How to Influence Senate Confirmation Hearings, Part 1

Senate confirmation hearings begin Tues., Jan. 10., for all Cabinet-level officials (except Chief of Staff) for the next administration. Incoming Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer pledges to explicitly fight eight of the nominees. The Hearings schedule may even change–Schumer, the Office of Government Ethics, and others are calling for background checks and in some cases, tax returns prior to hearings, something that has always been done in previous administrations.

The proposed Cabinet is a Who’s Who of billionaires, cronies, demagogues, and know-nothings, most of whom either stand to profit enormously from, or wish to do harm to, the very agencies they’re slated to run. Even the National Council of Churches has condemned the Cabinet selections.

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What can you do about this?

Call and express your support to Schumer for holding all Cabinet appointees to thorough and exhaustive vetting. (202) 224-6542, (518) 431-4070

Call the Committee Members who are conducting the various hearings, particularly if they are the Ranking Member, or a Democrat, or if you live in one of their states (lists below or General Senate Switchboard: (202) 224-3121.

(Californians, Dianne Feinstein is Ranking Chair of the Judiciary Comm., which will hear Jeff Sessions tomorrow. Feinstein:  (415) 393-0707, (202) 224-3841)

SCRIPT

(optional: I am a constituent of Senator _________). As Member/Ranking Member/Chair of the ____________ Committee, I urge (Senator ________) to oppose (Nominee) for (Cabinet Position) and subject her/him to the most thorough and exhaustive confirmation hearing possible, including providing thorough background checks and tax returns to ensure that they not engaged in dangerous and undemocratic conflicts of interest.

If you reach an aide:

Do you know if (Senator __________) is planning to oppose (Nominee?)

I’m happy/disappointed to hear that.

I also urge (Senator _____________) to address the issue of ____________. *

Thank you for your time.

*Read more about each nominee and choose your target concern. Also:

Is Jeff Sessions Trump’s Scariest Cabinet Pick?, Dean Obeidallah, CNN

Booker to Testify Against Sessions in Unprecedented Move, Dana Bash and Daniella Diaz, CNN

American Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten on Betsy DeVos

Mitch McConnell’s Freighted Ties to a Shadowy Shipping Company, Lee Fang, The Nation

Tillerson: What it really means to be a friend of Putin, Julia Ioffe, Politico

How Exxon and Trump are Helping Tillerson put off a $71 Billion Tax Bill, Stephen Gandel, Forbes

Note: Schedule is subject to change

Hearing               Appointee             Position                          Committee Members

Tues., Jan. 10     Jeff Sessions*       Attorney General         Judiciary

Tues., Jan. 10     John Kelly             Homeland Security      Homeland Security

Wed., Jan. 11      Betsy deVos*        Education                      Health, Education, Labor

Wed., Jan. 11      Elaine Chao**      Transportation             Commerce, Transportation

Wed., Jan. 11     Rex Tillerson*       Sec. of State                  Foreign Relations +

Wed., Jan. 11     Mike Pompeo         CIA                                 Intelligence +

Thurs., Jan. 12   James Mattis         Defense                         Armed Services

Thurs., Jan 12    Ben Carson***      Housing/Urban            Banking, Housing, U. Affairs

Thurs., Jan. 12   Wilbur Ross         Commerce                      Commerce, Transportation

* priority – targeted by Dems to fight

** Mitch McConnell’s wife, scion of shipping family, ultimate swamp-dweller

*** uniquely unqualified for high public position

+ not on official Senate schedule

Read the latest Senate confirmation hearings schedule.

Look up your Senator’s phone number

Find your Senator’s committee assignments

senaterankingmember17

TIPS FOR MAKING CALLS TO MEMBERS OF CONGRESS:
1. FEEL FREE TO PERSONALIZE your script, especially if you feel strongly about an issue.
2. CALLS MAY VERY BE BRIEF, AS LONG AS YOU IDENTIFY THE SPECIFIC ISSUE YOU ARE CALLING ABOUT.
3. IF YOU ENGAGE A STAFF MEMBER IN CONVERSATION YOU CAN ASK WHERE THE congressperson STANDS ON THE ISSUE, THEN REINFORCE OR POLITELY OPPOSE.
4. LEAVE A MESSAGE WITH YOUR MAIN POINT IF YOU ARE ABLE.
5. IF YOU ARE FROM THE STATE IN QUESTION, OR HAVE DONATED TO THE INDIVIDUAL, IDENTIFY YOURSELF AS SUCH.

Still have questions about the process? Learn how Senate confirmation hearings work.

Next up: How to Influence Senate Confirmation Hearings, Part 2

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