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Young people to Schumer: ‘Eliminate the filibuster to protect our future’

By Rachel Janfaza, CNN

Over two dozen youth-focused organizations and more than 100 other young people sent Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer a letter, shared first with CNN, urging the New York Democrat and his caucus to scrap the filibuster.

The letter, delivered to Schumer via email Thursday evening, argues that the Senate stall tactic stands in the way of passing legislation to protect the next generation — a group of Americans facing what they call multiple “urgent crises” at once such as the attack on voting rights, danger of climate change, threat of school shootings and burden of student loan debt.

“Millions of young people mobilized last election cycle. Our energy and hard work helped elect Democrats to the White House, Senate, and U.S. House of Representatives. We got involved to make change and the filibuster is the biggest obstacle to realizing that change. Democracy is unraveling before our eyes and we urge you and the Senate Democratic caucus to eliminate the filibuster to protect our future and advance the bold agenda we all are fighting for,” the letter states. It was organized and signed by youth-led and youth-serving organizations including Blue Future, Future Coalition, Sunrise Movement, Young Invincibles, March For Our Lives, College Democrats of America, Alliance for Youth Action, Generation Ratify, and Zero Hour.

“If legislation addressing every issue that young people care about is filibustered, it’s hard to keep faith in a political process that’s choosing to uphold an arcane Senate procedural rule instead of delivering on the essential progress we all are working for and that our country desperately needs,” the group writes.

CNN has reached out to Schumer for comment on the letter and his office did not immediately respond.

According to those involved in its creation, the letter to Schumer was the response of young people ages 13-30-years-old who noticed a lack of youth-action in the fight against the filibuster, compared to a surplus of activism from their older counterparts.

The letter comes as both Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi plan to meet Friday with President Joe Biden to discuss a path forward on voting rights legislation.

But while Democrats have been pushing for a voting rights bill, the high 60-vote threshold in the Senate and little GOP support for the legislation means it has almost no chance of passing.

For weeks, voting rights activists and progressive Democrats have intensified demands to change filibuster rules, hoping the pressure will be enough to convince their party’s most stalwart filibuster defender, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, to buckle and agree to gut the filibuster — though he’s showed no signs of caving and on Thursday stood by his commitment to maintaining the filibuster’s 60-vote threshold.

“We’d lose democracy if we lose the filibuster,” Manchin said.

Yet, the young leaders involved in crafting the letter to Schumer hope that by adding their voices to the chorus, they could be the difference maker.

Morgan Stahr, who helped organize and draft the letter, said that while the letter is directed at Schumer “because he is the majority leader and has the greatest power and influence over his caucus,” the group hopes Manchin will take note.

“There is power in young people’s voices and we need to show Sen. Manchin, who has been receptive to young people in the past, that this is coming from us,” said Stahr, who is 25-years-old and the co-executive director of Blue Future, a national youth-led organizing and training program run by the Youth Progressive Action Catalyst, a political action committee.

“This isn’t coming from lobbyists or Democratic representatives, but from young people who are really affected by the filibuster because the filibuster is connected to everything that affects our lives,” she said.

™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Manu Raju and Ali Zaslav contributed to this report.

Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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