Senate to take up Freedom to Vote Act this week
The Freedom to Vote Act (S. 2747) would, among other things, create national standards so we can safely and freely cast our votes, make Election Day a public holiday, and ensure that every state offers same-day voter registration at all polling locations by 2024 (and at a limited number by 2022). Unlike an earlier version, this bill has the support of the entire Democratic caucus, according to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
“Senator Manchin has been engaged in conversations with our Republican colleagues in hopes of advancing solutions on a bipartisan basis to ensure all Americans have their voice heard in our democracy,” Schumer said. “I hope that our Republican colleagues will join us in good faith, and as I have said before, if they have ideas on how to improve the legislation, we are prepared to hear them, debate them, and if they are in line with the goals of the legislation, include them in the bill. But Republicans must come to the table to have that conversation and at the very least vote to open debate.”
The need for action is clear. More than 400 bills in 49 state legislatures seek to restrict voters’ access to the polls; they largely target voters of color, voters with disabilities, and low-income voters. America cannot be a beacon of democracy around the world when states are restricting the right to vote. Please use your voice: Tell your senators federal legislation is essential to ensure all U.S. citizens can freely exercise their constitutional right to vote. TAKE ACTION
It’s National Safe Schools Week. Take action on gun safety!
Oct. 17-23 is National Safe Schools Week. The House has passed two bills that would help make our schools safer, but the Senate has not acted on either of them. The Bipartisan Background Checks Act (S. 529/H.R. 8) would require a background check for every gun sold and most transfers, while the Enhanced Background Checks Act (H.R. 1446) would extend the initial background review period from three to 10 days. Firearms are the leading cause of death for African American children, and the second leading cause of death for all American children. This year alone, there have been more than 100 incidents of gunfire on school grounds resulting in 21 deaths and 56 injuries, according to Everytown for Gun Safety. TAKE ACTION
Fulfill America’s promise of equal opportunity for all students
The Keep Our Pact Act (S. 72/H.R. 764) would create a mandatory 10-year path to fully funding both Title I of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), critical programs for the students most in need. Congress promised to pay 40 percent of the excess costs of special education services when IDEA was first passed, but has never come close—the federal share is now less than 14 percent. The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified the unfortunate consequences of the shortfall, hitting students with disabilities who need extra support especially hard. Now is the time to fulfill America’s promise of equal opportunity for all our students. TAKE ACTION