RECAP: Capito, Carper Host Committee Hearing in Delaware on Drinking Water Infrastructure

Source: United States Senator for West Virginia Shelley Moore Capito

DOVER, Del. U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, today joined U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the EPW Committee, for a field hearing in Dover, Delaware to examine the unique challenges that small, disadvantaged, and rural communities face in accessing and maintaining drinking water services. Today’s hearing was the second in a two-part series, following a hearing yesterday in Beckley, West Virginia.

During the hearing, Ranking Member Capito and Chairman Carper heard testimony from Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del.) and questioned three other witnesses; Cassandra Codes-Johnson, Associate Deputy Director, Delaware Division of Public Health; Rick Duncan, Executive Director, Delaware Rural Water Association; and, Vikki Prettyman, DE/MD State Manager, Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project. They were also joined by Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.).

“I greatly appreciate Chairman Carper’s invitation to visit the state he loves so much. Today’s hearing highlighted the similarities in rural areas’ water disparities. Whether in Delaware or West Virginia, communities rely on federal investments to address their water service needs,” Ranking Member Capito said. “This is all the more reason I look forward to our committee’s bipartisan Drinking Water and Wastewater Infrastructure Act becoming law.”

“You can’t have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness if you don’t have clean water. Unfortunately, far too many Americans—from Ellendale, Delaware to Beckley, West Virginia and across our country—can’t trust the water that comes out of their taps.” Chairman Carper said. “I’m beyond pleased to have hosted Senator Capito in Dover today as we heard from local officials and leaders on the need to invest in drinking water. Our bipartisan infrastructure bill addresses everything from toxic forever chemicals to lead pipes. Once it passes and President Biden signs it into law, it’s going to mean cleaner water access for a lot of communities.”

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Young’s Legislation Makes National Taxpayers Union’s 11th Annual No Brainers List

Source: United States Senator for Indiana Todd Young

October 15, 2021

WASHINGTON – Two of U.S. Senator Todd Young’s (R-Ind.) bills were selected by the National Taxpayers Union (NTU) for their 11th Annual No Brainers List. NTU selects 10 bills to add to the list each year. The bills must be bipartisan, have a common-sense solution to a problem facing taxpayers, and must not have been on a prior No Brainers list. Senator Young’s American Innovation and Jobs Act and Yes In My Backyard (YIMBY) Act were selected for this year’s list. 

“Introducing legislation that drives results for Hoosiers while at the same time being a good use of taxpayer resources is of the utmost importance to me as a U.S. Senator,”said Senator Young. “It is an honor to have the American Innovation and Jobs Act and the Yes In My Backyard (YIMBY) Act selected for NTU’s 11th Annual No Brainers List that promotes common-sense solutions that are taxpayer friendly.”

“While bipartisanship is lacking in Washington, NTU is pleased to recognize Senator Young and additional members of Congress who have been able to put forward real solutions that would help taxpayers everywhere. From preserving research and development (R&D) incentives in the tax code to addressing housing affordability, Senator Young is helping lead the charge on no-brainer legislation,” said Andrew Lautz, Director of Federal Policy for NTU.

Senator Young’s bipartisan American Innovation and Jobs Act would support innovative businesses and help create jobs by:

  • Preserving incentives for long-term R&D investment by ensuring that companies can continue to fully deduct R&D expenses each year
  • Immediately doubling and then further raising the cap over time for the refundable R&D tax credit for small businesses and startups
  • Expanding eligibility for the refundable R&D tax credit so that more startups and new businesses can use it

Senator Young’s bipartisan Yes In My Backyard (YIMBY) Act would: 

  • Shed light on discriminatory land use policies
  • Encourage localities to cut burdensome regulations
  • Bring a new level of transparency to the community development process

 

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Daines’ Push for In-Person Learning for New Students at Montana Job Corps Pays Off

Source: United States Senator for Montana Steve Daines

10.15.21

U.S. SENATE — Following an aggressive push by U.S. Senator Steve Daines, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) today announced the reopening of new student enrollment for in-person learning and training at Montana Job Corps centers. The announcement follows Daines’ successful push last fall to have existing students return to in-person learning. 

“Montana’s Job Corps centers provide valuable hands-on training and educational opportunities that are best experienced in-person. I’m glad to see the Department of Labor finally listen to my request and allow new students to join their peers in the classroom which will help prepare them to fill good-paying jobs that boost Montana’s economy,” Daines said.

In May, Daines urged the Biden administration to allow new students to join the Anaconda and Trapper Creek Job Corps in-person. 

Background:

In September 2020, Daines’ push to allow students enrolled at Montana Job Corps centers to safely return for in-person learning was also successful.

In 2019, Daines introduced a bill to prevent the removal of funds from Job Corps centers across the country.

Earlier in 2019, Daines saved the Anaconda Job Corps by speaking directly with President Trump and receiving a commitment that it would remain open and under the Department of Agriculture.

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Contact: Katherine McKeoghKatie Schoettler



Daines Announces Over $7.7M to Support Montana’s Rural Water Infrastructure

Source: United States Senator for Montana Steve Daines

10.14.21

U.S. SENATE — U.S. Senator Steve Daines today announced that $7,758,000 will be granted to support Montana’s rural water infrastructure from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“I’m glad to see Montana communities receive these resources to support water infrastructure and delivery across the state, which is especially important for our rural communities. This funding will help ensure Montanans have reliable access to clean and safe water,” Daines said. 

The $7,758,000 will be distributed to the following programs:

  • $7,360,000 to the Central Montana Regional Water Authority to support the infrastructure needed to deliver potable water to the City of Harlowton. 
  • $398,000 to the City of Choteau to upgrade and replace a water line.

Daines helped secure this funding through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program in December 2020.

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Contact: Katherine McKeoghKatie Schoettler



Sen. Cramer: USDA Awards $9.5 Million to Improve Water Infrastructure

Source: United States Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND)

Sen. Cramer: USDA Awards $9.5 Million to Improve Water Infrastructure

USDA Awards $9.5 Million to Improve Water Infrastructure

October 15, 2021

BISMARCK – U.S. Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND) announced today the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development awarded the following funding totaling $9,584,936
  • $4,934,000 loan and $1,650,936 grant to the City of Rugby to replace a portion of the City of Rugby’s water, sanitary sewer, and storm sewer lines;
  • $2,000,000 grant to the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians to install new water supply and sewer system pipes for the residents; and
  • $553,000 loan and $447,000 grant to the City of Hunter to finance upgrades to a water tower and various water system maintenance items.


Sen. Coons pushes to keep major investments in affordable housing in Build Back Better package

Source: United States Senator for Delaware Christopher Coons

DOVER, Del. – With many communities across the U.S. confronting an unprecedented housing affordability crisis, U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) joined Senators Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.), and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) in a major push to ensure that comprehensive housing investments remain in the final Build Back Better legislation.

“The Build Back Better plan is a rare opportunity to deliver critical investments that we have failed to make for far too long,” the senators wrote in a letter to President Joe Biden, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. “Housing challenges are different in every community, and we need different tools to address the growing problems they face. But with comprehensive investments, we can create, preserve, and improve millions of homes so that we bring down the cost of housing and improve its condition. And an investment in safe, affordable housing is central to the success of proposed investments in education, health, and our local economies. At the same time, investments in sustainable, energy-efficient housing can lower families’ bills, make our homes and communities more resilient to climate-driven disasters, and reduce our impact on the planet—all while creating good paying jobs.”

Senator Coons has secured major housing wins within the House Financial Services Committee’s Build Back Better bill currently under consideration, including $500 million to carry out activities under his Choice in Affordable Housing Act that will help recruit and retain landlords in the Housing Choice Voucher program who have units in high-opportunity neighborhoods. The House bill also includes $7.5 billion for a new Community Restoration and Revitalization Fund that would award grants directly to community-led projects that stabilize neighborhoods and increase access to economic opportunity for residents by creating civic infrastructure and creating or preserving affordable, accessible housing. This is based on the Community Revitalization Fund proposal Senator Coons has been championing. 

The letter was also signed by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Rev. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Ben Ray Lujan (D-N.M.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-Nev.), Angus King (I-Maine), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.), and Jacky Rosen (D-Nev.).

The full text of the letter can be found here and below.

Dear Mr. President, Speaker Pelosi, and Majority Leader Schumer:

We write to express the urgent need to invest in housing within legislation to enact President Biden’s Build Back Better plan.

Housing is the most expensive part of most families’ budget. Nearly a quarter of renters – 10.5 million families – spend more than half their income on housing each month, and too many families who want to own their own home are locked out of the market. Nearly 19 million people live in a food desert, and 35 million homes have at least one health or safety hazard, including more than 4 million homes with young children that have lead paint hazards. Others require renovation to help an elderly family member or a person with a disability to remain in their home. And still more families do not have adequate housing at all. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic began, more than 580,000 people, including children and seniors, had no safe place to stay on any given night, and more than 3.7 million evictions were filed during the course of a year.

The Build Back Better plan is a rare opportunity to deliver critical investments that we have failed to make for far too long. Housing challenges are different in every community, and we need different tools to address the growing problems they face. But with comprehensive investments, we can create, preserve, and improve millions of homes so that we bring down the cost of housing and improve its condition. And an investment in safe, affordable housing is central to the success of proposed investments in education, health, and our local economies. At the same time, investments in sustainable, energy-efficient housing can lower families’ bills, make our homes and communities more resilient to climate-driven disasters, and reduce our impact on the planet – all while creating good paying jobs.  

Last month, the House Financial Services Committee advanced legislation to provide investments to expand affordable rental housing, help families access homeownership, remove lead paint and other health hazards from homes, repair public and assisted rural housing, address climate change, and invest in neighborhoods. Build Back Better legislation must include these kinds of comprehensive investments in rental housing, affordable homeownership, and community needs in urban, rural, and Tribal areas. 

To invest in American families, we must invest in the homes and the communities where those families live. As we work to create a Build Back Better package, we must make investments in housing opportunity a central pillar of the plan because, as Evicted author Matthew Desmond wrote last week, “the success of all other opportunity-expanding initiatives depends on it.”

The COVID-19 crisis revealed the depth of our country’s affordable housing crisis at the same time that it revealed how important our homes are to our health, our well-being, and our lives. We must take this opportunity to build back better by addressing housing needs in communities across the nation.

Sincerely, 

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Bipartisan group reaffirms US commitment to fighting rising food insecurity ahead of World Food Day

Source: United States Senator for Delaware Christopher Coons

DOVER, Del. – In a resolution, U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), and John Boozman (R-Ark.) celebrate World Food Day and recommit to fighting hunger in the face of rising food insecurity around the world. Last week, the senators passed a resolution designating October 16, 2021 and 2022 as World Food Day. U.S. Representative Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) has introduced a companion resolution in the House of Representatives.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated food insecurity, and an estimated 928 million people across the world are currently experiencing hunger. The World Food Day resolution recognizes the important role the United States plays in combatting hunger worldwide and promotes further action to help people suffering from hunger and malnutrition.

“As we work to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important we reaffirm our country’s commitment to fighting food insecurity,” said Senator Coons. “In addition to providing life-saving food assistance, we must also work to build a more resilient and sustainable global food system that protects vulnerable people at home and abroad.”

“Now more than ever, it is imperative that we continue to invest in resilient and sustainable food systems,” said Senator Stabenow. “It is unacceptable that anyone should experience hunger. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the urgency to address the hunger crisis that has touched so many families across the world.” 

“The pandemic highlighted the global hunger crisis and reinvigorated our responsibility to provide greater food security in our local communities and in towns, cities, and villages around the world,” said Senator Moran. “The call to feed the world has been answered by many Kansans, who are taught at a young age that it is our duty to help those in need. As the co-chair of the Senate Hunger Caucus, I believe that combatting hunger is not only the morally right thing to do; it is also the smart thing to do both for Kansas producers and for global security.”

“No one should have to worry about where their next meal is going to come from. This important work has never been more urgent, as the global pandemic forced millions more people around the world into poverty and food insecurity,” said Senator Leahy, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee and a former Chairman of the Agriculture Committee. “As the climate crisis worsens, investments in food security and food system resilience are not just a moral imperative, but economic and strategic ones as well. World Food Day gives us a chance to not only acknowledge these concerns, but work toward meaningful ways to address them.”

“World Food Day serves as a call to action, a reminder of our responsibility to help those in need, and an opportunity to recognize the many who have stepped up to champion the fight to end hunger and malnutrition around the globe and in our individual communities,” said Senator Boozman. “If we truly want to end world hunger, the U.S. must pledge to continue our leadership efforts on the global stage. We introduced this resolution to not only highlight World Food Day, but to reaffirm U.S. commitment to the goals behind the designation of this day. I am pleased the Senate quickly united alongside our effort.”

“Hunger and malnutrition rates have been on the rise for years, and the pandemic has significantly exacerbated this problem here in the U.S. and around the world. Food security is a human right, and we must fight to increase access to healthy food, reduce food waste, and acknowledge the scale of the problem. That’s why I’ve introduced a bipartisan resolution to designate October 16th as World Food Day,” said Representative Pingree. “The United States has a critical role in the global fight against hunger and I hope this resolution will inspire my colleagues in Congress to support programs and policies that strengthen food security around the globe.” 

Each year, the United States joins more than 130 countries and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in celebrating World Food Day to promote global awareness and action for all who suffer from malnutrition. This year also commemorates the 76th anniversary of the FAO, established in Hot Springs, Virginia on October 16, 1945.

“FAO North America appreciates the United States’ longstanding and consistent leadership in addressing global hunger and building resilience in global agri-food systems,” said Jocelyn Brown Hall, Director of FAO North America. “World Food Day and these resolutions highlight the challenges and solutions associated with the establishment of more inclusive, equitable, and sustainable agri-food systems. These collective efforts are a step towards ensuring a food-secure world where no one is left behind.” 

To learn more about what actions you can take to promote better resilient food systems and healthy diets for all, please visit http://www.fao.org/world-food-day.

The full text of the resolution can be found here

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Congress recognizes National Chemistry Week

Source: United States Senator for Delaware Christopher Coons

DOVER, Del. – U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) sponsored a resolution designating the week beginning October 17, 2021 as National Chemistry Week and recognizing the important role chemistry plays in addressing critical challenges around the world. The resolution—which passed the Senate last week—also notes the importance of encouraging and supporting underrepresented young people to pursue careers in the STEM field. U.S. Representatives Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.) and John Moolenaar (R-Mich.) have introduced a companion resolution in the House of Representatives.

“As a proud chemistry graduate, I am happy to join my colleagues to mark National Chemistry Week and recognize the important role chemistry plays in moving our society forward,” said Senator Coons.“Getting young folks excited about careers in science is critical to keeping the United States competitive on an international stage and to producing scientific innovations that can transform our world.” 

“Chemistry is at the heart of many of our nation’s greatest scientific and technological innovations,” said Senator Toomey. “National Chemistry Week encourages young people to pursue education and careers in the STEM fields to pave the way for a new generation of innovators and life-changing ideas. With over 6,000 American Chemical Society members and 36 student chapters at colleges and universities across the Commonwealth, Pennsylvania is making significant contributions to the science and engineering fields.”

“National Chemistry Week offers an opportunity for everyone to come together to celebrate the immense value chemistry adds to our society, whether by keeping our families safe and healthy or creating good-paying jobs in Michigan and across the country,” said Senator Peters. “As Co-Chair of the Congressional Chemistry Caucus, I was proud to join my colleagues to pass this resolution that recognizes the critical role chemistry plays in keeping our nation competitive and at the forefront of innovation.”

“Chemistry and other STEM fields will be so critical for the next generation of West Virginians,” said Senator Capito. “I’m proud to join my colleagues in designating this year’s National Chemistry Week, and will continue working to increase opportunities for students who pursue careers in this world-changing field.”

“From agriculture to manufacturing, chemistry is fundamental to our way of life in Northwestern and Central Illinois,” said Representative Bustos. “As scientific advancements in chemistry continue to propel us forward, I’m proud to recognize National Chemistry Week and the critical role that chemistry plays in the lives of our family farmers and our local economy.”

“I am proud to introduce this bipartisan legislation with my colleagues to designate this week as National Chemistry Week. Americans enjoy the benefits of chemistry every day with advances in materials, energy, health care, and more. Chemistry has made America the world leader in research and innovation and it provides thousands of people with good-paying jobs,” said Representative Moolenaar. “National Chemistry Week highlights the applications of chemistry in our lives, and encourages talented young Americans to pursue opportunities in the scientific fields.”

“The American Chemical Society (ACS) is honored to celebrate the 32nd National Chemistry Week and its official designation by Senator Chris Coons (D-DE), Senator Gary Peters (D-MI), Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA), Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Representative Cheri Bustos (D-IL-17) and Representative John Moolenaar (R-MI-4),” said H.N. Cheng, ACS President. “This ceremonial resolution helps to amplify the work of our members and partners including the Society for Advancing Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), the National Organization of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE) and the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) to increase access, ensure equity and promote the benefits of chemistry in everyday life. Chemistry provides the tools necessary for solving global health challenges and strengthening our economy now and for future generations, and we are grateful to our bipartisan and bicameral Congressional champions for this effort.”

Learn more about National Chemistry Week here.

The full text of the resolution can be found here.

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Inhofe Praises Prime Minister Barzani’s Announcement on the Ainkawa Christian Community in Kurdistan

Source: United States Senator for Oklahoma James Inhofe

U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, issued the following statement praising the recent decision by Prime Minister Masrour Barzani to put the Ainkawa District of Erbil under the administrative control of its Christian residents, giving them the right to nominate civic leaders, appoint officials, manage their own security and more.

“I am glad to see this recent decision by Prime Minister Masrour Barzani to put the Ainkawa District of Erbil under the administrative control of its Christian residents. President Barzani is a true leader for freedom. This is an important step forward in the fight for religious freedom in the Middle East and I am thankful for the welcoming nature and continued partnership of the Kurdish people.”

Inhofe, Brown Urge State Department to Engage with Moroccan Government Over Human Rights Abuses

Source: United States Senator for Oklahoma James Inhofe

Yesterday, U.S. Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) led their colleagues in urging Secretary of State Antony Blinken to prioritize engagement with the Moroccan government over human rights abuses, including calling for the release of political detainees and ending the harassment and threats against critics of the Moroccan government. Specifically, the senators are requesting that the State Department increase its focus on the human rights abuses against Sahrawi activists in Western Sahara and Morocco by including a mandate to monitor human rights, and ensure that the right for self-determination is maintained in the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) renewal at the end of this month.

 “We are concerned that the Moroccan government has been emboldened in their abuse of Sahrawi activists since the United States’ misguided recognition of Morocco’s claims of sovereignty over Western Sahara in December 2020,” wrote the senators. “This is unacceptable. Our nation’s actions should never be a license to engage in human rights violations.”

 The letter was also signed by U.S. Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Michael Rounds (R-S.D.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), John Boozman (R-Ark.) and Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.).

 The full text of the letter is available here and below:

 October 14, 2021

 The Honorable Antony Blinken

U.S. Secretary of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20520

 Dear Secretary Blinken:

 We write to urge the State Department to prioritize engagement with the Moroccan government about human rights abuses, including calling for the release of political detainees and an end to the harassment and threats against critics of the Moroccan government. We urge you to increase the Department’s focus on human rights abuses against Sahrawi activists in Western Sahara and Morocco by including a mandate to monitor human rights and ensuring the right for self-determination is maintained in the renewal of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) at the end of this month.

 International human rights groups are documenting crackdowns in Morocco against those critical of King Mohammed VI and the government. We are especially concerned about journalists like Yahdih Essabi and Maati Monjib and political and social media activists like Mohamed Sekkaki. Their imprisonment and charges raise grave concerns about the administration of justice in Morocco. We are concerned about reports that prisoners are not receiving proper medical care and are facing abuse by prison officials. Additionally, Sahrawi activist Sultana Khaya and her family are being held under house arrest and reportedly have been subjected to ongoing sexual abuse and harassment by authorities, despite never being told the charges against her. These detentions are unacceptable, and we urge you to advocate for the release of all political prisoners in Morocco.

 In July 2021, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) called on the Moroccan government to stop targeting human rights defenders and journalists in Western Sahara. The OHCHR accused the Moroccan government of arresting peaceful activists for lawful Sahrawi activities and sentencing them to disproportionately long sentences. We request the Administration to support OHCHR’s call, and to urge the Moroccan authorities to revisit the cases of activists like Mohamed Lamine Haddi, Sidi Abdallah Abbahah, and Bachir Khadda who face decades-long sentences for protesting the dire economic and social conditions in Western Sahara.

 We are concerned that the Moroccan government has been emboldened in their abuse of Sahrawi activists since the United States’ misguided recognition of Morocco’s claims of sovereignty over Western Sahara in December 2020. This is unacceptable. Our nation’s actions should never be a license to engage in human rights violations. As the UN drafts the renewal of MINURSO’s mandate, we urge you to seek the inclusion of language to enable the UN to monitor human rights conditions in the region and continue support for self-determination.

 The United States must be an advocate for human rights around the world. Yet, concerning abuses by Moroccan authorities, especially against Sahrawis, the administration has said little publicly. We urge you to reaffirm the right of the people of Western Sahara to self-determination, and to advocate for the release of political prisoners and protect freedom of expression for every Moroccan and Sahrawi.

Thank you for your consideration,

 Sincerely,

[1] https://www.amnesty.org/en/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/MDE2941982021ENGLISH.pdf