Jesse Gordon, Editor-in-Chief of "On The Issues" and
Steve Hilton, C0-Founder and CEO of "CROWDPAC"
Sam Gillman, Co-Founder and CEO of "Common Sense Action"
Change a few Senators or Congresspersons over the years and America would have been a much different country. Change a relative few Senators and Congresspersons on November 4, this year, and America can -- in one day -- break the "gridlock" and move forward, one way or another.
The best example of this is, of course The Affordable Care Act, ("Obamacare"). Like it or hate it, it is now the law of the land because of:
ONE vote in The United States Senate. The filibuster to prevent a vote on the legislation failed by a 60 - 39 vote. ONE vote swing and Obamacare would have been defeated.
THREE votes in The United States House of Representatives. The vote was 219 - 212. Because only 431 voted, 216 votes were needed for passage.
ONE vote in The United States Supreme Court. The Court voted 5 - 4 in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius that "The Affordable Care Act" was "constitutional". (And, of course, it is because of who we all elect as President and as the 100 members of The United States Senate that determines who sits on The Supreme Court.)
It is remarkable how few Senators and Congresspersons are needed to change the results of much legislation throughout our history. So, instead of "hating" Congress and blasting all of them for "not doing their job," Americans who care about these issues only need to go out and find a few more representatives of their liking to put their issue over the top. At most, it only takes 278. Elect 218 on November 4 who believe as you do on the issues you care about and you can get a bill passed in The House. Find just 60 who believe as you do in The Senate and your bill will pass The Senate.
And, even if your person is not in The White House right now, and would veto your bill, you are still in charge of that too! We, collectively, are more important than any President, and so is Congress in many ways. Elect 290 in The House and 67 in The Senate who believe as you do and Congress can override ANY veto of ANY bill and your bill becomes law!
But a massive number in our country choose to sit out elections. In the last Midterm Election in 2010, 126.8 MILLION eligible Americans, 58.5% of the total eligible voter base, did NOT vote. 126.8 MILLION! If only 10% of that number had cared enough to go to the polls on the issues below (or on so many others), they could have elected the few extra Members to pass or reject every one of these bills in The Senate, and change the results in The House.
Here are a few examples from the current Congress:
The United States Senate
I. Expanding Background Checks for Gun Sales - Only 6 More Votes Needed to Pass
On April 17, 2013,Republican Pat Toomey (PA) and Democrat Joe Manchin introduced the Manchin-Toomey Amendment to The Firearms Bill, S649, that would have expanded background checks on firearms sales and banned some semi-automatic military styled assault weapons. The Vote: YES: 54, NO: 46. 6 More Votes Needed (to break the Filibuster)
II. Raising The Minimum Wage - Only 4 More Votes Needed to Pass
On January 14, 2014, 100 United States Senators voted on S. 1845, the bill to raise the minimum wage in The United States to $10.10?? The VOTE: 55 YES, 45 NO. 5 More Votes Needed (to break the Filibuster)
It was close, so Majority Leader Harry Reid brought it up again on February 6. The VOTE: 55 YES, 43 NO. 4 More Votes Needed (to break the Filibuster)
And then they tried again on a similar bill, S. 2223
The VOTE: 54 YES, 42 NO. 4 More Votes Needed (to break the Filibuster)
III. Republican Effort to Not Raise The Debt Limit - Only 5 More Votes Needed to Pass
In October of 2013 Republicans fought hard to not raise the national debt limit. The Vote: 45 YES, 54 NO. Only 5 More votes needed to freeze the debt limit.
IV. Companies Can't Deny Insurance Coverage for Abortion. 4 More Votes Needed to Pass
99 United States Senators voted on S. 2578, "The Protect Women's Health from Corporate Interference Act of 2014", designed to prevent companies from denying insurance coverage for abortion, based on the conscience of the employer. The VOTE: 56 YES, 43. 4 More Votes Needed (to break the Filibuster)
V. The Refugee Children - 7 More Votes Needed to Pass
On July 31, 94 United States Senators voted on S. 2648, a bill to create emergency supplemental funding to deal with the "refugee children" along the Mexican border. The VOTE: 50 YES, 44 NO. 7 More Votes Needed (to break the Filibuster)
VI. Discrimination Against Gays in The Workplace - 7 More Votes Needed to Defeat
S. 815 sought to amend ENDA, The Employment Non-Discrimination Act, to include sexual orientation. 60 votes would have been needed to break a filibuster to prevent this amendment from being voted on. The Vote: YES 61, NO 30. Given that only 91 voted, Republican opponents only needed 7 votes to stop this from becoming law.
The House of Representatives
Because there is no filibuster allowed in The House of Representatives and because one party has had a clear 233 - 199 majority, there is less drama in The House. But the point remains. If Republicans want to be able to pass laws in the next Congress and then be able to override any veto from The White House, they can do that by adding 57 seats. If The Democrats want to take over control of The House, they can do that by adding 19 seats. Here's one example of a relatively close vote in The House this session.
I. Predicting Climate Change Effects - 17 More Votes (4%) Needed to Reject
On July 10, 2014 The House voted to prohibit The Department of Energy from using funds to modernize DOE's climate model to predict the effects of climate change. H. Amdt. 1045 to H.R. 4923 Vote: YES 226, NO 194. 17 more votes needed for Democrats to reject this prohibition.
And, there are a whole slew of bills that have easily passed the Republican House of Representatives but - because Democrats control The Senate - were not even brought up for a vote on The Senate Floor.
Elect 6 more Republican Senators and Republicans take over control of The Senate and can bring up every one of bills that pass The House. And, 15 more Republican Senators and Republicans would have a 60 vote Filibuster Proof majority in The Senate and would be able to pass virtually any and every bill they want. 15 individuals out of a country of over 310 Million!
II. Repealing and De-Funding Obamacare - 6 More Votes Needed to Bring to Vote in Senate
A.On January 19, 2011 The House, by an overwhelming vote of 245 - 189, passed "The Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act" which would have repealed all of The Affordable Care Act. It was never consered by The Senate.
B. On February 19, 2011 The House voted 221 - 202 to severely limit the funding and implementation of Obamacare. It was never considered by The Senate.
III. Border Control - 6 More Votes Needed to Bring to Vote in Senate
On August 2 The House On August 2, The House voted 223 - 189 to spend more than $400 million for additional border security and law enforcement measures and to speed up the deportation process. It was never considered by The Senate.
If America can come together to elect winners in "American Idol" and "Dancing with The Stars", we should certainly be able to do so on November 4 and elect a working majority of representatives to break the gridlock and move America forward on these and so many other issues! Go to OnTheIssues.org, CrowdPac.com or CommonSenseAction.org to find out where your candidates stand, get your family and friends and those who think like you across the country to do the same, and, collectively, get those 218 elected in The House and those 60 in The Senate who will totally represent what's important to you, break the gridlock and create the America you want.