LWVUS has actively been supporting additional measures for inclusion in the next emergency funding stimulus bills related to the coronavirus. The provisions the League support cover $4 billion in elections funding, economic measures, access to broadband internet, support for the classification of the District of Columbia as a state, and support for families in need of financial or healthcare assistance no matter their immigration or economic status. Read a summary and get links to the full letters below.
LWVUS Advocates for broad policy provisions
The League sent a memo to Congress urging them to include policies in the next COVID-19 stimulus bill that that will protect our elections, protect all families regardless of immigration status, and re-classify the District of Columbia, while continuing to help families, communities, and workers facing hardship due to the coronavirus pandemic. Read the letter here.
Emergency funding for elections
In response to the need for emergency funding for elections, LWVUS joined the leadership conference and its member organizations in asking congress for $4 billion in elections assistance funding. While earlier estimations for this type of funding were set at $2 billion dollars, the increase of primary election postponements across states have created a need for greater funding. This funding will ensure that each state will be able to effectively and safely hold elections by providing voters with a variety of options to participate on election day in addition to in person voting. These policies include, expanded early voting, no excuse absentee vote by mail, and expanded voter registration options. The funding will ensure that voters will not have to compromise their safety and livelihoods to participate in the upcoming elections. Read the letter here.
The League also joined an open letter to congressional leaders demanding $4 billion in election assistance together with 50 organizations and led by Stand-Up America. Read the letter here.
On June 30, the League reupped it's efforts to push for emergency election funding by calling on the U.S. Senate to support the funding levels included in the U.S. House's bill, the HEROES Act. The League joins the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights along with 110 other organizations asking the Senate to support $3.6 billion in elections funding as part of the HEROES Act. The HEROES Act, which passed the House on May 15th. The letter outlines the critical need for additional elections funding, and cites examples of pandemic related voter suppression from state primaries earlier this year. Read the letter here.
Appropriations expanding access to adequate broadband services
Millions of Americans are relying on internet now more than ever to do work, teach their kids, access healthcare, and meet their daily needs. LWVUS has signed onto the following letter asking Congress to apportion $2 to $3 billion a month for the duration of this pandemic to ensure that families across America have access to adequate broadband services. The funding would provide over 60 million eligible households with broadband internet service. Read the letter here.
The League and it’s civil rights partners are proud to sign onto this letter addressing the Senate in asking for affordable and expanded broadband access. The letter asks for Senate members to cosponsor the Emergency Broadband Connections Act (EBCA), and the emergency broadband policies outlined in the HEROES Act. It is estimated that $8.8 billion will need to be allocated to distribute a broadband credit to communities across America. Affordable broadband is critical to provide access to telehealth, ensure the following of social distancing protocols, economic security, and ending the homework gap. Read the letter here.
Comprehensive provisions regarding workers, healthcare, and the economy
In previous COVID-19 stimulus packages, not everyone in our communities have been included, businesses have been prioritized over employees, and there have not been enough safeguards for our upcoming elections. The League signed on to a letter in support of asks from the Congressional Progressive Caucus, urging Congress to pass a CARES 2 package that puts workers first, provides financial relief in multiple forms for individuals, promotes our collective public health and ensures voters do not have to choose between their health and participating in our democracy. The letter also asked the next package to take into consideration the populations that are being disproportionately impacted by this crisis. Read the letter here.
LWVUS joined 111 other organizations and the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights to ask Congress to formulate a COVID response plan that is conscious of our society’s structural racism and inequities. The 23 page letter includes comprehensive recommendations to address the many effects of COVID-19 including ensuring access to quality health care for all, providing targeted relief for those most impacted, protecting the livelihoods of the most vulnerable working people, supporting quarantine measures, safeguarding people’s financial health, protecting people experiencing homelessness, providing assistance with basic living standards, stimulating the economy, and preparing for our future after this pandemic ends. Read the letter here.
Including immigrant families
The League is supporting ensuring COVID-19 reliefs are available to all—regardless of immigration status. Congress’s response has thus far excluded many low- and moderate-income immigrants from the public health and stimulus policies. All families have access to the support they need to stay healthy, put food on the table, and have access to healthcare. If we are serious about addressing the full scale of this public health emergency, we can no longer afford to leave out millions of our community members from the response and must ensure that everyone has access to the health care, nutrition and income support they need. Read the letter here.
Supporting full funding for the District of Columbia
The League signed a letter urging Congress to correct its funding scheme in the CARES Act regarding how it treats Washington, D.C. as a territory rather than a state. Though the federal government treats D.C. as a state in hundreds of ways, Congress decidedly shortchanged the tax-paying residents of Washington out of $725 million of needed aid to fight the coronavirus by treating it like a territory. Washington, D.C., like every state in the nation, is dealing with unprecedented challenges and needs the full support and resources of the federal government to ensure the safety and well-being of D.C.’s residents. Read the letter here.
Protecting people, not polluters
LWVUS joined more than 300 organizations to ask that upcoming legislation, including a comprehensive infrastructure bill, put people first — especially the 22 million plus newly unemployed — and that not a single cent be given to polluters. Currently, the fossil fuel industry is attempting to leverage Congress’ emergency relief legislation into cash for CEOs and shareholders. The industry has already succeeded in lobbying the EPA to lift pollution safeguards and is attempting to convince the Interior Department to suspend or reduce royalty payments. Read the letter here.
League Calls for Robust Funding of U.S. Postal Service
The League joined a letter led by the Leadership Conference and signed by 100 groups calling for robust funding for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). The USPS is an essential and critical public service to the people of our nation and the fiscal health of the constitutionally-mandated agency is important to every American's daily life. Congress must act now to save the USPS, the hundreds of thousands of jobs included in its diverse workforce, and the communities that depend upon this critical federal agency. A vote against adequate, timely funding for the USPS is an anti-civil rights vote. Read the letter here.
League Joins Request to Congress to Secure Civic Education Funding
The League joined organizations on a letter to Congress requesting $40,000,000 for one-time competitive grants to nonpartisan nonprofit civic education program providers with a track record of successfully providing effective civic education programming to schools to meet the remote teaching needs of K-12 schools and teachers, the homeschooling needs of parents and students, and for meaningful student-centered civic learning. Read the letter here.
League Urges Congress to Include Funding for Developing Countries in next Stimulus bill
LWV joined 65 organizations urging Congress to include HR 6851, legislation to require each U.S. Executive Director at an international financial institution to take certain actions in support of the global response to COVID-19. Read the letter here.
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There are many ways for voters to participate in elections while mitigating their risk of exposure.
In these times of uncertainty and physical distancing, standing together with our communities is more important than ever.
LWVUS sent a memo to the U.S. House and Senate urging them to support policies for communities, families, and workers experiencing hardship during the coronavirus pandemic on March 13, 2020. LWVUS has also continued to join with partners on letters to the Congress during this time.
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