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Congress Ends Government Shutdown following Pressure from Constituents

Last night, Congress voted to end the government shutdown following two weeks of protests held around the country byAi??PCCC members and local activists to hold their Republican representatives responsible for the shutdown.

Our events took place in front of Sen. Mitch McConnell’s (R-KY) Louisville office, Rep. Sean Duffy’s (R-WI) Hudson office, Rep. Andy Barr’s (R-KY) Lexington office, Rep. Pat Meehan’s (R-PA) Springfield office, Rep. Lee Terry’s (R-NE) Omaha office, Rep. Jackie Walorski’s (R-IN) Mishawaka office, Rep. Daniel Webster’s (R-FL) Winter Garden office, and Rep. Mike Coffman’s (R-CO) Aurora office.

5 of these 8 Republicans changed their vote and supported yesterday’s deal to end the shutdown.

Senate and House Democratic leaders united their colleagues and stood firm against the Tea Party during the shutdown. Click here to thank your representative for standing firm!

Check out some of the media coverage and photos from our events pressuring Republicans below.

The events were coordinated with the help of our allies at Democracy for America, AFGE, AFL-CIO, Kentucky Jobs with Justice, Louisville Young Democrats, Progressives United,, CREDO Action, USAction, and Center for Community Change.

Pressuring Rep. Pat Meehan (PA-7)Ai??”Protesters stood in the pouring rain outside Rep. Pat Meehan’s Springfield officeAi??Friday…Their message to the Republican congressman from Delaware County: You’re vulnerable, and don’t forget it.Ai??Only 28 percent of voters in Meehan’s moderate district think he’s doing a good job.” —

Photo: Big local rally holds Republican accountable

Pressuring Rep. Daniel Webster (FL-10)Ai??”Angry constituents gathered outside Rep. Daniel Websterai??i??s (R-FL) Winter Garden officeAi??on Friday, to demand that he votes to end the government shutdown” — West OrlandoAi??News

Photo: Big local rally holds Republican accountable

Rep. Sean Duffy (WI-07)Ai??”30 constituents protested outside Duffy’s Hudson officeThursdayAi??to demand that he vote to end the government shutdown…The event …

HUDSON STAR OBSERVER: Demonstrators Protest Rep. Duffy over Shutdown

At noon, about 20 people gathered on the Second Street sidewalk in front of Tulgren Square, the building in which Rep. Sean Duffy’s regional office is located. They chanted and carried signs calling on the Republican congressman to vote to end the federal government shutdown.

“We want Sean Duffy to vote to end the government shutdown, and we will not tolerate a bad deal that cuts Social Security benefits or is otherwise unfair to everyday families,” said Westlund. “If Sean Duffy decides to follow party ideology instead of standing with his constituents on this crucial issue, he can be sure constituents like me will not forget this moment when election day rolls around in 2014.”

The demonstration was organized by the liberal groups Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Democracy For America, Center for Community Change,, CREDO and Progressives United.

Wisconsin Democratic Lawmaker Gives Fiery Speech Against Destructive Iron Ore Mine

Katrina Shankland is a former PCCC fellow who was elected to the Wisconsin Assembly

Last week, Wisconsin Republicans passed a law that weakens environmental protections and will streamline the construction of what may be the Ai??largest iron ore mine in the world. This was done despite the fact that the mine may poison nearby water streams with arsenic, lead, and mercury. This is particularly a danger to the nearby Native American communities, who have opposed the mine.

But while Republicans fell in line to support this attack on the environment, one freshman Democrat gave a fiery speech against it — standing as an example for all Democratic lawmakers. Rep. Katrina Shankland, a former Progressive Change Campaign Committee fellow, denounced the plan for the mine, warning that “the will of the people, not the mining company is the law of the land.”

Shankland went on to reference the Native testimony about the bill: “At the only mining bill hearing they had this session they testified from a place of truth. The talked about the wild rice beds. They talked about their families. They talked about their water. And you know what they said? They said that supporting this bill would be equivalent to genocide. And I’m saying that today because they said it and you should listen to them. Polluting an entire watershed for profit is contributing to genocide. And history is on their side.”

Watch Shankland’s speech:

Wisconsin Senate Democrats are organizing to stop the extreme Republican agenda in the state. Click here to chip in a few dollars to stand in solidarity with them.

Union Busting 2.0: Wisconsin Republicans Now Attacking Private-Sector Unions

Wisconsin was the site over an epic struggle in 2011 to defend public employees’ collective bargaining rights. Backed by Koch brothers cash, Republicans were successful in rolling back public employee rights. In doing so, Republicans claimed that they were just concerned with budget matters and did not want to target unions specifically.

But a year and a half later, Republicans are now advancing a bill that has nothing to do with Wisconsin’s budget but everything to do with crushing unions.

House Republicans have introduced a bill that would allow private businesses to cut back on hours unilaterally, without having to talk to the unions or negotiate with their workers. As the Chippewa Herald notes, this law would be “in contrast to almost all similar laws in other states.”

Republicans are fast-tracking the bill, and it may get a committee vote as soon as Thursday. “It’s one more step toward their goal of ending the right of Wisconsin citizens to have their voice heard in the workplace,” said Democratic state senatorAi??Julie Lassa in a statement.

Recall that Republican Governor Scott Walker told a billionaire donor that he is pursuing a “divide and conquer” strategy with respect to unions — going after public ones first to take on private ones later. His strategy seems to be in action here.

Nine Wisconsin Republican Lawmakers Back Arresting Federal Officials Who Implement Obamacare

Think Scott Walker is the most extreme Republican Wisconsin has to offer? Think again. The Wisconsin Journal-Sentinel reports that nine Republicans in the state legislature have told an advocacy group that they support arresting any federal official who tries to implement the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare:

As Gov. Scott Walker contemplates whether to create a state health care exchange under Obamacare, he must contend with nine members of his own party who will serve in the Legislature for the next two years who say they back a bill to arrest any federal officials who try to implement the health care law.

Eight of the nine Republicans also have gone on record saying they also want to write a law that would see Transportation Security Administration agents charged with sexual assault if they conduct pat-downs of passengers going through airport security.

But there’s some good news out of Wisconsin, too. Bold progressive Chris Larson was just elected Democratic leader in the state senate!

Powered By The Grassroots, Tammy Baldwin Is Out-Raising Tommy Thompson

Tammy Baldwin is raising more money than her corporate-friendly challenger, and she’s doing it all through the grassroots

Earlier today, we reported that bold progressive Elizabeth Warren has out-raised incumbent Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) by over $4 million. And she’s doing it with the power of grassroots donors, as opposed to Brown, who is relying on the financial industry for his support.

Now, numbers are out in the Wisconsin Senate race and they show that fellow progressive Tammy Baldwin is leading her right-wing challenger Tommy Thompson:

Based on statements released by Republican Tommy Thompsonai??i??s and Democrat Tammy Baldwinai??i??s campaigns Monday, the congresswoman from Madison has the lead.

Baldwin raised $4.5 million from July 1 through Sept. 30 and had $3.4 million to spend at the beginning of October, according to her campaign. Thompson raised $3.6 million during the third quarter of 2012, with more than $2.2 million of it collected since he won the Aug. 14 Republican primary. He had nearly $2 million, his camp said, to begin the final push.

Let’s dig into the numbers a little bit. Baldwin’s top donors are the members of EMILY’s List. Thompson’s top donor is Centene Corporation, a medical firm where Thompson served as a board member. More than a quarter of his top twenty donors are health care corporations and pharmaceutical giants, while not a single health care profiteer ranks as a top donor to Baldwin.

Baldwin is winning the fundraising race by tapping the grassroots, while Thompson is calling on the very same donors who he worked for as Bush’s Health and Human Services Secretary, when he cut a sweetheart deal with Big Pharma that cost Americans $20 billion year.

Help Baldwin across the finish line. Chip in a few dollars to her campaign by …

Tommy Thompson’s Solution To The Health Care Crisis: Buy Health Insurance Online!

Tommy Thompson’s health “reforms” are ones we already have.

On Monday, Wisconsin Republican Tommy Thompson and bold progressive Tammy Baldwin debated about their competing visions for the country as they both run for the state’s Senate seat.

As Thompson continued to rail on the Affordable Care Act, one moderator asked him about his own vision for health care. The candidate went on to the normal Republican proverbs about the need for tort reform and other non-reforms, but also bizarrely mentioned that we need to be able to buy health insurance online:

THOMPSON: What I want Bob is I want a health care system that’s affordable…let’s base it on quality. Number 2, let’s allow individuals be able to purchase health insurance over the Internet. Be able to put in what they want in there. Number three let’s do away with the liability problems.

Watch Thompson’s response (it begins at 24:38):

It’d be interesting to know why exactly Thompson thinks purchasing health insurance over the Internet will make health care cheaper (is he confusing health insurance with deals on consumer products?), but what’s even more important to point out is that consumers are already getting that option. There are already websites where you can shop for quotes and then purchase insurance online and one of the main features of the Affordable Care Act that Thompson opposes is the provision of health insurance exchanges where people will be able to directly shop for insurance online.

As for tort reform, a number of states have already enacted it. When Texas did, it did absolutely nothing to reduce overall health care costs.

Tammy Baldwin has an actual solution — and not just gimmicks about online purchasing and tort reform — to the health care crisis. She …

BLOGGING BLUE: PCCC Endorses Tammy Baldwin + Tommy Thompson wants to “do away with Medicaid and Medicare”

In response to Tommy Thompson’s promise to end Medicare and Medicaid as we know them, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) has gotten involved in the U.S. Senate race backing Democratic candidate Tammy Baldwin. The PCCC, which has nearly 27,500 members in Wisconsin, was very active in the 2011 recall elections here in Wisconsin as one of the leading groups running TV ads and mobilizing voters in the state.

Chemical Lobbyists Spending Big To Elect ALEC Alumni Tommy Thompson

Membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) — Ai??a powerful corporate front group that writes and passes bills in state legislatures on behalf of Big Business — is a gift that keeps on giving.

The Center for Media and Democracy’s Brendan Fischer notes today that the American Chemistry Council (ACC) — a group of chemical lobbyists who are members of ALEC — is spending big on behalf of Wisconsin Republican Senate candidate Tommy Thompson, who was an ALEC member as a legislator in the 70’s and 80’s.

So far, ACC has spent $648,600 to promote Thompson. Watch the following ad they’re airing in support of his candidacy. Note that it doesn’t mention any issues that ACC actually deals with in its lobbying and advocacy efforts:

Remember that Thompson said the following during a 2002 ALEC conference: “I always loved going to [ALEC] meetings because I always found new ideas. Then I’d take them back to Wisconsin, disguise them a little bit, and declare that it’s mine.”

ACC has bitterly fought against regulating the plastic additiveAi??bisphenol A (BPA), whichAi??independentAi??studies show can prove a real health risk to children. It’s likely that if Thompson is elected, he will be paying ACC back by helping it avoid regulation of dangerous chemicals like BPA.

Virtual Charter Schools In Wisconsin Not Living Up To Lobbyists’ Hype

As for-profit virtual schools expand, are children getting the short end of the stick? (Photo credit: Flickr user Elizabeth Albert)

One of the biggest scams Corporate America is trying to foist on the nation is the privatization of our schools, often by promoting online education. The Nation’s Lee Fang documented last year how online learning companies are flooding state legislatures with lobbyists to win funding and mandates for online, for-profit charter schools and educational software.

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) used his budget last year toAi??quietly removeAi??the cap on student enrollment his state’s virtual charter schools, opening up a flood of taxpayer dollars for online education companies. The “Wisconsin Coalition of Virtual School Families,” a group promoting these companies, named Walker a “Rock Star of Education Reform” for this move.

But a new analysis shows that these online schools aren’t living up to lobbyists’ hype:

Enrollment in Wisconsinai??i??s online schools has doubled in the last five years, but students who have chosen class without a classroom often struggle to complete their degrees and repeat grades four times as often as their brick-and-mortar counterparts, according to a Gannett Wisconsin Media analysis. […]Ai??In the 2011-12 Wisconsin Student Assessment System testing,virtual students fared slightly betterAi??in reading than their brick-and-mortar counterparts, with 83.1 percent scoring proficient or advanced, compared with 81.9 percent statewide. ButAi??virtual students fell shortAi??in other subjects, with 5 percent to 12 percent fewer virtual students scoring proficient or advanced in math, social studies, language arts and science compared with the statewide average.

Promoting huge subsidies for private school education takes well-connected lobbying. The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) …

MILWAUKEE PUBLIC RADIO: Liberals Label Ryan as “Right-Wing Extremist”

Adam Green, the co-founder of the liberal group Progressive Change Campaign Committee, released a statement Saturday, saying: “Paul Ryan is a right-wing extremist who wants to end Medicare. This is a major unforced error by Mitt Romney. National exposure of Paul Ryan’s extreme plan to end Medicare will make him more vulnerable back home in Wisconsin.” The group says it will begin running online ads nationally, including targeting millions of people in swing states such as Florida and Wisconsin.

CNN: Democratic group makes $100k Wisconsin push in final days

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee announced on Saturday it is spending $100,000 in the last five days before the Wisconsin gubernatorial recall vote. This latest spend brings the PCCC’s investment supporting the recall of Republican Gov. Scott Walker, plus his lieutenant and several state legislators, to $300,000, the group said, with two thirds of that coming in the last two weeks.

WISPOLITICS: PCCC says it put another $100,000 into Wisconsin recalls

This pushes its investment in the state to $200,000 in the last two weeks and $300,000 overall, the group said. The latest $100,000 includes $71,000 raised for the state Dem Party and $31,000 in TV and online ads.

HUFFINGTON POST: Scott Walker Recall — Progressive Group Sends $100,000 To Wisconsin

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee announced Tuesday that it will send $100,000 to Wisconsin to help unseat Gov. Scott Walker (R), a cash infusion that will go to the state Democratic Party’s field operations for next week’s recall vote. In a statement, the Washington, D.C.-based group said that it was frustrated with how little money the Democratic National Committee (DNC) has put into the recall fight and that it managed to raise the $100,000 in the last nine days.

CNN: Wisconsin’s Still A National Fight

On Tuesday, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, announced it raised an additional $100,000 for the Wisconsin Democratic Party’s field operations.

TALKING POINTS MEMO: Progressive Group Expands Anti-Walker Ad Buy

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee is expanding its ad buy for an ad that went up last week urging Wisconsin voters to vote against Gov. Scott Walker in the recall election. PCCC is adding $30,000 to an their previous ad buy of the same amount, allowing them to expand from the Madison TV market to now include Green Bay.

BLOGGING BLUE: New PCCC Ad — Remember. Recall.

The folks from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee have re-launched a 60-second ad titled “Remember. Recall.” featuring last year’s protests at the Capitol and people talking about the effort to recall Scott Walker.

THE PROGRESSIVE: Wisconsin Recall — Day One

Today, the Progressive Change Campaign Committee announced a major ad buy urging Wisconsinites to remember the historic protests of 2011 and featuring a powerful portrait of the rallies of a year and a half ago. The ad begins with the word “Remember” and black-and-white footage of a firefighter standing in the snow outside the Capitol in Madison, holding an American flag.

MOTHER JONES: Scott Walker Foes Launch New Barrage Of Recall Ads

Walker’s enemies on the left are wasting no time shifting the focus back to the governor as they try to galvanize Wisconsinites to vote him out of office on June 5. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) unveiled a new recall ad on Wednesday called “Remember. Recall,” that draws heavily on the imagery of the populist uprising in Madison, the state capital, in the winter of 2011.

WISPOLITICS: PCCC unveils new spot featuring protests, effort to recall Walker

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee is starting a new TV ad featuring last year’s protests at the Capitol and people talking about the effort to recall Scott Walker. The 60-second spot begins with black-and-white footage of last year’s protesters in the snow with some of them talking about Walker’s collective bargaining bill and its impact on them.

NATIONAL JOURNAL: PCCC Hits Walker With $30K Madison Buy

The Progressive Change Campaign Committee is hitting Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker on day one of the recall general election campaign with a TV ad featuring protesters explaining the need for the governor to be recalled.

TPM: PCCC Airs Ad Featuring Republicans Voting Against Sen. Darling in WI

The liberal groups Progressive Change Campaign Committee, the Wisconsin division of Democracy For America, and MoveOn have a new ad up in the state Senate recalls, going after one of the higher-value targets, state Joint Finance Committee co-chair Alberta Darling.

TPM: PCCC Money “Flowing In” Wisconsin

National Democratic money is flowing into the Wisconsin state Senate recalls, with a new $100,000 ad buy from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy For America, in just a single targeted race.

POLITICO: WI SC Election has National Implications, PCCC Fighting for Working Families

The once-obscure judicial race, which will be decided in an election Tuesday, has taken on national implications, both because Gov. Scott Walker’s signature legislation stripping public unions’ bargaining powers could be decided by the court and because it’s the first time voters have gone to the polls since Walker signed the bill that sparked the national push.

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: PCCC Launches New Recall Ad

The same national groups that created the TV ad showing Capitol Square demonstrators expressing their opposition to Gov. Scott Walker’s budget-repair bill is out with another one featuring volunteers working on the recalls of Republican state senators.