Canned letter responses from congressional leaders

It may not surprise some readers that I often share my concerns over legislation I find lacking or the failure to enact anything at all. We have many concerns in our country and around the globe where thoughtful, collaborative action is needed to pass laws that will benefit those in need or the targeted problem. Yet, if you write leaders as well, you likely have the same experience I have when you receive a canned letter from the politician. Actually, the politician did not write the letter, it was handled by one of the staffers. On occasion, I will get a call from a staffer, which is much preferred, but for the most part I receive a canned response based on the subject box I checked online.

Earlier this week, I received a letter from my congressman over my concerns regarding the failure to act on immigration reform. This issue has been heightened by the refugee children on the border. These frightened kids are being treated as pawns in a game and some extreme folks are showing their hind end to intimidate them and others trying to do their jobs. The letter I received was prima facie evidence of what is wrong in Washington. It went out of its way to blame the other party for failures to act and did not speak to the issue, but more on what was wrong with someone else.

I sent another email to my congressman chastising him for this response. I said I did not need to see campaign rhetoric, preferring to see more stewardship over the problem at hand.  I noted we have a bi-partisan bill passed by the US Senate, so it would behoove the House to pass a bill and reconcile, per normal process, any differences with the Senate bill. I had noted before that a group of clergy and the US Chamber of Commerce are seeking better immigration laws. And, recently, an op-ed piece was written by a bi-partisan group of business leaders, Sheldon Adelson, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates over their concerns and frustration with congressional gridlock, in general, and specifically over immigration.

The reason I have been so active writing emails to state and national legislators, is their failure to look at the issues in the proper light. Almost every issue is a political chess game that needs to be played. The thought process behind the scenes goes something like this, “Is this a wedge issue that we can make the other side look bad?” rather than “What is the problem and what is the best solution long term?”  When you focus on the former, good decisions are rarely made and hypocrisies abound. As an example, Common Core was a bi-partisan law to help kids better compete in a global world. It was passed and is being implemented, but now it is wedge issue as certain leaders want to make it a state issue. While not perfect, teachers and administrators are largely in favor of keeping Common Core and improving it.

Please keep after your legislators. Keep them on their toes. And, if their answers are not satisfactory, do not let them off the hook. If we don’t keep them honest, they will only listen to their funders and the squeaky wheel extremists who represent a very narrow, myopic point of view. They need to hear from the countless reasonable citizens.



11 thoughts on “Canned letter responses from congressional leaders

  1. Wow! You received a phone call, much better than I’ve ever done. Always the canned letter, in fact not even often written by a staffer, but a computer generated canned response. My wife and I both wrote to Feinstein on a topic, slightly different questions, and both got the exact same letter in response.

    Congress no longer listens or cares what the public thinks, only what the lobbyists think. You may have seen that Cuomo in New York used a mortgage consultant to write a new mortgage bill. Enough said.

    • Thanks Barney. It probably is computer generated. I have received the same letter on multiple occasions. The phone calls are good, but I think I scared them from calling by being informed and not accepting a BS response.

      • Yes, you probably scared them away. They want us all to just lie down and go away.

      • Barney, if you have a few minutes, I would love your thoughts on my previous post on what if an event in history did not happen? Take care, BTG

      • I must have missed it. I’m kind of slacking off at least for the summer, so if I do miss some, think of me out walking by the lake, or up to me elbows in sawdust in the shop. I’ll look for it.


  2. If I take the time to express concerns to MY government, I expect a reply that is, at the very least, as thoughtful and pertinent as my letter, addressing what I addressed. This is not second grade, and I have no patience with blaming anyone for a situation.

      • Perhaps they forget for whom they work. That form or response is not only demeaning, it is insulting. On the 4th of July, I was deeply moved by reading, once again, our Declaration of Independence. The words therein are so important for citizens and government to know and believe. I appreciate your and your wife’s efforts, and would that everyone could understand the need to plug in and make themselves heard. Before it is too late.

      • VG, I think you are right. I see that with our state legislators who are following the ALEC play book. They have overstepped their bounds on teacher pay and now are scurrying to fix it. On the national front, they cannot deviate from party lines or they get in trouble. So, our country has to be held hostage by the lobbyists and squeaky wheels.

  3. In my experience, legislators just want us to tick boxes: Yes, we think there should be tax cuts for working families. Yes, we think seniors should be supported to stay in their homes longer. They use any contacts on these issues merely as part of a count: OK, I received 965 contacts on seniors issues and only 341 contacts on daycare subsidies, so now I know what will rile up the voters at election time. The content of the letters doesn’t seem to be noticed.

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