[Update – House passes it 244-188! Now go write your Senators!]
OK, people. If you haven’t contacted your Representative in Congress, it’s time to move! The U.S. House of Representatives will debate HR 1, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 – otherwise known as the Stimulus Package – TOMORROW (Wednesday, January 28th in case you actually read this tomorrow). You still have time to contact your Representative!
If you missed my previous action alert, start by reading the Justice for All blog for more information about funding provisions in this legislation for services related to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (the IDEA we know and love), Early Intervention, and myriad other services for children and adults with disabilities.
Folks, this is our best – and maybe only – chance to save these services from being slashed and crippled by the budget nightmares affecting our local and state governments. These contacts to Congress may be the most important messages you write this year.
If you’re in a hurry, you can head over to The Arc for a ready-made letter you can send to your Congresspeople. However, if you can carve out 15-20 minutes, I think personally written messages are more effective. Feel free to use The Arc’s letter as a model, but tell a little about your story and ask for their support in your own words. One personal message can often be as effective as dozens of form letters.
Remember, be direct, to the point, and respectful, and tell them why this is important to you. Ask them to both support this legislation and ensure that the funding for these services that are critical to our children’s future remain part of it.
Find your Representative and your Senators and contact them! Most of them have easy-to-fill-out web forms to submit your message. Note – newly-elected members of Congress may have e-mail addresses rather than forms, but their page will tell you.
The Senate will begin debate on this legislation some time after it moves through the House, and it looks like tougher sledding in the Senate. So it’s important to contact your Senators very soon!
You already know this, but we are our children’s best advocates. It’s up to us. Start writing!