Forget what the calendar says! We actually have just FOUR months basically left to get HR 3101 passed! Why: This is an election year for Congress. Every Congressional Representative who wants to keep his or her job, must get re-elected in November if they want to keep working on Capitol Hill. That means that our best chance to get their attention and support for HR 3101 is BEFORE they go on the Summer break (August 9 to September 10).
During the break, they will be focused on winning votes in their communities, AND after returning to work on the Hill in September, still focused on winning votes in their communities. Do you think they are going to be very productive on Capitol Hill? How easy is it going to be to get legislation passed while they are worried about their jobs? Not very!
Another reason for the urgency. Already, several representatives have announced retirements. Others have resigned. This means that if we have to start all over again in the next Congress, we not only have to rebuild our support base of previous cosponsors, we have to work to get the attention of new Representatives. AND, we know we are getting political here but it is a fact - we have been less than successful in getting Republican support. It is expected that many Democratic representatives may lose their jobs to Republicans in the November election. That could make our job even harder.
In recognition of the new reality facing us, we have changed the counter so that it ends on August 9 instead of at the end of the current Congress.
There is one ray of hope. Last week, the Federal Communications Commission expressed de facto support for HR 3101 at the March 10 event "Increasing Access to Broadband for People with Disabilities." Details are on the Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology (COAT) website, and if you prefer to see the video, it is at http://reboot.fcc.gov/live/.
If you have not called or written to your representative, do it now. If you have friends in the deaf or hearing community who don't know about HR 3101, tell them now. Too many people don't know about it. Contact your local newspaper to make them aware of HR 3101. Do whatever it takes!
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