Friday, June 25, 2010


Enough’s advocacy team has called this week – and yesterday in particular – the most important moment for Congo in the U.S. Congress in years. In record numbers, advocates responded to the red alert calls to action, and pressed key senators to ensure that an amendment on Congo’s conflict minerals was included in the financial reform bill.

At around 10:30 last night, after a full day of considering potential amendments, the conference committee accepted the conflict minerals language introduced by Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS) into the final version of the bill. Not only was it accepted without opposition during the voice vote, key provisions around independent audits were strengthened.

The House and Senate still need to vote on the full financial reform legislation (slated for next week), but advocates can claim an important victory for helping ensure that the conflict minerals component – with the strong provisions we advocated for – is part of that bill.

Reacting to the news, Enough’s John Prendergast said, "A year ago most members of Congress hadn't even heard of conflict minerals. In the middle of a turbulent legislative calendar, activists all over the country were heard loudly and clearly: We demand conflict-free products and we expect our legislators to do all they can to ensure that."

Watch how it played out in the committee:

Of course, we’ll be monitoring the vote on final passage of the financial reform bill closely, so stay tuned.

In the meantime, please join us in thanking the members of Congress who played a pivotal role this week in ensuring that the U.S. government takes a proactive role in addressing the conflict minerals trade in Congo. And perhaps most importantly, thank you to all of the Congo advocates and concerned consumers who mobilized on Facebook and over the phone this week to press Congress to take strong action to end the trade in conflict minerals from Congo. Congratulations – your message was heard.


The Most Important Day for Congo in Congress in Years

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Source: http://www.enoughproject.org/blogs/most-important-day-congo-congress-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)


Click the post title for President Obama contact form

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