, 19 tweets, 4 min read Read on Twitter
So for the last few years I've watched with growing alarm as one of the few openly disabled Hill staffers and the only openly autistic Hill staffer as this has played out. #CripTheVote
There's no denying that ADAPTers played an absolutely critical role during the Summer of ACA Repeal 2 years ago. And because of that fight, the general public is now far more aware of the importance of protecting Medicaid than it ever was before.
ADAPT has also conducted actions aimed at ensuring the FDA at long last finalizes its ban on shock torture devices for human beings - a key human rights issue as well as a longstanding goal of the community.
However, in its engagements with Capitol Hill offices recently, ADAPT has not been at its best. Yes, DIA has won cosponsors but has the disability community won friends and allies?
I've been on the Hill for just about 10 years. In that time, I've learned a lot about what kinds of advocacy efforts wind up being effective or ineffective.
I've seen big groups come in with celebrities and make little traction. I've seen individual constituents succeed at securing sign-ons from members of Congress. It's all about whether or not you're employing an effective strategy.
Some general guidelines for winning friends in Congress: 1. At least attempt to set up a meeting beforehand before showing up unannounced. 2. Home state/district ties are critical. Try and have someone there from the state or district. If they can't make it, bring their words.
3. Emails and phone calls from the state/district are a critical part of whether or not an office decides to cosponsor a bill or sign a letter. A lack of said contacts with constituents, or having far more contacts with constituents who oppose that action, weighs against you.
4. Don't film inside a Congressional office without getting approval from a staffer. Most front offices are staffed by young, entry-level staffers and interns who are still in college or even high school. There's no need to put them on the spot.
But back to the subject at hand. DIA is a worthy bill to pass, and I commend the energy of ADAPTers at seeking to get it done. But how they've gone about it has won the disability community few friends, nor has it advanced other critical aspects of our agenda.
Ending 14(c), despite being a part of both major parties' platforms in 2016, is unlikely to occur by the end of 2020. MFP is withering on the vine, and the bill the House passed will put us back in the same place in 4.5 years because funding will end in the middle of the year.
There is a hearing in the Senate Finance Committee *on Tuesday morning* that's focused on a GAO report to be released that morning on nursing home abuses, featuring the head of the nursing home lobby, and nobody has said a peep about it. Isn't everyone going to be in town?
So DIA has more than a majority of the House on as cosponsors. Great! It just needs a hearing. Who controls whether or not it gets a hearing? That would be Frank Pallone. Who do you want to persuade and not antagonize? Frank Pallone and his staff, of course!
I understand ADAPT had a meeting with Pallone's staff that went very poorly, and I understand their frustration. Here they are, having reached their goal of getting a majority of the House on as cosponsors, and they're told by staffers that they won't be scheduling a hearing.
At this point, their beef is with the staffers, not Frank Pallone. But instead of recalibrating by, say, engaging with NJ CILs and other NJ supporters to send emails and make phone calls, ADAPT leaders make a colossal error by showing up at Pallone's DC residence to raise hell.
I have no idea how they obtained Pallone's DC address. But that action crossed the line. There was still a chance to get a hearing at some point if an effective strategy was used. But by pissing off Pallone at his home, now he's painted into a corner. He can't give in now.
I know for a fact that other members of Congress have been made aware of what ADAPT did at Pallone's house because my boss was made aware of it. He's not the only one.
It should be concerning to all members of the disability community that when members of Congress think about our community, the first image they have right now is people shouting early in the morning at Frank Pallone's house, crawling up his steps and trespassing on his porch.
We can do better. We can do so much better than this. #CripTheVote
Missing some Tweet in this thread?
You can try to force a refresh.

Like this thread? Get email updates or save it to PDF!

Subscribe to Steve Lieberman
Profile picture

Get real-time email alerts when new unrolls are available from this author!

This content may be removed anytime!

Twitter may remove this content at anytime, convert it as a PDF, save and print for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video

1) Follow Thread Reader App on Twitter so you can easily mention us!

2) Go to a Twitter thread (series of Tweets by the same owner) and mention us with a keyword "unroll" @threadreaderapp unroll

You can practice here first or read more on our help page!

Follow Us on Twitter!

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just three indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3.00/month or $30.00/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!