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Update and Call for Support for the U.S. Consensus Council

I received an email on April 23 from Rob Fersh, Director of the vital National Consensus Initiative. As Rob says, “there is no natural constituency for the USCC or any special interests who can put muscle behind it. Our main constituency is people, many from the field of conflict resolution, who understand the promise of the USCC to serve the nation in developing potentially wiser, more broadly supportable policy options to address important national problems. The goal of the USCC is to synthesize the insight and experience of people with differing points of view into policy proposals that reflect ‘highest common denominator’ solutions.

Rob needs all of us to fax the Congressmembers who have the power to move forward. Click below for contact info and instructions for doing this.

We write to provide a brief update on the status of the U.S. Consensus Council and to seek your help.

In a nutshell, we are asking those comfortable doing so to generate letters of support for the USCC to key members of Congress, asking them to move the legislation to authorize the USCC. Our legislation is temporarily (we hope) stalled at least in part due to competing priorities with members of Congress. We would like to indicate to several strategic members of Congress that this idea has support outside the Washington Beltway.

As you can imagine, there is no natural constituency for the USCC or any special interests who can put muscle behind it. Our main constituency is people, many from the field of conflict resolution, who understand the promise of the USCC to serve the nation in developing potentially wiser, more broadly supportable policy options to address important national problems. The goal of the USCC is to synthesize the insight and experience of people with differing points of view into policy proposals that reflect “highest common denominator” solutions. The USCC is based upon successful experience at the state level, most notably in North Dakota and Montana, but in other areas as well.

We highly recommend sending any transmissions via facsimile, and the appropriate fax numbers are listed below.

House of Representatives
Currently, the House authorizing bill (H.R. 2459) awaits action in the Government Reform Committee, chaired by Representative Tom Davis (R-Va). We would like to generate as many letters as possible to Mr. Davis, who previously has responded positively to the idea of the USCC. We need to elevate the USCC on his priority list of bills to move this year, before Congress adjourns. To the extent you can generate letters from constituents in Davis’ legislative district all the better.

We urge you to write to Chairman Tom Davis, Committee on Government Reform, 2157 Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC, 20515, Fax #: (202) 225-3974. His committee has jurisdiction over H.R. 2459, the House bill to authorize the USCC.

Suggested key points in the letter to Representative Davis:
* Writing about H.R. 2459, the U.S. Consensus Council Act, which has been referred to the Government Reform Committee.
* Urge Chairman Davis to lead efforts to pass the bill in Committee and on the House floor.
* State why the USCC is a good idea, preferably from your own experience or from language above. If you are not sure what to say here, please consult our website, www.usconsensuscouncil.org, or write to me for help.

Senate
Here, our bill (S. 908) cleared the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee unanimously last July. It awaits floor action. We suggest writing to the following people:

Senator Susan Collins, Chairman, Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, 340 Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, DC, 20510, FAX # (202) 228-5653.

Senator Collins is the lead sponsor of S. 908 the Senate bill authorizing the USCC. Suggested key points in the letter to Senator Collins:
www.usconsensuscouncil.orgThank you for your strong leadership in regard to S. 908, the U.S. Consensus Council Act.
* Urge Senator Collins to do all in her power to enact the bill before the end of this Congress.

We also ask you to write individually to two Senators in the Republican leadership who are in a position to guide the bill on the Senate floor. Senator Santorum already is a bill co-sponsor:

Senator Bill Frist, Majority Leader, Room S. 230, The Capitol, Washington, DC, 20510, FAX # (202) 228-5652.

Senator Rick Santorum, Chairman, Republican Conference, 405 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC, 20510, FAX # (202) 224-6984.

Message to Senators Frist and Santorum:
* Writing in support of S. 908, the U.S. Consensus Council Act.
* Important to gain Senate floor passage and enactment of S. 908 as soon as possible.
* Why the USCC is a good idea.

Many thanks for your assistance. If you do write to members of Congress, we would greatly appreciate receiving a copy of your letters, either via email or fax (202 232-6718).

Rob Fersh

Robert J. Fersh
Director, National Consensus Initiative
Search for Common Ground
1601 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Suite 201
Washington, D.C. 20009
+1 (202) 777-2229
rfersh@sfcg.org

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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