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Ahead of President Biden’s Speech in Philadelphia on Tuesday: The 3 things We’re Looking To Hear From The President

07/12/2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 9, 2021
Contact: Emily Phelps | press@indivisible.org

Washington, DC — Today, Indivisible released the following statement outlining what they hope to see from President Biden during his speech on Tuesday in Philadelphia on voting rights:

“Indivisible groups in Philadelphia and around the country are eager to hear from President Biden next week on the urgency of the fight to pass the For the People Act. But on Tuesday, they’re looking for the President not just to talk about the facts of state-level Republican-led voter suppression or registering voters — they want to know how he’s going to use his office and his pulpit to get federal legislation over the finish line.

“We’re in an emergency. We need President Biden to treat this moment like the crisis that it is. Stopping the Jim Crow voter suppression happening across the country is going to take more than telling people to turn out. It’s going to take more than litigation. We need to pass the For the People Act before the August congressional recess and we need the President to use every lever of power and influence at his disposal to get it done.

“Tuesday’s speech is a starting point — but alone, it’s insufficient. Ultimately, this is not a job for one speech. Clinton didn’t give one speech to try to pass NAFTA — he gave 18. Trump didn’t give one speech to try to get tax cuts for his wealthy donors — he gave a dozen.

“At this moment, anything less than aggressive presidential leadership in service to the passage of the For the People Act is a dereliction of duty. And we’re paying attention.”

In Tuesday’s speech, we want to hear three things from President Biden: 

  1. Explain to the American people why federal legislative action in the form of the For The People Act is essential in this moment.  

The For The People Act is already popular, and as the public learns about its components, it becomes more popular. The President should communicate to the public the importance of the law’s items: campaign finance, voting rights, election security. 

The president should affirm that federal legislation is the only way to address state-level voter suppression laws, and clarify that voter mobilization efforts—while important—are not a substitute. 

  1. Call on the U.S. Senate to send the For The People Act to his desk for his signature before breaking for recess in August. 

The President must reassure American voters that he will use every lever of power and influence he has to get the For the People Act over the finish line.  He should call on every U.S. senator and tell the American people that their failure to get this done would be one of the darkest moments for American democracy in history. 

President Biden and Vice President Harris are veterans of the U.S. Senate. When they ran for office, they assured the American people that they could get Congress to get things done when it mattered, through their relationships, experience and political capital. Now, the American people need to hear how they will make good on that promise. 

  1. Outline what the White House is doing to ensure the Senate passes the bill. 

This effort cannot end with a few words in Philadelphia. The President should announce additional plans to rally the public and the congress behind the For the People Act. We want to hear from the President how he and his White House will wage an energetic campaign in support of this essential legislation in the days and weeks to come. Actions could include additional speeches by the President and Vice President, public events focusing on aspects of the legislation, and public meetings  and rallies with voters, election officials, and advocates from states where voter suppression laws are passing, such as Georgia, Texas, Arizona, New Hampshire and Florida. There are many smart people working at the White House - we know they know how to use the presidential bully pulpit, and we hope they get to work.  

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ABOUT THE INDIVISIBLE PROJECT

The Indivisible Project (501c4) is a social movement non-profit driven by a vision of a real democracy - of, by, and for the people. Indivisible began in 2016 as a viral guide to resisting Trump’s agenda. Today, the Indivisible movement is a network of thousands of local groups and millions of activists across every state. The Indivisible Project drives campaigns for bold progressive policies, lobbies Congress, and equips activists with tools to build lasting progressive power, everywhere. Together, we fight to defeat the rightwing takeover of American government and build an inclusive democracy.