By Nancy Latham
Deadline: Start now!
Just last week we asked you to start the crucial work to get our Senators to support eliminating the filibuster. We can start to heal the wounds inflicted by the last Administration, and go further to bring about a just society – but only if we stop anti-democratic procedure from standing in the way. Read on for some things you and your friends can do – do them, and spread the word!– and, after that, some background info on why we need to abolish the filibuster.
What to do:
- First: Tell both Senators Feinstein and Padilla: abolish the filibuster
What to say to Senator Feinstein:
My name is ________, my zip code is ________, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I want Senator Feinstein to fight to abolish the filibuster. We can’t pass the For the People Act and other legislation we need as long as Republicans can block them by filibuster. We need this to undo the damage of the Trump Administration.
What to say to Senator Padilla:
My name is ______, my zip code is ______, and I’m a member of Indivisible East Bay. I want to thank Senator Padilla for standing up against the filibuster. I want him to keep speaking out, and to do everything he can to convince Senator Feinstein and other Senators to support abolishing the filibuster. Thank you.
- Sen. Dianne Feinstein: (email); (415) 393-0707 • DC: (202) 224-3841
- Sen. Alex Padilla: (email); (415) 981-9369 • DC: (202) 224-3553
Don’t live in California? Have friends who support abolishing the filibuster who live outside of CA – especially in Arizona or West Virginia, homes of Democratic Senators Sinema and Manchin? Send them this tool from Stand Up America to help them contact their Senators.
- And then do more!
- Did you miss the February 28 All Members Meeting? Check out Nancy Latham’s excellent filibuster presentation, and see her slides, here.
- Use this Twitter toolkit to add your voice to #FilibusterFriday
- Use this Letters to the Editor tool to write a letter to the editor with just a few clicks (edit the letter so it says exactly what you want to say.)
- Sign up to join Indivisible National’s monthly Democracy Reform Working Group zooms
- Work on the Filibuster Abolition Toolkit – perfect for filibuster geeks, researchers, and writers!
- Click here to join Indivisible East Bay’s Slack – when you’re in, join the #wg-democracy-reform channel
- Check out Indivisible National’s Filibusted linktree, which also includes taking action for DC Statehood
- SIGN UP here for more democracy warrior tasks!
Have any questions about getting involved? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with subject: “Democracy Reform Working Group”
Background: Why the filibuster has got to go
Abolishing the filibuster may sound like a boring procedural move, but with the razor thin Democratic majority in Congress now it’s what stands between us and real justice. The filibuster lets Republicans keep a law from passing, even if a majority of both houses of Congress support it – unless there are sixty votes to stop the filibuster and get to the vote.
As the new 2021 Indivisible Guide says:
Make no mistake, Mitch McConnell will do everything in his power, and use every procedural tool available to him, to block as much of the Biden agenda as possible. That means that even with a trifecta [a Democratic President and Democratic majority in the House and Senate], Democrats will be unable to pass democracy reforms unless they disarm McConnell by taking away his veto in the Senate—the legislative filibuster.
What does this mean now? On March 3, 2021 the House passed H.R.1, its version of the For the People Act, and S.1, the Senate bill, will soon come to the floor. McConnell can keep this crucial legislation from passing – even if there are the votes to pass it – with a filibuster.
The problem? Senators who may support legislation like the For the People Act but have said they oppose getting rid of the filibuster – or, like Senator Feinstein, think the filibuster “serves a purpose.” Those Senators must choose between passing a law to end voter suppression across the country – or keeping an outdated, anti-democratic, Jim Crow relic of a Senate rule. Pick up the phone. Tell them you’re watching. And for those, like Senator Padilla, who’ve already said they’ll fight to end the filibuster – say thank you.
Ann G. Daniels and Heidi Rand contributed to this article.
Nancy Latham is on IEB’s Governance Committee. After having spent four long years resisting the t**** agenda, she is thrilled to be part of the movement to build an inclusive democracy. In her day job, she works with non-profits, foundations, and government agencies that support greater equity and justice through initiatives in youth development, education, housing, and community development.
Ann G. Daniels’ checkered professional background includes practicing law, reproductive rights advocacy, creating web content for nonprofits and educational organizations, and teaching adult and family literacy. She also designs jewelry, teaches knitting, and sings second soprano.
Heidi Rand fights for progressive change with skills gained as a Ninth Circuit staff attorney and civil rights lawyer, using her words to inform and inspire others to take action.