TO BE AN
An Effective Local Legislative
you are an Officer of your Local and a member of the UTU Legislative Team, here
are a few thoughts for you to consider.
considered a leader by the members of your local. You are part of the elected Union structure that communicates
with, supports, and represents all the members of your local. The definition of a leader is a person selected
to serve; it is an honor, and a
responsibility that has been entrusted to you.
We are very proud of the people we represent and their great
contribution to the operation of our transportation systems in our
country. We are glad to have you on our
team and look forward to your service on behalf of your local members.
legislative department of UTU protects the members’ rights and safety through
our interaction with government agencies, State Legislatures, and the U. S.
Congress. Also, the legislative
department of our union protects the members’ rights and safety through
interaction directly with the employer, whether it is a railroad, bus, or
leadership and communication skills should be used to encourage your members to
participate as voters, as active union members, and as good citizens.
have the opportunity to receive information from many sources concerning issues
that affect your members’ safety, their job security, their health care, and
their pensions. As a local legislative
representative you will spend a majority of your time working on safety. You will find your own technique to share
the information with your members that you receive from your State Director,
from the UTU offices in Washington and Cleveland, and from other sources
located in your state.
Support your State Director
offer support for the operation of your State Directors’ office by keeping the
State Director informed on the issues in your local, your local contacts with
elected officials, and other issues that are focused on your community. When you send a complaint or a specific
concern to your State Director, make sure you include all the relevant
information: dates, times, places, numbers of the bus, rail, or airline
equipment involved, the names of the people involved, and the type of action to
be investigated. Your State Director
will process the complaint and write to the proper agency to request an
investigation (FRA, FTA, FAA, OSHA, etc.
Know the Operating Rules
As a local
legislative representative, it is to your advantage to have a good working
knowledge of the operating rules of the company that govern your members
actions. Federal Regulations are only
minimum standards and most operating rules have a base in Federal
Regulations. Many operating rules use
the same language as the corresponding Federal Regulation, and also many
operating rules require a more stringent application than the corresponding
Federal Regulation. Always remember that
our members are held accountable by their employer for compliance with the
operating rules of the company, not the Federal Regulations. The company is required to conform their
operating rules to the requirements of the Regulations. Your State Director can share needed
information about the Federal Regulations, or you can find them on the
Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill stated: “All Politics is local.” Every union officer in the country knows
the importance of relationships with elected officials at the local level. It is not an oversimplification to say that
your job description is to develop positive relationships with everyone in your
community that can help with the safety, the job security, and the benefits of your
locals members. Your relationships and
contacts will also help you become more effective in communicating your
relationship with the local company safety officer is also an important part of
your communication strategy. Your
relationships with the other union legislative representatives on your property
are also an important part of your strategy of delivering a positive
message. Get to know the people that
can help you provide support for your members, and maintain an accurate contact
list. Ask your State Director for
guidance with your contact list.
are in the relationship business on behalf of the members of your local and
their families. Remember the important
contribution to society that our members make each day with their work. Support your State Director, your General
Chairpersons, and your Union. Ask
questions, accumulate information, and share information with your members. Good Communications resolve many
Duties of a
United Transportation Union
to Article 66 of the Constitution of the United Transportation Union, the
duties of a local Legislative
Representative are described as follows:
(a) Local Legislative Representatives in the
United States shall attend all meetings of their State or District Legislative
Board. They shall report to their
locals regarding the handling of all alleged unsafe or unsanitary working
conditions found to exist, or reported to them, within their jurisdiction. They shall undertake to correct such
conditions through appropriate measures consistent with the local and national
policies of the United Transportation Union.
If they are unable to correct the alleged unsafe or unsanitary working
conditions, they will so report to the International President and the National
Legislative Director regarding Federal matters and to the State or District
Legislative Director regarding State or District matters. They shall urge all members of the United
Transportation Union to qualify and vote in all elections. When called upon, they shall give all
possible assistance to the International President, National Legislative
Director, State or District Legislative Director, and the officers of the State
or District Legislative Boards, subject to the supervision of the local.
Duties of a
United Transportation Union
District Legislative Board
to Article 95 of the Constitution of the United Transportation Union, the
duties of a state or district
legislative board are described as follows:
The Executive Committee of each State or District
Legislative Board may be convened by the Director at least forty-five (45)
days, where possible, prior to each primary and general election, for the
purpose of endorsing candidates for State offices and to make recommendations
for candidates for the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives and to
transact such other business as may be necessary.
State Legislative Directors will promptly advise the
International President and the National Legislative Director of all
endorsements of State Candidates and recommendations for Members of Congress
made by the Executive Committee.
The State or District Legislative Directors may remain
in the capitol during sessions of the Legislature, when so authorized by the
Legislative Board, and shall devote all of his/her time to securing the
enactment of such laws, or the repeal or modification of such other laws as
directed by the Legislative Board.
He/she shall organize opposition to and appear before appropriate
agencies to oppose discontinuance of trains and buses. He/she shall urge compliance with all laws
which protect the welfare of members of the United Transportation Union and
shall promptly report violations of State laws and regulations to the proper
State enforcement agency. Violations of
all Federal laws and regulations shall be reported to the National Legislative
Director or proper Federal agency.
An additional Director or Directors may remain at the capitol
to assist in legislative matters, when recommended by the Executive Committee
and approved by the International President.
He/she shall perform such duties as may be assigned by the International
The Secretary of the State or District Legislative
Board shall keep a record and make a report of the proceedings of all meetings
of the Legislative Board and the Executive Committee and shall furnish the
Legislative Representative and Secretary of each local, under the jurisdiction
of the Board, and the International President with a copy of the report.
Full-time Legislative Directors shall make a quarterly
report of their activities to Secretaries and Legislative Representatives of
all locals under their jurisdiction and use such other means as necessary to
keep the membership well informed. They
shall attach to the report an itemized statement of receipts and disbursements
of the Board which shall be furnished them by the General Secretary and Treasurer. A copy of this report shall be furnished the
Part-time State or District Legislative Directors or
Assistant Directors may, when recommended by the Executive Committee and
approved by the International President, visit locals and appear before
commissions or other agencies in the United Transportation Union's behalf. They shall be authorized to cooperate with
other organizations to this end. They
shall perform such other duties as may be required by their Legislative Board
by-laws and this Constitution.
All proposed legislation shall be submitted to the
International President for approval and copies of all bills introduced which
may be detrimental to labor shall be forwarded by Legislative Directors to the
Questions of jurisdiction involving Legislative Boards
and General Committees pertaining to laws, abandonments, and/or borderline
matters shall be referred to the International President for decision.
Any member using his/her influence in the name of the
United Transportation Union to defeat any action taken by the National
Legislative Director or a State or District Legislative Board shall, upon
conviction thereof, be expelled.
Officers and members of State and District Legislative
Boards shall be under the direction of, and cooperate with, the National
Legislative Director on all National Legislative policies and proposed Federal
legislation established by the International or the Board of Directors. They shall cooperate with the Auxiliary and
other groups on matters of mutual interest consistent with the legislative
policies of the United Transportation Union.
On any legislative issue which involves the
discontinuance of engine-service positions on railroads, the Executive
Committee will authorize an engine-service officer of the Legislative Boards to
handle such issues under the supervision of the Executive Committee.
The United Transportation Union’s
Political Action Committee (UTU PAC) is "An Investment in the
UTU members, active and retired, need
and deserve good government and sympathetic legislators. That’s because,
compared with others, their jobs, pensions and futures are more directly
affected by the actions of state and national lawmakers.
We in the UTU must work for and help
those people who we feel are capable, knowledgeable and who recognize the
problems that affect railroad, bus and transit workers.
The best way to help elect
representatives that understand the concerns of UTU members is by contributing
to UTU PAC.
The best way to have a voice, a say, in
matters that affect your finances and your family, is by contributing to
You joined your fellow workers for the
fraternal benefits of UTU membership, so why not join them to help elect
compassionate state and national lawmakers?
UTU PAC contributions can be started or increased
anytime, and they are deducted automatically from your paycheck.
UTU PAC contributes to qualified state and national
political candidates, regardless of party affiliation.
UTU PAC protects the interests of active and retired
members and safeguards laws, working conditions and pension rights.
UTU PAC has well-organized advisory committees in 47
states, and an office in Washington, D.C.
UTU PAC contributions can be made on a one-time basis
by check, anytime, by active members, retirees, and all individuals who
seek a more responsive government.
UTU PAC has more than 28,000 members across the country. They
welcome your support and investment in the future of our great nation.
who contribute $1200 or more per year
Double Diamond Club
Individuals who contribute $600 or more per year
Diamond Plus Club
who contribute $400 or more per year
who contribute $365 or more per year
who contribute $300 or more per year
who contribute $100 or more per year
Why you need UTU PAC, and why it needs you…
What is UTU
The United Transportation Union formed the Transportation
Political Education League (TPEL) (now the UTU PAC) because Federal law
prohibits unions from using membership dues or assessments for political
activities. As we all know, legislation
on the state and national levels drastically affects us and our jobs. Therefore, we must work for and help those
people who we feel are capable, knowledgeable and who recognize the problems
that affect railroad, bus and transit workers.
campaigns and publicity programs cost money, and they are one of the few ways
that candidates can let the public know of their record and their desire for
election or re-election to public office.
Candidates running for office must have assistance in advising UTU
members and other voters of their opinions and positions on legislation and
other matters of interest. Voluntary
contributions to UTU PAC provide these funds.
How does UTU
The UTU PAC is governed through by-laws established for its
operation in conformance with state and Federal laws and in the best interest
of the UTU membership. UTU PAC by-laws
control composition, leadership, operation, financing and general disbursement
of funds for political and legislative activities.
UTU PAC is
governed by a national committee composed of a chairperson, vice chairperson
and a secretary/treasurer. The UTU
PAC’s national chairperson is the UTU International President, national vice
chairperson is the UTU National Legislative Director and the national secretary/treasurer
is the UTU General Secretary and Treasurer.
The state UTU PAC committees have a chairperson, vice chairperson and
secretary at the state level. All UTU
PAC officers serve on a voluntary basis, and no UTU PAC funds are used for
salaries or record keeping.
International in Cleveland maintains the records and files the necessary
reports for UTU PAC. Federal law
prohibits the union from using dues assessments for political purposes, but it
does not prohibit using the UTU facilities for accounting and filing. The complete record – from the important
pledge you sign indicating the amount of your voluntary donation and collection
of it, to the cancelled checks and records of income and disbursement – is
maintained in the International offices.
The law also requires UTU PAC to make regular reports to state and
Federal agencies. These records are
available for your inspection at any time at the International offices, your
state chairperson's office, or at the secretary of state's office in individual
How are UTU PAC
UTU PAC funds are split on a 50/50 basis, with one half
being guaranteed for use within the state where the member's local is
headquartered, the other half being used at the national level. State funds are used for assisting candidates
for offices which are statewide in nature, such as governor, attorney general,
public utility commissioner, treasurer or state legislators. National funds are used in Federal elections
for national offices such as President, senator or member of Congress.
UTU PAC funds do
not go to just one political party.
Candidates from both political parties receive UTU PAC assistance on the
basis of their past record and attitude or position on subjects or goals which
are vitally important to UTU members, rather than their political
affiliation. Republican and Democratic
parties have both good and bad representatives as far as the interests of UTU
members are concerned.
support, the candidate's record is first examined to see if he or she has done
a good job in the past. If so, the
person deserves support; if not, the person is denied assistance, particularly
if his or her actions have been detrimental to UTU families and goals. In cases of new candidates for office where
there is no past record for evaluation, the candidate is interviewed and
screened on his or her attitudes and positions on matters of importance to
labor in general and UTU members in particular.
Of course, you
can't be sure what decisions a political candidate will make in the
future. However, a study of his or her
past voting record will usually show a pattern that the person will follow in
the future. We look for a dependable
legislator who supports our positions, or at least an open-minded individual
who will listen to us and make a fair judgment. The established records and the current positions of all
candidates are weighed, and the decision for or against UTU PAC support is
accounting is made of all UTU PAC disbursements, so you know where the money
goes. Both national and state
expenditures are listed on the UTU PAC financial report which is sent regularly
to every state UTU PAC chairperson. Any
UTU officer or member can examine the UTU PAC accounting of all disbursements
by contacting his or her state chairperson.
How can I
contribute to UTU PAC?
Contributions to UTU PAC are voluntary and can be started
anytime, the sooner the better. Get a
UTU PAC pledge card from a local union officer or the International, fill it
out and sign it, keep a copy for yourself, and give the form to your local
treasurer or send it to the International.
Your pledge will be entered in the records and the contribution will
appear on your dues receipt each month.
A UTU PAC member
may increase or decrease his or her pledge at any time by filling out and
sending a revised UTU PAC pledge form to the local treasurer or the
International indicating the change in the amount of the contribution. After processing, the new amount will appear
on your dues receipt and in records at the International.
You may stop
your contributions at any time. If you
decide to withdraw your pledge, notify your local treasurer or the
International of your decision and the voluntary UTU PAC contribution will be
stopped. No questions will be asked; it
is your decision alone.
It is also
possible to make a one-time direct contribution by mailing it to the
International, or giving it to any local or International officer. You will receive an acknowledgement from the
International President as a receipt.
The union awards
different UTU PAC lapel emblems, membership cards and baseball-style caps to
those members who contribute $25 or more annually. Persons who contribute at least $100 a year are enrolled in the
Gold Club. Those individuals who
contribute at least $300 annually become members of the Diamond Club. Those persons who contribute at least $365 a
year are enrolled in the Dollar-A-Day Club.
Diamond Plus Club membership is awarded to those individuals who contribute
at least $400 per year to UTU PAC, Double Diamond Club membership to those who
contribute $600 or more annually, and Platinum Club membership to those
individuals who generously contribute at least $1,200 per year.
All UTU PAC
members also receive a personal thank-you letter from the UTU PAC National
thousands of UTU members – many of them retired with fixed incomes – now
participating in UTU PAC. Even though
many retired members are on limited incomes, they gladly participate in UTU PAC
and urge all working members to realize the importance of friends in Congress.
For proof, look
at the legislative record of the UTU.
The union, with its UTU PAC program, has made great legislative and
political accomplishments in the last few years, and could increase these gains
with assistance from you and other UTU PAC members. You joined your fellow workers for the fraternal benefits of
membership in the UTU, so why not join them in the movement toward better laws
and good government through UTU PAC?
FOR UTU MEMBERS:
Get Registered to
Vote – including all family members,
friends and neighbors – Talk about the importance of being registered with
Make a Commitment To
Cast Your Vote – no matter what it
takes…absentee ballot, getting up early on election day, voting at lunch…… Whatever it takes to vote.
Vote Your Pocketbook
– Cast an informed vote. UTU endorsed candidates will put your Pocketbook First.
Contribute At Least
$1 Per Day to UTU PAC – Our best
investment for our families’ future. Your union invests our funds wisely.
To represent our members in a positive and professional
manner and to aggressively address every issue that affects the safety of our
work environment, our job security, our health care and our pensions.
To have a positive affect on the lifestyles of our members
and their families.
Why Should I Give To UTU
Elections have Direct Consequences
for you and your family.
Through UTU PAC, we develop
friends on both sides of the aisle in Congress. UTU PAC supports
labor-friendly candidates of every political stripe.
Your State and National
Legislative officers must get their foot in the door before we can deliver
your message and UTU PAC opens the door.
UTU PAC gets our telephone calls
returned….before the vote.
UTU PAC ensures that your union
has a seat at the table when decisions about our jobs and our families are
UTU PAC also helps us to benefit
others, our community, our children, our spouses and senior citizens.
Just because you do not take an
interest in politics does not mean that politics will not take in interest
in you (Pericles, 430 B.C.).
UTU PAC is focused on our top
A safe work environment
Our Job Security
Our Health Care
contributing to UTU PAC, we help secure our jobs and improve our wages, benefits
and working conditions.
We Are Working On
Safe Work Environment
Our Job Security
Our Health Care
Legislative Process – How laws are made
If you want to successfully influence the legislative
process, you must understand how it works.
presented here describes the highlights of the legislative process. First we'll look at the party leadership in
the two houses of Congress, which directs the flow of legislation. Second, we'll follow a bill step-by-step as
it progresses through Congress to become a law. Third, we'll take a brief look at the congressional budget
As you will see,
Congress makes many decisions at different stages of the legislative process –
as bills are introduced, examined by committees, scheduled for debate, and so
forth. There are votes on amendments to
bills, votes on allowing debate, votes by subcommittees and committees, and
votes by the full House of Representatives or the Senate to approve the bill or
influence this legislative process, we must lobby and make our opinions known
at every step. Our Legislative
Department and many other concerned individuals and groups keep a close watch
on these detailed workings of Congress.
They realize each separate vote is crucial, so they may call for your
support, in the form of letters or telegrams or phone calls, several times on
the same piece of legislation as it moves through Congress.
UTU fights for the rights of rail, bus and transit workers in two areas – the
collective bargaining area and the legislative area. In the collective bargaining area, the UTU negotiates an
agreement and administers it through the grievance-arbitration procedure. It is the basis for many of our rights and
benefits. Collective bargaining,
however, cannot serve all our needs or protect all our interests.
area can be as effective as collective bargaining in affecting our
futures. Many benefits enjoyed by UTU
members, including the right to bargain collectively, were won by laws created
in Congress. As you can see, we must
protect what we have gained and fight harder to gain new rights for a better
You one letter,
mailgram, phone call or personal contact can make a difference in how your
representative or senators will act. There
has been an increasing turnover in Congress in recent times. Today, less than one-half of elected
representatives now serving in Congress have held office for more than three
terms. As a result, members now are
aware that re-election is not guaranteed, so they listen more closely when a
constituent speaks his or her mind.
legislator is undecided on how to vote on an issue important to a UTU member,
as few as twenty letters can make the difference in his or her decision. If a legislator is hostile to labor's view,
expressing your view may not change the person's mind, but it may cause them to
become less active in opposing our goals.
informed opinion can provide the information your representative or senators
need to make the correct decision. Your
getting involved can determine how well the UTU's lobbying program works.
The process of a bill becoming a law is supervised by the
party leadership in each house of Congress.
The party's leadership speaks for the party and coordinates its
activities. Usually, the majority party
is able to control the movement of legislation and decide which bills will be
considered by individual committees.
In the House of
Representatives, the Speaker of the House is the presiding officer. The Speaker is elected by the full House and
so is a member of the majority party.
As presiding officer, the Speaker may vote at his discretion.
President of the United States is the presiding officer in the Senate, also
called the President of the Senate. The
Vice President, as presiding officer, only votes to break a tie. Because the Vice President is often absent
from Senate proceedings, the Senate elects from its ranks a President
Pro-Tempore, who presides in the Vice President's absence. Elected by the full Senate, the President
Pro-Tempore is a member of the majority party, usually the party member with
the most seniority.
In both houses
of Congress, the majority party elects a Majority Leader and Majority Whip, who
direct the party's legislative strategy and serve as its leading
spokespersons. The minority party in
each house elects a Minority Leader and a Minority Whip, who perform similar
duties for their party.
of committees in each house is controlled by the majority party, which also has
a majority of members on each committee.
Democrats in the House of Representatives are nominated to committees by
the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee, and the Democratic Caucus gives
final approval. In the Senate,
Democrats are nominated to committees by the Democratic Steering Committee and
approved by the Democratic Conference.
Republican members in each house of Congress are nominated to committees
by the Republican Committee on Committees and approved by the Republican
How a bill
becomes a law
A bill must move through Congress in an orderly and definite
series of steps to become a law. This
section follows a bill from its introduction, through the Congress, to the
President's desk and into the law books.
Although these steps are specific to Congress, the principles set forth
apply to other levels of government.
The bill is
A bill may be introduced in either the House of
Representatives or Senate by a respective member of that body. It may be the legislator's own bill, a bill
introduced at the request of the Administration (the President or other
officials), or the idea may have originated back home with a business or labor
A House member
simply drops a bill into the "hopper," a box on the clerk's
desk. A Senator will send the bill to
the clerk or propose it on the floor of the Senate.
The bill is
given a bill designation and bill number according to the house where it was
introduced. For example, "H.R.
235" means that this bill was first introduced in the House of
Representatives and was 235th in the order of bills introduced. A bill introduced in the Senate, for
example, would be designated "S. 2718"
Once the bill is numbered and printed, it is sent to the
committee that has jurisdiction over the subject of the bill.
usually refers the bill to a subcommittee which studies the issue in depth and
holds hearings in which concerned citizens, organizations and government
agencies can provide facts and offer opinions on the bill. The subcommittee may also vote to amend the
bill. When done, the subcommittee
reports the bill with recommendations back to the full committee.
committee may consider the bill further, make additional amendments, then vote
it down, allow it to die by not taking any action, or report the bill favorably
to the full House, usually accompanied with a report explaining the bill and
the committee's decision.
The bill is
After a bill is reported out of committee, it is scheduled
for debate by the full House or Senate.
In the House a bill is scheduled by the Rules Committee, which
determines when the bill will be debated, how much time will be allotted for
debate, and whether or not amendments to the bill will be allowed from the
House floor. If the bill is not
scheduled, it dies in the Rules Committee.
In the Senate,
bills go on the Senate calendar and are scheduled for debate by the majority
leadership. There is no time limit on
debate in the Senate unless agreed upon by unanimous consent.
scheduled time arrives, the bill goes to the floor of the House or Senate for
consideration by all members. The bill
is debated, possibly amended, and voted up or down.
The bill is
If approved by one body (the House or Senate), the bill is
sent to the other body where it again moves through the committee
procedure. Should the second body pass
the bill without changing it, it is sent to the President for his signature.
If the Senate
and House pass different versions of a bill, they are sent to a Conference
Committee. This committee is made up of
members from both the House and Senate committees that first considered the
bill. They meet to iron out the
differences in the two bills, and, if they can agree on a compromise bill, it
is sent back to the Senate and House for approval. No further amendments are accepted, and the bill must be voted up
or down. If the Conference Committee
fails to reach a compromise, the bill dies in the committee.
acts on the bill
When approved by both House and Senate, the bill is sent to
the President, who has three choices.
He may sign the bill, and then it becomes law. He may veto it and send it back for reconsideration to the House
and Senate where the veto can be overridden only by a two-thirds vote of both
houses. If the President does not sign
or veto the bill within 10 days (Congress must be in session), then bill then
automatically becomes law.
congressional budget process
The congressional budget process is important because much
legislation affecting UTU members comes out of this process, such as funding
for Amtrak, mass transit, Railroad Retirement and safety inspectors. It is the center of intense political
struggles and legislative maneuvering.
The four steps of the process we will be looking at are: authorization, appropriation, budget
resolutions and reconciliation.
Legislation proposing particular programs or governmental
activities, including the spending of funds for these programs and activities,
is called authorization bills. These
bills proceed through Congress in the manner described above in "How a
bill becomes a law." They are
considered by the proper authorizing committee, which deals with the particular
subject matter of the bill in question.
bills which most affect UTU members come before the following committees:
Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation & Related Agencies –
Department of Transportation, Surface Transportation Board, National
Transportation Safety Board;
Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs – urban mass transit;
Commerce, Science & Transportation – interstate commerce, highway safety,
regulation of interstate common carriers (including railroads and buses);
Energy and Natural Resources – coal production, distribution and utilization;
Labor and Human Resources – railway labor and retirement matters;
Committee – taxation.
Committee on Appropriations –
Subcommittees on Transportation and on Labor, Health and Human Services and
Economic and Educational Opportunities – labor standards and statistics,
mediation and arbitration;
Transportation and Infrastructure – includes railroads, mass transit, rail
labor and Railroad Retirement;
Ways and Means – taxation.
committees evaluate bills in terms of the value of the program proposed, and
the needs of the agency affected. The
committee also considers the cost of legislation and suggests, or authorizes,
While an authorizing committee approves programs and
authorizes dollar amounts to be spent, only the appropriations committees can
actually assign government funds to authorized programs.
appropriations committee in each house of Congress examines each item in an
appropriations bill, and may raise or lower the dollar amounts authorized for
programs as it sees fit. Appropriations
bills pass through Congress in the usual manner described.
The Budget Act of 1974 created a new budget process, so
Congress now passes a unified budget, or budget resolution, that sets limits on
total spending for the year.
pass a First Budget Resolution by May 15 of each year. This resolution is considered and approved
by the Budget Committee in each house of Congress. It is formulated through a process of planning, negotiation and
coordination with the other committees and the party leadership. It sets non-binding guidelines on spending
limits for the other committees.
As the various
committees and full houses consider and pass spending bills, the Budget
Committees assemble approved spending amounts into a Second Budget
Resolution. It can closely resemble the
First Budget Resolution.
the Second Budget Resolution is reported out of the Budget Committees and
considered by both houses. When passed
by both, spending limits become binding, and the authorization and
appropriations committees should not spend beyond them.
The Budget Act
mandates that the Second Budget Resolution be passed by September 15, and
Congress may not adjourn until it is passed.
To enforce the budget process, the Budget Act provides for a
procedure called reconciliation.
Reconciliation is put into effect only when the Budget Committees
believe that the authorizing and appropriations committees will not limit their
spending to the levels set in the Second Budget Resolution.
To require the
authorizing and appropriations committees to follow the Second Budget Resolution's
spending limits, the Budget Committees attach reconciliation instructions to
it. They require the committees to
report out reconciliation bills which reconcile their spending with the Second
Budget Resolution's limits. These bills
are referred to the Budget Committees, which combine them into a single
"omnibus" or overall reconciliation bill in each house, and report
them out to the full houses. When
passed and signed by the President, the reconciliation measure becomes
law. The authorization and
appropriations committees are then required to spend within the Second Budget
Communicating with Congress
Of course, the best method of
communicating with Congress is face to face.
to Face Meeting
scheduling a meeting, be sure to state the subject of the meeting in
the meeting, review the subject so you have a thorough knowledge of the
the meeting, be concise, speak clearly and present the pros and cons of
the matter, as well as your reasons for your point of view.
end of the meeting, don’t forget to thank the Member for their time.
a one-page fax is the next best method of sending your message to Members of
your message with either thanks for something the legislator has done in the
past or with your specific request.
your mailing address in the fax, so they know that you are a constituent.
you don’t have access to a fax machine or your Representative or Senators do
not publish their fax number, call their office.
you don’t know the name of the relevant staff person, tell the person answering
the phone the subject and you will be told which staff person handles it.
you talk to a “live” person, offer to follow up with a fax with more
you get their voice mail, leave a substantive message, leaving your name, phone
number and address (so they know that you are a constituent).
staff person may not have time to actually return your call, but they will get
Due to security measures,
regular mail takes a very long time to reach Capitol Hill.
you must use regular mail, send it to the District office, not
the Washington DC office.
don’t forget to include your name and address.
way to send a message is via email.
correspondence should include your name and address also.
members also use a form on their website.
form enables the member to record your name, address and subject in a database
for future correspondence.
Town Hall Meetings
Be on the alert for “town hall” meetings. This is when
Congress and legislators hold meetings to hear what is on their constituents’
No matter what form your communication takes – always
stay positive! Being hostile is never productive.
WHERE WE ARE
ACTIVE……WE ARE EFFECTIVE!