Ratification of the CRPD should happen in January 2014. That is the optimal window for action by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and by the full Senate. In February 2014 and thereafter partisanship will heighten because of the mid-term elections in November 2014. Democrats and Republicans will be invested in drawing distinctions between them, not things on which they agree or could agree. After January 2014 bipartisanship cooperation, even if we pray or look for it, will be highly unlikely. There also will be big issues that will ebb and flow at the top of Congress’ radar that have nothing to do with the CRPD – budget, appropriation, debt ceiling, health care, entitlement, and immigration issues and others. So, what do we do? Work 24-7 in January 2014. Here are a few suggestions.
Contact Senators Menendez and Corker, frequently. They are the Chairman and Ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, respectively. They control what happens. Urge them to move the CRPD out of committee quickly.
Use personal messages. Senators are probably tired of receiving 100s or more of the same message.
Volume of contacts continues to be critical. Tell personal stories or concerns. They will stand out. Senators may use them in floor statements and debates.
If you are a person from a state represented on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, contact your Senator and let him or her know and urge bipartisan cooperation. Ask your Senator to make a special effort to reach to a colleague on the committee from the other party and together work to help Senators Menendez and Corker to find a way to a resolution on the CRPD on which Democrats and Republicans can agree.
Ask questions in messages. These questions will get you answers.
Emphasize in your messages that solutions related to concerns have been identified. Strength of words and clarity of meaning are the only matters left to negotiate. Senators willing to operate in good faith can sort these out.
January 2014 is a key month for us. Please do all you can to make ratification of the CRPD happen. Each of us has to make this 31-day push.