Congress in the palm of your hand

Want to be heard in Washington but not sure where to begin (aside from voting, of course)? Well, you’re in luck. There’s an app for that.

I first heard about the app “5 Calls” from Ronni Bennett on her blog “Time Goes By.” It sounded almost too easy. Fire up the app and the very first screen is a list of bills being considered in Washington. Click on a topic and up pops a description of the bill and the name and phone number of your congressman or senator, along with a brief script to use, if you need it, when your call is answered. When you’re finished, click your result at the bottom of the screen and the next person to be called appears. Or you’ll be returned to the list of issues.

I was disappointed at first because when I tried it, the name and number that came up was my Democratic senator. I wanted to call my Republican senator (we have one of each), but he wasn’t listed. (I knew there was a catch!) Eventually I figured out that all I had to do was click “Skip” at the bottom of the page and the Republican’s name and number would come up. When a bill is in the House, my congressman’s name and number appear.

Modern technology being what it is, long distance calls are now toll free (something millennials probably don’t appreciate). So there’s really no excuse not to do this. Writing letters used to be the recommended way to reach a legislator in Washington, but these days we’re told a phone call is the way to go. Since your pro or con position is the only thing that’s tallied, you might as well take the path of least resistance and call. (Of course there’s no guarantee this won’t put you on their robocall list … but you can always block the number if they call)

If you don’t think calls make a difference, just remember how fast the Republicans dropped their plans to hamstring the Office of Congressional Ethics when their phone lines were jammed with protests.

March 21: I neglected to mention that the app is free and available for both iPhone and Android. And while it leans liberal, you can skip the scripts and state your own opinion. The contact names and phone numbers are there for anyone to use.

23 thoughts on “Congress in the palm of your hand

  1. We recently changed our cable television plan to include a phone line. Less money for cable, internet, and phone AND the long distance (including Canada and Mexico) is free. Now I have to figure out who to call.

    1. Well I’m in Sydney Australia if you want to give me a buzz XD

      But I better warn you; I’m very hard of hearing and the conversation will probably go along the lines:

      Whats that you say? Speak up I can’t hear you! Hello, you there?

      You get the drift 😈

      1. My best friend is actually in Australia right now (a vacation of a lifetime) and we are in contact through Facebook messanger each day. I now know you are getting ready for lunch and I will need to go to sleep. This world is wonderfully different than my chidhood, I need not shout (though I am loud) because you read at your own level.

        1. You’re definitely right about the lunch, and I’m more than peckish at the moment.
          I hope your friend is not in Sydney at the moment, the weather at this time of the year is usually perfect but for the past few weeks it’s been atrocious.
          Even Perth in Western Australia, which has the perfect climate year round is not escaping from the bad weather.
          In 66 years in Australia I’ve never seen anything this bad! 🙁

          1. Australia is rather a large place, actually it’s a big place (an island continent, not just a country) and Sydney is the largest city, and is on the eastern coast.
            Our weather is normally the envy of the world. “Sunny Australia” is how its normally described, XD

    1. They needn’t worry about this US version being of any use in Australia. But there are probably plenty of developers there who can easily write up an Aussie version for you.

    1. Oh, he looks like a winner. But I shouldn’t judge the book by its cover, should I.

      I called my congressman this afternoon. He’s a Democrat, so mostly all I could say was thank you and keep up the good work. It’s a given he’ll be voting against the AHCA, but I figured a bit of encouragement couldn’t hurt. Called my Republican senator too, just to put him on notice, and only got voicemail. Figures. He hasn’t shown up at any of his town halls here at home, either.

      Found myself wishing the app listed everybody in Washington so I could call relevant people whether I’m a constituent or not. But it’s certainly a good start.

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