UPDATED: Call Your MoC about a #COVID19 Relief Bill

Updated 3 December: As reported today, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer both now support the bipartisan $908 billion #COVID19 relief bill! This does not mean two things: (1) You should not be calling your Members of Congress. Continue calling with your support for the bill. And (2) You should not be calling Mitch McConnell no matter how you feel. Use the tweet below to tweet at him instead.

We are suffering from the economic, social, & medical ravages of #COVID19. We need the relief & support only our fed govt can provide. Corps that callously endanger their employees do not. Override a veto. Pass the relief bill!

It is past time to crank up the old Call Your MoC machine and burn up the phones, inboxes, and social media of our Members of Congress. Now that the election has been held and the main avenues of stealing the election have been closed, we can turn our attention to the other major crisis that plagues us: the #COVID19 pandemic.

There is one caveat that I want to get out of the way right now, though. You call YOUR senators and YOUR representative. You don’t call senators from other states or representatives of other districts. I don’t care how much of an a-hole you think they are or how influential they are. Don’t call them. Here’s why:

  • They don’t pay attention to calls from non-constituents. You’re wasting your time.
  • Your calls and emails and such just fill up their inboxes, which is a strategy that many employ to ignore their constituents. We’re looking at you Ted Cruz. If their inboxes are full, their actual constituents, who could affect their opinion, can’t get through. You see how this is cutting off your face to spite your nose? How it’s throwing the bath water out with the baby? You’re not helping.
  • If you just gotta contact one of the Members of Congress that you just love to hate to give that sumbitch a piece of your mind, then use their social media. Social media at them all day long. Social media them so much, so often, so vilely that they block you. Tell us all about it in the comments, too, especially if you get blocked. That story would be epic.

A Brief History of Recent #COVID19 Relief Bills

The picture concerning potential #COVID19 relief legislation is a complicated one with multiple bills in the offing and varying amounts known about their provisions. I’ll summarize the ones that I know something about:

  • The House passed the HEROES Act a lifetime ago, about 250,000 lifetimes ago, in May. It has languished untouched and unloved on Mitch McConnell’s desk as the relief provisions have expired one-by-one from the CARES Act, which by all metrics alleviated the financial suffering caused by the #COVID19 pandemic lockdowns and lifted people out of poverty.
  • The House passed a slimmed down $2.2 trillion version of the HEROES Act back on 1 October 2020. That, too, has been languishing on the overburdened desk of Mitch McConnell.
  • The Senate Repubes have had a skinny $500 billion stimulus bill that it has yet to pass the Senate despite the blessings of McConnell and multiple votes.
  • On Tuesday, Mitch McConnell began circulating his own “targeted” bill crafted in conjunction with McCarthy and the WH — whatever that’s worth since Trump is a fickle legislative partner at best.
  • Last Monday, Pelosi and Schumer sent McConnell another proposal, but I couldn’t find much detail on it. If you’ve got something, please let us know in the comments!

No new coronavirus aid package is going to get through the Senate without bipartisan support, so the new plan is a signal that Republicans and Democrats are indeed talking.

A bipartisan group of senators wants to pass emergency Covid-19 relief By Ella Nilsen and Jerusalem Demsas

It is clear that neither party has the ability to pass a bill on its own. The Repubes can’t even pass one of their own bills when they control the Senate. At least, the Dems seem unified on what they feel a bill should include. For any bill to pass the Senate, it will have to have bipartisan support since some Repubes are going to be stinkers and not vote for anything. It is also clear that there agreement on some of the provisions a relief bill should include and there are a couple of sticking points.

The Partisan Divide

The sticking points:

Dem Demands
  • A $600.00 per week extension of federal unemployment insurance
  • $1,200.00 stimulus payment to most Americans
  • A renewal of the Payroll Protection Program (PPP)
  • $400 billion in state and local government aide
Repube Demands
  • A $300.00 per week extension of federal unemployment benefits
  • More funding the for the PPP
  • Liability protections for corporations — Repubes don’t want no corporation to be sued for making their employees work in dangerous conditions, get #COVID19, and die.

There are three sticking points: Repubes don’t want another lump-sum payment of stimulus money or money for local governments. Dems don’t want liability protections for businesses that acted with callous disregard for the safety and welfare of their employees. Apparently, Repubes think it is okay to get nothing for Christmas and have circulated this talking point: they don’t want to support mismanagement by local governments run by Dems. Bat Boy, Sen. Rick Snott (R-Medicare Fraud) tweeted this statement:

Because being only one of three states with a million coronavirus infections and a governor executive order banning any local mask requirements or business closures isn’t mismanagement that might could require federal help in bailing out. In essence, the Repubes are not all in it together with all Americans unless you enact the social and fiscal policies — like Kansas and Louisiana did? — that they agree with.

The Dead-on-Arrival Bipartisan #COVID19 Relief Bill

Over the Thanksgiving weekend, several senators and representatives from both parties worked together to develop a bill that they hoped would be acceptable to both sides. Chief among these senators were Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Susan Collins of Maine along with the House Problem Solvers Caucus. Their bill includes the following provisions, see if you can guess which ones have caused it to fail:

  • $160 billion in funds for state and local governments. As you may know, states are required to balance their budgets and can’t use deficit spending to make up for shortfalls in revenue, like, you know, that might could happen when business shut down for months at a time to control for a deadly pandemic and thousands of small to medium-sized businesses go bankrupt because the Repubes in Washington were busy lining their pockets and those of the all of the corporate persons with PPP money from the CARES Act.
  • $180 billion for unemployment insurance benefits. The $600.00 per week in extended benefits expired at the end of July. People have struggled ever since and now we see long lines at food banks as people try to keep their households together. If you cipher out this money, it amounts to about $300.00 per week for four months kinda like the Repube skinny bill.
  • $288 billion to support small businesses. This money would be administered through the PPP and Economic Injury Disaster Loans program. You’d think the Repubes would be overjoyed at the prospect of squeezing a few more cents out of the middle class before #BidenHarris are sworn in, but it is probably disappointingly little in their estimation.
  • $25 billion in renters assistance. Much has been made of the effect that the expiration of the eviction moratorium will have on those behind in their rent as in 40 million people are likely to be evicted with no place else to go. It is estimated that $70 billion is needed to make those renters whole, so this isn’t even half of what is needed. Those folks who were wasteful and mismanaged themselves are going to have to face some pain so next time they’ll know better, am I right, Rick Snott?
  • Temporary protection from #COVID19 lawsuits. This provision will allow states time to make their own laws regarding protecting businesses from coronavirus-related liabilities. Florida will probably make it extra easy for businesses to sue employees and customers for infecting them with #COVID19, right Rick?

“We just don’t have time to waste time” on a bill that President Donald Trump may not sign.

Stimulus package update: New $908B COVID-19 proposal already shot down. What now? By Jessica Dolcourt, Clifford Colby, Alison DeNisco Rayome

You’d think that this bill would be heralded as a compromise that both parties could live with, especially since every one of them keeps shrilly remarking that the American people need help now! If only the other side didn’t hate us for our freedoms, they might could pass the bill that we support and not get anything they want! What’s wrong with them?!? Here’s McConnell’s reaction to the bill as soon as it was introduced on the Senate floor telling reporters, “We just don’t have time to waste time” on a bill that President Donald Trump may not sign. Like he’s never heard of overriding a veto. Of course, he’d need Dem help since he’d have so many Repubes ascared of crossing the Ol’ Pussy Grabber.

The Script

Adapt this script for phone calls and emails.

Hi, my name is [NAME] and I’m a constituent from [STATE and LOCALITY].

I’m calling today to support passing a coronavirus relief bill as soon as possible. As infections, hospitalizations, and deaths continue to rise to unacceptable levels, Americans need the help and support of our federal government. I urge you to support the bipartisan $908 billion #COVID19 relief act introduced by Sen. Joe Manchin and Sen. Sue Collins.

Any #COVID19 relief bill must have provisions for extending unemployment insurance benefits, preventing evictions, supporting small and medium sized businesses and their employees, funding local and state governments. Americans need help in coping with this extraordinary but preventable crisis.

Thank you for your time and attention.

IF LEAVING A VOICEMAIL: please leave your full street address to ensure your call is tallied.

Tips for Calling

When you call your representative’s office, please remember the following:

  • Only contact YOUR MoC! They only listen to their constituents and dismiss requests from non-constituents.Ask for the aide working on the policy-related issues.
  • Be polite! No matter whose office you’re calling. No matter what their positions are. No matter how inflamed you are about the issue — and you should be very passionate — be polite.
  • Remember that the people you are talking to are people! So, be nice.
  • Call during business hours of the area code their office is in. Typically, that is 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
  • Have a script or notes to follow so you don’t forget anything.
  • Maybe call with friends. You know like a party.

In Addition to Calling

I’ve heard back from readers that some MoC’s voice mail boxes are always full! It’s as if they don’t want to hear from their constituents. Kinda like those MoC’s who don’t hold town halls or other open forum meetings. Here are some other ways to contact your MoC:

  • Send a postcard to their office. Nothing says I care like kicking it old school and using snail mail.
  • Email their office. Lay out your concerns in a brief email and send it in. We all know how easy it is to email. Make sure you include the issue you are addressing in the subject line.
  • Use the contact page on their website. This is the surest way of getting a message to them. Each MoC has an official government website and each has a contact page that comes with it automatically.
  • Contact them using social media. It’s hard to break through all the noise on social media, but it can’t hurt to try given all the time we all spend using it. Be sure to tag your MoC’s when social mediaing about about a specific issue. Be clear and respectful, though, when addressing an issue that you want your MoC to act upon. Make sure you let them know you are a constituent.

Contacting Your MoC

Find out how to contact your MoC using these links!

  • Common Cause will give you the names, party affiliation, direct phone number, website link, and social media platforms of all of your federal, state, and local elected officials.
  • GovTrack gives you the names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and Twitter handles of your senators and representative. It is pretty straightforward and easy to use. Just plug-in your address. You can also track legislation.
  • USA.gov is the official guide to information and services of the US government. This page explains clearly how to contact everyone from the Ol’ Pussy Grabber to your representative to specific government agencies. Through it you can find the following information about your MoC’s:
    • Their phone numbers: DC and state offices
    • Their mailing addresses both in DC and their state offices
    • Official website with their contact page including email, request a meeting, town hall schedules, and social media
    • And, the committees they sit on
  • 5 Calls: Sign-up for 5 Calls because they help you contact your member of Congress and keep you abreast of on going issues that are important to you! Now, that is a good deal.
  • The Capital Hill Switch Board: (202) 224-3121.
  • MassacreMitch and #MoscowMitch: His DC office, (202) 224-2541.
  • Nancy Pelosi: Her DC office, (202) 225-4965; her California office, (415) 556-4862
  • The Ol’ Pussy Grabber: The WH switchboard, (202) 456-1414 or the comments line at (202) 456-1111 during business hours

Join Indivisible

Follow the link to Indivisible to find a group near you, their campaigns, events in your neighborhood, and download their handy-dandy booklet!

Image Attribution

“Bipartisan Reform: DOA” by outtacontext is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0