It’s time to get practical

Eight of Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees, many carrying serious ethics questions, rush into confirmation hearings this week without completing the vetting required by the Government Ethics Office. The transition team doesn’t even answer GEO questions, according to Director Walter Schaub.

“We seem to have lost contact with the Trump-Pence transition since the election,” he wrote in an email cited by NBC.

Senate Democrats are determined to slow these hearings in order to illuminate the conflicts of interest and inexperience, but they haven’t enough votes to force postponement.

So it’s time for the public to get involved. Phone calls to committee members can have a positive effect if there are enough of them and they are handled correctly. And help with that is at hand.

A group of former congressional staffers has created what they call “A Practical Guide for Resisting the Trump Agenda” and it’s available online at

The authors are all volunteers ( whose experience makes them expert at the ways of congressional offices. They know and tell us what moves a member, what turns her off, how best to contact members, what to say and what not to say. The advice is detailed but straightforward and easy to carry out.

Identify the appropriate committee and find a list of members online by searching for the committee name and clicking Members. You may call any member, but your calls will have the strongest effect if the senator is from your home state. You will most likely be talking with a staff member who can relay your message. Keep it simple and direct but always polite. You can find a list of Senators’ phone numbers at the website of another resistance organization, Click on “Help Expose Trump’s Cabinet Picks,” then click on “Call Your Senators,” and a list of phone numbers will appear.

Here is the schedule of hearings.

On Tuesday the Senate Judiciary Committee will hear Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama for attorney general, and the Homeland Security Committee will hear Gen. John Kelly to become secretary of homeland security.

On Wednesday the Senate Foreign Relations Committee will hear the case for Exxon-Mobile CEO Rex Tillerson to became secretary of state. The Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee will hear Betsy DeVos for secretary of education. The Intelligence Committee will hear Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas to head the Central Intelligence Agency. The Commerce Committee will hear former Labor Secretary Elaine Chao (the wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell) to become transportation secretary.

On Thursday the Commerce Committee will hear Wilbur L. Ross Jr. to become secretary of commerce. The Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee will hear Dr. Ben Carson to become secretary of housing and urban development.

Next week the Commerce Committee is expected to hear Andrew F. Puzder, a fast food executive, to become secretary of labor. The hearing of Rep. Tom Price of Georgia to become secretary of health and human services remains unscheduled.

If you have a phone, you have a voice. Call and be heard.

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