EdAction in Congress

EdAction in Congress June 21, 2021

Senate to vote this week on For the People Act

The full Senate will vote this week on the For the People Act (S. 1), the most comprehensive democracy reform bill in decades. The bill rests on three pillars: reaffirming and expanding voting rights, strengthening oversight to end big money in politics, and ensuring an ethical government. It would, among other things, institute automatic voter registration, place new limits on partisan practices like gerrymandering, and require candidates for president and vice president to release their tax returns for the previous 10 years.

Getting the bill to passage will be a steep climb in the evenly split Senate, but failure is not an option. The need for action is clear. As of mid-May, according to the Brennan Center, 389 bills introduced in 48 state legislatures included provisions to make voting more difficult—for example, by shortening the time for absentee and early voting, requiring voters show an ID at the polls, purging voter rolls, and seizing control of local election boards. Please use your voice:  Tell your senators why this bill is critical to ensure all U.S. citizens can freely exercise their constitutional right to vote. TAKE ACTION

Join letter calling for pathways to citizenship for immigrants and their families

NEA’s celebration of June as Immigrant Heritage Month continues with an open  letter urging President Biden, Vice President Harris, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) to include protections and pathways to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and their families in any legislation that moves forward via budget reconciliation. They include Dreamers, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients, Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders, educators, and other essential workers on the frontlines of our nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Providing permanent protections and pathways to citizenship for undocumented immigrant youth and their families would boost economic output, generate additional tax revenue, and help lift families out of poverty. Every day, educators encounter students consumed by stress and anxiety about what the future holds—for themselves and their families. Some 18.5 million children under age 18 have a parent born outside the United States—and nearly 40 percent of them live in households where neither parent is a U.S. citizen.

Add Your Name to Sign the Open Letter

FCC can help equip your community for remote learning

NEA’s push to equip students for remote learning during the pandemic succeeded, thanks to our members’ advocacy. Through your collective efforts, we were able to secure over $7 billion for the E-Rate program. From June 29 through August 13, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will accept applications for the Emergency Connectivity Fund created by President Biden’s American Rescue Plan to help schools and libraries equip their communities for remote learning.

A total of $7.17 billion is available. The money can be used to purchase connected devices like laptops and tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots, modems, routers, and broadband connectivity to serve the unmet needs for off-campus use by students, school staff, and library patrons. On June 25 at 2 p.m. EDT, the FCC will host a webinar on fcc.gov/live about  the Emergency Connectivity Fund; advance registration is not required. Encourage your school, library, and local NEA affiliate to tune in and take advantage of the opportunity!

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