Here’s a quick update on what’s happening in Congress this week.
In the Senate, a bipartisan group of senators are attaching an amendment to the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The amendment would require the Biden Administration to report to Congress on its efforts to support the democracy movement in Myanmar. On the House side, Reps. Maxine Waters and Ann Wagner have another NDAA amendment that seeks to restrict financial flows to the Myanmar military from investments by the World Bank and other financial institutions.
Both NDAA amendments are very welcome. However, they are not substitutes for the Burma Act of 2021. You can best push forward these amendments by telling your Members of Congress to co-sponsor and support the Burma Act of 2021.
Introduced in the Senate (S.2937) and the House (H.R.5497) by Senator Ben Cardin and Rep. Gregory Meeks, the Burma Act of 2021 will, not only hold accountable the Myanmar military but also provide support to Burmese civil society and much needed humanitarian assistance directly to the Myanmar people.
Although the House bill has strong bipartisan sponsorship, Senate Republicans have not yet stepped up to co-sponsor the Senate version. Burmese community members have called out Senators Todd Young (Indiana) and Marco Rubio (Florida). Stay tuned for more ways you can lobby your senators directly.
Please follow up your message in these three easy – yet powerful – ways.
Follow up #1: Join our lobbying efforts. We can support you with setting up meetings by Zoom with your Congressional offices. Again, contact Mike Haack, from the Campaign for a New Myanmar, to take part of that at email@example.com.
Follow up #2: call your representative’s office
- Click here to enter your zip code and find your House Member
- When you reach their office, ask them to spell out the name and email of the staffer responsible for foreign policy. (The email for any House staffer is “[first name].[last name]@mail.house.gov”)
- Then ask to be connected directly to the staffer, either in person on their voicemail.
- Simply tell the staffer – in person or on their voicemail – you want your representative to co-sponsor and support the Burma Act of 2021 (H.R.5497). (Ask them to contact Rep. Meeks’s office to sign up as an co-sponsor.)
- Leave your name, number, and city of residence to indicate that you live in the state or congressional district.
- Follow up with an email to the staffer and blind copy (bcc) us at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Email us at email@example.com and tell us how your calls went. (And please tell us of the name and email of your representative’s staffers.)
Follow up #3: email your representative’s staffer
You may wish to use a succinct and direct subject line such as: “Please co-sponsor the Burma Act of 2021” (The email for any House staffer is “[first name].[last name]@mail.house.gov”)Start your message with a mention of where you live in the state. Feel free to include a sentence or two on why you care about human rights and Myanmar in particular. Please use or adapt the following text in your email. Please blind copy (bcc) us on your email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I ask that you co-sponsor and support the Burma Act of 2021 (H.R.5497).
The US. Congress must show leadership in forcing the Burmese army to stand down from its coup d’etat and release all civilian government and civil society figures from detention. Congress must also show support for Myanmar’s Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) and its democratic and multi-ethnic new National Unity Government (NUG).
Please write back and tell me what actions you will take in response to the Myanmar military’s coup d’etat. Thank you.
If you receive a reply, forward it to us at email@example.com. (And please tell us of any changes or additions to your representative’s staffers.)
Just one meeting, email, or phone call from a constituent can make a difference. Your Members of Congress need to know that you want Congress to act. The people of Myanmar can’t wait any longer.