Congress considers democracy reforms as voter suppression surges
The For the People Act passed by the House earlier this month, has been introduced in the Senate and designated S. 1. The most comprehensive democracy reform bill in decades, it comes at a time when voter suppression efforts are surging to levels not seen since Jim Crow. According to the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice, more than 250 bills pending in 43 state legislatures would restrict access to the ballot box by severely limiting where, when, and how people can vote.
The For the People Act rests on three pillars: reaffirming and expanding voting rights, strengthening oversight to end big money in politics, and ensuring an ethical government. To achieve these goals, the bill would, among other things, institute automatic voter registration and voluntary public financing of campaigns, place new limits on partisan practices like gerrymandering and purging voter rolls, and require candidates for president and vice president to release their tax returns for the previous 10 years. The For the People Act also makes a strong argument for the District of Columbia to become the 51st state. Tell your senators to support the For the People Act. TAKE ACTION
House takes steps toward creating a fair immigration process
The House passed the American Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6) by a vote of 228-197 and the Farm Workforce Modernization Act (H.R. 1603) by a vote of 247-174—important steps toward creating a fair immigration process that upholds America’s values and commitment to liberty and justice for all.
The American Dream and Promise Act provides a 13-year path to citizenship for up to 4 million undocumented immigrants, including Dreamers brought to the United States before age 18, recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and people granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for humanitarian reasons. The Farm Workforce Modernization Act provides a path to a green card for an additional 2.4 million undocumented farm workers, along with their spouses and minor children. TAKE ACTION
March is Women’s History Month
The election of Kamala Harris as vice president underscores that these are historic times for America’s women. On March 18, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hosted a Virtual Women’s History Month event honoring our nation’s educators. Participants included First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, Education Secretary Miguel Cardona, 2016 National Teacher of the Year Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-CT), and classroom teachers, including NEA members, Turquoise Parker and Sarah “Mili” Milianta Laffin. A video of the entire event is available here. NEA resources for Women’s History Month—including lessons, activities, and background reading—are available here.
Cheers and Jeers
Deb Haaland was confirmed as Secretary of the Interior, making her the first Native American to hold a Cabinet position in U.S. history.
Republican Sens. Susan Collins (ME), Lisa Murkowski (AK), Dan Sullivan (AK), and Lindsey Graham (SC) joined their Democratic colleagues in voting to confirm Deb Haaland as Secretary of the Interior.
Republican Sen. Susan Collins (ME) joined her Democratic colleagues in voting to confirm Xavier Becerra as Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-VI) introduced the Farm to School Act of 2021 (H.R. 1768) to help schools, farmers, and communities build back equitably from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Republican Don Reps. Bacon (NE), David Valadao (CA), Fred Upton (MI), Maria Elvira Salazar (FL ), Dan Newhouse (WA), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA), Chris Smith (NJ), Carlos Gimenez (FL ), and Mario Diaz-Balart (FL) joined their Democratic colleagues in voting for the American Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6).
30 Republicans joined their Democratic colleagues in voting for the Farm Workforce Modernization Act (H.R. 1603).
29 Republicans joined their Democratic colleagues in voting for the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (H.R. 1620), which would maintain protections for victims, make vital investments in preventing sexual assaults, and more.
Republican Reps. John Curtis (UT), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA), Nicole Malliotakis (NY), and Tom Reed (NY) joined their Democratic colleagues in voting to remove the deadline for ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment.
197 Republicans voted against the American Dream and Promise Act (H.R. 6).
173 Republicans and Democratic Rep. Jared Golden (ME) voted against the Farm Workforce Modernization Act (H.R. 1603).
172 Republicans voted against the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (H.R. 1620), which would maintain protections for victims, make vital investments in preventing sexual assaults, and more.