Supposing a letter-writing campaign was launched to support a particular house bill, including the H.R. #; and that bill had a notable number of sponsors; and was referred to a committee, in which the chair is not in support of this legislation...

What would a citizen ask for, besides something like 'support'. What action can a representative take to support a bill like this. I'm thinking along the lines of 'introduce for a vote', but I don't think that's the way the procedure goes.

So when writing Congress, what would we say?

  • Letter to committee chair: please place this bill on the agenda, and support this bill for vote. There's got to be a better way to say that?
  • Letter to committee member: please support.. how?
  • Letter to other congressperson: please support and use discharge petition if necessary.

Is discharge petition the correct term?

  • The only way you will get any results is to lobby them. The first thing you need to do is raise about $1,000,000 for every member of Congress that you want to vote for your bill. Then you need to take them all out to expensive dinners and schmooze them over and offer your "deal".
    – MolonLabe
    Feb 21, 2019 at 6:47
  • 😊 Sounds like a plan. Feb 21, 2019 at 11:56

1 Answer 1


I think that you are looking at this incorrectly. It doesn't matter what terminology you use. The existing sponsors know the terminology (or can employ people who do).

Just write your own Representative (plus the Speaker of the House and your two Senators) asking for support. Don't explain what kind of support you want. Just ask for support for that bill. If you convince them, they'll figure out what to actually do. If you don't convince them, it won't matter how accurate your terminology. They won't help you.

Representatives actively filter out campaigns from non-constituents. If you write Representatives outside your district, the staff will compare addresses and toss your letter. At best they might refer it to your Representative. You can see this if you try to email a Representative. They'll ask for your address and won't accept the email without it. And they won't accept the email with it if it is outside their district.

In some ways, accurate terminology may hurt your cause. Who knows accurate terminology? Other members of Congress. Who doesn't? Voters. So accurate terminology suggests an organized attempt by other members of Congress rather than a spontaneous feeling by a voter. And politicians care far more about what their voters think than their colleagues. Accurate terminology makes the letter less convincing and thereby less effective.

The other thing that you can do is find out who they think are their supporters and convince those people. Parties have local committees. Convince them and have them write the politicians. Convince their major donors and have them write the politicians. Convince the politicians that they will lose a primary, because their base won't support them without that bill.

  • Thanks for your comments. They are helpful. Actually this is from the perspective of a large group of people writing on the same issue, but I get what you're saying about using personal terms rather than group technical terms. Of course nobody really should write representatives outside of their own district. Feb 17, 2019 at 17:13
  • I'm wondering if you have any particular evidence or direct experience with "accurate terminology" being a detriment? And also for the implicit claim that members of Congress routinely engage in efforts to deceive and manipulate each other by faking correspondences from constituents? Feb 18, 2019 at 21:23

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .