Stop the “GI Tax”

The American people have a strong tradition of honoring our war veterans.  And Democrats have always led the fight to give our veterans what they deserve for their brave service to our country.

We all may not agree with the causes of this current war in Iraq, but we all agree that the brave men and women fighting it, and their families, deserve more than we can ever give them.

Now we must focus attention on our veterans and military retirees who have seen the government cut medical benefits, close VA hospitals, double tax disability payments, and more than double prescription drug co-payments, while requiring veterans to pay an annual enrollment fee of $250 to use government health services in the 2006 budget.
All of these costs add up to a “GI Tax” on our soldiers and veterans.  And it’s time to end that “GI Tax” — once and for all.

I was proud to join House Leaders Nancy Pelosi, Ike Skelton, Lane Evans, and John Salazar on Capitol Hill to unveil the new GI Bill of Rights for the 21st Century.  From the original GI Bill, signed by Franklin Roosevelt, it’s always been up to a grateful nation to stand up for veterans and their families.  Now it’s our turn — so please help.

Tell your Members of Congress to end the “GI Tax” and support the new GI Bill today!

Tell Your Senators to Oppose John Bolton’s Nomination as U.N. Ambassador

President Bush has nominated John R. Bolton to be the new U.S. representative to the United Nations.  This is a highly visible and vital diplomatic position, carrying the rank of ambassador and U.S. representative to the U.N. Security Council and General Assembly.

Mr. Bolton has been consistently hostile to international agreements concerning global environmental issues.  He has attacked the Kyoto climate change treaty and the Law of the Sea Convention as “illegitimate,” and has opposed U.S. ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty that would prohibit explosive testing of nuclear weapons.

Recent scientific studies indicate that we are putting extraordinary pressures on the Earth’s natural systems and may be undermining their ability to support future generations.  We need someone at the United Nations who recognizes that more — rather than less — international cooperation is needed to protect the global environment.

A Senate committee is holding hearings on Mr. Bolton’s nomination the week of April 11th, and a floor vote is expected soon thereafter.  NRDC is joining foreign affairs and nuclear non-proliferation groups in opposing this nomination.

Urge your senators to vote against this nomination.

Protect Our Pacific Seafloor!

Deep at the bottom of the Pacific ocean lie a true natural wonder — deep-sea corals.

Corals, sponges, and other living seafloor animals provide oases of life on the seafloor, supporting ecological diversity crucial for healthy sustainable oceans.

However, these ancient animals are under threat.  Bottom trawling — the practice of fishing by dragging heavy weighted nets across the seafloor — destroys deep sea corals and sponges that are important to fish and other ocean creatures.

The government agency responsible for managing fishing in the Pacific is determining right now whether or not to include protections for deep sea corals and sponges in their plans.  We need your help to ensure they do!

Michigan – Support Privacy Rights for Workers

In January a Michigan company fired its employees who smoked – even if they never touched a cigarette at work.  Since then, we have submitted a petition signed by 2,000 people from around the country to tell the CEO he had no right to dictate his employees’ behavior when they were not at work.

Now you as a Michigander can take an important step to protect the privacy of workers outside the workplace in your state.  Senator Bernero (D-Lansing) has introduced a bill called the Employee Protection Privacy Act, which would make it illegal for employers to invade their employees’ privacy when they are not at work.  This would help to rein in employers who might be tempted to fire their employees for smoking or any other behaviors that could be health risks – such as eating junk food, riding a motorcycle, or sunbathing.

Passing this bill would put Michigan in the company of 21 other states with lifestyle discrimination statutes, but in order to make that happen legislators need to know that their constituents support privacy rights for workers.  You can tell your legislator to support this bill by taking action here:

End the Slaughter of America’s Horses

Horses are our trusted companions and have never been raised for human consumption in America.  However, American horses are being killed for foreign markets in Italy, France, Belgium, and Japan.

Representatives John Sweeney (R-NY), John Spratt (D-SC) and Ed Whitfield (R-KY) have introduced the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act to ban the transport, possession, purchase or sale of horses to be slaughtered for human consumption.

Wild horses are facing a serious threat from an amendment to last Congress’s omnibus appropriations bill that gutted more than three decades of protections for America’s wild horses against sale for slaughter.  As a result, it is legal for the government to sell wild horses and burros and allow them to go to slaughter.

Thankfully, Representatives Nick Rahall (D-WV) and Ed Whitfield (R-KY) have introduced H.R. 297 and Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) has introduced S. 576–the Wild Horse Act–to reverse the damage done and outlaw commercial sale of our wild horses and burros.

Please ask your federal legislators to end the slaughter of horses for human consumption and to restore the federal protections for wild horses.

Protect the Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay!

The Susquehanna River begins near Cooperstown, New York and flows 444 miles through Pennsylvania before broadening out into a vast tidal estuary at Havre de Grace, Maryland.  The river drains 27,510 square miles more than any other American river on the Atlantic coast.  The Susquehanna contributes half the freshwater flows to Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in North America.  The Chesapeake was once the most productive estuary in the world, but today excessive nutrients in polluted runoff and poorly treated sewage cloud the water, suffocate fish, kill underwater grasses, and devastate oyster and crab harvests.

Throughout the Susquehanna River watershed, aging sewer systems discharge enormous volumes of raw or poorly treated sewage, which eventually flow into the Chesapeake Bay.  For example, more than one hundred sewage outfalls pollute the river’s mainstem.  To add insult to injury, a new proposed inflatable dam across the Susquehanna at Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania would pool this sewage and turn this stretch of the river into a cesspool, blocking migratory fish, drowning wetlands and threatening human health.

Without action, these problems will only grow worse.  According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the population in the Chesapeake Bay watershed will increase from about 15 million today to 18 million by 2020.  If elected officials aren’t willing to invest the resources necessary to clean up the Susquehanna River and restore the Bay, an irreplaceable piece of America’s natural and cultural heritage will be lost.

Take action today.  Congress has an opportunity this spring to reject hundreds of millions of dollars in proposed cuts to clean water funding in the 2006 federal budget.  Contact your Congressperson today and tell them to support funding for sewage treatment.


Help Farmworkers

The future for immigrant farm workers is at a key crossroads.

It took three years for the United Farm Workers and national grower groups to negotiate the Agricultural Job Opportunities, Benefits, and Security Act (S. 359/H.R. 884) allowing undocumented farm workers to earn the legal right to permanently stay in this country by continuing to work in agriculture.

The bill, also referred to as “AgJOBS”, has broad support with 63 co-sponsors in the Senate last year.  It was reintroduced last month, and already has 45+ Senate co-sponsors.  Over 500 Latino, immigrant rights, agricultural and religious organizations have endorsed AgJOBS.

The people who put the food on our table are often faced with fear and intimidation because many employers use the threat of deportation to ensure their silence.

Undocumented farm workers share the values that many of you do–they want to provide for their families and to live without fear.  They could earn the opportunity over time through AgJOBS.  Send the message that we will not let the AgJOBS vote be denied this year!

The entire U.S. Senate may cast a crucial vote on the historic AgJobs Bill as early as this week!  Help farmworkers by urging your congressmembers to cosponsor and vote for the bill when it comes to the floor.

Help Pass Global Warming Legislation

U.S. activists, as the world celebrates the launch of the Kyoto Protocol — the first international agreement to protect our living planet from global warming — the United States remains paralyzed by inaction and is still not among the 140 nations that have ratified the treaty.  Urge Congress to pass the bi-partisan Climate Stewardship Act and protect the polar bears, coral reef species, and other wildlife already feeling the effects of our warming planet.

Oppose H.R. 800:  Protect the Rights of Gun Violence Victims

Last week, we said Congress and the NRA were cooking up bad things in Washington and we weren’t kidding.  A dangerous bill backed by the NRA and gun corporations has reared its ugly head in the House.  Help us stop it.

Soon, a House Committee is going to vote on giving sweeping legal immunity to reckless gun dealers.  Click here to tell them not to.

The bill (H.R. 800) would destroy one of this country’s best deterrents against gun dealers who put murder weapons in the hands of criminals.  And this is while shooting after shooting is taking place across our country.  Make sense?  No.  (Well, unless you care more about profits than people.)

So to get the House of Representatives to wake up and see just how terrible this bill is for our country, we must make a lot of noise.

Why is the House even contemplating this dangerous bill?  Because the NRA and gun corporations stand to profit if it’s passed.

Our elected leaders should take meaningful action to save lives, NOT put more money into the pockets of special interests and gun corporations.  They should take action to find sensible solutions to gun violence, NOT pass a bill that gives a free “pass” to the worst gun dealers in America.

Help Stop KFC Cruelty

Since January of 2003 PETA has been on a campaign to end the cruelty that chickens suffer in KFC’s factory farms.  Chickens are naturally inquisitive, friendly animals who build nests, have a social hierarchy and care for their young.  Their natural lifespan is 10 years, but the chickens that KFC use are slaughtered before they are 2 months old.

Although KFC states that it only uses chickens from cruelty free farms, extensive investigations reveal otherwise.  A few of the numerous accounts of cruelty are listed below.

    Parent birds beaks are removed with a hot blade causing some to die of starvation and others to die from shock caused from the pain.

    Millions of chickens die from horrible conditions, then sent to rendering plants to be fed back to KFC chickens or made into cat food.

    After their throats are slit, it could take up to four minutes for them to die and they may even regain consciousness forcing them to be completely aware of the pain.

    They are dumped into scalding hot water to remove their feathers regardless of if they are still conscious or have regained consciousness.

Please help put an end to this suffering and ask KFC to adopt more humane steps to improve animals’ lives.  Together we can end the unethical treatment of chickens within KFC’s factory farms.

These and over 425 other action alerts are archived at

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