Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Contacting Congress
What should I include when I personalize my letters sent through the submission forms?
Your goal is to find a balance between including compelling and personal information, while keeping the letter concise. Congressional offices receive a huge volume of correspondence, so you need to keep your letter to the point and with a polite and professional tone. We recommend that you include one or two personalized paragraphs which include such things as: why this bill is important to you, the challenges you (or your patients, loved one, etc.) face regarding treatment and how the provisions of this bill would improve your life (or those of your patients, loved one, etc.) if passed.
What should I do if I get no reply?
Contact your Congressional offices monthly until they respond. Persistence is the key!
What should I do if I get what I believe to be a form letter?
The first time you get a reply it will usually be a form letter. These will typically include a summary of the bill and its status in Congress, some general language thanking you for sharing your views and perhaps saying their office will keep your feelings in mind should the bill come before them for a vote. Do not be satisfied with this sort of reply. Immediately write again, citing the response you received and asking to know the specific reason(s) your Representative/Senator has not yet cosponsored the bill. Make it clear that you will not be satisfied until he/she is a cosponsor.
What should I do if I am unsure about how to respond to a letter?
If you have received a “personal” letter, and therefore the above advice does not apply, congratulations! This is a sure sign you have made progress and gotten their attention. If at any stage you have questions or need guidance on how to respond/proceed feel free to contact us at info@LymphedemaTreatmentAct.org.
What should I do if I have done all of the above with no success?
Some office just can’t be swayed through written communication.
There are three other very powerful options:
- call your Representative/Senator’s DC office and ask to speak to the Health Aide or other appropriate staff member if that office does not have a Health Aide; (look up House information here, and Senate information here)
- call your closest district office and ask to schedule an in-person meeting with your Representative/Senator; (look up House information here, and Senate information here)
- join us on our annual trip to DC and we will help you get a meeting with your Representative/Senator’s office in Washington. (visit the Lymphedema Lobby Days page for more information)