By Lisa Cirincione, Joining Vision and Action

Nearly every hour it seems, some new and shocking information comes out that will hurt Americans. Here is what you need to know as of 10 a.m. Wednesday, January 25, 2017.

Federal grants

On Monday, January 23, 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) froze all of its federal contracts and grant programs (funding for research, redevelopment of former industrial sites, air quality monitoring and education, water quality testing, etc.) and EPA personnel were told not to discuss the order with anyone outside of the agency. It is not known if this freeze is indefinite or temporary. EPA employees were also notified by the administration that it is to remove the climate change page, along with links to scientific global warming research from its website. Axios reported that President Donald Trump’s budget will cut the EPA’s budget by $815 million for programs like states and tribal assistance grants, climate programs and other environmental programs.

President Trump also signed an executive order that reinstated a ban on providing federal money to international groups that perform abortions or provide information on abortion.

More cuts to come

According to an article from The Hill, the departments of Commerce and Energy are expected to see major reductions in funding, with programs under their jurisdiction either being eliminated or transferred to other agencies. The departments of Transportation, Justice and State will also see significant cuts and program eliminations.

At the Department of Justice, the Heritage Foundation’s blueprint, which President Trump may be using for his budget, calls for eliminating the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, Violence Against Women Grants and the Legal Services Corporation, and for reducing funding for its Civil Rights and its Environment and Natural Resources divisions.

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting would be privatized, while the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities would be eliminated entirely.

Dangerous censorship

The White House comment line was taken down, so citizens need to call their representatives at their direct office numbers. You can call the U.S. Capital Switchboard at 202.224.3121 to look up and be connected to your Senator and Representative.

The Trump administration has ordered the Department of Interior to not use its official Twitter accounts after it sent two tweets that were perceived as critical to the administration—a comparison of the crowd at the inauguration of President Obama and President Trump and an acknowledgement that the administration had removed all content related to climate change, civil rights and healthcare from the White House website. In the event of a national emergency, Twitter will not be used, but other social media use has not been banned…yet.

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture have also been banned from speaking with the media, according to Daily News.

Finally, JVA is concerned that agencies are feeling pressure to withhold information that goes against the Trump administration’s priorities. For example, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) abruptly canceled a major conference for public health officials to learn more about the mounting evidence of the risks to our health posed by climate change. The CDC did not disclose its reasons for cancelling the conference, which was scheduled to take place in February, but there is speculation that the Trump administration would have told the CDC to cancel it.

As always, I will stay on the lookout for news that requires our vigilance, voices and action.