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What to Tell Congress - Updated - Concise Version
Longer version with more detail and advice: HERE.
For Meetings with Congress Members and Senators
During April 4-19, 2009, Recess
Adjust to your communities’ priorities and to fit your representative and senators. Make the case to them of the necessary trade-off in defunding war in order to fund human needs. Make alliances with activist groups wishing to pressure elected officials on domestic funding needs and workers’ rights.
Oppose Escalation of War in Afghanistan and Pakistan
A bipartisan group of fourteen members of Congress recently wrote to the president asking him to reconsider his proposal to send more troops to Afghanistan. Your representative and senators should send similar letters, and should include opposition to missile strikes or the introduction of troops into Pakistan.
Commit to Not Funding Wars
Supplemental: Congress plans to vote on another supplemental spending bill for 2009 to continue the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and expand the latter. The president has requested $75.5 billion on top of the $68.5 billion already obtained, and Congressman John Murtha has proposed adding an extra $11.5 billion to the $75.5. We want commitments to vote no on appropriating or authorizing any such spending, unless amended to be used purely for withdrawal.
Budget: An additional $130 billion is expected to be marked for war funding in the upcoming FY 2010 budget on top of military spending increased 4 percent over the largest military budget in world history (last year's Pentagon). We want commitments to vote no on the budget unless amended to direct all war spending to withdrawal and to reduce the military budget by 25 percent.
Cosponsor Cluster Munitions Civilian Protection Act
Congress passed a law in March permanently banning exports of nearly all U.S.-made cluster bombs. But Congress has not banned the use of cluster bombs by the U.S. military. The Senate version of a bill to do so (S 416) has 23 cosponsors, and the House version (HR 981) has 24.
Cosponsor a Department of Peace
This House bill (HR 808) has 65 cosponsors. A Senate bill is needed.
Cut Carbon Emissions
Ask members of the House to support Congressman Waxman's yet-to-be-introduced bill on climate change, or introduce their own, to cap carbon emissions at least 25% by 2020 and 80% by 2050, ban new coal plants, and invest in green jobs. Ask senators for a bill to do the same.
Ratify the nuclear test ban treaty
This is a senate-only request.
Cosponsor the Nuclear Disarmament and Economic Conversion Act
The House bill (HR 1653) provides for nuclear disarmament and economic conversion. A similar bill is needed in the Senate.
Fund Main Street, Not Wall Street
We want commitments to not vote another dollar for Wall Street. And we want bills introduced in both houses to take back the banker bailouts, nationalize failed banks, remove the current CEOs and board members without pay, and break the banks up and sell the smaller banks to new owners with new antitrust laws in place.
Cosponsor Bill to End Usury
A Senate bill to cap interest rates at 15% including on credit cards (S 582) has 5 cosponsors. A bill is needed in the House.
Co-sponsor the Employee Free Choice Act
This bill would enforce the basic human right to assemble and self-organize, to form a union in the workplace. The House version (HR 1409) already has more than enough cosponsors to pass (224), but the Senate version (S 560) has only 39 and needs 50 (or 60 if the Senate leadership chooses to allow a filibuster to block it.)
End the Filibuster
Senate only: Ask your senators to ask Senator Reid to support changing the filibuster rule (which can be done with a simple majority) to henceforth require only a simple majority to bring a bill to a vote. Currently senators representing 12 percent of the country can block legislation.
Cosponsor Single-Payer Healthcare
The House bill (HR 676) has 72 cosponsors. Single-payer means private doctors, private hospitals, complete freedom of choice (unlike the current system), saving businesses billions, and netting 2.6 million new jobs. A Senate bill (S 703) has just been introduced.
Reform the Prison System
A Senate bill (S 714) to create a commission to address this has 15 cosponsors.
Cosponsor Universal Prekindergarten
This House bill (HR 555) would assist states in establishing a universal prekindergarten program to ensure that all children 3, 4, and 5 years old have access to a high-quality full-day, full-calendar-year prekindergarten education. It has 6 cosponsors. A Senate bill is needed.
Cosponsor the State Secrets Protection Act
This is a bill to deny presidents the power to keep information (such as torture and warrantless spying programs) secret from even a closed court of law by claiming "state secrets." The House version (HR 984) has 16 cosponsors. The Senate version (S 417) has 6.
Impeach Jay Bybee
House only: Bybee's signature is on memos authorizing torture, but Bybee is serving as a federal judge in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. Any member of Congress can introduce an article of impeachment or a bill to initiate impeachment hearings.
Ask Eric Holder to Appoint a Special Prosecutor
In June 2008, 56 Democratic Congress members, led by Congressman John Conyers, wrote to Attorney General Mukasey asking for a Special Prosecutor for Bush, Cheney, et al. Conyers and Congressman Jerrold Nadler wrote to Mukasey again in December 2008. Nadler says he's drafting a new letter. Ask your representative and senators to work with Nadler or on their own to publicly ask Holder to do what the law requires.
Oppose Renewal of Abusive Measures in the PATRIOT Act
House and Senate members should commit to voting No.
Cosponsor the Fair Elections Now Act
A bill soon to be introduced in both houses by Congressman John Larson and Senator Dick Durbin would create voluntary, partial public funding of electoral campaigns.