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The Most Important Day for Congo in Congress in Years

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The Most Important Day for Congo in Congress in Years

Posted by Jenny Russell on June 23, 2010

The Most Important Day for Congo in Congress in Years

Over the last several months we've called on activists to help drive real change on the issue of Congo's conflict minerals by reaching out to members of Congress. Never before has our request been more urgent than now. Critical language requiring conflict minerals accountability is part of the financial reform legislation currently being finalized by Congress. The fate of this conflict minerals language is slated to be decided tomorrow.

Despite tech industry support and strong bi-partisan support of the language and the legislation it's derived from, manufacturing and retail industry groups are lobbying hard to have it removed. Even though tech companies have admitted it would cost one penny per product to ensure a conflict-free supply chain, lobbyists for manufacturing companies continue to argue that even this penny is too expensive. So this week we have called on activists to stand up against corporate lobbyists – clearly a penny is a very small price to pay to help end a conflict that has already left more than 5 million people dead.

The Congressional conference committee is currently working out differences between the House and Senate versions of financial reform with the goal of getting the legislation passed before July 4th recess. On Monday we called on activists to send Facebook messages to Senators Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and Bob Corker (R-TN), asking them to support the conflict minerals language. The fantastic online turnout helped convince Senator Lincoln’s senior legislative affairs team to meet with us to discuss the senator’s concern that auditing minerals supply chains will cost too much.

Today we're hoping to shore up support across the conference committee chairs and the Democratic conferees, the team deciding the final language. We need to let them know that there is broad grassroots support for conflict minerals audits and penalties. Tell them specifically that the cost of one penny per product is okay with you. Here's a sample script, but please feel free to use your own words:

"Senator {Insert Name}, a penny per product is a worthy price for ensuring that our consumer purchases aren't supporting a bloody and rapacious war in Congo. We all must recognize the full cost of our consumer products, and a penny is a small price to save human lives. Please join a bipartisan coalition in voting to keep conflict mineral audits and penalties in the Congo language that is part of the financial reform bill."

Click on each senator’s name to visit his Facebook pages and leave a comment. (You’ll have to click the "Like" button at the top to post a comment.) If you only have time to reach out to one, please direct your message to Senator Chris Dodd, the committee chairman.

* Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) *
Senator Tim Johnson (D-SD)
Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY)
Blanche Lincoln (D-AR)
Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA)
Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL)

Without strong grassroots support, industry groups might succeed in undoing the progress made to end the trade in conflict minerals and bring peace to the people of Congo. Join us today and thank you for your urgent support at this critical time.