Legislative Branch

 

ACTION ITEMS (HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES):

• Find and develop strong candidates
• Let disabilityvoters.com know about good candidates who will need support
• Press current representatives to vote in support of people with disabilities — in meaningful, not just symbolic ways.
• Help Disability Voters and other organizations willing and able to take sides in elections build up membership levels and war chests. We will be massively outspent, but need volunteers and enough money to make ourselves heard.

There are 435 members of the House of Representatives. 241 are Republicans. 194 are Democrats. With Republicans in control of the Presidency, Senate, House, lower courts, and likely soon the Supreme Court, Republicans will have their best chance since the 1930’s to fundamentally transform American politics, something that since the growth of the Tea Party more and more of them want to do. House Republicans want to undo Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, Harry Truman’s Fair Deal, Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, and President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, as well as smaller accomplishments under other Democratic and Republican administrations. House Speaker Paul Ryan is a long-time proponent of the views of Ayn Rand, an extreme opponent of government whose view of disabilities is well-captured in these images:

Another of Ayn Rand’s proteges — Alan Greenspan — ultimately recognized that markets do not resolve all problems without government intervention. Ryan does not seem to have grasped that. The House of Representatives is theoretically the part of the national government that can respond most quickly to public opinion, because all members stand for election every two years. This is the part of government in which strong mobilization could have a swift impact. However, the advantages of incumbency are especially strong for House races, for various reasons: 
1) House elections attract less free media, increasing the importance of campaign donations that officeholders find easier to obtain than challengers. 
2) After the 2010 census and mid-terms in which many Democrats stayed home, Republican state legislators, some elected through strategic Republican investments in key seats, engaged in extreme gerrymandering — drawing election lines to favor certain outcomes. [source] In 2012, Democratic House candidates won around a million and a half more votes than Republican candidates, but Republicans wound up controlling the House by a 234 to 201 margin. [source] In 2016, Republicans won 49% of votes and 55% of seats. In 2018, all House seats will be up for reelection.

 

Action Items (senate):

• Identify good Senate candidates.
• Identify vulnerable Senators in both parties and pressure them to support our positions.

Senate Finance Committee, all members:

Republican Members of HELP (Health, Education, Labor and Pensions) Committee:

 

Currently, there are 52 Republicans in the Senate, 46 Democrats, and two Independents who caucus with Democrats (Bernie Sanders and Angus King). It takes three Republicans (assuming Democrats stick together) to defect from the party position in order for Republicans to lose on an issue that requires a majority. Democrats can filibuster in some cases to block legislation, but there are many ways for Republicans to get around that.

2016 presented a favorable Senate map for Democrats — with more Republicans up for reelection than Democrats – but Democrats picked up only two seats. 2018 will be much harder as more seats are up for reelection or will be open (with no incumbent) that currently are held by Democrats.