It’s August, which means beach time, summer camp, cookouts, vacation, and… talking to your Congressperson?!
It may not be the first thing you think of when you imagine how you’d like to spend the remaining lazy days of summer, but talking to your elected representatives should be at the top of your August “to-do” list.
Seriously. With members of Congress in their home districts for August recess, now is the prime opportunity to bend their ears about the women's, family, and children's issues you think are important going into the fall legislative season.
Here are the top 5 reasons why you should email, call, or visit your representatives this month:
1. More war is brewing in Iraq
President Obama has continued to ramp up air strikes in Iraq, adding an as-of-yet unspecified cost to the more than $817 billion we’ve already spent on war costs in Iraq since 2001. Despite clear signals from the American people that we don’t want to send troops back to Iraq, we seem to be on a slippery slope that could lead to renewed combat operations – and the threat to American families and the financial cost to our nation that goes along with it.
2. Children’s lives are at stake
With tens of thousands of unaccompanied children at our nation’s southern border, Congress will be weighing two starkly different proposals for how to address the border crisis. How much should we spend on refugee assistance to minors seeking asylum? How should we balance border security with humanitarian care? These questions and more are on the table and your legislators need to hear what you think is best for our country - and the children depending on us to help them.
3. Tens of thousands of Americans are still jobless
Eight months have passed since Congress failed to renew unemployment insurance benefits for tens of thousands of long-term unemployed. With each passing month, more American families lose access to the benefits they need to buy food, pay utility bills, and get health care. If you have been affected by lapsed unemployment benefits and this is a priority for your family, lawmakers need to hear from you.
4. Corporate flight is increasing your taxes
Recent attention to corporate “inversions,” in which U.S.-based corporations move their business address overseas to avoid paying taxes here, has set off renewed debate about tax reform. Although Congress is unlikely to take on comprehensive tax reform (even though it is desperately needed), there is momentum to place limitations on the ability for corporations to pursue offshore inversions. How does this affect you? Lower revenue from corporate taxes means less money available for federal programs American families depend on, like food assistance, health care, education, and more. Plus, the less corporations pay in taxes, the more you pay.
5. It’s your right as a citizen
Although gridlock in Congress and partisan rhetoric make it easy to forget that our nation is supposed to be governed by “we the people,” you still have the right and responsibility to hold your lawmakers accountable to the interests of those who elected them. We must use our voices to speak for the needs of women and families!
If all 243 million Americans of voting age emailed, called, or visited their members of Congress, those we put into governing office would have no choice but to listen to our priorities.
Here’s how to take action right now:
- Find your representative
- Call, write, or tweet
- Set up an in-person meeting (that’s what Congress' August recess is for, after all)
- If you’re not already, register to vote!