Reminder

Phone your Representative. It feels better than yelling at pseudonyms on an internetblog.

Here is how you do it.

(1) Use a phone. Email has nigh on zero impact. Trust me on this. Letter mail gets read, but you don’t have time. Reach the House switchboard at (202) 224-3121 .

(2) Remember, this person works for you. You pay his or her salary and you voted for them. You’re the boss here, or at least one of them, and it’s they who should worry about what you think of them.

(3) Identify your name and the town or neighborhood where you live zip code. If you are not a constituent don’t bother. Since you guys never listen to me, at least google a zip code in the appropriate district before you call.

(4) State the issue. This is easy: pass the Senate bill or the party gets it. We can (and certainly will) fix the shortcomings later.

(5) How strongly do you feel? Don’t apologize about feeling passionate or pissed off. The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

(6) What are you going to do about it? (Updated from earlier) This part is not that relevant when they’re getting a ton of calls. Every teabagger threatens the end of the world, so they get pretty jaded about it.

One last, important point. We want to track where Representatives are swinging on this and who is willing to commit. However your Rep’s intern responds about the Senate bill, please email me or post it in the comments. We are most interested to know who is voting yes, who will vote no, who will not commit and whether the abortion language is a problem with conservative Dems.



***Update***

It can’t hurt to assure the intern that you hate the Senate too, and you’ll gladly get behind punishing those guys just as soon as we get this stupid bill passed and over with. House members are LIVID at the Senate right now.

***Update 2***

As BTD points out, it cannot hurt and may do a ton of good if you call your Senator as well. The ultimate win situation is to have the House commit to passing the Senate bill while the Senate commits to fixing its bill through reconciliation.

I may be too jaded to hope for that kind of win, but who knows. I would never feel happier to be wrong.






110 replies
  1. 1
    Mary says:

    FWIW, I reported that Van Hollen was ready to pass the Senate bill, which is what his aide told me on Wednesday. TPM conflicts with me and says that Van Hollen is ready to pass the Senate bill with concurrent amending legislation.

  2. 2
    BTD says:

    Are you no longer calling Senators to urge passage of a companion excise tax fix via reconciliation?

  3. 3
    Shalimar says:

    I guess I should call even though I don’t think it will do any good. My rep is Bobby Bright, one of the idiots who think the solution to all of our problems is more tax cuts. Not exactly a team player. And both Alabama senators are solid republicans.

  4. 4

    It feels better than yelling at pseudonyms on an internetblog.

    Unfortunately, my rep. is a right-wing tool who voted against SCHIP and HCR. He’s also against raising the debt ceiling. Yelling at pseudonyms on an internetblog feels a lot better than realizing I’m represented by a man with no conscience.

  5. 5
    Len says:

    My “representatives” (Sessions, Hutchinson, Cornyn) are all, as you know, right wing Republicans. I really don’t need to call them in order to report how they swing on anything.

  6. 6

    @arguingwithsignposts: What happened to the edit function? It was around earlier. I was just going to add that I’ve already written the guy and promised I’d never vote for his sorry ass after he voted against SCHIP expansion, so there ya go.

  7. 7
    Reginald Perrin says:

    Martin Heinrich’s (NM01) office did not say where he stood on passing the Senate bill, but I registered my support….

  8. 8

    @Len:
    I’m sorry. At least I have some Dem. senators to soften the blow. Sessions and Cornyn – ugh.

  9. 9
    TR says:

    I used to be represented by an uber-wingnut, and still called anyway. It’s nice to break through the conservative echo chamber and, if nothing else, to let the nice young Republican who answers the phone see that liberals aren’t the caricatures that Glenn Beck makes them out to be.

  10. 10
    jwb says:

    I called on Wednesday, got a non-committal answer. Planning to call again this morning.

    I still don’t see how the Dems didn’t have contingency plans for a loss. I mean they’ve known for at least two weeks that there was a decent risk of losing the seat. They should have had scripts ready for everyone on what to say and do in the event of a loss. Yet it appears they only started thinking about what to do on Tuesday night, so now we have this spectacle of the Dems running around like chickens with their heads cut off and letting the “sky is falling” contingent own the news cycles. That, my friends, is a complete and utter failure of leadership all around. Heads should already be rolling.
    /rant

  11. 11
    Mary says:

    I just talked to Van Hollen’s office again and they have moved into saying that all options are on the table but acknowledge that they did tell me on Wednesday that he would vote for the Senate bill.

    The aide told me that they really appreciate the calls, even if one calls every day.

    Is there a list of the zip codes applicable to the progressive caucus? I want to see if I know anyone in those districts that I can get to call their congress person.

  12. 12
    jwb says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Edit function is working fine for me.

  13. 13
    Mary says:

    Healthcare luminaries are out with a new letter to the leaders in the House, saying, “PASS THE DAMN SENATE BILL, WE CAN FIX IT LATER”

    ttp://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2010/01/leading-health-care-experts-tell-house-to-pass-senate-health-care-bill.php?ref=fpa

  14. 14
    damn good mr. jam says:

    Sucks to live in DC.

  15. 15
    Evinfuilt says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:
    I know the feeling.

    Let me go call my Congressman… “Hey Dr. Paul, would you please try and expand healthcare, vote for the current bill available… Hey, why are you laughing so hard?”

  16. 16
    Tim F. says:

    @BTD: I was not as focused on it because reports indicate that the Senate will do nothing until they see the House moving first. Nonetheless, you are right that pressure on the Senate is ultimately just as important if we want to get a good bill as opposed to a shit-and-banana sandwich.

  17. 17
    Andy says:

    And here I am stuck with Ron Paul, as well. He didn’t even have a challenger last cycle.

    Democracy!

  18. 18
    Shade Tail says:

    I mentioned this in an earlier thread, but here it is again:

    I contacted the office of Mike Honda (eastern half of Santa Clara Co., CA) and was told that he’s on the fence because he’s disappointed at no public option. I replied that I “strongly recommend” a pass-now-fix-later approach so that we get some good consumer protections.

  19. 19
    DurangoDave says:

    @Len: We live in the same district. I spent a good bit of last year calling, writing and personally taking petitions to all of them. Right now, I’d as soon just bang my head against the wall. It probably wouldn’t hurt as much.

  20. 20
    Seanly says:

    Unfortunately, my representative is the gargoyle Joe Wilson.

  21. 21
    KDP says:

    Called Pete Stark’s office again. The staffer/intern who answered indicated that Stark has not given his office a position on the issue because he has been working with other legislators to come to a decision.

    I was assured, again, that my message would be communicated to Congressman Stark and I made sure to express my support for Stark’s generally progressive stance on social issues.

  22. 22
    tazistanjen says:

    @Shalimar: I think it is a good idea if you can stand to, just so they hear an opposing view now and then. But I am a hypocrite, because when I had Wayne Allard I never called him. But I think I sent him a fax or two, feeling that at least I didn’t have to deal with his smirking aides that way.

  23. 23
    wvng says:

    I called Rockefeller. Asked him to go public and support a reconciliation bill and encourage the House to act.

  24. 24

    @Seanly: You lie!

    (Some idiot had to do it. May as well be me.)

  25. 25
    TooManyJens says:

    Faxes get read, don’t they. I like sending faxes to my Congresscritters — sometimes I get nervous on the phone and choke.

  26. 26
    Corner Stone says:

    @jwb:

    I still don’t see how the Dems didn’t have contingency plans for a loss. I mean they’ve known for at least two weeks that there was a decent risk of losing the seat. They should have had scripts ready for everyone on what to say and do in the event of a loss.

    I agree with you but I for one am still puzzled at why we reached a point where this one election could’ve turned the whole apple cart over. The question is what plan did they have in place to ever *actually* pass HCR?

  27. 27
    wonkie says:

    I called Norm Dicks’ office to urgehim to vote for whatever the hell stupid version of health reform made it to a vote. The staffer who answered the phone was about as responsive as message macine.

    Dicks will probably do the right thing. He’s OK on most issues. The timber industry and Boeing don’t have a dog in this fight and he isn’t an insurance industry pawn. At leastnot to my knowledge.

  28. 28
    El Cid says:

    Perspective, again:

    The fact still remains that that even if every liberal voted for the Senate bill, they still wouldn’t have the votes because of Stupak and his handful of anti-choice zealots. And I’m seeing nothing out there that indicates that they have changed their minds in the wake of Brown’s victory and are now persuaded to vote for health care reform if only those damned liberals weren’t making such a fuss.

    To wit, Stupak, same link, from Newsweek: “Everyone’s talking about Plan B, Plan B is dead,” he said. “We’re not passing the Senate bill, so you best come up with Plan C now.”

    As far as I’m aware, Stupak’s not a firebagger. I don’t think Pelosi’s playing librul panicky games when she points out that a bunch of Christianist asses are going to try and kill health care reform because it doesn’t assign capital punishment to doctors who mention the “a” word.

  29. 29
    flounder says:

    Ann Kirkpatrick is a big “don’t know”. I know her staffer that answered the phone sounds stressed out.

  30. 30
    BR says:

    Remember to tell your congressperson (if a progressive) that even Bernie Sanders voted for this bill – the socialist from Vermont I wish was my senator – so it’s progressive enough.

  31. 31
    Mr Furious says:

    I have to drive past Shuler’s office today. If I have time, I’m going in to talk to an actual person.

  32. 32
    Scott P. says:

    My “representatives” (Sessions, Hutchinson, Cornyn) are all, as you know, right wing Republicans. I really don’t need to call them in order to report how they swing on anything.

    Repeating my advice from earlier. Call then up and give them hell anyways.

  33. 33
    Woodbuster says:

    Steve Benen has it right. We need a new mantra.

    Pass. The. Damn. Bill.

    Pass. The. Damn. Bill.

    Pass. The. Damn. Bill.

  34. 34
    satby says:

    I called my rep Blue Dog Dan Lipinski, and gave a pretty passionate talk about why he needs to support HCR and worry about tweaking “things he’s concerned with” after.
    He’s a diabetic (inside knowledge helps) and I pointed out to the staffer that Lipinski enjoys health care benefits that many of his unemployed constituents do not. I got the usual crap his office spits out about what a “prolife” guy he is, and again pointed out that that position doesn’t really reflect his constitients all that well either.
    He’s a useless tool who’s as bad as a Repug, but at least I called.

  35. 35
    Woodbuster says:

    Unfortunately, the most reasonable representative I have in Congress is Lindsay Graham. So, instead, I have written letters to Pelosi, Emanuel and Obama today.

    Beats sitting on my hands for now.

  36. 36
    dww44 says:

    I will call as I go down the road to sit with my 92 year old Mom who has dementia in her nursing home. Her reliable sitter just called me and said she was sick. However, I will note that my Rep is a committed blue-dog democrat who has voted no on all health related legislation for the last couple of years, including S-Chip. He really is a good guy and did shoot down the birthers at his town hall meeting back in November, but sometimes I wonder why he calls himself a Dem. Am not wasting time on Chambliss nor Isakson, since he lost me when he disowned his very own end-of-life proposals back in the summer. Will report back in later this evening.

  37. 37
    Tedwin says:

    Not sure if this has been covered or not, but figured I’d add it for the good of the cause: I just spoke with Jim Moran’s office (D-VA, 8th District) and they said he considers the Senate bill dead and supports doing everything through the budget reconciliation process. How brave.

  38. 38
    Robin G. says:

    @Scott P.: Agreed. It’s not like the teabaggers didn’t call their Dem representatives. I’m not saying it’ll persuade them, but why should the Republicans get to sit in their quiet offices, chuckling amicably in their insular little circlejerk, while the Democrats get buried under the deluge from both sides? At least make the GOP listen to their damn phones ringing all day.

  39. 39
    jwb says:

    @Corner Stone: In the days leading up to the Massachusetts election it struck me that they had pretty much come up with compromise legislation, based on the Senate approach but with a lot of tweaks. So I think that would have gone through right around the time of the SotU address. But, yeah, I agree, how does losing one vote in the Senate upend the cart like this?

    And why are there no contingency plans—but this has been the problem all along. No one seems to be thinking ahead—especially the administration, despite Obama’s reputation for 11-dimensional chess. Really, at this point, he doesn’t seem even to be playing tic-tac-toe, and the lack of contingency planning is starting to remind me of the Bush administration, which likewise never seemed to plan for adverse outcomes, but at least always had the universal fallback position of “cut taxes.” Obama and the Dems don’t even have that. If we didn’t have to live it, this would actually make a pretty good farce.

  40. 40
    jwb says:

    @El Cid: Ever since the Stupak amendment passed I’ve been worried that at some point we’d have to face a real choice between HCR and abortion, because I’m almost certain that a strong public option, perhaps even universal Medicare, could be passed with substantial Gooper support if the abortion language was sufficiently punitive. That, and not the payoff to the insurance companies, has always been the shit sandwich I’ve feared.

  41. 41
    Mary says:

    It really is as Ailurade has been saying–that there is extraordinary misinformation being slung about HCR that has the marks of a sophisticated disinformation campaign. There is a diary on the rec list at DKos by NYCEve (a healthcare blogger and former FDLer) right now urging people to sign her petition for reconciliation. In the diary she says this:

    It doesn’t have to be this way. The House can pass the Senate bill, with what is being called an immediate fix or patch via a reconciliation process which would ameliorate many of the myriad shortcomings of the Senate bill…PLEASE HELP US FIGHT FOR RECONCILIATION BY SIGNING THIS PETITION!

    And yet the petition itself says this:

    Passing the Senate bill is a recipe for disaster–it’s not a bill the Senate should be proud of.

    There’s an alternative, it’s called RECONCILIATION…What can we pass through reconciliation? The public option. The Medicare expansion. The Medicaid expansion.

    A plea to readers wanting the Senate bill passed and fixed later urges them to sign a petition saying Kill the Bill. Extraordinary.

    I can’t figure out whether NYCEve is being intentionally misleading or even understands that she is being misleading. Either way, her readers are being played very badly. This is precisely the behavior that GOP lobbying shops use to misinform and misdirect grass roots citizens into calling Congress urging Congress to do the exact opposite of what the citizen thinks he or she is trying to do. It’s a wonder that that she and her cohort Slinkerwink can get away with misinforming the readers of DKos each and every day without being called on it by the administrators of that site.

    Makes you wonder…

  42. 42
    RS says:

    @TooManyJens:

    Faxes get read, don’t they. I like sending faxes to my Congresscritters—sometimes I get nervous on the phone and choke.

    Faxes get sorted more quickly than email, but still end up in the “not as important” pile on the staffer’s desk. Nothing is as effective as a phone call.

    Just call, and find out the position of the person you are speaking to.
    If its an intern, just be clear that you are in favor of getting healthcare legislation enacted and tell them to mark you down as a “pro-healthcare reform” caller.
    If its a Staff Assistant or Legislative Correspondent, you can be more specific.
    It its a Legislative Assistant, I’d recommend being blunt and more specific, because these are the people actually talking to the Congressperson, but try to keep it quick because these people don’t like answering the phone and only do it when all lower staffers are already on other lines.

    Pass. The. Damn. Bill.

    Pass. The. Damn. Bill.

    Pass. The. Damn. Bill.

    I actually think having everyone say “Pass the damn bill” is a very good idea. A tally sheet of callers saying “Pass the damn bill” will definitely make it to the Congressperson by this afternoon, whereas just general pro-healthcare sentiment will be relayed but not in the same manner.

  43. 43
    Mary says:

    @Mary: Well, I messed up my formatting. Damn it.

  44. 44
    Robin G. says:

    @RS:

    Faxes get sorted more quickly than email, but still end up in the “not as important” pile on the staffer’s desk. Nothing is as effective as a phone call.

    Depends on how sucky the fax machine is. If you’re lucky, it’s one of the ones that can’t keep the printed page in the tray, and it falls out onto the floor. If two dozen people start faxing, that gets really annoying.

  45. 45
    matt says:

    just talked to the office of my rep, nydia velazquez (ny-12) — they said velazquez has not committed to voting for or against anything yet and is waiting for house leadership to propose a path forward. i registered my hope that the house would quickly pass the senate version and work to improve the bill by passing future legislation that the senate could enact through reconciliation, etc.

  46. 46
    Amanda says:

    I spoke with a staffer in John L. Lewis’s office. He said they’ve been getting lots of calls and agreed that doing nothing is untenable.

  47. 47
    Robin G. says:

    You know, from what I’ve read here and on TPM about communications with the House, do you get the impression that they simply don’t want to clean up the Senate’s mess? That they see no reason why they should have to eat their bill just because the guys on the other side of the building fucked up?

    I mean, I’m sympathetic, but petulance is not an excuse here. Sometimes you have to swallow your pride. Pass the damn bill, then punch Max Baucus in the face when you see him in the cafeteria.

  48. 48
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    My Rep, Ben Ray Luhan (NM3), is “reviewing the Senate bill.” I urged that he get behind it, said I felt very strongly about it.

    I also called Senator Tom Udall’s office the other day (he used to be our rep, so I asked the switchboard for him – duh!) and urged him to get behind the bill. As you say, can’t hurt.

    I’m not a big caller/writer of congresscritters, but this was really easy, so I think I’ll do it more often. Thanks for getting me off my duff.

  49. 49
    Sarah says:

    well tim you got me to call my rep for the first time ever. just talked to rep blumenauer’s office, and got pretty much the same message as was posted by someone else earlier. the congressman is working to make the bill as strong as possible – no commitment on what he will do moving forward. but the nice intern assured me he is working hard on it.

  50. 50
    Corner Stone says:

    @Robin G.:

    I mean, I’m sympathetic, but petulance is not an excuse here. Sometimes you have to swallow your pride. Pass the damn bill, then punch Max Baucus in the face when you see him in the cafeteria.

    I’m not sure I’d categorize it as petulance. Last I checked the House was supposed to have some say in legislation as well. It doesn’t surprise me that a much more diverse group with specialty constituencies to appease is balking here.

  51. 51
    Anthony says:

    Called Rep. Doggett (Austin-D). His intern says she doesn’t know where he stands on the bill. Gave her the spiel, “What the point of being a Democrat if we can’t pass the single thing that binds us together? It would be like being a Republican and not hating gays and women.”

    At least she laughed at my joke.

  52. 52
    Wex says:

    Just spoke to a staffer of my Congressman, Rep. Vic Snyder, easily the most conventional Democrat among Arkansas’ blue dog delegation and one I’m sorry to say is retiring at the end of the term in large part because his wife recently had triplets. Anyhow, his staffer aid that Snyder continues to support health-care reform, though she didn’t know specifically where he stood on the Senate bill. I am hopeful though. Snyder, a former family physician in rural Arkansas, has continually stressed the necessity of reform and not letting the perfect being the enemy of the good. For example, in the runup to last year’s vote, he said he would support a public option but would also support a bill without it (with the idea that there may be many other ways to control costs.

  53. 53
    Corner Stone says:

    @jwb:

    I’ve been worried that at some point we’d have to face a real choice between HCR and abortion

    How is this a “real choice” though? I’ve never understood how people could make a decision to negotiate away a genders equality. Like that’s a bargaining chip that can be tossed onto the table?

    If you say, “swallow the damn excise tax, it’s good for you”. Or other ways and means to get this thing stuffed through, I’ll fight with you about it but ultimately try to accept it for the betterment of a lot of people (if that can be shown).
    But on something like equality I just don’t plan to be reasonable. Call me idyllic, or whatever the hippie punching catchphrase of the day is.

  54. 54
    jwb says:

    @El Cid: Does Stupak even have the votes in the Senate to get his proposal through? because if he can’t show he can get his language through the Senate, by, say, bringing some Goopers along, he’s just blowing hot air and being obstructionist. The whole point is that the legislation needs to avoid going back to the Senate to circumvent the filibuster—so he needs to show that his proposal could do that. Good luck on that…

  55. 55
    El Cid says:

    How do you pressure Stupak and the coat-hanger crowd?

  56. 56
    El Cid says:

    @jwb: Stupak doesn’t, in my view, care about getting health care reform passed, he cares about getting laws and/or regulations against abortions passed, and for a while HCR was a way of doing that, as well as a strategy of attempting to use an anti-abortion plank to destroy the reform.

  57. 57
    Robin G. says:

    @El Cid:

    Stupak doesn’t, in my view, care about getting health care reform passed, he cares about getting laws and/or regulations against abortions passed posturing and getting his name on cable news.

    Fixed.

  58. 58
    DJ says:

    I’m trying to spread the word and focus on the importance of calling rather than emailing. Please help spread the word.

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=286250141807

  59. 59
    Pococurante says:

    If only I didn’t live in Texas. Calling our rethuglicans to push issues non-Blessed by Rush/FNC et al just encourages them further. :-P

  60. 60
    cfl says:

    Called Rep. Rick Larsen’s (D-WA) office. The intern didn’t know much, but it sounds like Larsen will follow the House leadership, whatever they decide. I made my sentiments (pass the damn bill!) clear.

  61. 61
    jwb says:

    @El Cid: Yes, but if HCR can’t get through the filibuster in the Senate, then it ceases to be an effective vehicle for his goal. That’s what I don’t understand. If he thinks he has at least one GOP Senator who would be willing to break the filibuster, then I can see getting his group to hang together might be used as leverage, but otherwise it makes about as much sense as those on the left who don’t want to pass the Senate bill because it doesn’t contain a public option.

  62. 62
    jenniebee says:

    Called Bobby Scott’s office, the staffer was willing to chat. He’s on board with HCR, but that was a given.

  63. 63
    DougL says:

    I called Melissa Bean’s (D-IL 8) again today. I asked if Congresswoman Bean had made a decision on whether she intended to support passage of the Senate bill. The person I spoke to indicated that the congresswoman had not made a decision yet and that she could take my comments and contact information, which would be provided to the congresswoman. I asked if they were keeping any kind of tally of which way feedback from constituents in the district were leaning. The staffer just repeated that she would be happy to take my comments and pass them on.

  64. 64
    JMG says:

    Called Ed Markey’s (Mass7) office at lunch from work. Staffer who answered the phone said of course Markey was for HCR but said she couldn’t comment when I asked about voting for Senate bill. She sounded like she wanted to jump out the window when I said I wanted to discuss HCR, and was very appreciative when I said it must be tough talking to emotional people all day. I was pleasant but emotional.

  65. 65
    Violet says:

    Just phoned my Rep’s office again. The person who answered the phone said there had been a LOT of calls on the subject of Health care reform in the last few days and the calls were very much appreciated and helped shape opinion.

    KEEP CALLING, PEOPLE!

    Tim F, I emailed you with an update.

  66. 66
    Help Me Rhonda says:

    I just called Allyson Schwartz’s office. The staffer didn’t commit to voting for the senate version of the bill, but said they are looking at it and that the congresswoman will not “let this opportunity at health care reform pass us by.”

  67. 67
    Chris Russell says:

    Called Frank Wolf, R-VA. Asked for passage of the Senate bill and a legislative fix to unlimited corporate advocacy of political candidates. I’m sure my 15-term Republican Congressman will be happy to oblige.

  68. 68
    jpbelmondo says:

    I spoke with an intern in Yvette Clarke’s office to express my opinion that passing the Senate bill is the best option at this point (despite sending her $ this summer to support the public option.) Her intern didn’t know what her position was, but did check on it and reported back that it was “leadership’s call” and that she would likely follow whatever Pelosi et al. came up with.

    I am not too hopeful that “leadership” will actually lead in this situation. Why can’t we organize a march on Washington for health care reform? How does one even go about this?

  69. 69
    RobertB says:

    Called Rep. Kilroy (D – OH 15). She was in a meeting. Bent the ear of the nice but IMO naive lady who answered the phone who seemed to have faith in reconciling the House/Senate bill. Told her that I didn’t think that was going to happen.

  70. 70
    Oakland says:

    Barbara Lee’s intern had no idea how she would vote. Seemed unaware of the whole thing.

  71. 71
    Sarah says:

    Called Tierney (MA-6). The intern I spoke with does not know where he stands on passing a Senate bill, but said she would pass my message along.

  72. 72

    […] Get on the horn and make a suggestion. (202) 224-3121. Instructions for first-timers here. […]

  73. 73

    […] Balloon Juice: Phone your Representative. It feels better than yelling at pseudonyms on an […]

  74. 74
    mak says:

    Called Allyson Schwartz’s DC, Philly and MontCo, PA offices. Staffers/interns in none of the three offices could say what Rep. Schwarz’s position on the Senate bill was, what her plan going forward was, or when they anticipated that she would have a position on voting for the Senate bill.

  75. 75
    MoZeu says:

    Sestak’s aide says he is still reviewing the issue. Seemed receptive to my thoughts and was clearly already well-familiar with the possibility that some fixes could be accomplished through reconciliation.

    I guess I might as well call Specter and Casey as well. My Rep is actually Gerlach and there is honestly no point in calling him. It’s not worth anyone’s time.

  76. 76
    aimai says:

    I just had a *really* long talk with Capuano’s staff guy. He says (but I can’t believe its true) that a) there is no master plan. The leadership simply hasn’t told everyone how to vote or what the plan is. b) that Capuano is very concerned because “on page 1005 of the Senate bill” there is a provision that says that the house can *never amend* any of the bad sections of the bill as it relates to medicare or anything else and that the senate won’t/can’t without a three fifths vote. I found that simply impossible to believe since I don’t think you can insert an provision in a bill that is binding on all future legislators. At any rate the impression I got is that the congresspeople seem to think they can/must still bargain and not just “pass the senate bill”. If they actually think there’s time–political time and real time–to keep tinkering I think we are totally fucked. There isn’t. There would be plenty of time if it was clear that there was a clear path to voting and getting something passed, and a clear whip strategy, but that’s part of the problem. There’s no plan, no path, no whip strategy. No one trusts anyone else to come through with any promises about future action. So there can’t be any individual action taken. Its like a massively bad prisoner’s dilemma.

    aimai

  77. 77
    blue oak says:

    I called Jim McDermott’s office (my rep). Sort of generic reply from staffer. “He supports reform.” She gave the impression that he doesn’t want to let it drop, but not clear what he will do specifically.

  78. 78
    Kelly says:

    Rep Gwen Moore for WI 4th District
    meh leaning yes – staff says they are drafting a response and will post it on her website shortly.

  79. 79
    blue oak says:

    Also called both my senators, Cantwell and Murray, just for good measure, re: anything they can do to help move a Senate reconciliation vehicle that would help the House swallow the Senate bill. Murray’s person basically said, “Message noted.” Cantwell’s person said that Cantwell had backed a public option, so presumably would be behind such a thing. Also called the White House urging Obama to push this strategy. (I was a little surprised that when you call the White House comment line (202-456-1111) you actually wait for, and get, a real person–but I don’t think they can say much more than “I understand what you’re saying, and will pass it along.”) Also sent an e-mail to the Speaker.

  80. 80
    Tim F. says:

    @aimai:

    Capuano is very concerned because “on page 1005 of the Senate bill” there is a provision that says that the house can never amend any of the bad sections of the bill as it relates to medicare or anything else and that the senate won’t/can’t without a three fifths vote.

    It seems farcical to think that a provision like that would survive a legal challenge.

  81. 81
    Dr. Morpheus says:

    I called my ineffably scummy Representative Tim Johnson (DC office) and left a message with an intern who managed to sound both terminally bored and utterly hostile once I said that I wanted Johnson to vote for the Senate bill.

    The intern refused several times to say whether Johnson had announced any official position (even though he’s already stated he’s against any HCR).

    I also called Durbin and Burris (DC offices) and both their interns were cheerful and polite. I could hear them typing in everything that I said.

    I asked them to urge their fellow Democrats in the House to pass the Senate bill and to publicly commit to passing a Reconciliation bill that addresses the concerns of the House Democrats.

    I hope this helps.

  82. 82
    TG says:

    Eddie Bernice Johnson didn’t indicate one way or the other.

  83. 83
    Huntski says:

    Forgive me for not calling my rep, but I don’t think John Campbell (R-Behind the Orange Curtain in CA) will be voting in favor of HCR in his lifetime. I suppose I could annoy whatever drone answers the phone, but they might recognize my voice and cancel my membership in the Newport Beach Yacht Club. It’s tough these days to find dock space for my inflatable dinghy.

  84. 84
    Dr. Morpheus says:

    @jpbelmondo:

    Hear, hear! Honestly, can we organize a march? I would be happy to join. Even though I’ve been unemployed for just over a year I could scrap up the money to fly out to DC for a march in support for HCR.

  85. 85
    dwgelbman says:

    called Rep. Tom Perriello’s office (Dem from Central Virginia).

    They noted my full name, zip and opinion and “promised” to pass it on to the congressman.

  86. 86

    […] That’s the message to congressional Democrats.  If you want health reform to pass, call your representative.  If they are in favor of passing it, give ‘em props.  If they’re not, tell them why […]

  87. 87
    Weebot says:

    Thought I’d add one to the list: Loretta Sanchez (CA-47) is essentially waiting for leadership to take a position before moving forward. She’s been one of the best Blue Dogs on Health Care Reform, and considering she’s being targeted by the GOP, I really really am praying she doesn’t back down.

  88. 88
    C.J. says:

    I called my congressman from Georgia, David Scott (fyi, he’s a member of the Blue Dog coalition). Congressman Scott has not committed to whether he supports holding a vote for the Senate HCR bill, or if it comes up for a vote, whether he would vote in favor of it.

    Scott’s intern said that he wanted to hear from his constituents before deciding. So, if you live in his district, then give him a call.

  89. 89
    Ron says:

    Called Congressman Arcuri’s (D-NY) office. Guy who answered the phone says he’s still looking over the bill and hasn’t made a decision. I told him I hoped he would vote to pass the bill and he took the message along with my name and address.

  90. 90
    Larkspur says:

    Okay, I called Lynn Woolsey. I know she is in favor of HCR, but her intern was non-committal on whether she favored passing the damn bill now. I think that’s how she’ll go, but I got on record as pro-PTDB in an urgent kind of way.

    Then I called Mike Honda’s office and told the intern that I’d heard that he was disappointed in the lack of a public option, that I was too, and that OMG he still should PTDB.

  91. 91

    […] is the message every member of Congress needs to hear. Raise your voice. Let them […]

  92. 92
    John B says:

    Just spoke to the lady who answers the phone in Ed Towns’s office (NY-10, probably one of the safest seats in the country, in Brooklyn). First she said that Towns would vote for whatever the House and Senate agreed upon, almost as if she was unaware of this week’s events. When I pointed out those events, she said yes, he would vote for the existing Senate bill. I’ll take her word for it, I guess, though her initial apparent cluelessness left me less than 100% convinced that he’s ever committed to that out loud.

    Then I asked if, even though he’s in a safe seat, he’s aware that the Dems will be slaughtered if they let this thing die like this, and she hesitatingly said, “I’ll tell him.” I finished by saying he should talk to his colleagues about this, but by this point I could hear the “please just let me get off the phone” tone in her voice, so, you know, whatever.

    He’s sort of a machine guy, so I do think he would vote for it. But the phone-answerer just sounded like la-dee-da, everything’s normal. Which doesn’t fill me with confidence.

  93. 93
    DanBronx71 says:

    Speaking as someone who voted for Obama…

    Which part of the Bill should I tell my congressman to pass? The one that will allow Congress to put a permanent lien on my body? The one that will allow the IRS to FINE me for NOT buying health insurance?

    Or is it that part of the BILL which exempted UNIONs but puts the cost on other taxpayers?

    Yah…what BILL… which part of the Bill tell me? Everyone one who is calling for Congress to pass this BILL… have you even read a lick of the 3,000 plus page legislation?

    There’s HEALTHCARE REFORM…. and there’s a HEALTHCARE BILL… Don’t you guys understand the difference?!!!

  94. 94
    wyliecoat says:

    Called my rep Pete Stark, District 13 in CA. Staffer said he has not been in communication with the congressman for 2 weeks because Stark has been working himself ragged in this issue! What hooey!. Anyway, I told him to convey to the congressman that
    – Will not be voting for him or any other Democrat if HCR doesn’t pass

    – I am okay with him passing the Senate Bill as is.

    Sigh. I hope he passes along the message.

  95. 95
    Will Divide says:

    called luis gutierrez, il-04: aide said l.g. was waiting to see what the bill would be. i told her i wanted him to ask the leadership to bring the senate bill to the floor, to vote for the senate bill, and to encourage the rest of the hispanic caucus to do the same.

  96. 96
    CS Lewis Jr says:

    Man, I hate urging a generally very good rep to vote for this piece of shiat. But that’s where we are.

    Left a message in DC and talked to a staffer at Sam Farr’s Salinas office. He’s still officially undecided. I said either we pass the Senate monstrosity or that’s it for another 15 years and the party goes down in flames.

    The truly sucktastic part is that he would be voting against it for the right reasons, because Whoa Nellie that is one disgusting sausage. I also think what bothers some reps is that voting for it is basically acknowledging that our political system is essentially dysfunctional and that steaming piles of corporatist, bribe-laden garbage like the Senate bill is the best it is capable of producing. It’s like you spend your career working at a giant machine that is supposed to spin dross into gold, or at least a goldish substance, and what it actually produces is an endless rope of turds containing just enough undigested corn kernels and cahew fragments to sustain life if you can pick them out and wash the off. And now a bunch of people who clearly consider themselves the management and you the machine-tending rube are demanding that you climb the nearest hilltop with a megaphone and praise their goddamned corn. I would not like it much either.

    Still, that’s where we are and that’s the government we have. Hold your nose and salt the cashews.

  97. 97
    CS Lewis Jr says:

    @CS Lewis Jr:

    Spelling is hrad

  98. 98

    […] First-time callers should refer to the guide here. […]

  99. 99

    I tried to call my House representatives, both Harold Coble and Virginia Fox, and was transferred to their voice mails, respectively. After approx 20 rings per number, the switchboard operator came back on the line each time and just stated, “This voice mail is not picking up”. So, this was a wasted effort. Now I know that these representatives are not interested in what I have to say about the Health Care Bill.

  100. 100

    […] First time callers should read this. […]

  101. 101
  102. 102
    Thomas Masterson says:

    Called Scott Murphy’s office, and let them know how I felt. Murphy “has no position” on the Senate bill, but he’s for health reform. Woo-hoo! Imagine my relief. I wasn’t all that hopeful, until the staffer said he’d pass it along to Scott. THat last thing was sarcasm, btw.

  103. 103
    tudore says:

    Called Rep. McGovern (D-MA): his staffer said that he supported the bill, and was working with other members to get what we could.

    I also called Kerry, and his staffer said his position on reconciliation was that it should be used as a last resort. I plan to call again and ask specifically about stripping out the Nelson deal, and let him know I know his term is up in ’14.

  104. 104
    zftcg says:

    Posted this in the other thread, but I called Ed Towns’ office and was told he would vote for whatever health-care bill came to the floor. I tried to press for more specifics, but the person I spoke just kept repeating that line. I think that qualifies as a yes.

  105. 105
  106. 106

    […] you make your calls today? The Senate switchboard: 202-224-3121. That would be a great place to […]

  107. 107
  108. 108
    Colleen says:

    I called. I live in Wyoming, so this is a fairly pointless exercise. When I added the comment that I’m disappointed with the Republicans’ overall obstreperousness, the intern started arguing with me. “Democrats have such great majorities in Congress they should be able to pass whatever they want.” She could not see that this was completely irrelevant to my complaint.

  109. 109

    […] Ask your House Member to Pass The Damn Bill. Tell your Senators YES on reconciliation. Ask Repubs whether they support the Ryan budget proposal (e.g., tossing Social Security and Medicare to the private sector). Switchboard: (202) 224-3121. Guide for first timers here. […]

  110. 110
    Chief says:

    My rep is the minority leader. I live in OH-08.

    What I am at a loss to understand is why Voinovich, who is not running for re-election in the Senate this fall, is anti-public.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] Ask your House Member to Pass The Damn Bill. Tell your Senators YES on reconciliation. Ask Repubs whether they support the Ryan budget proposal (e.g., tossing Social Security and Medicare to the private sector). Switchboard: (202) 224-3121. Guide for first timers here. […]

  2. […] you make your calls today? The Senate switchboard: 202-224-3121. That would be a great place to […]

  3. […] First time callers should read this. […]

  4. […] First-time callers should refer to the guide here. […]

  5. […] is the message every member of Congress needs to hear. Raise your voice. Let them […]

  6. […] That’s the message to congressional Democrats.  If you want health reform to pass, call your representative.  If they are in favor of passing it, give ‘em props.  If they’re not, tell them why […]

  7. […] Balloon Juice: Phone your Representative. It feels better than yelling at pseudonyms on an […]

  8. […] Get on the horn and make a suggestion. (202) 224-3121. Instructions for first-timers here. […]

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