phone.jpgYesterday, I spent some time on the phone with a number of Congressional aides and folks who are working on both SCHIP and FISA.  I was told that the calls early on for SCHIP were making an impact, but that the calls and contacts — both in Washington and outside the Beltway at local offices — have dwindled.  They knew how many calls their respective offices had gotten — both in DC and outside it, they knew letters and postcard numbers, they knew that interest was high right after the veto, and they knew when the drop-off in contact happened.  Amazing tracking over several offices, not just one, and a lot of awareness of public mood measured by who takes the time to make contact — and who doesn’t.

Yesterday, Spencer Ackerman did a process piece about the contacts that we’ve been pushing on FISA via the ACLU and others.  What Spencer didn’t know, because I wasn’t contacted, was that I got the tip from Liz Rose at the ACLU, then contacted several Hill staffers for independent confirmation of her report.  And that I also spoke with a print reporter about the issues involved….and discovered through various sources that a lot of the discussion on the telecom immunity issue is eminating from Kit Bond’s office, among others on the GOP side, who are working hard to push that meme out into the media — haven’t yet ascertained whether it’s an attempt to split the Dem caucus from grassroots support, or whether it is a wholesale attempt to sway Dems on the Senate Intel committee, but I’m working on it. 

It seems like I have spent my entire week on the phone or checking e-mail.  Because, and this is just me personally, but I never just slap something up on the blog without checking it out independently to be certain we aren’t just laundering someone else’s BS.  (Unlike the folks who appear to have done just that for Mitch McConnell’s office this week…)

One of the recurring topics yesterday, though, was that the drop-off in calls and contacts gives folks who are wavering an excuse to keep their vote as a no on SCHIP in particular.  We cannot let that happen.

I asked a number of these Hill denizens what is most effective in terms of Congressional contact, and what I was told was this:  all of the above.  Any and all contact with the member of Congress and/or their staff is a good nudge.  But more than one contact is even better.  Consistent, steady contact is great.  And personal contact is the best.

Please call the DC offices of your members of Congress.  And then a local office or two.  Sit down and write a letter and FAX it to them.  Send a letter to the editor to your local newspaper — and FAX that to your elected folks as well.  Send a postcard to your members of Congress — they don’t have to pass through as much security and will actually get there.  (You can buy pre-stamped ones at the post office, fill them out and pop them right back in the mail.)  Better yet, go to a local Congressional office and speak with a staffer in person.  If you can help with our Blue America PAC effort to pressure wavering Dems, so much the better — we could use a donation to the Blue America PAC, or some phone calls, whatever works for you.  We’re already seeing results.  Boo yah!

In this case, especially for SCHIP which is coming up for a veto override vote very soon, every contact counts.  Because we are less than 15 votes away from overriding Bush’s veto altogether — and your call could get us that vote we need.  A lot of local blogs are helping with the pressure across the country, let’s give them a hand, shall we?  Please don’t delay — call today.  And then do more…

Here is a link to the House directory — you can look up individual member numbers and information, both for DC offices and local ones here.  You can call also the capitol switchboard toll free using these numbers that katymine found:

1 (800) 828 – 0498
1 (800) 459 – 1887
1 (800) 614 – 2803
1 (866) 340 – 9281
1 (866) 338 – 1015
1 (877) 851 – 6437

Bill Scher sent me a list of potential targets for calls on SCHIP, with a few tweaks from Howie thrown into the mix:

GOPers who voted NO
AL       Robert Aderholt
AR      John Boozman
CA      Brian Bilbray
CA      John Doolittle
CO      Marilyn Musgrave
FL       Gus Bilirakis
FL       Ginny Brown-Waite
FL       Tom Feeney
FL       Rick Keller
IA       Tom  Latham
ID        Bill  Sali
IL        Judy Biggert
IL        Tim Johnson
IL        Peter Roskam
IL        Jerry Weller
LA       Rodney Alexander
MD     Roscoe Bartlett
MI       Joseph Knollenberg
MI       Thaddeus McCotter
MI       Tim Walberg
MN      Michele Bachmann
MO      Sam Graves
MO     Kenny Hulshoff
NC      Robin Hayes
NJ        Rodney Frelinghuysen
NJ        Scott Garrett
NJ        Jim Saxton
NV      Dean Heller
NY     Thomas Reynolds
NY      Randy Kuhl
OH      Steve Chabot
OR      Greg Walden
PA       John Peterson
TX       Kay Granger
VA      Thelma Drake
VA      Randy Forbes

GOPers who didn’t vote last time
CA      Wally Herger
WY     Barbara Cubin

Dems who voted NO
GA      Jim Marshall
MS      Gene Taylor
NC      Bob Etheridge
NC      Mike McIntrye