Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights’ Topline Priorities for 118th Congress
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights
Top Task Force Priorities for 118th Congress
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of more than 230 national civil and human rights advocacy organizations, presents our coalition’s topline priorities for the 118th Congress. The list of priorities below, while far from exhaustive, represents the most important issue areas and action items — in some cases, long overdue — identified by The Leadership Conference’s 11 task forces.
In the coming weeks, each of these task forces will be putting together more comprehensive documents laying out our administrative and legislative priorities for the next two years. We look forward to sharing them with you and to working with you towards their completion.
- Pass the Equality Act.
- Pass an expanded Child Tax Credit.
- Hold Big Tech accountable by building on the administration’s AI Bill of Rights, which provides guidance on mitigating the harms caused by technology through assessments, monitoring, and ensuring that the technology is safe and effective.
- Advocate for congressional, executive branch, and regulatory personnel who prioritize racial equity and inclusion in policy making broadly and civil rights specifically.
- Ensure adequate appropriations for the Census Bureau so that the agency can: 1) conduct research and develop strategies to address, ameliorate, and eliminate persistent differential undercounts; 2) enhance data quality in all census data products, including the American Community Survey and Population Estimates; and 3) prepare for a fair and accurate Census 2030.
- Oversight of the Census Bureau 1) to understand the causes of persistent differential undercounts, as well as plans to address them and ensure a fair and accurate Census 2030; 2) to further understand the importance of Population Estimates and the American Community Survey and 3) to assist in the development of future legislation to strengthen the Census Bureau and update its underlying statute.
- Pass legislation to protect civil rights and advance equity in early care and education, K12 school climates, and higher education.
- Provide the appropriations needed to double the size of the Office for Civil Rights and to enable equitable access to high quality early care and education, K12 public schools, and higher education.
- Support the work of federal agencies to advance equity and protect the civil and human rights of working people by: (1) expeditiously confirming nominees to critical vacancies at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Department of Labor, and elsewhere in the executive branch and (2) conducting focused oversight and information gathering in support of efforts to build worker power, combat discrimination, and create good jobs.
- The White House and Senate leadership must make it an immediate and enduring priority to fill all federal judgeship vacancies, including a Supreme Court vacancy should one arise, with individuals who have a demonstrated commitment to civil and human rights, possess diverse professional experiences including public interest work for social and economic justice, are fair-minded, possess a progressive vision of the law and Constitution, and are reflective and representative of the vast and rich diversity of our country. This diversity includes race, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability status, ethnicity, national origin, socio-economic status, and experiential and professional background.
- Congress must pass legislation that modernizes and reforms our courts, including legislation on ethics reforms, such as extension of the Code of Conduct for United States Judges to apply to Supreme Court justices, and further transparency measures and court structure reforms such as expanding the number of authorized judgeships for circuit and district courts. In addition, Congress must consider other structural reforms to the Supreme Court.
Fair Housing & Lending
- Significantly expand funding for HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, the Fair Housing Initiatives Program, and the Fair Housing Assistance Program.
- Pass legislation to reform the nation’s home appraisal industry, which for decades has lowballed home valuations in communities of color and widened the nation’s racial wealth gap.
- Pass comprehensive legislation to address housing cost inflation that includes first generation downpayment assistance, expanded rental assistance, and support for the housing needs of people with disabilities and Native communities.
Fighting Hate & Bias
- Pass legislation mandating that Justice Department funds should be made available only to those agencies that are demonstrating credible participation in the Hate Crime Statistics Act (HCSA) Program.
- Pass the Justice for Victims of Hate Crimes Act, which clarifies the proper interpretation of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act by rejecting the Sixth Circuit’s prohibitive sole-motivation prosecution standard.
- Expand and improve eligibility, affordability, and access to services for all public health programs, including protecting individuals from losing coverage during the PHE unwinding, and reducing institutional bias and expanding access to HCBS in Medicaid.
- Protect against discrimination in health care and promote civil rights principles, including requirements for language and communication access for limited English proficient individuals and people with disabilities; require collection and disaggregation of comprehensive demographic data; ensure access to gender affirming care and abortion and reproductive health care for everyone; and provide the Office for Civil Rights sufficient funding to implement and enforce civil rights laws.
- Reject any legislation that would delay the end of Title 42 expulsions at the Southern border or that would replace the program with other punitive or inhumane enforcement measures.
- Make significant cuts in funding for ICE Custody Operations in the Department of Homeland Security appropriations, so that ICE has to evaluate individual circumstances and release immigrants who do not pose a flight risk or threat instead of resorting to indiscriminate mass detention.
- Pass legislation to transform the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights into a U.S. Commission on Civil and Human Rights, to expand its mandate to include not only civil and human rights issues, but also monitoring human rights implementation and enforcement efforts, and to make structural reforms to improve the commission’s ability to function as an independent national human rights institution.
- Pass legislation to implement a transformative police accountability framework.
Media & Telecommunications
- Pass comprehensive federal consumer privacy legislation that provides protections for personal data and civil rights but does not jeopardize content moderation.
- Ensure long-term and short-term funding for low-income broadband and telecommunications programs.
- Pass the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to protect against discriminatory actions and restore and strengthen the Voting Rights Act.
- Pass the Native American Voting Rights Act to provide equitable access to voting and registration opportunities on Indian lands.
- Pass the Freedom to Vote Act to provide national standards and other baseline reforms to improve voting access for all Americans.