Call Me, Call Me Anytime

From what I hear a lot of Democratic staffers already have Steve Benen’s strategy memo on their desks. It is a good plan that I agree with 100%. Go read about it here and then bring it up by name when you call your Rep this afternoon.

The switchboard: 202-224-3121

Read this if you have never called a Representative.

33 replies
  1. 1
    Tenzil Kem says:

    The memo is excellent. Can someone buy or something and have it redirect to the memo?

  2. 2
    danimal says:

    This article is so common-sense and compelling that I’m having a hard time figuring out how the Dem establishment is going to ignore Benen’s advice.

    But I have faith; they’re political professionals.

  3. 3
    ellaesther says:

    @ Tim F.: Thanks again, and I’ll be calling my Representative after I read the memo more carefully, and will mention it by name.

    Just to help folks out again:

    The Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121

  4. 4

    By the by — THANK YOU guys; John, Tim, Doug(E Fresh) for getting folks focused on how we change the system, and not just on how we bitch on the InterTubes.

    It may not feel as good, but as someone who’s worked briefly in Congress as a page, and who’s been a layperson watching and studying it since, the calls and such sometimes make more of a difference than people know. The environment might be more locked down than ever, but that’s even more reason to encourage politicos to do the right thing.

  5. 5
    sparky says:

    as designated troll, i want to point this out:
    the heart of this strategy (aside from some other guestimates) is, it seems, this:

    the House should quickly approve the Senate bill, the Senate should extend assurances to the House about proposed changes, and the White House should provide the leadership that brings the contingents together.

    assuming #1 could happen, what exactly does “the Senate should extend assurances” mean? seriously, does anyone really think that is anything other than an invitation to get rolled?

    if you want to do something different, get the Senate bill changed, then get that though the House. or go straight to conference. but this idea is a disaster waiting to happen.

    oh, and of course it also relies on magic point # 3. might as well ask for a pony while we are at it.

    and incidentally, it relies on non-existent power. you can’t execute a strategy if you don’t have the power to do it. this is a pundit proposal, period.

    edit: my preference at this point, not that anyone cares, is to break the bill apart into component parts that can be passed and also can’t be screwed with, like the recission claptrap currently is.

  6. 6
    Kirk Spencer says:

    Sparky, the problem with breaking it into component parts is two-fold.

    First, what makes you think the components can be passed any easier than the whole?

    Second, several components are interrelated. Breaking them apart creates imbalances.

    The first is the real show-stopper, of course. What practical effort can be done that’ll cause the components to pass – remembering each and every one has to pass the fricking 60 vote threshold multiple times.

  7. 7
    ellaesther says:

    @ellaesther: Thanks for putting up the number, Tim F.! (And the link for first-time callers — I’ve cut n’ pasted your advice to a draft on my own blog and will be using it [and giving you credit] the next time I make a political stink over there. Which, given the times, should probably be today…).

  8. 8
    Ian says:

    bought and set up the redirect. Will take a few hours for the DNS to update, but it’s there now.

    (open to other ideas as well as the simple redirect)

  9. 9
    Cris says:

    @Tenzil Kem: Got one, but I’ll wait until GoDaddy’s lousy forwarding goes into effect before posting it.

  10. 10
    curious says:

    @Ian: that’s awesome. thank you.

  11. 11
    Emily says:

    Just got off the phone with Feinstein’s office and they told me that the senator does not necessarily support the reconciliation process and does not agree that getting the House to pass the bill with the promise that the Senate will address concerns afterward is the best or only way forward. I’m flabbergasted. They said she was still “considering all the options” and “certainly thinks something needs to be done about health care.”

    When I called Friday to talk about reconciliation the woman in the office said, “Where’d you hear that? The news? We haven’t heard anything new about health care in three days.”

    What is going on over there?

  12. 12
    Seth says:

    Just got off the phone with Congressman David Scott D.C. office(GA’s 13th District) where I spoke to his aid assigned to healthcare reform. Scott was the Rep who had his office (not a mile from my house) defaced with a swastika last August.

    His aid said he was in favor of reform but wanted a stronger bill. I told her in no uncertain terms (voice wavering, close to tears) that he needed to ACT and not wait around.

    I hit on the hate crime angle multiple times, letting her know that if *anyone* should realize the cost of getting this done, it was him.

    She told me she’d pass it on to him, but also told me to get more folks to call.

    She was sharp and knew many of the finer points, but urged me to get my friends to call.

    My zipcode is 30082 if you need a place to make your voice heard.

  13. 13


    I checked already up, allready re-routed, I emailed Benen so he could direct link it from his front page. Thanks what a great idea!

    Edit: yes, I gave you correct attribution. I also told him to get on Rachel’s show, this needs a wider audience. And WE KNOW someone on her staff reads the BJ.

    Now if some one could tell me how to talk to my teabagging congresswoman and Senators with out verbally kicking them in the shins or punching them in the neck to get them to at least try to work at governing, then I’d be grateful. If not pass the valium and keep it coming through Nov.


  14. 14
    Ellie says:

    I called Connolly’s (VA-11) office again today. I also called both Webb and Warner to urge them to work with the House in reconciliation (assuming the House gets their act together).

    I didn’t get any particular information as to their current thinking, but they all said they were getting a good number of “pass the damn bill” calls. I was feeling pretty good but am now a bit deflated after hearing Emily’s report from DiFi’s office. Sigh.

  15. 15

    Ian, I tried to edit my last comment, but oh well. I did attribute this to you, because you deserve the credit, dude. (Edit fail)

    I also suggested he try to get on Rachel’s show because this needs a wider audience. And WE KNOW someone on her staff reads BJ.

  16. 16
    flounder says:

    I imagine if House Dems circulated a petition that said the following: we would like you agree to changing the following items within the Senate bill, via reconciliation, to the following [insert problems and solutions, like excise tax and Cornhusker kickback here].
    If you get 50 Senators to sign you can get the ball rolling.

  17. 17
    Ian says:

    @Dee – thanks! I emailed Benen as well – he seemed quite pleased with the idea :).

  18. 18
    Ana Gama says: works! good job, people! beers all around!

  19. 19
    CaseyL says:

    I’ve called the offices of McDermott, Inslee and Baird.

    The only one who really seemed interested in what I had to say was Inslee’s office.

    I’m just doing this because I promised I would. It really does look like the Dems – with a few exceptions – have simply checked out.

    I guess that’s considerate of them, to let us know early in the year not to bother contributing to or working on their 2010 campaigns.

  20. 20
    Violet says:

    Just called my Congressperson. The intern who answered the phone said no decision had been made, but I should “call back in a few weeks” to find out what the position was. A few weeks? Are you KIDDING ME? That kind of kicked me into high gear, and I went on about how we don’t have “a few weeks” and this needs to happen NOW.

    So I asked if they were aware of the Steven Benen memo that came out today. Intern said no. I said – well, kind of demanded, LOL – that everyone in the office, from the intern up to the Congressperson read it and take it to heart.

    Also said I supported candidates financially, but there would be no support unless health care gets passed.

    QUESTION – Would it help in any way to call the DNC and let them know that no money will be heading their way unless health care gets passed? Do they have any influence and would they care or do anything?

  21. 21
  22. 22
    Violet says:

    Congrats on! Well done! Now we need to get it out there.

    For the record, I also called the White House comment line and registered my support that the President support the House passing the Senate health care bill and also suggested he read the Steven Benen memo. Like that’s going to make it happen. LOL. Figure it can’t hurt though.

  23. 23
    Cris says:
    Sorry, not nearly as cool sounding as passthedamnbill.

  24. 24
    ellaesther says:

    Okee dokee, I just got off the phone with the office of Danny Davis(IL-07) (who I also called last week, btw, but much more briefly) — I said my piece, mentioned the memo, and asked the staffer who answered the phone what the Congressman’s thoughts are on the question, and he transferred me to Davis’s Health Legislative Assistant, who was so gracious and helpful and talked with me for, I don’t know, 15-20 minutes.

    Summary version of the conversation: Davis is, after all, a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and is pro-single payer himself, but he realizes that this is the best bill we have right now and is thinking of it in terms of a framework that can be filled in and built on later, much like Medicare.

    I asked how folks like me (and was very clear that I think of myself as a progressive) can help, asking “phone calls like these?” And he said “Oh without question, make the phone calls.”

    Personal, handwritten letters are also very powerful he said (“anytime a Congressional office gets 20 or so personal letters that are of the same opinion…”), but allowed as how the irradiation process in the Capitol slows the mails down considerably….

    He said that emails are also paid attention to, but did mention that any staffer is likely to get about 100 a day on this issue — to me that is an indication that if you’re going to go with email, make sure your subject line is sharp and stands out, and that your text is brief and to-the-point. Like, 150 words, tops.

    I then said “if I happen to know people who live in the districts of other members of the Progressive Caucus, should I encourage them to call?” and he said “oh, that would be excellent.” Here’s a link to a list of the members.

    So, just to re-iterate: Tim F., you are doing the work of our better angels here, and I thank you. This is clearly an important part of the process.

    And we should probably all be asking to speak with our Representatives’ Health Legislative Assistants.

    (And I’m sorry if some of this information has been shared in other threads on this issue. I will admit that I haven’t had time to follow all of them closely).

  25. 25

    Facebooked the Digg version of the link, mentioning

  26. 26
    Glidwrith says:

    @Emily: Then the staffer’s are lying through their teeth – I called in on Friday and just got dead silence when I told them the Senate needs to pass measures through reconciliation. I feel like I’ve got a hand tied behind my back because I’ve been constantly e-mailing my POS rep Duncan Hunter about health care. The guy at least responds, but he never acknowledges the numerous holes I shoot through his arguments; just comes back with more BS and cherry-picked data.

  27. 27
    McDevite says:

    For those of us whose reps and senators are cool (Danny Davis and Dick Durbin), what should we do?

  28. 28
    jibeaux says:


    Use the zip codes of relatives in less cool areas and call theirs?

  29. 29
    Sterling says:

    Just sent the following to the DNC:

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    Strategy for the DNC to ponder and pass around:

    I’m 61 years old, a yellow dog Democrat. If the Democrats do nothing on Health Care, they will be letting us know early in the year not to bother contributing to or working on their 2010 campaigns. Pass the damn bill.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    My apologies to CasyL at #19 for ripping off his/her sentence verbatim. It was just so well-said….

  30. 30
    Ruckus says:

    Call anyway. Aways call. Your rep can use the amount of calls, either supporting or not as a show of strength if or when discussing a bill. Even if a rep is full on progressive and would not need to be swayed by your call, your call gives him/her backing and power which can be used for persuasion, always a good thing. Your individual rep may or may not be about doing the right thing but congress as an organization is all about power negotiation, both in public and behind closed doors.

  31. 31
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    Okay, called Matsui’s district office and left a voicemail msg for the HCR guy (called the DC office last week).

    Called Feinstein’s office and probably got the high school volunteer. “The Senator supports health care reform and voted for it … repeat repeat repeat.” I did mention the Benen memo and where to find it.

    I also make sure to let them know that people ARE following the issue and I WILL support the primary opponent of any Democrat who does not lay himself or herself full out to get HCR through.

  32. 32
    bago says:

    Called both the DC office and the home office. Dugg the link.

  33. 33
    Svensker says:

    Digg the link!

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