Turn your Senators into obstruction warriors by asking them to withhold consent and filibuster all incoming legislation.
Indivisible wants the Capitol Building to fill with obstruction warriors until Trump's Muslim ban is lifted. uschools / gettyimages

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On Monday night, twenty-five thousand people participated in an emergency conference call concerning the details of Trump's travel ban and the actions congress can take to slow it down or end it.

The call was organized by Indivisible, a group of former congressional staffers who hope to build and sustain a liberal version of the Tea Party (aka Tea People) in order to resist the Trump/McConnell/Ryan agenda. Representatives from the International Refugee Assistance Project, the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Immigration Law Center, and Asian Americans Advancing Justice spoke and responded to questions.

During the hour-long call, the panel of advocates summarized the potential constitutional crisis that's been unfolding since Trump signed his executive order on Friday, an act of cowardice that separated families, emboldened rogue Customs and Boarder Patrol officials to defy court orders staying deportations, and otherwise disrupted the lives of 90,000 people in the U.S. and in the seven Muslim-majority countries effected by the ban.

Betsy Fisher of IRAP described Trump's EO as an "inhumane" policy that doesn't improve our national security. She also highlighted the cruelty of capping the U.S.'s total refugee admissions for 2017 at 50,000 during "the largest refugee crisis since World War II." That number is 60,000 shy of Obama's recommendation for the year.

Aarti Kohli, who was repping the Asian Americans Advancing Justice and the Asian Law Caucus in San Francisco, discussed the over-screening and extreme vetting of refugees who are already pretty fucking extremely vetted.

“Just yesterday, we had an older couple who were here [in San Francisco] to visit family. They were detained for 30 hours. These are people in their 70s who had valid visas," Kohli said, adding that it took "hours of pressure" from Senators and the governor to get the CBP to release the couple. Though attorneys were literally on the ground at airports all over the country on Sunday, Kohli said none could communicate directly with detainees due to a CBP policy that bars lawyers from seeing clients in secondary inspection.

In order to slow and potentially even stop this degradation of all we hold dear, Indivisible's Ezra Levin recommend that constituents call their Senators and request they do two things until the ban is lifted.

1) Withhold consent for any new activity that requires unanimous consent from the Senate.

2) Refuse to pass any legislation. “They should not even name a Post Office until the ban is lifted," Levin says.

If Democratic Senators complied with these requests, they'd finally be fighting at least as dirty as the Republicans have been fighting for the last eight years, and they'd be dropping their "pick-our-battles" stance against Trump's agenda.

Briefly, the Senate requires "unanimous consent" from all Senators before they act on or discuss any piece of legislation. If even one Senator withholds consent, the majority leader has to initiate another procedural process to overturn the objection that takes about four or five days to complete. "It doesn't stop the action entirely in its tracks," Levin explained, "but it slows down everything in the Senate for several days."

Levin also suggested that constituents call their representatives and force them to take a stand on the Muslim ban. As of this morning, hundreds of reps haven't stated a position. "They cannot stay silent. That’s the coward’s way out" Levin said. "If they oppose the ban, they should do everything they can to make sure it’s overturned."

Washington Senators Murray and Cantwell have cosponsored two bills and have written a letter demanding that Trump rescind his executive order. They’ve both also issued strong statements against the ban.

This morning, Cantwell, who is up for re-election in 2018, showed some iron spine and joined Democrats in the Senate finance committee to boycott the confirmation votes of Steven Mnuchin, who foreclosed on a grandma's house because she owed him 27 cents, and Tom Price, who "has traded more than $300,000 in shares of health-related companies since 2012, while on the House Ways and Means Committee’s subcommittee on health and while writing and voting on health-care legislation that could affect the shares of those stocks," according to the Wall Street Journal.

I've e-mailed spokespeople for Cantwell and Murray and asked if the Senators would be willing to withhold consent and/or filibuster bills until the ban is lifted. They haven't been able to answer—Murray was busy trying to delay the Betsy DeVos vote, and Cantwell was busy boycotting. I'll update when they respond.

In the meantime, for those who want Democrats to firmly oppose Trump's agenda, it wouldn't be a bad idea to call Senators Joe Manchin III (D-West Virginia: 304-342-5855), Heidi Heitkamp (D-North Dakota: (701) 258-4648), and Mark R. Warner (D-Virginia: 804-775-2314) and give them a stern motherfucking talking-to. They all voted against the effort to delay the vote for Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson, despite his lack of foreign policy experience, his company's financial ties to Russia, and his inability to recognize a humanitarian crisis when he sees one. Yes, those three blue Senators are up for re-election in 2018. And yes, calls from out of state can be effective.

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