People For the American Way

We Are Strongest When We Stand Together

People For in Action
We Are Strongest When We Stand Together
September 05, 2017: Unidentified participants protesting Trump rescinding DACA,. Approximately 200 demonstrators gathered in UC Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza and marched down Telegraph Avenue

From Dreamers and other immigrants, to disaster relief, to children’s health care, and a number of other vital issues and programs, Republicans have taken their eyes off of addressing the most urgent priorities of their constituents. On January 11, with yet another potential government shutdown looming large, People For the American Way President and CEO Michael Keegan joined more than fifty progressive leaders urging that these critical priorities be addressed and no longer held as political hostages. Keegan and his cosignatories represent millions of Americans counting on Congress to act now. You can download their letter here. PFAW was also part of a December 6 letter urging Congress to put first things first and address these urgent human needs issues.

Dear Leader McConnell, Leader Schumer, Speaker Ryan, and Leader Pelosi,

January 19 marks the end of the first full year of the Trump presidency. Over the past year, we have seen a sustained and unprecedented assault on our core values and on American communities all across the country. Throughout these challenges, we have learned one critically important lesson: We are strongest when we stand together.

At the end of December, Congress passed a short-term spending bill and left town without addressing several of the most pressing issues that affect the lives and well-being of tens of millions of people throughout the country. By January 19—the date by which the Republican-controlled Congress must pass legislation to avert a government shutdown—you must ensure that there will be no further delays on these key priorities, which already have been held hostage for too long.

On or before January 19, Congress must pass legislation that provides permanent protection for Dreamers. Approximately 15,000 young people already have lost Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protection since the president ended the program in September, and every day that Congress fails to act before March 5, an average of 122 additional DACA recipients will lose protections. We know these young people. We work with them and pray with them, and our children are educated alongside them and by them in our schools. Nearly three-quarters of DACA recipients have a spouse, child, or family member who is a U.S. citizen. By voting three times on spending bills that offer no protections to Dreamers who are losing status right now, Congress has for months appropriated funds that will be used to deport these young people. This must stop.

On or before January 19, Congress also must pass legislation that provides critical—and long-overdue—relief to the millions of Americans affected by natural disasters in recent months. In September, Hurricane Maria dealt a devastating blow to the people of Puerto Rico, and today, electricity still has not been restored for more than 660,000 power customers on the island. This would not be tolerated for Americans living anywhere else, and it cannot be ignored any longer.

On or before January 19, Congress also must reauthorize the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which ensures critical health care services for 9 million children across the country. The small patches that Congress passed twice in December do nothing to provide the stability that patients and health care providers need to ensure proper continuity of care.

American families and America’s children have waited too long for Congress to do the right thing on these and other issues: Enough is enough. We, the undersigned, ask that you ensure that all these priorities are addressed together as part of any deal on raising the budget caps or providing further government funding.

Sincerely,

Neera Tanden, President and CEO, Center for American Progress
Janet Murguía, President and CEO, UnidosUS (formerly the National Council of La Raza)
Vanita Gupta, President and CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Nan Aron, President, Alliance for Justice
Frank Sharry, Executive Director, America’s Voice
Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director, American Civil Liberties Union
Caroline Fredrickson, President, American Constitution Society
Lee Saunders, President, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers
John C. Yang, President and Executive Director, Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC)
Deepak Bhargava, President, Center for Community Change
Olivia Golden, Executive Director, Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP)
Ana María Archila, Co-Executive Director, Center for Popular Democracy
Marian Wright Edelman, President, Children’s Defense Fund
Deborah Weinstein, Executive Director, Coalition on Human Needs
Murshed Zaheed, Vice President, Politics, CREDO
Heather C. McGhee, President, Demos
Thea Lee, President, Economic Policy Institute Policy Center
Rev. Jennifer Butler, CEO, Faith in Public Life
Mark Magaña, President and CEO, GreenLatinos
Chad H. Griffin, President, Human Rights Campaign
Elisa Massimino, President and CEO, Human Rights First
Ezra Levin and Leah Greenberg, Co-Executive Directors, Indivisible
Rachel B. Tiven, CEO, Lambda Legal
Cristóbal J. Alex, President, Latino Victory Project
Gene Karpinski, President, League of Conservation Voters
Brent A. Wilkes, CEO, League of United Latin American Citizens
Amanda Ballantyne, National Director, Main Street Alliance
Thomas A. Saenz, President and General Counsel, MALDEF
Kristin Rowe-Finkbeiner, Executive Director/CEO and Co-Founder, MomsRising
Anna Galland, Executive Director, MoveOn.org Civic Action
Derrick Johnson, President and CEO, NAACP
Ilyse Hogue, President, NARAL Pro-Choice America
Angelo McClain, Ph.D., LICSW, CEO, National Association of Social Workers
Kate Kendell, Executive Director, National Center for Lesbian Rights
Lily Eskelsen García, President, National Education Association
Marielena Hincapié, Executive Director, National Immigration Law Center
Becky Belcore and DJ Yoon, Co-Directors, National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC)
Rea Carey, Executive Director, National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund
Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families
Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO, National Women’s Law Center
Sister Simone Campbell, SSS, Executive Director, NETWORK, Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
Michael Keegan, President and CEO, People For the American Way
Scott Reed, Executive Director, PICO National Network
Cecile Richards, President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Angela Glover Blackwell, CEO, PolicyLink
Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen
Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism
Mary Kay Henry, President, Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
Mohammad Ali, Director of Policy and Government Affairs, Small Business Majority
Michael Breen, President and CEO, Truman National Security Project
D Taylor, International President, UNITE HERE
Cristina Jiménez Moreta, Executive Director and Co-Founder, United We Dream
Arturo S. Rodriguez, President, United Farm Workers
María Teresa Kumar, President and CEO, Voto Latino