EdAction in Congress

EdAction in Congress June 27, 2021

Republicans block comprehensive voting rights bill, but it’s not over

The For the People Act, a comprehensive bill to expand, ensure, and strengthen voting rights nationwide, failed to muster the 60-vote supermajority necessary to advance in the Senate. All 50 Democratic senators voted to bring the bill to the floor for debate and discussion while all 50 Republican senators voted to block it. But this is just the first step in the process. We will be working with our labor and civil rights partners throughout the summer to make sure this bill comes up again. The Senate must continue to hear from us about the importance of this bill and the need to ensure nationwide access to the right to vote, the bedrock of our democracy.

“I struggle with how to explain the indefensible actions by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republican senators,” said NEA President Becky Pringle. “They have worked to restrict access to democracy, and their vote today is just another way they have stacked the deck against the Indigenous community and people of color in this country. Although the For the People Act failed to advance today in the Senate, this is not the end. The 3 million members of the National Education Association will remain steadfast in our mission that every American has full access to exercise their inalienable right to participate in democracy. We will not rest until all Americans can safely and freely cast their ballots and have their voices heard.”

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. It would, among other things, institute automatic voter registration and place new limits on partisan practices like gerrymandering. TAKE ACTION

Denying D.C. statehood is dangerous as well as unjust

 “Taxation without representation was the rallying cry for the American Revolution, yet 245 years later it endures in our nation’s capital,” NEA said in comments submitted for the record of the House Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s June 22 hearing on statehood for the District of Columbia, whose population of 712,000 exceeds that of Vermont and Wyoming.

Denying District residents full representation in Congress is unjust: they pay the highest per-capita federal income taxes in the nation and, in total, pay more in taxes than residents of 21 other states. It is also dangerous: Violent insurrectionists invaded Congress on January 6, yet the District could not deploy the National Guard because it is not a state. No other democracy denies its citizens equal representation because of where they live.

The denial of full representation in Congress—and therefore, full citizenship—in a city nearly half Black is egregious given our nation’s history of suppressing the Black vote. The Washington, D.C. Admission Act (S. 51) would preserve the constitutionally required district that houses the federal government, our monuments, and the National Mall. The neighborhoods and commercial areas where the people of the District of Columbia live and raise their families would comprise the 51st state. TAKE ACTION

Cheers and Jeers

Sen. Bob Casey (D-PA) and Reps. Jahana Hayes (D-CT), Don Bacon (R-NE), and Deborah Ross (D-NC) introduced the CARE for Kids Act ), a bipartisan bill to support millions of children, raised by grandparents and others, in need of free and reduced-price school meals.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Reps. Alma Adams (D-NC), Nydia Velázquez (D-NY), and Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced the Closing the Meal Gap Act to expand and strengthen Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for vulnerable community members who struggle to make ends meet.

Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) introduced the Stop Mental Health Stigma in Our Communities Act (H.R. 3573), which instructs the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to provide outreach and education strategies for the Asian American and Pacific Islander community.


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