Before Congress broke for recess, President Biden signed a comprehensive FY 2023 omnibus spending package that included three measures actively backed by Business for America, a nonpartisan business advocacy group focused on protecting democratic institutions.
The three measures are 1) updates to the dangerously ambiguous Electoral Count Act of 1887 (ECA), 2) critical funding for election infrastructure and cybersecurity, and 3) grants to expand K–12 civics and history education.
The business community has a bottom-line economic interest in protecting our democratic institutions, and each provision is beneficial to our country’s business climate and economic competitiveness. Confidence in elections will be improved by ensuring a peaceful transfer of power and providing adequate resources and funding for state and local officials to effectively administer elections. In addition, investing in civics education will produce a better educated workforce who understand the function of government and their duties as citizens.
“A competitive economy requires a well-functioning system of government. These electoral and civic measures will provide the business community more confidence in the future of our republic.” said Sarah Bonk, the founder and CEO of Business for America.
Business for America commends Congress, the president, and the bold bipartisan collaboration of lawmakers and our business partners to advance these reforms and resources. These actions are essential to the stability of our elections, our communities, and our economic well-being.
Omnibus clarifies ambiguous 1887 Electoral Count Act to preserve peaceful transition of power
Earlier this month, representatives of Bitwise Industries, Cummins, Hannon Armstrong, Marriott, PepsiCo, Salesforce, and the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce visited Capitol Hill to voice their support for ECA reforms, which have bipartisan support and would not advantage either party. The group of business leaders met with the offices of Senators Marsha Blackburn, Mike Braun, Joe Manchin, Jerry Moran, Marco Rubio, Tim Scott, James Lankford and Jeanne Shaheen, as well as Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, to convey that the private sector has a bottom-line economic interest in protecting our democratic institutions. The effort was a culmination of a campaign including a business sign-on letter to Congress that included more than 50 companies and trade associations.
$23 million in funding to expand K–12 civics and history education
The omnibus bill included a fourfold increase in federal dollars for civic education, opening the door for future federal funding. BFA organized an effort to mobilize businesses to pass the Civics Secures Democracy Act. $3 million was appropriated for American History and Civics Academies and $20 million for a competitive grant program for evidence-based practices “to improve teaching and learning about the history and principles of the Constitution of the United States.” The increased federal funding comes as recent polling once again demonstrates strong support for civic education from parents and voters across the political spectrum. BFA held meetings with several House and Senate offices, including co-sponsor Senator John Cornyn (R-TX), and hosted several webinars and events to advocate for the legislation. BFA will continue this work in 2023 at both the state and federal level.
$75 million in funding for state & local election infrastructure and cybersecurity
Experts estimate the cost of an election nationwide is $2 billion — and the cost is rising rapidly. In addition to urgent election software and equipment cybersecurity upgrades, state and local officials must keep up with the rising day-to-day costs of labor and everyday items like ballot paper. Although a more reliable, consistent stream of election funding is needed on an annual basis, the $75 million in the omnibus is an important step toward closing election security funding gaps and mitigating cyberthreats.
BFA has advocated for Congress to invest in federal election infrastructure over the past several years, including meetings with the offices of Senators Lankford, Harris, and Klobuchar. Several business sign-on letters have been delivered to Congress to express business support, including the most recent letter in support of the omnibus spending package provisions.
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About Business for America
Business for America is a nonpartisan network of business leaders advancing solutions to boost civic engagement, reduce political polarization, strengthen representative democracy, and modernize government. A well-functioning democracy will help foster a more competitive, innovative business climate in America. Businesses interested in getting involved can learn more at bfa.us.
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About Business for America
Business for America is a nonpartisan nonprofit business membership organization advancing solutions to boost civic engagement, reduce political polarization, and modernize government. A well-functioning democracy will foster a more competitive, innovative business climate in America. Businesses interested in getting involved can learn more at bfa.us.