In a letter sent to Members of Congress today, the Equal Justice Society and sixty-four other organizations called on Representatives to support the comprehensive package of democracy reforms that House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi has committed to bring to the floor as the first order of business in the new Congress.
The sixty-five organizations are members of the Declaration for American Democracy Coalition and represent citizens from all walks of life with broadly diverse interests. (See list of groups signing the letter.)
“The 116th Congress has an historic opportunity to repair our broken political system and strengthen the integrity of our democracy,” the letter stated. “We strongly urge the House to seize this moment,” the letter continued.
The organizations said in the letter, “It is essential for the House to act quickly to pass bold democracy reforms to provide a holistic approach to addressing a series of fundamental problems facing our democracy.”
H.R.1, sponsored by Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD) will include “reforms essential to fixing our political system, including voting rights, money-in-politics, redistricting and government ethics reforms,” the letter said.
According to the letter:
The American people know that Washington is not representing their best interests when millions of eligible voters cannot vote because they are not registered, when voting laws are used to disenfranchise millions of Americans, and when citizens are improperly purged from voter rolls.
The American people know that Washington is not representing their best interests when wealthy Americans give huge contributions to Super PACs and dark money groups to influence our elections and to buy influence over government policies, at the great expense of ordinary Americans who are not empowered in the political process.
The American people know that Washington is not representing their best interests when congressional districts are drawn to achieve highly partisan results at the expense of fair representation – when representatives choose their voters rather than voters choosing their representatives.
The American people know that Washington is not representing their best interests when government ethics rules have major flaws that allow public office to be used for private gain, when they permit there to be a revolving door between government positions and private interests and when ethics rules are not subject to proper oversight and enforcement.
The letter continued:
And the American people know that these problems result in a rigged system in Washington that is blocking substantive policies of great importance to ordinary Americans, such as more affordable healthcare, lower prescription drug prices, a fairer tax system and the like.
The letter noted that polling has found that “77 percent of surveyed registered voters agreed that ‘Reducing the influence of special interests and corruption in Washington’ is either the most important or a very important issue facing the country.”
The letter to Representatives concluded:
It is time to act.
We call on the House to seize this historic opportunity to repair our political system and strengthen our democracy.
We call on you to vote for the bold and essential package of democracy reforms to be considered at the beginning of the new Congress, including campaign finance, voting rights, redistricting and government ethics reforms.
The organizations signing the letter include:
Action Group Network
Brave New Films
Brennan Center for Justice
Center for American Progress
Campaign for Accountability
Center for Media and Democracy
Center for Popular Democracy
Clean Elections Texas
Coalition to Preserve, Protect and Defend
Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd, US Provinces
Communications Workers of America
End Citizens United
Equal Justice Society
Franciscan Action Network
Free Speech for People
Herd on the Hill
International Corporate Accountability Roundtable
Lawyers for Good Government
League of Women Voters, United States
Main Street Alliance
NARAL Pro-Choice America
National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
National Council of Jewish Women
National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund
National Redistricting Action Fund
NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice
Organizing for Action
People For the American Way
Pride at Work
Progressive Change Campaign Committee
Progressive Leadership Initiative
Progressive Turnout Project
Service Employees International Union (SEIU)
Stand Up America
Take on Wall Street
Tikkun’s Network of Spiritual Progressives
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
The Loyal Opposition
Truman National Security Project
Voices for Progress
Voters’ Right to Know