Congress is in its Independence Day recess. Both the Senate and House have had very productive sessions. But the big pillars of the President’s policy initiatives, health care, energy and climate change, and education will continue to need help from American citizens to remain upright and standing strong.
President Barack Obama believes in the power of grass roots movements, obviously. He is counting on his own original grass roots group, now “Organizing for America,” to help get health care reform passed. And it seems to be working. To date OFA received donations from over 100,000 people to help support the administration’s health care campaign. To quote President Obama,
The campaign to pass real health care reform in 2009 is the biggest test of our movement since the election. Once again, victory is far from certain. Our opposition will be fierce, and they have been down this road before. To prevail, we must once more build a coast-to-coast operation ready to knock on doors, deploy volunteers, get out the facts, and show the world how real change happens in America.
First Lady Michelle Obama just launched United We Serve, “a national initiative to tackle our toughest problems by working hand-in-hand in communities across the country.” She explains, “National and community service has been a cornerstone of my life, as I know it has been for many Americans. And with the daily struggles now confronting so many families, it’s especially important for us to reach out to one another and offer a helping hand.” At the Serve.gov website participants are invited to view the First Lady’s video, to register their own service opportunity projects, or to find volunteer opportunities (by interest and geographical areas). From June 22 to September 11 will be engaging “Americans from coast to coast in addressing community needs in education, health, energy and the environment, and community renewal.” On Saturday Mrs. Obama promoted a National Health Care Day of Service in conjunction with Organizing for America‘s Health Care Action Center. The site posted a health care reform timeline that reminds us that July 31 is the target date for the House of Representatives to vote on a full plan, and that Congress will go into summer recess on August 3.
Dr. Howard Dean rallied a big group of citizen advocates last Thursday, then presented 400,000 petition signatures to members of Congress in support of real health care reform, says Adam Quinn of Democracy for America. The organization is now asking individuals to sign up to make a delivery to your members of Congress. And Change.org is circulating a petition to send to Senator Max Baucus to get S703 universal health care passed “or we will boycott American Express.” A chart, Pharmaceutical Company Lobbying Expenditures by CQ Politics shows what plain citizen advocates will be up against. To quote Jonathan Schwartz: “The pharmaceutical industry, which has long invested heavily in federal lobbying, is now on course to smash previous spending records by shelling out nearly $50 million to influence federal policy making in the first quarter of 2009.” Likewise, according to a recent NBC/WSJ poll, 8 out of 10 Americans show overwhelming support for the choice of a universally available public health care option.
Al Gore recently said, “Our founders fought to live in a free nation — and they succeeded. The clean, prosperous and energy independent America we seek now and for future generations is closer than ever, but this legislation must succeed in the Senate.” The American Clean Energy and Security Act, passed by the U.S. House, must now get through the Senate. With the help of Al Gore, Repower America is active in the effort.
Today’s post outlines a few current efforts by the poeople and their activist organizations to put pressure on Congress to do the right thing. As an old community volunteer, I consider these “roundups” as one of my contributions as an activist. My hope is that you all will also serve in some capacity.
[Post date – July 1, 2009. Image – YoyoPhoto]
See also Behind the Links.
Blogs: My general purpose/southwest focus blog is at Southwest Progressive. My creative website is at Making Good Mondays. And Carol Gee – Online Universe is the all-in-one home page for all my websites.