of our party, and we will not rest until all women and all working families receive fair and equal pay, so we can create a stronger America for all.”

HHS Whistleblower Reveals HHS Secretly Working with Hate Group to Target Planned Parenthood

We’re upset to read about our friends Planned Parenthood Federation of America who released “HHS Whistleblower Reveals HHS Secretly Working with Hate Group to Target Planned Parenthood“.

PLANNED PARENTHOOD FEDERATION OF AMERICA
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, February 12, 2018

CONTACT: Planned Parenthood Federation of America Media Office; 212-261-4433; media.office@ppfa.org

Planned Parenthood Statement: HHS Whistleblower Reveals HHS Secretly Working with Hate Group to Target Planned Parenthood

Washington, DC — As reported in Politico today, a just released letter from Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, shows that Trump-Pence’s Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has been secretly coordinating with a designated hate group to develop policy to deny women and others access to health care. The congressional oversight letter, sent to Eric D. Hargan, the Deputy Secretary for HHS, cites an HHS whistleblower raising “serious concerns” about HHS “taking orders” from Alliance Defending Freedom, an organization that has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

As the congressional oversight letter states, “the documents raise grave questions about the legitimacy of the Trump Administration’s letter to state Medicaid directors on January 19.”

The congressional oversight letter goes on to say that Alliance Defending Freedom was “behind an effort by the Trump Administration on January 19, 2018, to help states terminate Planned Parenthood as a healthcare provider for Medicaid beneficiaries seeking to exercise their statutory rights to obtain family planning or other health care services.”

Shortly after the January 19 Medicaid letter was released, six prominent provider organizations, including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American College of Physicians, and the American Academy of Family Physicians, who represent more than 560,000 physicians and medical students, issued a joint statement denouncing the Medicaid letter.

Statement from Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:  

“This is shocking and outrageous. The Trump-Pence administration has been secretly coordinating with, and in some instances taking orders from, a designated hate group in order to try to block people from coming to Planned Parenthood for health care.

“The Alliance Defending Freedom has spent decades trying to take away women’s access to health care and ability to control their own bodies and lives. The Trump-Pence administration has embraced this group’s philosophy and handed them the pen to make official U.S. government policy.

“If there was ever any doubt, it’s now clear that the Trump-Pence administration’s actions to try to block women from accessing preventive care at Planned Parenthood health centers are not only politically motivated, but being driven by extreme organizations, including designated hate groups.

“The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) should immediately rescind the politically tainted January 19 Medicaid letter. CMS should also cease any and all politically motivated attacks on health care.”

BACKGROUND: Key Passages from the Congressional Oversight and Investigations letter:

Pages 5-6:

  • “A whistleblower has now provided us with information and documents indicating that a right-wing advocacy group known as Alliance Defending Freedom was behind the Trump Administration’s recent effort to rescind the 2016 letter and to seek to eliminate protections for Medicaid beneficiaries who exercise their rights to seek family planning or other health care services.
  • “According to the information provided by the whistleblower, on the morning of January 11, 2018, several high-level Trump Administration political appointees at HHS and CMS discussed a draft letter they would soon be receiving from an undisclosed source that would rescind the 2016 letter.
  • “Directly after this discussion, at 10:07 a.m., your Chief of Staff, Kristin Skrzycki, sent an email to Brady Brookes, the Deputy Chief of Staff at CMS, explaining that processing this letter was an urgent priority:

o After conversations with Paula and Kelly this morning, CMS should be receiving the SMD [State Medicaid Director] letter today. Per our discussion yesterday, please make sure your clearance process is ready to go on this. We will need a very quick turnaround. Consider an utmost priority.

  • “Later that same day, at 2:22 p.m., HHS Deputy General Counsel Kelly Cleary sent an email attaching the draft letter from the undisclosed source. Now that we have obtained a copy of that draft letter, it appears to have originated from Alliance Defending Freedom. The metadata for the draft letter identifies Casey Mattox as the author and Alliance Defending Freedom as the company that created the document….
  • Within one minute of receiving the draft letter, Brady Brookes, the Deputy Chief of Staff at CMS, forwarded it on to additional political appointees within CMS.
  • “On January 19, 2018, only eight days after the draft letter was first received, the final CMS letter was sent to state Medicaid directors. The final letter cut down the length of the first draft significantly and removed nearly all of the rhetoric explaining the true purpose behind allowing states to terminate unwanted providers. However, it achieved the same result—it rescinded the 2016 letter to try to limit protections for Medicaid beneficiaries seeking access to family planning services.”

ADDITIONAL BACKGROUND:

The law is clear: It is illegal to bar people from seeking care at Planned Parenthood. Longstanding protections within Medicaid safeguard every person’s right to access family planning care at the qualified provider of their choice. The freedom of choice provision is federal law and cannot be changed by guidance.

Not only is blocking care at Planned Parenthood dangerous and illegal, it’s unpopular — which is why it failed in Congress six times. Poll after poll shows that the American people overwhelmingly support Planned Parenthood and strongly oppose these attacks on their health care.

The idea that other providers could absorb Planned Parenthood’s patients has been resoundingly dismissed by experts. In fact, the executive director of the American Public Health Association called the idea “ludicrous.” Planned Parenthood health centers care for 2.4 million people nationwide each year, and more than half of Planned Parenthood health centers are in rural or medically underserved areas. Two years after Texas barred care at Planned Parenthood, nearly 30,000 fewer women received birth control, cancer screenings, and other care through the state’s family planning program as a result.

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President’s FY19 Budget Released. Earlier today, the Trump-Pence administration released its FY2019 budget, as well as the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)budget-in-brief. While the budget is unlikely to be taken up by Congress, it is a strong indicator of the administration’s priorities and continued focus on cutting off access to Planned Parenthood health centers, undermining access to sexual and reproductive health care, and dismantling the social safety net, including essential health care programs like Medicaid. Indeed, the budget serves as a roadmap for the types of regulatory action we could see from the Trump-Pence administration this year.

Like last year, the budget proposes to eliminate all HHS funding for Planned Parenthood health centers. Moreover, as expected, the budget includes proposed significant cuts to domestic funding for health care and other safety net programs. While some of the proposals in the budget would require congressional action (such as block granting Medicaid and other deep funding cuts to certain safety net programs), the administration can work to impose its agenda through harmful implementation policies. For instance, the administration is clearly attempting to undermine the Medicaid program by working directly with states to eliminate longstanding protections for beneficiaries (e.g. by imposing new Medicaid eligibility and enrollment restrictions). See below for additional highlights of the FY19 budget plan; we will continue to provide additional analysis as we learn more. Planned Parenthood’s press statement is available here.

Some key highlights in the FY19 budget plan:

  • Proposes to block Planned Parenthood from participating in all HHS programs, including Title X and Medicaid;
  • Proposes to continue funding for the Personal Responsibility Education Program (PREP), while eliminating the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program and sustaining abstinence-only-until-marriage funding;
  • Proposes level funding for Title X but prevents Title X patients from accessing care from Planned Parenthood health centers (which currently serve 40% of Title X patients);
  • Places a new ban on abortion access for immigrants in ICE detention facilities, and proposes to block implementation of D.C.’s Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Amendment Act;
  • Doubles down on policies allowing health care workers to deny information and care to women and LGBTQ people;
  • Proposes passage of the Graham-Cassidy bill, which would have dismantled the ACA, eliminated Medicaid expansion, and radically restructured Medicaid through block granting and per-capita caps;
  • Proposes to cut international family planning by more than 50 percent, while emphasizing fertility awareness methods over other, more effective forms of birth control.

To recap, the story in Politico is that a whistleblower revealed HHS’s secretly plotting with a hate group to block women’s access to healthcare from Planned Parenthood. The source is a letter from Rep. Elijah E. Cummings on the whistleblower. Our mission is to empower AAPI and this move directly targets our community especially its most vulnerable in the deplorable effort to maximize deplorable interests at any cost. Defunding women’s healthcare is outrageous and irresponsible. Apart from the poor ethnics of secretly coordinating (this administration has no care for poor ethnics, a traditional problem) with a designated hate group to block people from coming to Planned Parenthood for healthcare. Alliance Defending Freedom, that hate group, was designated as such by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Our goal is to empower the AAPI community, and the Trump administration’s actions as described here targets the most vulnerable in our community.  Alliance Defending Freedom has spent decades trying to take away women’s access to health care as well as their ability to control their own bodies and lives. It is deplorable that the Trump-Pence administration embraced this group’s philosophy, and handed them the pen to make official U.S. government policy. We must join forces and fight back.

 

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