'Til Death Do Us Part: How A Bill Becomes A Law

Wondering how a bill becomes a law? Our intern wrote this to help explain, with the use of a marriage analogy.

By Jessica Harkins

Can I be honest with you? I’ve learned pretty much everything I know about politics and Capitol Hill from watching The West Wing, VEEP, and House of Cards. Sorry, Dad. By now, most of us, at least my fellow interns at IJM, have binge-watched our way through season 4 of House of Cards. We’ve watched Frank Underwood whip the votes with fear and terror for four horrifying seasons, and we’ve thanked God we’re not under President Underwood’s jurisdiction.

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Holly's News From Washington: time to act!

Students support the #EndSlaveryAct

We at IJM have been working around the clock over the past week to help our anti-slavery champion, Senator Bob Corker, bring the End Modern Slavery Initiative (EMSI) to the Senate floor for a vote. It is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, March 8. EMSI, if enacted, would create a public-private foundation to fund slavery eradication in heavily-burdened countries. EMSI’s approach prioritizes actually freeing slaves and bringing perpetrators to justice. Senator Corker was inspired to develop this legislation by IJM’s anti-slavery casework around the world.

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A bittersweet goodbye to IJM Organizing Director—East, Seth Wispelwey

by Seth Wispelwey / Topic: IJM staff, organizing, Advocacy March 3, 2016
Seth Wispelwey served at IJM for four years.

Goodbyes are hard, which is why I’m completely avoiding this one.

February was my last month with IJM. The ending was bittersweet, and came faster than anyone would want at such a lovely, transformational place, but good things are ahead. Starting in March, I took on a new executive role in my hometown of Charlottesville, VA serving survivors of labor and sex trafficking—I’m still in this fight! And so I get to still write this …

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#7 in our series: Meet the Team! Here's Rene Vazquez.

by Clara Campbell / Topic: Meet the team, IJM staff, organizing, Advocacy January 28, 2016
Rene Vazquez is an organizer with International Justice Mission (IJM).

Image note: Rene began his career with IJM in the Guatemala office (where this picture was taken), where we are working to protect children from sexual violence. To find out more about IJM's work in Guatemala, please see this page on our website.

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This news has us—literally—jumping for joy this Christmas!

Congress has passed a budget bill that includes funding for the End Modern Slavery Initiative Act!

Hello from Washington, DC!

One of the great holiday traditions in our nation’s capital is Congress waiting until a final deadline to pass an appropriations bill that will fund the U.S. Government for the next fiscal year. Usually, this is within the last day or two before DC becomes a ghost town for the holidays. This year, the tradition continued. Earlier today, as the sand ran out, Congress voted to approve a budget for 2016.

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Things to be thankful for:

by Holly Burkhalter / Topic: End Modern Slavery Initiative Act of 2015, EMSI, #EndSlaveryAct, Advocacy November 23, 2015
Thanksgiving thankful list by IJM's Holly Burkhalter

The last couple of Thanksgivings, my husband and our two daughters, Josie and Grace (who are now 18 and 20) have started a new tradition for our big dinner. We threw over turkey, green bean casserole, and sweet potatoes and instead had a “Favorite Things” dinner. Everybody in the family, including the dogs, gets to have their favorite thing on the menu. Last year, we had macaroni and cheese, crab Norfolk, homemade whoopee pies, and—my favorite—Pacific Lime Mold, an appalling lime-pineapple-cottage cheese concoction from the 1950’s that my Mom used to make and only I eat today.

I’ve been thinking of favorite things a lot these days. We have so much to be grateful for in the past year.

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Advocating #OnBehalfOf Change: how a Millennial learned to make a change the old-fashioned way

by Meredith Schellin / Topic: Advocacy Summit, #EndSlaveryAct, End Modern Slavery Initiative Act of 2015, Advocacy October 27, 2015
Meredith Schellin shares about IJM's Advocacy Summit

As a millennial, I think I can change the world. My generation knows how to grab attention through Youtube, Twitter and Instagram. We’re used to viral videos, ice-bucket campaigns and instant “likes” to move people to action. And don’t get me wrong, I believe social media really does have the capacity to make an impact. Recently, however, during IJM’s Advocacy Summit, I learned how to affect change the old-fashioned way: through face-to-face conversations. I also learned that sometimes, change is a long, hard road.

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Holly's Top Ten Tips for Lobbying

Lobby Day on Capitol Hill

IJM’s wonderful Advocacy Summit is coming up fast!  We can’t wait to have our friends from around the United States converge on Washington for advocacy training and story-telling followed by a day of meetings with members of Congress, senators and their staff in support of our cherished End Modern Slavery Initiative Act of 2015 (EMSI, #EndSlaveryAct). Many of those coming to the Advocacy Summit are experienced lobbyists, having visited their Senate and House offices many times. But for some, it will be the first time up on Capitol Hill. Either way, we want to make sure our advocates are well prepared.

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Three Things To Know About the #EndSlaveryAct

The 2015 IJM Advocacy Summit A note from our Research and Policy Manager, Tim Gehring:

We are less than two weeks away until IJM's Advocacy Summit, and we know this is a busy time for everyone. As summer winds down and the school year ramps up, hundreds of advocates from across the country are preparing to come to Washington, DC, to meet with their representatives and senators. There are bags to pack, flights to catch, drives to make and various other details to pull together. Why all the bother, even amidst the hustle and bustle of the fall?

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Have a great day on Capitol Hill! Three top tips from our senior director of advocacy.

by Clara Campbell / Topic: Advocacy Summit, Advocacy, #EndSlaveryAct September 6, 2015
Lobby Day on Capitol Hill

Here at IJM, the team is getting ready for our annual Advocacy Summit. The event is made up of two parts: on Day 1, we do in-depth training and development of advocacy skills, and Day 2, we head to Capitol Hill and lobby our members of Congress. It's an opportunity to have a great impact in the fight for freedom, so we want to make sure our advocates are prepared to make the most of their time in Washington. Over the course of a long career in advocacy, I've done more than a few lobby days, and spent my share of time on Capitol Hill.

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