FCNL’s strategic lobbying gets results. Learn more about how we’re working together for change.
‘It’s really up to those groups out there like the Friends Committee that are pressing for diplomatic, peaceful solutions to big problems to step up and raise their voice, because in their absence, the military solution will win all the time.’
Ending U.S. Support for the War in Yemen
President Joe Biden’s February 2021 decision to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen is the culmination of years of tireless advocacy from Yemeni-Americans, the FCNL community, and allies around the country. In a textbook case of persistent advocacy, FCNL worked with coalition partners to secure 27 votes in the Senate to end the war in 2016, then 47 votes in 2017, and finally to pass a bipartisan War Powers Resolution calling for an end to the war in 2019. Now we need to end other U.S. support for the war and focus on humanitarian aid to Yemen.
New START Agreement Extended for Five Years
In late January 2021, the United States agreed with Russia to extend the New START treaty limits on the number of deployed nuclear weapons in each country. The two countries together own 90 percent of all nuclear weapons in the world. The FCNL community lobbied in Washington and in key states around the country to secure Senate approval of the treaty in 2010 and, in the last two years, built bipartisan support for extension within Congress.
Action on Climate Change
Early in 2021, the United States rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement and President Biden issued a series of executive orders to put in place a robust domestic climate policy that also extends environmental justice to historically marginalized groups. Now comes the hard part—passing federal legislation. FCNL has worked for the last decade to persuade Congress to set aside partisan divisions and focus on legislative actions that will place the United States on a path toward a sustainable, low carbon, 21st century economy. Our advocacy in Washington and around the country for a price on carbon and other legislation must continue.
Restoring Access to Education for Incarcerated People
In December 2020, legislation was signed into law that restores access to Pell Grants for an estimated 400,000 incarcerated people. Pell Grants are need-based grants to low-income students that can be used for college or technical training. FCNL lobbied for years to build support for this legislation. We organized briefings with Rep. Danny Davis (IL-7), a lead sponsor of the legislation, and mobilized lobby visits with key Republican and Democratic lawmakers who eventually inserted this language into legislation.
Protecting Hungry People from the Impacts of Covid‐19
Strong legislation to protect the most vulnerable from the impacts of COVID-19 is a top priority for FCNL. To help individuals struggling with food insecurity, we have been advocating since the beginning of the pandemic for the expansion of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance (SNAP) benefits in any relief packages. FCNL mobilized faith leaders to lobby in Washington, organized sign-on letters, and organized repeated digital lobbying and grasstops lobbying in states of influential senators. The final relief package that became law in late December expanded SNAP benefits by 15% for six months.
“I often mention FCNL as the most effective congressional advocacy group. You and your team do fabulous work. We are thankful for your dedication, determination and impact.”
New Laws to Address Missing and Murdered Native People
New bills signed into law at the end of 2020 give tribes greater authority over criminal activity on reservation lands. Savanna’s Act and the Not Invisible Act would fix issues of coordination and information access that hinder tribes’ ability to protect their citizens, particularly women, who face a murder rate more than 10 times the nation average. For more than two years, FCNL has been leading faith community advocacy on these bills as an important partner for Native American groups.
Racism and Police Violence
One of our FCNL community’s key priorities is the crisis of racism, police violence, and police militarization that is killing Black people. That is why FCNL brought some 600 people into congressional offices in mid-November to advocate for the Justice in Policing Act.
We will also be organizing at least 500 young people to lobby again for legislation to address police violence at our Spring Lobby Weekend, March 20-23, 2021.
More Steps to Prevent Violence and Atrocities
When the United States provides military aid to countries at high risk of new atrocities, planners at the State and Defense Departments are now required by law to assess the impact of the aid on the risk for atrocities and factor in ways to reduce the chances of violence against civilians. As a Quaker lobby, FCNL opposes military aid. But this provision, passed into law as part of the National Defense Authorization Act, is nonetheless a step toward in preventing atrocities in high-risk countries.
“We never would have gotten those repeals [of the 2001 and 2002 Authorizations for the Use of Military Force] through the House if it weren’t for you.”
Everyone Deserves Relief, Regardless of Immigration Status
The COVID-19 relief package passed at the end of December provided $600 stimulus checks to families with mixed immigration status who were excluded from receiving the previous round of stimulus checks in March. Mixed status families may also retroactively claim the stimulus checks from the CARES Act passed earlier in 2019. Immigrant communities are facing particularly severe risk and hardship during the pandemic. Providing assistance to mixed-status families was a priority for our lobbyists on the Hill and the young adults in our Advocacy Corps.
A Roadmap to Prioritize Peace
The FCNL Education Fund issued a report that provides six recommendations for how the incoming Biden administration should put peacebuilding at the core of its foreign policy during its first 100 days. After four years of President Trump’s dismantling, the State Department and USAID are facing mounting global crises without the resources to address them. U.S. foreign policy needs a major reorientation. These recommendations provide a roadmap for how the incoming administration can prioritize peace.
Join Our Advocacy, Support This Work
None of this work would be possible without the dedicated advocacy of thousands of people working with the FCNL community around the country to lobby Congress and provide financial support. Sign up for our mailing list, find out more about how you can lobby your members of Congress, and provide financial support for this work at our website: fcnl.org.
“I couldn’t have imagined six years ago when I started to learn about deep advocacy from FCNL how natural and easy all of this communication could feel with offices. … I’ve learned that [congressional staff] really do appreciate polite, persistent, well-informed, respectful advocacy, and even that they rely on hearing from us once they come to know us in this way.”
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