One Pagers

Big Week Ahead

April 08, 2013 8:39 am ET
With Congress coming back in session today, we've got a big week ahead. Here are resources on the key issues on the lawmakers' agenda and responses to top attacks heard over the weekend: guns, immigration, and the budget, as well as Keystone XL and the sequester.

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1.  ON GUNS: "Universal background checks will lead to a national gun registry and then confiscation."

  • A background check for every gun sale is exactly the kind of common-sense measure we need to keep us safe, which is why 80% of gun owners and almost everyone else support it.
  • Federal law prohibits the creation of a national gun registry. No one is proposing to change that.
  • The only official record of each gun sale is a basic sales receipt that stays with the seller. Gun dealers have already been keeping these receipts for four decades, and law enforcement officials get to access the records only in very limited situations, like in criminal investigations.
  • The completed background checks of law-abiding buyers are also destroyed by the FBI within 24 hours. That's hardly the basis for a national registry. In fact, an enforceable background check system protects law-abiding gun owners from getting the blame for the crimes of others.

RESOURCES: Explain why we need a background check for every gun sale and why closing the private sale loophole protects gun owners. Go on offense by marginalizing the opposition

2.  ON IMMIGRATION: "Granting legal status is amnesty that rewards people for breaking the law."

  • We have to be practical problem solvers here. Americans know our immigration system is broken and want common sense solutions that reflect both our interests and values. 
  • But politicians who claim we can round up and deport 11 million people are just trying to score political points. Mass deportations would also cost taxpayers a quarter of a trillion dollars.
  • We can't do nothing either because the current system isn't working. That's why a bipartisan group of lawmakers is leading the way on immigration reform that includes citizenship for immigrants  who work hard to earn it and meet all the requirements.
  • It's not the American way either to create a second class of people -- immigrants who've been part of our communities and families for years but who are excluded from earning citizenship. These are aspiring Americans who contribute to our economy, pledge allegiance to our country, and want to contribute to America's greatness. 

RESOURCES: Push for a real immigration deal with a real road to citizenship, draw from our values to explain why citizenship is a necessary piece, and go on offense against the opponents' classic attacks.

3.  ON SOCIAL SECURITY & MEDICARE: "There's no reason to hold entitlement savings hostage to tax increases."

  • Let's be clear on what Congressional Republicans want here: cut and privatize Social Security, turn Medicare into a voucher, and wash their hands of Medicaid altogether. They actually think that the proposals on the table don't cut these programs enough.
  • And with everyone but the rich falling behind, a vote to cut our Social Security and Medicare benefits is a vote to shrink our middle class.
  • When it comes to taxes, Republicans in Congress are just trying to rig the tax code even more to favor the wealthy and multinational corporations. That's why they refuse to name a single tax loophole they would actually close. 
  • That's not what fiscal responsibility or staying true to our values as Americans looks like. In these tight times, we should be investing in what works -- the most efficient systems for securing our health care and financial security.

RESOURCES: Show why the Congressional GOP's desire to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits is bad for our middle class, a bad way to fix the budget, bad for fiscal responsibility, bad for health care, and bad politics.

4.  ON KEYSTONE: "The Keystone XL pipeline would create 60,000 jobs."

  • Jobs numbers like these are wildly inflated. We need to focus on putting more Americans back to work in more long-term and good paying jobs right here in America -- like clean energy jobs, which are growing four times faster than other work.
  • Even with contractors hired by the pipeline developer writing it, a State Department report admitted that constructing Keystone would create 35 permanent jobs and 3,900 temporary construction jobs
  • The pipeline also has the potential to kill jobs. A pipeline rupture would devastate farms and ranches  along the pipeline, just like the BP Oil spill devastated Gulf fishermen.
  • In fact, just recently another pipeline carrying Canadian oil spilled in Arkansas. It goes to show that the only oil Americans will get from Keystone is the oil that spills.

RESOURCES: Go on offense with language on why Keystone is all risk and no reward for America.

5.  ON THE SEQUESTER: "The President's overblown fear-mongering over the sequester is killing jobs."

  • Republicans in Congress should be looking at themselves to explain why it's been the slowest economic recovery since WWII. Ever since the recession began, they've been trying to lay off their own constituents and take money out of middle class Americans' pockets. 
  • We need more jobs and fewer self-inflicted layoffs -- like the 750,000 Americans who'll be laid off this year alone due to the sequester's spending cuts.
  • Sure, 750,000 layoffs are "a pittance," like Republicans in Congress have said, if you're a politician who only cares about donors who write campaign checks instead of your constituents living paycheck to paycheck.
  • We can fix this sequester now if only Republicans in Congress would stop protecting corporate tax loopholes and start prioritizing ordinary Americans.

RESOURCES: Use their dismissals of the sequester layoffs against them and use concrete examples to make it clear what Congressional Republicans' spending cuts mean for ordinary Americans.

We develop messaging by aggregating, analyzing and distilling polling, tested messaging, and expert recommendations, and monitoring the media to identify what is and isn't working. See here for some of the experts and organizations we draw on.


Posted in - Health Care - Energy - Budget - Guns - Seniors - Crime - Immigration - Environment - Jobs

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