Advocacy update, September 28, 2021

Advocacy update, September 28, 2021

Advocacy update, September 28, 2021 750 422 Episcopalians in Connection

Spotlight: How Will Congress Act?

This week, key votes in Congress could shape the future for social and environmental justice in the United States and beyond, as the House considers two infrastructure bills and the Senate may vote on the Freedom to Vote Act (S 2747) introduced by Senator Amy Klobuchar.  Please review the policies contained in these bills and write to your member of Congress and Ohio Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown immediately.  Please also consider writing a letter to the editor of your local paper.

Like other states across the nation, Ohio is consumed with conflict over gerrymandering. The Ohio Redistricting Commission approved state legislative maps this month that guarantee a Republican supermajority far exceeding the party’s share of statewide votes over the past decade. This has already led to several lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the maps. Our legislature is considering two bills that will both curtail access to early voting and drop-boxes many Ohioans relied on to vote safely during the pandemic.

Against these state-level trends, 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. This bill has broader support than the For the People Act, and could come up for a vote in the Senate this week.

The “traditional” infrastructure bill passed by an overwhelming Senate majority earlier this summer is supposed to undergo a House vote this week. The larger “human infrastructure” or “Build Back Better” proposal includes an array of investments in slowing climate change and investing in people, through programs supporting children, caregivers, and more affordable health coverage.  Congressional Democrats are intensely debating the size and components of this bill, which is being proposed through the filibuster-proof reconciliation process. Here’s an article about the Sept. 23 interfaith prayer vigil in Washington to support this bill. https://www.ncronline.org/news/people/faith-leaders-hold-prayer-vigil-support-35-trillion-reconciliation-bill

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 arielmillerwriter@gmail.com