Here is a State of the Union checklist I received from CREDO.
Reject the Keystone XL pipeline. President Obama has said that action on climate change will be a centerpiece of his second term agenda. But he simply cannot make the necessary progress on climate changes as long as he allows tar sands production to expand. Sign the petition.
Drop his offer to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits in exchange for a grand budget bargain with Republicans. In a preemptive cave to Republicans, President Obama made the offer as part of budget negotiations last year, in a deeply wrongheaded quest to strike a grand bargain on taxes and the debt. He shouldn’t make the same mistake – and should commit to not give away cuts to Social Security and Medicare to Republicans under any circumstances. Sign the petition.
Bring ALL the troops home from Afghanistan. In his State of the Union address last year, President Obama said that Al-Qaeda was a “shadow of its former self,” and “to meet this threat, we don’t need to send tens of thousands of our sons and daughters abroad, or occupy other nations.” Yet after over 12 years and thousands of American lives, more than 30,000 troops still remain and aren’t scheduled to leave until the end of this year. It is long past time for President Obama to bring them home.
Stop breaking up families, by ending the deportations of those eligible for a pathway to citizenship under pending immigration reform legislation. The president doesn’t need to wait for obstructionist Republicans to take action on immigration reform. He should show he’s serious about it now by halting deportations of aspiring Americans who would qualify for a path to citizenship under the bill already passed by the Senate. Sign the petition.
Fire National Intelligence Director James Clapper and stop warrantless NSA spying on Americans. Clapper unambiguously lied to Congress about the NSA’s unconstitutional spying on Americans. But amidst this growing scandal, President Obama has so far offered no substantive reforms. He should fire Clapper and shut down the NSA’s shocking dragnet immediately.
Fill all the federal judiciary openings with judges who will uphold the Constitution, enforce environmental laws, and fight corporate abuse. Senator Majority Leader Reid’s filibuster reform finally stopped Republican obstruction on Judicial nominees. With over 90 vacancies this is a major opportunity to bring progressive champions to the bench, but President Obama needs to make sure he takes advantage.
Issue a strong carbon rule on existing power plants. President Obama has called for the first-ever rules to limit carbon pollution – long required under the Clean Air Act – but so far, all we’ve gotten are delays and watering down on his rule to cut pollution from unbuilt power plants, which does nothing to reduce actual current pollution, and is still months from being finalized. If the President is serious, we need a strong rule to cut the pollution that is causing climate change now. Sign the petition.
Raise the minimum wage for federal workers and contractors. The president has already said that income inequality is the defining issue of our time – and committed to take executive action to helping the middle class. Raising the minimum wage for the more than 2 million low-wage federal contractors would be a good step in the right direction. Share the petition.
Instruct his FCC chair to save Net Neutrality. Verizon killed net neutrality last week when a federal appellate court ruled in Verizon’s favor, and struck down the FCC’s Open Internet Order. Internet providers are now free to discriminate – block or slow down – any web site or application they choose. But President Obama’s FCC chair has the power to save Net Neutrality by reclassifying broadband internet access to require that it be regulated as a telecommunications service. Sign the petition.
Close Guantanamo. This January marks 12 years of indefinite detention without charge or trial at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo, and five years since President Barack Obama signed an executive order to shut it down. Congress recently fulfilled the president’s request to make it easier to transfer prisoners out of Guantanamo; it’s long past time for him to keep his promise, too. Sign the petition.