Sunday, 2 October 2005

Congress Critter Calling Campaign

With Republicans reeling, there's no better time I can imagine for the concerned public to start hammering their representatives in Congress for reform and passage of a few bills that Tom DeLay managed to keep from ever coming to a vote.

It may be hard to generate public outrage over inappropriate procedural power in the hands of the majority leader, but the public can easily understand flagrant mistreatment of guest workers, and perhaps the need to limit corporate consolidation of media ownership. These are two bills that I know of which were proposed in the House of Representatives, which had bipartisan support and a high likelihood of passing, but which were never brought to a vote because DeLay had political debts to uphold, and was able to use his position to keep them off the floor.

Now is the time for Democrats, and Republicans for that matter, to re-introduce these pieces of legislation and insist that they get a fair hearing in Congress. I don't trust them to act on their own - we need to start a nationwide calling / letter writing / leafleting / emailing campaign to let our Congress critters know that we DO care about having popular measures getting a vote in Congress. George Miller has introduced the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2005, which one site lists as bill 2429 and another lists as 3732. But 3732 appears at another location to be a Republican sponsored bill to credit employers of tipped minimum wage earners. I'm looking into the discrepancy.

At any rate, we need to push Congress at this critical time to take on the issues that DeLay pocketed, and bring more public scrutiny to the process.

[UPDATE: The George Miller bill which includes an increase in the minimum wage is H.R. 2429; and a nearly identical bill introduced by Sherwood Boehlert of New York is H.R. 3413. Both are now stuck in the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, where DeLay apparently used his influence to keep them parked there. I have sent an email to my Congressman, Jay Inslee, seeking his advice on how citizens might most effectively have a voice concerning bills which are stuck in Committee. Certainly contacting your Representative is always appropriate, but those on the relevant committee may be the best to contact. I'm especially thinking of any Republicans there who are in contested Districts. I'll report back with further info.

ALSO - If you have any information on the particular legislation from much longer ago which had been proposed to limit media consolidation, but which the Majority Leader used his power to keep from coming up, PLEASE let me know with a comment here.]

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