In the face of powerlessness, it helps to do something. So I want to call your attention to the urgent need for all of us to lobby our elected officials at the federal level. We have a narrow window of opportunity to deliver an agenda that makes meaningful change to people’s lives. Our success in 2022 depends on it, and time is short!
Soon after the 2016 election, a group of D.C. staffers got together and wrote a manual on how to resist the Trump agenda. And that manual led to the formation of national progressive movement called “Indivisible.” Indivisible groups sprung up all over the country. The actions described: constant phone calls, requests for townhalls, in-person visits, protests and rallies, as well as letters-to-the editors and op-eds, were deployed to resist Trump and remove him from office, and they worked! But they were actually modeled after what the original authors saw the Tea Party doing to pressure the GOP into ever more radical positions. Now it’s time to turn those same actions towards the President and the majorities we’ve elected to Congress and encourage them to deliver an agenda based on Democratic values.
Their manual, now called “Indivisible on Offense”, was updated after the 2018 midterm elections to include action steps about how to hold our Democratic elected officials accountable. The same techniques we used to resist the Trump agenda are needed now more than ever to ensure that our members of Congress deliver on behalf of the people who elected them.
If you have not connected to an Indivisible group yet, you can find your local group here. If you need assistance, please respond to this email and I will help connect you to a group.
A few weeks ago I travelled to Washington D.C. as part of a group of state legislators chosen to lobby the U.S. Senate to pass the For the People Act. The purpose of my trip was to “be LOUD,” as I often say. We had a big rally in a park near the Capitol, which was quite successful and got a good deal of national press. The speakers were inspirational, including our own Sen. Warnock. There was power in coming together with legislators from twenty different states who had also been unable to stop Republicans from passing restrictive voting laws. But due to the rise of COVID cases that week, plus the work on the infrastructure bill, it was hard to get the attention of the Senators.
Sometimes being loud can feel futile — like you’re yelling through phone lines and email accounts and no one is listening. But it’s critical that we do it anyway and never give up. If you’re feeling frustrated or powerless right now, it’s time to make some phone calls! The halls of the U.S. Capitol building are too quiet right now — I know because I’ve been there!
For the People Act and the Filibuster: We cannot reverse the damage done by bad voting laws at the state level without passing voting standards at the national level, and we can’t pass the For the People Act without reforming the filibuster. I recently found a chart on VoteSaveAmerica.com documenting each Senator’s commitment or lack thereof to filibuster reform, as well as public statements they have made on the subject. Sadly, at the release of this email, the link was not working, but I’ll tell you that Georgia’s two new Senators, Ossoff and Warnock, remain uncommitted to filibuster reform. Pick up the phone now and call. Phone numbers are provided at the end of this email.
Infrastructure and Budget Tensions: The bi-partisan Infrastructure bill has gone back to the House, where Democratic house leadership plans to hold the bill until the Senate keeps its promise to pass the $3.5 trillion budget proposal in mid-September. This short delay is to make room for high level negotiations on budget priorities. Priorities that define who we are as a nation and how we live in community with one another.
But over the weekend, nine Democrats in the House, including Georgia’s Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux, wrote a letter to the leadership calling for an immediate vote on the Infrastructure bill and have threatened to vote against the budget bill if they don’t get their way. If these nine vote against the budget, they will derail the Democratic agenda by just three votes. This gives away the strategic opportunity to negotiate the two bills together, fighting for critical dollars for universal pre-K, free community college, expanded ACA healthcare, climate change initiatives, and affordable housing, to name a few. (Click here for details) This is exactly the kind of situation in which the public (you!) needs to weigh in and “be LOUD”! Now is the time to call these nine, particularly Rep. Bourdeaux, and make sure that your voice is heard. Let them know that their planned vote against pre-K, community college, the ACA, clean energy, and affordable housing is not acceptable.
Make Some D.C. Magic, Again.
When I studied Washington D.C in the third grade I fell in love, so I was thrilled to travel there that summer to visit family. The problem was, my parents didn’t know I wanted to actually see D.C. Fortunately, my Uncle Jim figured it out, and drove me downtown the night before we left to travel back to Indiana. It was a whirlwind tour, past all the sites and into the parking lot of the U.S. Capitol. “Should we go in?” my Uncle Jim asked. “Yes!” I said. My Uncle Jim later told my mom that when I stood in the rotunda and looked up, I said, “My dream has come true.” True story.
Four decades later, and in D.C. to lobby for the passage of the For the People Act, I faced a similar disappointment. The U.S. Capitol was closed to the public. Through the help of a friend, I was able to make my way inside, but it was eerie to stand in empty hallways while Congress worked behind closed doors.
Without being LOUD, Congress cannot hear us.
There’s a lot going on with the Delta COVID surging, Afghanistan falling to the Taliban, and the earthquake in Haiti. But now is the time to multi-task. Keep your newly elected members of Congress accountable to the people who sent them to Washington in the first place. Make sure the new members we elected in CD-6, CD-7, CD-5, and the Senate hear the voices of the people who worked so hard to send them there.
As my former Georgia Senate seatmate, Chair of the Georgia Democrat Party and new member of Congress says — we can do two things at once!
Call these people and ask them to vote “yes” on the budget resolution before the small infrastructure bill. (Call both Washington and District offices. On the phone. ResistBot and Email are just not the same.)
- Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux:
Washington (202) 225-4272;
- Rep. Lucy McBath:
Washington (202) 225-4501;
- Rep. Hank Johnson:
Washington (202) 225-1605 ;
District (770) 987-2291
- Rep. Nikema Williams:
Washington (202) 225-3801;
District (404) 659-0116
- Rep. Sanford Bishop:
Washington (202) 225-3631;
Albany (229) 439-8067;
Columbus (706) 320-9477;
Macon (478) 803-2631
- Rep. David Scott:
Washington (202) 225-2939;
Jonesboro (770) 210-5073;
Smyrna (770) 432-5405
- Rep. Nancy Pelosi:
Washington (202) 225-4965;
District (415) 556-4862
Call your U.S. Senators and tell them to reform of the filibuster and pass voting rights
- Sen. Ossoff:
Washington (202) 224-3521;
District (470) 786-7800
- Sen. Warnock:
Washington (202) 224-3643;
District (770) 694-7828