Congress.org is touting a new email alert and newsletter service called Megavote. By submitting your email address and other info, you get:
• A weekly update on key votes by your two Senators and U.S. Representative
• Links to send e-mail to your members of Congress using pre-addressed form
• Upcoming votes for your review and a chance to offer e-mail input before they vote. You can then use the weekly vote monitor to track the decisions made by your elected officials on key issues.
Congress.org bills itself as “a nonpartisan news and information Web site devoted to encouraging civic participation. Our mission is to provide information about public policy issues of the day and tips on effective advocacy so that citizens can make their voices heard.” Its FAQ page reminds readers that, while Congress is part of the organization’s name, it’s not affiliated with, or a branch of, or a mouthpiece for the US House of Representatives or the US Senate. It’s actually a part of the CQ [Congressional Quarterly]-Roll Call group, which has the largest news organization on Capitol Hill. Its status as the ultimate news insider for Congressional news is well-established: Congressional Quarterly started reporting on Capitol Hill doings in 1945.
Apparently, the plan to get people engaged is working. Congress.org keeps a running tally of letters to Congressional representatives generated through the site. As of this posting, the counter in the upper left corner of Congress.org is at 9,127,810.
Of course, many people who are reading this blog post are already politically savvy and up-to-the-minute on what’s going on in Washington DC. But there’s always something new to learn, and Congress.org usually has it first. [A recent article reported on a group that calls itself The Commuter Caucus: a group of 18 Congressional representatives who drive or ride trains between their home towns an Washington DC every day, rather than rent or own a home in the district. Who knew?] But we all have friends and relatives and co-workers who are a bit more out of the loop. Congress.org would be a helpful link to forward to them. The site includes in-depth, daily updates on hot issues and links to other sites with good information and analysis. There’s also a section that lists issue and action alerts from a wide variety of organizations.
If it’s not already in your Google reader, Delicious feed, or whatever you use to aggregate news, Congress.org is worth adding. Even if you don’t look at it obsessively every day.