Federal bills to protect democracy, strengthen families, and advance stewardship of creation
As litigation continues over the constitutionality of Ohio’s newly-passed state and Congressional district maps, advocates for fair districts are calling again for the U.S. Senate to pass the Freedom to Vote Act, which includes efficient provisions to prevent extreme partisan gerrymandering by either party, as well as protections for voter access and campaign finance reform. If you read this post in time, you can hop on tonight’s Common Cause webinar at 8 p.m. to discuss advocacy for the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Act. Interestingly, the speakers will discuss how gerrymandering impedes environmental stewardship.
In addition, the Senate is expected to debate the Build Back Better bill passed by the House in November. The Freedom to Vote Act, John Lewis Voting Rights Act, and Build Back Better bill are supported by the Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations. The House’s Build Back Better bill includes many provisions benefitting families (from child tax credits and grants for preschool to access to in-home and community care for senior citizens) as well as major new policies to mitigate climate change.
Dec. 9 Statehouse Rally to Repeal Coal Subsidies
Ohio’s 2019 energy bill HB 6, whose core was the First Energy subsidies that are the basis of the federal $61 million dollar bribery case, also included subsidies for OVEC’s two aging, inefficient, and polluting coal-fired plants, costing Ohio ratepayers $233,000 a day. Ohio Citizen Action invites you to come to the High Street side of the Statehouse from noon to 1 pm to call for the repeal of these subsidies by passing SB 1117 and HB 351. Elves will deliver stockings filled with coal to Ohio legislators. Sign up here.
More about the Freedom to Vote Act
Sponsored by Senators Klobuchar and Mansion, the Freedom To Vote Act sets national standards guaranteeing two weeks of early voting, automatic voter registration, vote-by-mail for all who want it, and strict rules to prevent purging of eligible voters from the rolls. It blocks partisan and racial gerrymandering by creating legally enforceable standards to ensure fair districts. It seeks to reduce the influence of big money on our politics and improves transparency through provisions requiring disclosure of political contributors and funders of political ads. Senate Republicans have filibustered repeatedly to prevent even starting debate on the bill. Here is an overview of the Freedom to Vote Act and its implications on the current trends in state election laws from the Center for American Progress.
What’s in the Build Back Better Act passed by the House?
Here’s an overview of key provisions from Bloomberg News:
- The 2021 expanded Child Tax Credit of $250-$300 a month continues through 2022. This has been credited for this year’s major drop in U.S. poverty.
- Expanded child care funding for children under 5 and increases in wages for providers.
- Grants for states to start or expand universal preschool for 3 and 4 year olds
- Four weeks of paid parental and family leave
- Expanded renewable energy and energy efficiency tax credits
- Bans on oil drilling on most offshore waters and fees to incentivize companies to prevent methane leaks
- Allowing federal government to negotiate lower drug prices as well as rebates when pharmaceutical companies raise drug prices faster than the inflation rate.
- Expanded subsidies to ensure that health insurance is affordable for more Americans, including new plans for those denied affordable coverage in 12 states that have not accepted Medicaid as envisioned under the Affordable Care Act.
- Offering parole status to an estimated 6.5 million undocumented immigrants who entered the US before 2011.
Advocacy briefings are compiled by Ariel Miller, a member of Ascension & Holy Trinity, Wyoming, and a member of the diocesan Becoming Beloved Community Leadership Team. Connect with her at email@example.com