American Rescue Plan Passed
From March 8 release:
Over the weekend, Senate Democrats voted to pass the American Rescue Plan despite every Republican attempt to see it fail. Sit with this reality for a second: even though over 500,000 Americans have died, more than one hundred thousand small businesses are closed, and unemployment insurance runs out for millions of families on March 14, every single Republican voted against the passage of President Biden’s relief package. Every. Single. One. Every Republican in the House, every Republican in the Senate.
By voting against the American Rescue Plan, Republican lawmakers voted against:
$1,400 direct checks for families in need
$66 billion to fund coronavirus testing and vaccine distribution
$47 billion to help keep thousands of small businesses open
$130 billion to reopen schools and get children back in the classroom
Expanded unemployment insurance for those who have lost their jobs from COVID-19
And much, much more
Now that the bill has passed in the Senate, it returns to the House for a final vote before it heads to President Biden’s desk. We expect the vote to take place tomorrow, so we need your help to apply pressure on representatives to pass the bill ASAP. Based on how this vote is shaping up, we need every single representative, regardless of party, to know their constituents are demanding relief. The House must work quickly and fight to provide the most robust, inclusive aid package possible.
This vote proves that Republican lawmakers are more interested in playing politics than securing relief for people in need. We’ll remind you that this package wouldn’t even be possible if we didn’t have two new senators from Georgia -- the voters have spoken, and it’s time for our elected officials to start listening. Do your part by making calls before the vote tomorrow.
And with that, here are your weekly to-dos:
Your weekly to-dos
Tell your representative to pass the COVID-19 relief bill ASAP. The fate of COVID-19 relief is in the House’s hands. There’s no overstating how critical it is that this bill passes quickly and without concessions -- every day without relief is another day millions of people are left struggling to make ends meet. Regardless of party, call your representative to urge them to vote YES on the American Rescue Plan without making any concessions.
Take action for democracy reform with the For the People Project. H.R. 1, the For the People Act, passed the House last week! Now it’s on to the Senate, where we’ll need to get rid of the filibuster to get it across the finish line. This is the first of the democracy reform bills we’re watching in Congress, including the D.C. statehood bill (H.R. 51), that will start the process of unrigging our democracy and making it work for everyone. Check out our For the People Project page as your one-stop shop to learn more about our plans and find ways to take action.
Check out our Save Democracy Sinema hub. If we hope to eliminate the filibuster, we need every Senate Democrat on board. Senator Sinema (AZ) is one of the senators we need on our side and we’re doing everything we can to support Arizonans in their effort to hold her accountable. Keep reading for more details below.
Ask your representative to co-sponsor the THRIVE Resolution. With the climate crisis continuing to intensify, the economy entering a deep recession, and the need for racial justice and healing being felt as acutely as ever, the case for Green New Deal-style policymaking is stronger than ever before. The THRIVE Resolution imagines a COVID-19 recovery package that tackles the overlapping crises of mass unemployment, racial injustice, public health, and climate change.
Moving on the Hill
The biggest lesson from the struggle to pass COVID-19 relief has been that Republicans will not, even under the most dire of circumstances, negotiate in good faith. The vote to pass the American Rescue Plan split almost exactly along party lines in both the House and the Senate, meaning that the package was delivered by Democrats alone. We can’t keep hoping that Republicans will get on board with our priorities, so it’s time to eliminate the filibuster.
You might have heard two names floating around whenever anyone discusses the filibuster: Sen. Joe Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema. These are the two Democrats we’re hoping to win over so we can do away with this undemocratic Senate procedure once and for all.
Senator Manchin (WV) recently said he’s open to altering (not eliminating) the filibuster so that it’s more “painful” for the minority to use. The bar is on the floor, but this kind of statement shows that constituent pressure has started working.
Senator Sinema (AZ) is also facing an immense amount of pressure for her loyalty to the filibuster. Considering that her state leads the nation in proposed voter suppression legislation in 2021, it’s in Arizona’s best interest that Sen. Sinema get serious about passing democracy reform legislation (see: S. 1, the For the People Act). It also helps to know that Sen. Sinema has been open to changing her mind on some of our priorities -- take a look at this tweet from 2014:
Sen. Sinema has a choice: side with Mitch McConnell to protect the filibuster or side with the people to protect democracy.