Over two months ago, a special committee was created to offer recommendations on how to reduce the national deficit by at least $1.5 trillion over the next ten years. The bi-partisan Joint Select Committee, also known as the Super Committee, is comprised of 12 members and has until November 23 to come up with solid recommendations that will be used as guidelines in shaping our nation’s deficit budget conundrum.
When talk of formation of the committee started making the rounds, we immediately went to work creating a website resource to inform and share information on all things Super Committee.
Our grassroots campaign to make sure that citizens are kept in the loop about what the members are doing kicked off with enthusiastic responses from the public eager to open the Super Congress.
Contacting the Super Committee
Our friends at Open Congress created better self organizing tools to help you simultaneously contact all three of your members of Congress and let them know that you are tracking their actions. If you have a representative on the Super Committee, let them know you demand transparency. If your representatives aren’t on the Super Committee, ask them to support H.R. 2860 and other Super Committee transparency initiatives. Learn more about Open Congress’s tools here:
Join the campaign
On the home front, we asked you to join hands with us by signing on to tell the Super Congress to be open .
Write to Congress
We also provided you with a customizable letter to write to your representative or visit your local congressional office with tips on how to make the most out of your trip. Lastly, we asked you to ‘sing it from the rooftops’ by using the hashtag #opensupercongress to share your visit or letter with your social media network. All the while, giving you four options to reach your respective member of congress. We did not stop at that, we wanted to hear how your district visit to your representative went, so we sent out a survey encouraging you to share your experience so others can be inspired to visit their leaders too.
The Committee itself has also aided the process further by designing an official website where citizens can now write directly to the members with suggestions on what they think can be done to reduce the country’s deficit. But voicing your ideas on how we can beat the deficit is not enough. We have to ensure that while they are negotiating these issues, all meetings and hearing are publicized and any financial contributions attached to a member of the Committee, disclosed.
With the introduction of the Deficit Committee Transparency Act, which calls for members and staff of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to disclose lobbying activities and campaign or member-designated political action committee contributions, the campaign for openness gained even more momentum. Last month, we complimented this momentum by hosting a conference call with our partners at Public Citizen to discussion updates on the Super Committee. Click here to listen to the audio from the conference call. It was also the perfect forum to bring up experiences for activists to made the trip to their representatives’ offices. Sunlight’s Lisa Rosenberg and Public Citizen’s Craig Holman were on hand to answer participants questions and an audio recording will soon be available for those who did not make it to the conference call.
A movement forms
In addition, over 5,230 signers citizens have signed on to support the campaign for a transparent Super Committee — you still can here.
Blogging: the element of each one reaching one
We still encourage local bloggers to take up this issue. Local bloggers play a crucial role in spreading the word to their communities and followers — and as the Committee members are also representatives and senators to some of the local bloggers, it becomes a civic responsibility to inform the constituents represented by these members. Maybe you would rather illustrate your message, we made it easier by creating this video which you are welcome to use in your blog post. Several local bloggers including Jason Williams, Stefan Passantino, Charles Davis and Celeste Meiffren (who loved our video) Michael Signer have already started spreading the word!
The Super Committee is continuing its work, though behind closed doors. We have less than a month left. Join us to help demand an open and transparent process.
This week, we will be bringing you more updates including actions planned to open up the Super Committee. Stay tuned…