Federal Advocacy Updates | November 11, 2021

Getting Build Back Better Over the Finish Line


11 Cities for 11 Million!

Last Thursday, affiliates came together in 11 cities to demand citizenship for the 11 million undocumented people living in the US. 

The actions were led by CASA, CUFFH, Make the Road NY, Make the Road NJ, Make the Road NV, NYCC among many others. In New York and other cities protesters put their bodies on the line and took arrests.

Please contact Kristin Mink at kmink@populardemocracy.org to let us know about actions you lead/participate in next week and we’ll share them in the next newsletter!


Call to Action: Join the Federal Power Committee

The Federal Power Committee (FPC) is a group of CPD/A Network affiliate leaders who are leading the network’s emerging federal work and strategy. 

The main goals of the FPC are to:

  • work with CPD/A staff and leadership to develop the network’s overall federal agenda and strategy;

  • play a principal role in representing the network’s federal agenda to the Biden Administration, Congress, and national media;

  • align with and flank Congressional champions who are advancing the network’s federal agenda;

  • help identify and drive network-wide movement moments and coordinated actions; and

  • work closely with the CPD/A Politics and Federal teams to develop the network's 2022 & 2024 political strategies.

Members of the FPC commit to: 

  • Staff a monthly meeting, assign alternate staff or reach out to catch up 

  • Give input on agenda 

  • Facilitate / lead parts of the meeting 

CPD/A Staff commit to: 

  • Providing coordination and communication including notes and follow up steps

  • Coordinate turnout and the dissemination of materials 

  • Provide relevant and timely guidance and support on federal priorities  

For more information and to find out how to join the FPC, please contact Jennifer Flynn Walker at jflynn@populardemocracy.org.


Passing the Rest of the Build Back Better Agenda

Last Friday the House held two votes to move the President’s agenda. The first vote sent the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework (also known as the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act or IIJA) to the President to sign into law. The second vote was a procedural maneuver allowing the Build Back Better Act to be brought to a vote next week.

IIJA includes some important provisions such as:

  • $55 billion to provide safe drinking water to millions of children at home and at school;

  • $90 billion to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve mobility for millions of US workers through a historic investment in public transit;

  • and $65 billion to update the nation’s power grid, facilitating the expansion of a sustainable energy industry based on renewables.

However it falls far short of the President’s promise to build an equitable and resilient economy. For that, Congress must pass BBB (see last week’s newsletter for a summary of what is included in the latest version of the bill).


Beyond Build Back Better

As the fight to pass BBB progressed over the last few months, the CPDA network has also kept up pressure on Congress to address other core priorities. 


Voting Rights

Despite support from a majority of members of Congress and the President, voting rights legislation has languished in the Senate, blocked by a Republican filibuster.

Resisting calls to reform the filibuster rule, Senator Joe Manchin insisted he could find 10 “reasonable Republicans” to support the Freedom to Vote Act, a watered down version of voting rights legislation that has already passed the House twice. 

Even this compromise bill includes critically important provisions that will push back directly on Republican-led, state-by-state, anti-democratic efforts to suppress voting and put Trump loyalists in charge of state election administrations. 

Not surprisingly, Senator Manchin’s efforts failed as all 50 Republicans in the Senate have stood firm in opposition to the bill. Now the only way forward is to either eliminate the filibuster altogether or to carve out an exception for bills related to voting rights. 

While members of Congress have focused almost exclusively on BBB for the past few months, the movement on voting rights in the Senate has been slow. But as a vote on BBB approaches, the CPDA network and its progressive allies will be ramping up pressure to preserve our democracy in time to impact the 2022 elections.


Counseling not Criminalization for Young People

Last month CPD, along with several other organizations belonging to the Federal School Discipline and Climate Coalition (FedSDC), worked with Senator Chris Murphy and Representatives Ayanna Pressley and Jamaal Bowman to organize a congressional briefing on the Counseling Not Criminalization in Schools Act (CNC). 

CNC prohibits federal funding for policing in schools and, crucially, invests $5 billion into counseling and other support services for young people in our K-12 education system. The Education and Justice Transformation team at CPDA will continue pushing for this and other policies that provide real safety for young people and offer them the support they need to thrive.


Further Reading and Resources

From Juana Summers at NPR: Voting rights activists say Democrats in Washington need to do their job, “[New Georgia Project CEO, Nse) Ufot says Republicans seem to have a clear, unified strategy to sharply limit ballot access. Democrats, she countered, are not as unified around the cause of voting rights. ‘Why do we not have that clarity and that consensus and that urgency among Democrats?’ she asked. ‘That urgency, that clarity exists among activists. And so we are looking forward to having our Democratic leaders join us.’"

From Robert Baird at the New Yorker: Inside the Democrats’ Battle to Build Back Better, “[Congresswoman Pramila] Jayapal noted that the [Congressional Progressive Caucus’s tactics gave the caucus a seat at the table throughout the negotiations, and were crucial in helping it secure funding for most of its five priority policy areas. But she also says that the past two months have convinced her that the C.P.C. kept the reconciliation bill alive.”

From David Lynch at the Washington Post: New White House supply chain ‘action plan’ aims to ease tremendous backlog, “The persistent mismatch between supply and demand will remain a principal driver of elevated inflation as capital and labor shortages improve only gradually heading into 2022,” he wrote in a client note.”

From Zachary D. Carter on Politico Magazine’s Opinion page: The Revolution Joe Manchin (Probably) Can’t Stop “Public opinion has also begun to sour on Biden personally, but the provisions of his Build Back Better plan remain highly popular. It’s a reminder that even if Biden ultimately only begins implementing a return to New Deal governance, it’s clear the voters are behind it.”

From Paul Krugman on the New York Times’ Opinion page: How Infrastructure Week Finally Happened, “Sadly, the handful of Democrats who may yet kill Build Back Better seem to share Republican unwillingness to invest in the future, albeit in milder form. They’re willing to spend on infrastructure, even with borrowed money. But they get cold feet over social spending, even though there’s strong evidence that such spending would greatly help the economy (not to mention their own constituents).”

From Todd Ruger at Roll Call: Supreme Court to weigh how Congress treats Puerto Rico, “The justices have heard from Vaello-Madero’s attorneys that the disparate treatment stems from a ‘quagmire of racial and ethnic discrimination’ and the court’s review of this law would counter how Congress ‘continues to hold Puerto Rico in an open-ended state of political powerlessness.’”


Together, we will grow our movement for a multiracial democracy and secure safety, dignity and liberation for all.