If there’s one thing I’ve learned this year, it’s that calling your reps is actually really important. Being from Texas, I always thought that it didn’t really matter, but then the first time I ever called my congressman it seemed to work. Remember in January the House was secretly going to pass a law gutting the ethics committee? People (I) freaked out, called their congresspeople, and they decided not to make that particular bad choice. If you’re still not convinced that calling is better than emailing or faxing or tweeting, read this. Here at BKTX, we’re no strangers to calling our congresspeople and shouting at them, but we are embarrassed to admit that we’ve been lagging in recent weeks. However, we’re charging up our phones in preparation of a major call storm today given the news that after weeks of secretly developing their TrumpCare bill, based on the horrifying load of hot garbage that passed through the House last month, the Senate is going to reveal it sometime this afternoon. No one knows what’s in it, but healthcare is an issue that touches so many other issues close to our hearts and the only way to try and prevent it from cutting the insurance from millions of people is to call your senators. Whether you’re most concerned about defunding Planned Parenthood, losing protection for preexisting conditions, or everything in between, it’s important to call your senator, even if he is Zodiac Killer Ted Cruz. We wanted to share some pro tips and scripts for calling your senators and slowing this thing down — it doesn’t have to be confrontational or scary.
First things first. Here’s what to say when you call your senators
If your senator is a republican (like Ted Cruz or John Cornyn, for example):
If your senator is a democrat (like Chuck Schumer or Kirsten Gillibrand, for example):
Here’s what you should expect when you call your senator: sometimes, no one will answer. Sometimes the voice mailbox will be full. This is infuriating, but that sometimes happens. If you can leave a message, do it, MAKE SURE TO LEAVE YOUR FULL ADDRESS, and then call back the next day. If someone does answer, in my experience they are usually extremely kind and patient, so even if you have steam coming out of your ears, try not to yell at them and be sure thank them for what they do at the end. It's not the same thing as yelling at Ted Cruz (I do condone yelling or otherwise emoting at a voice mailbox). They’ll usually ask for your name and zip code, and tell you that they’ll pass your message along.
These templates will work with any issue, just swap out the name of the bill and include the specific things that piss you off about it (like denying coverage for preexisting conditions).
We hope the fire under your asses has been rekindled and you’re feeling prepared to participate in some democracy! If you’re feeling really jazzed, you can also call these senators’ offices too — these potentially swingable Republican votes matter a TON with this issue. Even if you’re not in their constituency, they’ll sometimes still record your call.
Ted Cruz: (202) 224-5922
John Cornyn: 202-224-2934
Chuck Schumer: (202) 224-6542
Kirsten Gillibrand: (202) 224-4451
If you’re not sure what your senator’s phone number is, the US Senate switchboard can connect you: (202) 224-3121
Another important resource we’ve used since November has been this evolving google doc, the 2017 Rage Checklist, shared to us by our friend Andrea. It doesn’t look like it’s been updated since January, but there’s some gold in there and has some really clear scripts and important resources that empowered me to make my first phone call to congress.