There's an old tradition in this country of people writing to their members of Congress to ask them to vote a certain way; constituent mail is such a priority that there are full-time staffers assigned to open, tally and answer it — even if it's not at all clear that members pay attention.
Turns out that constituents aren't the only ones who petition elected officials this way.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans muscled the largest tax overhaul in 30 years through the Senat…
This week, Louisiana's junior U.S. senator penned a letter entreating members of the conference committee hashing out final details of the big tax bill to consider a few things. John Kennedy, a Republican who backs the bill, asked the negotiators assigned to meld the House and Senate versions to protect some items in the Senate version. The three priorities are a $500 deductible for teachers who buy supplies with their own money, a provision to set aside money tax-free for private elementary and secondary school or home schooling, and increased coastal restoration money.
All he can do at this point is ask, since both houses have to pass identical legislation for the bill to become law. That means that no amendments will be allowed when it returns to the Senate for a final up-or-down vote.
Not having a seat in the room where it happens has to be a humbling experience, even for a senator. One senior Republican senator, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, took to Twitter to complain that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell left him out. Addressing his comments to President Donald Trump, Grassley wrote: "@realDonaldTrump I'm the most Senior member of Senate Finance Comm I was dropped as Conferee So I won't be in front line fighting for what u and I believe to cut taxes."
Kennedy is much lower in the hierarchy than Grassley and surely had no expectations of being included.
Unlike the pleas from all those constituents, though, his letter should at least rise to the top of the pile.