Congressional Advocacy Day – April 18, 2016

EAD_Generic_topper_2Ecumenical Advocacy Days is a movement of the ecumenical Christian community, and its recognized partners and allies, grounded in biblical witness and our shared traditions of justice, peace and the integrity of creation. Our goal, through worship, theological reflection and opportunities for learning and witness, is to strengthen our Christian voice and to mobilize for advocacy on a wide variety of U.S. domestic and international policy issues.

If you are not in Washington, D.C. on Monday, April 18, you can still participate via our call in efforts! See below.

LobbyDayButton

Click above to download or print the EAD 2016 Congressional Ask.

You may also download EAD’s 2016 Social Media Guide for participants, as well as an EAD sponsors and presenters social media reference sheets.

Congressional Advocacy Day Ask

We call on Congress to restore the voice of all Americans in our democratic process and to help create a global economy of inclusion, ensuring livelihoods for all God’s children and a sustainable planet by:

  • Supporting the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015 (S. 1659/H.R. 2867) as a substantial legislative step to restoring and strengthening the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and
  • Defeating the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement that deepens inequality and prioritizes corporate interests over both God’s creation and people, especially vulnerable communities in the U.S. and abroad.

As people of faith, we hold the conviction that every voice matters and every voice must be heard. If we are to lift every voice, we must do all we can to ensure that no person is stripped of their access to meaningful political engagement by governments and corporate entities that hold tightly to power and expression.

Support the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015

The Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015 (S. 1659/H.R. 2867), sponsored by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Representative Terri Sewell (D-AL) would go a long way in restoring and strengthening the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA).

We ask that Senators and Representatives 1) co-sponsor the bill and 2) push Congressional leadership to bring the bill for a vote in 2016.

Throughout U.S. history voting laws have been used to concentrate power by intentionally stripping certain citizens from their most prized and powerful right: the power of the vote. The bi-partisan Voting Rights Act of 1965 was a great step toward eliminating legal barriers to the voting booth. Still after its passage several states continued to deny people the right to vote under the disingenuous guise of reducing voter fraud. The original 1965 law helped prevent such injustices by requiring states with a history of voter discrimination to submit any changes to their voter laws for approval (preclearance) by the Department of Justice. Unfortunately, in 2013, Shelby County v. Holder eliminated this vital discrimination prevention process of the Voting Rights Act.

Defeat the Trans-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement

We ask that Senators and Representatives oppose the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement that deepens inequality and prioritizes corporate interests over both God’s creation and people, especially vulnerable communities in the U.S. and abroad.

Pope Francis has called on nations to say no to ‘an economy of exclusion.’ All global economic policies, including trade agreements, should be evaluated on the basis of their impact on the common good of all, especially the marginalized, and the earth. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a trade agreement between the U.S. and 11 Pacific Rim nations, which will establish trade rules between these countries. It serves primarily the special interests of the privileged.

The agreement has been negotiated in secret, largely by corporate lobbyists, and would legitimize unfair labor practices, destructive environmental activities and serious human rights violations. The TPP is harmful to people and to our planet. It threatens health, jobs, food security, and the environment in all TPP countries. It is now up to Congress to stop this agreement from going into force. We call on Congress to say no to ‘an economy of exclusion’ by rejecting the TPP.

LobbyDayButton

Click above to download or print the EAD 2016 Congressional Ask.

Participate in Lobby Day from Wherever You Are

Even if you are not at EAD’s 2016 Lobby Day in Washington on April 18, you can play a vital role in efforts to ‘Lift Every Voice’ in favor of voting rights and against unjust trade agreements. No matter where you are, we encourage you to join with the advocates visiting our Senators and Representatives!

Please call your members of Congress on Monday, April 18, letting them know that you are one with the advocates who are visiting their offices. Strongly urge your members to act on the following:

  1. Become a co-sponsor of the Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015 (S. 1659/H.R.2864).
  2. Push leadership to bring the bill to a floor vote.
  3. Vote in favor of the bill.

Additionally,

  1. Work to defeat the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, and encourage other members to do the same.
  2. Vote against it, if it comes to the floor for a vote.

If you do not know the direct office numbers for your Congressional representatives, call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121.

You may also wish to send an email to your Congressional representatives as a follow up in the coming days. Bullet points for the emails are below:

Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015 – S. 1659/H.R.2864
– The Voting Rights Act of 1965 helped to prevent racist injustices keeping minority voters from exercising their rights by requiring states with a history of voter discrimination to submit changes in their voter laws for approval by the Department of Justice.
– In 2013 Shelby County v. Holder eliminated this critical discrimination prevention process.
– At least this protection must be restored by Congress, as S.1659/H.R.2864 will do. This bill (identical in House and Senate) enacts an up-to-date formula that ensures the right to vote by restoring the approval process of the VRA.
– The burden of proof must be on the state to guarantee that there is no discriminatory practice in their laws.
– The process must be simplified, as is done in this legislation.
– This legislation would also cover states with more recent evidence of discrimination.

Tran-Pacific Partnership Trade Agreement
– The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a trade agreement between the U.S. and 11 Pacific Rim nations, which will establish trade rules between these countries.
– The TPP primarily serves the special interests of the privileged by elevating corporate rights over human rights and democracy.
– The agreement has been negotiated in secret, without engagement of labor organizations or environmental experts.
– It threatens health, jobs, food security, and the environment in all TPP countries.
– The TPP allows investors to challenge a country’s environmental and public health laws, regulations or court decisions using private courts that circumvent domestic judicial systems and democratic processes.
– The TPP would harm workers in the U.S. and abroad as jobs would be off-shored, wages lowered and labor standards undermined.
– The TPP would undermine environmental protections in its step backward in terms of enforcement, in comparison with previous agreements.
– The TPP would limit patients from accessing life-saving medicines, and make medicines more expensive, as intellectual property provisions would delay introduction of lower-cost generic medications.

Other Lobby Day Events

There will be a prayer vigil at 9 a.m. on the grounds of the U.S. Capitol sponsored by multiple faith-based coalitions. EAD advocates are invited to participate in this event as they are able, but please be sure to keep all early morning appointments with your Congressional members’ offices. The lobby day visits are primary!

LobbyDayButton

Click above to download or print the EAD 2016 Congressional Ask.

 

Sponsors: