Friday, November 12, 2010

Activity Request: "Thank You" to HFS hearing participants

After a long break in activity requests, we have to pick it up again to utilize the upcoming lame duck session of Congress to push for passage. Although, passage is supported by at least 80+ percent of Americans, we’re not going to insult your intelligence by pretending that if we don’t get this passed during the upcoming lame duck session, that begins on Nov. 15, that our odds of passage won’t fall dramatically after the first of the year. Quite frankly, as far a Federal protection throughout the entire nation, it may be now or never due to the "new political realities" in Washington.

We’ll start out with the outreach below to members of the House Financial Services Committee that seemed to favor passage during their questioning at the hearing on Sep. 23 (click on the “archived webcast” link off the following linked page to watch the hearing if you wish then we’ll follow-up with other efforts in the coming days.

We’ve provided the following sample letter just as a point of reference because contacting most of these House members is not as straight forward as simply sending an e-mail in most cases. The point is to make contact via phone, fax and e-mail if we’ve provided a contact point. If we didn’t provide one or more of the three contact vehicles, below the sample letter, it simply means it wasn’t an available option.

[Sample letter/e-mail/message]

Thank you for your participation in the recent House hearing on HR3149. From your astute questions and comments it’s obvious that you get it. Employment Credit Checks are a worthless employment evaluation tool that only serve to put revenues into the coffers of the big three credit bureaus as well as unscrupulous resellers of credit information for purposes of employment evaluation.

No study, no data, no validation whatsoever exists for any rational human being to conclude that the personal credit information of a U.S. citizen, provided to any company or H.R. representative, delivers any value as an employment screening tool. The “living beyond one’s means” bar used in testimony during the hearing to block passage of HR3149 applies to at least 85 percent of all Americans. By that standard, only 15 percent of Americans should be allowed to work.

Fair, Isaac and Company (FICO) reported in April, 43.4 million of America's 170 million consumers had credit scores below 599. That's more than 25 percent of all consumers in this country, up from the pre-recession tally of 15 percent, or 25.5 million consumers. FICO's benchmark for "bad credit" is anything under 650, and anything under 700 is considered a "moderate credit" number. The number of recession-damaged Americans with credit scores under 700 is now 75 million, or 44.1 percent of consumers.

The problem is that HR3149 has been discussed long enough. Your fellow citizens are literally dying in some cases due to this draconian, heartless application of a credit report “scarlet letter” upon anyone with damaged credit that needs to work to put food on the table. The house has had two hearings, the EEOC has had a hearing, at least 4 states now have laws barring use of credit reports in employment (at least 16 other states are considering legislation) and the issue is finally receiving a significant amount of media coverage that’s long overdue.

Now, during the upcoming lame duck session of Congress, is the time for passage. If Nov. 2 said anything, it said one thing loud and clear: jobs and the economy are just about the only thing Americans really care about, but for two years Congress focused on anything but jobs and the economy. HR3149 is about jobs! It simply allows people to work, hold a job and earn a living.

Please refocus and make jobs and the economy the top priority by working to pass HR3149 during the upcoming lame duck session. At least 80+ percent of the American people support passage and it’s time that Congress listened to the people for a change.

You’ve had the hearings, you know that almost half of the entire U.S. population is impacted, you’re aware, or very well should be, that upwards of 30 million Americans are under or unemployed and you just got a clear undeniable message from voters that jobs and the economy are priority No. 1!

If not during the lame duck session then when — you know the answer to that question. It’s now or never to stand up for the people and do the right thing by passing HR3149 before the window of opportunity is closed for good.

[End Sample letter/e-mail/message]

House Contacts:

Chairman Gutierrez, IL
202.225.8203 in D.C. or 773.342.0774 in IL

Congressman Steve Cohen, TN
1005 Longworth House Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20515
PH: 202.225.3265
FX: 202.225.5663

Congressman Mel Watt, NC
2304 Rayburn HOB

Washington, DC 20515-3312
PH: 202.225.1510
FX: 202.225.1512

Congressman Al Green, TX
236 Cannon House Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20515-4309
PH: 202.225-7508
FX: 202.225-2947

Congressman David Scott, GA
225 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
PH: 202.225.2939
FX: 202.225.4628

Congresswoman Maxine Waters, CA
2344 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
PH: (202) 225-2201
FX: (202) 225-7854