Posted by: Middleclass Search | January 30, 2013

Take Action – Congress is responsible to its citizens and not to special interests

Congress is responsible to address its citizens’ concerns and try to implement improvements.  This is where a major breakdown in the system has occurred over the last 30 to 40 years. While representatives continue to help constituents with minor problems of working with the government, when it comes to major issues special interests get preference over the average citizen. Since the constituents have not been paying attention to major issues, the legislators have faced little negative poll results at election time. We need to provide the legislators more incentive to support the average citizen as opposed to the special interest groups.

One way this can be done is insist that your congressional person share with you the numbers of pros and cons they are receiving on major legislation and to address why they agree or disagree with the majority. If a legislator continually votes differently than what the citizen’s in her/his district vote the question of who the legislator is representing can be asked and perhaps a recall petition will be considered.

For a few computer savvy (geeks) a second way this can be done is by establishing a system where citizens can vote informally on major legislation. There are many problems with this approach: legislative changes at the last-minute, “poison pills” that are added and other legislation manipulations that can radically change the meaning of the legislation. But as citizens begin to understand the legislative process and the legislators that use these types of manipulations they will decrease. If a legislator continually votes differently than what the citizen’s in her/his district vote the question of who the legislator is representing can be asked and perhaps a recall petition will be considered.

The informal voting process could be established by a citizens group using voter registration and giving each registered voter a form of ID which they can vote on the legislation. The citizen group would provide a condensed version of the bill for the citizens to vote on, they would also monitor major changes to the bill. The results of the informal vote would be provided to the legislator ahead of time. While not a perfect solution, it is a start on requiring our elected officials to represent the citizens and not special interest groups.  It is also an action that does not require congressional approval.

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