Issued August 24, 2021
WASHINGTON, DC: Service Employees International Union (SEIU) International President Mary Kay Henry released the following statement today in response to the House’s passage of the 2022 fiscal year budget and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act (VRAA):
“By coming together to advance the President’s Build Back Better agenda today, the House took a critical step forward towards creating an economy and democracy that shows equal respect to every person no matter what they look like, where they come from or what they do for a living.
“The passage of the $3.5 trillion budget in the House gets us one step closer to realizing the Build Back Better package, a game-changer for millions of working people that provides a much needed path to citizenship and steps toward climate justice. It would create a million new home care jobs for a workforce that reflects the future of our country: 90% women, majority women of color, and one in three immigrants. And it would expand access to care services for the countless families across the country who need it, while making sure home care workers, who make all other work possible, get paid living wages and have the opportunity to join a union.
“Just as we must protect every worker’s right to join a union, we must protect every person’s right to vote freely, fairly, and without impediment — a right that is under attack by Republicans in 49 states who are introducing and passing legislation to suppress the votes of Black, brown, API and Indigenous communities because they would rather protect their own interests than the voices of their constituents.
“Today’s passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is a significant step forward in restoring integrity to our election system and preventing the racial gerrymandering that threatens to silence and strip resources from communities of color. The VRAA will restore the essential portion of the Voting Rights Act that blocks discriminatory voting policies before they go into effect which is critical to ensuring we have a transparent, fair redistricting process. History has shown us that when self-interested politicians are allowed to manipulate district lines, they also weaken the voices of Black and brown communities.
“The forward momentum for voting rights protections and Biden’s care plan is a reflection of workers’ demands: Respect Us, Protect Us, Pay Us. SEIU members and workers in the Fight for $15 and a Union will fight shoulder to shoulder with our champions in Congress until we win an economy and a democracy that allows all communities to be heard and whole.”