Despite my sweeping knowledge of the American legislative process through Schoolhouse Rock’s “I’m Just a Bill” (come on, you know you wanna listen to it), I’m still pretty clueless about what actually has to happen for an important bill like the Savings for Working Families Act of 2007 to make it out of committee and get voted on by the full House and Senate.
I know it helps for a bill to have lots of co-Sponsors, which is why CFED has been urging people to contact their members of congress to ask them to become co-Sponsors. The bill now has 68 co-Sponsors in the House and 20 co-Sponsors in the Senate. What I don’t know is whether those are respectable numbers, enough to give the sad little bill hope, and what it takes to convert co-Sponsorship support into committee support.
I remain disappointed that my two Vermont Senators, Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders, have not signed on as co-Sponsors (their House colleague, Vermont’s freshman representative Peter Welch, did sign on as a co-Sponsor, as I mentioned a few weeks ago).
As for Massachusetts, where I’ve been helping get IDAs off the ground in Berkshire County, none of the 10 House members from Massachusetts have signed on as Co-Sponsors, and neither has Edward Kennedy in the Senate. Representative Richard E. Neal of Springfield, Massachusetts, who serves on the House Ways and Means Committee, could be an especially important voice for this bill, since it has been sent for review to a committee he serves on, so he’s one I’d particularly love to see become a co-Sponsor.
On the Senate side, the bill is in the Senate Finance Committee, where Massachusetts Senator John Kerry serves. Kerry has already signed on as a Co-Sponsor, but I would still urge my friends and colleagues across Massachusetts to contact Senator Kerry about this bill and urge him to push his fellow Massachusetts congressmembers to co-Sponsor it, while also doing his best to help it gain more supporters from both parties in the Senate Finance Committee.
CFED has some great tools for letting your voice be heard on this bill. Please use them and urge your congressmembers to help this bill become law. The 50,000 current IDA savers are a start, but just not enough. 900,000 IDA savers would help get our country moving in the right direction.