Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Reppin' the House

Yesterday I posted about a new bill introduced in the House and Senate designed to bring royalty fees for Internet radio down to a more reasonable level.

I'll show how I use Open Congress to make sure my elected officials know how I feel about this issue -- and what I expect them to do about. Now these posts aren't really about H.R. 2060 and S.1353. I'm just using them -- and my own representative and congressmen -- to provide a real-world example of e-democracy in action.

You can use these same tools to research the bills most relevent to you, discover where your representatives stand, and help you decide what you'd like to communicate to said officials.

OK, here we go. I'm starting with H.R.2060, and my representative, Eric Cantor (R-Va). The bill has three Virginian representatives listed as co-sponsors: Rick Boucher (D), James Moran (D), and Frank Wolf (R). Cantor's name isn't on the list. Hmmm. I'll have to mention that in my email to him.

Sometimes I wish Boucher was my representative. He's on the Telecommunications and Internet subcommittee, and he really seems to understand the Internet. He's a sponsor of bills such as the Community Broadband Act (H.R.3281), and has been pushing for equitable royalty rates since 2002. Oh, well.

I'm hoping that Cantor isn't sitting this one out because of partisan politics. But I've been hard-pressed to find any bills that he and Boucher have voted together on.

Cantor hasn't sponsored quite as many bills as Boucher. His most recent bills have been concerned with business. H.R.5169 wants to reduce the maximum taxes on corporations (hmmm - who benefits from that?), and H.R.4995, the "Middle Class Jobs Protection Act." And that act? Decrease the maximum on corporate tax and increase depreciation allowances.

Okay, pretty much Republican party line legislation -- cut taxes, grow business. So that's how I'll present my case to Representative Cantor. H.R.2060 is looking to grow business by cutting royalty rates (a stand-in for taxes here).

Thanks to Open Congress, I've got a pretty good idea of what my representative is doing, and what's important to him. Like the Liberty Bill Act (H.R.4856) which would require the Preamble to the Constitution be put on the back of U.S. currency. (Um, don't we have better things to do with our legislative time?)

I'm looking forward to his response to my e-mail.

- Ralph

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