January XX, 2021
The Honorable Charles E. Schumer
Democratic Leader, U.S. Senate
The Capitol, S-221
Washington, D.C. 20510
This year, the American people voted in record numbers for a House, Senate, and president who believe our democracy works best when every vote is counted and every voice is heard. Unfortunately, President Trump and his allies have spent the months since spreading dangerous conspiracy theories in an attempt to not just undermine these results, but to literally overturn them and with violent consequences. The January 6th insurrection was not only an attack on the U.S. Capitol, it was an attack on the heart of our democracy – again illustrating the urgent need for bold reforms to buttress our system so that it truly represents all Americans, and especially communities that have historically been marginalized.
Our democracy held–this time. But, as the late Congressman John Lewis once said, democracy is not a state, it’s an act. Now, with united control of government, you must act to safeguard our democracy for the long term and finally create the fair, just system Americans want and deserve.
We, the undersigned members of the Declaration for American Democracy (DFAD) coalition, call on you to join Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats in prioritizing the re-introduction and passage of the For the People Act as a first priority of the new Democratic majority and designating it as S. 1, to match the symbolic prominence it has been given in the House (H.R. 1).
This sweeping legislation would protect and expand the right to vote, end the dominance of big money in politics, and restore ethics and accountability in Washington. It passed the House with unanimous Democratic support in 2019 and had the support of every member of the Senate Democratic Caucus in the 116th Congress, including Vice President-elect Kamala Harris. President-elect Joe Biden endorsed the legislation during his campaign.
There’s no more time to wait to protect our democracy.
Far too many Americans across the political spectrum believe their government no longer works for them. They see wealthy special interests dictating policy, politicians setting the rules for their own elections and making it harder for Americans to vote, and federal officials profiting off the public interest. Some of their elected leaders literally voted to overturn the election based on lies and misinformation. The For the People Act is critical to restoring the public’s faith in our democratic institutions and ensuring everyone’s voice and vote is heard, counted, and protected.
We now have the opportunity to truly deliver on our founders’ promise of a democracy that’s of, by, and for the people. We can’t waste it.