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    Do You Know What Your Congressman Is Up To?

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    By Rachel L. West, MSW, LMSW

    In 2013, the United States Congress passed a record low number of bills. Only 75 pieces of legislation passed both houses and went on to be signed into law by President Obama.  Today, GovTrack unveiled their 2013 Congressional Report Card to help you keep track of how good (or bad) a job your Congressman is doing.

    congressThe report cards are a summary of each senator and representative’s legislative activity during the 2013 session of Congress (Jan 3-Dec 26, 2013) including metrics for:

    • Number of Bills Introduced, Number of Cosponsors, and Number of Bills Cosponsored
    • Number of Bills with Committee Support, Bills Out of Committee, and Bills Enacted
    • Bipartisanship: % of Bills with Bi-partisan Cosponsors, % of Cosponsored Bills Crossing Party Lines
    • Number of Bills with a Companion Bill in the Other Chamber
    • Missed Votes
    • Leadership, using our unique analysis methodology
    • Number of Committee Leadership Positions
    • Ideology (liberal-conservative score), using our unique analysis methodology

    We also include one other special legislative rating:

    • Support for Government Transparency, based on 20 non-partisan bills we identified that increase government transparency.” (source: GovTrack Blog)

    You can read the report card here.  GovTrack has also made it easier than ever for constituents to reach out to their members of Congress via a “Call Congress” button. The button is featured on each bill page.  After you click, the button GovTrack will walk you through how to make a successful call to you Representative or Senator.

    Legislative Update

    Last spring, I told you about four pieces of legislation that every social work should know. They were:

    1. The Ruth Moore Act of 2013 (HR 671/ S. 294)
    2. Mental Health in Schools Act (HR 628/ S.195)
    3. Student Support Act (HR 320)
    4. The Social Work Reinvestment Act (HR 1466/ S. 997)

    Currently, the Ruth Moore Act of 2013 has passed the House, but it is stuck in committee in the Senate. The other three bills are all sitting in committees in both chambers.  It should also be noted that the Student Support Act does not have a matching Senate bill.

    Other bills of note include the Employment Non-Discrimination ACT (ENDA) which passed the Senate back in November 2013.  So far, House Speaker John Boehner has not brought the bill to the House floor for a vote.  If passed, ENDA would make it illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee based on that persons sexual orientation or gender identity.  It should also be mentioned the legislation introduced to extend unemployment benefits has also stalled.

    Rachel L. West is the Founder of the Political Social Worker, a blog dedicated to macro social work and politics. She holds a BA in History from SUNY Stony Brook and an MSW from Adelphi University. She is a community outreach and engagement specialist. Rachel resides in New York State, and she is available as a consultant and coach. You can find out more about Rachel at The Political Social Worker at (politicalsocialworker.org).

    3 Comments

    3 Comments

    1. Richard Cesar Schneider

      January 22, 2014 at 2:42 am

      To no good

    2. Beb Habibi

      Beb Habibi

      January 21, 2014 at 11:45 am

      ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼
      hihihi.. fotonya keyyen Non Social Work Helper …
      ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

    3. Scott Larson

      January 21, 2014 at 11:44 am

      I have a Congressman? lol…

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