|OPEN AHF ACTION ALERTS - Get involved!|
5/29/2012 - 1. Support S. 2177, the NATO Enhancement Act, introduced by Sen. Richard Lugar to encourage further enlargement of NATO and to deepen U.S. strategic partnerships with NATO allies. Call, Fax, and Write to your Senator. To find your representatives, use the tool to the right!
2. Call, write, and Fax your Congressman asking him or her to join the Congressional Caucus on Central and East Europe, co-chaired by Rep. Thaddeus McCotter (R-MI) and Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-IL).
3/5/2007 - ONGOING ACTION ALERT: Help build the Congressional Friends of Hungary (CFH)... On February 12, Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA), Chairman of the U.S. Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Congressman Christopher Shays (R-CT) circulated a "Dear Colleague" letter inviting Members of Congress to join the Congressional Friends of Hungary (CFH). The purpose of the caucus, as noted by the co-chairs, is "to recognize the contributions of Hungarian-Americans to the United States and to strengthen the ties between the United States and Hungary."
How can you help?
1) Copy the sample letter below
It is best to BOTH call and fax/email the letter.
What to Say?
"Hello, my name is _____. I am a constituent of Representative _____ and also a member of the American Hungarian Federation. On February 12th, Congressmen Tom Lantos and Christopher Shays distributed a "Dear Colleague Letter" entitled "Join the Congressional Friends of Hungary." I am calling to ask the Congressman to join the CFH. I and the other Americans of Hungarian descent in his/her district would be grateful for his/her support. I will fax you a letter that also includes the contact name in Congressman Lantos' office should you need more information."
The Honorable [name of your Congressman]
Dear Congressman ________:
I am one of your constituents who lives in ______. I call your attention to the "Dear Colleague Letter" distributed on February 12, 2007 by Congressmen Tom Lantos and Christopher Shays, titled "Join the Congressional Friends of Hungary." I urge you to consider joining this Congressional Caucus, whose main purpose is to strengthen the ties between the American and Hungarian people and to recognize the Hungarian-American community. There are a number of Hungarian-Americans in your district and our community would be grateful for your support. Your wise counsel would be an asset in the operation of this caucus, particularly in the areas of human rights and minority rights. Maryamu Aminu in Congressman Lantos' office (at x6-7766 or email@example.com) will be able to provide further information.
How to help?
Call, write, or Fax your Representative and ask for their support! Use the tool below to find your federal and state representatives
The significance of congressional caucuses is described in an essay by Frank Koszorus, Jr., AHF President and Chairman of the International Relations Committee of the American Hungarian Federation:
THE ROLE OF CONGRESSIONAL CAUCUSES IN POLICY MAKING: DON'T IGNORE THEM
Frank Koszorus, Jr., May 2003
This essay briefly discusses congressional caucuses, the important role they play in policy making, and why interest groups that want to expand their contacts on Capitol Hill should not ignore them.
Congressional caucuses can be defined as "voluntary groups of members of Congress with shared interests." Publisher's Note, Congressional Caucuses in National Policymaking, Susan W. Hammond, Johns Hopkins University Press (1998). They are "prime players in influencing policy and setting the legislative agenda." (Emphasis added) Id. Within caucuses, "members share information, coordinate legislative plans, seek ways to influence colleagues, and even strategize on agenda setting." Id. Caucuses also lobby for specific legislation and meet with the Speaker of the House and other influential members in furtherance of their legislative agenda. Erin M. Prangley, "Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues," Informal Congressional Caucuses & the Policy Process, A Woodrow Wilson Center Policy Seminar, November 19, 1998. These efforts are often successful because caucus membership "has an independent effect on floor votes 'at a statistically significant level.'" Hammond. Id. At a minimum, caucuses serve as an information clearinghouse for members of Congress, "furnishing them with taking points on . . . legislation and attempting to clear up misinformation." Andrew Bernstein, "Congressional Member Organization for the Arts." Id.
Several ethnic groups have recognized the value of congressional caucuses to advance their interests. In this process, "[c]ongressional caucuses may also be critical actors in proposed legislation . . . . The purpose [for caucuses], quite simply, is to have significant political players in Congress committed to the agenda of an ethnic community, for the critical concern is to 'become part of the system' by having 'a place at the table' where decisions are made." Tony Smith, Foreign Attachments: The Power of Ethnic Groups in the Making of American Foreign Policy (Harvard University Press, 2000).
Over the past several Congresses, there have been over 250 caucuses formed. They range from the Ad Hoc Congressional Committee for Irish Affairs to the Zero Capital Gains Tax Caucus. Among the better known caucuses are the Congressional Black Caucus, The Coalition ("The Blue Dog Democrats"), the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues and the Republican Study Committee.
A number of caucuses focus on foreign affairs. These include: Senate Friends of Norway Caucus; Friends of Switzerland Caucus; House Republican Israel Caucus; House Portuguese American Caucus; Congressional Ukrainian Caucus; Congressional Caucus on Hellenic Issues; Baltic Caucus; and the Congressional Caucus on Central Europe.
Examples of the purposes for which such caucuses are formed are the House Republican Israel Caucus, i.e., "meet to educate Members on the importance of U.S./Israel relations" and the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus, i.e., "[t]he Congressional Ukrainian Caucus is a bipartisan group of legislators dedicated to strengthening U.S. - Ukrainian relations."
In sum, interest groups value caucuses because caucuses offer them an easy way to get their message out to a dedicated and bipartisan congressional group that is interested in their issues.