TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: HR5252 - Lobby For Cloture

HR5252 - Lobby For Cloture

Rick Merrill (
Wed, 06 Sep 2006 20:25:54 -0400

Here are two key points on Senator Stevens' cable and
telecommunications bill that came out of the NATOA annual conference
this past week, in particular from the NLC and other DC municipal
representatives who were present discussing the bill, which is HR

Point one -- You need to contact your Senators again, even if you have
done so already. This is because we have learned that the phone
companies are visiting many Senators offices repeatedly -- such as
twice a week -- on the bill.

In response, municipalities need to be communicating regularly as
well. So send another letter even if your municipality sent one a
month ago. Better yet, if you sent a letter last month, make a phone
call this month, etc.

Point two -- The key message is "Vote against cloture on the bill",
don't let it come up for a vote. That is the message that all the
national municipal groups are sending, and they want to make sure all
municipalities send as well. Don't just say "vote against the bill"
or "oppose it".

So make sure that "Vote against cloture" is the message that you are
sending to your Senators. We have updated the sample letter to Congress
on our web site to reflect this message -- go to
then to "Federal legislation" in the right column and then to the
August letters under "U.S. Senate, H.R. 5252 (formerly S. 2686)".

Reasoning -- It takes 60 votes for cloture, but only 51 votes to
approve the bill. Senate Majority Leader Frist is insisting on
Stevens having 60 votes in favor before he will bring the bill up,
because Frist does not want to waste the small amount of time they
have in session in September on a bill where they cannot cut off
debate. Senator Stevens could well get the votes to pass the bill,
but it is a lot harder for him to get the 60 votes to cut off debate.

Please do the preceding now, because the Senate is only back for a
short time in September, and things will move very quickly once the
Senators are back.

Questions, let us know,

John Pestle
Varnum, Riddering, Schmidt & Howlett LLP

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