Wednesday, January 27, 2010

HR 3101 Can't Move Without Boucher! Here's Proof!

Today Caption Action 2 called Representative Mary Bono Mack's (she is on the critical House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, and the Internet) office. Previously, we had apparently incorrectly reported in "Two Rejections and One Sign of Hope" that Bono Mack's office had said in an email, "At this time, the Congresswoman will not be cosponsoring H.R. 3101." Caption Action 2 thought that meant that she would not support HR 3101. What her office actually meant was something else!

Jamie called Mary Bono Mack's office with the intention of trying to find out what, if anything, could get Mary Bono Mack to change her mind. What followed was a frustrating conversation with Paul Cancienne, that made it very clear what we, the deaf and hard of hearing community, are up against. Bottom line: The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2009 CAN NOT move without Rick Boucher, the chairperson of the House Subcommittee, letting it move!!

Cancienne: (ANS) (M) this is paul
Jamie: hello paul this is jamie berke. i am aware already that ms. bono mack has already decided not to support the bill HR 3101 but I was wondering what would get her to change her mind? I'm not giving up yet. If you were deaf like me you would not give up either. ga
Cancienne: reports that the congresswoman opposes or supports hr 3101 are false and premature. the congresswoman has simply chosen not to cosponsor this legislation. there was a blog posting roughly 2 or 3 weeks ago that inaccurately stated the congresswoman's opposition. the congresswoman does have some concerns with this bill but again she has not expressed opposition. our current attitude towards the bill right now is that its not moving thru the legislature process. until it begins to move the congresswoman's lack of formal position and her concerns will remain the same. ga
Jamie: paul, do you know the idiom about the chicken and the egg qga
Cancienne: of course I do. ga
Jamie: that's the problem here. it is a chicken and egg situation. the reason the bill is not moving is because mr. boucher is apparently not letting the bill move. at the same time, there is nobody on the Subcommittee that cosponsors the bill so there is no one to encourage Mr. Boucher to let the bill move. that is the chicken and egg problem right here. ga
Cancienne: mr boucher could move the bill with no cosponsors. hes in control of the committee if he had uh if he wanted the bill to move it would move and then we would begin that process. he doesn't need us so we are where we are.
Cancienne: if this bill begins to move im happy to resume conversations with u and any group whose interested in legislation ga
Jamie: let me try this again. maybe i was not clear enough. what i am saying is that the bill is not moving because of mr. boucher. and furthermore there is nobody on the subcommittee who supports the bill so nobody is pushing mr. boucher to let the bill move. outside of the subcommittee there are representatives signing up to cosponsor the bill. barney frank just signed on two days ago. ga
Cancienne: well maybe [there are] problems with the legislation if no one on the subcommittee is supporting it uh again mr boucher does not need us to cosponsor this bill in order for it to move and to suggest lack of co-sponsorship uh as a sign of
opposition is just incorrect. at this point understand what your trying to say but our position is going to continue to be what it is and that is until this bill begins to move the congress woman is not gonna express support or opposition ga
Jamie: i see. what if the congresswoman's constituents were to contact her? people who live in her own area? would that help qga
Cancienne: it would hold on.. uh let me think about this uh.. any time the congresswoman welcome input form her constituents but her position remains the same. the congresswoman understands the issue and the concerns that all the
sides have ga
Jamie: i see. so it boils down to mr. boucher. until he lets the bill move you won't do anything. is this correct? ga or sk
Cancienne: essentially ga

After that Jamie asked what we can do. Cancienne suggested calling Boucher's office at 202-225-3861 and speaking with/emailing Amy Levine, his counsel on the Subcommittee,

This conversation Jamie had with Paul Cancienne shows very clearly that people on the House Subcommittee will not support HR 3101 UNTIL Rick Boucher allows it to move in the Subcommittee! EVEN IF people contact their Congresspeople on the Subcommittee the Representatives on the Subcommittee are totally deferring to Mr. Boucher, and won't do anything without Boucher! Nobody on the Subcommittee is willing to support HR 3101 because they are waiting for Boucher!

It has already been more than seven months since HR 3101 was introduced by Representative Ed Markey. Currently 27 Representatives outside of the Subcommittee have signed on. But, it is now very painfully clear, it does NOT matter how many people sign on to the bill, IF Rick Boucher does not let the bill move!! We must continue the effort to get cosponsors as support will be needed if the bill makes it out of committee, BUT our primary efforts must be focused on Rick Boucher!!!

As Jamie posted on Twitter today, "Why, oh why, does Congress let one person have so much power??? It is unfair!! Our bill is held hostage by Rick Boucher!!"

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  1. Is there anything we can do to get this bill to move? Stage a protest in his office? Explain why this bill has to move out of committee? He's from VA, there has got to be a way to get many deaf people from VA into his office to explain why this bill so important!

  2. Staging a protest may not be the best idea.

    Explaining why it should pass may be the best thing, but don't write a novel. Maybe a point-by-point listing can do better. Include the fact that some people are using the same old arguments used by the 1990 and 1996 acts. We need people from HIS AREA to contact him to show him why we need it. Too many hearing people don't quite understand what it means to be deaf til they actually lose theirs.

    His district is the western section of Virginia.