Broad Coalition of Environmental Groups Call on Congress to Fix the Filibuster & Pass the Freedom to Vote Act

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Leading environmental organizations are calling on the Senate to reform its rules after Republicans abused the filibuster again to block debate on critical provisions that would strengthen and protect our democracy, this time blocking the Freedom to Vote Act.

This transformative bill would expand and protect the public’s access to fair 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 that 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.

This year, our nation has witnessed the most direct attacks on our democracy in recent memory. Already this year, at least 19 states have enacted 33 laws making it harder for people to vote. The Freedom to Vote Act would help to reverse these voter suppression tactics. This vote marks the third time since June that the Senate Republicans have refused even to debate these protections in the last year.

Below is a joint statement from Sierra Club, Clean Water Action, League of Conservation Voters, Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth Action, Center for American Progress Action and Generation Progress Action.

“Senate Republicans continue to blatantly obstruct an inclusive democracy of, by, and for the people by once again filibustering to avoid even debating democracy protections. A healthy democracy is a precondition for a healthy environment. When everyone’s vote counts, our government becomes more accountable and capable of addressing the critical problems our nation faces, like combating the climate crisis, advancing environmental justice, and protecting our air, lands, waters, wildlife, and oceans. We only have a handful of years left to reduce the power of fossil fuel companies polluting our communities, our climate, and our democratic systems, before we will rocket past climate thresholds and find ourselves at a catastrophic point of no return.

“The Senate must do everything in its power to protect our freedom to vote and defend our democracy from unprecedented attacks occurring in state legislatures across the country. These actions must include fixing the filibuster, which has a dark history of abuse that has slowed the progress of civil and voting rights — and that’s exactly what Senate Republicans are doing today.

“We cannot let Mitch McConnell and GOP leadership misuse an outdated procedural process to put our climate and democracy at risk simply for political gain. Our millions of supporters stand united in support of the Freedom to Vote Act and our call for the Senate to do whatever it takes to protect democracy for all of us and future generations.”