Last week, Campaign for America's Future sounded the alarm that phone calls were running 100 to 1 against an economic recovery bill, giving Congress a false impression of what the American majority wants and needs from its government. We needed to get engaged to prevent right-wing obstructionists from distorting the debate and misrepresenting public opinion.
Several other organizations made similar appeals, including Americans United for Change, True Majority, the National Education Association and the Apollo Alliance. And bloggers picked up the torch, including FireDogLake, The Seminal, Factesque, The Nation's ActNow and CAF's own Bernie Horn on DailyKos.
Guess what? It worked. We went from getting beat 100 to 1 to achieving rough parity.
On the Senate floor Friday night, Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Penn.) announced:
The calls are mounting from one end of the political spectrum saying there are too many expenditures, and the calls are mounting on the other end of the political spectrum saying that there is not enough money being spent on the proposal which we are advancing here tonight.
That's a huge shift from where we were at the start of the week, and is part of the reason Senators were compelled to finalize a compromise and end their foot-dragging.
But this fight isn't over, and our calls are still needed.
The Senate is expected to vote on the compromise Tuesday after procedural votes today. Then, the House and Senate need to iron out their differences. The Senate compromise sacrificed billions for school improvements and aid to state governments facing massive layoffs and service cuts, to accommodate more tax cuts primarily for upper-income families. Paul Krugman estimates the Senate compromise costs 600,000 jobs.
All this week, Congress needs to hear your voice for a "big and bold economic recovery bill NOW." If representatives know that's what their constituents want, they will be both more inclined to keep that critical public investment from the House bill, and act with the speed needed to best mitigate the pain from the current recession.
Phone calls are best, because they get immediately tallied. But congressional phone lines have been overloaded at times. Keep trying!
Call the main congressional switchboard toll-free 1-866-544-7573.
Find your House member's contact information at House.gov. Try calling either the Washington office, or the local office.
Find your Senators' contact information at Senate.gov. Try calling either the Washington office, or the local office.
If getting through on the phone is impossible, then send emails or write letters, using the contact information found at the above links.
Our voices are being heard, and we can't let up now.