Welcome to another edition of your Tuesday To-Do List. The Tuesday To-Do List is easy action items for everyone to do that can help advocate and lobby for individuals with disabilities. This week, we are going to talk about the full funding of IDEA. Yes, that again. I know, I rant about it often, but it’s important and lately I’ve been given hope.
This Sunday marks the 4th anniversary of the death of Ted Kennedy who was such a great champion for our kids and our cause. I still miss him and think it will be a while until the Senate sees another presence like his. But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t Senators that are working hard and championing for them every day. There are some. So this is why I want to introduce you all to Senator Tom Harkin and ask you give him a shout out, words of encouragement and a thank you.
Senator Harkin has been serving many terms as a Senator from Iowa. Earlier this year, he announced that he will not seek re-election in 2014. In 2011, he first introduced the IDEA Full Funding Act, which calls for the full funding of IDEA 1975. When I was in Washington, DC last month visiting with my Senators’ offices, a few staffers told me that Senator Harkin has a goal of getting this passed before his retirement. I’ve been almost giddy with excitement ever since! Think about it….full funding of IDEA a reality in under 2 years. This is an uphill battle for sure. Money is tight, and there’s a big push to cut funding for programs like this, not increase them. This is why we have to get behind this.
Our Senators need to hear from us–they need to know that this is a priority for us.
So, what I’m asking you to do, pick from the list below, do one thing, do them all, but do something!
- Read about the bill, as well as sign up for alerts for changes to it. Once you click that link, look for the tabs about mid-page that say “summary” or “co-sponsors.”
- Call or email your Senators. First, find your Senator. Then, just a simple email (there’s usually a contact form on all of their websites) or a simple phone call (a staffer will ask you your name, your zip code and what issues are important to you).
Just tell them–“I want Senator so-and-so to get behind Senator Harkin’s Full Funding of IDEA Act. Special education and issues affecting people with disabilities are very important to me and my family, and I want Senator So-and-So to support this cause. IDEA 1975 is an under-funded mandate and our kids are really struggling as a result of this. I would like for Senator So-and-So to make this a priority when he/she returns in the fall.” If your Senator already supports it, you could add in “continue to support this cause.”
- Call or email Senator Harkin’s office and thank them. Tell them that no, you’re not one of his constituents, but that you have a child with disabilities and appreciate his hard work towards the cause.
- Look at the list of previous co-sponsors. If they are from your state and still a Senator, ask them to become a co-sponsor again. The previous sponsors were: Joining Harkin as co-sponsors of the IDEA Full Funding Act are Richard Durbin (D-IL),
Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)(Senator Lautenberg is now deceased), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Patty Murray (D-WA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Al Franken (D-MN), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Jack Reed (D-RI), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tim Johnson (D-SD), and Mark Begich (D-AK).
- Look at the list of committee members for the committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. This bill is currently sitting in committee. If those folks are your Senators, another bullet point to talk about when you contact them–“I see that S 108 is currently in committee, which you are a part of, so I hope you can support this.”
Democrats by Rank
Tom Harkin (IA)
Barbara A. Mikulski (MD)
Patty Murray (WA)
Bernard Sanders (I) (VT)
Robert P. Casey, Jr. (PA)
Kay R. Hagan (NC)
Al Franken (MN)
Michael F. Bennet (CO)
Sheldon Whitehouse (RI)
Tammy Baldwin (WI)
Christopher S. Murphy (CT)
Elizabeth Warren (MA)
Republicans by Rank
- If you are active on Twitter, tweet them! Just click the boxes below and it will tweet them. I got most of the committee members, but missed a few. My Twitter list is outdated by a year or two, so some weren’t on there. If that person is your Senator, you can always click the hyperlink and get to their page.
[Tweet “@SenatorHarkin Thank you for making full funding of IDEA 1975 a priority, our kids with #disabilities need it! #SpEd”]
[Tweet “@SenatorBarb @PattyMurray @SenSanders Pls support full funding of IDEA in HELP committee, co-sponsor! #disabilities #autism”]
[Tweet “@SenBobCasey @SenatorHagen @AlFranken Pls support full funding of IDEA in HELP committee, our kids need it! #disabilities #sped “]
[Tweet “@SenBennetCO @SenWhitehouse @ElizabethForMA Pls support full funding of IDEA in HELP committee, our kids are struggling! #disabilities #SpEd”]
[Tweet “@SenAlexander @SenatorEnzi @SenatorBurr Pls support full funding of IDEA in HELP Committee, kids are struggling! #disabilities”]
[Tweet “@SenIsakson @SenRandPaul @SenOrrinHatch Pls support full funding of IDEA in HELP committee, our kids need it #disabilities “]
[Tweet “@SenatorKirk @LisaMurkowski @SenPatRoberts Pls support full funding of IDEA in HELP committee, our kids need this! #disabilities #SpEd”]