Legislative Strategy and Timing the Part YOU Play in Success Print
A common question we hear is, ?When will HR 1217 be up for a vote??

Bills (like HR 1217) can attempt to repeal the Department of Defense?s (DoD?s) ?authority? to operate such a school. Usually these bills are referred to the Senate and/or House Armed Services Committees where the committee asks for comment from the DoD on the issues in the bill. This has been a way that supporters of the SOA who are in committee leadership positions have blocked action on it, except for the addition of more co-sponsors.

A typical follow-up question is, "Then why do we try to get an amendment when we have a bill?

Amendments to Appropriations bills can attempt to cut funds and render the SOA/WHINSEC inoperable. There have been votes in the House on such amendments in 1993, 94, 96, 97, 98, 99 (where the amendment won 230-197!), and 2000 (where the amendment narrowly lost by 10 votes.)

What It Takes To Win:

1. In order to win a floor vote, a majority must vote yes (218 in the House and 51 in the Senate.) Many vote yes even if they are not co-sponsors; some abstain from voting at all. Still, the number of co-sponsors is a good indication of the level of support. We currently have 105 co-sponsors, and Rep. McGovern has asked us to get at least 150 co-sponsors before the time comes to consider amendments to the appropriations bill.

2. If a piece of appropriations legislation is passed in one house, but not the other, it must be reconciled in Conference Committee. This is where we lost the 1999 amendment, by one vote, after successfully passing it in the House. Therefore, even if there is no Senate bill, it is still important to keep building that relationship.


CONSTITUENT ACTION IS WHAT IT TAKES TO WIN!


WHAT YOU, THE CONSTITUENT LOBBYIST CAN DO

? Every Member of Congress can and should be lobbied on the SOA/WHINSEC issue.

? If your Rep is not already a co-sponsor, ask them to sign on.

? If they have already signed on, ask them to get them more involved on the issue by becoming more active and outspoken.

? Build a relationship and stay in touch with Members of Congress because when a vote comes, and that usually happens on very short notice, it will be necessary to contact all Members of Congress immediately to remind them how to vote.

? Organize others to do this important work with you. The more we are, the louder our voice is.

DOING YOUR HOMEWORK

It?s always a good idea to research your Member?s voting record on this and other related issues. Check out www.congress.org and/or call the SOAW office, 202-234-3440.


Last updated 5/31/05