Eye on Congress

Eye on Congress Project

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EYE on Congress is an active, continuing project of Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. The goal is to educate voters and politicians on peace issues and the war economy and their connection to social spending by keeping ourselves and our neighbors informed on key issues and making our views known to elected officials and to the public at large. We will make sure their voting records in Congress are

ESTABLISHING EYE CONTACT

WILPF members in 41 branches in over 22 states where their senators or representatives are on key committees are monitoring votes in Congress over the next two years so that they can publicize the pro-military, anti-people stands of individual Senators and House members. EYE activists are encouraged to build continuing relationships with their elected representatives and staff who deal with peace issues.

EYE Contacts undertake to stay informed. They share information with friends and neighbors to work for a peace-minded Congress. Representatives in Congress will be asking for our vote in 2004. We will make sure their voting records in Congress are known.

HOW TO JOIN EYE ON CONGRESS

WILPF members eager to participate in EYE on Congress are welcome to join. You will receive materials and issue alerts. Communication of alerts is via email.   Contact the DC office at wilpfdc@wilpf.org or Val Mullen vmullen@together.net for more information.

GET STARTED YOURSELF

Learn how politicians who represent you vote by calling Project Vote Smart 1-888-VOTE-SMART or entering your zip code on their website, www.vote-smart.org.

Learn how much industries, corporations, unions and individuals contribute to political campaigns by searching the Center for Responsive Politics website, www.opensecrets.org

Download reports on what weapons manufacturers get for their money at www.worldpolicy.org/projects/arms

Keep up with the weekly voting records of your senators as well as getting a wealth of information on the military spending, the arms trade, national missile defense and much more at the Council for a Livable World website, www.clw.org

Check the weekly Congressional Action Alert of the Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) at www.fcnl.org or call 800-630-1330

Watchdog Techniques
By Pat Schroeder

Former Congressional Representative from Colorado

With a mandate-less president we women need to watch our elected officials carefully. As a former member of Congress I know what it feels like to be watched, so I can tell you the best way to apply pressure. Gather like-minded friends and form a monitoring cabal....

Here are some watchdog techniques:

If your elected officials aren't to your liking, meet with them as a group and give them the chance to "court" you. All federal representatives have offices in their districts and all are interested in expanding their base. But since they don't read brain waves, you will have to tell them why you didn't support them. This is crucial because "I never knew this was important to you" is a politician's favorite excuse.

Even if your candidate won, she or he still needs reminding that your continued support is based on kept promises. If your attempts to meet are thwarted, write letters to the editor relating to your experience. Run an ad with the politician's picture, offering a reward to anyone who can supply information on the whereabouts of this person. You will be called troublemakers - a badge you should wear proudly.

Whenever an issue comes up that you care about, alert your elected representatives. If they vote incorrectly print up flyers describing the issue and telling people how their legislators voted. Send a copy to that legislator and say that you have posted hundreds over all over the district. Extending tentacles into the community is a politician's worst nightmare, and most will want to know how to stop you.

Now that I'm no longer in Congress, I love to use my rights as a citizen to plague Congress members. So, if you've packed it in until the next campaign issue, unpack. We can either ring our hands or roll up our sleeves, and I don't know anyone who can wring and roll at the same time.

Excerpted from Ms. Magazine February/March 2001, p.33
Former Representative Patricia Schroeder (D-Colo) is president and CEO of the Association of American Publishers.

Eye on Congress Flyer

Click here to download the Eye on Congress Flyer as a Word document or PDF

The Word document allows you to type your local information into the rectangle provided. If it does not download properly use the PDF version and paste your local information into the rectangle before photo copying.

WILPF'S EYE ON CONGRESS

DID YOU KNOW . . .

According to the Center for Defense Information, the U.S. spends more on its military than the next 20 nations combined? In FY 2004, war spending will be nearly $400 billion? With a 13% increase it will consume more than half the U.S. discretionary budget? If Congress enacts the proposed FY 2004 budget, funding for K-12 education, energy efficiency and violence against women programs will be cut? Pentagon projections say the Defense budget will grow to $509 billion by FY09?

WHILE . . .

? 18.9% of children in the U.S. live in poverty
? 44.3 million people have no health insurance
? 38% of renters cannot afford fair market rate
? 1/3 of our schools need significant repair
? 8.5 million U.S. residents drink polluted water

WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT? ASK MORE QUESTIONS!

KEEP ON ASKING YOUR REPRESENTATIVES QUESTIONS, AFTER ALL, THEY’LL BE ASKING YOU . . . FOR YOUR VOTE IN 2004!

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