“I call, write, and email my members of Congress all the time and I never get a real answer from the staff or intern who answers the phone. I don’t see the point in contacting them and wasting my time. I feel like because I never get an answer, my voice is never heard.”
Does this sound familiar?
It is important to know that regardless of whether a staff member gives you a definitive answer, your ideas and concerns are being heard.
Here is what typically happens when you call a Congressional office.
The staff member will answer the phone and take note of your concern. Pithy, fact-based inquires about where your representative stands will always go further than yelling or resorting to abusive comments. If the staff member reveals very little information on where the representative stands on an issue, do not lose hope. Your voice has been heard.
Throughout the day, a staff member will receive hundreds of calls and emails on a variety of topics. Staffs update and maintain a quick tally on the most talked about issues. Depending on the quantity of those constituent interactions, the member of Congress, Chief of Staff, or Legislative Director will identify concerns that are also most important to a district. If a certain issue reaches a particularly high volume of call-ins, a member will have no choice but to defend his or her position and issue a response.
Now you might be saying, “Well I track their actions in Congress, contact them on issues that they will be voting on, and still I receive no answer.” This means more inquires about these issues are needed. New names and addresses flowing into their offices raises the level of concern for those members. The staff will assume constituents are becoming increasingly educated on these issues and that the grassroots in their district is organized and motivated. When members lack control over the narrative in their district, they know the status quo has been threatened.
All jobs require persistence and dedication to achieve a successful outcome. Congressional accountability is no different. Calling, emailing, writing – these are all critical in the fight for lasting accountability.
With the food stamp and farm becoming a “partisan flash point
” on the campaign trail, it is worth highlighting why so many conservatives opposed the typically bipartisan bill.
Promised reforms to the food stamp program, which comprises roughly 80 percent of the bill’s total spending, are falling predictably short:
THEN: The conference report lacks serious reforms. While it does close the “heat-and-eat” loophole, it does not contain a repeal of broad-based categorical eligibility and states are able to completely bypass asset tests for food stamp applicants. Additionally, states will be able to continue receiving waivers to undo what minimal work requirements were in place. (Heritage Action, Jan. 2014)
NOW: Cuts to the nation’s food stamp program enacted this year are only affecting four states, far from the sweeping overhaul that Republicans had pushed, an Associated Press review has found. As a result, it’s unclear whether the law will realize the estimated $8.6 billion in savings over 10 years that the GOP had advertised. … Among the 16 states that allow the practice or some form of it, 12 governors have taken steps to avoid the food stamp cuts. (Associated Press, Sep. 2014)
Same goes for the farm portion of the farm bill:
On September 30th, the U.S. Export-Import Bank is scheduled to expire. Conservatives across the country have united against this cronyist institution, and the movement has spread to mainstream Americans. Also on September 30th, funding for some of the federal government expires, creating the need for a temporary funding bill. This Continuing Resolution, or CR, has become a vehicle for all kinds of policy, from Ex-Im to a key component of Obama’s new Syria “strategy.” Conservatives are rightly opposed to the CR for both process and policy reasons.
Call Your Representative Now
The Washington Post headline said
it all: Congress may pass Obama’s Syria proposal — without technically voting on it.
The Post explained:
“[I]n their bid to win support for the Syrian rebel training, White House officials have asked congressional leaders to include the measure on a temporary government funding bill … In other words: Under the scenario that Obama favors, there is no standalone vote on the Syria proposal itself — it would just be written into the bigger bill.”
Even Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA)Heritage ActionScorecardRep. Brad ShermanHouse Democrat Average6%, an enthusiastic supporter of the President’s overall Syria strategy, called the legislative process outlined above the “sneakiest of all maneuvers.”
Let’s be honest. President Obama isn’t exactly known for being straight-forward about his policies.
So it might not be a surprise to you that he changed his mind on the Export-Import Bank. Despite calling the cronyist institution “little more than a fund for corporate welfare” during his presidential campaign in 2008, Obama has spent his time in the White House doing the bank’s bidding. Recently, in one of his weekly addresses, the President specifically called for Ex-Im’s reauthorization.
Touting misinformation about job creation and helping the economy, he sought to pressure Congress to reauthorize the bank. The President even said it was just the status quo in Washington to reauthorize the bank and “this time shouldn’t be any different.”
At Heritage Action, we are not satisfied with Washington’s status quo, which is why we are fighting to end the Export-Import Bank.
When we saw Obama’s abrupt about-turn on Ex-Im, we knew that we needed to bring it to the forefront of the fight to end the Bank. That’s why we made this video to drive calls into congressional offices and help activists with their messaging.
As the video says, Obama is now using phony job creation numbers to crutch Ex-Im. We know that Ex-Im has no discernible impact on the number of jobs in America. What Ex-Im does do for the American economy is pick winners and losers, inviting cronyism and corruption, and distorting the free market.
The Export-Import Bank should not be reauthorized. Call Congress now and tell your Representative to oppose any bill that reauthorizes Ex-Im.
Make the Call Now