Broad Coalition of Environmental Groups Call on the Senate to Heed President Biden’s Call to Pass Voting Rights Legislation by Any Means Necessary

Friday, January 14, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Days after President Biden endorsed Senate rules reform to protect our right to vote, leading environmental organizations are reiterating the call for the Senate to ensure final passage of the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act by reforming the filibuster to overcome Republican obstruction.

At this defining moment in the history of our country, President Biden has come out strongly in favor of reforming the filibuster, a clarion call for action in the Senate underscoring the crisis our democracy faces. The former President and his allies continue to peddle the Big Lie, prompting 19 states to enact 34 laws last year that would undermine the right to vote and subvert our elections. This year, state legislatures have already filed more anti-voter bills with more expected to be introduced and passed as state sessions conclude.

The Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act would undo many of these voter suppression tactics. This transformative bill would expand and protect the public’s access to fair and free elections and reign in corporate polluters’ destructive influence in political decision-making. It builds on President Biden’s vision to Build Back Better by ensuring democracy works for everyone, especially older adults, people with disabilities, and communities of color who historically carry the heaviest burden of environmental disasters, climate change, and barriers to voting.

Below is a joint statement from Endangered Species Coalition, Climate Hawks Vote, League of Conservation Voters, Clean Water Action, Friends of the Earth Action, Greenpeace USA, NRDC Action Fund, Union of Concerned Scientists, Earthjustice, Sierra Club, Corazon Latino

“Despite new procedures that have allowed debate on this transformative legislation to proceed, we know Republicans will obstruct a final vote. Senate Democrats must act now to reform Senate rules in order to pass the Freedom to Vote Act: John R. Lewis Act. The future of our democracy, and our ability to tackle the climate crisis, safeguard the health of our communities, address environmental justice, and build a clean energy future is at stake. Senate Republicans continue to obstruct a democracy that works for all of us by hiding behind an obscure Senate rule that has long been used to impede progress on civil rights. As President Biden has said before, the eyes of history are upon us, and we applaud the President for calling for changes to this outdated, undemocratic rule and continue to call on him to do everything in his power to get this bill passed.

“Protecting our freedom to vote and preventing partisan subversion of our elections is essential if we are to address the most pressing issues we face today like the climate crisis, environmental racism and injustice, and safeguarding our air, lands, waters, wildlife, and oceans. We only have a handful of years left to act. We can either ensure our democracy works for all of us, make sure historically marginalized communities finally have a valued seat at the table, and reduce the outsize influence of fossil fuel companies, or we can continue to let polluters and corporations run roughshod over our economy and our environment. The time is now, and the Senate must act with the urgency this moment demands.” 

“As Republicans continue to obstruct progress, Democrats must change Senate rules to pass this transformational bill. The Senate can protect our freedom to vote and defend our democracy from unprecedented attacks occurring in state legislatures across the country – but they can’t wait any longer to act.”

“Our millions of supporters in the environmental community stand united in support of the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act and call for the Senate to do whatever it takes to protect democracy for all of us and future generations.”

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Since the organization’s founding during the campaign to pass the landmark Clean Water Act in 1972, Clean Water Action has worked to win strong health and environmental protections by bringing issue expertise, solution-oriented thinking, and people power to the table. www.cleanwater.org

Michael Kelly
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